Oil Prices Surge 24%, Will Bitcoin Bulls Follow Suit?

Should the bitcoin Community Be Worried About the Oil Market Crash?
Bitcoin has been bullish this week, peaking yesterday at over $7,083 on Coinmarketcap and even surpassing $7,200 on several major exchanges. The cryptocurrency declined below $6,900 as of today, but the bullish stance might be supported by surging oil prices. Bitcoin-Oil Correlation Bitcoin usually doesn’t show any correlation to traditional assets. Still, it fell below $8,000 specifically after the oil market crashed by over 30%, which was the largest single-day decline in three decades. After several weeks of struggle, crude prices have rebounded. Does it mean Bitcoin bulls will feel more encouraged by the market conditions? During the recent weeks, Bitcoin and oil have shown some very close correlation. Actually, the interference of price changes was maybe even more relevant than Bitcoin’s comparison to the stock markets. When prices intensified in volatility, the Bitcoin-oil correlation was slightly delayed, with crude trends defining the subsequent moves in the Bitcoin prices. Note that this correlation is only temporary and may be valid specifically during market turmoil, which affects institutional investors. Historically, Bitcoin has very little to do with oil and may even demonstrate an inverse correlation at a later date. Crude Prices Jump 24% Since April 1 Since the start of the month, oil prices bounced back and increased by over 24%. Currently, Brent and WTI futures are trading at $33.41 and $26.73, respectively, up from $25 and $20. The crude rally has extended after US President Donald Trump said that he got in touch with Russia and Saudi Arabia, urging the two oil producers to reconcile and cool the conflict. Just spoke to my friend MBS (Crown Prince) of Saudi Arabia, who spoke with President Putin of Russia, & I expect & hope that they will be cutting back approximately 10 Million Barrels, and maybe substantially more which, if it happens, will be GREAT for the oil & gas industry! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 2, 2020 Last month, Saudi Arabia started a price war against Russia by boosting crude output and cutting prices, which surprised markets, especially when demand is tumbling amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Commodity investors hope that the two countries will reach some consensus soon. The general optimism has boosted oil prices, and this might be additional support for Bitcoin to consolidate above $7,000. So far, the largest cryptocurrency hasn’t managed to maintain above that level, but the chances are that Bitcoin will react a bit later. Do you think Bitcoin hasn’t bottomed out yet? Share your thoughts in the comments section! Image via Shutterstock, Investing.com, Twitter @realdonaldtrump

Wells Fargo Advisors Named in Crypto Fraud Case

crypto wells fargo
Three cryptocurrency traders allegedly scammed over 100 investors through a Ponzi scheme that generated over $35 million, according to victims who formed an entity to represent them. Interestingly, the trio worked for reputable banks and institutional firms, including Wells Fargo Advisors and NYSE. Former Wall Street Executives Operated Alleged Crypto Scam Q3 Investment Recovery Vehicle, which represents the defrauded investors, initiated the federal securities fraud action in Florida last month. It accuses three individuals of organizing a scheme referred to as Q3, which attracted victims with a fake winning trading formula. The crypto scam was led by a trio that included James Seijas, who worked as a financial advisor for Wells Fargo Advisors until March 2019, Michael Ackerman, a former New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) institutional broker, and surgeon Quan Tran. The recovery vehicle has been assigned the complaints of at least 20 victims, though the total number exceeds 100. It said that similar accusations against Ackerman have already been voiced in a US Securities and Exchange action, a US Commodity Futures Trading Association action, and a criminal wire fraud and money laundering indictment. As per the recovery vehicle, Q3 founders attracted investments by social media channels like Facebook. They promoted their fraudulent scheme in a doctors’ group on the site. Potential victims were told that they could use their funds for crypto trading. The recovery vehicle explained: The founders claimed, fraudulently, that the investments would be used to trade cryptocurrency using a proprietary and wildly successful algorithm developed by Ackerman. Two Wells Fargo Entities Named in the Complaint Besides the trio, the recovery vehicle named two more individuals as part of the plot, including Seijas’ wife Donna Seijas, who acted as a managing partner of Q3, and Steve Saunders, the VP of operations for Skyway Capital Markets. The list of defendants includes two Wells Fargo entities and three Q3 entities. The recovery vehicle claims that over 100 individuals and entities were defrauded. It seems that less than $10 million or even less than $5 million of their investments were used for crypto trading. The rest of about $20 million were used by defendants for own purposes. Wells Fargo, which by the way prohibited customers from buying Bitcoin and other crypto-assets, has been regularly surrounded by scandals these years. Besides the $3 billion fake account scandal, the bank has been accused of violating the ERISA rules and informing clients about risks related to inverse exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Before working for Wells Fargo, James Seijas held various positions at Fidelity Investments, Barclays, and Bank of America. How often have you observed crypto trading ads on social media? Share your experience in the comments section! Image via Shutterstock

Anti-Crypto Bank Wells Fargo Wants its $384B Lending Power Back

Wells Fargo at it Again, Faces Suit Over 401(k) Plan Violations
US banking giant Wells Fargo has the capacity to provide about $384 billion of additional loans to small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) and individuals, which is especially relevant during the corona crisis. However, the bank can’t help customers because of the asset cap imposed by the Federal Reserve (Fed). Wells Fargo Asks Fed to Remove the Cap The US has reported the most cases of coronavirus, and it seems the economic crisis is about to get even worse. President Donald Trump warned of the upcoming “very painful weeks,” while JPMorgan told investors that the stock market hasn’t bottomed out yet. In light of this, Wells Fargo could potentially help customers through its loans. However, it cannot unleash the funds because the Fed had previously imposed an asset cap. Specifically, the central bank mandated Wells Fargo to keep its assets below $1.95 trillion. The Fed’s decision came in response to the bank’s fake account scandal. For years, Wells Fargo abused its clients by creating fake accounts on behalf of customers and forging documents. Last week, the bank asked the Fed to remove the cap at least temporarily and let it support people and businesses during the crisis. People familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that the Fed didn’t feel Wells Fargo was ready. While the bank hired a new CEO last year and announced massive restructuring, the Fed officials are skeptical about its potential to address regulatory concerns. Wells Fargo didn’t clarify on the matter, but said in a statement: While we cannot comment on regulatory matters, Wells Fargo is focused on satisfying the requirements of the consent order. During these challenging times, we are very focused on doing all we can for our clients while operating under the constraints of the asset cap. The Fed’s skepticism shows how much in trouble the bank really is. The central bank has been calling major banks to boost lending at the expense of whatever excess cash they have in an effort to support the economy amid the crisis. Together, the biggest banks have enough capital to increase lending by $1.6 trillion. We May Know Fed’s Position in Coming Days The Fed imposed the cap in February 2018. At the end of 2019, Wells Fargo had only $24 billion free room to that level. Given that deposits are flowing in, the company has probably reached that limit and cannot lend any more. Ironically, Wells Fargo has the most firepower among biggest US banks. The problem is that it cannot use the capital because of the Fed’s limit. In any case, this is a difficult situation for the Fed, who has to maintain its role as a strict regulator of biggest banks on the one hand and boost liquidity amid the crisis on the other hand. Despite the economic collapse, the central bank doesn’t want to let Wells Fargo escape the sanction. However, the Fed hasn’t provided any official comment yet. We may find more details about the situation in the coming days. Last Saturday, Maxine Waters, the head of the House Financial Services Committee, asked Fed Chair Jerome Powell to disclose more information on Wells Fargo’s request and what the central bank might be up to. Waters expects a briefing later this month. Wells Fargo’s current CEO, Charlie Scharf, succeeds two previous CEOs who tried to fix the scandal but left the bank in a worse situation by frustrating regulators. Politicians and regulators accused the bank of failing to act promptly. Scharf is the first outsider among recent CEOs. He has taken even more radical measures to restructure the bank. Nevertheless, Wells Fargo was the bank that last year prevented its customers from purchasing cryptocurrency with their own funds, citing “multiple risks associated with this volatile investment”. And now they are the bank with a forced asset cap due to mismanaging its 401k plan investments. Do you think the Fed will allow Wells Fargo to lend using the excess funds? Share your thoughts in the comments section! Image via Shutterstock

Former UBS Vice Chairman Joins Blockchain Firm

Former UBS Vice Chairman Joins Blockchain Firm
Hong Kong-based Diginex, which provides cryptocurrency and blockchain services, has appointed a former UBS executive as head of Asia operations. Diginex Hires Another UBS Executive Diginex has hired Chi-Won Yoon, who held the position of vice chairman at UBS Wealth Management and retired from the investment bank last year. The appointment is another piece of evidence that traditional banking and the crypto space have many things in common. Previously, Yoon held various roles at UBS, including president and chief executive of UBS AG, Asia Pacific. Besides his roles, Yoon was also a member of the UBS Group’s executive board from 2009 to 2015. He supervised the banking giant in 13 countries across Asia and was responsible for the company’s three key divisions, Investment Banking, Global Asset Management, and Wealth Management. The executive joined UBS in 1997 and played a key role in the development of the equity derivatives business in Asia. He then led the Equities and Securities businesses in the Asia Pacific region. Before UBS, Yoon worked for Lehman Brothers in New York and Hong Kong, and for Merrill Lynch in New York. Yoon commented: Digital assets and blockchain technology have huge potential for growth over the next decade and Diginex is a pioneer in this space. He is not the first UBS executive to move to Diginex. Earlier this year, the blockchain financial services firm hired former UBS Investment Bank managing director Shane Edwards, and appointed him as head of Investment Products. Interestingly, former UBS CEO Peter Wuffli now heads Swiss-based crypto bank Sygnum. Diginex Blockchain Firm Seeking to Go Public in the US Currently, Diginex is looking to go public in the US via a reverse merger with 8i Enterprises Acquisition Corp. When the deal with 8i concludes, Diginex will be listed on Nasdaq. 8i is a British Virgin Island firm incorporated as a blank check company that seeks to merge, exchange shares, buy assets and shares, and deal with other businesses to help them further grow or go public. As for Diginex, it provides blockchain tools for governments, companies and financial institutions. It also provides infrastructure for digital assets, including exchange, trade, and custody, as well as offering custody and asset management services centered around digital assets. Do you think that more banking executives will move to crypto and blockchain firms? Share your thoughts in the comments section! Image via Shutterstock

OKEx to Host 11th IEO Amid Crypto Bear Market

OKEx IEO ONE Harmony crypto
OKEx has announced its 11th exchange-based token sale coming soon on the Jumpstart platform. With the crypto market still in a state of decline, will investors be tempted to try and make quick returns?  OKEx Helps Entertainment Platform Launch Token Malta-based OKEx, which operates a spot and derivative trading platform, will launch the sale of DEAPCOIN (DEP) on April 8. The token will fuel the DEPA platform, which is an entertainment ecosystem where users will be able to obtain token reward while playing free games and manga. The platform will include several components, including DEA Bank, Gaming Company, Digital Art Auction, PlayMiner, and Creator. The latter is where is where users will be able to acquire DEP. OKEx CEO Alysa Xu explained: We are delighted to reach partnership with DEAP and become the only platform to sell DEP token. DEAP shares the same vision with us that blockchain technology will be massively adopted as an essential tool for many industries He stressed that OKEx would focus to expand its reach in several sectors, especially supporting the integration of the distributed ledger technology (DLT) with existing industries to “generate larger synergies.” After the token sale, OKEx will DEP/USDT and DEP/USDK on its spot trading platform. The total supply of DEP tokens is 30 billion. IEOs Survive During the Crisis Crypto startups are still counting on IEOs to raise funds. This form of crowdfunding succeeds initial coin offerings (ICOs), which have been compromised by a high number of scams. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that IEO tokens are different. Even decent exchanges can mistakenly or knowingly back low-quality projects. If the project fails, the exchange platform would likely delist the token, leaving the early investors stuck with potentially worthless coins. Thus, due-diligence is imperative before picking an IEO project. The most popular crypto exchanges organizing IEO events on their platforms are OKEx, Binance, and Huobi. OKEx’s recent announcement proves that the crypto market is active despite the general crisis amid the coronavirus pandemic. Have you ever taken part in an IEO? Share your experience in the comments section below!   Image via Shutterstock

OKEx to Host 11th IEO Amid Crypto Bear Market

OKEx IEO ONE Harmony crypto
OKEx has announced its 11th exchange-based token sale coming soon on the Jumpstart platform. With the crypto market still in a state of decline, will investors be tempted to try and make quick returns?  OKEx Helps Entertainment Platform Launch Token Malta-based OKEx, which operates a spot and derivative trading platform, will launch the sale of DEAPCOIN (DEP) on April 8. The token will fuel the DEPA platform, which is an entertainment ecosystem where users will be able to obtain token reward while playing free games and manga. The platform will include several components, including DEA Bank, Gaming Company, Digital Art Auction, PlayMiner, and Creator. The latter is where is where users will be able to acquire DEP. OKEx CEO Alysa Xu explained: We are delighted to reach partnership with DEAP and become the only platform to sell DEP token. DEAP shares the same vision with us that blockchain technology will be massively adopted as an essential tool for many industries He stressed that OKEx would focus to expand its reach in several sectors, especially supporting the integration of the distributed ledger technology (DLT) with existing industries to “generate larger synergies.” After the token sale, OKEx will DEP/USDT and DEP/USDK on its spot trading platform. The total supply of DEP tokens is 30 billion. IEOs Survive During the Crisis Crypto startups are still counting on IEOs to raise funds. This form of crowdfunding succeeds initial coin offerings (ICOs), which have been compromised by a high number of scams. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that IEO tokens are different. Even decent exchanges can mistakenly or knowingly back low-quality projects. If the project fails, the exchange platform would likely delist the token, leaving the early investors stuck with potentially worthless coins. Thus, due-diligence is imperative before picking an IEO project. The most popular crypto exchanges organizing IEO events on their platforms are OKEx, Binance, and Huobi. OKEx’s recent announcement proves that the crypto market is active despite the general crisis amid the coronavirus pandemic. Have you ever taken part in an IEO? Share your experience in the comments section below!   Image via Shutterstock

Bitcoin Creator Also Founded Monero, New Research Suggests

bitcoin satoshi nakamoto tether
While no one knows who’s behind the Satoshi Nakamoto name, a research document suggests that the Bitcoin creator might have also developed another cryptocurrency – Monero. Nakamoto Had Motives to Improve Bitcoin’s Algorithm New research by Monero Outreach concludes that Bitcoin and Monero might be the creation of the same person or entity. Monero is a cryptocurrency that came out in 2014 to address Bitcoin’s privacy issues. While the former uses a public ledger, no one can trace transactions on it, which makes XMR the most used coin among dark web users. Monero’s whitepaper was published on December 12, 2012, about three years after Bitcoin’s genesis block. The author of the whitepaper is Nicolas van Saberhagen. As you might guess, this is also a pseudonym, so no one knows who created Monero. Monero Outreach suggests that Satoshi Nakamoto and Nicolas van Saberhagen are the same entities. The main argument provided by the research authors is that Nakamoto had a clear motive to release the CryptoNote whitepaper, the document laying out the Monero concept. In a Bitcointalk forum post from August 2010, Nakamoto shared the first concepts of privacy that would later show up in Monero’s whitepaper, including stealth addresses and ring signatures, which hide receivers and senders of XMR. Besides this, when CryptoNote 1.0 came out, Nakamoto had already observed Bitcoin’s block size changes and mining reward halving. Monero’s blockchain addresses those issues. It also improved the proof-of-work to make mining more available to anyone using typical GPUs. Stylometry Theory Also Supports this Conclusion When analyzing the writing style of both whitepapers, one can notice a style connection between the two. The authors of the research used stylometry, a software program called Java Graphical Authorship Attribution Program (JGAAP), and figured out that the author of the CryptoNote whitepaper was more likely to be Nakamoto than the author of any other 15 leading papers picked from the Monero literature. Some similarities are visible with the naked eye. For instance, both whitepapers used the spelling of “favour/favourable,” the contraction “can’t” instead to the typical style observed in academically formatted papers, and the wording “In this paper, we…” Also, both documents used black-and-white line drawings with solid and dashed lines. Thunderosa, Monero Outreach Creative Lead, commented: When you first look at those two documents side by side you can get floored by the crazy similarities. Maybe we should start calling the author Satoshi van Saberhagen. However, research authors don’t expect that the Bitcoin or the Monero community would embrace this revelation. Xmrhaelan, Monero Outreach Organizer, said: Like many, I’m still processing this. I will, though, say with confidence that if Satoshi Nakamoto is Nicolas van Saberhagen, Monero was Satoshi’s greatest work. All in all, the main conclusion is that Craig Wright must be a genius… Do you think Monero was created by Nakamoto or is this an April Fool’s Day joke from Monero Outreach? Share your thoughts in the comments section! Image via Shutterstock, Monerooutreach.org

Bitcoin Outperforms Stocks in Q1 Despite Worst Month Since Jan 2018

bitcoin better than gold
Bitcoin just experienced its worst month since departing from its all-time highs 2 years ago, but still the leading crypto managed to outperform the US stock market in the first quarter of 2020. Global Pandemic Tears Markets Apart The financial markets were hit by the COVID pandemic that forced entire countries and industries to shut down. Most of losses came in March, which was one of the worst months including for Bitcoin. However, year-to-date, the cryptocurrency declined less than S&P 500 and Dow Jones indexes, which represent the US stock market. Nevertheless, Bitcoin showed some correlation with the two indices when the crash accelerated. Because of this, investors are not sure whether it’s a reliable safe haven. In the first three months, Bitcoin fell about 10%, from $7,200 to $6,350. Meanwhile, Dow saw the worst quarter on record, falling by more than 23%. Elsewhere, S&P 500 tumbled by 20%, which is the biggest quarterly loss since 2008. Bitcoin (red) vs S&P 500 (blue) March 12 was a nightmare, as the crypto market lost over $90 billion of its total value, while Bitcoin crashed almost 50%. The largest cryptocurrency has managed to recover a good chunk of its losses since then though, and has detached from traditional markets. For many, Bitcoin is still the must-have asset, especially when the Fed pumps cash. Luno executive Vijay Ayyar told CNBC: Bitcoin is still a relatively smaller asset class that is increasingly uncorrelated to traditional asset classes and this is in the process of being established as we speak. This is why I believe the current market environment is a big test for Bitcoin and given how young the asset class is, it has actually held up quite well. Stocks Might Extend Decline, What About Bitcoin? What’s more worrying is that the stock market hasn’t bottomed out despite the recent gain driven by cash injections. The crisis might be only beginning, with US President Donald Trump finally admitting that the country should be ready for a “very, very painful two weeks.” Trump said that the US might see up to 240,000 deaths even if citizens follow the social distancing measures. JPMorgan Asset Management warned investors that they shouldn’t rush to buy stocks because the worst is about to come. Strategist Hugh Gimber said in a note: I’m not yet confident in advocating overweight risk assets positions because you’re vulnerable in that scenario to a deterioration of the news on the medical front. The policy measures have helped but they’re not on their own enough for us to call a definitive bottom in this market. As for Bitcoin, crypto analysts haven’t reached consensus on the short-term outlook. Yet, most investors are confident that the cryptocurrency will emerge stronger, especially after the halving event. Do you think Bitcoin will outperform the stock market by the end of the year? Share your thoughts in the comments section! Images via Shutterstock, Investing.com

When Fed is Out of its Mind, Bitcoin is the Answer

Fed reserve repo market
It took the sudden emergence of a pandemic to demonstrate how pathetic the global financial system really is. The US Federal Reserve (Fed) is now doing a live demo on how to print money out of thin air and buy government and corporate securities with it. It seems that Plan B’s model will work indeed. US Central Bank Pumps $1 Million Per Second The US financial system showed the first signs of a crack well before the COVID-19 was even a thing. In September last year, the Fed started to pump money to control the overnight general collateral repo rate, which surged over 1% at the time. The central bank said it was only a temporary measure to bring the repo rate closer to its low interest rate, but it has continued those operations to this day. Moreover, the major crisis caused by the coronavirus outbreak has forced the US government and the Fed to take unprecedented measures to save the economy. What is happening right now will be in history books. The Fed has implemented the following measures to inject money into the economy: It has cut the interest to zero, though the same tactic was used after the financial crisis in 2008. It has bought unlimited amounts of government bonds and mortgage-backed securities. This is the first time in history that the Fed has pledged unlimited stimulus. The Fed announced it would start buying municipal bonds. For the first time ever, the Fed said it would purchase corporate bonds. Bazooka is not even a term to describe the massive pile of money the Fed is creating right now to buy everything. It seems that the central bank has the capability to move on to purchase company stocks and even make direct transfers to individuals. The Fed’s balance sheet is now at a record $5.3 trillion. One million dollars every second. That's how much the Federal Reserve is printing. It's balance sheet increased by $586.1 billion last week to a record total of $5.24 trillion. Which is $84 billion a day and $60 million printed per minute. — Vis (@Vis_in_numeris) March 27, 2020 To clarify, what the Fed is doing right now is issuing cash out of thin air and buying government and corporate IOUs. Fed Moves On to Buys Bonds from Abroad, May Buy Stocks As Well Another day, another “emergency lending program” is created by the Fed. Now the private entity wants to pump money on a global scale. A few hours ago, the US central bank said that it launched a “temporary repurchase agreement facility aimed at international monetary authorities (FIMA Repo Facility).” In other words, the Fed will create money to buy US Treasury securities from central banks and other monetary authorities, which can use the US dollars in their jurisdictions. At home, economists argue that the Fed might intervene in the stock market for the first time. However, the central bank would need permission from the US Congress. Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial, commented: If there were any major dislocations, it is clear that they will go into whatever nook and cranny in the market that starts to choke. We know that when you have choking in one part of the market, you have choking in another part of the market that leads to dislocation. As soon as you cross that line, you are now facing something else that you could conceivably buy. It’s funny how JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon said three years ago that: You can’t have a business where people can invent a currency out of thin air and think the people buying it are really smart. It’s worse than tulip bulbs, OK?…It’ll eventually blow up. It’s a fraud, OK? He was speaking about Bitcoin, but why wouldn’t he apply this to the US dollar? The latter is becoming a major bubble right now. While the Fed’s emergency measures might reduce short-term damage, it only fuels the America’s long-term problems. It’s Not Only About Fed, US Government Is Involved As Well If you think the US government will handle the bubble, you are wrong. The Fed has been regarded as a private entity that has not been ruled by any government entity. However, judging by the credit and funding facilities it just launched, it means that it collaborates with the US Treasury simply because the Fed doesn’t have permission to buy corporate bonds, stocks, and municipality bonds. Does it mean that it is taking over the US government or vice versa? In an old interview, former Fed chief Alan Greenspan said: First of all, the Federal Reserve is an independent agency, and that means basically that there is no other agency of government which can overrule actions that we take. Despite everything, the Fed is now working in tandem with the US government. Specifically, the central bank will finance a so-called special purpose vehicle (SPV) for each of its credit operations (of buying government bonds, corporate bonds, commercial paper, etc.). The US Treasury will make an equity investment in each SPV through the Exchange Stabilization Fund, effectively buying all these securities. The Fed is only acting as banker, offering financing. It recently hired BlackRock to buy all securities and manage the SPVs on behalf of the Treasury. It means that the US government is nationalizing the financial markets. This scheme merges the Fed and Treasury into one organization, at least for now. Thus, the printing press is in the hands of US President Donald Trump, and who can guarantee that he doesn’t use it after the pandemic is gone? The crypto market will boom in the coming years because the Fed is pumping unlimited cash right now. Do you think the injection of liquidity will boost Bitcoin? Share your thoughts in the comments section! Images via Shutterstock, Twitter: @Vis_in_numeris, digitalik.net

Hijacked YouTube Accounts Promote Crypto Scam Using Bill Gates

Bitcoin Solves This: Bill Gates Talks About the US Wealth Gap
On Monday, it appeared that Bill Gates was ‘promoting’ a widely renowned crypto scam on several YouTube live streaming videos that seemed to be published on Microsoft’s official channels. Hackers Hijack YouTube Accounts, Rename to Microsoft Brands ZDNet reported yesterday that a hacker had taken control over dozens of YouTube accounts, renamed them to reflect Microsoft brands, and promoted a Ponzi scam. The problem was that the hijacked accounts had tens of thousands of users. The broadcasting videos displayed Microsoft former CEO Bill Gates, who was apparently endorsing a cryptocurrency scam. However, this was not the case. The tech news site said that hackers might have broken into more than 30 YouTube profiles. The video streaming showed an old Bill Gates speech which the billionaire delivered last year at Village Global, which was manipulated to create the impression that Bill Gates was promoting the scam, when in fact he wasn’t. YouTube users could see an image of the philanthropist attached to the crypto scam on accounts with names like Microsoft Europe, Microsoft US, Microsoft News, and others. However, both Microsoft and YouTube denied that any of the company’s genuine official accounts had been touched by hackers. Nevertheless, users reported that the scam videos showed up on non-verified Microsoft accounts. The majority of streams aired on channels with many subscribers. The only explanation is that hackers hijacked multiple accounts and renamed them by introducing various Microsoft brands. Some of the Bitcoin addresses showed in the video streams had already received thousands of US dollars. This proves that many viewers were fooled by the scam. Similar Crypto Scam Uses the Image of CZ Binance We also spotted a video of that series today, though it had only several dozens of views. The channel has over 1,000 subscribers. The video shows an old Bill Gates interview, but there is also a link on the screen. Following the link, it leads to a Medium article that was allegedly posted by Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ). Again, this is another classic crypto scam designed to steal funds from unsuspecting victims. Scams like this promote a crypto giveaway in which people have to send a small sum of cryptocurrency in order to double or triple their earnings. Obviously, they get nothing in return. Last week, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse demanded YouTube should crack down on scammers using his name and image to broadcast an XRP-based scam. Have you encountered scams like these on YouTube? Share your experience in the comments section! Images via Shutterstock, Medium, YouTube

Huobi Launches Bitcoin Perpetual Swaps with 125x Leverage

Huobi Launches Bitcoin Perpetual Swaps with 125x Leverage
Singapore-based Huobi is the latest crypto exchange to launch perpetual swaps. The new product is live on Huobi DM, the company’s derivative trading platform. New Product Allows Traders to Benefit from Market Volatility BitMex-like future contracts with no expiry times, commonly referred to as perpetual swaps, are becoming increasingly popular among crypto exchange firms. Last year, Binance and OKEx introduced perpetual swaps, and now it’s time for Huobi to join the trend. Huobi DM already provides crypto derivatives, including Bitcoin futures with contract expiration of weekly, bi-weekly, and quarterly periods. Now the platform offers perpetual swaps. These derivatives allow traders to get exposure to Bitcoin without actually owning it. The product is similar to a futures contract that mimics the cryptocurrency’s spot price, but it has no expiry or settlement. Usually, platforms exchange payments between buyers and seller every 8 hours. According to Huobi DM, perpetual swaps represent “a new derivative product that enables users to better hedge risk and create leveraged arbitrage opportunities in volatile market conditions.” Ciara Sun, Huobi Group’s VP of Global Business unit, explained: As we’ve recently experienced, sudden market swings can have a significant yet temporary impact on the broader financial ecosystem, but volatility itself is a very normal part of market cycle. Perpetual swaps provide traders another tool in their arsenal to capitalize on market movements to create arbitrage. Huobi’s Perpetual Swaps Support x125 Leverage It’s likely that Huobi monitored how other exchanges behaved and implemented the best practices from its own perspective. Particularly, the derivative platform allows a maximum leverage figure of up to 125, as in the case of Binance. This suggests that traders’ initial deposit for a position can be boosted by 125 times in order to maximize potential profits. However, the risk of loss is much higher as well, which is why most experts warn that such instruments should be allowed for institutional and professional investors only. Elsewhere, BitMex and OKEx’s maximum leverage is 100x. When Binance first announced its maximum leverage figure, it received a lot of criticism. However, Huobi claims that it offers some key risk management features to minimize risk, including the partial liquidation mechanism and liquidation circuit breaker. The former gradually reduces a user’s position rather than liquidating it in full in a single event. The liquidation circuit breaker is used in abnormal market conditions when the platform detects extreme deviations between the liquidation and market prices. Perpetual swaps have been on our roadmap for quite some time, but we wanted to ensure we had the right risk controls in place before we made it available to users, Sun explained. Initially, Huobi supports BTC swaps only, but it will add ETH, EOS, and LTC soon. Recently, Bitcoinist reported that Huobi would compensate traders who lost fund because of the system failure during the crypto market crash. Do you think Huobi’s maximum leverage is too high? Share your thoughts in the comments section! Image via Shutterstock

Bitcoin Whale Sends 5,500 BTC to Binance Worth $33.8M

bitcoin price whale
Twitter bot Whale Alert reported that 5,500 Bitcoin was moved from an unknown wallet to Binance, prompting fears that the transaction might lead to a significant drop. $33.8M Worth of BTC Moved from Unknown Wallet to Binance On March 29, about $33.8 million worth of Bitcoin left an unknown wallet to reach Binance. The crypto exchange hasn’t confirmed yet that this was an internal move, which makes the crypto community think this might be another example of how institutional investors are dumping the cryptocurrency. 🚨 🚨 🚨 5,500 #BTC (33,856,623 USD) transferred from unknown wallet to #Binance Tx: https://t.co/lYfUI5S7GS — Whale Alert (@whale_alert) March 29, 2020 Some commentators implied that a steep in the Bitcoin price coincided with the move, which proved that it was not about Binance about reshuffling its wallets. Shortly after the transaction showed up on blockchain, the Bitcoin price dropped from about $6,150 to almost $5,900. Looking at the wallet transaction data, it shows that the 5,500 bitcoins have been ‘spent’ and sent to a number of other new wallet addresses. Twitter commentators have already thrown out some brutal predictions about the Bitcoin’s support price, with figures ranging from $4,000 to as low as $1,000. However, the price has rebounded and now trades above $6,300 as of 1:25 PM UTC. Last week, Bitcoinist anticipated that the largest cryptocurrency by market cap could break below the $6,000 level after forming a double top, which is a bearish pattern in technical analysis. Earlier today, Whale Alert tweeted that 50,343 BTC worth over $320 million moved from unknown wallet to unknown wallet. However, this transaction looks like an internal transfer, though we can’t confirm which crypto exchange is involved. What we know is that the receiving address has been conducting high volume transactions on a regular basis. Are Institutional Investors Dumping Bitcoin? Whether the BTC move reported by Whale Alert was an internal transfer or not, many institutional crypto investors have sold their Bitcoin holdings. In fact, institutional investors were mostly responsible for the recent Bitcoin crash that saw the cryptocurrency losing over 20% in a single day, which was the biggest daily drop since October last year. The dramatic decline came amid a general panic caused by the coronavirus pandemic, which has hit most traditional market sectors. Do you think the 5,500 BTC transactions was an internal transfer? Share your thoughts in the comments section! Images via Shutterstock, BTC/USD charts by TradingView

Ethereum Mining Saved, Bitmain Updates Antminer E3 Firmware

Bitmain Unveils First Public Ethereum ETHhash ASIC Miner
Ethereum miners no longer need to worry about Antminer E3’s obsolescence coming next month as Bitmain has released a firmware update earlier today. Antminer E3 Was About to Become Useless at Mining Ethereum On Monday, Beijing-based mining equipment manufacturer Bitmain announced that it had updated the firmware of the Antminer E3. This will allow Ethereum miners to continue using the machine without being afraid of its obsolescence. Bitmain pointed to recent media reports, according to which the equipment, which was designed specifically for mining Ethereum and Ethereum Classic, will stop being relevant by next month. The allegations were based on hash rate output projections made by altcoin mining pool operator 2Miners. The miner stressed that the recent decline in the hash rate output of the equipment would make it obsolete by April. In a blog post published at the end of February, 2Miners presented its “disappointing” conclusions. The miner said that the Antminer E3 had already stopped mining ETC. When it addressed a request to Bitmain, the Chinese company replied: Sorry for your inconvenience we got the confirm from technical department. E3 miner is a 4G video card. E3 is related to ETH algorithm, and DDR capacity is up to the upper limit, so E3 will not be able to continue mining. The meaning is E3 only can mine to January 2020, then will not mine again. Bitmain’s New Firmware Update Extends E3 Life to October It took less than 3 weeks for Bitmain to fix the issue and update the Ethereum mining firmware. While this update ensures Ethereum miners can continue using the Antminer E3 after April, it is not clear how long it will last. The company said that the final block height of the E3 is 11,400,000, which means mining can continue until October 2020. The new firmware fixed the issue of growth of directed acyclic graph (DAG) files, which narrowed the capability of the equipment to miner ETH or ETC. This has been achieved by expanding the usage of Double Date Rate (DDR) Memory, as more space is required to process DAG files. Do you think Bitmain’s reaction was prompt? Share your thoughts in the comments section! Image via Shutterstock

FBI Closes Russian Hacker Marketplace Fuelled By Crypto

FBI Reports Crypto Ransomware Totalled $144M Since 2013
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has shut down a Russia-based website that hosted online shops engaged in the sale of illegal goods and services and accepted crypto payments. FBI Seizes DEER.IO, Arrests Admin Last Tuesday, the US Department of Justice said that the FBI has managed to take down DEER.IO, an online platform that hosted hundreds of shops selling cybercrime products and services like hacked accounts and data. Previously, the media found out that the FBI had arrested the platform operator Kirill Victorovich Firsov on March 7, at the John F. Kennedy Airport, in New York. Now the site displays the FBI notification that informs about its seizure. DEER.IO has been around since at least the end of 2013. At the time of seizure, it hosted more than 24,000 shops with total sales reaching about $17 million. The seizure order was issued by the Southern District of California Court. Hackers have been a serious problem for the crypto community, and many of them have probably used stolen data sold on DEER.IO to get into the accounts of crypto exchange and wallet users. US Attorney Robert Brewer commented: There is a robust underground market for hacked stolen information, and this was a novel way to try to market it to criminals hoping not to get caught. Hackers are a threat to our economy, and our privacy and national security, and cannot be tolerated. Crooks Paid Monthly Subscription Fee in Bitcoin Last year, cybercriminals who wanted to create the shop on DEER.IO were charged 800 rubles per month, which is about $12.50. The fee could be paid in Bitcoin or several online payment systems, including Russian money transfer service WebMoney. Once the cybercriminals secured their place on the platform, the shop was guided through an automated set-up to upload the products and services and set a cryptocurrency wallet to collect payments. The FBI has reviewed about 250 stores used by hackers to sale thousands of accounts and PII files comprising user names, passwords, addresses, and US Social Security Numbers, among others. Most of the victims are from the US and Europe. Last year, Bitcoinist reported that Hydra, Russia’s biggest dark web marketplace, planned to build a global, decentralized marketplace and eyed an initial coin offering (ICO). Do you think authorities should consider tighter measures against underground marketplaces like these? Share your thoughts in the comments section! Images via Shutterstock, DEER.IO

Will Blockchain and Crypto Be Used Against Us After Covid-19 Clears?

blockchain covid 19 coronavirus
More than a decade ago, Satoshi Nakamoto unveiled an intelligent virtual money system based on blockchain, which could be adopted globally without the fear of government or corporate control, except the very unlikely 51% attack threat. However, what if the very same technology created to save us will actually be used against us? Governments Start to Like Surveillance Systems The COVID pandemic has created a precedent when governments around the world implement the most draconian measures to lock down entire industries and keep people at home. Some governments even use high-tech surveillance systems to track citizens. China, the country where the new coronavirus started, has already deployed massive tracking systems even before the pandemic. Last year, Bitcoinist reported on China’s social credit system, which uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) and a huge network of surveillance cameras with facial recognition to police citizens. People are getting a score for their behavior, which can result in penalties or perks, depending on the rating. While the draconian system has been trialed in various regions, the government is adopting it at a national level in the coming years, and would probably use blockchain for storing data. President Xi Jinping has already praised the technology in a move that surprised the crypto community. Recently, Israel has flexed its muscles and uses anti-terror tech to track individuals suspected with the new disease. There is even an app where people can check on a map where the infected persons are at any given moment. It seems that the Trump administration wants to use an Israel-like tracking system, but the White House is worried about people’s reactions. Even without a tracking system for now, governments have imposed drastic measures. While the virus threat is serious, the worrying thing is that governments wouldn’t renounce their authority after pandemic ends. Former CIA agent Edward Snowden, who leaked the US spying methods, believes that the surveillance states are here to stay. He told Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival: When we see emergency measures passed, particularly today, they tend to be sticky. The emergency tends to be expanded. Then the authorities become comfortable with some new power. They start to like it. Besides Blockchain, Crypto Itself Can Be Corrupted by Central Banks Besides blockchain, the very concept of cryptocurrency is likely to turn against us. Earlier this week, the House Democrats proposed two bills that discuss the created of a crypto-like digital dollar to be issued by the Fed. The new virtual currency can be sent directly to individuals and businesses, something that the Fed has never done before. However, privacy advocates are not happy about a dollar stablecoin issued by the Fed, as it can literally wipe out physical cash in the coming years and allow the government to gain total control over individuals’ finances. Moreover, this can become a global phenomenon since major central banks worldwide are seriously considering issuing digital currencies. The Bank of England, Bank of Japan, Bank of Canada, and others even formed a think tank to trail the concept. A pandemic like this would certainly encourage them to get rid of cash as soon as possible, but that doesn’t mean we’ll win from this. Rockefeller Foundation Anticipated Snowden’s Concerns 10 Years Ago Conspiracy theories aside, post-pandemic surveillance governments were envisioned ten years ago, even before the SARS crisis started. In 2010, globalist-oriented foundation Rockefeller Foundation simulated a global pandemic in a document titled “Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development.” The document reads: The United States’s initial policy of “strongly discouraging” citizens from flying proved deadly in its leniency, accelerating the spread of the virus not just within the US but across borders. However, a few countries did fare better — China in particular. The Chinese government’s quick imposition and enforcement of mandatory quarantine for all citizens, as well as its instant and near-hermetic sealing off of all borders, saved millions of lives, stopping the spread of the virus far earlier than in other countries and enabling a swifter post-pandemic recovery. The simulation hints that Western democracies were initially reluctant to impose draconian measures, but soon followed China’s methodology since it proved successful. The document adds: Even after the pandemic faded, this more authoritarian control and oversight of citizens and their activities stuck and even intensified. The last line is like a copy-paste of Snowden’s warning, and the chances are that blockchain and AI will play a role in this. Do you think that governments would impose more control with the help of blockchain? Share your thoughts in the comments section! Image via Shutterstock

Bitcoin in Danger of Breaking $6K After Forming Double Top

bitcoin price drop to $5k
Bitcoin has slightly declined during the last 24 hours, according to Coinmarketcap data, but the drop might extend in the coming hours and days. Currently, the BTC/USD pair is trading at $6,616.25 as of 7:47 UTC. Bears Might Take Control of Bitcoin Mood Yesterday, the price couldn’t break above $7,000 on most major exchanges and formed a double top on the hourly chart, which is a well-known bearish pattern in technical analysis. The first top showed up on March 20 when Bitcoin recovered some of its previous losses amid a rally that detached it from traditional markets. Nevertheless, the rally couldn’t push it above the psychological level of $7,000, which has discouraged bulls. Besides, the price is dangerously approaching the support line of its uptrend that took off on March 16. If it breaks below it, we might see the largest cryptocurrency trading at around $6,000 again. However, if the support holds, we could see a bullish ascending triangle pattern breakout take place if volume picks up. So far, the only positive sign from a technical analysis perspective is that the 50-day moving average has recently broken above the 100-day and 200-day moving averages, which should act as a healthy bullish sign. Nevertheless, the 50-day and 100-day moving averages can cross their lines again soon, which would put additional pressure on the Bitcoin price. If the price breaks below its support line, it could quickly fall to $6,000, with the next likely support level down at $5,000. Can Fundamentals Help? The fact that the US Fed expressed its readiness to pump as much cash as needed should have been a bullish sign for the cryptocurrency, which has a capped supply. However, this is not the case at least in the short term, as Bitcoin has decided to follow the declining stock markets. Previously, the cryptocurrency has closely followed the US and European stock markets to get hints about next moves. Yesterday, the US Senate approved the biggest economic stimulus package in history, worth $2 trillion. Now, the legislation 96-0 should go through the House of Representatives. Despite the unlimited quantitative easing pledges from central bankers, nothing is clear at the moment since the COVID pandemic can take an unexpected turn in either direction. Last week, Fundstrat said that Bitcoin would take months to recover. Do you think Bitcoin will manage to handle the bearish pressure this month? Share your thoughts in the comments section! Images via Shutterstock, TradingView

South Korean Crypto Exchanges Aid Police in Child Porn Investigation

South Korean Crypto Exchanges Aid Police in Child Porn Investigation
South Korea’s four major cryptocurrency exchanges, Upbit, Bithumb, Coinone, and Korbit, reportedly stated that they would support the local police in investigating the so-called “nth rooms” phenomenon, which turned into a nation-wide scandal. Crypto Exchanges Reportedly Said Celebrities Were Users For years, dozens of South Korean middle school girls, and sometimes boys, were filmed performing violent sexual acts and self-harm. The videos were then shared through Telegram chat rooms in exchange for payments made in cryptocurrency. The Korean police found dozens of victims since the videos often displayed girls’ names and addresses. After more than 5 million Koreans signed petitions to name the man who led the group that blackmailed girls and created the Telegram groups, the police decided to reveal his identity. The name of the 24 year old criminal is Cho Ju-bin. The police also revealed that over 10,000 people used the Telegram chatrooms, with some paying over $1,200 in crypto for gaining access. So far, the police know about 74 people, including 16 minor girls, who had been exploited. Elsewhere, reporters of local media agency Kookmin Ilbo discovered about 25,000 users across 30 such Telegram chat rooms. Other estimates from local media claim that there were up to 300,000 paying customers using similar chat rooms. As he was moved away from a police station in Seoul, Cho said: I apologise to those who were hurt by me. […] Thank you for putting a brake on the life of a devil that could not be stopped. Nevertheless, he didn’t comment when reporters asked if he admitted to the allegations. He is charged with abuse, threats and coercion, and violating the sexual abuse act, the child protection act, and the privacy act. Although the police haven’t confirmed it yet, there are reports that a local crypto exchange traced the crypto transactions and found out that some of the fee-paying members were popular artists, professors, sports celebrities, and startup founders and company CEOs. Who is Cho Ju-bin and How Did the Chatrooms Operate? The child porn suspect is a 24 year old man nicknamed “baksa,” which translates as “doctor” or “guru.” He managed the Telegram chat rooms where videos of child abuse were shared in exchange for payments. Cho charged the viewers in crypto, which made it difficult for the police to trace and shut down the chat rooms. However, given that South Korean law requires all crypto exchange clients to pass through KYC/AML verification procedures, the platform could help authorities find members and understand the magnitude of the incident. So far, the police have tracked down 124 individuals related to the case. Cho and 17 others have been detained. Korean newspaper, Kookmin Ilbo, said that each of the eight “nth rooms” shared videos from three to four girls who had been blackmailed. The girls were lured by chatroom operators who promised modeling or escort jobs. Crypto Has Previously Been Praised by Pedophile Jeffrey Epstein While it’s not the problem of the crypto space, it is not the first instance when criminals prefer or praise Bitcoin and its brethren. Billionaire and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who was in the middle of a sex slave scandal that involved sex trafficking among many other horrific crimes, praised Bitcoin and the technology underpinning it. Interestingly, last year, MIT’s Media Lab director Joichi Ito was forced to resign after the New Yorker revealed that he attempted to hide financial contributions from Epstein. But besides managing MIT’s lab, Ito also set up the Digital Currency Initiative (DCI) at MIT, helping Bitcoin go through some of its most difficult days in 2015. At the time, when nonprofit Bitcoin Foundation experienced “funding constraints,” the DCI offered full-time positions to Bitcoin core developers, including Gavin Andresen, Cory Fields, and Wladimir van der Laan. Do you think that all crypto exchanges should get clients’ personal details? Share your thoughts in the comments section! Images via Shutterstock

Ripple-Backed Forte Adds 5 More Gaming Partners

Gaming ripple
Ripple partner Forte announced that it had teamed up with five game developers to leverage its blockchain platform for mobile and PC games. Forte Partners with Makers of Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid, Smite Forte, a blockchain platform provider and a partner of Ripple, announced that it had reached agreements with five game developers to create blockchain-based games. Forte’s new partners are Hi-Rez Studio, Magmic, Netmarble, nWay, and DECA Games. The five companies are pretty well-established. For instance, Hi-Rez Studios is maker of Smite, Netmarble created Marble Future Fight, nWay is known for Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid, while Magmic is behind card games like Simple Spades. Previously, Forte joined forces with other game developers, including Other Ocean, Disruptor Beam, and Kongregate. Last year, Forte and Ripple launched a $100 million fund to invest in developers that create games based on blockchain. The recent partnership will see the five developers adopting Forte’s blockchain platform for various games. The technology can be used to authenticate rewards and digital items like virtual goods or game characters. Forte’s VP of Marketing Kaiser Hwang told Forbes that gaming represents an ideal use case for the distributed ledger technology (DLT). Games today already involve millions of players participating both in a community and an economy. Blockchain technology allows developers to safely and securely provide players a way to own in-game assets, trade with each other, and even earn income through playing with each other. The technology offers ways to address many economic issues found in the games industry today by unlocking more equitable and sustainable business models. What’s In It For Ripple? The Ripple community was somewhat surprised last year when it found out that the company led by Brad Garlinghouse would deal with Forte. Ripple is usually focused on banking partnerships. Nevertheless, the two announced the $100 million fund to invest in game developers. While Forte representatives said that it couldn’t speak on behalf of Ripple, they admitted that the latter is confident about the future of blockchain in the gaming industry. Hwang stated: Ripple is a close and valued partner of ours. While we operate separately and can’t speak directly for them, we both believe in a future for games that is open and interoperable. That’s why we’re leveraging open source protocols like Interledger, which seamlessly facilitates cross-chain transactions, in our platform. This directly benefits game developers by letting them focus on creating great experiences instead of worrying about a particular technology or the need to become an expert in blockchain. What do you think about Forte’s deal with Ripple? Share your thoughts in the comments section! Image via Shutterstock

Russia Proposes Legalizing Crypto For Regulatory Sandboxes

Russia to Invest in Blockchain, Potential Benefit Valued at $17.5B
Russia’s Ministry of Economic Development has proposed a bill on “regulatory sandboxes” that seeks the legalization of blockchain and cryptocurrencies, according to local media agency Izvestia. Sandbox Participants Will Be Exempted From Certain Requirements The bill on “regulatory sandboxes” was submitted last week to the State Duma (Russia’s parliament). The document discusses eight industries that can benefit from deregulation when introducing new digital technologies. The list includes healthcare, transport, distance education, trade, finance, construction, manufacturing, and public services. Representatives of the “regulatory sandboxes” might be exempted from many requirements that are stipulated in a separate “satellite” bill. When it comes to blockchain and cryptocurrencies, Russia’s Ministry of Economic Development proposes a number of exceptions to the current laws “on Bank and Banking Activities” and “On the Central Bank.” Also, the Ministry suggests that participants of the sandboxes be exempt from a range of requirements aimed at financial institutions. If the bill is approved, the sandbox participants may also count on easing currency regulation and supervision. They will have the right not to follow the current rules on foreign exchange transactions between residents and non-residents. Also, they might abide by the rules for the import and export of money. The draft bill says that the Bank of Russia would be monitoring the sandbox, though the central bank didn’t respond to requests for comments. How Will Russia’s Regulatory Sandboxes Work? For those unfamiliar, regulatory sandboxes are frameworks established by governments and regulators that enable fintechs and other innovation-oriented entities to carry out live experiments in a controlled environment. The regulation is often updated and manipulated to consider the unique, often unprecedented aspects of innovative technologies. In Russia, there will be no territorial restrictions for regulatory sandboxes. The Ministry of Economic Development has previously stressed that regulatory sandboxes could be established both throughout the country and within its federal subjects. The Ministry said that sandboxes would be a win-win both for the government and businesses. The former would be able to quickly implement new regulations throughout Russia if the trials are successful. For fintechs, this would be an opportunity to test innovation without fear of breaking the law. What do you think about the Ministry’s proposal? Share your thoughts in the comments section! Image via Shutterstock

3 Reasons Why Bitcoin Price is Bullish Right Now

3 Reasons Why bitcoin Markets Have Crashed Today
Bitcoin price has jumped over 15% during the last 24 hours, currently trading above $6,700. Here are three main reasons behind the surge: Congress Discuss Digital Dollar by Fed to Fight Crisis House Democrats proposed two bills that revolve around the creation of a digital dollar and digital wallets, so that the Federal Reserve (Fed) could transfer digital cash directly to individuals and businesses. The move is meant to support the economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as the US is only after China and Italy by the number of confirmed cases. The draft bills are called “Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act” and the “Financial Protections and Assistance for America’s Consumers, States, Businesses, and Vulnerable Populations Act.” According to authors of the legislation, the Fed would use a digital USD and digital wallets to transfer money to “qualified individuals,” which amount $1,000 for minors and $2,000 for adults. Both draft documents use the same definition for the digital dollar: The term ‘digital dollar’ shall mean a balance expressed as a dollar value consisting of digital ledger entries that are recorded as liabilities in the accounts of any Federal Reserve bank; or an electronic unit of value, redeemable by an eligible financial institution (as determined by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System). The law might be supported by Congress, and the Fed wouldn’t mind since it previously admitted that it was thinking about issuing a digital currency. Fed Pumping Unlimited Cash; Stocks, Bitcoin React Yesterday, the Fed surprised the market when it announced its unlimited support for the economy. Besides buying more Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities, the central bank would also buy corporate bonds and related exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Johnny Fine, Goldman Sachs’ head of Investment Grade Bonds told CNBC: This is unprecedented action by the Fed. Wow. The Fed will be buying investment grade corp bond #ETFs like presumably $LQD $VCIT $SPIB. These funds have diversification and liquidity but demand for underlying bonds has weakened. This is a whole new world. https://t.co/LflFWLGOiX — Todd Rosenbluth (@ToddCFRA) March 23, 2020 The Fed will buy corporate bonds under a program called the Secondary Market Corporate Credit Facility. The Fed’s unlimited quantitative easing boosted stock markets, which encouraged many institutional investors to look through other assets, including Bitcoin. China Has Almost Beaten COVID; Potential Cure Tested Worldwide China has reported zero local cases for several days in a row, though the number of imported cases increases. Nevertheless, businesses in many regions are reviving. However, many are skeptical of China’s reporting, and there are concerns that the imported cases might spark another wave. Another sign of hope is the antimalarial drug called hydroxychloroquine, which was recently touted by US President Donald Trump. The drug, which has been around for over 70 years, has been successfully used against COVID-19 in many hospitals in China, South Korea, and in France. However, many experts warn that the drug and its predecessor, chloroquine, haven’t been officially approved as a COVID treatment. Moreover, several people got poisoned and even died of overdose by taking chloroquine after Trump’s comments. While the drug is known to have potentially severe side effects especially when the dosage is ignored, many trials have already started in Europe as it is among few medications that showed impressive results against the new coronavirus. Do you think Bitcoin can break above $7,000 soon? Share your expectations in the comments section! Images via Shutterstock, Twitter @ToddCFRA

1 in 9 Indonesians Now Own Cryptocurrency, Report

Indonesia government crypto bitcoin ban
About 11% of all Indonesians own some form of cryptocurrency, according to a recent report by Hootsuite, which cited GlobalWebIndex. 11% of Indonesians Own Cryptocurrency as Fiat Currency Devalues With over 270 million people, Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world, and the fact that 1 out of 9 citizens own cryptocurrency demonstrates a rapidly expanding adoption level. Indonesia is the sixth country by crypto adoption, only behind the Philippines, Brazil, South Africa, Thailand, and Nigeria. The Philippines leads the top with 17% of the population owning some cryptocurrency. Indonesia is on the 6th place by crypto adoption. More Indonesians prefer to hold crypto as the national currency, Indonesian rupee (IDR), is gradually devaluing. It fell against the US dollar to the lowest since 1998 and might update the record low soon. Since the start of the year, USD/IDR surged by about 20%, which is really a lot for a fiat pair. Most of the losses have been suffered this month amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The 11% figure is impressive considering that only about 64% of Indonesians have access to the internet from any device. Is Data Accurate? The report was discussed on Twitter, though not everyone agreed with the figures. Some locals said that it is highly unlikely that 11% of Indonesians own cryptocurrency, as the number is exaggerated. Indonesian here. The numbers are pretty misleading i think, as they might take 2017 bull run into account for calculating the 11%. In actual, there are so many fake accounts who signed up to the largest crypto exchange back to 2017, just to receive an airdrop. # sud be below 0.5% — Douglas Tan (@DouglasTan30) March 23, 2020 The same report says that about 7% of the world population owns at least some Bitcoin or some of the altcoins. This means that more than 546 millions of people around the world own cryptocurrency. That figure is way higher than other estimations. For example, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong believes that there should be around 50 million crypto users worldwide. A recent chart published by Statista shows that there were almost 45 million blockchain wallet users as of the last quarter of 2019. Also, there are over 21 million Bitcoin wallets holding at least $1, according to BitInfoCharts data. All in all, it’s true that Indonesia is at the front of cryptocurrency adoption. Do you think that more than 27 million Indonesians own crypto? Share your thoughts in the comments section! Images via Shutterstock

Huobi, OKEx Offer Angry Crypto Traders Compensation

Huobi, OKEx Offer Angry Crypto Traders Compensation
Huobi and OKEx have announced that they will be compensating traders who lost funds due to system failure during the crypto market crash two weeks ago. Huobi Calms Down Unsatisfied Traders Crypto exchanges were not prepared for the crypto crash on March 12, and some platforms encountered temporary technical difficulties. Huobi and OKEx were among the exchanges that went down due to congestion, causing many traders to suffer significant losses. The two Chinese exchanges, whose main headquarters are in Singapore and Malta, respectively, formed teams to process clients’ complaints and potentially offer compensation. On Monday, March 23, some unknown persons even gathered in front of Huobi China’s office and charged the company of disregarding their rights. However, a Huobi spokesperson told local media that some participants of the gathering were not even Huobi Global clients, while others didn’t make any operations during the market crash on March 12. Still, four of them were Huobi Global users indeed and could prove to have attempting transactions on that gloomy day. We have arranged a special person to follow up, the company said. Huobi stressed that many platforms were down during the plunge due to the extreme conditions. The spokesperson said: After repeated verification by the team during this period, the trading system of Huobi Global has basically remained stable. While the system’s engine has been responsible for a certain range of delays in transactions, it didn’t affect the normal operation. Nevertheless, Huobi has set up a special team to process all complaints. Any of those who lost funds due to the system problem can address their complaint at support@huobigroup.com. OKEx Has Already Reached Affected Users Elsewhere, Malta-based OKEx also experienced difficulties on March 12. However, they “immediately repaired the system and resumed normal operations within a short period of time.” The company said that it had investigated the root cause and made sure that such incidents wouldn’t happen again. Also, any user whose transactions with perpetual contracts failed due to the system will receive compensation. OKEx said that its customer support team has already started to get in touch with clients who traded during that day. The company stated, Currently, we have already communicated with most of the affected users and have reached a mutually satisfactory solution Even though the trading systems must be resilient, crypto exchanges shouldn’t be blamed for recent incidents. Stock platforms like Robinhood and even the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) itself have experienced short-term disruptions. Have your lost crypto funds due to system failure? Share your experience in the comments section! Image via Shutterstock

Bitcoin Still Months Away From Recovery, Fundstrat Analyst

Bitcoin Still Months Away From Recovery, Fundstrat Says
Bitcoin might need several months to recover from its recent crash, according to a recent report published by Fundstrat Global Advisors. Bitcoin Needs Time to Repair Serious Damage The technicals behind the Bitcoin price are not in good shape, as per Fundstrat’s report published yesterday, though the cryptocurrency has already surged over 13% since then. Nevertheless, the oldest cryptocurrency is still 36% down from its February peak at over $10,300. The recent crash triggered by a steep decline in traditional markets caused Bitcoin to break below its five-year uptrend. Fundstrat’s technical analyst, Rob Sluymer, says that the price action has been badly compromised. For now, technically we will again give Bitcoin the benefit of the doubt that it is attempting to bottom but recognize Bitcoin will likely need months of consolidation to repair the technical damage now in place, Sluymer explained: The crypto breakdown over the past week mirrored the ‘get me out of everything’ panic that dominated all asset classes, whether they were defensive (bonds and gold) or not (equities). Lower highs and lower lows are in place for Bitcoin, leaving in a compromised, potentially vulnerable longer-term profile. Despite everything, the situation is not that bad. The cryptocurrency managed to stay above its 200-week moving average. According to Fundstrat’s analyst, this is a crucial long-term support level for most assets. It has worked well for Bitcoin during similar crashed in 2015 and 2018. Recovery Has Already Started Confidently   Bitcoin is already showing clear signs that it wants to fix the issue. On Wednesday, the cryptocurrency started to move independently from traditional assets as the latter ones were testing new lows. The digital coin was steady for more than a week before jumping over 20% on Thursday, which was the biggest single-day gain since October last year. On Friday, Bitcoin has extended the rally, peaking at $6,838. When Bitcoin was trading just above $6,000, Vijay Ayyar, a senior executive of crypto exchange Luno, told Bloomberg that the digital currency could touch $6,500 and then find a range between $3,000 and $6,000 as the market is getting closer to the halving event. He said: This is classic redistribution and would be very healthy for future Bitcoin price action and if we were to have bullish momentum going forward. Do you think Bitcoin will go back below $6,000 soon? Share your expectations in the comments section! Image via Shutterstock

Bank of England Cancels Stress Test for UK Banks, Too Afraid to Fail?

bank of england digital currency crypto
On Friday, the Bank of England (BoE) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) cancelled the 2020 stress test of eight major British banks and building societies, citing the emergency situation amid the coronavirus outbreak. This is another example of how governments are supporting the banking systems while the crypto market is on its own.  Test “Would Be Stupid,” Bank Executives Say Every year, the central bank checks whether the major banks are strong enough to resist a financial crisis. Specifically, the BoE calculates if the tested banks hold sufficient capital to withstand a hypothetical crisis and are able to absorb losses. However, given that the coronavirus pandemic has already triggered a real crisis, the central bank found it unnecessary to hold the annual test scheduled for the end of this month. But are the banks really prepared for the worse? The list of banks that should have been under review includes Barclays, HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), and Lloyds Bank, among others. The BoE’s decision to skip this year’s test comes a week after the European Union’s regulators delayed their 2020 stress test and eased capital rules. The EU test would have checked both Barclays and HSBC. In light of the EU’s decision, British banks required the BoE to ignore its test, with executives saying that “it would be stupid to run a stress test during a stress. Let’s concentrate on this situation rather than a hypothetical one.” The executives also asked the BoE to lift a newly introduced accounting rule called IFRS 9, which requires banks to book bad loans before the losses are actually incurred. Given the current virus outbreak, the UK is facing a sharp economic decline, which increases the number of bad loans. The central bank said that it “continues to consider the potential interaction of COVID-19 with IFRS 9…. and expects to provide further guidance to firms regarding our approach next week.” BoE’s 2019 Stress Test Showed British Banks Were Resilient While the Bank of England hasn’t decided on the IFRS rule yet, the central bank cancelled the test. It said that the previous one showed that the banking system was resilient “to deep simultaneous recessions in the UK and global economies that are more severe overall than the global financial crisis, combined with large falls in asset prices and a separate stress of misconduct costs.” However, the last year’s test showed that the situation was already deteriorating at the banks. The BoE’s report for 2019 reads: Losses on corporate exposures are higher than in previous tests, reflecting some deterioration in asset quality and a more severe global scenario. Despite this, and weakness in banks’ underlying profitability (which reduces their ability to offset losses with earnings), all seven participating banks and building societies remain above their hurdle rates. Those who invested in the stocks of major banks should know that their resilience during a crisis comes at the expense of significant cuts in dividend payments, employee remuneration, and coupon payments. This comes on top of the major decline in the stock prices caused by the panic. Government Would Support Failing System Anyway Given the double standards of the financial world, even if the UK banking system wouldn’t be resilient enough, the government would save it. That’s how it worked during the previous global crisis. Elsewhere, the crypto market is on its own. During the last few days, the BoE and the British government led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson have taken unprecedented measures to stimulate the shaking economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the Brexit transition period. Yesterday, the central bank cut the interest rate to a record low of 0.1%. At the beginning of the month, the rate was at 0.75%. Meanwhile, the government announced a major package of financial stimulus, which in total is the equivalent to 15% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). Do you think the BoE should test major banks despite the current economic crisis? Share your thoughts in the comments section! Images via Shutterstock, YouTube: Bank of England

Bitcoin Price Breaks $6K, Biggest Daily Gain Since October

Bitcoin Price Breaks $6K, Biggest Daily Gain Since October
Bitcoin price has returned to growth after hovering slightly above $5,000 for more than a week. The largest crypto by market cap has gained over 20% during the last 24 hours, thus showing the largest single-day gain since October last year. Bitcoin Gains Over 20% to Trade Above $6,200 Bullish traders are cautiously buying crypto as the sentiment is improving in traditional markets as well. Bitcoin has been watching very closely how the other markets were doing, copying their moves during the coronavirus crisis. However, yesterday we saw the first signs that the digital currency had gained some independence and stood firm while stocks and oil prices tested new lows. Today, Bitcoin has extended its mini-rally and surged over 20% as per Coinmarketcap data, currently trading at $6,247. Today’s rebound in stocks and oil prices might have also contributed to the improving sentiment, as the US stock indexes bounced back once President Donald Trump discussed potentially effective drugs to be used against the COVID-19 disease. Elsewhere, WTI and Brent futures surged 21.40% and 12.90% respectively, as investors realized that crude had been wildly oversold. The crypto community has been worried that yesterday’s market carnage would eventually put pressure on Bitcoin as it has already happened several times this month. However, the cryptocurrency took the situation in hand and has consolidated above $6,000, at least for now. Earlier today, Bitcoinist discussed several bullish signals that proved the cryptocurrency was acting independently. Will Institutional Buyers Come Back? One of the reasons why Bitcoin crashed so hard is that institutional investors left the market en masse in a hurry to seek cash amid the coronavirus panic. When the markets calm down, it’s likely they will try to get back their exposure to the cryptocurrency. However, it’s too early to give some predictions at the moment. The markets are in a very difficult situation, with most analysts expecting a global recession. In fact, Bitcoin is not necessarily driven by whales at the moment. The king of crypto is currently bullish because most fiat currencies are crashing, with many investors moving to the US dollar as a safe-haven. GBP/USD fell to the lowest level since 1980. Also, the Aussie Dollar and Japanese Yen tumbled against the US dollar to multi-year lows. The global recession is looming, and people are looking for the best form of cash to preserve their savings. Besides the US dollar, which is the main beneficiary at the moment, Bitcoin is also winning from the forex reshuffle. When do you expect Bitcoin to return to $10,000? Share your expectations in the comments section! Image via Shutterstock, Coinmarketcap

Wells Fargo at it Again, Faces Suit Over 401(k) Plan Violations

Wells Fargo at it Again, Faces Suit Over 401(k) Plan Violations
US bank Wells Fargo, which previously banned its clients from buying Bitcoin and other digital currencies due to “high volatility and risks,” is being sued by a former employee who charges it with mismanaging its 401k plan. Wells Fargo Accused of Violating ERISA Rules Participants of a retirement savings plan offered by Wells Fargo sued the banking giant and fiduciaries, claiming that the executives violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) by using some of its own investments while ignoring cheaper and potentially better-performing options. The plaintiffs, who seek a class-action suit, filed a complaint on March 13 in a US District Court in San Francisco, California. According to the file, defendants picked investments “that benefited Wells Fargo & Co. and its subsidiaries and executives.” Yvonne Becker, a former Wells Fargo employee, says that the bank filled its 401k plan with expensive, underperforming investments that ultimately paid fees to itself. She filed the suit against Wells Fargo, its board of directors, two committees, and fiduciaries including Galliard Capital Management. Defendants selected and retained Wells Fargo products over materially identical, yet cheaper, non-proprietary alternatives, She added, They selected Wells Fargo products that had no performance history that could form the basis of a fiduciary’s objective decision-making process, the plaintiffs concluded. Despite sustained underperformance, the defendants failed to remove proprietary funds. Becker was one of more than 344,000 participants in Wells Fargo’s $40 billion plan. One of the products denounced by the plaintiffs was a target-date series that used a collective investment trust that was added to the plan four years ago. The series “had no prior performance history or track record which could demonstrate that they were appropriate funds for the plan,” according to the lawsuit. The Bank Clearly Doesn’t Care About Clients or Employees It’s not the first time when the US banking giant mistreats or disregards its clients and even its own employees. Last month, the bank agreed to pay $3 billion to settle criminal charges related to the fake accounts scandal. For more than 14 years, the bank opened accounts on behalf of clients without their consent and knowledge, forged signatures, set up fake personal IDs, and even transferred customers’ funds without their permission. Two CEOs stepped down as the scandal went on. This mess has been gradually created by Wells Fargo’s employees who were required to reach sales targets that went higher every year. Senior executives didn’t care if the goals were exaggerated. Major banks have already lost their credibility after the 2008 crisis, but many of them have never ceased to impress us with their wrongdoings until this day. Do you think technologies like blockchain will bring transparency to the banking industry? Share your thoughts in the comments section! Image via Shutterstock

Bitcoin Crash Was Caused By This Group, Chainalysis Report

Bitcoin sees 5 largest hourly price crash
While many retail investors sold their Bitcoin holdings either partially or fully, the crypto market has been dragged down by institutional or professional investors, according to data provided by Chainalysis. Whales Drive Surging Volumes on Crypto Exchanges A recent report from Chainalysis showed that trading volumes on crypto exchanges surged to new all-time highs, mostly driven by bears. Starting on March 9, exchanges worldwide note an unprecedented activity from those who want to sell Bitcoin. The blockchain analytics firm said that the exchanges it tracked had received about 475,000 more Bitcoin than average on March 12 and 13, which is nine times higher than usual. The Bitcoin exodus came amid a general panic caused by the coronavirus pandemic, which has hit major economies. Stock markets, oil, and other traditional assets are tumbling to new low, with central bankers pumping cash without limits. While Bitcoin is generally regarded as a safe-haven, especially in moments of crises, the cryptocurrency has lost half of its value from February peaks. Unsurprisingly, it seems that the largest crypto has been mostly dumped by institutional investors. They’re the ones who have been always welcomed to drive the market to the next level. Chainalysis found that transfers of 10-100 and 100-1,000 BTC accounted for about 70% of all Bitcoin sent and received by crypto exchanges in recent days, which is slightly higher share than usual. Interestingly, about 10% of Bitcoin was from transfers of over 1,000 BTC. These trends suggest that the deeper pocketed professional traders and investors were driving the market, but they were joined, both on the selling and the buying, by a large number of retail holders, the report reads. Will Bitcoin Price Stabilize? Now that most of the institutional investors left, will retail holders manage to keep the market on their shoulders? Indeed, Bitcoin has been moving sideways since last Thursday, while the US and European stock markets, along with oil futures, tumbled to new lows. The oldest crypto has even recovered some of the recent losses, posting a 4% gain as of 9:20 AM UTC. Given the uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s hard to predict where the bitcoin market will go next, Chainalysis concluded. Nevertheless, when the panic goes away, whales will come back again to push the crypto market higher. Do you think Bitcoin will recover by the end of this year? Share your expectations in the comments section! Image via Shutterstock

Stock and Oil Markets Unravel Further, is Bitcoin Next?

Stock and Oil Markets Unravel Further, Is Bitcoin Next?
Stock and oil markets extended their decline to new lows on Wednesday, as investors are in a rush to cash in amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Bitcoin has shown a striking correlation to the stock market during the last few weeks, but it has ignored today’s crash, maintaining above $5,100. Will it manage to resist the pressure? S&P 500 Tumbles to Lowest in 3 Years, Oil Prices Crash to 18-Year Lows Recently, Bitcoinist pointed out that Bitcoin’s performance often followed Dow and S&P 500 indexes, which are the most representative for the US stock market. However, the largest cryptocurrency has moved sideways since last Friday, showing unusual stability amid significant losses recorded by traditional assets. The S&P 500 fell almost 8% as of 6:35 PM UTC, updating the lowest level since February 2017. Elsewhere, Dow Jones slipped nearly 10% to the lowest since November 2016. Both indexes have lost about 30% from their February highs. The oil market also tanked again, at this time touching the lowest level in over 18 years. Brent futures tumbled over 11% at the time of writing, while WTI futures crashed over 22%. The two crude brands are currently trading at $25.40 and $21.28, respectively. Oil prices started to decline after Saudi Arabia effectively declared a price war against Russia, thus dissolving the OPEC+ alliance. The world’s largest oil producer cut its official oil sales prices and increased production in a period when oil demand sinks. Investors are dumping even those assets that have normally acted as safe-havens, including gold, silver, and government bonds. This demonstrates that everyone is looking for cash. The irony is that even cash is devalued, as central banks are cutting the interest rates in a coordinated effort and pumping money through quantitative easing. According to Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group, the selling of government bonds proves the market’s attitude has made a u-turn. He told the Wall Street Journal: Now that they’ve gotten around to U.S. Treasuries, that tells you that legitimately nothing is safe. There’s no place to hide other than cash. Is Bitcoin a Good Refuge? Bitcoin has declined over 1.5% in the last 24 hours, according to Coinmarketcap data, but that is a minor move for the digital currency. Bitcoin (red) compared to S&P 500 (candles) and WTI oil. While the king of crypto could oppose today’s market carnage, it may test fresh lows tomorrow or in the coming days, because the panic doesn’t seem to have a bottom. The number of coronavirus infections just surpassed 200,000, more than doubling in the last two weeks. Governments are implementing travel bans, causing entire industries to suffer. Instinet’s executive director Frank Cappelleri commented: It’s happening so fast, it’s almost too much to grasp at this point. It’s at the point where if you check the futures at nighttime and you’re not limit down, it’s a relief. Some analysts are expecting Bitcoin to tumbled to as low as $1,000 if the $3,000 level is broken. #Bitcoin’s price floor is $2K, while $2.8K should not worry traders if it appears in the next few weeks or months, says Tone Vays. This is complete nonsense. 3k is the floor and if we break below then it's down to 1k.#BTC $BTC #ToneVays — Weiss Crypto Ratings (@WeissCrypto) March 18, 2020 It remains to be seen whether Bitcoin will act as a safe-haven when the panic squeezes the markets even more. On BitMEX, March 27 and June 26 futures are trading above $5,200, which shows that investors are still confident at this point. However, the only certain thing is that nothing is safe at the moment. Yet, even if Bitcoin is about to test new lows, it will be the first asset to bounce back when the panic goes away. It means that we can get it at a discount price now. Do you think Bitcoin will drop below $5,000 later this week amid the general panic? Share your expectations in the comments section! Image via Shutterstock, Investing.com

Stock and Oil Markets Unravel Further, is Bitcoin Next?

Stock and Oil Markets Unravel Further, Is Bitcoin Next?
Stock and oil markets extended their decline to new lows on Wednesday, as investors are in a rush to cash in amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Bitcoin has shown a striking correlation to the stock market during the last few weeks, but it has ignored today’s crash, maintaining above $5,100. Will it manage to resist the pressure? S&P 500 Tumbles to Lowest in 3 Years, Oil Prices Crash to 18-Year Lows Recently, Bitcoinist pointed out that Bitcoin’s performance often followed Dow and S&P 500 indexes, which are the most representative for the US stock market. However, the largest cryptocurrency has moved sideways since last Friday, showing unusual stability amid significant losses recorded by traditional assets. The S&P 500 fell almost 8% as of 6:35 PM UTC, updating the lowest level since February 2017. Elsewhere, Dow Jones slipped nearly 10% to the lowest since November 2016. Both indexes have lost about 30% from their February highs. The oil market also tanked again, at this time touching the lowest level in over 18 years. Brent futures tumbled over 11% at the time of writing, while WTI futures crashed over 22%. The two crude brands are currently trading at $25.40 and $21.28, respectively. Oil prices started to decline after Saudi Arabia effectively declared a price war against Russia, thus dissolving the OPEC+ alliance. The world’s largest oil producer cut its official oil sales prices and increased production in a period when oil demand sinks. Investors are dumping even those assets that have normally acted as safe-havens, including gold, silver, and government bonds. This demonstrates that everyone is looking for cash. The irony is that even cash is devalued, as central banks are cutting the interest rates in a coordinated effort and pumping money through quantitative easing. According to Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group, the selling of government bonds proves the market’s attitude has made a u-turn. He told the Wall Street Journal: Now that they’ve gotten around to U.S. Treasuries, that tells you that legitimately nothing is safe. There’s no place to hide other than cash. Is Bitcoin a Good Refuge? Bitcoin has declined over 1.5% in the last 24 hours, according to Coinmarketcap data, but that is a minor move for the digital currency. Bitcoin (red) compared to S&P 500 (candles) and WTI oil. While the king of crypto could oppose today’s market carnage, it may test fresh lows tomorrow or in the coming days, because the panic doesn’t seem to have a bottom. The number of coronavirus infections just surpassed 200,000, more than doubling in the last two weeks. Governments are implementing travel bans, causing entire industries to suffer. Instinet’s executive director Frank Cappelleri commented: It’s happening so fast, it’s almost too much to grasp at this point. It’s at the point where if you check the futures at nighttime and you’re not limit down, it’s a relief. Some analysts are expecting Bitcoin to tumbled to as low as $1,000 if the $3,000 level is broken. #Bitcoin’s price floor is $2K, while $2.8K should not worry traders if it appears in the next few weeks or months, says Tone Vays. This is complete nonsense. 3k is the floor and if we break below then it's down to 1k.#BTC $BTC #ToneVays — Weiss Crypto Ratings (@WeissCrypto) March 18, 2020 It remains to be seen whether Bitcoin will act as a safe-haven when the panic squeezes the markets even more. On BitMEX, March 27 and June 26 futures are trading above $5,200, which shows that investors are still confident at this point. However, the only certain thing is that nothing is safe at the moment. Yet, even if Bitcoin is about to test new lows, it will be the first asset to bounce back when the panic goes away. It means that we can get it at a discount price now. Do you think Bitcoin will drop below $5,000 later this week amid the general panic? Share your expectations in the comments section! Image via Shutterstock, Investing.com

New Coinbase Rival Launches Crypto Exchange, Visa Card

New Coinbase Rival Launches Crypto Exchange, Visa Card
US-based cryptocurrency exchange CoinZoom has officially launched its crypto exchange platform and Visa card. CoinZoom Allows Users to Spend Crypto with Visa Cards CoinZoom has just officially deployed its crypto exchange platform and Visa card that allows users to buy, sell and spend Bitcoin and other digital coins. The Utah-based company is registered with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) as a Money Services Business. The CoinZoom Visa Card lets clients convert their crypto holdings to fiat within seconds and spend it at over 50 million Visa merchants worldwide. The card directly connects to the platform’s customer account. Clients can pre-select the digital wallet they want to debit when they use the card. They can choose between their fiat and crypto wallet. The latter can hold dozens of digital currencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP, and Litecoin. The CoinZoom Visa Card implements established as well as new credit card technologies, including PIN, chip, contactless payments, and withdrawals from ATMs. Whenever a card holder makes a payment, CoinZoom’s authorization engine converts cryptocurrencies to USD in real-time. CoinZoom founder CEO Todd Crosland commented: We are extremely pleased to work with Visa as we launch CoinZoom. Visa’s dominance as a global leader in digital payments, is a tremendous asset as CoinZoom begins to reshape the global cryptocurrency marketplace. Our goal is to provide cryptocurrency traders with the best platform for buying, selling, and spending digital assets. Besides convenience, customers may obtain up to 5% card rewards back on every purchase. ZoomMe Feature Allows P2P Transactions Worldwide Besides the Visa card, CoinZoom’s exchange platform offers unique features, including a free peer-to-peer (P2P) crypto and fiat payment system called ZoomMe. This feature allows users to send crypto and fiat to friends all over the world without any commission. The desktop trading platform has an alternative for clients who use iOS devices. CoinZoomPro is an advanced iOS trading app that enables customers to buy, sell, send, and spend digital currencies. It seems that crypto-related credit and debit cards are becoming the norm. Yesterday, we reported that Coinbase made its Visa-based debit card compatible with Google Pay. Do you think CoinZoom has the potential to overtake Coinbase? Share your expectations in the comments section!   Image via Shutterstock