European Central Bank Exec Calls Bitcoin the ‘Evil Spawn of the Financial Crisis'

Executive Board member of the European Central Bank (ECB) Benoit Coeure considers Bitcoin (BTC) to be the “evil spawn of the [2008] financial crisis,” Bloomberg reports Nov. 15.

Coeure reportedly made his acid remarks at the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) in Basel. The BIS’ general manager Augustín Carstens has likewise previously made a spate of crypto-skeptical remarks, notably characterizing Bitcoin as a “combination of a bubble, a Ponzi scheme and an environmental disaster.”

Explicitly recalling Carstens’ characterization, Coeure framed his criticisms of the ten year old innovation with a reference to the aftermath of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy in fall 2008 – the tipping point for economic turmoil, global recession, and, subsequently, the controversial “too big to fail” rationale for state intervention:

“Few remember that Satoshi [Nakamoto, the inventor of Bitcoin] embedded the genesis block with a Times headline from January 2009 about U.K. banks’ bailout. In more ways than one, Bitcoin is the evil spawn of the financial crisis.”

After this historical overture, Coeure continued to address international monetary authorities’ present-day pursuit of cryptocurrency tokens and distributed ledger technology (DLT) initiatives. While acknowledging the widespread interest, he claimed that “there is broad agreement that a central bank digital currency, in whatever form, is unlikely to be issued within the next decade.”

The ECB official’s stance is at odds with remarks from International Monetary Fund (IMF) managing director Christine Lagarde just yesterday. Speaking at the the Singapore Fintech Festival Nov. 14, Lagarde urged the international community to “consider” endorsing central bank-issued digital currencies (CBDC), arguing they “could satisfy public policy goals,” specifically “financial inclusion.”

Coeure’s argument is also directly contrary to that of Stanley Yong, Chief Technical Officer (CTO) of IBM’s Blockchain for Financial Services, and a veteran of Singapore’s central bank, the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

Yong stated this week that CBDCs are “the only way” to mitigate the “kinds of risks that came about during the Lehman crisis of 2008,” and could specifically prevent a settlement system freeze – a systemic failure that affected financial systems across multiple countries during the Lehman fallout.

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Crypto Markets See Ongoing Mild Losses, Bitcoin Trades Below $6,400

 

Friday, Nov. 9: crypto markets are continuing to see downward momentum, with virtually all of the major cryptocurrencies at least mildly in the red, as data from Coin360 shows.

Market visualization by Coin360

Bitcoin (BTC) is down just over 1 percent, trading around $6,340 at press time. After a period of protracted stability, the top coin has seen a short-lived burst of price action of late, growing Nov.7 to break above the $6,500 mark.

Bitcoin has since corrected downard to trade close to the start of its weekly chart, where it is seeing virtually no price percentage change to press time. On the month, Bitcoin is down a mild 3.6 percent.

Bitcoin 7-day price chart

Bitcoin 7-day price chart. Source: Cointelegraph Bitcoin Price Index

Bitcoin pioneer Jeff Garzik – reportedly the “third-biggest contributor” to Bitcoin’s code and one of Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto’s key collaborators – gave an interview today in which he reflected that:

“[Bitcoin] hasn’t evolved in the direction of high-volume payments, which is something we thought about in the very early days: getting merchants to accept Bitcoins. But on the store-of-value side it’s unquestionably a success.”  

The market’s largest altcoin Ethereum (ETH) has also sustained a fractional loss, down just over percent to trade at $211. Correlating with Bitcoin, the altcoin saw an intra-week spike at around $220 Nov. 7, and has since jaggedly shed value down to its current price point.

Nonetheless, on the week, the asset remains a strong 6 percent in the green, with monthly losses at around 7.2 percent.

Ethereum 7-day price chart

Ethereum 7-day price chart. Source: Cointelegraph Ethereum Price Index

Most of the remaining top ten coins on CoinMarketCap are in the red, although remaining within a 1-4 percent range.

Bitcoin Cash (BCH) has taken the heftiest hit among the top ten, down just under 4 percent to trade around $567, as controversies ahead of its forthcoming hard fork – scheduled for Nov. 15 – continue to divide the community.

Another top ten alt shaken by larger-than-average losses is Cardano (ADA), down 3.19 percent at $0.074.

Altcoins Ripple (XRP) and Stellar (XLM) are the only top ten coins in the green by press time, both up under 1 percent over the past 24 hours.

The top twenty coins by market cap are likewise almost unanimously red, with the exception of the 19th largest crypto, privacy-focused alt Zcash (ZEC), which is pushing 3.5 percent growth to trade at around $133.

For the remaining coins, losses are capped below 4 percent, with Vechain (VEC) and DASH (DASH) each on the higher end, down 3.9 and 3.47 percent respectively.

Total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies is around $212.5 billion as of press time, down from an intra-week high of around $220.7 billion Nov. 7, but above the $207-210 billion levels it held throughout much of the past month.  

7-day chart of the total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies

7-day chart of the total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies from CoinMarketCap

In other major crypto news of the day, ConsenSys-backed blockchain startup Kaleido and Amazon Web Services (AWS) have launched a full-stack platform that helps enterprises implement blockchain solutions without starting from scratch. The platform, dubbed Kaleido Marketplace, reportedly “eliminates 80 percent of the custom code” needed to build a given blockchain project.

In Asia, Thailand’s securities regulator is set to clear “at least one” Initial Coin Offering (ICO) “portal” to operate legally this month, with officials saying that ICOs themselves “might” start being approved as soon as December.

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All Quiet on the Crypto Front as Bitcoin, Altcoins Shun Volatility

An eerie calm continues to linger over cryptocurrency markets Friday, Oct. 26, as Bitcoin (BTC) volatility hits an all-time low and altcoins remain stagnant.

Market visualization from Coin360

Data from Cointelegraph’s price tracker and Coin360 paints an underwhelming picture for short-term speculators, but one that has delighted many analysts, who have begun hailing a new era of Bitcoin stability.

On Friday, Bloomberg joined the multiple cryptocurrency industry commentators to highlight Bitcoin’s lack of volatility, with October 2018 being the least volatile for eighteen months. Commentators claimed this was a sign the leading coin was nearing its bottom.

At the same time, one fund management head told the publication, the ongoing bear market should be “getting tired” and a bullish upturn was likely to form Bitcoin’s next move.

That sentiment was repeated by Fundstrat Global Advisors’ Tom Lee earlier this week in separate comments to Cointelegraph.

At press time, BTC/USD is up just a fraction of a percent over the past 24 hours to trade around $6,480. The pair has also remained uncannily stagnant since the end of last week.

Bitcoin 7-day price chart

Bitcoin 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Among the altcoins, Ethereum (ETH) is also recording only a minute percent change over the past 24 hours to press time.

Attention had largely fallen away from the largest altcoin asset this week ahead of a planned hard fork in January which, as Cointelegraph reported, has faced various hurdles to its implementation. Constantinople, as it is known, was originally scheduled for next month.

ETH/USD is currently trading just under $203, just slightly down since the same time last week against a backdrop of around 8 percent monthly losses.

Ethereum 7-day price chart

Ethereum 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Across the top twenty altcoin assets, no anomalies to the sideways trading trend had appeared, with coins staying within a tiny 1 percent of their position 24 hours previously. The only exception is Zcash (ZEC), ranked 19th by market cap, which is seeing a little over 4 percent losses to trade at $121.22 by press time.

Total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies remains just under $210 billion, a level it has been holding close to for the past week.

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China: Man Gets 3.5 Years in Jail for Stealing Train Power to Mine Bitcoin, Local Media

A man in China has been been sentenced to three and a half years in jail for stealing power from a train station to fuel his Bitcoin (BTC) mining operations, local media outlet The Paper reports October 8.

According to court documents released today, the sentencing was served September 13 at the Datong Railway Transport Court in China’s northern Shanxi province. In addition to jail time, the individual, a local named Xu Xinghua, has reportedly been fined 100,000 yuan (around $14,500).

Xinghua is said to have stolen electricity from one of the factories at Kouquan Railway back in November and December 2017 to power his 50 Bitcoin miners and three electric fans around the clock. The document states that five of the mining machines were damaged during this period.

As of April 2018, Xinghua is said to have successfully mined 3.2 Bitcoin, earning 120,000 yuan (about $17,400) and running up an electricity bill of 104,000 yuan ($15,000).

In addition to imprisonment and a fine, the court has ordered Xinghua to cover the cost of the electricity charges and has confiscated his mining equipment, The Paper reports.

Charges of a similar nature are not unprecedented in China. In June, a man in China’s Anhui province was arrested for attempting to steal electricity to fund his reportedly “unprofitable” mining operations. The suspect was said to have stolen 150 megawatt (MW) of power to fuel two hundred computers that he used to mine both Bitcoin and Ethereum (ETH) – running a bill of over 6000 yuan ($930) daily.

With the country established as a crypto mining superpower due to its abundance of cheap energy and hardware, reports surfaced at the start of this year that Chinese authorities were poised to attempt to quash the industry.

A leaked memo from the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) to a top-level government internet finance regulator reportedly stated that Bitcoin miners should make an “orderly exit” from the country due to them sapping “huge amounts of resources and stok[ing] speculation of virtual currencies.”

The regulator is said to have subsequently ordered local authorities to wield all available means in their arsenal – including “measures linked to electricity price, land use, tax, and environmental protection” – to pressure miners to cease their operations.

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Major Chinese Tech Magazine Adds Payment in Bitcoin to Show Blockchain ‘Practicality’

Beijing Sci-Tech Report (BSTR), China’s oldest media publication covering the tech industry, has announced it will offer subscriptions payable with Bitcoin (BTC), local media outlet Guangming reported Sunday, September 30.

An evidently rare occurrence from China, were government pressure has forced crypto exchanges and Initial Coin Offering (ICO) operators to halt activities over the past year, BSTR says it wishes to promote blockchain and crypto use through “practical actions.”

“[S]ubscribers can pay subscription fees to the specific bitcoin receiving address of the newspaper to complete the subscription,” Guangming confirms.

The product on offer is an annual subscription to the publication’s ‘Tech Life’ magazine, which costs 0.01 BTC (about $65).

Chinese authorities continue to clamp down on trading and promotional operations related to cryptocurrency, Cointelegraph reporting on fresh efforts to tackle overseas platforms by blocking access to them online in August.

At the same time, owning and investing in cryptocurrency is not officially illegal.

Responding to queries about the BSTR move on social media, Chinese cryptocurrency news commentator cnLedger underlined the fact that by offering a Bitcoin subscription, the publication was not breaking the law.

“Owning and investing in crypto is not banned,” it wrote.

“Otherwise Jihan (Wu, CEO) of Bitmain and Leon (Li, CEO) of Huobi would be among the first ones to get fined/caught. Thousands if not millions would have been arrested already (large amount of OTC tradings).”

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Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash, EOS, Stellar, Litecoin, Cardano, Monero, IOTA: Price Analysis, September 19

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

The market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange.

Germany’s Minister of Finance Olaf Scholz believes that cryptocurrencies are not yet ready ro replace traditional fiat money, but he is not so confident about “20 to 30 years” into the future. This is a bullish sign, which confirms that the world is gradually coming to terms with the fact that cryptocurrencies are here to stay.

Yet, China continues to “remind” investors about the risks associated with Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and crypto trading. A committee of lawmakers in the UK has urged the regulators to act by introducing measures for consumer protection.

In the U.S., a study by the New York Attorney General’s office has found that many cryptocurrency exchanges lack sufficient customer protections, and have “serious conflicts of interests.” The report observed that only a few crypto trading platforms have market surveillance capabilities to deter trading manipulation.

A robust system is needed to attract large players, who are accustomed to the traditional exchanges that have many protective measures built in against market manipulation and fraud. Price volatility, however, might remain for even longer time as the market matures.

Over the past several months, we have shown how the traders can keep their risks low when trading cryptocurrencies. Let’s see if we can spot any buy setups today.

BTC/USD

Bitcoin has held $6,200 for the past two days, but is struggling to move up. Both moving averages are sloping down and the RSI is also in the negative territory. This shows that the sellers are in command.

A break of the $5,900–$6,075.04 support zone will complete two negative formations, a head and shoulders pattern and a descending triangle pattern. Though head and shoulders is primarily a reversal pattern, it can also work as a continuation pattern, as is the case currently.

The lower levels that can offer some support are $5,450 and $5,000. However, after a break from such a major support, a number of stops will be hit, resulting in a quick drop. Therefore, we suggest traders avoid catching the falling knife if $5,900 breaks down.

If the bulls defend the support zone and push price above the moving averages, the BTC/USD pair can rally to $6,900 and $7,400. We suggest an aggressive buy on 50 percent of the desired position size on a close (UTC time frame) above $6,600.

The remaining positions can be added after the digital currency closes above the downtrend line of the descending triangle.

ETH/USD

The trend in Ethereum is still a downward one, but we find some buying interest around the $183–$192 area. However, on the upside, the 20-day EMA is proving to be a major resistance as the bulls have failed to scale this level for the past four days.

ETH/USD

If the bulls break out of the 20-day EMA, a move to the 50-day SMA is likely, with minor resistance at the downtrend line of the descending channel. We shall turn bullish if the price sustains above the channel for three days in a row.

If the ETH/USD pair turns down from the current levels, it can slide to $192 and further to $183. The pair is at a critical level and we should get a clearer picture within the next couple of days.

XRP/USD

Ripple bounced sharply from $0.27 on September 18 and broke out of the 20-day EMA. Currently, it is facing resistance at the 50-day SMA.

XRP/USD

If the bulls break out of the 50-day SMA, the next resistance is at $0.37390. The downtrend line is also located just above this level. If the XRP/USD pair sustains above the downtrend line, we can expect the trend to change from down to up.

If buying dries up at higher levels, the virtual currency might spend some more time inside the range of $0.27–$0.37390. Though the bounce from the lows is a positive development, we shall wait for additional evidence before suggesting any trades on it.  

BCH/USD

When the sentiment is negative, any uncertainty drives away the investors and that is what seems to be happening with Bitcoin Cash. With a looming split, the buyers are not taking any fresh positions, which has kept the cryptocurrency near its year-to-date lows.

BCH/USD

The trend is down, as both moving averages are sloping downward and the RSI is in the negative territory. A break of the September 11 low of $408.0182 will resume the downtrend and the BCH/USD pair can slump to the next support zone of $280–$300.

The bulls have to overcome the resistance from the 20-day EMA, the 50-day SMA and the downtrend line of the descending channel to signal a change in trend.

EOS/USD

EOS has been holding above $4.4930 since August 17. If this support breaks, the slide can extend to the next support at $3.7823. Therefore, traders can keep their stops on the remaining long positions at $4.4.

EOS/USD

On the upside, the bulls have been facing a stiff resistance at the 20-day EMA and $5.65. The EOS/USD pair will gain strength if it breaks out of $5.65.

Though the 50-day SMA is sloping down, the 20-day EMA is trying to flatten out. The RSI continues to be in the negative area. This shows that the virtual currency is in a range but with a negative bias.

XLM/USD

Stellar has formed a range inside a range. Since September 11, it has been trading inside the range between $0.184 and $0.21489857. If the bulls break out of this range, a rally to the top of the large range of $0.184–$0.24987525 is probable.

XLM/USD

The critical level to watch on the downside is $0.184. If the XLM/USD pair breaks and sustains below the range it will complete a descending triangle pattern, which is a negative sign.

On the other hand, if the bulls break out of the range and the downtrend line of the descending triangle, it will invalidate the bearish pattern, which is a bullish sign. We shall wait for the virtual currency to show some strength before recommending any trades on it.

LTC/USD

The bulls defended the critical support on September 18, but the pullback is facing resistance at the downtrend line and the 20-day EMA. Currently, Litecoin is consolidating in a large range of $49.466–$69.279 – a process, which began August 8.

LTC/USD

The LTC/USD pair will resume its downtrend if it sustains below $47.246. The next support on the downside is between $40 and $44.

On the upside, the virtual currency can rally to $69.279 if it breaks out of the moving averages. We might suggest a long position on a break out of the range because it will indicate a probable double bottom.

ADA/USD

Cardano broke out of the tight range of $0.060105–$0.071355 but is finding it difficult to sustain the higher levels. Currently, the price has dipped back into the range.

ADA/USD

Both moving averages are trending down and the RSI is in the negative zone. The trend remains headed downward. The ADA/USD pair will have to enter a bottoming formation before a change in trend can be confirmed.

Until then, any pullback attempts will face resistance at the moving averages. The downtrend will resume if the bears force a break down from the range.

XMR/USD

The bulls are trying to defend the support at the moving averages but are finding it difficult to break out of $120. Monero has turned volatile and trendless in the past few days, as both moving averages have flattened out and the RSI is close to the neutral territory.

XMR/USD

A symmetrical triangle is developing close to the bottom. A break of the trendline of the triangle will be a bearish development. It will increase the probability of a retest of $76.074, though the pattern targets are way lower. We suggest holding the long positions with the stops at $95.  

On the upside, the XMR/USD pair will face resistance at the downtrend line and at $122.6. It will attract buyers only after these two resistances are crossed.  

IOTA/USD

IOTA has been range bound between $0.5 and $0.6170 since September 6. The 50-day SMA and the downtrend line are also close to the upper end of the range. Hence, $0.6170 will act as a stiff resistance. The cryptocurrency will show strength if it can break out of this resistance.

IOTA/USD

The 50-day SMA is sloping down and the 20-day EMA is also starting to turn down, after trying to flatten in the past few days. This shows that the path of least resistance is to the downside.

A break of the $0.5 support can sink the IOTA/USD pair to $0.45 and further to $0.4. Traders can keep the SL of $0.46 on the long positions.

The market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange. The charts for the analysis are provided by TradingView.

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Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash, EOS, Stellar, Litecoin, Cardano, Monero, IOTA: Price Analysis, September 4

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

The market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange.

Along with the traditional safe havens like gold, the U.S. dollar, and the Japanese Yen, cryptocurrencies have also made their presence felt in Turkey and Venezuela, which are reeling from economic crises.

The increased volume of trading during moments of crisis in these nations shows that when the next major economic crisis hits the world, demand for cryptocurrencies will skyrocket, pushing prices higher.

China and the U.S. are on the verge of a trade war, which is detrimental to the global economy. If not controlled, it can balloon into a full-blown crisis. Therefore, we believe this will put a floor beneath digital currencies.

With most governments and regulators keeping an eye on cryptocurrency markets, we do not expect a vertical rally. Prices are likely to rise gradually, which is good for the long-term growth of virtual currencies.

BTC/USD

Bitcoin has continued its journey northwards, closing in on the 61.8 percent Fibonacci retracement level which might act as resistance.

Both moving averages are trending up, which shows that the bulls are in command. A bullish crossover will provide further strength to the current rally. The virtual currency will lose momentum if it breaks below the trendline.

The 20-day EMA will act as a strong support for any declines. The BTC/USD pair can rally to $8,000 and above it to the top of the range at $8,566.40.

Traders can hold their long positions but raise the stops to breakeven. The virtual currency will turn negative if it sinks below the $6,955.79 level.

ETH/USD

Ethereum has been trading inside the symmetrical triangle since August 11. It will start the next move after breaking out or breaking down from the triangle.

ETH

On the upside, the ETH/USD pair will face selling at the downtrend line and then at the $358 level. Though the 20-day EMA has turned flat, the 50-day SMA is still trending down.

The virtual currency has not convincingly broken out of the 50-day SMA since May 24, and as such, it will act as stiff resistance. We will turn positive when the price scales the 50-day SMA.   

If the price breaks down of the symmetrical triangle, a retest of August 14 lows could be possible.

XRP/USD

Ripple has been consolidating between $0.31–$0.37390 since August 18. The 20-day EMA has turned flat while the 50-day SMA is trending down, which shows that selling has subsided.

XRP

The XRP/USD pair will show signs of a change in trend if the bulls break out and sustain above the 50-day SMA, which is just above the upper end of the range. The first target on the upside is a rally at the $0.50 downtrend line.

Traders can buy the breakout and close (at UTC time) above the 50-day SMA and keep the SL at $0.309. As the trend has still not turned up, we are only attempting to catch the pullback. Therefore, we recommend to keep the position size at 50 percent of normal. If the bears break below the range, a retest of the lows is probable.

BCH/USD

After being stuck in a tight range from August 15 to August 31, Bitcoin Cash rallied sharply on September 1 and 2 and broke out of the downtrend.

BCH

The BCH/USD pair is currently facing resistance at the 50-day SMA. If the bulls break out of the 50-day SMA, a rally to $880 is probable. The 50-day SMA has turned flat while the 20-day EMA is gradually turning up. The RSI has also entered into positive territory, which increases the probability of an upward move.

Therefore, traders can initiate a long position above $670 with a stop loss of $470. On the downside, the 20-day EMA is likely to act as a strong support.

EOS/USD

EOS triggered our buy recommendation when it closed (UTC time frame) above the 50-day SMA on September 1. However, it has not picked up momentum as we had expected.

EOS

EOS has been consolidating close to the 50-day SMA for the past three days. The 20-day EMA has turned up while the 50-day SMA has gone flat, showing an advantage for bulls in the short-term.

On a breakout above $7.25, the EOS/USD pair could quickly rally to $9. On the downside, the zone between the 20-day EMA and $5.65 should act as strong support. As the chart patterns point to a probable change in trend, we suggest traders hold their positions with the stipulated stops.

XLM/USD

Trading in Stellar has been lacklustre as it remains range bound between $0.184 and $0.24987525. Both moving averages have flattened out and the RSI is also close to the 50 level, which confirms a state of equilibrium.

XLM

A breakout of the range has a pattern target of $0.3157505, but we anticipate a rally to $0.35. The longer the XLM/USD pair remains in the range, the stronger the eventual breakout will be.

The downtrend line might offer minor resistance, but we expect it to be crossed easily. Therefore, we maintain our buy call initiated on August 27.   

LTC/USD

Litecoin is showing signs of a turnaround, and is currently trying to break out of the downtrend line and the 50-day SMA. If successful, it can quickly move up to $74. The 20-day EMA has turned up while the 50-day SMA is flattening out. This shows that the bulls have the upper hand in the near-term.

LTC

If the LTC/USD pair sustains above $74 for three days, the probability of a rally to $94 increases. Short-term traders can continue to establish long positions with suitable stops.

Our bullish view will be invalidated if the bears defend the overhead resistances and sink prices back below the $58 level.

ADA/USD

Cardano has been consolidating near the upper end of the range for the past six days. Though it has failed to break out of the range, it has not given up much ground, showing that traders are not dumping their positions.

ADA

The 20-day EMA has turned flat but the 50-day SMA continues to trend down. If the ADA/USD pair scales above $0.111843, it has a pattern target of $0.140494, but may face resistance at $0.13. We do not see a reliable buy setup at current levels and hence, we do not recommend a trade.

IOTA/USD

IOTA has been stuck between the 20-day EMA and the 50-day SMA for the past seven days. The flattening moving averages and the RSI in the positive zone show that selling has subsided. A break out of the downtrend line and the $0.9150 resistance will signal a change in the trend. Therefore, we suggest that traders hold their long positions with the appropriate stop loss.

IOTA

If the bulls sustain above $0.9150, the IOTA/USD pair can rally to $1.24, where it is likely to face resistance.

Our bullish view will be invalidated if the bears breakdown of the support zone between the 20-day EMA and $0.5750.

XMR/USD

Monero fulfilled our buy recommendation on September 1 when it closed above the long-term downtrend line. The positive close was followed up by a further move towards the overhead resistance of $150. Moving averages are on the verge of a bullish crossover, which confirms that the trend is changing.  

XMR

As the RSI has entered into overbought territory, the virtual currency might consolidate close to the $150 level for a few days before breaking out.

The XMR/USD pair will turn negative if bulls fail to hold the next dip above the $109.22 level. Therefore, we suggest holding the current long position with a stop loss of $90. Traders can trail their stops higher in a couple of days.   

The market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange. The charts for the analysis are provided by TradingView.

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Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash, EOS, Stellar, Litecoin, Cardano, Monero, IOTA: Price Analysis, August 31

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

The market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange.

A new study from the Initial Coin Offering (ICO) advisory firm Satis Group has claimed that the price of Bitcoin (BTC) could soar to $98,000 within the next five years. However, the company forecasts a lower target for both Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Ripple (XRP) in that period. According to the research team, Ethereum (ETH) will also lose about half of its share in the next ten years.

The job market in the blockchain and the cryptocurrency industries in Asia is growing and many are shifting from their traditional jobs to be a part of this budding technology.

Japanese messaging app LINE is planning to launch its own cryptocurrency in September. Rakuten, the Japanese e-commerce giant has purchased a domestic crypto exchange, Everybody’s Bitcoin. The government of a South Korean province Gyeongsangbuk-do plans to issue its own digital currency.

This shows that the fundamentals of the sector are improving. So, is this the right time to buy or can the cryptocurrencies fall further before bottoming out? Let’s find out.

BTC/USD

Bitcoin has been struggling to stay above the 50-day SMA for the past two days. This shows a lack of follow up buying at higher levels. The only positive is that the bulls have been able to defend the 20-day EMA and the digital currency has managed to close (UTC time frame) above the 50-day SMA on all the three days.

The 20-day EMA has turned up, which shows that the bulls have a short-term advantage. If prices break out of $7,127, the BTC/USD pair can pick up momentum and scale above the 50 percent Fibonacci retracement level of $7,198.3.

The 61.8 percent Fibonacci retracement level of $7,504.68 might act as a minor resistance, above which the rally can extend to $7,940.89. Once the prices sustain above $7,200, the traders can raise their stops to break even. For now, the long positions can be maintained with the recommended stops.

Our bullish view will be invalidated if the bears sink prices below the 20-day EMA. In such a case, the digital currency will become range bound between $5,900.06 and $6,955.79. Bitcoin will turn negative only if the prices sustain below $5,900.

ETH/USD

Ethereum has recently been one of the weakest cryptocurrencies that we cover. It has not even touched the 20-day EMA in the past few days. This shows a lack of buying support at the current levels.

ETH/USD

It has formed a symmetrical triangle at the lower levels. If the bears sink the prices below the triangle, the ETH/USD pair can slide to $249.93 and further to $205.  

If the bulls break out of the triangle, a move to $358 is probable. However, the 20-day EMA and the downtrend line are formidable resistances on the upside, hence, we shall wait for a buy setup to form before proposing any trades on it.

XRP/USD

Ripple has failed to break out of the downtrend line 2 for the past three days. It has also slid below the 20-day EMA, which shows a lack of buyers at higher levels.

XRP/USD

A move above the 50-day SMA will indicate strength and can result in a rally to $0.5. The trend will change if the XRP/USD pair sustains above the downtrend line 1.

If the bears sink the virtual currency below $0.31, a retest of the August 14 lows is possible. We don’t find any reliable bullish patterns at the current levels, hence, we are not suggesting any trades on it.

BCH/USD

Bitcoin Cash hasn’t done much in the past few days as it remains stuck between $500 and the 20-day EMA.

BCH/USD

Both moving averages are sloping down, which shows that the bears are still in command. The BCH/USD pair is likely to gain strength above the 50-day SMA.

On the downside, the virtual currency will become negative if the $500–$473.906 support zone breaks down. We shall wait for the trend to change before suggesting any long positions on the pair.

EOS/USD

EOS has stayed above the 20-day EMA and $5.65 for the past three days, which is a positive sign.

EOS/USD

For the past two days, the EOS/USD pair has been facing resistance at the 50-day SMA. The bulls have not managed a close (UTC time frame) above this moving average since June 8. A close will indicate a probable change in trend. Therefore, we maintain the buy recommendation made in the previous analysis.

The rising 20-day EMA and the flattening 50-day SMA increase the possibility of a bullish crossover if the price sustains above $6.5. Our bullish view will be invalidated if the price turns down from the overhead resistance.

XLM/USD

Stellar continues to trade inside the range of $0.184–$0.24987525. The longer it stays in the range, the stronger will be the eventual breakout or breakdown from it.

XLM/USD

The XLM/USD pair will complete a bearish descending triangle pattern if it breaks below the $0.184 support level.

On the other hand, the bearish pattern will fail if the bulls break out of the downtrend line. As the bottom of the range at $0.184 has managed to hold on two previous occasions in 2018, we anticipate a strong up move once the bulls break out of the range. Therefore, we retain our buy recommendation made on August 27.

LTC/USD

After failing to break out of the range on August 28 and 29, Litecoin is currently trying to hold  the support at the 20-day EMA. Both moving averages are flattening out. This shows that the selling pressure has reduced and a change in trend is probable.

LTC/USD

The first sign of strength will be when the bulls break out and sustain above the overhead resistance at $62.319. The short-term traders can stay on the long side once the virtual currency scales above $64. Such a move might face resistance at the 50-day SMA, the downtrend line and at $74.

We shall turn bullish on the LTC/USD pair after it breaks out and sustains above $74 for three days. Positional traders should wait for additional confirmation before initiating any long positions.

ADA/USD

Cardano failed to break out of the overhead resistance on August 29 and has extended its stay inside the range of $0.083192–$0.111843.

ADA/USD

Currently, the prices have slipped below the 20-day EMA. The flattening moving averages point to a probable consolidation in the near-term.

A break out of the 20-day EMA will carry the ADA/USD pair to the 50-day SMA. We shall turn positive if the bulls succeed in sustaining above $0.13.

Our neutral stance will be invalidated if the bears break down of $0.083192. We shall wait for a new buy setup to form before proposing any trades.

IOTA/USD

IOTA has turned down from the resistance zone between the 50-day SMA and the downtrend line but found support close to the 20-day EMA. It could not reach $0.82 where we had suggested booking partial profits.

IOTA/USD

The IOTA/USD pair will continue to face selling between $0.815 and $0.9150. After this zone is crossed, the rally can extend to $1.24.

On the downside, the 20-day EMA and $0.5750 will act as strong supports. Both moving averages have flattened out, which shows that the selling has subsided and a change in trend is likely. Therefore, the traders can continue holding the existing long positions with the recommended stops.

XMR/USD

Monero has held above the 20-day EMA for the past four days. It is currently trying to break out of the horizontal resistance at $109.22.

XMR/USD

The zone between the current price and the downtrend line is likely to act as a stiff resistance.

The XMR/USD pair has not broken out of the downtrend line convincingly since topping out in December of last year. If the bulls succeed in closing (UTC time frame) above this resistance, it indicates a probable change in trend. The flattening moving averages indicate that the bears are losing their grip.

Therefore, we retain the buy recommendation provided in the previous analysis.   

The market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange. The charts for the analysis are provided by TradingView.

 

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Yahoo Finance Integrates Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin Trading

Yahoo Finance has integrated trading with Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and Litecoin (LTC) on its platform.

While statistics are available on the platform for other digital currencies like Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum Classic (ETC) or EOS, they currently do not have buy and sell options.

The development has led some in the crypto community to say that it is an important step forward for crypto adoption. Crypto enthusiast and founder of Morgan Creek Digital, Anthony Pompliano tweeted:

BTC continues to trade near the $7,000 price point, according to Cointelegraph’s Bitcoin price index, after it broke through the $7,000 threshold on August 28. At press time, the leading cryptocurrency is trading around $7,043.

ETH is trading around $290 at press time, down 1.36 percent over the last 24 hours, seeing negligible price change on the day. Yesterday, August 28, ETH saw the first major upswing in price performance after a faltering week range bound between $270-280.

LTC is currently trading around $62, down 1.74 percent on the day, according to CoinMarketCap. The total market capitalization of the altcoin is nearly $3.6 billion, while its trading volume over the past 24 hours totalled around $222 million.

In March, the Japanese arm of internet giant Yahoo said it will open a cryptocurrency exchange “in April 2019 or later.”  Yahoo Japan was going to buy 40 percent of BitARG Exchange Tokyo in April, and immediately dispatch executives to lay the foundations for the exchange to launch a year later.

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Mt Gox Creditors Prepare Revised Claims for Bitcoin Repayments Plan


In 2014, Mt Gox exchange handled an estimated 70% of the total Bitcoin supply until a security breach led to the loss and/or theft of approximately 850,000 BTC, worth $450 million at the time and billions today.

The exchange filed for bankruptcy, leaving creditors in the lurch ever since, but a new plan for (partial) repayment has now been outlined for those still owed money from the disaster.

Posted on Wednesday on the mtgox-creditors.com website, the ‘Revised Basic Policy for Preparing a Rehabilitation Plan’ outlines a number of changes due to the feedback received from the creditors so far. The plan aims to ensure that the creditors aren’t cheated out of their payments, that the payments are made in a timely fashion and the desired currency, and also lays down the law when it comes to who should and should not get paid in the bankruptcy proceedings.

The Plan

1:  The rehabilitation plan should be simple and the implementation should have a high degree of certainty.

This point really ought to go without saying, but given the four-year battle the creditors have fought so far, it’s no wonder that their level of trust in the rehab process is so low. First and foremost among the creditors’ wishes is simply that theybe dealt with in a straightforward manner.

2: No distribution will be made to shareholders.

This is an interesting one, and it remains to be seen whether they’ll get their wish. Because Mt Gox simply can’t afford to pay back the full amount, especially given the inflation of BTC over the last four years, creditors feel like they should be completely prioritized over the shareholders, and it’s easy to see why.

Shareholders arguably have a measure of control over how the company is run, who’s in charge, and what policies are in place. Other creditors who were simply using the exchange as customers do not, and as such should be reimbursed first.

3: Claims for return of bitcoins (BTC) will be repaid in BCH.

This is for simplicity and efficiency, avoiding bank transfer fees and allowing creditors to receive payment in the same currency they lost. The proposal also suggests that any altcoins (coins other than BTC or BCH) held by the trustee be liquidated for transfer.

4: The full payment to the monetary creditors will be made.

The full payment, in this case, refers to the degree which has been approved in the bankruptcy proceedings.

5: First payment to creditors will be made promptly after the approval and confirmation of the rehabilitation plan.

Again, this is a straightforward wish that is nevertheless important to make absolutely clear – the creditors have waited long enough, and they want to be paid as soon as possible.

6: If there are any residual assets, or new assets found, additional payment will be made.

This rule also stipulated that an additional investigation for lost BTC will be implemented, and in both cases is probably a precautionary measure to prevent creditors from being cheated in the event of more BTC being ‘discovered’ by the trustee after the payments have already been finalized.

7: No sponsors will be selected in principle except where it is apparent that such a selection would be advantageous to creditors.

Here the creditors oppose the appointment of a sponsor company to support and promote Mt Gox during the proceedings. While not a legal requirement, this is a common practice in Japan – however, the creditors feel that a potential proxy fight over which company gets to sponsor the failed exchange would only delay the payments to creditors and should be avoided.

8: The introduction of systems which allow creditors to obtain their trading records.

As the proposal says, for creditors, the accessibility to their trading record is indispensable for the approval or disapproval of civil rehabilitation plan.

In July, the rehabilitation trustee Nobuaki Kobayashi said that a new system for creditors to file proof for claiming repayments is due for release in August, at which time the creditors may finally begin to see some of their money returned to them at last.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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Bitcoin Price Drops, IPO’s and an NYSE Bitcoin Market: This Week in Crypto


Make sure you check out our previous edition here, now let’s go over what happened in crypto this week. Also, make sure you subscribe for this week’s edition of The CCN Podcast on iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Google Play Music, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

Price Watch:

  • The bitcoin price is down 15% this week following strong gains of 9% last week and 18% the week before that. The coin had been hovering around the $8,000 mark since it first hit the crucial price level on August 24th. The $1,200+ price drop has largely been blamed on the SEC’s rejection of the Winklevoss’ second ETF rejection. On its way down, the price flirted with the $7,800 support level before failing to maintain that level. The bearish pattern has continued all the way down to the $7,000 level.
  • Ethereum is down 14% this week hovering around the $400 level. The coin has been moving in tandem with bitcoin as far as down moves go recently, but not mirroring up moves. As we discussed on last week’s podcast episode, ethereum is representative of lots of altcoins that have mostly taken heavy losses.
  • The entire coin market cap is down 14% this week. The cap fell below the crucial $300 billion level earlier this week and fell to the $255 billion level mid-week. The price drop falls despite nice gains by major currencies such as tezos.

    cryptocurrency market cap
    Source: CoinMarketCap

  • Bulls:
    • Bill Miller’s Bullish – Billionaire Bill Miller, the founder, and CIO of Miller Value Partners compared bitcoin to gold and was bullish.
    • Hedge Fund Manager: Bitcoin Price Headed to $500,000 – Mark Yusko, the founder of North Carolina-based Morgan Creek Capital Management, said that he is sticking by his year-end bitcoin price target of $25,000. Yusko originally made this prediction in April, adding that he expects bitcoin to march to $75,000 by 2020, $200,000 by 2022, and ultimately eclipse $500,000 by the end of 2024.
    • Bitcoin Could be ‘First Worldwide Currency’: NYSE Owner – Speaking with Fortune, ICE founder, Chairman, and CEO Jeffrey Sprecher explained that he believes that — bolstered by Bakkt’s (ICE’s crypto subsidiary) infrastructure — bitcoin could become the currency of choice for global payments.
    • Bitcoin Price Headed to New Highs: Crypto Hedge Fund Manager Spencer Bogart –  Speaking on CNBC’s Fast Money, Spencer Bogart of Blockchain Capital reinforced his prediction that bitcoin is bound for higher price levels in the near future as he thinks that the pullback momentum may have been exhausted.
    • Tom Lee: Bitcoin Price Recovering from Winklevoss ETF Rejection a Positive Sign – On July 27, upon the rejection of the Winklevoss bitcoin ETF by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the price of BTC fell from $8,300 to $7,800, by more than six percent in a three-hour period. Tom Lee says the quick recovery is a sign of a bullish sentiment.
  • Bears:

Startups:

  • Factom Files Patent for Validating Documents on the Blockchain – Factom (FCT) has filed a new patent with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office that allows verification of documents on a blockchain with multiple digital signatures.
  • Hedera Hashgraph Raises $100 Million At $6 Billion Valuation – Hedera Hashgraph, a U.S. based distributed public ledger that plans to offer a cryptocurrency, a file storage service, and a smart contract platform, has raised $100 million. The company is looking to raise another $20 million in a crowdsale.
  • High Times Launches First Ever IPO to Accept Bitcoin, Ethereum – High Times, a prominent New York publication advocating cannabis usage, is breaking new ground in the cryptocurrency world by accepting crypto during its IPO, the first ever stock offering to do so.
  • Coinbase Brings Crypto Payment Option to Millions of Online Businesses – Coinbase Commerce, a cryptocurrency payment provider, has announced a series of initiatives to support crypto commerce, including a WooCommerce plugin to give millions of merchants the option to accept cryptocurrencies, the ability to send bitcoin and litecoin directly, and other new capabilities.
  • Canaan Unveils First-Ever Bitcoin Mining Television – Canaan Creative has launched what it hopes will be the future of the blockchain and the first of a series of releases that will improve its position as it battles for increased market share in the bitcoin mining device market. Critics insist that the device is little more than a self-promotion gimmick as the company prepares for it’s IPO, offering no real utility to users.
  • Cryptocurrency Bank Galaxy Digital Which Lost $134 Million in Q1 Is Going Public – According to Bloomberg Galaxy Digital LP — will be listed for trading on the Toronto-based TSX Venture Exchange on August 1st. The company is using a reverse takeover of an existing firm to be listed.

Exchanges:

  • Biggest Stock Exchange Operator to Launch Bitcoin Market – Intercontinental Exchange, the owner of the New York Stock Exchange, has announced that will list a physically-settled bitcoin futures contracts and form a new company whose mission is to make bitcoin a mainstream financial asset.
  • OKEx Initiates ‘Clawback’, Injects 2500 BTC  – OKEx has moved to protect its futures market with an injection of 2500 BTC into the exchange’s insurance fund from its own capital after a forced liquidation on July 31st threatened to destabilize its operations. The futures contract amounted to a staggering $420 million worth of BTC. OKEx moved swiftly to counter this liquidation with a series of measures that were announced on its website.
  • Coinbase Adds British Currency Support – Users at Coinbase will now be able to deposit and withdraw funds in British Pound, the company announced on Wednesday.  Coinbase, being an exclusive digital currency firm, has obtained a bank account in the U.K. The company already has an e-money license issued by the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
  • Robinhood Opens Crypto Trading to Georgia Residents – Robinhood, a commission-free stock trading platform, announced that residents in the state of Georgia can now invest in cryptocurrency through the app. The move follows the app’s launch of Robinhood Crypto in early 2018, its subsequent rollout in four states, and comes in the wake of a $363 million funding round.
  • Coinbase Bug Prevents Canadian Users from Withdrawing Funds – An issue with Coinbase systems recently prevented users from Canada and a number of other countries from withdrawing funds, leading to frustration and concern among many customers. In a statement to CCN, Coinbase claimed the issue was a bug.
  • Ex-FBI Director Louis Freeh Opens up about Tether Investigation – In a recent interview with Yahoo Finance, former FBI Director Louis Freeh (of FSS) answered questions about the Tether investigation and the public’s reactions to the firm’s work. He discussed the “transparency update” that was compiled by FSS after they were granted full access to bank accounts, statements, and spoke with some employees at banks holding Tether assets and responded to criticism that the investigation did not constitute an official “audit.”
  • UPbit Comes Out Clean in Audit after Raid – UPbit, currently the biggest crypto exchange in South Korea, came out clean in an audit report which proved the exchange had 100 percent of the amount its balance sheet demonstrated. The audit comes following a raid by local authorities under the suspicion of balance sheet manipulation and inflated volumes.
  • Thai Bond Market Association to Incorporate Blockchain Technology – The Thai Bond Market Association (TBMA) plans to implement a new registrar service platform combining financial technology with blockchain technology. There are ongoing plans to put it to practice during the current year to improve the growth of the secondary market.
  • Binance Buys Ethereum Wallet Service in First-Ever Acquisition –  Binance, one of the world’s two largest cryptocurrency exchanges, has just completed its first-ever acquisition of TrustWallet. According to TechCrunch, the Malta-based exchange operator acquired Trust Wallet, creator of the eponymous mobile Ethereum wallet that includes support for ether, as well as ERC-20 and ERC-223 tokens. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but Binance confirmed that it included a mixture of cash, Binance stock, and Binance tokens.

Enterprise:

  • Bitmain Made $1.1 Billion in Profit in Q1 – Citing an email obtained from a source close to the China-based firm, Fortune reports that Bitmain — best known for manufacturing bitcoin mining equipment — raked in $1.1 billion in profit during the first quarter of 2018. Conservatively, the company expects to earn $2 to $3 billion in profit for the fiscal year. Remarkably, those figures place Bitmain nearly on par with chipmaking giant Nvidia, who reported a net income of $1.2 billion during the first quarter and has a ~$150 billion market cap.
     
  • Walmart Files Patent for Smart Appliance Management – Walmart has filed another patent application in the blockchain sector entitled “Managing Smart Applications Using Blockchain Technology.” The filing follows a number of previous applications for blockchain patents including blockchain package delivery systems, medical record storage systems, food safety, and a blockchain-based digital marketplace — some of which we dove into on the third episode of the CCN Podcast.
  • Report: Blockchain to ‘Reach $2 Trillion by 2030’ – IHS Market, a data analytics firm in the fields of finance and technology, released a July report that forecasts blockchain technology could lead to a business activity value of $2 trillion by 2030. The report includes all value that blockchain adds as an entire vertical (not specific coin market caps). Many think this is too conservative considering the market’s proximity to $1 trillion during the 2017 bull run.
  • Bitcoin Price Must Hit $213,000 to Become Viable USD Replacement: UBS – According to a new report from Swiss investment bank UBS, Bitcoin’s price must reach $213,000 to replace the estimated $3.63 trillion worth of USD in circulation, commonly referred to as the M1 or “narrow money” supply.
  • Square Seeing Growth in BTC User Base: CFO – Square Inc. Chief Financial Officer Sarah Friar has hailed the impact of bitcoin support on the company as it continues to record strong growth driven primarily by its flagship Cash App, also known as Square Cash.
  • Rogue Qiwi Employee Lost 500,000 Bitcoins in Attempted Theft – In 2011, the Qiwi Group CEO learned that his company computers minted 500,000 bitcoins, unbeknownst to him at the time. At the time, he did not know what bitcoin was, let alone bitcoin mining. After an investigation, he learned his chief technical officer minted 500,000 coins worth $5 million in three months, an amount that is now worth billions of dollars. The story came to light this week in a lecture at the Moscow School of Communications

Governments:

Hacks & Security:

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NYSE Owner: Bitcoin Should Be in Retirement Funds, Credit Cards, Retail Stores

News

Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), owner of arguably the most important stock exchange in the world, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), is introducing a new company, Bakkt. The idea is to weave bitcoin into 401(k)s, credit cards, and retail. The project is getting a lot of hype due in large measure to two very powerful backers: Microsoft and Starbucks. Is this the mainstreaming ecosystem enthusiasts have been urging?

Also read: Bitcoiners Hope to Have a Friend in Top US Regulator Jay Clayton

NYSE Wants Bitcoin in 401(k)s, Credit Cards, Retail Stores

ICE’s digital assets head, turned CEO of the new project Bakkt, Kelly Loeffler, explained in a company blog, “Formed by Intercontinental Exchange — an operator of global exchanges, clearing houses, data and listings services — Bakkt will work with companies that include BCG, Starbucks, Microsoft and others, to create an open ecosystem that supports growing needs in the ~$270 billion digital asset marketplace.”

ICE quietly owns and operates two dozen regulated markets and exchanges, from the United States and Canada to Europe. It also holds clearing houses in the Netherlands, Singapore, greater Europe, the US, and Canada as well. It has revenues well in excess of $5.5 billion. It’s also the parent company for the NYSE, an exchange with great prestige among traditional finance: the NYSE is 226 years old, and is easily the globe’s biggest exchange by market cap, some $21.3 trillion as of last summer.

NYSE Owner: Bitcoin Should Be In Retirement Funds, Credit Cards, Retail StoresMs. Loeffler told Fortune how for over a year ICE built Bakkt in secrecy. The company name is a twist on asset backed securities, Bakkt, which by design is to engender trust. And trust is everything in the legacy marketplace, but it has a decidedly different meaning in the cryptocurrency world. Trust on Wall Street usually means regulations, and lots of them.

Indeed, by late Fall this year, Bakkt hopes to have a fully federally regulated space for all things bitcoin. Fortune notes how “ICE aims to transform Bitcoin into a trusted global currency with broad usage.” That’s an interesting admission for enthusiasts wondering what Wall Street is ultimately up to with this enormous announcement and marketing/public relations campaign. Trust in the Bitcoin ecosystem is established through mathematics, voluntary adoption, by completely bypassing third party fragility, frictions, and gatekeepers for which legacy finance is famous.   

NYSE Owner: Bitcoin Should Be In Retirement Funds, Credit Cards, Retail Stores

Speculation and Coffee

“By combining regulated infrastructure with institutional and consumer applications,” Ms. Loeffler continues, “we’ll apply our track record of bringing transparency and trust to previously unregulated markets. In this way, we intend to play a key role in boosting institutional, merchant and consumer participation in digital assets.” Investment, also according to Fortune, includes Boston Consulting Group, Fortress Investment Group, Eagle Seven, and Susquehanna International Group in addition to better known brands Starbucks and Microsoft.

No doubt, ICE’s endorsement of Bitcoin lends a great deal of credence for other Wall Street investors to start exploring the cryptosphere. A futures market appears immediately in the works. Ms. Loeffler’s blog post details, “As an initial component of the Bakkt offering, Intercontinental Exchange’s U.S.-based futures exchange and clearing house plan to launch a 1-day physically delivered Bitcoin contract along with physical warehousing in November 2018, subject to CFTC review and approval. These regulated venues will establish new protocols for managing the specific security and settlement requirements of digital currencies. In addition, the clearing house plans to create a separate guarantee fund that will be funded by Bakkt.”

NYSE Owner: Bitcoin Should Be In Retirement Funds, Credit Cards, Retail StoresFortune believes the bigger move Bakkt is proposing involves everyday retail ventures. “Using Bitcoin to streamline and disrupt the world of retail payments,” the magazine stressed, “by moving consumers from swiping credit cards to scanning their Bitcoin apps. The market opportunity is gigantic: Consumers worldwide are paying lofty credit card or online-shopping fees on $25 trillion a year in annual purchases.” Both Microsoft customers and Starbucks customers are very familiar with digital, smartphone related transactions. Transitioning over to bitcoin, with institutional blessing, should be a snap, ICE is assuming.

Starbucks’ Vice President of Partnerships and Payments, Maria Smith, was quoted in the press release, noting, “As the flagship retailer, Starbucks will play a pivotal role in developing practical, trusted, and regulated applications for consumers to convert their digital assets into U.S. dollars for use at Starbucks.” That also appears to fly directly in the face of Bitcoin’s ultimate point. To nearly everyone familiar with its power, bitcoin as a currency is an end in-and-of-itself, it is the value, and was meant to leave fiat — not to be simply a keen transfer mechanism to government paper. Nevertheless, Bakkt’s CEO, Ms. Loeffler, concludes, “We’re excited about the opportunity to help unlock the transformative potential of digital assets across global markets. Bakkt is preparing for launch in upcoming weeks, and we look forward to keeping you updated.”

Is bringing Wall Street into crypto a good thing? Let us know in the comments section below. 


Images via Pixabay, ICE, NYSE. 


Be sure to check out the podcast, Blockchain 2025; latest episode here

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US Court Seizes 81 BTC, Sends Bitcoin Trader to Jail for 41 Months for Money Laundering

News

A U.S. district judge has ordered a bitcoin trader to forfeit 81 bitcoins and sentenced him to 41 months in prison for money laundering. Thomas Mario Costanzo, also known as Morpheus Titania, sold bitcoins to undercover federal agents pretending to be drug dealers, according to the Department of Justice.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

41 Months in Prison

US Court Seizes 81 BTC, Sends Bitcoin Trader to Jail for 41 Months for Money LaunderingThe U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Wednesday, August 1, that District Judge G. Murray Snow has sentenced a bitcoin trader to 41 months in prison.

Thomas Mario Costanzo, also known as Morpheus Titania, has been sentenced to “41 months’ imprisonment, with credit for time served since his arrest in April 2017,” the notice reads. “Costanzo was found guilty by a federal jury on March 28, 2018, of money laundering.”

The 54-year-old Arizona resident advertised on Localbitcoins, a peer-to-peer bitcoin exchange website, “that he was willing to engage in cash transactions up to $50,000,” the DOJ described, stating:

When undercover federal agents approached Costanzo and told him that they were drug dealers, Costanzo provided them with bitcoin and told them it was a great way to limit their exposure to law enforcement.

81 Bitcoins Forfeited

US Court Seizes 81 BTC, Sends Bitcoin Trader to Jail for 41 Months for Money LaunderingThe jury learned at trial that, over the two-year period, “Costanzo took $164,700 in cash…from the agents,” according to the DOJ’s statement.

The agents claimed that Costanzo then “exchanged it for bitcoin in order to conceal and disguise the nature, location, source, ownership, and control of the drug proceeds.” The Justice Department further noted that “the evidence at trial also showed that Costanzo used bitcoin to purchase drugs from others and that he provided bitcoin to individuals who were buying drugs via the internet,” elaborating:

At the sentencing hearing Judge Snow also ruled on the forfeiture of the 80.94512167 bitcoins provided by Costanzo to the undercover agent.

The agency elaborated, “The current value of the forfeited bitcoins is more than $600,000,” adding that “Costanzo had previously claimed an interest in 49.99363132 of the seized bitcoins, and his interest was forfeited at the sentencing hearing.”

Third Party Under Investigation

In addition, the US government separately investigated Dr. Peter Steinmetz for engaging in an unlicensed bitcoin trading business. He supplied more than 30 BTC to Costanzo.

The agency agreed not to prosecute Steinmetz “for his prior bitcoin trading activity,” as he agrees “that going forward, and for the next two years, he will only purchase or sell virtual currency on exchanges registered with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, also known as Fincen.” The Justice Department clarified:

Dr. Peter Steinmetz has agreed to forfeit the remaining 30.95149035 bitcoins, and to also forfeit an additional $54,000 in U.S. currency.

What do you think of the U.S. judge sentencing this bitcoin trader to 41 months in prison and taking his bitcoins? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and the DOJ.


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World’s Second Largest Bitcoin Miner Canaan Creative Releases BTC-Mining Television Set

Canaan Creative, the world’s second largest Bitcoin (BTC) mining hardware manufacturer, has launched what it claims is the “first ever” BTC mining television set, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported August 2.

Dubbed “AvalonMiner Inside,” the appliance has a processing power of 2.8 trillion hashes per second, and is reportedly powered by artificial intelligence (AI) as well as being capable of taking voice commands. In contrast, Canaan’s most powerful mining rig can process 11 trillion hashes per second, SCMP notes.

The device also calculates the fluctuating rate of Bitcoin mining profitability in real time, SCMP writes, and allows users to purchase entertainment content or other products on Canaan’s platform using the crypto they have mined.

While the new device is reportedly the first in a series of blockchain-related home appliances slated to be released by the firm, some cryptosphere onlookers have expressed skepticism towards the new product.

Beijing-based Bitcoin analyst Xiao Lei is quoted by the Post as disparaging Canaan’s latest move as “hype,” adding that such products “[would] be more meaningful if these companies are able to embed the mining function into existing major TV brands.”

Canaan filed an application for a $1 billion initial public offering (IPO) on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in May, reporting 1.3 billion yuan (around $205 million) in revenue in 2017, a 27-fold increase from the previous year.

Profits in 2017 were 361 million yuan (around $52 million), up over 230-fold from 2015, according to Bloomberg. Consultancy firm Frost & Sullivan has reportedly forecast that Canaan’s revenue will hit 28.6 billion yuan (around $4.1 billion) by 2020.

Nonetheless, competition is steep in China’s lucrative crypto mining hardware manufacturing industry, with rival Bitmain reportedly earning between $3 and $4 billion in operating profits in 2017 — higher than stalwart American graphics processing unit (GPU) manufacturing giant Nvidia in the same period. At the end of July, Fortune reported that Bitmain earned around $1 billion in net profit for the first quarter of 2018 and is allegedly soon applying for an overseas IPO.

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Data Shows US Dollar, Not Japanese Yen, Is Dominating Bitcoin Trade

Japan may not be quite the cryptocurrency powerhouse that the world thinks it is.

A deep dive by CoinDesk has found methodological flaws in widely-cited bitcoin exchange data that appear to overstate the importance of the Japanese yen as a trading pair. Our analysis of trading data collected from July 26-30 suggests that the U.S. dollar, not the yen, is the dominant currency traded for bitcoin by a wide margin.

Currently, analytics sites CryptoCompare and Coinhills offer a breakdown of bitcoin trading by currency pair, and until recently the data from both sites indicated that over 50 percent of bitcoin trading is denominated in Japanese yen.

The problem is that the vast majority of yen-denominated transactions are not “spot” trades of actual bitcoin for yen. Instead, they are derivative products: contracts that derive their value from the performance of an underlying asset.

In other words, the parties to these transactions are betting on the price of bitcoin, but no bitcoin is actually changing hands. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with these contracts, selectively mixing derivative and spot volumes can paint a misleading picture.

Specifically, Coinhills and CryptoCompare, whose data has been cited by major outlets such as Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal, did not distinguish between the spot and derivative volumes of Bitflyer, Japan’s largest exchange. In other words, both types of trading were counted toward the total for yen-bitcoin activity.

However, their calculations did exclude equivalent dollar-denominated derivative markets such as those on Bitmex.

As a result, the yen and dollar totals were not an apples-to-apples comparison, since the former includes derivative trades and the latter does not. When correcting for the misclassification, the data compiled by CoinDesk paints a starkly different picture.

To be sure, Japan remains a global hotspot of cryptocurrency interest, thanks in part to a law that took effect early last year recognizing bitcoin as legal tender and regulating the country’s exchanges. And the CoinDesk analysis covers only a five-day period, so it isn’t quite conclusive evidence that the U.S. dollar underpins most cryptocurrency trading.

Still, after being contacted by CoinDesk, CryptoCompare changed its methodology, and its data now shows the dollar out-trading the yen.

Further, the inconsistencies in how different types of transactions are counted across exchanges, and the wildly different results when these are addressed, underscore the nascent state of the cryptocurrency industry’s data practices.

Devilish details

As mentioned, the issues with currently available data stem from the classification of Bitflyer’s various exchange markets.

Bitflyer handles both spot trades and derivative trades, but it is the sheer scale of these derivatives trades that can distort market data.

During the time period of CoinDesk’s snapshot, Bitflyer’s Lightning FX derivatives service processed the equivalent of nearly $2 billion in yen-denominated trades every day. These derivative trades accounted for 90% of CryptoCompare’s observed yen trading and 85% of Coinhills’ yen trading.

By itself, the inclusion of derivatives volume would not necessarily be a problem if  CryptoCompare and Coinhills also counted dollar-denominated derivatives markets when tallying the total volumes. Trouble is, they don’t.

For perspective, Bitmex, the largest dollar-denominated derivatives market, recently set a record of over $8 billion of contracts traded in a single 24-hour period (July 23-24), dwarfing Bitflyer’s volumes. These derivative trades are uncounted in CryptoCompare’s and Coinhill’s respective measures of total USD-BTC trading.

To create a more balanced comparison of global trading activity, CoinDesk took a snapshot of both the spot market, which excludes all derivative trading, and the total market, which includes all spot trading and the dollar and yen volume at the four major derivative exchanges: Bitflyer’s Lightning FX, Bitmex, CME and Cboe.

Both these measures indicate that the U.S. dollar dominates worldwide, with the yen a distant second.

For example, the dollar accounted for only 17 percent of CryptoCompare’s tally and 21 percent of Coinhills’ figure for those five days in July. In CoinDesk’s apples-to-apples snapshot, by contrast, the dollar makes up 56 percent of spot market trading and 68 percent of total trading when including major global derivative markets.

Regulatory implications

The findings are notable as the spot market is particularly relevant to officials concerned about potential illicit uses of cryptocurrency.

Any unsavory actor attempting to make use of ill-gotten gains today must rely on spot exchanges to convert cryptocurrencies into fiat currency.

The dollar’s role in this exchange ecosystem extends the reach of the U.S. government. Just as the dollar’s preeminence in the international financial system gave U.S. regulators the leverage they needed to shape global anti-money laundering (AML) practices in the wake of 9/11, the dollar’s importance in global fiat-to-cryptocurrency trade could give them outsized influence as governments around the world mull new regulatory frameworks for cryptocurrencies.

For example, Japanese officials have thus far led the push for global cryptocurrency AML standards in international forums like the G20 and the Financial Action Task Force, but continued dollar dominance of cryptocurrency trading could inspire a more active U.S. presence.

Yaya Fanusie, director of analysis at the Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and co-author of a report on bitcoin laundering, told CoinDesk:

“If your assumptions are correct and the dollar in fact dominates on crypto exchanges around the globe, this data could prompt U.S. regulators to take a more active role.”

Data deluge

To be fair, the uncertainty, complexity and constant churn of the exchange market leaves analytics sites like CryptoCompare, Coinhills and others struggling to keep up. In such an environment, errors are bound to occur, even with data from large, highly regulated exchanges like Bitflyer.

When contacted about the inclusion of Bitflyer’s derivative data, both CryptoCompare and Coinhills acknowledged that data from Bitflyer’s Lightning FX derivatives market was the root cause of their observed yen dominance.

“We do currently count Bitflyer’s Lightning FX volume, and thank you very much for pointing this out. We plan on excluding Bitflyer’s futures volumes from calculations at the end of this month,” Constantine Tsavliris, an analyst at CryptoCompare, told CoinDesk.

Subsequently, CryptoCompare, which recently announced a data partnership with Thomson Reuters, indeed removed Biflyer’s derivatives market data from its calculations.

A Coinhills representative stated that the company is exploring adding other major derivatives markets such as Bitmex.

While the industry continues to mature by the day, it remains the Wild West for all observers hoping to gather a clear image of the cryptocurrency exchange market.

For more data, research and analysis, check out CoinDesk’s recently released Q2 2018 State of Blockchain report.

Dollar vs. yen image via Shutterstock.

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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The Bitcoin Cash Network Processed 687,000 Transactions on August 1st

News

Over the last day, BCH proponents have been celebrating the ‘Bitcoin Cash Independence Day’ which marks the anniversary of the August 1 blockchain split that took place a year ago. During festivities, the BCH community sent a ton of transactions over the course of the day and on August 1, 2018, the Bitcoin Cash network processed 687,000 on-chain transactions. The metric outpaced Bitcoin Core’s (BTC) daily transaction record by over 197,000 transactions showing the world some of the benefits of a chain that utilizes larger blocks.

Also Read: Japan Tax Agency Says Individuals Earning $1,800+ in Crypto a Year Will Declare Tax

BCH Miners Process 687,000 On-Chain Transactions

Bitcoin Cash fans are celebrating an extremely productive year as the last 365 days the BCH network has had many milestones. One significant watershed moment was the number of transactions processed yesterday, on August 1, 2018, as the decentralized cryptocurrency processed over 197,000 transactions more than BTC’s record-setting day (12-14-17) of 490K. The Bitcoin Cash network handled a whopping 687,000 transactions yesterday and a great majority of transactions were sent with a network fee of less than 1/5th of a US penny. Meanwhile, the Bitcoin Core (BTC) network processed 240,000 transactions (tx) yesterday and the average fee sent was $0.67 cents per tx.

The Bitcoin Cash Network Processed 687,000 Transactions on August 1st

Not the Official Stress Test

Some people assumed a large amount of transactions stemmed from the Stress Test Day developers as the stress test will begin on September 1st. However, the development team’s official Twitter account says the enormous amount of transactions sent on August 1 wasn’t from them.

“Just be clear folks the past 24 hours we were NOT stress testing the BCH network,” explains @Stresstestbch.

We were simply testing the scripts to be used to stress test the BCH network scheduled for September 1st 2018 12:00 UTC. Although we did prove BCH can scale on-chain unlike BTC.

The Bitcoin Cash Network Processed 687,000 Transactions on August 1st
Bitcoin Cash proponents have shared lots of BCH vs BTC comparison charts on Reddit and Twitter the day after August 1.

The Mempool That Doesn’t Cry “Spam”

Of course, Bitcoin Cash fans were thrilled to hear the news about the number of transactions processed as people shared many pictures of Johoe’s Mempool statistics and the 8-bit websites TX Street and TX Highway. In addition to the transaction count, there were many large blocks processed by Bitcoin Cash miners. For instance, Viabtc and an unknown mining pool verified blocks that were 3MB, 6MB, and 8MB in size. As each block was verified the transactions pending in the mempool cleared with one fell swoop.

The Bitcoin Cash Network Processed 687,000 Transactions on August 1st
BCH and BTC blocks processed on August 1, 2018.

687,000 transactions in one day is quite the feat and with the average transaction fee of around $0.003 per tx and the median around $0.002 per tx its safe to say that BCH can perform under pressure. One individual on Twitter explains that a healthy mempool that gets tons of transactions thrown at it and experiences no issues is a bit different than what took place with BTC this past December.    

“This is what a healthy mempool looks like when it is getting half a million TXs thrown at it —  The mempool doesn’t cry “spam” and throw its ball down and leave the playground,” explains Mr. Scatman.   

Incoming spikes get processed by the BIG BLOCKS and the chain keeps trucking.

What do you think about the 687,000 on-chain BCH transactions processed yesterday? Let us know your thoughts on this subject in the comment section below.


Images via TX Highway, Bitinfocharts.com, Reddit, Blockchair, and Twitter.


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Indians Use Creative Means to Trade Bitcoin Amid RBI Ban

Regulation

Indian crypto traders have found some creative ways to trade cryptocurrencies, especially bitcoin, to circumvent the crypto banking ban imposed by the country’s central bank. The Reserve Bank of India has banned financial institutions from providing services to companies dealing in cryptocurrency.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

Money Finds a Way

Indians Use Creative Means to Trade Bitcoin Amid RBI BanFollowing the crypto banking ban by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) which went into effect last month, Indian traders are finding multiple ways to bypass the ban.

One of the methods they are using is referred to as Dabba trading, Business Today recently reported:

Ever since the banks were stopped from providing financial services to digital exchanges, the trade of bitcoin through Dabba trading has increased manifold.

Indians Use Creative Means to Trade Bitcoin Amid RBI BanIn Dabba trading, brokers do not execute trades on a “system connected with commodity or stock exchange,” the news outlet described. Instead, they transfer “money through hawala network” and trade “using an overseas bank trading account,” most of which are based in Europe, especially the UK and Dubai.

While “mostly used for trading in stocks,” the publication explained that this method “has seen an upsurge as traditional Dabba operators are accepting bets on bitcoin too, giving a boost to their overall earning,” adding:

Such traders are based out of Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot, Kolkata and Mumbai. They work as a bridge between a customer and foreign trading company. The broker accepts money in cash, buys bitcoins using an overseas trading account and sells them when the bet placed in India is settled. The difference is paid in cash to the customer.

Where are the Deals Happening?

Indians Use Creative Means to Trade Bitcoin Amid RBI BanMost Dabba deals are done “via messaging app Telegram, cloud-based instant messaging service with end-to-end encryption and the money in cash is routed through the hawala channels,” the publication detailed.

Citing that “such deals are also happening through official channels like brokers who maintain bank accounts in India as well as overseas,” the news outlet elaborated:

The money is then routed through official or unofficial channels to the foreign account where bitcoins are bought and sold. The money is usually paid in cash or cheque to the investor following the deduction of commission or any loss.

Cash and P2P Markets

The use of physical cash for crypto trading has also surged since the RBI ban took effect, the news outlet noted. “The cash market existed way before the RBI diktat on cryptocurrencies but it has now flourished as people with illicit cash are using it to earn more money.”

In addition, a number of crypto exchanges in India have launched peer-to-peer (P2P) trading solutions to circumvent the ban. News.Bitcoin.com recently reported on a few crypto exchanges launching P2P trading services – Koinex, Wazirx, and Coindelta. A few others such as Giottus, Instashift, and Zecoex also offer some forms of P2P systems. Furthermore, Chinese exchange Huobi has reportedly said that it will launch P2P trading in India.

Disclaimer: Bitcoin.com does not endorse or support claims made by any parties in this article. None of the information in this article is intended as investment advice, as an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or as a recommendation, endorsement, or sponsorship of any products or companies. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.

What do you think of Indians using these methods to bypass RBI’s ban? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Canaan Creative Launch World’s First TV with Bitcoin Mining Capabilities

The second largest manufacturer of Bitcoin mining hardware has announced a new product aiming to bring Bitcoin mining to people’s homes once again. Canaan Creative are hoping to promote greater decentralisation on the Bitcoin network with the launch of a television set with mining capabilities.

Are Devices Like the AvalonMiner Inside Going to Help Further Decentralise Bitcoin?

The television set announced today is called the AvalonMiner Inside. It possesses a reasonable hashrate of 2.8 trillion hashes per second. To put this into perspective, the current most powerful piece of mining hardware made by Canaan Creative is capable of performing 11 trillion hashes each second.

The AvalonMiner Inside is powered by artificial intelligence and according to a report in the South China Morning Post, also has voice activated functions. In addition, the television set has a built-in mining profitability calculator to help users determine how well the device is performing.

The Bitcoin mined by the AvalonMiner Inside will be able to be spent on various items in a designated store platform provided by Canaan Creative. These will include entertainment packages and physical gifts.

Canaan Creative’s newest product will be distributed to retail businesses who will supply the product to customers. The company also have plans to launch additional blockchain-related appliances in the future.

However, some industry analysts are not impressed by the efforts of Canaan to increase decentralisation on the Bitcoin network. Xiao Lei, a financial expert from Beijing, explained his reservations about the new Bitcoin mining television to the South China Morning Post:

“It looks more like hype. It will be more meaningful if these companies are able to embed the mining function into existing major TV brands.”

Canaan Creative are currently the second largest Bitcoin mining hardware manufacturers on the planet. Last year, the company sold nearly 300,000 of their Avalon Bitcoin miners. This number was a threefold increase over the sales of the previous twelve months. Such a prolific yearly performance meant that Canaan Creative was able to generate around $205 million in revenue in 2017 alone.

The only Bitcoin mining hardware manufacturer with a larger market share than Canaan Creative is Beijing-based Bitmain. The creator of the Antminer ASIC chips owns two of the largest Bitcoin mining pools and enjoys a huge share of the overall hashing power of the network. Such dominance has lead to some commentators raising concerns about the potential of a 51% attack orchestrated by Bitmain themselves or an outside entity able to breach the company’s security precautions.

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin recently posed the question on a WeChat group called Mars Finance Global Family:

“Bitmain and affiliated pools now have ~53% of all Bitcoin hashpower. Isn’t this a really big problem?.”

One member of the chat group replied that it would be foolish of Bitmain to perform such an attack as it would surely jeopardise the company’s position to do something that would potentially harm Bitcoin. However, another respondent opined:

“It will be a problem later, when the supply drops and it is optimal for Bitmain to destroy Bitcoin.”

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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No Coins for You! North Carolina Rejects Bitcoin Campaign Donations


North Carolina has barred electoral candidates in the state from accepting campaign donations made in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. This declaration is contained in a response from the North Carolina State Board of Elections Campaign Finance Office to Emmanuel Wilder, a Republican candidate running for a seat in the state’s legislature.

Regulatory Snafu

Earlier in the year, Emmanuel Wilder had asked the State Board if he could accept campaign donations in bitcoin and other digital currencies. In his submission, the candidate also suggested a framework for the Board to use in ascribing value to the volatile asset class.

The Board communicated its refusal of his request in a letter from its executive director, Kim Westbrooks Strach. The refusal is hinged on the fact that the state’s campaign finance regulations set monetary limits in U.S. dollars. The Board is also of the opinion that cryptocurrencies cannot be reliably valued.

An excerpt from the letter reads:

“We do not have the confidence that we could adequately regulate contributions to a political campaign in North Carolina in the form of cryptocurrency.”

In his reaction, a disappointed but optimistic Wilder said:

“Blockchain and other technologies hold the ability to improve how business and public institutions operate day to day…Although it might not be today, there will be a day when this technology will have a place in the political process.”

Anonymity Concerns

emmanuel wilder bitcoin north carolina
Emmanuel Wilder (Left, with fmr. Gov. Jeb Bush) was told that he may not accept bitcoin donations. | Source: Facebook

A number of political commentators believe that the perceived anonymity afforded by bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is a big consideration and an issue that could potentially undermine campaign finance rules. Jen Jones, a spokesperson for Democracy North Carolina, a campaign finance watchdog earlier advised the Board to take this issue into consideration.

She said:

“[The board should consider] whether it’s possible for candidates to receive campaign donations via cryptocurrency while also complying with state disclosure requirements.”

North Carolina is not the only U.S. state to prohibit cryptocurrency campaign donations. In 2017, the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission  ruled that candidates running in state and local elections are not allowed to accept bitcoin campaign donations. 

In June, Austin Petersen, a U.S. candidate from Missouri was forced to return a $130,000 bitcoin donation because it was over the FEC-mandated individual contribution limit of $5,400.

It will be noted, however, that the Federal Election Commission (FEC) ruled in 2014 that federal election candidates are allowed to collect contributions in bitcoin and gave guidelines for such collections. Under American law, though, states are at liberty to set their own rules for state election candidates.

Featured Image from Shutterstock

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Bitcoin (BTC) Price Watch: Bulls Defending Correction Level

Bitcoin Price Key Highlights

  • Bitcoin price is still in correction mode but appears to be finding support at the nearest Fib.
  • A bounce from current levels could take it back up to the swing high and beyond.
  • A move lower, on the other hand, could indicate that a deeper pullback from the uptrend is in order.

Bitcoin price has pulled back from its rally and could be due to resume the uptrend if the 38.2% Fib holds as support.

Technical Indicators Signals

The 100 SMA is still above the longer-term 200 SMA to signal that the path of least resistance is to the upside. This means that the uptrend is more likely to resume than to reverse. However, the 100 SMA appears to be turning from its climb and is narrowing the gap between the 200 SMA. This could be indicative of slowing bullish momentum.

For now, bitcoin price appears to be finding support at the 38.2% Fib but has yet to show more bullish traction on the bounce. A larger pullback may be in order, possibly until the rising trend line connecting the latest lows and the 200 SMA dynamic inflection point. This is also around an area of interest or former resistance at $6,800 to $7,000.

RSI is already indicating oversold conditions, though, or that sellers are tired and ready to let buyers take control. Stochastic is also pulling up from the oversold region to signal a return in bullish pressure.

BTCUSD Chart from TradingView

Bitcoin price was weighed down by a number of factors earlier in the week, namely news of stricter regulation in South Korea, the outage on HitBTC, and Paul Krugman’s negative remarks on cryptocurrencies.

However, this might not be enough to derail the positive sentiment among most investors as it has been previously reported that institutional interest is picking up. Besides, the dollar could also be under pressure due to worsening trade tensions between the U.S. and China, so alternative assets like bitcoin could be poised to take advantage.

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Bitpay COO Believes Bitcoin is “Working” as Means of Payment

Economy & Regulation

Bitpay’s chief operating officer, Sonny Singh, recently attested to the efficacy of bitcoin as a means of payment, stating that “bitcoin is being used all around the world for things other than speculation and trading.” The COO also reported that Bitpay processed $1.2 billion USD worth of bitcoin payment in 2018.

Also Read: Swissquote Reports 44% Increase in Profit After Adding Cryptocurrency Services 

Bitpay COO Promotes Bitcoin as Means of Payment

itpay COO Believes Bitcoin is "Working" as Means of PaymentSonny Singh, the chief operating officer of Bitpay, recently discussed the use of bitcoin as a means of payment.

Mr. Singh stated that “Bitcoin is actually working,” adding that when “people say ‘wow the price has gone down so much, it’s crashing’ – that’s not relevant to what I’m doing.”

The Bitpay CEO asserted that “The key thing is that bitcoin is actually being used all around the world for things other than speculation and trading.” Mr. Singh claims that Bitpay “did 1.2 billion dollars last year in payments,” adding that such “means people spent $1.2 billion dollars of payments using bitcoin.”

Need for Greater Crypto Education to Foster Adoption

Bitpay COO Believes Bitcoin is "Working" as Means of PaymentDespite his belief that bitcoin is currently “working” as a means of payment, Mr. Singh emphasized the need for greater education regarding the benefits of cryptocurrency in order to foster adoption.

“In America, everyone’s so used to credit cards or goes online and types credit card numbers. But it’s safer and easier to do this through QR code because you don’t have to give your credit card numbers. […] The merchants save money in America by paying with bitcoin, because they pay 1% of the transaction fee, but with credit cards, that’s 4%. So the merchants can make a lot of money if you are paying with bitcoin. But yet they don’t understand it, they have to be educated about it. And the consumers have to get the habit of spending with bitcoin. For them, it’s better and quicker than credit cards, and better for privacy,” he stated.

Mr. Singh added that the typical American cryptocurrency-user is principally concerned with speculation rather than the utility of bitcoin, stating: “A lot of people in America have heard of bitcoin, but not a lot of them own bitcoin. Even the tech people and college kids bought bitcoin, they’ll not spend it. They bought it only for speculation. And if you ask them about bitcoin, they can tell you about the price but nothing else, because they treat it as an investment tool. We need to get these people to actually start to spend bitcoin.”

Asian Region a Key Market for Bitpay

itpay COO Believes Bitcoin is "Working" as Means of PaymentThe Bitpay COO indicated that Asia comprises the company’s major market, stating “I have to say that Asia is a very big market for Bitpay and for bitcoin overall. And it will be that way for a long time, not just for trading, but for businesses as well. If you [live] in China or Korea and you have to pay an invoice to America, let’s say a million dollars, and you use bank services, it’ll take you 3 to 5 days for that payment to happen and it cost 3% to 4% in fees. We can do the whole thing in one day for 1% fee by bitcoin. That’s how bitcoin solves a real pain point. It’s cheaper and quicker than bank wire in most regions of the world.”

Mr. Singh also expressed his confidence that bitcoin “will become a main street product in the next couple of years,” adding “It just takes a little time.”

Do you think that bitcoin fulfills its utility as a means of exchange? Join the discussion in the comments section below!


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Tom Lee’s Market Research Firm Fundstrat Adds Bitcoin as Payment Method

Fundstrat Global Advisors, market strategy and research provider, announced the firm will start accepting Bitcoin (BTC) for content via Bitpay, according to a press release shared with Cointelegraph July 31.

In what the company claims is a first for research firms, Fundstrat has added Bitcoin payments to its platform via payment operator BitPay, which processed more than $1 bln in Bitcoin payments in 2017.

According to the press release, the new feature will allow institutional investors, as well as financial advisors, high net worth individuals and other entities to use Bitcoin to purchase access to Fundstrat’s reports on different financial sectors.

According to BitPay’s Chief Commercial Officer Sonny Singh, the addition of Bitcoin as a payment method for Fundstrat will enable a global client base from Asia, Africa, and Latin America that “has been nearly impossible before” to access the firm’s content.  

In July, BitPay was granted a BitLicense by New York State’s financial regulator, which allowed the global crypto payments operator to do business with customers in the state, enabling them to use Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) for purchases worldwide.

Fundstrat’s co-founder and head of research Tom Lee commented that accepting payments in BTC via BitPay would make the process “considerably simpler, faster and less expensive.”

In early July, Lee reiterated his stance that Bitcoin could reach to anywhere between $22,000 to $25,000 by the end of 2018, clarifying that his recent prediction is not a bearish setback from his previous forecast of $25,000. Earlier this summer, June 27, the Fundstrat’s Head of Technical Research predicted that the BTC downtrend that took place in June, would be reversed if Bitcoin could push through a resistance point of $6,300-6400.

Bitcoin 3 months price chart. Source: Cointelegraph Bitcoin Price Index

Bitcoin, which broke $8,000 level last week and reached $8,483 July 25, is trading at $7,555 at press time, having lost around 7.5 percent over the week, according to Cointelegraph’s Bitcoin price index.

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South Korea Plans to End Major Tax Benefits for Bitcoin Exchanges

South Korea Plans to End Major Tax Benefits for Bitcoin Exchanges

Taxes

The South Korean government has announced a new set of tax law amendments. Under this proposal, bitcoin exchanges will no longer be eligible for income and corporate tax deductions currently enjoyed by small and medium-sized businesses. The regulators have also been considering imposing capital gains tax on the sale of cryptocurrencies.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

Stripping Away Tax Benefits

The South Korean government has announced its proposed Revised Tax Law 2018. In the official statement published Monday, the government wrote, “from next year, virtual currency handling businesses will be excluded from the industries eligible for the tax reduction for SMEs [small and medium-sized enterprises].”

South Korea Plans to End Major Tax Benefits for Bitcoin Exchanges
The South Korean government announcing 2018 tax amendments.

News1 explained that crypto exchanges “have been considered as venture companies or small and medium-sized businesses for tax purposes until now,” allowing them to benefit from considerable income tax deduction. Citing other favorable tax treatments such as depreciation of assets acquired during the first four years, the publication elaborated:

Under the current tax exemption rules, income tax and corporation tax are reduced by 50% to 100% for five years for business startups, SMEs and venture companies.

Crypto Exchanges to Pay Higher Taxes

South Korea Plans to End Major Tax Benefits for Bitcoin ExchangesAccording to the news outlet, the government has decided to exclude crypto exchanges from the list of entities eligible for SME tax deduction “because the cryptocurrency trading business lacks the effect of creating added value.” The revised tax law will be submitted to the National Assembly and, if passed, will go into effect next year.

Crypto exchanges are currently liable to pay corporation tax of up to 22%, Seoul Finance described, adding that “considering that virtual currency exchanges earned huge amounts of money in the last year and earlier this year, it is estimated that the amount of exemption would be considerably large.” The publication conveyed that under the current setup:

Bitsum exchange, which is estimated to have net profit of over 250 billion won [~US$223 million] last year, should pay 54.4 billion won [~$48.6 million] in corporate tax but it is expected to save 27.2 billion won [~$24.3 million] since it receives 50% reduction.

However, “taxation on the sale of cryptocurrency was not included in the amendment bill…based on the judgment that more research is needed,” the publication emphasized. “The government has been considering imposing capital gains tax virtual currency trading profits since early this year, but no specific taxation bill has come out.”

What do you think of the Korean government proposing to take away tax benefits for crypto exchanges? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and the Korean government.


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Analysts: China’s Cryptocurrency Could Be Bigger Than Bitcoin

News

Experts believe China is far from uninterested in cryptocurrency despite its overt efforts at bans of one kind or another. In fact, it is widely believed the communist government is contemplating its own version of a state backed cryptocurrency. Should that be the case, analysts assume it could potentially be bigger than Bitcoin.

Also read: Coinbase Flexes Muscle, Creates Political Action Committee

IG: China Creating Government-Backed Cryptocurrency

Moving from speculation to near assurance, UK-headquartered online trading provider, IG Group (LON: IGG), posted a subtitle, “China to introduce a national cryptocurrency.” In all but assuming such was imminent, the report continued, “In a contradictory move to banning bitcoin, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) initiated plans to create its own official digital currency.”

That’s a heck of a statement, and there seems to be little outside of this assertion to verify IG’s claims. The financial group itself has been around since 1974, and it provides clients with educational resources on leveraged FX products and CFDs, hoping they will earn in times of up or down markets.

Bigger Than Bitcoin: Experts Say Chinese Government Crypto a Real Threat

The company further acknowledges, “There has been no official statement regarding the national cryptocurrency’s name or launch date, which makes it difficult to prepare for. It would likely be introduced alongside China’s primary currency, the yuan, with the intention of catering to the millions of citizens who lack access to standard banking services.”

The Chinese government has been making noise of late, however. Its Center for Information Industry Development continues to release crypto rankings for some odd reason. It recently inked a crypto regulation deal with South Korea. And with a reported 3 million Chinese citizens continuing to hold their digital assets even despite bans, there does seem to be something of an appetite.

Bigger Than Bitcoin: Experts Say Chinese Government Crypto a Real Threat

What If?   

“The PBoC’s vision for its own cryptocurrency is based on taking back control of the finance sector. It has argued that without government control, a cryptocurrency could become a tool for drug dealers and terrorists,” IG insists.

So far, the only government to roll out a state-backed crypto, Venezuela, hasn’t exactly seen dividends. Admittedly, China has over a billion people, and their economy is in far better shape. But there is something to running up against the exact lure of crypto to begin with: folks seek it to be free of government minders. A state crypto just might be the worst of all worlds for those using it. Every transaction would be easily scrutinized, for example.

Bigger Than Bitcoin: Experts Say Chinese Government Crypto a Real Threat
Before the ban, in fact, China alone was basically the global crypto trading market for all intents and purposes. Just before the huge rise in prices, the government in September of 2017 lowered the boom. Something like 6% dropped off of BTC’s exchange rate, at least in the short term, as a result. The authors do admit, “It is unlikely that any government-backed cryptocurrency would kill off bitcoin or other large cryptos completely, but some of the smaller alt-coins could have a tougher time of it.” 

However, IG muses, “The PBoC have stated that only the digital currency issued by them will be recognised nationally, excluding other coins such as bitcoin or ether. As foreign cryptos are already banned in China, the government would essentially force mining operations to switch to the national crypto. This could impact global mining communities, and reduce the value of bitcoin as it becomes less popular. A government endorsement could see the crypto gain popularity worldwide, as it becomes seen as credible in the eyes of the public.” And there is more to consider, of course. IG lays out some interesting, moving infographics worth checking out. For now, it’s all just good fun. 

What are your thoughts on a China state-backed crypto? Let us know in the comments section below. 


Images via Pixabay.


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Bitcoin ETFs May Have Lost the Battle, But Not the War

On July 26, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) scrapped the application for a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) run by brothers Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss. While the market took the news negatively and the price of BTC crumbled — though it jumped back to the green within 24 hours — the ETF case is far from being closed: As soon as September, the SEC will face another wave of similar proposals from a number of actors.

What’s an ETF (and a Bitcoin ETF)?

Cointelegraph has previously covered the nature of ETFs in a separate article. In short, an ETF is a kind of investment fund that is tied to the price of an underlying asset — a commodity, an index, bonds, or a basket of assets — like an index fund and is traded on exchanges, available to both retail and institutional investors.

A Bitcoin ETF, in turn, tracks Bitcoin (BTC) as the underlying asset. It is an indirect way of purchasing BTC, where the investor only holds the corresponding security without having to store the actual coins. One of the key aspects of a Bitcoin ETF is that, if listed on a regulated U.S. exchange, it could pave the way for large mainstream investors, potentially pushing Bitcoin toward mass adoption and broader recognition on Wall Street.

The Winklevoss twins’ self-titled fund, the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust, was submitted to the SEC to be listed on Bats BZX Exchange (BZX) as COIN, an ETF “that can track the price of Bitcoin because its only asset will be Bitcoin,” as per its website. Shares of COIN would represent fractional ownership of the fund’s total Bitcoin holdings.

Winklevoss’ ETF pitch misfired for the second time  

The SEC explained its decision in a 92-page report released on Thursday. Essentially, the agency wasn’t convinced in the Winklevoss’ plea that Bitcoin markets are “inherently resistant to manipulation.” The rejecting paper read:

“The arguments submitted in support of this claim are incomplete and inconsistent, and are unsupported or contradicted by data.”

The Winklevoss twins have been nurturing the idea of a Bitcoin ETF for quite a while now — they first tried registering their fund with the SEC back in 2013. It took the watchdog four years to come up with a decision: In March 2017, the agency denied the application based on concerns “that significant markets for Bitcoin are unregulated.” The Winklevoss side then hastily filed a petition asking for a Commission Review of the disapproval, which the SEC eventually granted — technically, the agency’s recent decision is a response to that petition.

However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the SEC will continue exercising a hardline approach in the future — after all, the Thursday decision wasn’t unanimous, as the rejection came in after a 3-1 vote.

SEC Commissioner Hester M. Peirce’s statement of official dissent was published soon after the hearing. In it, she opined that the agency’s move “sends a strong signal that innovation is unwelcome in our markets, a signal that may have effects far beyond the fate of Bitcoin ETPs [Exchange Traded Products].” Thus, the main dilemma regarding Bitcoin ETFs revolves around the SEC’s role in the market. While the agency stressed that their rejection did not attempt to assess whether cryptocurrencies or blockchain technology “[have] utility or value as an innovation or an investment,” that’s exactly what Commissioner Peirce deemed the ultimate decision to be. In her speech, she claimed that the agency overstepped “its limited role” because it focused on the nature of the underlying Bitcoin market instead of the derivative itself:

“The Commission erroneously reads[…] the [Securities Exchange] Act, which requires[…] that the rules of a national securities exchange be ‘designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices…’ [It] focuses its decision not on the ETP shares to be listed […] but on the underlying Bitcoin spot market[…] [instead of] the ability of BZX[…] to surveil trading of and to deter manipulation in the ETP shares listed and traded on BZX.”

The market felt the SEC’s skepticism

The SEC’s decision promoted a bearish trend on the market, as the price of BTC fell by as much as 3.6 percent to approximately $7,850 soon after the news emerged, although it was quick to bounce back to the green to trade around the familiar $8200 at press time.

More ETFs are to be reviewed by the SEC

The Winklevoss brothers are not the only ones trying to pioneer crypto-based ETFs in the U.S. In January 2018, there were at least 14 “different Bitcoin ETFs or related products” pending with the SEC, according to Reuters data. However, they were all soon withdrawn at the request of the SEC, citing the agency’s concerns regarding “liquidity and valuation.” Nevertheless, those were not necessarily the exact same product. For instance, while the Winklevoss Fund hoped to entail direct investments in Bitcoin, a number of other funds focused on Bitcoin futures contracts. Given the fact that they have been listed on major regulated U.S. exchanges like Cboe Global Markets and CME (prompting the price of BTC to soar when launched in December 2017), they seem to constitute a more stable base for ETFs than the virtual currency spot market per se, which is yet to get a definite greenlight from U.S. regulators.

The closest ETF to the SEC’s overview is the Bitcoin ETF powered by investment firm VanEck and financial service company SolidX, which applied to the SEC in June, as per its press release. Both companies have tried registering separate ETF previously but found no luck. They hope to list the new ETF on Cboe BZX Equities Exchange. What chiefly distinguishes it from the Winklevoss’ approach is insurance: The VanEck SolidX fund is physically backed — meaning that they will actually hold BTC — and the firms reassure that this will protect against the loss or theft of the cryptocurrency. According to their filing with the SEC, each share of the VanEck SolidX Bitcoin Trust is set to cost a hefty $200,000. As SolidX CEO Daniel H. Gallancy explained to CNBC, the price is set at a higher rate to focus on institutional investors. The SEC has reportedly received over 100 comments from various economists, CEOs, financial analysts, etc. at its request and could be reviewed as soon as September. Moreover, there are multiple other ETF applications that are due for review by the SEC, such as one from Direxion, which has been postponed by the agency until mid-September.

Bitcoin on Nordic Nasdaq: Swedish experience

While the SEC and funds are brawling over ETFs in the U.S., the Swedish company XBT Providers has been successfully running a Bitcoin exchange-traded product dubbed CoinShares. It is accessible for European investors from multiple countries and has managed to attracted more than $1 billion since 2015 when it was listed on Nasdaq Stockholm, a major Swedish exchange.

The CoinShares series is comprised of the XBT Bitcoin Tracker One (COINXBT) and the XBT Bitcoin Tracker Euro (COINXBE), which trade in Swedish krona and euro respectively. Different versions os the XBT have also been featured in Denmark, Finland, Estonia and Latvia.

One of the earlier, large investors of XBT is billionaire investor Mark Cuban, who described his experience at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit in Los Angeles:

“It is interesting because there are a lot of assets which their value is just based on supply and demand. [With] most stocks, there is no intrinsic value because you have no true ownership rights and no voting rights. You just have the ability to buy and sell those stocks. Bitcoin is the same thing. Its value is based on supply-demand. I have bought some through an ETN based on a Swedish exchange.”

Room for optimism

The fact that the market was quick to recover after the Winklevoss’ second failure to convince the SEC suggests that investors remain hopeful for Bitcoin ETFs to conquer U.S. regulated exchanges. SEC Commissioner Hester M. Peirce’s dissent seems to further fuel that belief, having served as a silver lining to the watchdog’s verdict.

Meanwhile, some industry players are sharing their bullish beliefs regarding the future of ETFs: On July 29, Kin-Wai Lau, the CEO of Fatfish Internet Group — a global tech venture investment firm — told CNBC that global markets will be “ready to accept” a Bitcoin ETF in just a “couple of months.”

“I think we’re not far away; I think probably just a couple of months away from being ready for the market to generally accept an ETF.”

Article First Published here