‘No way to properly’ short bitcoin bubble, expert warns

Bitcoin’s value rose to more than $17,000 before dipping. (Reuters)
Updated 12 December 2017
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‘No way to properly’ short bitcoin bubble, expert warns

LONDON: Nassim Nicholas Taleb, an academic and expert on the derivatives market, has tweeted a warning about using future contracts to hedge the rising price of bitcoin.
In a Tweet dated Dec. 9, he said: “… there is NO way to properly short the bitcoin ‘bubble’.”
His tweet went out just before the virtual currency began trading on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) on Sunday night, a move which will allow investors to bet on the direction of bitcoin ­prices.
“Any strategy that doesn’t entail options is nonergodic (subjected to blowup). Just as one couldn’t rule out 5K, then 10K, one can’t rule out 100K,” Taleb said within the same tweet. The bitcoin securities will track the price of virtual currency as quoted on Gemini, a large bitcoin exchange.
Taleb has around 228,000 followers, and is known for predicting Black Swan events, including forecasting the 2008 crisis and the outcome of the 2016 US presidential ­election.
In a later tweet, he wrote: “Note that bitcoin has a limited number of natural sellers. The entire concept is very concave supply (it costs more and more to extract). The number of producers shrinks with time.”
Following the launch on the CBOE, bitcoin is expected to be listed on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange by the end of the month.
The listing of bitcoin on exchanges is seen by some as an attempt to legitimize the cryptocurrency, as well as make it easier for people active in conventional investment banking to buy the asset.
In the run-up to the launch, bitcoin’s value rose to more than $17,000 before dipping.
The opening price for the bitcoin futures was $15,000, according the CBOE statement. Over the past five years, the total value of all outstanding bitcoin has grown from less than $1 billion to more than $262 billion as of Dec. 8, according to the statement.
The total value of all cryptocurrency tokens stands at approximately $423.7 billion, the statement said.
Bitcoin has gained in popularity in recent years as a currency that is not tied to a bank or government, enabling people to spend money anonymously.


Australian court fines Apple $6.7 million over iPhone ‘bricking’ case

Updated 36 min 14 sec ago
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Australian court fines Apple $6.7 million over iPhone ‘bricking’ case

SYDNEY: An Australian court fined US electronics giant Apple Inc. A$9 million ($6.7 million) on Tuesday after a regulator accused it of using a software update to disable iPhones which had cracked screens fixed by third parties.
The Australian Competitor and Consumer Commission (ACCC) sued the world’s biggest company by market value for “bricking” — or using a software update to disable — hundreds of smartphones and tablet devices, then refusing to unlock them if the devices had been serviced by non-Apple repairers.
On Tuesday the Australian Federal Court found in the regulator’s favor, saying Apple had breached the country’s consumer law by telling some 275 customers they were not eligible for a remedy if their device had been repaired by a third party.
“The mere fact that an iPhone or iPad had been repaired by someone other than Apple did not, and could not, result in the consumer guarantees ceasing to apply,” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said in a statement.
“Global companies must ensure their returns policies are compliant with the Australian Consumer Law, or they will face ACCC action,” Court said.
An Apple spokeswoman said in an email the company had “very productive conversations with the ACCC about this” without commenting further on the court finding.
The ACCC said after it told Apple about its investigation, the US company sought to compensate customers whose devices were made inoperable by the software update, known as “error 53.” So far, Apple had contacted about 5,000 customers, the ACCC said.
Apple has also offered to improve staff training, information about warranties and consumer law on its website, and processes to ensure compliance, the ACCC said.