All Cryptos See Major Losses as Market Hit by Distinctly Unfestive Correction

Friday, Dec. 25 — crypto markets are lacking in Christmas cheer, with many major crypto assets hit with double-digit losses. Virtually all of the top 100 coins by market cap are in the red, as data from Coin360 shows.

Market visualization by Coin360

Largest cryptocurrency Bitcoin (BTC) has plummeted over 9 percent on the day, and is trading at $3,812 as of press time, according to Cointelegraph’s Bitcoin Price Index. After bullish growth yesterday, Christmas eve, to break over $4,236, the top coin has been trading as low as $3,755 in the trading hours before press time — an around $500 drop.

Over these past seven days, Bitcoin’s trading pattern has been characterized by high volatility — veering between reclaiming the $4,000 price point and beyond, to dipping back down towards the $3,700–$3,800 range.

While the coin is still a strong 17.2 percent higher than its value at the start of its weekly chart, on the month, Bitcoin is down by around 12 percent.

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

Second-largest crypto by market cap Ripple (XRP) has fared even worse, shedding a stark 15 percent over the 24 hours before press time, according to Cointelegraph’s Ripple Price Index. The asset is currently trading at $0.38 — following an intraweek peak at $0.45 yesterday. On its weekly chart, Ripple is nonetheless a strong 31.5 percent in the green, with monthly losses at a mild 7 percent.

Ripple 7-day price chart. Source: Cointelegraph’s Ripple Price Index

Ethereum (ETH) — ranked third by market cap — has lost over 18 percent on the day and is trading at $127 to press time. During yesterday’s mini-rally, Ethereum had broken above $150 — its highest price point in around five weeks.

Ethereum is a bullish 51.5 percent in the green on its weekly chart, and it has inched into green on the month, up by around 5 percent.

Yesterday’s price hike in the context of Ethereum’s 3-month price chart. Source: Cointelegraph’s Ethereum Price Index

Fourth-largest cryptocurrency Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is down around 20.7 percent and is trading at $164 as of press time. Having seen astonishing volatility as of late, the coin is around 113 percent up on its weekly chart — and down by around 27 percent on the month.

Newly-forked Bitcoin SV (BSV), currently ranked ninth largest cryptocurrency, is down around 15 percent at $93, according to CoinMarketCap data.

Including BTC, XRP, ETH and BCH, sixteen of the top twenty coins on CoinMarketCap are down by between 10 and 19 percent on the day. Stark losses have hit cryptos such as Litecoin (LTC) — down almost 12 percent at $31.09 — IOTA (MIOTA) — down 14 percent at $0.33 —  and Cardano (ADA), down 16 percent at $0.04.

Dash (DASH) is down by around 16 percent at $82; Ethereum Classic (ETC) is down around 13 percent at $4.72. Privacy-focused altcoins Monero (XMR) and ZCash (ZEC) are down 10.8 and 12 percent, at $50.5 and $61.57 at press time.

Total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies is at $128.8 billion as of press time — having hit over $147.8 billion yesterday. It nonetheless remains up from a low of $114.2 billion at the start of the 7-day chart on Dec. 18.

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

Earlier today, news broke that Japanese internet giant GMO Internet Group is quitting the Bitcoin mining hardware sector, after reporting an “extraordinary loss” in Q4 this year, amid the unrelenting crypto bear market.

On a more positive note for adoption, blockchain protocol TRON (TRX) passed one million user accounts this week, even as the token has not been spared today’s blisteringly red markets.

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Hong Kong Stock Market Regulator ‘Reluctant’ to Greenlight Bitmain IPO, Sources Report

Hong Kong stock market regulator is reportedly reluctant to allow Bitcoin mining equipment manufacturer Bitmain to conduct an initial public offering (IPO) in the city. Local English-language newspaper South China Morning Post (SCMP) made this claim in an article published Dec. 19, with reference to anonymous sources.

Citing two “sources familiar with the matter,” SCMP poured more cold water on the plans of mining giant Bitmain to go public, just a day after the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX) told Cointelegraph that any hesitation on part of the company was “rumors.”

According to the publication’s sources, Hong Kong’s stock market regulator thinks it is “premature for any cryptocurrency trading platform – or business associated with the industry – to raise funds through an IPO in Hong Kong before the proper regulatory framework is in place.”

As a result, SCMP suggests, current conditions “could be an insurmountable hurdle” for Bitmain and other cryptocurrency companies planning to launch an IPO.

Controversy has surrounded the mining giant’s IPO plans ever since rumors about them leaked into the community earlier this year.

Various factors — such as alleged poor sales — have already contributed to doubts about the likelihood that the IPO will be successful.

HKEX meanwhile repeated its refusal to comment on the Bitmain case when queried by SCMP.

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October ICO Market Overview: Trends, Capitalization, Localization, Success Rate

Disclaimer: This article does not contain investment advice or recommendations. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

The ICOmeter aims to provide the accurate and concise information about the development of the ICO market in the previous month, and its relation to the all-time statistics. The ICO market data is provided by ICObench, based upon the projects’ announcements recorded in ICObench database, which includes over 4700 ICOs since August 2015.

ICO market situation in October is the result of different trends: the inertial forces put in motion months ago, during a period of stronger confidence, seem to still be influencing the structure of the market, while the more recent negative tendency could influence the decision-making of investors.

At the same time, the final outcome seems more confident than that of September. In spite of a smaller number of ICOs ending with a positive result, as only 54 raised at least $1, versus 67 the previous month, the capital gathered has been $508.54 million versus $403.10 million, a positive gain of 26 percent.

The ICO market indicators are still far from the high levels of some months ago, for instance, June 2018 record with 253 successful ICOs and $1.5 billion raised. However October shows some signs of recovery after September’s minimum. The long-lasting permanence of the Ethereum price in negative territory is still affecting the mood of the market, but the attitude of investors toward the new issuing of tokens seems to diverge slightly from the trend of the cryptocurrency, which most ICOs are based on.

October’s ICOs: a stable composition

Alongside the results, it could be useful to consider the expectations, which shaped the market during October 2018. A total of 223 ICOs started during this month, versus 249 during September, and almost the same number of projects chose October for setting their end date: 158, compared with 154 ICOs ending in September, with a average of about 555 ICOs going live daily during the month, including the projects, which had started previously and were still ongoing throughout the month.

The data presented in the previous chart is, nevertheless, influenced by the time gap that exists from the moment when a token issuing event is scheduled to its actual beginning. This reflects, in fact, the expectation that exists when the ICO is set, and not when it is actually starting. Therefore, October’s data is a result of optimistic market expectations, while the recent more cautious attitude of investors could emerge, eventually, in the composition of ICOs over the next few months.

As a matter of fact, the number of new ICOs listed by ICObench during October (219) is below that of September (274), very far from the record achieved between February and April, and the minimum considering the last 12 months.

ICOs by size: more different and with better results

A distinctive feature of ICOs is the strong dissimilarity between projects, which makes it difficult to analyze them by considering aggregate and average values. As a matter of fact, measuring the envisaged hard caps (HC) of all the ICOs ending in October, it is possible to detect a slight contraction in their size. Thus, the hard cap average value was about $28 million (compared with almost $38 million for ICOs ending last September), while the largest ICO ending during the month aimed to raise $400 million (compared with $1 billion for September’s largest one).

On the basis of the data published in whitepapers, it is possible to say that the degree of divergence among the HC goals of the ICOs ending in October was lower than that for the same data for September. Considering the ICOs, which are possible to label as “large,” the span between their maximum goals has decreased since September, while the range was greater for the hard caps of the “medium-large” ICOs.

The actual results of the token issuing events ending during the month radically overturn the picture forecasted on the basis of the whitepapers published by ICOs: the average size of the capital gathered rose significantly from September (from $6 million to $9.4 million), with an increasing divergence among the ICOs, greater among the “large” and “medium-large” categories. Besides, the higher result reached by a single ICO during October ($136 million) was far above the best performer of September ($46.6 million).

During October, the highest 5 percent of the sample (considering capitalization) accounted for about 41.9 percent of all the funds gathered by ICOs ending during the month, which was concentrated in just three projects. In September, the top 5 percent (gathered by four ICOs) corresponded with about 29.3 percent of the total raised that month.

ICO by location: a strong leading group and some surprises

October’s data didn’t bring about a relevant change in the ranking of countries with the largest number of ICOs setting up their headquarters there. Singapore, USA, and the United Kingdom (the latter didn’t account for Gibraltar, acting as an overseas territory) are the countries which hosted the most ICOs launched during the last month. Therefore, no variations affected the relative positions of the top 10 countries for number of hosted ICOs since 2015, while, in this general placement, it is possible to notice some movement below the higher rankings, such as the rise of the Czech Republic, from 24th to 23rd position, or Belarus and Georgia, climbing three position each (the first from 46th to 43th, the latter from 49th to 46th).

Considering the ranking among countries by economic indicators, the data confirms the stability of a strong leading group: the countries hosting the ICOs which are collecting the most funds in October are the same that occupy the top positions in the rankings for total funds gathered up to September: Singapore, USA, and Switzerland, while the only change among the top 10 in the cumulative ranking since 2015 is the rise of Estonia, from 8th to 7th position (overcoming the British Virgin Islands).

The economic data confirms some of the movements already reported, considering the number of ICOs (for instance, the dynamism of Georgia and the Czech Republic). Moreover, they reveal a new entry, even in the lower part of the rankings: during the month of October, the first ICO hosted by Zimbabwe ended successfully, gathering little more than $8 million (the country is now ranked in 65th position).

Success expectations: far from actual results, but closer

The goals of the ICOs scheduled to end in October remain similar to the previous month: considering the sum of all the hard caps set for the ICOs ending in October, the amount was almost stable in terms of absolute value (a decline of 1 percent compared to September’s data).

Moreover, the ratio of the cumulative HC on the market capitalization of Ethereum at the beginning of the month was higher than September’s, rising from 11.85 percent to 14.18 percent of the Ethers available on the market. This ratio always reflects very optimistic assumptions, but October’s results are closer to the desiderata than the data referring to the previous month: indeed, the funds raised are about 2.36 percent of the average monthly market capitalization of Ether, while the value was about 1.74 percent in September.

If the envisaged higher threshold was stable, the planned soft caps (SC) grew, from a cumulative value of about $476.7 million for ICOs ending in September, to $524.9 million in October. As a result, the gap between HC and SC is reducing: the cumulative value of the hard caps planned for October was 6.4 times the sum of all the soft caps, whereas the ratio was 7.1 a month ago. The trend could indicate a more attentive evaluation of projects, representing a more prudent minimum level of capitalization.

Considering the final data about the funds raised, the funnel between expected and actual results remain, nevertheless, very tight, as only 10 percent of the envisaged cumulative hard cap was reached during October (the value was 11 percent in September). By the way, if it is true that the number of ICOs collecting at least $1 decreased compared to one month ago, among the “survivors,” the number of ICOs achieving their soft cap (31 versus 26) and their hard cap (two versus one in September) was nevertheless higher.

Analyzing data about October’s ICOs, it is possible to say that the outcome seems very far from the planned target, at least in terms of aggregate values. The market is still applying a harsh selection process, but the general picture seems to show some improvement and the rise of several significant variables, first of all – the total amount offered by the investors.

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Notes From the Brink: Reasons Behind the Crypto Bear Market

Crypto is notoriously a “tough neighbourhood,” as even evergreen Bitcoin bull Tom Lee has put it. After a week in which double-digit losses wreaked havoc on many high-profile cryptos, and Bitcoin (BTC) momentarily fell through the $6,000 support, pitiless bearish sentiment has been circling, with some accusing the top coin of being “exhibit A” in a “permanently impaired or even game‐over” market.

While Bitcoin may have posted 2018 lows, Ethereum (ETH) also plummeted to an eleven-month low to trade at around $254, falling by as much as 20 percent on August 14 alone. That same day, total market cap collapsed by $13.2 billion — back to late November 2017 levels.

VC investor Tim Draper told Cointelegraph in an email that these vertiginous swings are exactly “why [he] made [his] prediction for 2022:”

“The long term trend is way up, but I expect many short-term swings in the market along the way. Fundamentally, the world needs Bitcoin, and that demand will only increase in the coming years as Bitcoin finds more and more uses and applications.”

Even more unflappable, “Bitcoin Jesus” Roger Ver, told us:

“I’m not sure what crash you are talking about. BTC is up 58% for the last year, and 1048% for the last two years. That feels like the opposite of a crash to me.”

As both of these remarks imply, the week’s cataclysm had in fact disproportionately impacted altcoins, leaving BTC relatively unscathed, as Coin360 data shows:  

Crypto market visualization. 15 June – 15 August historical data. Source: Coin360.

BTC dominance — or Bitcoin’s percentage of total crypto market cap — continues to break 2018 highs. As of press time it is at 53.3 percent, levels not seen since mid December 2017, just before the coin hit industry records to trade at $20,000.  

With alts undeniably ravaged, others have been puzzling why — even at a time of international currency crises, Bitcoin itself is yet to rally — this, surely, should be a bullish time for the top crypto? However, Bitcoin has notably failed to hold a recent breakthrough in late July when it was trading just shy of $8,400.

Bitcoin’s brief spike upwards in late July, since which it has tumbled. Source: Bitcoin Price Index

So — even if today’s flush of green has been a sight for your sore eyes, you’d be forgiven for continuing to feel skittish.

Is there method to this madness? Cointelegraph examines five of the most popular explanations for the week’s tumult to find out.

US Regulators Dithering Over Bitcoin ETF Approval

E-T-F — three letters anyone who’s been plugged in to the cryptosphere has probably had swirling around their head in recent weeks.

CryptoCompare CEO Charles Hayter yesterday proposed that the week’s market decline was a ricochet off the back of U.S. regulators’ recent decision to shelve a high-profile application for Bitcoin exchange-traded-fund (ETF) until September. He said:

“[This has been] momentum-based selling following the ETF kickback and the usual gyrations of a market in a depressed mode.”

Hussein Sayed, chief market strategist at FXTM, meanwhile suggested that:

“If an ETF doesn’t see the light in the coming weeks expect to see a further selloff, as it suggests regulators will continue to fight against bringing cryptocurrencies into the mainstream.”

If you’ve heard these three letters too many times by now, yet still can’t account for their mysterious powers to stir markets, let’s unpack this.

ETF stands for an exchange-traded-fund, which is a type of mutual investment fund that divides ownership of an underlying asset — a commodity, an index, bonds, or a basket of assets —  into shares.

The fund tracks the value of the asset(s) and is traded on exchanges, with shareholders entitled to any positive returns. A Bitcoin ETF can therefore offer an indirect way of purchasing BTC, where the investor only holds the corresponding security without having to hold the actual coin.

Crypto-based ETFs have long been discussed as a potential “holy grail” for the crypto industry that would herald major Wall Street adoption and allow for broader investor participation. They’re viewed by some as a less risky bet than investing directly in crypto on spot markets.

But as a marketable security that requires oversight by government authorities, their current regulatory status remains unclear. Several recent high-profile cases have demonstrated just how price-impactful ETF-related announcements from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) can be.

First, in mid-July, a market rally kicked off, bolstered by news that the $6.3 trillion asset management heavyweight BlackRock –– the world’s largest provider of ETFs –– was beginning to assess potential involvement in Bitcoin.

But just two weeks later, the markets turned, taking a sharp tumble in response to news that the high-profile Winklevoss twins’ Bitcoin ETF appeal had been denied, with a dizzying $12 billion wiped from total market capitalization.

At the beginning of August, the SEC delayed its decision over another Bitcoin ETF application –– this time filed by VanEck & SolidX for trading on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE). Notably, instead of proposing a BTC-futures-based fund, T plans to go with a physically-backed model involving owning actual BTC. The firm also prices the fund’s shares at $200,000 a pop, eyeing major institutional players.

The SEC’s fickle position has dampened hopes –– even the likes of Charlie Shrem had expected that regulators would have been more likely to grant a stalwart mainstream institution such as CBOE the right to trade an ETF, if not the Winklevoss’ Gemini exchange. EToro analyst Matthew Newton told British newspaper The Independent:

“A green light for the Bitcoin ETF would fire the starting gun on a race among institutional investors to cash-in on this new product, so the market is rightly frustrated by the delay to the decision.”

And –– as The Independent notes –– it’s not just “digital gold” that sees its price fortunes tied to these fabled three letters: the first ever ETF to be backed by gold, which launched in 2003, is reportedly credited for skyrocketing the precious metal’s price up by over 300 per cent in the following decade.

ICO Sell-Off: Developers Are Liquidating Funds Raised Through Token Sales

This theory “soft-forks” three ways.

One

Bloomberg has suggested that developers of Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) are now cashing their holdings into fiat that they can then spend on developing their products. Bearing in mind that most token initiatives are ECR20 projects built on the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain with funds raised in ETH, this could account for the recent shattering price weakness in the Ethereum market. Biswa Das of crypto hedge fund BloomWater Capital told Bloomberg:

“These startups [raised] a lot of funds but they don’t have treasury management or enough cash management experience, so they’re selling too early and causing a lot of pressure in the market. It was fine last year but right now the the market is so fragile that it causes a lot of pressure.”

Das added that those projects that raised ETH during the market’s peak will “be most compelled to sell,” which CoinFi CEO Timothy Tam echoed when he remarked that “ICOs that raised a lot of money are really feeling a lot of pain” as the value of their crypto holdings plummets.

Bloomberg cites July figures from Autonomous Research that suggest that ICO liquidations worth around $5 billion have been driving down ETH’s price, an impact that has been “magnified due to deteriorating sentiment and low liquidity.” It also points to data from research website Santiment, which estimates that ECR20 projects “have spent over 110,000 ETH in the past 30 days.”

Back during the height of Ethereum’s allegedly ICO-driven rally in 2017, the altcoin soared to almost 32 percent dominance of the total cryptocurrency market, compared to Bitcoin’s roughly 39 percent at the time, as data from CoinMarketCap shows.

Ethereum’s burgeoning market cap share in June 2017. Source: CoinMarketCap

The turning tide in summer 2017 sparked talk of a so-called “flippening,” with some claiming that Vitalik Buterin’s brainchild would soon take the lion’s share of overall crypto market capitalization.

With Ethereum’s dominance now dipping as low as 13.5 percent August 14, Timothy Tam took the measure of fortunes as now doubly reversed, emphasizing that “the big story in the market [this week] is the huge weakness in Ethereum,” and noting that “Bitcoin has held up relatively well versus Ethereum,” even as it saw a dent in its chart against the dollar.

Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin in turn hit back, saying that he does not see the recent price collapse as a constraint to further growth. In a discussion with Bloomberg, Lubin attributed the market volatility to “trader types,” i.e. speculative investors, saying that it is not necessarily an indicator of underlying infrastructure enhancement:

“ … we build more fundamental infrastructure, we see a correction, and the potential gets even more impressive…we are probably two orders of magnitude bigger as a developer community than we were eight or 10 months ago.”  

Lubin added that the value surges of the past year were just another bubble like the previous “six big bubbles, each more epic than the previous one, and each bubble is astonishing when they’re happening.”

Two

Meanwhile, Yahoo Finance’s Jared Blikre has claimed that unconfirmed rumors from insider sources allege that the SEC is about to come out with new rules for ICOs in September. This, he said, could be fuelling “a scare that ICOs are disappearing,” but “who knows if it’s true.”

Three

The starkest version of the sell-off theory held that the “extinction-level event” for crypto assets –– which saw droves of double-digit losses among altcoins –– was a deserved comeuppance for projects that had failed to deliver on the goods. Blockstream Corp.’s Samson Mow suggested that “most cryptocurrencies have been overvalued for a very long time” –– or as financial broadcaster Max Keiser told Cointelegraph in an email:

“Crypto markets are shaking out the excess capacity of having more than 1,800 coins with no use case. Before 2017, the only reason new coins were created was to replace coins that had died. The expectation was that all non-Bitcoins would go to zero. Then 2017, and that equation was turned on its head. In 2018 we’re back to coin suicide watch for all but a few; Bitcoin, Litecoin, Monero, EOS, DASH, and a few others.”

Keiser added his Bitcoin-maximalist prediction that “by 2019, Bitcoin’s preeminence as a store of value will reassert itself and we’ll see new all-time-highs. 20 or so coins will make the cut and see new highs. The rest will go the way of virtually all software, gone and forgotten.”

The week’s carnage notably extended well beyond fledgling tokens and ECR20 projects to major contenders such as Ripple (XRP), Litecoin (LTC), EOS, and Cardano (ADA), as Coin360 historical data shows:

Crypto market visualization. 13 August – 14 August historical data. Source: Coin360.

Eyes bleeding, Digital Currency Group CEO Barry Silbert offered up a poll to gage the sentiment of the crypto twittersphere:

Out of 19,871 respondents, 73 percent thought the tumult isn’t over. But, as Fundstrat analyst Tom Lee quipped in response, the poll could likely be a “contrarian indicator”:

“Interested to see result but because crowds are influenced by price action (hence, not independent…no bottom majority probably means bottom in place.”

To Conquer Fear Is The Beginning Of Wisdom

This brings us to the golden thread that wove through all three versions of the sell-off theory and spins off into its own self-fulfilling spiral. EToro analyst Matthew Newton told the Express that it’s not just ICOs that are liquidating, but investors themselves that have “hit panic mode”:

“Investors seem to be increasing liquidations of their ICO holdings, with significant drops in price and increased volumes.This has had a knock-on effect on the rest of the altcoin market, with Bitcoin also momentarily dropping below $6,000 late last night. With prices hanging in the balance, emotions will be running high among traders.

Or, as Samson Mow noted, this “feels like the opposite of last year when money piled in as people felt FOMO. Now it’s piling out as they sense panic.” This theory has been echoed across the crypto space, with Blockchain Capital LLC’s Spencer Bogart alleging investor “disillusionment” with tokens and ICOs, and BKCM CEO Brian Kelly saying that “investors that were in it, and maybe caught the hype in November and December, are now panic selling out.”

ThinkCoin chief analyst Naeem Aslam shared his technical analysis with Cointelegraph in an email, suggesting that the market picture is showing signs of strained stamina in a protracted bear market:

“There are serious concerns that we may actually make another new low for the year because of the sturdy bearish sentiment […] traders have been waiting for the bull rally since early June […] but in actual reality, bears have shown their brutal strength over the bulls […] the only reason that we are seeing […] selling off so badly is that traders are losing hope of a bull run […] as long as the price keeps on having a stab at the lows of this year $5,791, we are not out of woods.”

Aslam’s email was penned during yesterday’s market respite, so he qualified his analysis to note that with Bitcoin “breaking [the August 14th] high of $6,298,” there is “a strong hope” for a bull run to continue if downward momentum stops short of forming a new 2018 low. In this scenario, the week will prove to have been a “false alarm,” he wrote. Aslam gave three key levels to keep in mind which show just how far the technicals intersect with sentiment:

“November 13th low: $5,605

October 18th low: $5,109

Psychological level: $5,000”

Although EToro’s Newton did stress that “keeping things in perspective, Bitcoin is still range-bound for now between $5,700 to $8,000 [and] in line with how it has traded over the past few months,” market panic –– as all these commentators suggest –– runs by its own logic.

Alleged despair and disillusionment also means we’re not just on coin suicide watch, but investor suicide watch, as the popular r/cryptocurrency forum on Reddit saw users on August 14 sharing helplines and site links for the US Suicide Hotline and the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

The Indomitable Futures Interaction Argument

We’ll keep this one short, and let you yourself judge whether or not this is a coincidence, remembering that Bitcoin was by no means the largest casualty of the week’s market havoc.

Earlier this summer, Fundstrat’s Tom Lee –– echoed by others –– had attributed the “gut wrenching” price weaknesses of Bitcoin to futures contract expirations, based on analysis of compiled data for the six expirations that have occured since CBOE launched its BTC futures contracts in December 2017.

CNBC’s Brian Kelly yesterday tweeted a graph accompanied by a statement implying that this week’s price tumble may have something to do with August 15 being the date of BTC futures expirations on CBOE:

“Today is CBOE Bitcoin Futures Expiration. This chart comes from one of the best crypto traders I know; who wishes to remain anonymous. I will call him “Pocket Full of Crypto” #bitcoin tends to recover after expiration.”

In a separate tweet, Kelly further noted that “$BTC shorts are still rising toward April highs…hmmm…,” accompanied by a second graph:

In his own comments on the week, Jared Blikre had also noted the transformational impact of futures trading on the Bitcoin space, saying that,

“I think Wall Street is gearing up for Bitcoin in a big way … but in the short term, we could have a washout, we could go down to $5,000, to $4,000, because the character of Bitcoin, the way it trades, has changed since last December’s introduction of futures.”

The Unexpected Fiat Interaction Argument

Blikre this week joined others in proposing what might be an apparently unusual argument for a crypto market analyst, given that many deem crypto assets’ price performance to be immunized from wider economic factors and capital markets. As James Quinn, head of markets at blockchain investment advisory firm Kenetic, told Bloomberg this week:

“Correlations historically have been extremely low between cryptocurrencies and other asset classes, which is one of the reasons why there is interest in this space.”

Nonetheless, in the wider landscape, emerging market economies — the Turkish lira, the South African rand and the Indian rupee — have all tumbled against the greenback this week.

Blikre –– speaking August 14, when Bitcoin was trading 30 percent down over the three week-period –– suggested:

“30 percent is a crash right. The issue is, Bitcoin is a currency, and when we quote on our screen it’s BTC/USD, that’s a symbol. So like other currencies it trades against the US dollar. The US dollar’s on a tear, it’s up 4.5 percent this year, over the last three days it’s up 1.5 percent. That’s a big move for the dollar, and there’s not a lot of overhead resistance, so it could go even further.”

EToro analyst analyst Mati Greenspan mirrored Blikre in a tweet today, saying that “the buck is simply crushing everything in its path. He proposed that the apparent carnage “may well be a side effect” of dollar strength:

“This is the best explanation I can think of for the crypto decline given all the positive developments we’ve been seeing in the industry.”

Max Keiser for his part offered the following chart as evidence of what he termed the “damage [the] rising dollar is having around the world”:

Bloomberg notes that Bitcoin’s slide against the dollar this month is “almost as big as the Turkish lira’s 25 percent slump” –– “putting paid to the notion” –– as chief analyst at Markets.com Neil Wilson told Business Insider –– “of cryptos as a safe haven play.” Wilson added that “ultimately USD and US Treasury notes are the only real safe harbour.”

Before you arch your brows, this week has interestingly seen the exact opposite argument from renowned US economist Peter Schiff, who is credited for predicting the 2008 housing market meltdown. While it’s worth noting that Schiff is not exactly a Bitcoin bull, in his recent interview with Salon he scathingly anatomized what he considers to be an inevitable impending economic collapse in the fiat-denominated world:

“I think the U.S is in worse shape than Europe […] not that Europe and Japan are not in trouble, they are. But I just think we’re in more trouble  […] There are a lot of bubbles. The bond market is a bubble. The stock market, housing, the whole U.S. economy, really, is one gigantic bubble […] We’re going to have to deal with a lot of defaults, [and] a lot of debtors are going to go broke.”

Schiff further predicted that the Fed’s go-to solution of quantitative easing would wreak yet further havoc for the dollar. With the post-2008 bailout measures, he said, we’ve “actually compounded problems” and postponed “consequences to a later date –– we’re headed to that later date.”

Divinatory Practices

Whether you don a chartist’s hat or sift through proliferating white papers to make your investment judgements, commentators of all stripes continue to devise new strategies to interpret crypto-specific market signals.

A research group from Yale recently proposed a system intended to gage the “risk-return trade-off” of major cryptos, identifying a “strong time-series momentum effect” among major assets such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple. Yale’s research also found a correlation between price and investor attention, which they deduced via social media and search engine trend analyses.

Fundstrat’s Tom Lee, for his part, has developed a “contrarian index” that lets investors know how “miserable” Bitcoin holders are based on current prices — dubbed the Bitcoin Misery Index (BMI) — which he launched at a time of comparable crypto market woes.

If eye-popping volatility appears –– until now –– to remain something of a paradoxical constant in the crypto space, this summer has seen significant developments, the impact of which is arguably yet to be understood.

Earlier this month, Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) –– the operator of 23 leading global exchanges including the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) –– unveiled its plans to create a global ecosystem for digital assets that would cover the spectrum from federally regulated markets and warehousing to merchant and consumer needs.

While some have proposed this is the “biggest Bitcoin news of the year,” implying forthcoming bullish price moves as qualified custodian solutions are offered to institutional clients at scale, others propose that leverage-based financialization could hit at Bitcoin’s “algorithmically-enforced scarcity,” with adverse implications.

But –– as this latter argument notes –– this will depend on how HODLers choose to negotiate the new bridge with the traditional financial world. Until then –– we’re in for interesting times.

Cointelegraph would like to thank Helen Partz for her research contributions to this article.

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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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Is the Forex Market Ready to Go Blockchain? Some Banks Don’t Think So

On July 27, the foreign exchange trading market (forex) settlement powerhouse CLS reported it was in the final stages of testing its blockchain payment service for banks. However, while the service is reportedly set to be launched as soon as in August, the amount of players backing the project has halved since the initial announcement. As it turns out, large financial institutions are not quite ready to hand over their data to a blockchain-powered system.

Brief introduction to forex and CLS system

Forex is a worldwide market where convertible currencies are traded and their conversion rates are determined. Albeit being decentralized, it is the largest and most liquid market in the world: In April 2016, for instance, trading there averaged $5.1 trillion per day, according to Bank for International Settlements (BIS) data. Given the fact that forex relies on over-the-counter type deals, larger participating players — i.e., international banks — strive to mitigate the settlement risk associated with their forex transactions.

Cue in Continuous Linked Settlement (CLS), a U.K.-based financial institution that has the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank as its primary regulator and provides its customers with just the thing forex players need — risk-reducing settlement services. CLS minimizes the perils through payment versus payment (PvP) settlements — the process ensuring that a final transfer of one currency occurs only if a final transfer of the other currency also takes place.

CLS was founded in 2002 and has been rapidly growing since: In July 2012, it officially became a Systemically Important Financial Market Utility — meaning that its disruption might shatter the U.S. financial system as a whole — and by March 2017, it was handling over 50 percent of forex transactions globally. CLS’s members include more than 60 of the world’s largest financial institutions, such as JPMorgan Chase, Barclays, Goldman Sachs and Citigroup.

CLS’s relationship with blockchain, IBM and R3

CLS is by no means new to the concept of blockchain. It began researching distributed ledger technology (DLT) proofs-of-concept (PoCs) back in 2015, when the technology was in its earlier stages and the prospect of mass adoption barely existed. In September 2016, the early CLS blockchain experiments were put under CLSNet, a network that essentially played the role of a sandbox for DLT-powered attempts to streamline CLS’s internal processes at the time. Made in conjunction with IT giant IBM, it aimed to ensure intraday liquidity, enable real-time awareness of currency and reduce risk, among other goals. At the time, CLS Netting would reportedly allow participants to submit forex instructions for six products and 24 currencies.

Notably, CLS has been cautious not to put its main settlement system, long favored by the world’s largest financial institutes, on blockchain — at least until it becomes fully tamper-proof and adoptable, from their viewpoint. The 2017 joint report presented by CLS and IBM read:

“Based on the CLS-IBM collaboration, it seems most banks will need to readjust their approach to risk in terms of go/no-go decisions, especially in the early phases of a project. As we’ve learned, organizations can design their first blockchain initiative to avoid significant risks. At CLS, our first decision was not to build a bridge too far or wide. In other words, our first initiative could not be one where failure put our existing business at risk.”

Similarly, in April 2017, Tom Zschach, chief information officer at CLS, explained to the International Business Times (IBT):

“The important thing about CLSNet is it doesn’t have anything to do with settlement or funding. It doesn’t touch our central bank accounts, it doesn’t access RTGS [real time gross settlement] gateways. What we are doing here is introducing the technology as more of a foundational step than a transformational step.”

The CLS joint project with IBM relies on Hyperledger Fabric (version 1.0), an open-source business blockchain framework hosted by the Linux Foundation, that the companies have been weaving into their DLT-based ecosystem. IBM seems confident in regards to the their collaborative work, as its vice president Keith Bear told IBT:

“Volume is an important consideration, but the technology is perfectly capable of supporting the levels we are talking about in the case of CLS, also with Northern Trust and the other projects that we have going on at the moment.”

CLS and IBM’s collaboration has also resulted in the creation of a seperate PoC project called LedgerConnect, a so-called financial blockchain “app store” that showcases DLT solutions crafted by fintech and software companies to help banks navigate through the maze that is blockchain — for conventional business players, at least.

Nevertheless, CLS doesn’t limit its blockchain operations to collaborating with IBM. The forex giant also works with R3, a blockchain consortium of more than 200 financial firms globally, whose primary goal is building a DLT platform called Corda. R3 could be considered a rival to IBM, at least on the field of blockchain.

Both R3 and IBM use Hyperledger Fabric for their blockchain efforts. Notably, in a comment for IBT, Charley Cooper — the managing director at R3 —  emphasized that Corda is written for Java, “the language of banks” specifically, while IBM attempts to employ a more general approach:

“The folks at IBM Fabric who donated it to Hyperledger are looking to solve a whole set of problems for a much broader set of industries — healthcare, auto financing, supply chain management, finance, etc. — whereas Corda was built specifically for financial institutions and built with the financial institutions[…] I think what CLS is doing is the right thing, meaning they are working with multiple different providers; they are involved in Hyperledger work with Fabric, they are involved with the R3 consortium and working on projects that go beyond that.”

Additionally, in late May 2018, CLS invested $5 million in R3. Under the deal, CLS also entered R3’s Board of Directors, hence it would be fair to expect other DLT-based projects to be introduced by CLS in the future.

But do banks want to rely on blockchain for settlement payments?

Apparently, many of the CLS-enlisted, large financial firms are hesitant to incorporate blockchain at this point, as Alan Marquard — chief strategy and development officer at CLS — told Financial News London. Indeed, investment banks have shared concerns regarding the use of the “largely-untested technology” in the past, citing privacy concerns and blockchain’s current “immaturity” among the primary reasons.

Having this in mind, CLS planned to offer members two ways to access CLSNet: directly and via the old, tested way — SWIFT, which is a 45-year-old interbank messaging service and a co-operative owned by about 11,000 member banks. As the company’s spokeswoman confirmed to FN London:

“It was always CLS’s intention to launch the service in phases. With the first phase, clients will rely on SWIFT connectivity for inputs submitted to and received from CLSNet. As the service continues to grow with functionality and client adoption, and the DLT matures, CLSNet will enable clients to host their own node.”

Marquard of CLS mentioned that some of the banks were reluctant to merge blockchains into their tuned IT systems, mostly due to “security implications”:

“You are not just installing a piece of software. [Banks] need to build operational knowledge and know-how.”

Originally, when the blockchain-powered settlement system was announced back in September 2016, the project was backed by 14 large institutions, including Bank of America, Bank of China – Hong Kong, HSBC and Morgan Stanley, among others. Other banks preferred the wait-and-see approach, as Ram Komarraju — head of innovation and technology at CLS — told Forbes in 2017:

“The journey has been accelerating. We were building something for the very first time, and we started selling to larger buy-side firms. Some of them are attracted to bleeding edge technology while others would rather stick with existing systems and wait and see. As we talked to banks, we found they are investing in blockchain, but they aren’t taking the risk to actually use it. They are investing in multiple blockchain vendors.”

However, now that the service is almost ready and is expected to launch by the end of the summer, about half of the 14 banks that originally signed up for the CLSNet have reportedly dropped out of the program — at this point, there are much fewer players that are expected to enlist themselves for CLSNet once it’s released. Still, CLS might convince the majority of banks to join later through efforts like the above mentioned LedgerConnect and collaborations with organizations like R3 — which, for instance, gathers different law firms to educate lawyers globally in its efforts to bring about the mass adoption of the technology — steadily pushing global banks to swap their traditional tools with new blockchain ones.

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SBI Plans Derivatives Platform, Huobi Eyes 30% Korean Market, Thai Four-Crypto ATM Unveiled

SBI Plans Derivatives Platform, Huobi Eyes 30% Korean Market, Thai Four-Crypto ATM Unveiled

Exchanges

Japan’s SBI Group is reportedly planning to create a crypto derivatives platform. In South Korea, Huobi is taking an aggressive approach and expects to achieve a 30% crypto market share. Meanwhile, a Thai crypto exchange has unveiled an ATM that supports four cryptocurrencies.

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

SBI Plans Derivatives Platform

SBI Plans Derivatives Platform, Huobi Eyes 30% Korean Market, Thai Four-Crypto ATM UnveiledSBI Crypto Investment, a subsidiary of Japanese financial services group SBI Holdings, has acquired a 12% stake in North Carolina-based Clear Markets, Nikkei reported Tuesday.

While the acquisition price was not disclosed, the news outlet estimates that the stake “is likely worth about 1 billion yen ($9 million),” elaborating:

Although digital currencies are more volatile than other asset classes, a derivatives market for them that can hedge against risk remains undeveloped. SBI Crypto therefore wants to build a platform that will allow institutional investors to smoothly trade these instruments.

Last month, SBI Virtual Currencies, the crypto exchange unit of SBI Holdings, opened its Vtrade service to the public following a limited launch in June. The exchange currently supports XRP, BCH, and BTC, but plans to add ETH in the near future.

Thai Multi-Crypto ATM

SBI Plans Derivatives Platform, Huobi Eyes 30% Korean Market, Thai Four-Crypto ATM UnveiledThai cryptocurrency exchange Coin Asset unveiled its crypto ATM at the Hybrid Summit on July 28 and 29, according to Prachachat Turakij newspaper.

CEO Sivanus Yamdee explained that the ATM allows customers to purchase and sell BTC, ETH, LTC, and BCH in amounts as low as 100 baht (~US$3). The company plans to add more coins in the future based on demand from customers. The ATM also allows withdrawals in Thai baht.

The machine has a large touch screen and prints out a receipt after each transaction.

Coin Asset has reportedly applied for a license with Thai Securities and Exchange Commission; the agency began accepting applications last week.

Huobi Plans to Achieve 30% Korean Market Share

SBI Plans Derivatives Platform, Huobi Eyes 30% Korean Market, Thai Four-Crypto ATM UnveiledChinese exchange Huobi is planning to aggressively pursue the Korean market, according to Asia Economic news outlet. The exchange launched its trading platform in Korea in March.

At the Huobi Carnival 2018 event on August 2 in Seoul, Kim Young-chul, head of the Strategic Planning Division of Huobi Korea, announced the company’s long-term strategy. He said:

The number of members has grown rapidly to 200,000 members within two months after the opening of the virtual currency exchange…We aim to achieve 30% market share in the next year.

In addition, Kim revealed that Huobi Korea will conduct various blockchain-based businesses alongside its exchange business. It will also actively recruit talented people. In February, Huobi Korea announced that it was looking for an “Innovation Business Team Leader,” a position with a minimum annual salary of 100 million won (~$88,596). “This policy will continue…We will hire more talented people in the industry,” Kim detailed.

What do you think of SBI’s derivatives platform, Huobi eying 30% market share in Korea, and the Thai crypto ATM? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, SBI Group, Huobi Korea, and Coin Asset.


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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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Thai Bond Market Association to Incorporate Blockchain Technology


The association announced it’s pushing for a fintech platform using blockchain technology. The new registrar system will cut issuance times in more than half.

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.

TBMA Wants To Issue New Bond Certificates in Two Days

President Tada Phutthitada of the TBMA wishes to apply to the regulatory sandbox by the end of the year to start the live experiments of the new platform under the regulators’ supervision. If they succeed, this will be the first fintech platform apply to both the Bank of Thailand and the country’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

While initially the platform is expected to start issuing bond certificates in 3-4 days — as opposed to the usual 7-15 days, — the ultimate goal is to reduce that time to two days. The new platform will eliminate the need for physical certificates, as the book entries will be sufficient to represent the holding and settlement of securities.

Phutthitada explained, “The faster bond certificate issuance allows bondholders to trade in the secondary market faster and reduces settlement risk for bond investors. If nothing is done to speed up bond certificate issuance, the growth of corporate bonds in the secondary market could be limited.”

The Secondary Market Has Registered Incredible Growth in 6 Years

The President recognized the recent growth of the secondary market over the past six years and wished to support its growth by trying to eliminate any risks that might limit it. Last year, the country reached 5.09 billion baht in the average trading value of corporate bonds, a significant increase from 800 million in 2011.

The platform will run on a private blockchain and deploy a smart contract to operate it. Issuers, registered companies, regulators, and investors will need to register to be allowed to use the platform. A bond subscription system, bond settlement information, and a verification system for bond transactions are among the features planned for the platform.

Thailand is Determined to Embrace Blockchain Technology

Users will be able to check interest payment, interest rates, and other conditions on a bond fact sheet during the initial stage of the platform. In nine months, the new phase is expected to start servicing bond deposits. The last stage will take twelve months until completion, and it will introduce the Bond Coin, a clearing, and settlement system.

Thailand’s SEC has recently issued a new regulation on ICO which only permits issuers to receive payments in Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum Classic, Stellar, and Litecoin. Earlier this month, Thailand’s Association of Securities Companies also announced its plans to launch a cryptocurrency exchange — and even before that, the government had already partnered with OmiseGO.

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Bitflyer Cracks Down on Market Manipulation – Coincheck Eyes August Relaunch

Bitflyer Cracks Down on Crypto Market Manipulation, Coincheck to Reopen in August

Exchanges

Japan’s largest crypto exchange, Bitflyer, may freeze accounts caught manipulating prices. Meanwhile, GMO Internet has released quarterly earnings for its crypto exchange subsidiary, currently looking to borrow some BTC from customers. In addition, Coincheck plans to reopen next month after it was hacked earlier this year.

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

Bitflyer Cracks Down on Market Manipulation

Bitflyer Cracks Down on Crypto Market Manipulation, Coincheck to Reopen in AugustBitflyer, Japan’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume, still does not accept new account signups. The exchange made this decision voluntarily after receiving a business improvement order from the country’s top financial regulator, the Financial Services Agency (FSA). Bitflyer announced Thursday:

In accordance with our Terms of Use, we may freeze accounts observed to have intentionally performed market manipulation or other forms of maliciously setting market prices. We will continue to do our best to build a sound trading environment.

The business improvement order Bitflyer received contains 10 “measures to ensure Bitflyer Cracks Down on Crypto Market Manipulation, Coincheck to Reopen in Augustappropriate and reliable business operation,” the FSA detailed. Five other exchanges received an improvement order at the same time. However, unlike Bitflyer’s, theirs contain fewer than ten items and do not include a “drastic review of the management system.”

Bitflyer has been delaying deposits and withdrawals as it tries to comply with the FSA’s order. Then, on July 23, the exchange submitted its improvement plan to the agency.

GMO Coin Wants to Borrow BTC Now

Bitflyer Cracks Down on Crypto Market Manipulation, Coincheck to Reopen in AugustJapanese internet giant GMO Group released its quarterly earnings on Thursday. The company recorded operating income for its crypto business in the second quarter after making a loss in the first due to sharp drops in crypto prices, GMO explained, adding:

In the virtual currency business, the number of account openings grew steadily due to aggressive promotion activities … Operating revenue in this segment was 1,612 million yen [~US$14.5 million], operating loss was 258 million yen [~$2.3 million].

Meanwhile, GMO Coin, the crypto exchange unit of GMO Internet, is currently accepting applications from customers wanting to loan the company their BTC. Customers can apply between July 24 and August 6. The minimum GMO will borrow is 10 BTC and the maximum is 200 BTC. The exchange first announced the launch of this program in May.

Coincheck to Reopen in August

Bitflyer Cracks Down on Crypto Market Manipulation, Coincheck to Reopen in AugustSince its hack in January, Coincheck has suspended new account registrations. Monex Group’s president, Oki Matsumoto, said Friday that he expects to relaunch Coincheck in August, local media reported.

The group acquired Coincheck in April after it was hacked in January. According to Monex Group’s financial results from April to June, Coincheck made a pre-tax loss of 259 million yen (~$2.33 million).

Matsumoto elaborated:

I would like to restart full Coincheck service in August … The management system of Coincheck has greatly improved with the entrance of Monex Group.

Meanwhile, Monex is also trying to enter the crypto market through its US subsidiary, Tradestation Group.

What do you think of Bitflyer’s crackdown, GMO Coin’s performance and BTC loan program, and Coincheck’s relaunch? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Bitflyer, Coincheck, and GMO Coin.


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Thai Bond Market Association to Launch Blockchain-Based Registrar Bond Service Platform

The Thai Bond Market Association (TBMA) will deploy a blockchain-powered solution on its registrar service platform, local news agency Bangkok Post reports July 28.

The new registrar service platform, which is scheduled to be introduced this year, intends to provide a faster bond certificate issuance and, in turn, boost the liquidity of the secondary market, according to TBMA president Tada Phutthitada.

While market liquidity has been growing, the issuance of bond certificates still remains slow, which may cause serious limitations to the growth of corporate bonds in the secondary market. According to Mr. Tada, the platform will reduce the bond issuance time from current 7-15 days to 3-4 days.

“We are trying to accommodate the market to grow without risks that may cause limitations.”

The TBMA president revealed that the the new registrar platform is set to apply to the regulatory sandbox by the end of 2018, and will become the first fintech service applying to both regulatory sandboxes at the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Bank of Thailand (BoT).

The platform will be built on a smart contract platform using a private blockchain, which reportedly will provide users with a digitized settlement database, a bond subscription system, and bond transaction verification. It will also enable issuers, regulators, companies, and investors to have access to interest rates, payments and other bond information.

The TBMA will further develop the platform, eventually introducing ‘Bond Coin’, a clearing and settlement system to be developed within the next year.

TBMA’s executive vice-president Chaitat Prachuabdee also revealed that the company is now exploring the idea of launching its own “utility settlement coin” to support the digitized bond system.

The average trading value of corporate bonds in the secondary bond market has seen  significant growth over the past six years, reaching 5.09 billion baht ($152 million) in 2017, up from 4.33 billion (about $130 million) in 2016 and 800 million ($24 million) back in 2011.

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Binance Will Face Tough Competition in South Korea in New Market Expansion


Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, is planning an expansion into South Korea, the third biggest cryptocurrency market behind Japan and the US.

South Korea’s Unique Market Structure

In South Korea, two major digital asset trading platforms have had dominance over the crypto exchange market for several years. UPbit, an exchange created and developed by Dunamoo, a subsidiary of the country’s largest internet conglomerate Kakao, and Bithumb have had nearly 90 percent market share since 2017.

However, recent controversy surrounding Bithumb and the questionable decision of the exchange to continue to suspend deposits and withdrawals to this date, more than a month since its $40 million security breach in mid-June, led local investors to reconsider the dominance of Bithumb and migrate to alternative cryptocurrency exchanges.

UPbit is a tough competition for any exchange in the global market, because of its parent company. Dunamoo, which operates KakaoStock, the most widely utilized online stock brokerage app in the country, is directly controlled by Kakao, which oversees KakaoPay, KakaoStory, KakaoTaxi, and KakaoTalk, applications that have over 80 percent dominance over their respective markets.

On UPbit, due to the platform’s connection with Kakao, users can easily purchase and sell cryptocurrencies using KakaoPay, one of the two most popular payment applications in South Korea alongside Samsung Pay.

Despite the dominance Kakao has over the Internet, finance, fintech, and cryptocurrency sector of South Korea, 2018 would be an impeccable period for any foreign exchange to enter with the vision of evolving into a market leader because Bithumb, which previously was the largest cryptocurrency exchange in South Korea, drifted apart and has struggled to recover from its hacking attack.

The unapologetic actions of Bithumb, portrayed by its focus on expanding its trading platform to the UK without addressing its security and internal management issues on its main platform in South Korea, led investors to lose trust in the exchange, to the point in which many Bithumb investors submitted complaints to the South Korea Blockchain Association for approving Bithumb as an exchange equipped with adequate security measures.

If Binance enters the crypto market of South Korea within 2018, it will compete against Huobi, Gopax, Korbit, Coinone, Coinnest, and OKCoin Korea, to secure a dominant position in the local crypto exchange market to operate alongside UPbit.

All of the abovementioned exchanges are financially and strategically backed by some of the most influential conglomerates in South Korea. Gopax and Korbit for instance, are financed by Shinhan Bank and SKT, the country’s second biggest bank and the largest telecommunications corporation.

No Office Yet, But Soon

The government of South Korea is speeding the process of passing the first cryptocurrency and blockchain legislation, which will regulate crypto exchanges as regulated financial institutions.

Binance told CCN that its team is currently evaluating the policy around cryptocurrency businesses in South Korea, and will enter the market after the final decision is made by local financial authorities.

“Currently we have no office in Korea and whether Binance will enter Korea in the future depends on progress in Korean policy.”

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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Cryptocurrency Market Update: Stellar Flies High on New Partnership

Crypto land is still in the green, Stellar, ChainLink, Stratis and Komodo making good gains.

The correction has not happened yet and markets are still creeping higher. Only Bitcoin and a couple of altcoins seem to be the beneficiaries however. Total market capitalization has broken $300 billion and is holding just above it at the moment.

Bitcoin has remained stable on the day with no gains or losses, holding at $8,240 at the time of writing. It still may pull back to below $8k as traders take profits but is steady this morning. Ethereum has made a marginal gain of 1.8% to trade at $485 but has been flat over the week posting no gains since the same time last Thursday.

Altcoins are generally in the green at the moment with one or two enjoying double digit growth this morning. One of those coins is Stellar Lumens which is up 11% on the day according to Coinmarketcap. XLM is currently trading at $0.332, which is up from $0.297 this time yesterday. On the week Stellar has made 9% from $0.307 this time last week. The monthly picture looks even better with a gain of 73% from just under $0.20 this time last month. Against Bitcoin XLM is up 11.4% on the day to 4070 satoshis but down 3% on the week from 4200 sats on Thursday last week.

Momentum has been driven by the TransferTo partnership which will enable Stellar to be used in cross-border transactions in over 70 countries.

The announcement goes on to state; “Under this collaboration, financial institutions and partners of both Stellar.org and TransferTo will benefit from the combined network coverage, and be able to leverage new technologies to send and receive money more efficiently to more than 70 countries.”

Binance currently takes the bulk of Lumens trade with around 45% of the total. Daily volume has doubled over the past 24 hours from $100 million to $200 million as Stellar makes its move. It has already surpassed Litecoin in the market cap charts with $6.2 billion and sixth palace.

Other altcoins making moves today include ChainLink and Stratis which are both up around 15% and Komodo climbing 9% on the day. Total crypto market capitalization has inched up 1.6% to $303 billion but trade volume has plunged 25% from $20 to $15 billion on the day.

More on Stellar can be found here: https://www.stellar.org/

FOMO Moments is a section that takes a daily look at the top 25 altcoins during the current trading session and analyses the best performing ones, looking for trends and possible fundamentals.

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Binance Prepares to Enter the South Korean Market

Binance Prepares to Enter the South Korean Market

Exchanges

Binance is preparing to expand into South Korea, having already hired Koreans for some local positions. CEO Changpeng Zhao has stressed the importance of the Korean market, noting that some Koreans are already using Binance, especially to trade newer coins. However, the exchange is reportedly waiting for the country’s crypto regulatory framework to be fine-tuned before actually launching.

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

Binance Eyes South Korean Market

Binance Prepares to Enter the South Korean MarketBinance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, is eying the South Korean market for expansion, Business Korea reported Tuesday.

Quoting CEO Changpeng Zhao during his keynote speech at the Blockchain Partners Summit in Seoul on July 21 and 22, the publication elaborated:

He stressed the importance of the South Korean market, saying that his company would enrich its community in the market.

Binance Prepares to Enter the South Korean MarketThe company has “hired Koreans as a local marketing director and a Binance Lab director, which is a social impact fund,” the publication added.

Binance added the Korean language to its website in August last year. “Now, our customers from Korea can use our website in their native language,” the company wrote at the time.

The timing proved fortuitous as the following month the Chinese government shut down exchanges in China, forcing local traders to move to exchanges elsewhere including South Korea. Binance also moved its operations out of China at that time.

Competing with Korean Crypto Exchanges

According to reports, South Korea has about 100 crypto exchanges, 31 of which are members of the Korean Blockchain Industry Association. However, only four exchanges hold the majority of the market share of crypto trading in the country.

Binance Prepares to Enter the South Korean MarketBithumb and the Kakao-backed Upbit are the largest crypto exchanges in the country, although Upbit is an affiliate of the U.S. exchange Bittrex.

Binance Prepares to Enter the South Korean MarketAt the time of this writing, Coinmarketcap shows Upbit has a 24-hour trading volume of $780,019,012 while Bithumb has $601,046,530.

The other two large Korean exchanges are Coinone and Korbit. A few other Chinese crypto exchanges have tried to open in South Korea such as Huobi and Okcoin.

Binance Prepares to Enter the South Korean Market
Changpeng Zhao.

“The number of South Korean Binance users is not that large yet. Still, it is one of the most favorite foreign cryptocurrency exchanges for South Korean traders,” Business Korea detailed. The Investor earlier this year wrote, “contrary to widespread speculation that Korean users account for a significant part of the Binance user-base, Zhao told reporters that they make up only about 1 percent and are the 10th largest group in terms of nationality.”

In an interview with Soso Lab this month, Zhao said the main reason Binance had gained popularity in South Korea was due to Korean exchanges listing only a limited number of coins. “If you want to trade newer coins then Binance is a good choice. We got lucky in that sense,” Zhao revealed. According to Coinmarketcap, Binance currently lists 376 coins while Upbit has 268 and Bithumb has 37. Zhao told the media outlet:

We do have a lot of users, what we call Binancians, in Korea…I think Korea is a hot market.

Korean Regulation Undergoing Changes

South Korea introduced crypto regulation at the end of last year. In January, the government implemented the real-name system for cryptocurrency trading.

Binance Prepares to Enter the South Korean MarketBithumb, Upbit, Coinone, and Korbit have access to real-name accounts but the rest of the exchanges currently do not. This creates problems for the regulators who believe that without the real-name accounts, exchanges have to continue using corporate accounts to trade cryptocurrencies and these accounts are prone to money laundering.

Recently, the country’s top financial regulator, the Financial Services Commission (FSC), announced its plan to undergo a major restructuring including setting up a dedicated bureau for crypto policies. The government has also indicated that it will ease crypto regulation.

With the changing crypto regulatory environment in South Korea, the Investor reported Zhao saying earlier this year that Binance had postponed its plan to launch in Korea “until Seoul fine-tunes the regulatory framework.”

What do you think of Binance launching in South Korea? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Changpeng Zhao, and Binance.


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Korean Authorities to Legitimize Crypto Market as Soon as Possible to Prevent Hacks

The government of South Korea and local financial authorities are planning to pass the country’s first crypto and blockchain legislation as early as possible, to legitimize and strictly oversee the local cryptocurrency industry.

The newly drafted regulatory framework which covers a wide range of businesses and ventures from blockchain projects to crypto exchanges, is expected to fuel the development and deployment of decentralized applications (dApps), and facilitate the rapid growth of cryptocurrency exchanges in the local market.

Crypto Exchanges are Not Prepared in Terms of Security

Hong Seong-ki, the head of virtual currency response team at the country’s main financial agency Financial Services Commission (FSC), said in an interview with Bloomberg that cryptocurrency exchanges  in South Korea are not ready to store and manage billions of dollars in crypto assets such as bitcoin and ether, due to their substandard security measures.

In June alone, two major South Korean crypto exchanges Bithumb and Coinrail were hacked, each losing more than $40 million in user funds. Fortunately, both trading platforms had enough capital to cover the amount stolen by hackers whose identities still remain unknown. But, the two security breaches were sufficient to convince local financial regulators that a regulatory framework to protect investors is in desperate need to protect investors.

“While crypto markets have seen rapid growth, such trading platforms don’t seem to be well-enough prepared in terms of security. We’re trying to legislate the most urgent and important things first, aiming for money-laundering prevention and investor protection. The bill should be passed as soon as possible,” said Hong.

Throughout the past two years, the government of South Korea has contemplated the potential outcome of regulating cryptocurrency businesses and the blockchain sector, and refused to pass a proper policy to regulate the cryptocurrency market because it feared that investors in South Korea would consider it as an act of endorsement and acknowledgement of cryptocurrencies.

Hong emphasized in his interview that the bill itself is not targeted at growing crypto exchanges and digital asset trading in general, but protecting investors and implementing robust internal management systems to prevent large-scale hacking attacks.

Potential Outcome of Crypto Legislation Approval

In December of last year, the cryptocurrency market in South Korea saw its peak, as major digital assets were being traded with a 30 to 40 percent premium. As the price of bitcoin reached its all-time high at $19,500 in the US and Japan, the value of bitcoin surpassed $25,000 in South Korea, due to a massive increase in volume met with limited supply.

At the time, investors in the local cryptocurrency exchange market invested substantial amounts of money in a market that was not recognized by the government, equipped with poor security measures and internal management systems.

Analysts, including local mainstream media outlets, have reported that the imposition of a new regulatory framework to oversee cryptocurrency exchanges and blockchain projects will enable “smart money” to be injected into the market, and steer away speculators, money launders, hackers, and fraudulent operations.

The FSC has already disclosed its enthusiasm towards the progress the government has made in improving the local cryptocurrency market, and especially praised the efforts of the authorities to eliminate the “Kimchi Premium” from major cryptocurrency exchanges in South Korea.

Featured Image From Shutterstock

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Bitcoin Holds Recent Gains Amid a Checkered Market Outlook

July 25: Bitcoin (BTC) is holding its newly won gains, having led the week’s impressive uptick to stay above $8,000. Other leading cryptocurrencies are seeing mixed fortunes, according to data from Coin360.

Market visualization from Coin360

Bitcoin (BTC) is trading around $8,200 to press time, down about half a percent on the day. The leading asset surged as high as $8,483 during early trading hours — a price point it has not seen since mid-May — subsequently retracing to its current level.

Bitcoin’s weekly and monthly gains are at a bullish 10 and 34 percent respectively, according to data from Cointelegraph’s price index.

Bitcoin 24-hour price chart

Bitcoin 24-hour price chart. Source: Cointelegraph Bitcoin Price Index

BTC dominance by market capitalization continues to inch upwards, now at 47.2 percent according to CoinMarketCap, after posting its 2018 record-high earlier this week.

Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian — whose VC firm Initialized Capital was one of U.S. crypto exchange Coinbase’s first investors —  said in a fresh interview that the “battle-tested” coin is “certainly the most robust” noting that “as volatile as it’s been…[Bitcoin] continu[es] to go up over the long term.”

Ethereum (ETH) is trading around $471 at press time, seeing around a 1 percent loss on the day. The top altcoin has seen considerable price movement between its morning peak at $484 and subsequent dip to as low as $464. Ethereum has now lost 4.84 percent on the week, but remains almost 1 percent up on the month.

Ethereum’s 24-hour price chart

Ethereum’s 24-hour price chart. Source: Cointelegraph Ethereum Price Index

On CoinMarketCap’s listings, the top 10 coins by market cap are a mixed bag, with negative fluctuations capped at under 3 percent, and the heftiest gain pushing 1 percent growth over the 24-hour period.

Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is down about 2.5 percent and is trading at $838 to press time, after an intra-day tumble to around $833, according to CoinMarketCap.

Bitcoin Cash 24-hour chart

Bitcoin Cash 24-hour chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Meanwhile, EOS has been the strongest top 10 performer, seeing a solid 1 percent growth and trading around $8.48 to press time.

Litecoin (LTC) is trading around $86.89, down roughly 1 percent on the day, with Cardano (ADA) seeing an almost 3 percent loss and trading around $0.17 to press time.

Of the top 20 coins on CoinMarketCap, crypto exchange Binance’s native token Binance Coin (BNB) — ranked 18th — has skyrocketed almost 10 percent on the day, trading around $13.13 to press time. The token is nonetheless just short of its weekly high at $13.72.

Tezos (XTZ) has been hit with steep losses of almost 5 percent, trading at around $2.13 to press time, following news that “Big Four” auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) will conduct an external audit of its finances and operations.

While the Foundation has heralded the news as a watershed moment — it is “the first” large-scale blockchain organization to be monitored by PwC — the news has perhaps nonetheless drawn fresh attention to controversies that have beset the project since last year.

Total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies is around $297 billion at press time, after surging to around $304 billion during early trading hours.

Total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies

Total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies from CoinMarketCap

EToro senior analyst Mati Greenspan today ventured that Bitcoin’s bull run this week has been led by a spike in trading volumes on the Japanese and Korean crypto markets, also noting that average BTC transaction rates have inched past 2.5 per second for the first time since February this year.

1-year chart of Bitcoin’s average transaction rate

1-year chart of Bitcoin’s average transaction rate. Source: Blockchain.com

As a mark of the nascent industry’s rising status, Fortune this week released a crypto-focused version of its prestigious “40 under 40” honor roll for the first time, dedicated exclusively to innovators at the helm of the “financial revolution” ushered in by cryptocurrencies and blockchain.

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BitMart’s Mission X: The Community Listing Market – “0” Listing Fee!


This is a paid-for submitted press release. CCN does not endorse, nor is responsible for any material included below and isn’t responsible for any damages or losses connected with any products or services mentioned in the press release. CCN urges readers to conduct their own research with due diligence into the company, product or service mentioned in the press release.

BitMart Exchange, a global digital asset trading platform, will soon be opening a new community listing market for their utility token, BMX. Projects will be able to obtain investment from supporters in the form of BMX and use it to list their tokens on BitMart Exchange as a trading pair for BMX. All transaction fees from the BMX market will go directly to the users who supported the project. Once a project has proved successful on the BMX market, it will be reviewed for listing on BitMart’s BTC and ETH markets without a listing fee.

Any projects who are interested in BitMart’s Community Listing Market can apply on www.bitmart.com or contact [email protected].

What is BMX?

BitMart token (BMX) is an ERC-20 based token issued by BitMart Exchange with a total volume of 1,000,000,000 tokens. When users conduct transactions on BitMart, they will get a discount on the trading fee if they use BMX, no matter what tokens they trade.

BMX has been listed on CoinMarketCap (CMC) with price of $0.06 USD as of writing. BitMart Exchange itself was listed on CMC in early June and currently has a daily trading volume of $22,630,975.23, earning it a top 50 ranking on CoinMarketCap.

Repurchase Mechanism

BMX also features a repurchase mechanism in which the BitMart team will take out 20% of the income earned from trading fees each month to repurchase BMX. All repurchased BMX will then be destroyed, with repurchase records released by BitMart immediately to ensure transparency. This mechanism will continue until only 500 million BMX are left. Since trading fees began June 20th, the first burn is scheduled to take place at the end of July.

About BitMart

BitMart is a premier digital asset trading platform with more than 450,000 users from over 160 countries. BitMart offers crypto-to-crypto trading for coins and utility tokens only. BitMart has a global team with extensive industry experience from all over the world including the United States, Russia, India, Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong. Since launching in March, BitMart has a total trading volume of over $651,000,000 USD. BitMart currently offers 53 trading pairs for BTC, ETH, USDT, XLM, EOS, VEN, NEO, OMG, ZRX, IOST, ABT, AE, AISI, BBK, BTM, DPST, EFX, GNT, HYDRO, KAN, MKR, ONT, RHOC, XRR, ZIL,  MOBI, and BMX.

BitMart currently offers a Refer-A-Friend Program, where users can invite friends to join using a referral link and receive a commission from their friends transaction fees. The commission rate is 50% of the transaction fees from direct referrals, and 10% from indirect referrals (i.e., people who sign up using the referral link of some who you referred). There is no limit to the number of people you can invite and you can start collecting referrals now. In addition, the commission from the referrals‘ transaction fees will be paid to users in BTC.

To learn more about BitMart visit their Website, Twitter or join their Telegram.

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The Daily: TCAP Explores Market, Tutanota Accepts Cryptos, Huobi Launches Cloud

The Daily

In today’s edition of Bitcoin in Brief we cover stories about one of the largest inter-dealer brokers in the world exploring the cryptocurrency market, a privacy-focused email service that now accepts several cryptos, a new white label exchange offering and a cloud mining service that abruptly ended BTC contracts.

Also Read: Coinbase Gets $20 Billion Prime Client, Ads Back on Facebook

TCAP Explores Market

TP Icap plc (LSE:TCAP), one of the largest connectors between banks’ traders in the financial, energy and commodities markets, has reportedly set up a ‘working group’ earlier this year to explore how it should approach cryptocurrencies. The crypto working group includes some of TP Icap’s most senior executives and was established under former CEO John Phizackerley, according to “people with knowledge of the matter” cited by Financial News London. This could be another indication that mega banks are looking to enter the crypto dealing market and that the networks that serve them are preparing for that day. Last week it was reported that Blackrock, the world’s largest asset manager, is probing the crypto market with a similar working group.

Hashflare Stops BTC Cloud Mining

The Daily: TCAP Explores Market, Tutanota Accepts Cryptos, Huobi Launches CloudHashflare, a cloud mining service which has been operating for a few years already, has announced it stopped its active SHA-256 contracts due to continued BTC mining unprofitability. The company explained in a Facebook post that: “For over a month our users encountered a situation when the payouts were lower than the maintenance fees, resulting in zero accruals to the balance. As of 18.07.2018, the payouts were lower than maintenance for 28 consecutive days.”

The team seem to think they can recover from this, writing “We expect that the cryptocurrency market situation will stabilize in the nearest future and we will be able to offer our users new advantageous solutions.” However, the reputation of Hashflare might be too tarnished for that, as many clients are complaining that the company offers no refund for their money invested in the contracts nor an alternative mining option to divert their resources to. People are also suspicious that the company has added KYC/AML requirements right before this announcement, preventing those who wish to remain anonymous from withdrawing their funds.

Tutanota Now Accepts Several Cryptocurrencies

Tutanota, an open-source end-to-end encrypted email with over 2 million users, has announced that the service has started integrating cryptocurrency support. As a first step, users can now donate to Tutanota with BTC, BCH, ETH and XMR. The developers are now also testing how easily they can automate the processing of crypto payments in order to add an option to pay with cryptocurrencies. “We at Tutanota have always been in support for cryptocurrencies because we welcome the idea of a decentralized payment method that works independent of centralized payment processors such as banks or credit card institutions”, the team stated. “We very much welcome the idea of an anonymous payment option as well. With Tutanota we want to provide an anonymous email service for journalists, whistleblowers and human rights activists who need the extra protection they get from the built-in encryption of Tutanota.”

Huobi Launches White Label Exchange Service

The Daily: TCAP Explores Market, Tutanota Accepts Cryptos, Huobi Launches CloudDid you ever want to launch your own crypto exchange but didn’t have the technical capabilities to set it up? Now you have a new option. Huobi, the Singapore-headquartered trading venue, has launched a new service for companies that wish to offer a white label exchange of their own. Called Huobi Cloud, the business will rely on Huobi’s existing platforms, providing services for setting up OTC exchanges and currency exchanges with little to no IT capability requirement. The company explains that clients can share the order integration system, wallet system, asset management and clearing system of the Huobi Global platform, connecting to its depth, liquidity, and market data.

What do you think about today’s news tidbits? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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Blockchain Job Market: Riding High in 2018, reports TheCryptostreet.com

The number of job postings related to blockchain, cryptocurrency, and bitcoin increased at least fourfold, according to TheCryptoStreet.com – a specialised Blockchain Jobs Marketplace which was started just a year ago and which publishes a little more than 80 blockchain jobs everyday.

The job volume shows great promise for growth in 2018. People are desperate to get into this field, because it’s the direction the technology is going.

Blockchain Job Market

The job titles of CEO, software engineer, co-founder, chief technology officer, and founder were among the top titles of blockchain professionals in 2017 on LinkedIn, according to a company spokesperson.

Big companies are also hiring blockchain talent, often for in-house setups that function somewhat as startups. In 2017, IBM had more than 400 blockchain projects going, employed more than 1,600 employees on them, and had more than 150 blockchain-related job openings in October of that year, according to the company.

The technology software industry and the financial services industry are the two largest sectors posting blockchain jobs. Technology hardware and professional services industries have also seen sharp increases.

New business models created by blockchain are also driving a new category of skills that are now in demand.

For example, there’s a need for skills in designing a token and checking the security of smart contracts. Smart contracts are codified contracts that include provisions to execute themselves when predefined conditions are met.

Although team members usually have a mix of experience levels, some positions do require experience working with blockchain frameworks, or even the ability to build a blockchain from scratch.

Experienced blockchain developers are harder to come by, so hiring managers have to be flexible. The developers are often already busy with a project and it can be hard to pull them away. To lure the best blockchain developers, it’s also important to understand them, show them the potential impact of their work.

Crypto Market Makes Minor Retreat Post-Rally, Ether and Bitcoin Cash Down 5%


After adding more than $20 billion within a 30 minute period, the crypto market has declined in valuation, led by the 5 percent drop of ether and Bitcoin Cash.

Over the past 24 hours, the price of Bitcoin Cash, ether, Ripple, and EOS dropped by 4 to 6 percent, while bitcoin remained stable in the $7,300 region. Despite its Relative Strength Index (RSI) demonstrating overbought conditions, the price of bitcoin has not fallen by more than 1 percent since its mini bull run on July 18.

Interest From Large Investors

Earlier this week, Barry Silbert-managed Digital Currency Group’s Grayscale, a fund that oversees $2 billion in assets, has revealed that in the first half of 2018, it raised over $250 million from accredited investors, the most amount of money it ever raised in its crypto fund in a six-month period.

According to Business Insider, the report of Grayscale emphasized that institutions are more interested in the crypto market than in 2017, possibly due to the large drop in the price of major digital assets.

Throughout 2017, especially in the latter half of the year, investors emphasized the overly high value of cryptocurrencies, especially bitcoin and ether that achieved $20,000 and $1,500 respectively at their all-time highs.

Now that the market has fallen by more than 70 percent over the past seven months, the crypto market has started to see an influx of investors from the public market, as portrayed by the recent spike in the volume of bitcoin.

The daily trading volume of bitcoin and ether have risen to $5.6 billion and $2.25 billion respectively, up from $3.5 billion and $1.3 billion last week.

The short-term rally of major digital assets on July 18 was met with a minor drop on July 19, as most tokens alongside ether, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash, EOS, litecoin, IOTA, TRON, and NEO fell by relatively large margins.

Bitcoin Cash in specific dropped from $890 to $815, by nearly 10 percent since achieving a weekly high on July 18.

More to that, as Anthony Pompliano, a partner at Morgan Creek Digital Assets, said, the filing of a bitcoin ETF by Cboe, the launch of a crypto exchange by Japan’s second biggest bank SBI, Goldman Sachs clearing bitcoin futures for clients, and Andreessen Horowitz raising $300 million will contribute to the next rally of the cryptocurrency market, which may occur in the upcoming days if the volume of the market can be sustained.

Tokens Underperform

While bitcoin prevented a downward movement to the $6,200 region, tokens like Aion, Loom, Power, and Waltonchain recorded losses in the 8 to 10 percent range, after recording large gains on July 19. The volume on tokens remain low on major crypto exchanges like Binance, signifying that investors are not ready to take high-risk and high-return trades in the crypto market just yet.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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Crypto Market Adds $20 Billion in 30 Minutes as Bitcoin Spikes Above $7,400


The bitcoin price has surged 10 percent over the past 30 minutes, subsequent to experiencing a substantial spike in its volume.

Within one-hour period, the price of bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, ether, Ripple, and EOS increased by 6 to 10 percent, as the valuation of the cryptocurrency market surged to $292 billion from $272 billion, by more than $20 billion.

Market Added $20 Billion in 30 Minutes

An unexpected corrective rally occurred in the evening of July 17, pushing the price of major digital assets to spike by large margins. Bitcoin and EOS have been the best performers out of the major cryptocurrencies, rising by nearly 10 percent in a short period of time.

In previous reports, CCN noted that the market has seen the emergence of a series of positive events such as the government of South Korea regulating its cryptocurrency market, which could fuel the next rally of the market.

Optimistic developments in leading cryptocurrency markets including the US, Japan, and South Korea were not reflected by the crypto market over the past two weeks, and the recent bull run may begin to portray the progress the market has seen in terms of regulation, adoption, and general consumer demand.

The last time BTC spiked by a margin as big as today’s rally was April 9, when the price of BTC surged from $6,900 to $8,000, within 30 minutes. Ultimately, the rally from $6,900 to $8,000 led the price of BTC to test $10,000.

If the price of bitcoin surpasses the $8,000 mark, it may be able to replicate the same movement it experienced on April 9, and potentially test the $10,000 support level. However, if bitcoin remains stable in the $7,400 region, bitcoin could try breach major support levels between $8,000 to $9,000 in the upcoming week.

Strong Volume, Momentum Building

The difference between the rally of July 17 and previous false runs throughout June is the volume. Currently, on Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, the volume of bitcoin against Tether (USDT) is $300 million, up from $100 million since July 16. In two days, the volume of bitcoin tripled.

Throughout July, the issue with the crypto market was its low volume, and despite the optimistic momentum indicators and positive signals of the Relative Strength Index (RSI) and momentum average convergence divergence (MACD) of bitcoin, the low volume of the crypto exchange market disallowed a rally from being initiated.

The short-term rally of July 17 was supported with a large spike in volume, complemented by positive events such as the appointment of a new CEO for Goldman Sachs, who has discussed bitcoin on a positive light on multiple occasions.

Previously, David Solomon, the newly appointed Goldman Sachs CEO, admitted for the first time that Goldman Sachs is preparing to launch a proper cryptocurrency trading platform.

He stated:

“We are clearing some futures around Bitcoin, talking about doing some other activities there, but it’s going very cautiously. We’re listening to our clients and trying to help our clients as they’re exploring those things too. Goldman Sachs must evolve its business and adapt to the environment.”

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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