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Monday, December 29, 2014

PayCoin Finally Takes Its Correct Place on CoinMarketCap

I've been meaning to write about this for the past week or two, but CoinMarketCap has been discriminating quite heavily against PayCoin since the coin first launched. Well, they have apparently decided it's time to change their tune.

Up until now, CoinMarketCap has been using only the publicly mined portion of PayCoin when calculating the market capitalization, with a double asterisk denoting that there was a "significant premine". Note that the vast majority of PayCoin was put into the hands of HashPoint owners and miners ten days ago, so CoinMarketCap has been very slow to change their stance. What's ironic is that you could make that same case against many other coins, including coins that weren't mined at all (e.g. NXT, Ripple, MasterCoin, etc.) but the total number of coins in existence is still used for those. But I can't really blame them for being at least a bit cautious.

The net result is that instead of 12.325 million XPY multiplied by the current price, only 0.325 million was being used, resulting in XPY being ranked down around #20 (or lower) instead of in the top five. Now, however, the total circulation of XPY has been bumped up to 12,325,674 on CoinMarketCap, and with a current price of over $12 that puts PayCoin... right into the number three spot, surpassing even Litecoin. In fact, the market cap of PayCoin is now about 1.5X that of Litecoin. Wow!

This is, by far, the most successful launch of any coin seen to date. Within weeks of public availability, PayCoin has overtaken Litecoin, and let's be honest: Ripple isn't really in the same category as other cryptocurrencies. So effectively, PayCoin is now the number two cryptocurrency for market capitalization, and PayBase still hasn't come online yet. (But soon, my precious, soooon....)

Ironically, even now the current numbers on PayCoin are still incorrect, as there are 12,375,676 XPY in circulation (so CoinMarketCap is off by 50,000). I'm not sure that matters too much, and perhaps the charts are only updated a few times per day. With the number three spot secured (number two if you don't include Ripple), the next hurdle is a quite a bit further off. PayCoin is still only about 21% of Ripple's market cap, and more importantly Bitcoin is valued at roughly 27X PayCoin. But we're looking at 17 days old vs. nearly five years, so let's just wait and see.

Market cap isn't the only area where PayCoin is thriving either. Looking at trading volume -- and again, this is before PayBase is even fully launched -- PayCoin is ranked number four overall. In trade volume, LTC is still #2 with Ripple #3. What's interesting is that Bitcoin is only about 16X the trade volume of XPY, and with features like PaySave we could easily see the trading volume on PayCoin shoot up. It's going to be an interesting week, regardless!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

HashProfit Update: DDoS and Hacking?

If you're curious about why I'm cautious with HashProfit, the answer can be found in the past 12 hours. Starting some time last night, there was supposedly a DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack on their server(s). I don't know if that's true or not, but the site was giving a 502 error earlier this morning when I checked. The site is now back online, but payouts didn't happen last night that I can see, and what's more you get news posts like this one. The English translation is so poorly done that it's worth quoting here (and I wouldn't be surprised if the site disappears in the near future):
Attention! There is highly coordinated and massive DDoS attack on Hash Profit service taking place right now.
27.12.2014 15:18

Site and infrastructure of Hash Profit is under unprecended massive DDoS attack right now.

Attackers spreading the word of panic about collapse of our service and other nonsence with only one main target - to provoke mass panic.

Many users neglecting common safety or being unaccurate has compromented their accounts and that has led to availability of malefactors to sell 15% of their hashrate for PFC and sell these coins via the exchange service, which in turn led to downgrade of PFC exchange rate.

All this is happening right now because lead companies of this market has understood the threat from HP service for their place in the market and they're doing everything possible to drown the company.

Right now HP team is working hard to reflect all the types of threats and the most important is defending of keeping and payout system - that's the main target of attackers.

Also our email is overcrowded with spam and rubbish from hacked users' mails, and that makes fast responses to real users questions very hard.

Main help from our service's users in solution of this difficult problem:

1. Don't panic.
2. Do everything possible to defend your own accounts - mails, BTC-wallets and computers.

We've succesfully deflected serious threats and attacks on our service earlier and we're sire that together we can do this even in a situation this hard.
The gist of the message is pretty clear -- "Hash Profit is fine, don't worry!" The problem is that I've seen and heard that same story so many times in the cryptocurrency world that it's practically a chorus. Basically they're claiming some users have had their accounts hacked, but it's only because those users "neglected common safety", not because of any error on the side of Hash Profit. The only way this would be true is if the users in question didn't set up any two factor authentication (2FA) and if they used the same password on multiple sites.

Assuming that actually happened (again), shame on the users for being stupid. More likely however is that the site itself was hacked and they're just trying to pass the buck. Or perhaps the site was a scam since the start and this is just part of the scam. The hack has supposedly allowed the hackers to sell hashing power for Profitcoin (PFC), which has then been dumped on the open market resulting in a massive crash in the price of PFC -- it's down to around 0.00077 BTC per PFC now, less than a fourth of the price just a few days ago.

Here's the real question: can Hash Profit recover and continue to mine and pay out BTC users? Or is this really just a big ponzi scheme that is now imploding and they're making a story as part of their exit strategy? "Sorry, we got hacked. Sucks to be us, and we lost all your coins. Dasvidaniya!" That's the worst case scenario right now, but it's a real possibility and in fact quite likely; hence I can't recommend anyone buy any more hashing power or PFC right now.

If you like to gamble a bit, there's a potential bright side. Let's say Hash Profit really hasn't lost a ton of money, they're not a ponzi scheme, and they still have a bunch of hardware that can happily hash away and make money for them. Their profits to date have been rather suspect -- no other site really is paying out as well as they have, and their "proprietary SmartMining algorithm" sounds like a bunch of hot air. Anyway, if you were to exchange 1BTC into PFC right now and then buy SmartMining KH at 11 KH per PFC, a single Bitcoin could buy about 14000 KH/s. 14000 KH at the current rate of payouts (assuming those continue) would pay for itself in roughly ten days. Ha!

You know the old saying: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. I will be very surprised at this stage if payouts continue at the previous rate, or even if they pay out at all. In fact, until I see more BTC paid out (e.g. tonight), Hash Profit has a huge red flag waving in the breeze. I'll update this post as things develop. Hopefully I'm just being overly pessimistic, and I stand to lose a moderate chunk of BTC if the site ends up being a scam, but worse things have happened to me with cryptocurrencies already.

Update, 12/27/2014 @ 11:32 PM PST: My BTC balance at Hash Profit has updated, and so have the balances of at least two friends that I checked with. The problem now is that the automated payouts haven't happened in well over 24 hours. Oh, and the PFC price temporarily rebounded and then took a further tumble. ROI time is now a ludicrous six days, but there's no way they can sell this amount of hashing power (income) at such low prices. Until I see otherwise, my suspicion is that all BTC at Hash Profit will remain at Hash Profit.

Dasvidanya, Hash Profit, 12/28/2014 @ 10:30 AM PST: The site is offline once more, payouts didn't happen, and some users have reported receiving email responses but nothing that's worth anything. LTCGear imploded in a similar fashion not too long ago, and it looks like today it was Hash Profit's turn. It's looking more and more like the days of profitable cloud mining are over... except for GAW, which continues to do well. Let's hope they at least can buck the trend.