Nancy Pelosi’s Democratic Primary Challenger Wants Your Bitcoin

Congressional hopeful Agatha Bacelar is the latest dark-horse politician to join in on the Bitcoin campaign trail. The San Francisco-based Democrat is mounting a primary challenge to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and hopes to drum up support for a $1 million cryptocurrency campaign bankroll. Agatha Bacelar Guns for the Tech Vote in Democratic Primary Bacelar […]

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Are Trading Vehicles Dragging Crypto Into Maturity?

Crypto derivatives have significant implications on the young market, but are they positive, negative or too difficult to predict?

Just a decade ago, speculating on cryptocurrency prices meant figuring out a way to buy Bitcoin (BTC) and add it to your blockchain wallet. This was a feat that was worthy of bragging rights: In 2010, there were few exchanges, low liquidity and barely any infrastructure, meaning that crypto was less a financial instrument and more a digital novelty. 

Larger centralized exchanges unlocked the idea that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have relative value and made it possible to speculate on their value versus fiat currency. Since then, a slow proliferation of a variety of crypto derivatives has transpired. This has given traders many new ways to mobilize their capital in the young ecosystem.

The newness of cryptocurrency and its unique decentralized characteristics mean that new financial instruments and their terms are introduced gradually to the ecosystem, and with effects that are hard to predict. It’s actually an excellent experiment in how money markets mature and change when ideas considered old by the fiat market are initiated. 

There are many instruments for enterprise Bitcoin traders that now exist, raising important fundamental questions while giving us a glimpse of where the crypto market as a whole may end up.

Theoretical side to derivatives

derivative is a financial instrument that can be used by traders to speculate in different ways on the underlying asset. It is literally “derived” from something else. In the case of Bitcoin — a scarce asset that can only be minted by mining blocks to support the blockchain — the notion that one can go long on Bitcoin without directly purchasing or mining has significant implications. 

Not only is much of Bitcoin’s value derived from scarcity due to its mining difficulty but to own BTC means you’d have control over its associated private key. If derivative traders are trading Bitcoin they don’t own, exposure is possible without buying physical BTC. In this case, is the fundamental value of blockchain being mortgaged for the promise of easier speculation?

However, some of the most mature market places, such as equity markets, maintain their integrity despite an enormous and more diverse derivatives market. In fact, the proliferation and maturity of derivatives may even be what’s holding back crypto from achieving the status and market capitalization it deserves. The CEO and founder of a BTC options and futures exchange, John Jansen, told Cointelegraph:

"In the past, traders have been afraid of the impact of incumbent markets launching BTC derivatives. While I can understand where the fear is coming from, I don't agree with it. I truly believe in the benefits of derivatives for the entire ecosystem and that they are essential for institutional adoption. With liquidity on the rise, more 'adoption doors' are finally opening."

What form does adoption take for derivatives?

There are many emerging cryptocurrency derivatives, some launched by well-known financial firms in the fiat money market and some new ones with new value-added blockchain elements. These come in many shapes and sizes and allow various strategies to be pursued in the crypto market. For example, the first derivative milestone for Bitcoin was the launch of futures contracts on the Chicago Board Options Exchange in late 2017. 

The XBT instrument, as well as the other futures offering from CME, are cash-settled contracts that use BTC prices from other sources. This means they’re effectively separate from the blockchain and Bitcoin itself, and so supply of BTC remains untouched regardless of demand for XBT futures.

Related: First Week of Bakkt: Slow Start Unlikely to Dampen Long-Term Prospects

Bakkt is a new exchange venture from Intercontinental Exchange — or, ICE — that recently launched to offer physically settled Bitcoin futures in traditional markets. What this means is that the first brick in the path to institutional investment in BTC has been laid. The pension funds and venture capital firms already investing in the underlying asset can hedge their positions — and instead of realizing gains or losses in cash, the result of their positions simply affects a Bitcoin balance. This means these are the first futures to stimulate the supply and demand equation inherent in Bitcoin’s price momentum.

Options are a newer type of instrument yet to be deployed by big exchanges like CME, but they’re planned for the first quarter of 2020, pending regulatory review. Seed CX has recently announced its intention to take it a step further, with physically settled swap contracts on BTC futures, adding leverage into the picture. 

This will give people who buy futures contracts a way to buy or sell them at specifically executed price points and on margin, expanding the ways in which individuals and institutions manage their capital when crypto is involved.

The future of decentralized derivatives

Half the battle for new derivatives and crypto instruments has been tied to figuring out how to loop in the traditional fiat economy, and it’s a testament to this struggle that it took Bakkt until 2019 to create the first derivative to link these two worlds. However, now that there are enough infrastructure and custody solutions available, as well as transparency about tax liability, institutions have begun dabbling in crypto in larger numbers. 

Related: 10 Global Enterprises Looking to Issue Their Own Cryptos

Soon, new derivative instruments allowing exchanges to settle in physical BTC will be available to the wider public using special products like exchange-traded notes (ETNs). The CEO of asset management firm Iconic Holding, Patrick Lowry, told Cointelegraph:

“An ETN will be the first genuine exchange traded product with crypto as the underlying that we will see in regulated marketplaces. It’s the perfect investment product to facilitate the adoption of crypto as an asset class with institutions as it tracks the performance of Bitcoin or another crypto one-to-one, provides superior liquidity relative to the exchange traded certificates available today, and provides many institutional managers an International Securities Identification Number (ISIN) so they may legally diversify their portfolio into crypto.”

A maturing market and a mysterious future

As liquidity due to derivatives increases, economists have estimated that crypto markets will be less volatile, providing a more enticing lure for funds that wish to expose their capital to inclusive growth strategies. 

At the end of the day, derivatives are meant to control risk as much as they’re good at encouraging speculation, and their comfortability and fast growth in crypto is a characteristic that undoubtedly resembles development. It’s easy to say that incumbent fiat ideas have changed crypto. 

Now, as new derivatives like the upcoming OKEx margin futures for Tether (USDT) encroach on similar instruments in the forex market, questions arise about how the small upstart market will affect the old, established one. If we know anything for certain, however, it’s that with crypto, we must learn as we go.

Early Arrival of Ethereum’s Istanbul Hard Fork Causes Testnet Split

Ethereum’s system-wide activation of the Istanbul hard fork has arrived two days early and caused a split of the Ropsten testnet.

Ethereum’s system-wide activation of the Istanbul hard fork has arrived two days early and caused a split of the Ropsten testnet.

Huge miner pushing the non-forked chain

On Sept. 30, the community manager of the Ethereum Foundation, Hudson Jameson, explained on Twitter that there are miners still relying on the old Ropsten testnet, while others are already mining on the new one.

Cointelegraph previously reported that Jameson said that the testnet launch of the hard fork was scheduled to take place at the beginning of October. He added:

“For anyone listening in who doesn’t know how this works, we pick a block number that we estimate to be around the 2nd of October. [...] However, that might be one or two days behind or forward from that date based on how fast blocks are produced between now and then.”

However, blockchains are complex systems and their updates are difficult to predict precisely. Istanbul arrived two days earlier than expected, which was due to unusually fast block confirmation times, according to Jameson. 

Most of the miners on the Ropsten testnet network were unaware that Istanbul had arrived, which resulted in a split of the testnet between those mining on the newly upgraded chain and those continuing to mine on the old chain.

Team lead at the Ethereum Foundation Péter Szilágyi wrote on Twitter that “the Ropsten Ethereum testnet Istanbul forking is a bit unstable due to a huge miner pushing the non-forked chain.”

Jameson further pointed out that this is what testnets are for and that the Ropsten testnet will be unstable until “this all plays out.” It is unclear if this “hiccup” will have any effect on the Istanbul hard fork activation.

Ethereum blockchain almost full?

Cointelegraph previously reported that Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin fears the Ethereum blockchain is almost full, which could keep potential contributors from joining. He added:

“Scalability is a big bottleneck because the Ethereum blockchain is almost full. If you’re a bigger organization, the calculus is that if we join, it will not only be more full but we will be competing with everyone for transaction space. It’s already expensive and it will be even five times more expensive because of us.”

What Defines Ripple’s Engineering Culture

Have you ever been part of a team that you genuinely wanted to hang out with outside of work? This is a rare experience at most companies, but at Ripple you are surrounded by friends and family. 

As a member of the product and engineering team, this is just one aspect that makes our team successful. Building on top of Ripple’s culture and company values, the team has established three core principles that permeate every decision we make to achieve our organizational goal—change how the world moves money.

We Are Team Players 
Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse has a saying, “there are no jerks allowed here.” This is really the case at Ripple. Our team is built on comradery and collaboration—it is never “I” when solving a problem, it is always “we.” Each team member is ready to roll up their sleeves and help their teammates at any given moment. 

We Are Transparent 
Ripple is direct, open and embraces tough conversations. Every Monday, a member of our executive team shares visibility into the organization’s inner workings. The level of transparency provided is rare for any company and ensures the entire organization has a clear understanding of our mission and the decisions being made to get us there. 

We Have Fun
Genuine friendships are created at Ripple. We are on a journey together and we celebrate the milestones through regular team and company-wide events, like overnight hackathons and family BBQs. 

In addition, a large part of what makes Ripple an exciting startup is the real impact that can be accomplished here. Unlike other startups, we have the resources to facilitate our efforts and solve a global problem. As a result, our main challenge is how we can think bigger and be even more innovative.  

How We Hire
At Ripple, we are rapidly scaling our business to enable freer, faster global value exchange. Today, we announced operations in Iceland to further expand our presence in Europe. In addition, we are thrilled to welcome a new team of engineers with the acqui-hire of Iceandic crypto trading firm Algrim.

At Ripple, we are rapidly scaling our business to enable freer, faster global value exchange. Today, we announced operations in Iceland to further expand our presence in Europe. In addition, we are thrilled to welcome a new team of engineers with the acqui-hire of Iceandic crypto trading firm Algrim.

Remarkable teams are being built at Ripple as a result of our company culture and principles. We look for teammates who love what they do and are passionate about solving a global problem that does not have a straightforward answer. Our ongoing success directly relates to the team we are building, our company values and collaborative culture.

Ripple is on a mission to transform global payments. The organization is made up of individuals who each bring something new to the team. Their experiences and backgrounds are different, allowing us to generate bold ideas and solutions together. 

Does this sound like a company and mission you’re interested in being a part of? We are hiring!

The post What Defines Ripple’s Engineering Culture appeared first on Ripple.

This article was originally published on: The Ripple Blog on 

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Bitcoin Forms Bullish Tweezer Bottom; Analyst Anticipates Swift Relief Rally

After incurring a sharp sell-off last night, Bitcoin’s bulls stepped up to the plate and were able to propel the crypto back into the lower-$8,000 region. This latest bout of volatility further confirms the notion that the upper-$7,000 region is a bastion of support for BTC.

Importantly, this price action also allowed the cryptocurrency to form a bullish formation that typically precedes long-term bottoms, although it is critical that BTC extends its upwards momentum in the near-term in order for this notion to be confirmed.

Bitcoin Pushes Back Above $8,000 After Brief Drop Towards $7,800 

At the time of writing, Bitcoin is trading up roughly 1% at its current price of $8,150, which marks a notable recovery from its daily lows of $7,800 that were set during the fleeting sell-off experienced by the aggregated crypto markets overnight.

Bitcoin’s sharp overnight sell-off that sent it down towards $7,800 was met with a sharp influx of buying pressure that has sparked what appears to be a short-term uptrend, as Bitcoin has now been able to begin climbing back towards fresh-multi-day highs.

In the near-term, how BTC responds to the mid-to-upper $8,000 region will be critical in determining whether or not the crypto will soon be able to reclaim its position within the five figures, or if it will face further consolidation around its current prices.

BTC Forms Bullish Tweezer Bottom 

Chonis Trading, a popular cryptocurrency analyst on Twitter, explained in a recent tweet that BTC formed a bullish tweezer bottom overnight that could ultimately prove to be a sign of trend reversal, assuming that bulls are able to extend the crypto’s current upwards momentum.

“$BTC – nice way to start the week #bitcoin … Retest last weeks lows and break it by $10 bucks, retouch MA100 and tweezer bounce… let’s see if she can build off this momentum,” he explained.

Cheds, another popular crypto analyst on Twitter, also spoke about this possibility, noting that there is still a significant amount of time left on BTC’s weekly chart until it is able to lock this bullish sign down.

“$BTC #Bitcoin – Weekly – Tweezer at lower BB would be just what the doctor ordered – However keep in mind there are still 6 days left,” he noted.

The comings hours and days may elucidate the long-term importance of this recent price action, as any extension of its current upwards momentum could spark a trend reversal that sends it surging higher.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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PUBG Mobile’s Walking Dead Mashup Brazenly Copies Fortnite Strategy

PUBG Mobile is taking a leaf out of Fortnite’s playbook, announcing today the start of a crossover event with AMC’s smash hit zombie series The Walking Dead. AMC, PUBG Corporation, and Chinese mobile gaming giant Tencent, which owns a stake in PUBG’s umbrella company, hit on a deal earlier this year. The crossover will run […]

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Price Analysis 30/09: BTC, ETH, XRP, BCH, LTC, EOS, BNB, BSV, XLM, LEO

Most major cryptocurrencies have stopped falling. They can start a pullback, which will offer buying opportunities for aggressive traders.

Various cryptocurrency operators have joined hands to launch a rating system that will define how close a digital asset resembles a security. On a scale of one to five, one will be awarded to cryptocurrencies that are  least characteristic of a security, whereas five will have the most similarities to a security. This rating system will provide clarity to asset managers who have stayed away due to the uncertain legal status of the cryptocurrencies.

When sentiment turns bearish, many negative voices can be heard. Mark Cuban has reiterated his negative stance on Bitcoin (BTC) and has said that he would rather hold bananas. While it is easy to follow the herd and turn negative, we believe that the current fall is showing signs that it might be a bear trap before the trend turns up once again.

Another important point to note is that the current pullback is being led by altcoins as Bitcoin’s dominance has dipped to 67.5%. This shows that bulls are finding a few altcoins attractive after the recent fall. We also find a few aggressive plays, which are counter-trend trades. Let’s consult the charts.

BTC/USD

Bitcoin again found buying support close to $7,700. This is a positive sign as it shows that bulls are keen to defend the critical support zone of $7,451.63–$7,337.78. The RSI continues to be in oversold territory, which suggests that a relief rally is likely. Any attempt to pull back is likely to face resistance at the moving averages, which are sloping down. The next dip toward $7,451.63 will confirm whether the bottom is in place.

Aggressive traders can keep a stop loss of $7,700. The first target objective is a rally to $9,080. A breakout of the moving averages will be a positive sign. The trend will turn positive on a breakout of the downtrend line.

Conversely, if the bears sink the BTC/USD pair below the $7,451.63–$7,337.78 zone, the sentiment will sour and will delay the next leg of the up move. However, we give it a low probability of occurring.

ETH/USD

Ether (ETH) has been trading above the critical support of $163.755 for the past three days. This is a positive sign as it shows buying at current levels. The positive divergence on the RSI also shows strength.

The pair has broken out of the immediate resistance of $176.445, which is a positive sign. It might face some resistance at the moving averages, above which, a rally to $203.708 is possible. Therefore, aggressive traders can buy at $178 and keep a stop loss of $160.

Contrary to our assumption, if the ETH/USD pair turns down from the moving averages and plunges below the $150–$163.755 support zone, it can correct to $122. 

XRP/USD

XRP has risen sharply above $0.24508. This is a positive sign as it shows buying at lower levels and indicates that the recent breakdown was a bear trap. The pullback might face some resistance at the moving averages and above it at $0.27795.

The traders can watch the next dip and buy if it does not break below $0.24508. That will signal a bottom formation. If the bulls can push the price above $0.27795, the XRP/USD pair can quickly rally to $0.34229. Conversely, if the pair turns down from current levels and plunges below $0.22, the downtrend will resume. The next support on the downside is at $0.19. However, we give it a low probability of occurring. 

BCH/USD

Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is trying to form a bottom above $220. Usually, after a breakdown from a critical level, that level is retested. In this case, a rally to the neckline of the head-and-shoulders pattern is probable.

If the bulls can push the price above the neckline and sustain it for three days, it will indicate that the lower levels are attracting buying. A trend change will be signaled after the BCH/USD pair scales above $360.

On the other hand, if the bears defend the overhead resistance and the price reverses direction from the neckline, a retest of $203.36 is possible. We will wait for the buyers to make a comeback before proposing a trade in it.

LTC/USD

Litecoin (LTC) is attempting a pullback, which is likely to face resistance at $62.0764. Both moving averages are sloping down and the RSI is close to the oversold zone, which shows that the trend is down and relief rallies will be sold into. The cryptocurrency will resume its downtrend if it turns from the downtrend line and plummets below $50.

The first sign of strength will be when the bulls sustain the price above $62.0764 for three days. That will suggest buying at lower levels. A breakout of the downtrend line will indicate a probable change in trend. The LTC/USD pair will pick up momentum on a breakout of $80.2731. We will recommend a long position on a breakout and close (UTC time) above the downtrend line.

EOS/USD

EOS is attempting a pullback, which is likely to face resistance at $3.1534. If the bulls can push the price above this resistance, it will be a positive sign as it will indicate that the current breakdown was a bear trap.

The EOS/USD pair will indicate a possible turnaround if the bulls can propel it above the downtrend line. It can thereafter move up to $4.24 and above it to $4.8719. The momentum will pick up on a break above $4.8719. We will recommend a long position on a breakout above the downtrend line. 

Conversely, if the pair turns down, either from $3.1534 or from the downtrend line, the bears will attempt to resume the downmove. A break below $2.4001 will be a negative sign.

BNB/USD

Binance Coin (BNB) has been trading in a tight range for the past three days. The bulls are trying to form a bottom close to $14.2555. A rise above $16.50 can carry the price to $18.30. The 20-day EMA is also located just above this level, hence, it is likely to act as a stiff resistance. With both moving averages sloping down and RSI in oversold territory, the advantage is clearly with the bears.

If the BNB/USD pair turns down from current levels and plummets below $14.255, it will resume its downtrend and can drop to the support line of the descending channel. The pair will turn positive after the price scales above the descending channel. Until then, every minor rally will be sold into. We will wait for a new buy setup to form before recommending a trade in it.

BSV/USD

Bitcoin SV (BSV) has been trading close to $85 for the past five days. The intraday range has shrunk, which shows that both the bulls and bears are waiting for a directional trend to form. If the price rises above $90, a pullback to $107 will be in the cards. We expect a stiff resistance at $107.

If the bears sink the BSV/USD pair below $78.506, a retest of $66.666 will be in the cards. The downsloping moving averages and the RSI in oversold zone show that bears have the upper hand. We will wait for a large range day to indicate the start of a pullback to the upside before suggesting a trade in it. 

XLM/USD

The bulls are again attempting to push Stellar (XLM) above the 20-day EMA. We like the way the small range days have resolved to the upside and it is being supported by a positive divergence on the RSI. If the price can rise above the 50-day SMA, it can move up to $0.088709, with a minor resistance at $0.072545. Aggressive traders can buy above the 50-day SMA and keep a stop loss of $0.051. 

Our short-term bullish view will be negated if the XLM/USD pair reverses direction from the 20-day EMA or the 50-day SMA and plummets to the recent lows of $0.051014. A breakdown to new lows will resume the downtrend. 

LEO/USD

UNUS SED LEO (LEO) has broken down of the minor support at $1.0467. It can now drop to the next support at $1.0075. With both moving averages sloping down and the RSI in the negative zone, advantage is with the bears.

However, we anticipate buyers to step in and defend the lows at $1.0075. The bounce off it is likely to face resistance at the support-turned-resistance of $1.0467. But if the bulls can push the price above it and the moving averages, it is likely to pick up momentum.

Contrary to our assumption, if the bears sink the LEO/USD pair below the support of $1.0075, it can lead to long liquidation. The next support on the downside is at $0.80. We will wait for the pair to form a reversal pattern before proposing a trade in it.

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

Market data is provided by HitBTC exchange.

Central Banks in Panic Mode – Extreme Tactics Like Helicopter Money Discussed

Central Banks in Panic Mode - Extreme Tactics Like Helicopter Money Discussed

Central banks worldwide continue to inject more stimulus into the economy as they predict the onset of a new financial crisis. In the face of a sluggish economy, monetary easing, negative interest rates, and ‘normalizing’ the balance sheet is the name of the game these days. Now central banks are contemplating even more unconventional methods of monetary policy like helicopter money to save the economy.

Also Read: Money and Democracy: Why You Never Get to Vote on the Most Important Part of Society

Rate Cuts, Negative Yeilding Bonds, Overnight Repos, and Now Helicopter Money

The world’s reserve banks are attempting to guide the economy in hopes that they can steer clear of a financial meltdown. There’s been a domino effect of monetary easing where at least 19 central banks have slashed interest rates, participated in large-scale asset purchases, cut reserve requirement ratios, purchased debt securities, and pumped billions into specific markets. For instance, during the third week of September, in a two-day period, the U.S. Federal Reserve injected roughly $128 billion into markets through a repurchase agreement.

This month European Central Bank (ECB) president Mario Draghi revealed the commencement of printing more funds in order to purchase financial assets. The International Monetary Fund’s Christine Lagarde will take Draghi’s role as the ECB’s president on November 1. According to reports, Lagarde, Draghi and other ECB members discussed unorthodox methods of monetary policy like the macroeconomic concept Modern Money Theory (MMT) and helicopter money.

Central Banks in Panic Mode – Extreme Tactics Like Helicopter Money Discussed
Central banks are in panic mode initiating easing practices like negative interest rates, overnight repos, and now they are discussing helicopter money and MMT.

Helicopter money or direct financing is a form of monetary policy that starts when central banks transfer money directly to the private sector and even taxpayers. Essentially, the process can be a direct distribution of funds into the economy and some have called the idea a citizens’ dividend. Years ago helicopter money was considered a last resort type of scheme and was deemed worse than quantitative easing.

In 2016, the leading global bond investor PIMCO wrote that since the 18th century there were approximately 57 types of helicopter money situations implemented up until 2007 and “all had dire economic consequences.” A decade later, however, ideas like MMT, basic income, and helicopter money financing have been seen in a positive light by certain groups of individuals. MMT is a controversial, hybrid Keynesian concept that promotes the idea that government can print as much as it wants while also offering tax cuts or direct financing to special interest groups at the same time.

Central Banks in Panic Mode – Extreme Tactics Like Helicopter Money Discussed
Helicopter money is a form of printing funds for direct distribution.

Deutsche Bank: Direct Distribution Could Be Highly Effective if Properly Deployed

In June 2016, the Bank of Japan (BoJ) contemplated using helicopter money to stimulate the economy. According to reports at the time, the Japanese central bank considered dropping sub-$100 payments to low-income residents. A month later the BoJ decided not to use the helicopter money approach but did approve a $274 billion stimulus package instead. In 2016 Japan would have become the first modern economy to print money for direct distribution. “I think helicopter money remains off the table for now,” Mizuho Financial Group’s (MHFG) senior economist Colin Asher told the press at the time. Fast forward to today, and bankers and economists are starting to believe that ideas like helicopter money and MMT are innovative economic concepts.

Central Banks in Panic Mode – Extreme Tactics Like Helicopter Money Discussed
Deutsche Bank says central banks will “explore more unconventional policies” in the near future.

Deutsche Bank’s recent report has argued for helicopter money and the financial institution says because the economy is so bleak, central banks are planning to “explore more unconventional policies.” Deutsche Bank thinks that traditional methods of monetary easing are not enough, and central banks will need more stimulus in their arsenal. The recent report emphasizes that central planners using direct distribution methods could spur more consumerism and spending. “[Helicopter money] could be highly effective if properly deployed,” Deutsche Bank pointed out.

The Fed: Current Easing Is “Organic” – Don’t Call It QE4

There are many signs showing that bankers and central planners are unnerved and panicking over the looming recession. However, the central banks themselves are to blame for the mess they have caused as there’s roughly $15 trillion in negative-yielding sovereign and corporate debt worldwide. The yield below zero percent interest has scared the daylights out of economists who believe negative yields never equate to strong monetary policy.

In September, the Federal Reserve started its easing program last minute when it cut rates for the first time in 10 years. Not all the Federal Reserve board members agreed with the easing policy, and the first quarter-point reduction was voted in by a 7-3 vote. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell explained that the voting committee’s dissent was healthy to the central bank’s planning process. After printing $128 billion, Powell asked the press not to call the process the fourth round of quantitative easing, or QE4. Unlike prior QE schemes, Powell said the current procedure is an “organic” approach.

Central Banks in Panic Mode – Extreme Tactics Like Helicopter Money Discussed
Chairman Jerome Powell and the Fed have said the recent stimulus is not QE4 or the fourth round of QE, but merely an “organic” process.

Besides discussions about helicopter money, central banks like the Federal Reserve inject fiat into the system by purchasing Treasury securities from specific agents within a repo. The Federal Reserve Bank recently conducted a few spot repo operations, which provides smaller banks with the opportunity to trade Treasuries and other forms of securities for cash advances. The concept is just another form of the ‘trickle-down economics’ and proponents of the scheme believe the cash helps fund the repo dealers. The repo agents are then supposed to distribute the funds throughout certain sectors of the financial sector. During the start of Q4 2019, the New York-based Fed revealed an overnight repo operation where dealers introduced more than $63 billion in collateral.

Central Banks in Panic Mode – Extreme Tactics Like Helicopter Money Discussed

A liquidity crunch, slow economic growth, and inflation are the main reasons why the central bankers are scrambling to fix the problem they see growing into a financial crisis. Back in 2008, there were similar methods used during the onset of the economic meltdown where short-term yields were extremely volatile, and banks started participating in overnight repurchase programs. The Fed and many other banks have already started conducting overnight repurchase operations. Once again, central banks that think printing stimulus and bailouts are the only way to help the situation.

What do you think about the central banks’ extreme measures and ideas of using helicopter money to save the economy? Do you think cryptocurrency will help the situation? Let us know in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, The Federal Reserve, Deutsche Bank, Zerohedge, and Pixabay.


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Ripple Sends $15.3 Million XRP to Trading Address, Is a Dump for the Crypto Incoming?

Ripple, the company behind the XRP crypto asset, has reportedly just moved around $15.3 million worth of the digital currency to a wallet associated with over-the-counter sales. The news could be a sign that the firm is planning to dump yet more of its XRP tokens on the market.

Ripple is by far the largest holder of XRP. It has a history of selling its own holdings, much to the chagrin of other XRP holders.

Is Ripple Planning to Sell Another 60,000,000 XRP?

As usual, the news of the large XRP transfer was reported by WhaleAlert, a Twitter account documenting the biggest transfers taking place on different blockchain-based currencies.

As you can see, the transfer appears to have been made between one of Ripple’s own company wallets and its over-the-counter distribution wallet. Judging by the destination address it seems highly probably that the motive behind the transfer is to sell the tokens.

Ripple and its cryptocurrency XRP has divided opinion in the digital asset industry. Many analysts drew attention to the vast number of XRP that the company had reserved for itself as part of its original distribution. The company and some of its most important shareholders hold huge numbers of the tokens and, as owners of such a commanding control of the total supply, have drawn scorn from some cryptocurrency purists.

According to Ripple’s quarterly reports, the company has indeed been selling huge quantities of its XRP holdings. These sales have supposedly been made in order to fund the business and to make various investments in other companies.

The company reportedly sold as many $251.51 million worth of its crypto holdings in the second quarter of 2019 alone. It also stated in its most recent quarterly report that it intends to take a more “conservative approach” to selling XRP in this quarter. However, with three similar transactions from the company to its OTC distribution wallet in the last week alone, the firm appears to be ramping up sales again. A total of $30 million worth of XRP was transferred to the OTC distribution wallet in the last six days.

Ripple’s dumping its XRP holdings has angered some investors in the digital asset. This prompted one fan of the crypto asset to setup a Change.org petition to try to pressure the firm to stop contributing to the selling pressure driving the price of the asset down. The petition, created by a user going by the name Crypto Bitlord, has been signed by 3,688 people so far. It was setup in August but given the number of apparent Ripple XRP sales of late, it does not appear to having the effect desired.

 

Related Reading: Will Ripple CEO Address XRP Dumping At Fintech Week?

Featured Image from Shutterstock.

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Sex, Drugs & Game of Thrones: the McAfee Guide to Surviving Bitcoin’s Apocalypse

September brought a painful reckoning to the cryptocurrency market, ushering in a brutal bitcoin price crash that wiped thousands of dollars – and months of progress – off the asset’s hard-fought recovery. To make matters worse, bitcoin’s terrifying technical picture is leading analysts to augur even sharper losses in the coming weeks, with longtime skeptics […]

The post Sex, Drugs & Game of Thrones: the McAfee Guide to Surviving Bitcoin’s Apocalypse appeared first on CCN.com

Bitcoin Price Bounces Back to $8.4K but Bearish Bias Remains

Bitcoin bounces back from the drop to $7,800 but bulls are unsure whether the crypto market bottom is in?

Bitcoin (BTC) price has had a volatile start to the week. Asia kicked off the trading week with a 4% selloff that brought Bitcoin price from $8,050 to $7,700. The ball was then passed to the Europeans who started a rally which continued through to the New York trading session. By the end of the day, Bitcoin had rallied 8% from the bottom to highs of $8,325, which was near a 3.5% gain for the day. 

Altcoins have also been moving higher on the same basis, with Ethereum and XRP being notable gainers of 6% and 9% respectively. 

The crypto market has largely been following the risk-on price action today, with traditional markets moving higher and commodities moving lower. We will take a closer look at the key timeframes to try and examine if Bitcoin is nearing a bottom.  

Daily Crypto Market Performance

Daily Crypto Market Performance. Source. Coin360.com

Weekly Bitcoin price chart

BTC/USD Weekly Chart

BTC/USD Weekly Chart. Source: TradingView.com

Bitcoin closed the week decisively bearish, breaking and closing below the 20-week moving average (WMA) for the first time since breaking earlier in March. This was of particular note given that this is something that did not occur in 2016/2017 and is typically seen as being a very bearish indicator on the weekly chart. 

Despite this, Bitcoin has returned towards the weekly support at $7,600 and is in the proximity of the 61.8% retracement of the 2019 run-up. This is also a key area for Bitcoin and should act as an intermediate support. At the very least it is an ‘auto-buy’ zone for many investors.

It remains to be seen what the real market sentiment is. Bears will see the 20 WMA as lost, and the descending triangle breakdown could be interpreted as a sell the rally scenario. Meanwhile, the bulls will see the retracement into support as being a buy the dip opportunity, so it is unsurprising that Bitcoin is experiencing volatility. 

Daily Bitcoin price chart

BTC USD Daily Chart

BTC USD Daily Chart. Source: TradingView

A closer look at the daily chart reveals that today’s drive lower was bought up very swiftly demonstrating a swing failure pattern (SFP) which occurs when new lows are made but the candle closes higher than the open. This is typically a bullish indicator and once the daily closes and confirms this to be the case, it may see some continuation as a result.

Bitcoin has been stopped dead at the 200 daily moving average (DMA) which was lost last week and now acts as resistance. If the bulls can break this key level and find support it will go some way to confirming that the bulls are back in business. 

Despite the bullish start to the week, it’s important to note that the bulls must regain the 200-DMA quickly.

Looking at the order book can be of some use as it helps to determine if there is any pent up demand. It can be somewhat misleading as large traders are unlikely to ‘show their hand’, but generally speaking it is useful to see if there is growing demand versus supply. 

Combined Bitcoin Order book

Combined Bitcoin Order book. Source: data.bitcoinity.org

Looking at the books, there is clear buying interest at Coinbase, Bitstamp, and Kraken, all of which are notable fiat onramps. Market participants rarely get what they desire and with the narrative of many being that they are looking to buy the weekly support or the 61.8% retracement in the low $7,200s, it could be that the opportunity simply gets front run. Time will prove to be telling this week, with the initial objective for the bulls being to regain the 200-DMA.

BTC USD Daily Chart

BTC USD Daily Chart. Source: TradingView 

Bearish scenario

While Bitcoin is off to a good start to the week, there is still the possibility that the 61.8% retracement fails and sellers pile on in significant size. There is also some confluence at the 78.6% retracement at $5,400 which aligns with the descending triangle breakdown measured move and the next high volume node for 2019 which is also in the vicinity of the 200- WMA.

As it currently stands, many investors refuse to believe that these levels could be revisited and it would be seen as unprecedented in a Bitcoin bull market. With that said, it’s still worth bearing in mind.

4 Hour Chart

BTC USD Daily Chart

BTC USD Daily Chart. Source: TradingView 

The 4-hour chart illustrates that Bitcoin rebounded off lower lows into the 200-DMA and off the back of a bullish RSI divergence. A bullish divergence occurs when price makes lower lows but the oscillator makes higher lows. 

Today’s rebound is coupled with a low timeframe W-Bottom pattern, which nicely coincided with the 200-DMA resistance. If this is broken, the bulls will target a move higher towards $9,000 which will be a critical level for the bulls to break. 

The prior multi-month support in the $9,000s will be a tedious task for the bulls to overcome should they make it to those levels. A rejection would most likely set the tone for a move to retest the $8,000 level once more. 

Looking forward

Overall, the Bitcoin market is in a state of uncertainty. There is clearly buying interest in the low $7,000s, but the weekly timeframe illustrates a critical technical breakdown. It is likely that there will be significant volatility ahead given the situation. 

Bears will be looking to aggressively short bounces and bulls are appearing to be patiently waiting to buy the dip.  

If the bullish buying is to be exhausted and absorbed by the bears, there will likely be continued downside. As the block reward halving looms, miners might begin sweating as the higher cost of production could result in lower realizable marginal revenue. 

What is certain is that the next couple of weeks will be decisive for the remainder of the year and possibly longer.

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

Bitcoin (BTC) Price Screams Buy As US Dollar, Stocks Rally

Bitcoin btc us stocks rally

All’s well that end’s well. The US stock market seemed to have followed the message in spirit as it started the week and ended the month today on a ‘green note’. And speaking of green, greenback, the US dollar hit its highest level since 2017. Bitcoin 00 markets haven’t stayed behind either as BTC rose 4% in the last 24 hours. 


‘Monday Green’ Not ‘Monday Blues’ For US Dollar, Stock Markets

As reported by the Financial Times, the greenback rose 0.4 percent to 99.46 on the dollar index on Monday. This is supposedly its highest climb since 2017 May. Along with this, the US dollar is well on its way to record a solid quarter performance since Q2 2018.

The same narrative played out in US stock markets too, as the S&P 500, Nasdaq Composite, gained 0.3 percent and 0.4 percent respectively, on the last day of the trading month. Both prominent market indices ended up registering monthly gains of 1.6 percent and 0.1 percent respectively. It seems, renewed fears of an escalation in the US-China trade war didn’t deter the confidence of traders at all.

Bitcoin Price Following US & Global Stock Market Movements?

For Fundstrat co-founder Thomas Lee the BTC and US stock markets are pretty much correlated. On September 25, Bitcoinist covered his stance on the falling Bitcoin price, as he sought to quell fears of an another upcoming bear market.

“It’s overbought and needs to see weaker sentiment. Our (Bitcoin Misery Index) has been saying this since July… and it’s stuck time until S&P 500 ends this ‘trendless macro’ period,” Lee summarized.

“The downturn in (Bitcoin) followed the risk-off selloff in (equities),” he continued in a further tweet.

This, he added, “reinforces our ‘unpopular’ opinion bitcoin does not do well in a ‘trendless macro’ environment.”

Lee concluded by saying:

“New highs needed in S&P 500 before $BTC can blast off. Why? We think crypto is retail and thus, risk on.”

It seems the correlation is happening, as both BTC and the US stock markets have looked up, in a swift denial to an impending political turmoil. In the backdrop of this argument, since bitcoin is a globally traded asset, it is only fair to compare its rally to equity market gains in other geographies as well.

Stoxx 600, Europe’s benchmark stock index posted a 0.4 percent gain today with a monthly gain of 3.3 percent in September. This is the first time the market moved up in three months since June this year. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng also wasn’t left behind as the index lighted up today with a 0.5 percent gain.

BTC Might Put In A Perfect Buy Signal

According to an experienced global macro investor, and founder of D-TAP Capital, Dan Tapiero, a ‘rare bitcoin buy signal’ occurred at the $3600 price mark in January this year, following which the market rallied by a humongous 400% with BTC topping out at $14000.

Something similar (buy signal flash) is about to happen today, and it’s important to watch out for the “5 pm-close” on BTC price charts for absolute confirmation.

Do you think bitcoin price is moving out of the rut or is the current rally nothing more than a ‘dead-cat bounce’? Please comment below.


Images via Bitcoinist Image Library, Twitter: @fundstrat, @DTAPCAP

The post Bitcoin (BTC) Price Screams Buy As US Dollar, Stocks Rally appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

Dow Surges as Traders Ignore Trump’s ‘Happy Birthday China’ Threat

The Dow Jones roared higher on Monday, as Apple surged amid a rally in the tech sector. The brighter mood was also about China, as positive manufacturing data and a flat denial from the White House regarding limiting US stock market investments in China lifted the Dow. The rally proceeded despite a sinister threat from […]

The post Dow Surges as Traders Ignore Trump’s ‘Happy Birthday China’ Threat appeared first on CCN.com

NEO’s strategy of ‘pragmatic’ centralization

One of NEO’s competitive advantages over Bitcoin and Ethereum is its ‘pragmatic’ approach toward centralization, argues founder Da Hongfei.

Leveraging centralization

One of NEO’s main criticisms is its centralization, both politically and architecturally.

Right now, the NEO Foundation and its related organizations—for-profit NEO Global Capital and non-profit NEO Global Development—hold enormous power. Moreover, final decision-making is largely up to co-founders Da Hongfei and Erik Zhang, and executive John deVadoss.

Since inception, NEO has leaned into centralization. As said in the whitepaper, founding members and their team are “responsible for strategic decision-making, technical decision-making, and specific implementations. In other words, they have control.

This is deliberate. From the beginning NEO has planned to start as a centralized protocol and decentralize over time. In an interview with CryptoSlate, Da Hongfei said:

“To mitigate those centralized disadvantages with NEO, we have a very clear plan to shift from the current more centralized to a more decentralized model in the future. It will be beneficial to keep relatively more centralized for efficiency. NEO is not the first blockchain project in the world. We’re still catching up with leading projects.”

The leading projects Hongfei is referring to? The two leading cryptocurrencies by market capitalization:

“If we work the same way as Bitcoin or Ethereum we will be less efficient compared to today’s development. We have seen some leading projects already stall in terms of their technological advancement.”

A different pace of development

And he isn’t wrong. The rate of Bitcoin development is painfully slow. Soft fork upgrades like SegWit, which increases the number of transactions the Bitcoin network can handle, only recently achieved 50 percent uptake. This is for a popular initiative activated in August 2017.

Although the pace of Ethereum development is comparatively faster, the speed is still glacial compared to the conventional software world. Though, these timeframes are expected given the necessary level of coordination and the economic stakes involved.

As a result, critical upgrades like ETH 2.0 have been on the horizon for over two years. This poses a risk to Ethereum as other blockchains gain momentum.

In contrast, NEO’s greater level of centralization has allowed it to implement major blockchain upgrades relatively quickly. The control the founders have over funding, development, and the network’s layout is an advantage, and a risk.

Funding the NEO ecosystem

The NEO Foundation has control of an impressive treasury. In the latest unaudited financial statements the organization reported assets totaling $871 million in June 2019. The bulk of these assets are in NEO tokens.

NEO-related entities own a total of 43.7 million NEO tokens, worth $756 million at an assessed value of $17.3 per token.

To date, the NEO Foundation has spent 5.85 million NEO to fund development, stimulate its ecosystem, and invest in other blockchain projects. These expenditures are worth roughly $100 million today at the price NEO Foundation assessed for its tokens.

In current assets, the organization has $78.6 million in cryptocurrencies and fiat. In long term assets the organization owns investment and startup equity worth $46.7 million.

As the single-largest token holder, NEO Foundation and its related entities have a lot of assets at its disposal. For reference, the Ethereum Foundation controls a treasury worth $130 million in Ether in addition to its cash assets on hand.

Comparison to a massive corporation

To better conceptualize these huge sums here’s an S&P 500 corporation for comparison. TripAdvisor was arbitrarily selected as one of the smallest corporations on the list with a market capitalization of $5.3 billion.

The corporation had $901 million in cash and cash equivalents, and a total of $1.27 billion in current assets at its disposal according to its latest quarterly balance sheet—amounts comparable to NEO’s treasury.

The assets NEO has at its disposal could accelerate the development of the project and help Da Hongfei and his partners build a robust ecosystem. But, token-holders run the risk of dilution (getting dumped on) if price growth is outstripped by increases in supply. As such, it’s critical investors and stakeholders hold the Foundation accountable for its spending.

Development around NEO

Another part of the organization’s strategy is funding core protocol and tooling development around the NEO blockchain platform.

The NEO Foundation once had a relatively small group of globally distributed engineers. But, midway last year the project decided to hire dedicated engineers, marketers, and business developers, Da Hongfei told CryptoSlate. These employees complement the existing open-source community, he said.

At the beginning of 2019, NEO set up a Seattle-based development operation, NGD Seattle, to expand the project’s access to talent. Microsoft veteran John deVadoss was brought-on to head the initiative. NGD Seattle currently has four lead developers based out of Seattle with three to four other remote developers/designers working under each of them, deVadoss told CryptoSlate.

To date, 59 percent of NEO’s expenditures have gone toward core developer salaries for expanding the capabilities of the protocol. This makes sense, given NEO’s desire to become the “most developer-friendly blockchain.”

The three major capability expansions NEO is working on include NeoFS, native file sharing—NeoID, native identity—and built-in oracles.

Furthermore, NEO has continued its singular focus on developer tools. Everything from preconfigured toolkits, frameworks, libraries, debuggers, chain explorers, and detailed guidance to simplify and accelerate smart contract development.

Although there is some open-source protocol development happening on protocol, that work is minor compared to the development funded directly or indirectly by the NEO Foundation.

Control over the network

At the moment, NEO MainNet still seven consensus nodes. Two of these nodes are operated by approved third-parties and the other five are operated by the NEO Foundation directly.

The NEO Foundation reviews all proposals and selects candidates based on their “qualifications and potential contributions to the NEO ecosystem.” Successful applicants will then be voted in as a consensus node on the NEO TestNet.

Given the Foundation’s ownership of 43.7 percent of the token supply elections on the TestNet are not usually contested.

Given these criteria, participating in consensus on the NEO blockchain is permissioned. Though, the NEO Foundation does claim it will further “decentralize” its network. But, the Foundation will also be highly-involved in selecting which third-parties are trustworthy to run these nodes, again raising decentralization questions.

Questions raised: NEO as an investment

Given NEO’s dominant position in its ecosystem, investors and stakeholders are essentially trusting that the NEO Foundation will continue to act in good faith and stewardship.

Unlike an equity stake in a company, tokens confer limited rights to investors in the decisions and cash flows related to a project. Token-holders are practically at the mercy of the issuers.

Blockchain companies will claim that their interests are aligned with those of investors: ‘a higher token price means their holdings are worth more, too!’ This isn’t the whole picture, though.

Most blockchain projects own the majority of tokens. These tokens are illiquid, and if sold in large quantities would cause the price to plummet. Given these circumstances, for example, if the NEO Foundation could sell its entire treasury while modestly pushing down NEO’s price, then that would be a success for the company but a loss for investors.

In general, altcoin investors run the risk that issuers will squander or mismanage their tokens. Examples are abundant.

Out of the five biggest ICOs by funds raised, three totally mismanaged the money they raised: TaTaTu, Dragon, and HDAC raised a total of $1.15 billion. All three wasted these investments on ill-conceived plans, like the floating Dragon casino in Macau. On average, investors lost over 90 percent of their investment on these projects.

That said, Da Hongfei has made verbal commitments to token-holders that they will manage their funds judiciously.

“The principle for the NEO Foundation is to spend its tokens. For every one token we spend it needs to have a higher return value than one token. It has to add value to the community, to the project.”

Right now, four people control the majority of the funds distributed by NEO affiliate entities: Da Hongfei, Erik Zhang, John deVadoss, and director of ecosystem growth John Wang. That gives these people tremendous power. Considering these factors, should investors trust that the NEO Foundation will keep making good decisions?

Question raised: token distribution

Another major question centers around the distribution of the NEO token. NEO plans to make its token the base-unit for decision making on its blockchain. As such, it’s important that the token is distributed in a way that’s equitable, fair, and transparent to allow healthy governance to develop.

Early on, proof-of-work protocols like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin solved this issue through (relatively) decentralized mining. Early on, access to equipment was spread uniformly and margins were large enough that anyone could participate profitably. By tying a real-world cost—electricity and hardware depreciation—to token acquisition it gave tokens a baseline value and acted as a fair and permisionessless way to distribute tokens to interested participants.

Right now, the NEO Foundation has control over how a near-majority of tokens are distributed. Obviously, loyalists and supporters will be the first ones to get funding, presenting risks of corruption and rent-seeking if left unchecked.

How does the NEO Foundation intend to distribute tokens in ways that are fair and benefit the longevity of the protocol?

Question raised: censorship resistance

Centralization of the NEO blockchain raises serious questions around censorship resilience.

Charlie Lee has expressed that censorship resistance is one of the primary advantages of decentralization. An attacker would find it difficult to undermine a project like Bitcoin or Litecoin because risk is distributed among thousands of stakeholders. One of the earliest successes Lee described for Bitcoin was its ability to circumvent U.S. online gambling restrictions because it has no single point of control

In contrast, if the Communist Party of China put pressure on Da Hongfei to stop gambling on the NEO platform would he have to capitulate? Whether NEO could survive external pressure on its executives or nodes is still uncertain.

This may seem like an outlandish scenario. But, the biggest advantage of decentralized blockchains are their ability to circumvent arbitrary regulations.

“Permissionless innovation is extremely important. Satoshi Nakamoto could have never thought about how he impacted today’s blockchain ecosystem,” said Da Hongfei. How he fostered and ignited the revolution, the movement, and built something that is permissionless, open-sourced… I do think permissionless innovation will be the key that will advance the blockchain industry.”

But, so far NEO seems squarely permissioned. If NEO isn’t sufficiently decentralized to resist censorship then what makes it competitive relative to incumbents? High performance is easily achievable on centralized systems, so for NEO to remain competitive it needs to continue making strides toward decentralization.

And it plans to make these strides. NEO’s decentralization efforts are scheduled to pick up after NEO3 is launched, tentatively scheduled for Q2 2020.

A strategy of centralization

In two separate interview with CryptoSlate, Da Hongfei has iterated that centralization is a key part of NEO’s strategy. Unlike protocols like Bitcoin and Ethereum, which are encumbered by unwieldy governance and a painfully slow pace of development, NEO can remain nimble and use this advantage to “catch up.”

“Bitcoin has its merits: decentralized, censorship resistant. NEO is quite different from Bitcoin. We’re not trying to invent a new asset class,” said Da Hongfei in a September interview. “NEO is not a digital peer-to-peer cash system. NEO is an open network for digital assets. To achieve that goal, we need to have different consensus mechanisms and a different technological design.”

“I also think variety is a good thing. We already have Bitcoin, Ethereum, their approach of governance, we should allow different governance model and see who will win out.”

But, when asked on the specifics on NEO’s plans to decentralize, Da Hongfei didn’t have a concrete answer.

Right now, NEO is making steps toward delegating more of its nodes to screened organizations and spending more of its treasury, saying such expenditures “diminish” its influence over the voting process (since they hold fewer tokens).

As Da Hongfei has said repeatedly, decentralization on NEO will be a slow process:

“We have already explained to the NEO community that it will take far more than a few months or weeks to completely realize decentralization, actually it will take several years.”

But, when asked what his plans for decentralization were five years from now, he responded:

“I think it will be very difficult to think five years into the future. We don’t have a specific plan. I know that [decentralization] is what will happen, and I’m completely okay with that.”

But, mirroring concerns from U.S. Congress, if Libra defers its plan for decentralization until five years into the future, what is to say they will actually give up power? And, given the stakes for what NEO is trying to accomplish, the same question holds true.

Now it’s time to see whether NEO will refocus its efforts on decentralization following the launch of NEO3.

Credit to Dylan Grabowksi, editor at NEO News Today, for feedback and counterarguments.

The post NEO’s strategy of ‘pragmatic’ centralization appeared first on CryptoSlate.

Bittrex Announces New Trading Platform Based in Liechtenstein

Cryptocurrency trading platform Bittrex has announced Bittrex Global, a new platform headquartered in Liechtenstein.

Cryptocurrency trading platform Bittrex has announced Bittrex Global, a new platform headquartered in Liechtenstein.

Per a press release shared with Cointelegraph on Sept. 30, Bittrex is expecting to roll out Bittrex Global at the end of October in the city of Vaduz, Liechtenstein. A fundamental reason for Bittrex’s choice to set up a new trading platform in Liechtenstein is the country’s regulatory clarity toward digital currencies and blockchain technology.

New products in accordance with European Union law

Bittrex Global is planning to develop new features and products, including customer reward programs, credit card interoperability, private token sales under EU law and a mobile app for trading cryptocurrencies. Following its launch, Bittrex Global also intends to register under the Transaction Systems Based on the Trustworthy Technologies Act, also known as the Blockchain Act.

As part of the platform’s launch, Bittrex Global made new appointments, with Kiran Raj as the first chief executive officer and Stephen Stonberg as chief operating officer. Prior to joining Bittrex Global, Raj was a partner at Los Angeles-based law firm O’Melveny & Myers LLP and served as the Deputy General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Stonberg has a 25-year career in financial markets.

Liechtenstein’s approach to regulating crypto and blockchain

The government of Liechtenstein passed the Blockchain Act this spring. Alongside stringent rules on Anti-Money Laundering and Know Your Customer requirements, the act essentially provides a clear legal basis for the ownership, transfer and safe storage of security tokens.

Following that, the government passed the Token and VT Service Providers Act, which aims to improve investor protection, combat money laundering and establish clarity. The government expressed confidence that the new regulation will create an adequate regulatory environment that counters the risks, provides regulatory clarity and facilitates the development of the token economy.

Crypto Analyst: Altcoin Apocalypse Caused Bitcoin Bear Market

Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency to ever be created, and any crypto assets created after it are referred to as altcoins. These altcoins promise to improve upon Bitcoin in a number of ways – from faster transaction speeds to a larger supply and other attributes – and to bring investors gains similar to that of early Bitcoin investors.

But not only has Bitcoin outperformed most altcoins in 2019 and historically, but altcoins may also be responsible for the asset’s bear market, and the reason why crypto winter may be returning once again.

Altcoins Responsible for 2018 Bitcoin Bear Market

2017 was the year that put crypto on the map and brought the emerging technology and budding asset class into the mainstream limelight. During that year, there was an explosion of ICOs and dozens of new altcoins were popping up by the day. Bitcoin went parabolic and set an all-time high of $20,000.

Related Reading | Next Week Could Be Most Critical Week for Crypto Yet 

Shortly after that, altcoins began to skyrocket and set their all-time highs in the days following Bitcoin, then the entire market began to fall. At that peak, BTC dominance  – a metric used to weight the leading crypto asset against the rest of the market – was at its lowest point ever. Since then, BTC dominance has only grown.

One of the most prominent and respected crypto analysts in the space, 100TrillionUSD, says that this rise and fall in altcoins, was responsible for Bitcoin’s bear market in 2018 and not CME futures the crypto community likes to point fingers at.

The analyst says that since the “alt experiment” Bitcoin’s value has grown 8x in value, while Bitcoin dominance rose from 40% to 70% “and counting.”

Alt Apocalypse Also May Have Caused Most Recent Crypto Crash

If altcoins were responsible for the 2018 bear market, could they also be responsible for Bitcoin’s recent collapse? Given the negativity surrounding altcoins and crypto-assets like XRP setting new bear market lows, it is quite possible.

In fact, with sentiment surrounding altcoins being so low, and assets setting fresh yearly lows, it’s possible that the bear market never ended for altcoins like it did with Bitcoin, and the sell pressure across the industry and market in altcoins has spilled over into Bitcoin markets,  causing the price to break down from the multi-month triangle formation it was trading within.

Related Reading | Crypto Pundit: Altcoin Sentiment Will Cause Bitcoin to Collapse

Ahead of the crash, which saw as much as 20% of Bitcoin’s value wiped out in 48 hours, altcoins began to rally, but the rally was short-lived and a rejection in Etheruem and XRP may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Now, not only could altcoins be back in a bear market – or never left it in the first place – Bitcoin’s bull run may be in jeopardy and the current downtrend could drag the leading crypto asset by market cap back into a bear market.

Featured image from Shutterstock

The post Crypto Analyst: Altcoin Apocalypse Caused Bitcoin Bear Market appeared first on NewsBTC.

Launch of Binance US Can Have Far-Reaching Effects on Crypto Market

Will Binance’s entry into the U.S. market pave the way for other prominent exchanges as well?

From the outside looking in, the United States seems to present a host of amazing financial opportunities. However, when it comes to launching cryptocurrency exchanges or altcoin trading platforms, these possibilities start to dwindle and fade quite rapidly. 

In this regard, over the past few years, the U.S. regulatory landscape has seemed so hostile toward the crypto industry that a number of prominent exchange operators have preferred not to serve U.S. citizens at all — a case in point being Bancor, a decentralized liquidity network, that recently decided to block American citizens from using its website to convert its tokens.

Related: US a Crypto Exchange Scarecrow — What Needs to Change?

All of these negative developments have their roots traced back to America’s lack of clear regulations — especially when it comes to securities legislation. However, despite all these hurdles, Binance recently announced the launch of its U.S. trading desk, a decision that has been welcomed by many from within the global crypto community. Speaking on his company’s recent launch, CEO Changpeng Zhao (better known as CZ) was quoted as saying:

“The U.S. has always been a very important market; globally it's one of the biggest markets for any business, including in cryptocurrency. We want to be fully compliant.”

With Binance finally making its long-awaited plunge into the U.S. market, the question that now begs an answer is: “Will other established ventures will now follow?” On the subject, Cointelegraph reached out to Dmitriy Berenzon, research partner at Zenith Ventures, a multistrategy venture fund for blockchain and cryptocurrency

Berenzon believes that Binance’s entry into the market will open new doors for other similar firms for the simple reason that the U.S. market is too large for any crypto exchange to ignore. Berenzon pointed out that almost 30% of the world’s spot Bitcoin volume takes place on U.S.-based exchanges, so it’s more of a question of which exchanges have the resources to meet the country’s regulatory requirements than anything else. He further added:

“Exchanges and crypto firms have left the U.S. primarily due to the lack of regulatory clarity. While regulators are taking it slow with consumer protection in mind, they are continuing to lay the groundwork with clearer rules and expectations. I think it’s a question of “when” rather than “if” around regulatory clarity for this new asset class, and it's important for firms and exchanges to continue proactively engaging with regulators to expedite the process.”

Lastly, the launch of Binance US is currently restricted to only 12 states (including New York, Texas and Florida) and it seems that it may take some time for the company to expand its operations geographically. However, just the initial launch in itself should provide other exchanges with the impetus needed to enter or re-enter the U.S. crypto market.

Are more exchanges set to enter American soil?

Even though America’s regulatory regime currently treats crypto assets more like commodities rather than currencies, the country’s finance market is too important to be ignored in the long run. 

Christophe de Courson, CEO of Olymp Capital, an asset management fund dedicated to blockchain and crypto, told Cointelegraph that even though a lot of exchanges have previously left (or encounter difficulties) with U.S. regulators — with many of them having to delist their digital offerings in the past — in the end, everyone realizes the immensity of what the U.S. has to offer, and thus they will all look to, in one way or another, re-enter the market in a compliant way.  

In the past CZ has been quite reluctant to subject his company to U.S. regulations, so if he has had a change of heart, it will most likely prompt a number of other operators to reconsider their positions. In this regard, Daniel P. Simon, the CEO and co-founder of Vested, an integrated communications firm, pointed out:

“Crypto may be a global phenomenon but no country can compete with the liquidity and demand from the U.S. market. There’s no doubt investors are keen to get into this space, but the digital currency industry still has a lot of growing up to do before these folks feel comfortable jumping in.”

Moreover, Marc Bhargava, President of Tagomi — a digital asset prime brokerage, which is integrated with nine different crypto exchanges and several different over-the-counter (OTC) desks in the U.S. and abroad — pointed out that large funds, index products, venture capitalists and family offices simply can't afford not to participate in U.S. markets, especially if they want to be viewed as global players. Bhargava further told Cointelegraph:

“I think the key is to map out a regulatory strategy early and plan for significant spend there in terms of hiring the right people and for the various applications and filings. One thing that would make the US more regulatory friendly would be an increased standardization of rules and regulations across the different states."

In order for other exchanges and trading platforms to make their way back into the U.S. market, they will have to emulate Binance’s way of doing things — which is basically registering as a money services business with the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and comply with all of the state laws in which the proposed venture will be operational. 

The core difficulty, however, for exchange operators that will continue to persist is how they will distinguish between cryptocurrencies or tokens that are securities under existing laws as opposed to those that are not. On the subject, Ken Witt and Marc Staines of Kutak Rock — a U.S. law firm — told Cointelegraph:

“Securities can’t be traded unless the exchange is registered with the SEC and FINRA as a securities exchange.  Although there has been some progress, because of the inaction of Congress and the SEC, U.S. law on this point is still based on a 1946 Supreme Court Case — SEC v. W. J. Howey Co.”

Has the U.S. regulatory landscape become more welcoming for crypto?

Another thing important to determine in this case is whether the U.S. government has made any significant changes to its existing legal framework surrounding cryptocurrencies. To the average person, the position of U.S. regulatory agencies seems to have stayed the same. 

However, one aspect that has definitely changed over time is the way in which exchanges are beginning to understand which cryptocurrencies they are able to trade under certain specific conditions.

Related: A Clear Path for Ethereum

To understand the situation, Cointelegraph approached Dixon Gardner, an attorney at Madison Law APC. He pointed out that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) now requires private issuers of digital currencies to register their offerings as securities unless the issuer agrees to repurchase the assets at less than their original issuance price to avoid any possibility of a buyer realizing gains on his/her purchase. Gardner further added:

“See the SEC No Action Letter to Turnkey Jet, Inc. dated April 3, 2019. This decision will promote private issuers to issue a digital currency that functions more like money with a set value than a commodity and/or a security. This will support demand for existing digital currency (i.e. Bitcoin, EOS, Ethereum, Litecoin).”

Similarly, the SEC's approval of Blockstack and Props under Regulation A+, as well as FinCEN's guidance on crypto regulations, has set important precedents for token-based projects fundraising or operating in the U.S. However, in the long run, the U.S. government will have to create a conducive ecosystem at the federal level that offers clear guidance, as well as preempts all 50 states from creating a regulatory tower of babel, as Witt told Cointelegraph:

“The Token Taxonomy Act that has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives may be a good start, but it wont see any action in the near-to-mid term, now that Congress is consumed with impeachment”. 

Looking ahead

While the U.S. government and various other agencies have been moving forward to implement necessary rules and regulations to govern the crypto industry, it is also important to note that many pertinent changes have been slow to come by. 

On the subject, Mitesh Shah, CEO of Omnia Markets, told Cointelegraph that despite some early negative indications of clamping down on the industry, local authorities have yet to take any draconian steps, such as outright banning cryptocurrencies. Essentially, Shah believes that the go-slow, thoughtful approach of the SEC has been very positive for the industry — a sentiment that might not be shared by many from within the global crypto community. 

Additionally, there are still many people that believe that as time goes on, the SEC’s rules and regulations combined with the increase in protective protocols will allow for the industry to continue to grow and become a safe place for investments and fundraisers.

How StepChain Differs From Other Fitness Apps Out In The Market Today

In a world where daily activities and routines do little to encourage physical exercise, getting in shape and maintaining your fitness is quickly becoming a hard nut to crack. Whether you are looking to lose weight, push yourself to a higher intensity workout or simply improve your consistency, fitness apps can go a long way […]

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Regulators Must Have Died and Made Crypto Exchanges King

The battle cry of the cryptocurrency industry has been one of decentralization, or one without any centralized authority. It is this distinguishing feature that sets the blockchain space apart from other sectors and cryptocurrencies like bitcoin from other assets. No central bank, bankers, or government controls it, and unless your Nouriel Roubini it’s hard not […]

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XRP Rebounds 10% In What Might Finally Be Ripple’s Reversal

2019 has been a tough year for altcoin investors, who have had to sit back and watch their asset’s value fall further while Bitcoin went on a parabolic rally. But no subset of altcoin holder has suffered as much as holders of XRP, the native token of the Ripple protocol.

The asset was among the year’s worst performers and has fallen 99% from its all-time high set back nearly two years ago. However, relief may finally be in sight as the early signs of what might be a reversal for XRP are starting to take shape.

XRP Rises 10% on USD Pair, 5% Against Bitcoin

Throughout 2019, the price of Bitcoin rose over 350%, meanwhile, Ripple’s XRP token has set yet another fresh yearly low this past month. But now that Bitcoin has started to plummet, XRP is showing the first signs that a reversal may be forming on price charts, and has already risen as much as 10% over the last 24 hours on the XRP/USD trading pair.

Related Reading | XRP Breaks Below Bear Market Bottom, Will The Rest of Crypto Follow?

Even the XRP/BTC trading pair, which has taken a beating throughout the year, has rebounded 5% on the day and is showing signs of strength against the first-ever cryptocurrency by market cap, Bitcoin.

The crypto asset has been the worst performer of the year, alongside Tron. Earlier in the month, Ripple posted some strong gains at what many had believed was a much overdue alt season, however, Bitcoin dropped and any gains evaporated in a day.

But this latest rally was accompanied by two weekly back to back closes above the 10-week moving average, making it the first time XRP has done so since December 2018 when most of the crypto market set its bottom.

Is This a Reversal Or Just Ripple’s Swell Conference Rally?

The last time this occurred, was September 2018, a month before Ripple’s annual Swell conference – an event that typically causes the price of XRP to surge. At that time, Ripple spiked to nearly $0.50 per XRP from lows under $0.30.

Related Reading | Will Upcoming Ripple Conference Cause XRP Price to Swell? 

This time around, Ripple’s conference takes place in November, however, the recent price action could very well be buyers loading up in preparation to sell the “news” during the event – whatever that news may be.

If Ripple can sustain any pre-Swell pumps, XRP could be staging a full-blown reversal after nearly two full years of downtrend. In the past, when Ripple finally broke out of its downtrends, it ended with fireworks.

During 2017, Ripple broke up from a downtrend at under one cent per XRP, and at the turn of the new year, Ripple had reached $3.65 per XRP – a gain of over 36400%.

Featured image from Shutterstock

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Gold Price Is Crashing: 3 Reasons Why

The price of gold plunged anew on Monday, extending last week’s slump as the U.S. dollar notched fresh two-year highs and stocks resumed their upward momentum. Futures on December gold delivery reached a session low of $1,472.20 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, putting them on track for […]

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BitPay Undergoes Security and Confidentiality Certification Audit

Major cryptocurrency payment services provider BitPay has undergone a security and confidentiality compliance audit, the Service Organization Control 2.

Major cryptocurrency payment services provider BitPay has undergone a security and confidentiality compliance review, the Service Organization Control 2 (SOC 2).

Per a Sept. 30 press release, business advisory company Aprio confirmed BitPay’s compliance with the SOC 2, a tech audit and a requirement for technology companies that assures that customers’ personal data is kept secure and confidential.

Passing an SOC 2 review means that the firm has met criteria set by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants in regard to confidentiality, security, privacy, processing integrity and availability. Commenting on the evaluation, Dan Schroeder, partner-in-charge of information assurance services at Aprio, said:

“After thorough review, we have confirmed the design and application of BitPay’s payment system meets the standards set forth in SOC 2 for protecting customer data. SOC 2 reporting is an industry best practice standard that evaluates a company’s controls relative to matters such as securing transactional and other sensitive customer data.”

In mid-August, BitPay introduced new security measures on its platform, where users are required to undergo a one-time verification process that requires the input of data such as their Social Security number or passport number, as well as a photo ID. The measures were met with some skepticism, given the resistance that many in the cryptocurrency community have toward seeing their personal data stored in centralized troves.

SOC 2-compliant crypto and blockchain projects

In January,  cryptocurrency exchange Gemini announced that it had completed an SOC 2 Type 1 certification.

In April, blockchain security firm BitGo, which last year gained an SOC 2 Type 1 certification from Deloitte, upped its procedures to conform to the Type 2 requirements of the same standard.

Last month, about 15 global jurisdictions, including the G7 countries, announced that they will reportedly develop a system for tracking crypto transactions to prevent illicit uses of cryptocurrencies by collecting and distributing personal data on individuals.

Mohammed El-Erian Warns Investors to Take Money Off the Table Due to These Three Risks

Mohammed El-Erian has a new warning to investors: take some money off the table. In a wide-ranging interview with CNBC, El-Erian said that if he were a money manager, he would take some money from his funds at this time. In making his case, he identified risks coming from central banks, trade and fiscal policy. […]

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Bittrex, Coinbase and Kraken Set up Crypto Rating Council

Bittrex, Coinbase, Kraken and Others Set up Crypto Rating Council

The heavy hand of regulators has been stifling the growth of the cryptocurrency industry in the U.S. and caused innovators to flock abroad. In a bid to mitigate one aspect of this problem, major players have now created a joint system for rating what constitutes a security token.

Also Read: International Crypto Exchange Luno Adds Bitcoin Cash Trading

Uniting Against Regulatory Uncertainty

A group of digital finance companies has announced the formation of the Crypto Rating Council, a member-operated organization created to help market participants comply with U.S. federal securities laws. The founding members of this new industry body are Anchorage, Bittrex, Circle, Coinbase, DRW Cumberland, Genesis, Grayscale Investments and Kraken.

The purpose of the Crypto Rating Council is to provide a joint assessment of whether a specific token should be considered a security under U.S. law. This definition has direct legal implications on companies that trade and manage digital assets in the U.S., but reaching this decision can be costly for any one company as it requires the assistance of expensive lawyers who specialize in such matters. Moreover, as it is a fuzzy legal definition and not a matter of code, different lawyers might reach different conclusions. A joint effort should help companies deal with the lack of clear-cut rules from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Bittrex, Coinbase and Kraken Set up Crypto Rating Council

Bill Shihara, the CEO of Bittrex, stated: “The Crypto Rating Council’s mission of operationalizing SEC guidance is one that deeply resonates with Bittrex, and me. Today’s regulatory complexity and uncertainty creates a challenging environment for emerging US blockchain technologies. By uniting as a Council to set industry standards and help clarify regulatory guidance, we can reinvigorate responsible blockchain and cryptocurrency growth in the US.”

The Securities Rating Framework

In order to judge whether an asset is a security, experts are asked a number of questions that are derived directly from SEC guidance and relevant case law. These are designed to address important characteristics such as the usage of securities-like language, the sale of tokens or token interests prior to the existence of token utility, marketing of the token suggesting an opportunity to earn profits, and decentralized development and usage.

The Crypto Rating Council’s analytical framework results in a score between 1 and 5. A score of 1 means the asset has few or no characteristics consistent with a traditional regulated security while a score of 5 means that an asset has many characteristics strongly consistent with treatment as a security. For example, Monero (XMR) got a 1.0 rating and Ripple’s XRP got a 4.0.

Bittrex, Coinbase and Kraken Set up Crypto Rating Council

“Coinbase is proud to bring together many of the largest and most credible companies in the cryptoeconomy to implement the first industry wide crypto rating system,” commented Chief Legal Officer Brian Brooks. “Like the Motion Picture Association’s system for rating movies, this new system will provide clarity and a common language for assessing important aspects of individual cryptoassets—in this case, securities law compliance.”

What do you think about industry players forming the Crypto Rating Council? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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Death Stranding’s Weird Baby Will Creep You Through Your PS4 Controller

Fresh off the announcement during the PlayStation State of Play broadcast last week that Death Stranding is getting the PlayStation 4 limited edition treatment, Hideo Kojima has revealed that the game’s iconic tanked Bridge Baby (BB) would emit sounds through the bundle’s exclusive translucent off-yellow Dual Shock 4 controller. By setting, you’ll be able to […]

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Boeing Stock Fails to Join Dow Jones Recovery – 4 Bearish Reasons Why

The Dow Jones Industrial Average bounced more than 150 points on Monday, but the index’s most heavily weighted stock, Boeing, failed to receive an invitation to the party. Boeing Stock Weighs on an Otherwise-Buoyant Dow Heading into early afternoon trading, Boeing stock had declined by 1.14% to $378.50, making it far and away the worst […]

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