Want some Bitcoin?

Some good news for our players who want to earn Bitcoin – you now have the option to receive your cash awards from Spark Profit in Bitcoin.

So what is Bitcoin and why all the interest?

Bitcoin is one of the most popular crypto currencies – a decentralised peer to peer network with no central bank (such as the Bank of England or the Fed) and no middle men. It basically behaves exactly like cash on the Internet. Bitcoin was developed in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto (a pseudonym – the real identity is still a mystery). Bitcoin began to get media attention due to its meteoric rise in price against an economic background where many people where losing confidence in their standard Fiat currencies and their government’s ability to support them.

The rise (and fall) of Bitcoin

The rise (and fall) of Bitcoin

 

How do I get me some Bitcoin?

You can “mine” for them – mining is the term used to describe the virtual work that you must carry out to earn Bitcoin. It’s a bit like the work you have to do to dig gold of out of the ground. Or, you can try your hand at Spark Profit and see if you have a flair for predicting financial markets – we’ll pay you in Bitcoin if you do!

You’ll need to set up a Bitcoin wallet if you wish to receive or pay Bitcoin. A Bitcoin wallet stores your Bitcoin balance and allows you to send and receive payments in Bitcoin.

One you have earned enough cash in Spark Profit (presently the minimum is $30), just go to your Profile page and choose Bitcoin as the payment option. Click the withdrawal button and we’ll get you a real time quote of where Bitcoin is trading at, and agree a price in Bitcoin for your payment. All we need at that point is your wallet ID and you’ll receive your Bitcoin.

We’ve awarded over USD $31,000 in prizes now. How much have you earned?

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Big news in Bitcoin

At the time of writing, it seems very likely that the Mtgox Bitcoin exchange has stopped trading, and most likely will not resume again soon. (Here’s some evidence).

We were using Mtgox for our prices, because when we added BTC as a market in September 2013, at that time it was the biggest bitcoin exchange in the world. Fortunately we have prepared for this event and this post explains how we’ll handle the situation.

Zero Risk

As always, our users faced absolutely no risk – since not one of them has ever paid or invested a penny to use Spark Profit. That’s why we call it “Day-trading with no downside” and strongly recommend anyone interested in trading to start with Spark Profit first. There are all sorts of very real risks of personal loss in the financial markets.

Your existing BTC predictions will be stopped

All bitcoin predictions will be stopped before the end of the week.

The future of Bitcoin

Bitcoins are far from dead. Other exchanges, without the technical and operational problems that Mtgox had, are still operating fine. We do not like to speculate on any price movements – that’s for you! – but the underlying technology of bitcoin is still just as revolutionary and interesting as it was last week.

The future of BTC predictions in Spark Profit

We will move to a new BTC price provider on or before this weekend. At that time, the price will suddenly jump up (this is because the BTC price on other exchanges is much higher, reflecting the reduced counterparty risk of those exchanges). However, since all predictions will be stopped before then, no-one will be able to profit or lose from that one-off price jump.

At some point in the future we may choose to move to a blended BTC price, but it will be done without causing price + scoring shocks.

Any questions

As always, if you have any questions about Spark Profit, just email us at [email protected].

New year, new beginnings

Wishing you a very Happy New Year, from everyone here at Nous!

New Beginings

Plenty more in store for 2014

2013 has been really amazing – it’s only 8 months since GAIN started paying cash rewards and already 13,000 players joined from 190 countries, to collectively earn over US $11,000. We think that’s fantastic! We’re very grateful for your help, and rather proud of ourselves all at the same time :).

As you can probably guess, we have plenty more in store for 2014.

A new name

In the middle of January GAIN will get a new name, its own website, and be released to Apple’s App Store. The changes are mostly cosmetic so you’ll still feel right at home though. You can still earn money in just minutes per week and, just like now, if you do very well one week you’ll still receive money for many weeks afterwards. Of course we’ll carry over your full history to the new site, so you won’t lose anything there either.

Scoring

There is one other important change coming at the same time, to scoring. Although many people might not be aware of it, points that you won or lost more than six months ago no longer count towards your score and do not help you earn money. This can be a surprise long term users, who hit this wall and see their total points “fall” at the start of every week. We wanted to make it feel fairer to them and easier for everyone to understand. We cannot say any more right now but rest assured that everyone gets equal treatment and we you will always be rewarded for careful, long-term playing.

Stability

You might have noticed that we had a couple of outages recently. We’ve been working literally round the clock to fix this: adding new data suppliers; buying machines and coding like crazy. Pretty soon we’ll also be able to release upgrades without having to stop everything. We will continue working to increase uptime even further.

Sharing

There are other changes planned over the course of the year. In addition to the rebranding and new scoring system, we will be increasing prizes — that is, if you can help us continue to grow and add more winning users! We also plan to add new markets to the app and also allow you to make predictions that last more than a week. In addition we’ll let you withdraw your earnings via Skrill or direct to your own Bitcoin wallet! And we’ll be making it easier to chat — and show off! — to your friends from inside the app.

Here’s to the future!

So thanks once again for helping us have such a fantastic first year. Together we really can have fun making a better, fairer world for millions of people – starting with you!

What’s up with Bitcoin?

Want to know why Bitcoin’s so bubbly? We explain how it got here, where it might go – and why MtGox always has the highest prices.

bubbles

Everyone loves bubbles – until they pop

What is a Bitcoin?

Quick primer: Bitcoin is a currency, as you’d imagine. But it might be better to think of it as a virtual commodity, a digital gold. Only a limited number of Bitcoins can ever be made (“mined”) and in fact, anyone can use their computer to dig for new coins although they’re getting very hard to find. The analogy breaks down here though, because unlike every physical commodity there is no instrinsic value, no industrial use for a Bitcoin. A Bitcoin is worth exactly and only what people think it’s worth.

The limited supply of coins makes Bitcoin deflationary, certainly relative to inflationary fiat currencies. As a fiat currency devalues over time, so a loaf of bread costs more in pounds or dollars, and so should a Bitcoin. However that effect is not nearly enough to explain the recent bubble.

There is an argument that people should rationally hold Bitcoins (reasoning: few more will ever be made so it’s a inflationary hedge, additionally if demand increases so will prices so there’s no point in selling now, especially because demand has increased in the past). However we don’t feel that’s the main reasons for the recent price appreciation.

Discerning Criminals use(d) Bitcoin

There was a small jolt when the FBI shutdown “Silk Road”, a market (for mostly illegal things) that accepted payments in Bitcoin. But Bitcoin had become a speculatory instrument well before the shutdown, and it was never clear that Silk Road was really driving prices at all. The problems in Cyprus earlier this year were a much stronger indicator of what could drive Bitcoin price changes – and of how Bitcoins are useful as a store of value.

Buying Bitcoins

The most common way to buy and sell BTC (the trading symbol for Bitcoin) is at an exchange. First you’ll have to apply for an account, prove your identity, transfer some money in, then finally send an order to buy, either at a specific price or at the current best price.

For a long time, the MtGox exchange in Japan was the world’s largest. However MtGox ran into some problems with the US regulators. This has made it hard for US citizens with accounts at MtGox to get their dollars back. Other BTC exchanges do not seem to have the same issues. As we’ll explain, this is definitely why MtGox has the highest BTC prices in the world and might also have triggered the recent price rises.

Twenty Dollars

As a finance professional, one of the very surprising things about the prices on MtGox is just how much higher than other exchanges they are. No other financial markets have $20 (7%) price differences between two exchanges. It’s not just a wider spread, as the bid (buying) price is $20 higher on MtGox than on other exchanges. If some other exchange has offers to sell right now for $170 why would anyone be willing to wait to buy at $190 on MtGox? And where are the arbitrageurs?

It’s the fault of those pesky US regulators!

Our belief is that US-based MtGox account holders, wanting to get their money back into the US, realised that they could (1) open an account at another exchange (one with less regulatory problems), (2) buy BTC at MtGox, (3) transfer their coins to the new account, (4) sell the coins, and (5) finally transfer their money out. This will probably lose something from crossing the spread twice, but it’s worth it to get the rest of your money back.

The trend starts

BTC is still quite an illiquid market so it does not take much pressure to make the market move. MtGox will have come under a lot of pressure to move higher, from US account holders buying BTC to transfer them away. All the other exchanges receive some smaller percentage of those coins each and soon after get orders to sell them, creating a smaller pressure on each to move lower. Net effect: MtGox has permanently higher prices, and the market gradually moves higher — especially because a Bitcoin has no fundamental value to keep things reverting to the mean.

And so the trend started. Thanks US regulators!

Breaking the dam

Then came probably the most important part: btcchina.com. As you can probably guess, this is a Chinese BTC exchange, allowing conversions to/from Yuan (Remninbi). The cause of the bubble is not that BTC China is very cheap to trade at (although it is), and it’s not that Chinese are culturally quite fond of speculation (although they do appear to be). It’s that the Yuan is a controlled currency but the government seems to have given it’s implicit blessing on converting BTC to and from Yuan – thereby breaking the currency controls.

This is a very big deal. Within a very short time this 2 year old exchange overtook MtGox and many others to become the world’s largest. Volumes are exploding. And when you have a lot of people chasing anything, especially a commodity with a fixed supply, you end up with exponentially rising prices, a.k.a. a bubble.

All the world’s a stage

It should be noted that as Bitcoin becomes increasingly visible to the public, demand – and thus the price – is likely to increase. This is another log on the fire for BTC. Our hypothesis is that the much more rapid ramp up in prices over the last months and weeks is as much due to the additional reasons given above.

Peering into the future

At Nous we believe that the future will see mainstream adoption of many alternative currencies – and Bitcoin might well be one of those. However if MtGox solves its bank problems in the US you can expect their prices to paradoxically fall, bringing them inline with other BTCUSD markets. That could easily cause a short-lived panic.

However BTC is probably most sensitive to Chinese policy right now. Any change in the Chinese Government’s views on BTC – positive or negative – will push it around. We wouldn’t want to be holding too many coins ourselves if China suddenly decides to outlaw BTC trading or somehow restrict cross-border BTC transfers. However until then, the price could well continue to rise.

The Zero Risk Trade

Of course the only way for anyone to be exposed to the upside but take no personal risk is to sign up for GAIN and start predicting. Nous is the inventor of the world’s first and only truly free option.

Disclaimer: The above is not investment advice. Trading involves risks. In fact we recommend that you never trade your own money and just use GAIN instead.

Earning with Bitcoin!

We just added a new market for everyone to play and earn with: BTCUSD, or “Bitcoin“.

Bitcoin IntroductionBT

Bitcoin is a digital currency. You can use bitcoins to buy things on the internet and you can also convert them to and from other currencies. But bitcoins are not printed by a central bank, instead they are “mined” using software. They’re very hard – maybe impossible – to forge.

Bitcoin is 24×7

You can now play games and earn points on the weekends! This is something people have been asking for a long time and we’re happy to bring it you finally.

Bitcoin is not just another currency

Bitcoin’s fundamentals such as the money supply are very well known, so the price is almost completely driven by human psychology. There have been some amazing spikes and crashes even in just the last few months. And now you can profit from them!

Watch out!

Even though Bitcoin markets are open 24×7, we stop all BTC games at 9pm UTC on a Friday each week – just the same as normal currency markets. (We might remove that restriction later but doing it this way meant that we could release it to you earlier!) Unlike currencies though, you can restart trading 30 minutes later, so for most of the weekend you can start to earn points and try and get a head-start on the next week’s total.

Also Bitcoin markets are not as liquid as the currencies you’ve seen in GAIN before now. What it means is that, for now, you won’t see the price update quite as often.

Can I get paid in Bitcoin?

For now you can only withdraw your earnings using Paypal, in US Dollars. If you really want this feature, mail [email protected] and let us know.