Alt-Options Weekly Report (11.06.15)

This past week we launched our trading competition to gave traders the opportunity to get their feet wet and learn the various in-and-outs of our investment platform. We have hundreds signed up from over 24 major universities, trading/bitcoin forums and can’t wait for the games to start. This competition is a great way to become familiar with our platform and analytics tool while furthering your understanding of bitcoin and finance. The practice round, and registration, end this Sunday (November 1st — 12PM EST).

Learn more about our platform first hand here!

Headlines

ChangeTip launches iOS App

ChangeTip, a social tipping and micropayments platform, launched the app on November 2nd. The iOS app is in addition to ChangeTip’s offerings on Reddit, Twitter, Github, Google Plus, SoundCloud, Slack and other sites, where the service allows users to provide small payments to content curators as a token of appreciation.

“We call ourselves the love button for the Internet,” CEO Nick Sullivan told Forbes. “When you see a YouTube video that makes an impact on your life, instead of just putting an up vote, you can share your appreciation with a coffee or a beer.” — Nick Sullivan

The app can transfer funds via Bitcoin, or USD, and users’ accounts can seamlessly be topped off by mobile while on the go. The benefit from a bitcoin standpoint, of course, is that the money is moved quickly and cheaply between accounts.

Bitcoin Frenzy Back As Epic Bust Fades

What a crazy week; the price of Bitcoin has climbed as much as 50%! This was the largest run since the famous spike of 2013 when Bitcoin ran from $13 to over $1000.

BPI + Transactions Record via WSJ

The burst of speculative buying followed a spate of positive publicity and a move by the European Union to define bitcoin as a currency and not a commodity.

The hype and volatility around bitcoin, however, is overshadowing an uptick in more sober consideration of how its underlying technology — a sort of decentralized register of transactions — could be applied to traditional finance.

Bitcoin traded as high as $492 on Wednesday, well below its record but up about 50% from last Friday’s closing price.

Asian trading, mainly coming from China, accounts for a big part of the recent surge. Trading volumes at the main China-based exchanges — BTCC, OKCoin and Huobi — have exploded, leading to some speculation that Chinese nationals are using bitcoin as a way to escape newly imposed capital controls.

BTCC’s Mr. Lee disagrees. Chinese trading in bitcoin is notoriously speculative, and Mr. Lee thinks the recent surge is just traders riding the wave of positive media.

US Government to Sell Over 44,000 Bitcoins Today

Yesterday, The US Marshals Service (USMS) began its auction of 44,341 BTC that were seized from convicted Silk Road operator Ross Ulbricht, marking the final sale in a process that began in June 2014. USMS held the auction from 8am to 2pm local time.

This is the fourth auction by the agency since their first sale of 30,000 BTC in June 2014.

Mark Karpeles meme

According to the USMS, the event features 22 auction blocks. The first 21 blocks will each consist of 2,000 BTC up for sale, with the final tranche consisting of approximately 2,341 BTC.

With the conclusion of the sale, all funds confiscated and held during the Silk Road investigation will have been sold by the US government. Bitcoins seized from Silk Road users, as well as the market itself, have been sold in the past as well.

Research

Research on Anonymization and De-anonymization in the Bitcoin System

QingChun ShenTu + JianPing Yu — October 2015

We all know Bitcoin is an anonymous, decentralized crypto-currency, but there’s a huge misconception when it comes to how its anonymous. Researchers at Shenzhen University, China seek to clarify this matter in their recently published paper. Many believe that Bitcoin is completely untraceable, which would make it a great tool for money laundering and other licit activities. However, this is simply not the case. While it is true that no personal information is directly tied to your public Bitcoin key and your IP address is untraceable, any wallet activity is completely traceable on the public ledger. Law enforcement agencies have become aware of this transparency and can now easily identify criminal activity. Likewise, warrants can be obtained by investigators that require wallet companies to divulge personal information registered with a specific wallet.

Trading Competition

Alt-Options Collegiate Trading Competition: Week 1

competition.alt-options.com

Congratulations to Anik from Boston University! You are currently in first place for the trading competition with a profit of over 150%!!

This success clearly demonstrates the power of derivatives and the leverage they can provide for smart investing. Although the top traders are getting substantial returns, the race is far from over. This is still anybody’s game!

First prize includes $500 cash. If you would like to learn more about our platform, check out our public beta here!

User Interfaces