Nouriel Roubini and Peter Schiff Can’t Stop Talking About Bitcoin Day In, Day Out

2020 has been all about people coming out of fiat’s influence and finding the importance of Bitcoin. But among these high-profile names, celebrities, legendary investors who have found love for Bitcoin do not include Nouriel Roubini and Peter Schiff.

These two people have been bashing Bitcoin for a decade now; either they like to be wrong way too much or are just holding Bitcoin secretly while keeping up with the appearances.

Like a broken record, they started calling names to the leading cryptocurrency yet again as BTC took a drop of 17% to nearly $16,300. Since October, the loss came after a new 2020 high of $19,500, a rally of more than 85%. Even now, BTC is up 135% YTD.

In his latest attempt to do… something, Peter Schiff, a gold proponent, attributed this rally to CNBC promoting Grayscale and covering Bitcoin non-stop positively, which led “greedy speculators” to jump in.

Meanwhile, Nouriel Roubini felt the need to share, yet again, that it is not a currency. A highly volatile store of value, “Bitcoin has no role in institutional or retail investors portfolios,” he said.

“In every bubble those who don’t participate always look like fools for missing out. It’s only after the bubbles pop and the air comes out that the real fools are exposed,” said Shiff in another tweet.

If only he would have just put his investment in Bitcoin, like his son, if not done already, that is, instead of seeing these declines after explosive rallies as a way to criticize bitcoin, he would have been buying the dips and accumulating wealth.

According to him, once bitcoin’s bubble deflates, “the real gold remains the best safe haven and store of value left standing.”

He didn’t share with his followers that ever since making a new all-time high above $2,000, the price of the precious metal has declined more than 13% to $1,800.

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Author: AnTy

ETH Gas Prices Explode Higher After Ethereum Dumps to $480

Everything is going as expected and as seen by the crypto market so many times.

The market has been given a Thanksgiving sale as the price of Bitcoin fell hard, to about $6,300 level.

This obviously led to an even bigger sell-off in the price of the altcoins.

After the rally seen by the cryptos in the past few weeks, a correction was expected, and retail flows into the sector further meant “it’s time to be cautious.”

ETH Got Cheap Again

The second-largest cryptocurrency market cap went down to as low as $480.

Just the day before yesterday, ETH went as high as $620, a level that was last seen in May 2018, thanks to the confirmation of the ETH 2.0 launch on December 1st.

“While Bitcoin has understandably dominated market attention over the past number of weeks, Ether has been quietly building steam in its shadow,” said Konstantin Richter, founder of Blockdaemon. As ETH 2.0 comes closer, “market confidence is peaking,” he said.

After reaching the $600 mark, Etherem faced strong selling pressure. As per the IOMAP indicator of IntoTheBlock, “the strongest level of support for ETH is located between $531 and $547, where 499k addresses previously bought 6.43m ETH.”

As a result, on several of the top centralized exchanges, the funding rate for Ethereum got positive, meaning long traders started paying the shorters to keep the price of perpetual futures contracts near the index price.

Then last night, the price of ETH dropped more than 20% to $480, seen last Friday only.

At the time of writing, ETH/USD has been trading around $500 with $3.4 billion in ‘real’ trading volume.

And Network Becomes Too Costly

Not just ETH but DeFi tokens much like most of the cryptocurrency market are in losses; these cryptos are actually down 15% to 30%.

CREAM, up 14%, is among a handful of tokens that are in the green at the moment.

As a result of these losses, people are changing their positions, and a lot of activity on the Ethereum network is leading to a surge in gas prices.

“Gas has exploded higher since the flush. DeFi traders are active rebalancing positions,” noted trader and economist Alex Kruger.

Ethereum gas fees have surged to 180 Gwei, up 200% from yesterday’s 60.7 Gwei, as per Blockchair.

Earlier this week, the gas fees went down to 29 Gwei, declining from the Sept. 17 high of 539 Gwei when DeFi was topping out.

As such, average Ethereum fees went up to $7.48, an increase of 236% from yesterday’s $2.28. The all-time high in average fees was achieved on Sept. 2nd at $15.2.

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Author: AnTy

PayPal CEO Explains Company’s Mission to Improve Bitcoin’s Payment Functionality

PayPal’s entry into the crypto space has been one of the most anticipated events of 2020 in the cryptocurrency sector. Besides increasing customers’ access to Bitcoin, the payment processor appears bent on improving its functionality for transactions.

Easy Payments Anytime

Earlier today, PayPal chief executive Dan Schulman spoke to CNBC’s Squawk Box. He explained that the company’s entry into the Bitcoin market was fueled by a desire to capitalize on digital payments growth. Schulman said that PayPal’s objective is to improve peoples’ ability to utilize crypto as a funding source, hence their mode of operation.

Schulman was incredibly bullish on Bitcoin in his interview. He explained that while it is challenging to give Bitcoin price projections, he believes the asset will increase in utility.

“When you start to move crypto as a potential funding instrument, I think that bolsters its utility and stabilizes it as well–because it can be used every day in your purchases.”

The CEO added that increased adoption could also improve Bitcoin’s stability. Detractors have often bashed Bitcoin for its volatility. Addressing this problem can be a game-changer for Bitcoin – both as an investment vehicle and a currency.

PayPal’s customers in the U.S can now buy, sell, and hold Bitcoin through its new crypto feature. The service will also provide compatibility with existing merchant platforms, allowing businesses to accept digital payments. Schulman told CNBC that business integration would be open to about 28 million merchants.

Co-Existing with CBDCs

Schulman also spoke on Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC), explaining that many of these will grow as fiat loses prominence.

CBDCs have been a hot-button issue this year. Many countries have announced their intention to digitize their currencies, with most of them hoping to bolster their digital payment infrastructures. However, there have also been questions about what this could mean for top digital assets like Bitcoin.

For Schulman, CBDCs’ entry into mainstream finance could benefit Bitcoin. In part, he believes the dissipation of fiat from daily transactions could force central banks to find replacements. These replacements will ideally be the digital forms of their fiat currencies.

Many believe that increased fiat digitization could lead governments to take harsher stances against legacy cryptos – a reality that could hurt PayPal’s business.

However, Schulman explained that CBDCs’ proliferation wouldn’t negatively affect traditional cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. As he explained, cryptocurrencies’ underlying structures like smart contracts could improve CBDCs and their operational efficiency when they get launched.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Bitcoin Shortage is Real; PayPal & Cash App Buying More Than 100% of All Newly-Issued BTC

Ever since the Bitcoin halving on May 11, a mere 900 BTC have been generated every day, half of what has been mined before that day.

At the time, BTC price was around $8,500, and legendary investor Paul Tudor Jones had just come out with his Bitcoin bull thesis calling it the fastest horse as an inflation hedge.

While Square’s Cash App and Grayscale have been all in Bitcoin’s business, eating up more than half of the bitcoin supply, things were relatively very smooth.

Now, nearly seven months following the halving, BTC’s price has increased 10x, currently trading around $18,500.

This jump in price in the backdrop of zero and sub-zero interest rates, money printing by the central banks, and their ever-expanding balance sheets has captured the interest of companies like MicroStrategy and Square, celebrities like Maisie Williams and rapper Logic, high-profile investors like Stan Druckenmiller, Bill Miller, JPMorgan and BlackRock changing their tunes on BTC – seeing it replacing gold.

“All the big hitters in the hedge fund world are coming out to endorse bitcoin now; it is entering the realm of the mainstream,” said Pendal’s head of fixed income, Vimal Gor.

According to him, “ultimately, the government bonds will turn into a “dead asset class,” and cryptos have a part to play there. He added,

“We have so many clients asking us about bitcoin and what to do and how to get access. Large institutions have stayed away so far, but high-net-worth clients and wholesale investors are leading the charge.”

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On top of this, PayPal launched its new service enabling its customers to buy, sell, and hold cryptos directly from their PayPal accounts.

With 300 million active users, PayPal offers great potential in crypto adoption. PayPal, Cash App, and Robinhood provide millions of people instant access to Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other digital assets.

Already, in less than a month, the volume has exploded on PayPal’s crypto infrastructure provider Paxos.

itBit, the Paxos-run exchange, was doing a fairly constant amount of trading volume up until PayPal got involved.

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“PayPal is already buying almost 70% of the new supply of bitcoins. PayPal and Cash App are already buying more than 100% of all newly-issued bitcoins,” noted Pantera Capital in its latest blockchain letter.

If the growth continues, within weeks, PayPal will be buying more than all the newly-issued bitcoin. And this is just PayPal.

While demand continues to increase, this supply shortage will push the price of BTC higher, as we have seen in this quarter. Dan Morehead, CEO of Pantera Capital, said,

“When other, larger financial institutions follow their lead, the supply scarcity will become even more imbalanced. The only way supply and demand equilibrates is at a higher price.”

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Author: AnTy

Bitcoin’s Moon Predictions Make a Comeback, Targeting $25,000 to $500,000

Bitcoin’s price has been on a tear lately, having risen to a new all-time high of almost $19,000 last week, last seen during the peak of the 2017 bull market.

As BTC works on beating an all-time high, the sky-high predictions have made their return.

With Fidelity Investments, JPMorgan Chase, PayPal, and BlackRock embracing the digital asset, the FOMO continues to push the cryptocurrency price higher.

“You suddenly have this nearly perfect backdrop that is not only lending validity to the asset class, but is also really demonstrating its staying power,” said Michael Sonnenshein, managing director at Grayscale Investments. According to him, Bitcoin is,

“once again showing investors no matter how many times it gets challenged, that it has a way of emerging almost stronger or demonstrating its ability to be really, really resilient.”

History doesn’t repeat, but it rhymes

Amidst this bull run, David Grider, the head of digital asset strategy at Fundstrat Global Advisors, has increased his price target to $25,000 by the end of 2021 from $16,500.

Fundstrat co-founder Tom Lee made a had started year-end price target of $25,000 in 2018 only to abandon it after BTC hit its bottom in the bear market at $3,200 in December.

For Grider, “History doesn’t repeat, but it rhymes,” and now “the audience is bigger, the market is bigger, it’s a little more institutionalized — you have different fields of capital coming in.”

Crypto’s resident bull, Mike Novogratz, the founder of Galaxy Digital, known for making some wild predictions just last week, said that BTC would reach $65,000 as Novogratz sees “tons of new buyers” amid “little supply.”

As we reported recently, Tom Fitzpatrick, a strategist at Citigroup Inc., said the flagship cryptocurrency could reach $318,000.

Institutional Momentum Mania

Up 170% YTD and 35% month to date, If all institutions were to assign 1% to 5% allocation to Bitcoin, it could rise “to somewhere in the $400,000 to $500,000 range,” said Catherine Wood, CEO of ARK Investment Management during the Virtual Investing in Tech series of Barron’s.

According to her, this time is different for one big reason – the involvement of institutional investors. A noted booster of disruptive technologies such as Tesla and Bitcoin said the digital asset is “equivalent to the dollar in the fiat currency system. That’s a pretty exalted role.”

However, according to Edward Moya, a senior market analyst at Oanda, “Today’s outlandish calls seem primarily based on momentum mania,” adding, “I doubt institutional traders will allow Bitcoin to only go in one direction.”

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Author: AnTy

SEC Chairman Jay Clayton to Step Down By Years End; Will Crypto Regulations Ease?

Jay Clayton is set to step down as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chairman by the end of this year.

Clayton, who has been at the agency’s helm since May 2017, stated he would be departing six months from his scheduled exit. He was expected to step down in June next year.

Appointed by President Donald Trump and sworn in as chair in May 2017. His early departure could have accelerated by the apparent election of Joe Biden as the next president, it still remains to be seen who might replace him. Stating,

“I would like to thank President Trump for the opportunity, and the support and freedom, to lead the women and men of the SEC.”

The chair also thanked Secretary Mnuchin as well as the entire treasury for their support and assistance. He also praised other agencies in the treasury department for their close working relations.

According to a statement from the SEC, Through Clayton’s leadership, the SEC improved the capacity of businesses of different sizes to raise capital and strengthen the enforcement of programs. The report said:

“The Commission obtained orders for over $14 billion in monetary remedies, including a record $4.68 billion in fiscal year 2020, and returned approximately $3.5 billion to harmed investors.”

“In addition, during Chairman Clayton’s tenure, the Commission paid approximately $565 million to whistleblowers, including the largest single award in the program’s history ($114 million).”

The SEC also stated that Clayton was steadfast in the enforcement of different policies and regulations within the crypto space. His tenure coincides with the recent largest Bitcoin’s bull run and the 2017 ICO’s wave.

Clayton was a controversial figure in the crypto space for his hard stance that almost all the ICOs were offering unregistered securities. Notably, however, Clayton opined that Bitcoin was not a security as well as Ethereum too. Later, the SEC reaffirmed this opinion.

In his tenure, Clayton has seen the SEC institute fines on numerous crypto projects which ran ICOs. Over the last year alone, the SEC collected about $1.26 billion as fines from different crypto projects. His departure is seen as a welcome move from the crypto and blockchain community.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

MIT Research Says Blockchain e-Voting Is Not The Solution to US Presidential Election Issues

The last week has been awash with U.S. Presidential elections with Trump’s team claiming the election was rigged. In light of this, various experts in the blockchain and crypto field have come forward strongly supporting the use of innovative technology in voting and elections in the future. However, recent research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) advocates against blockchain-based e-voting systems.

According to the research by MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), blockchains do not provide solutions to voting processes as they do to the financial world. Despite the research recognizing the pros of using blockchain, including a faster and more efficient voting process, technology also increases the possibility of hacking.

In an accompanying post, one of the senior authors of the report, Ron Rivest, wrote,

“While current election systems are far from perfect, blockchain would greatly increase the risk of undetectable, nation-scale election failures. Any turnout increase would come at the cost of losing meaningful assurance that votes have been counted as they were cast.”

Notwithstanding, voting on a blockchain opens up questions on the tolerance of the systems receiving the votes, cybersecurity issues, and anonymity of the voters.

A trustworthy voting ecosystem is needed

One of the most significant issues with blockchain-based e-voting is the cybersecurity issues underlying the system. Unlike internet voting, blockchain-based voting hacks and cybersecurity problems can be both scalable and undetectable.

While the cost of carrying a hack on blockchain-based systems can be expensive, a nation-wide election could offer a good enough incentive to complete the hack. One of the common cybersecurity issues is the “zero-day vulnerability,” a security flaw in the system that everyone could know about, but a patch is yet to be available.

If such an attack is exploited, many votes could be compromised, leading to a “failed democracy,” the report further stated.

“For elections, there is no insurance or recourse against a failure of democracy,” Rivest says. “There is no means to ‘make voters whole again’ after a compromised election.”

The hack could also be undetectable, given many vendors and devices involved during the voting process. The report claims the security flaws could arise from any of the third parties involved in the election – “the voting software vendor, the hardware vendor, the manufacturer, or any third party that maintains or supplies code for these organizations.” – making it hard to detect the flaw.

Moreover, other hypothetical issues arising from blockchain-based e-voting such as system bugs and implementation headaches make the system unusable.

Are the arguments for blockchain-based voting valid?

The research further lays out some of the arguments made for blockchain-based voting and why they do not hold up. Some of the arguments for blockchain-based voting include using a public/private key as votes, using a permissioned blockchain to set the voting parameters, and introducing zero-knowledge proofs to ensure voters’ privacy.

Voting using public/private keys?

According to the report, pro-blockchain voting advocates that a coin produced on a blockchain can be used as a vote. Here, the voting authority provides the registered voters with a public/private key combination whereby the public key is sent to the authority – ensuring one vote for each voter. It further reads,

“Then, the voter registry spends one coin to each public key. To vote, each user spends their coin on the candidate of their choice.

After a period, everyone can look at the blockchain, total up each candidate’s coins, and select the one with the most coins as the winner.”

However, this raises privacy issues as all votes cast are directly posted on a blockchain. If a person associates you with your public key, then they can follow through and check who you voted for – killing the concept of a secret ballot.

Furthermore, miners who verify the transactions (cast ballots) could collide and exploit the vote by forking the blockchain and reporting false results. A bad actor could also drive up fees on the public blockchain, making it impossible for some people to cast their votes in time.

The biggest problem, however, is voters securing and managing their private keys. As crypto transactions have shown before, users could lose their keys, which could lock them out of the voting process.

Privacy is relative

Zero-knowledge proofs (ZKP), a cryptographic system that increases users’ privacy, has also been advocated as a solution to maintaining the concept of a secret ballot. However, these systems are still vulnerable to system bugs and, more importantly, “voter coercion and buying,” the report states.

ZKP’s are built for users who wish to secretly transfer confidential information but cannot stop a user from revealing the information voluntarily. In e-voting, a voter could sell their vote or be coerced to relinquish their ZKP hence interfering with the election.

Could a permissioned blockchain work?

Finally, the report also mentioned the disadvantages of using a permissioned blockchain as key management vulnerabilities. Permissioned blockchains allow a central authority to be in charge of who can vote, the qualifications need to vote and the actions allowed to participants on the blockchain.

This raises issues of a centralized attack since a permissioned blockchain will likely have a smaller number of servers receiving and tallying the votes.

The use of blockchains does not solve the main issues facing elections fraud or security concerns. Moreover, using blockchain technology could add to the vulnerabilities already present in voting systems.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Ethereum 2.0 Deposits Slow Down This Week; Only 10% of ETH Staking Goal Achieved So Far

Since the Ether staking activated, ETH has been deposited at a steady pace. Currently, 56,113 Ether, worth nearly $26.5 million, has made it to the deposit contract.

This is just over 10% of the required 524,288 ETH (16,384 validators) to launch the mainnet. The Phase 0 staking goal is much far away that could see the expected launch date of December 1st being pushed back.

As one ETH enthusiast shared their concern, “An average of 2,100 ETH per day has been deposited over the last three days. We need ~32,000 ETH per day from now till 11/24 to meet the 12/1 launch date. At the current rate, we will NOT launch till June 2021.”

The number of ETH 2.0 deposits have actually slowed down considerably this week.

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However, ETH holders will likely be staking more and more ETH towards the deadline. This is because the size of rewards depends on the total amount of ETH staked in total — the more the people staked, the lower the yield.

Besides the late mover having more information, staking ETH is a one-way street, and if something goes wrong with ETH 2.0, these ETH are gone forever. Moreover, staking via exchanges offers instant liquidity on BETH, and the exchange will be the one doing the work of running a virtual validator.

“This makes sense though – not only is there a yield opportunity cost from now until Dec 1 on ETH1, but if you deposit later, you’ll get a better idea of ETH2 staking yield,” said analyst Cetris Paribus.

Amidst this, Ethereum Foundation is funding several grants for ETH 2.0 staking.

According to CryptoQuant CEO Ki Young Ju’s Twitter poll, 45% of the 815 votes are “just not interested” in locking their ETH. While 15.5% says their ETH are locked on other projects, a good 26% says there is a lack of staking rewards with a deadline effect as per 13.5% of the votes.

Additionally, this past week, ETH price saw substantial gains, currently trading near $470, with ~80% of $ETH addresses experiencing profit. However, both the transaction and social volume of ETH have begun to decline, with positive funding rates making an appearance mean the price may take a breather here.

But the fact that crypto exchanges’ ETH balance is declining and active addresses are increasing only slightly; these deposits can gain momentum.

Also Read: Ethereum Undergoes ‘Unannounced Hard Fork’ After Infura Goes Down

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Author: AnTy

IRS Successfully Prosecute First Bitcoin Tax Case, Ordered to Pay Over $8 Million in Restitution

Volodymyr Kvashuk, a former Microsoft engineer, has been sentenced to nine years in prison for defrauding the tech giant for over $10 million, using a bitcoin mixer to hide taxable income, and filing fraudulent crypto tax returns.

In what is described as the “nation’s first Bitcoin case” by the IRS, Kvashuk was ordered to pay $8,344,586 in restitution. He may be deported to Ukraine following his prison term. IRS-CI Special Agent in Charge Ryan L. Korner said on Monday,

“Today’s sentencing proves you cannot steal money via the Internet and think that Bitcoin is going to hide your criminal behaviors.

Our complex team of cybercrimes experts with the assistance of IRS-CI’s Cyber Crimes Unit will hunt you down and hold you accountable for your wrongdoings.”

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A Skiller developer, Kvashuk, 26, worked at Microsoft from August 2016 to June 2018, during which he used his testing access to Microsoft’s online retail sales platform to steal “currency stored value” (CSV) such as digital gift cards.

He made millions of dollars by reselling them on the internet and used the proceeds to purchase a $1.6 million lakefront home and a $160,000 Tesla vehicle.

To hide the source of the funds that he ultimately sent to his bank account, he used a bitcoin “mixing service.” During the seven months of illegal activity, he transferred about $2.8 million in Bitcoin then filed fake tax return forms, claiming the bitcoin had been a gift from a relative.

While gifts are not taxable to the recipient under the current US tax code, one is required to check “yes” on the infamous crypto tax question “At any time during 2019, did you receive, sell, send, exchange, or otherwise acquire any financial interest in any virtual currency?” even if it is a crypto gift. CoinTracker noted,

“Before the 2019 tax year, if you received a crypto gift, you wouldn’t have to disclose it any tax forms encouraging tax cheats to hide crypto income.”

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Author: AnTy

Bill Miller ‘Strongly’ Recommends Investing in the ‘Single Best Performing Asset Class’ Bitcoin

The risk of Bitcoin’s price going to zero is “lower than they’ve ever been before,” Mutual fund legend Bill Miller told CNBC Friday.

According to him, more institutional investors would be coming to the leading cryptocurrency, which almost went to $16,000 last week — its 35-month high.

At the time of writing, BTC/USD has been trading around $15,120 after recording an 9.5% drop over the weekend, which soon reversed.

Bitcoin’s story is “very easy” as it is just about “supply and demand,” said Miller.

“Bitcoin’s supply is growing around 2.5% a year, and the demand is growing faster than that.”

Miller also shared that the investment committee’s chief investment officer for the endowment of Johns Hopkins University told him that because of the “asymmetric properties” of Bitcoin, “everybody is going to want to own at least some” of it.

Although they “may never own Bitcoin,” Miller said that’s a “bold statement” from a college endowment. Miller serves on the investment committee of the Baltimore-based university’s endowment.

An investing revolution

Currently, the chief investment officer of Miller Value Partners, Miller beat the S&P 500 for 15 years when he was managing the Legg Mason Capital Management Value Trust Fund. During the peak of the last bull run, Dec. 2017, he revealed that his hedge fund MVP1 had half of its investments in BTC.

Bitcoin hasn’t only been the best performing asset of the last day but has also been outperforming the traditional assets in 2020.

Compared to gold’s 28.26% YTD performance, S&P’s 8.63%, and WTI’s -40.70%, bitcoin is up over 117% this year, as per Skew.

Miller “strongly” recommends bitcoin as he told CNBC, “(Bitcoin has) been very volatile, but I think right now it’s staying power gets better every day.”

He warned of inflation “coming back” due to the federal reserve “gunning the money supply” and fiscal relief coming from Congress, which means,

“Every major bank, every major investment bank, every major high net worth firm is going to eventually have some exposure to bitcoin or what’s like it, which is gold or some kind of commodities.”

After legendary investor Paul Tudor Jones talking up Bitcoin, another valued investor Bill Miller thinks everyone should own the digital asset.

“The mere fact that these old school value investors even consider Bitcoin as an investment, just shows you how much this space has developed in the last 12 months,” said Charles Edwards, founder of Capriole Investments. “This is an investing revolution,” he added.

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Author: AnTy