A $1 billion crypto fund could be on its way from Andreessen Horowitz

The VC firm is looking to raise a considerable sum to put towards crypto investments.

Building on its previous crypto involvement, VC firm Andreessen Horowitz is now reportedly gathering thunder for another fund, according to an article from the Financial Times, or FT.

“The new fund, Andreessen’s third that is focused on cryptocurrency investments, is aiming to raise between $800m and $1bn from investors, according to four people with knowledge of the process,” FT wrote on Friday.

A Venture Capital, or VC, firm, Andreessen Horowitz also operates under the name a16z. The entity is active in the crypto and blockchain sector, and has invested in a number of projects. It plans to aim the new fund’s capital toward crypto industry projects and digital assets, FT reported.

The VC player was also a heavy investor in Coinbase, which recently went public on April 14. Andreessen Horowitz has offloaded about $120 million of its Coinbase stock, although it held roughly $11 billion in the asset at the time of its listing, according to regulatory filings cited by FT.  

In April 2020, headlines surfaced regarding the entity’s pursuit of $450 million for its second crypto-specific fund. The firm ended up securing $515 million

The crypto space overall has seen considerable capital inflows over the past year, evident in the industry's $2 trillion asset market cap valuation, which it reached in April 2021.

Impact of crypto still years out, T. Rowe Price’s head says

Crypto could still be in its infancy, according to one mainstream company's CEO.

Although the crypto space has been around for more than a decade, William Stromberg, CEO of mainstream investment management outfit T. Rowe Price, thinks the asset class is still finding its sea legs. 

"It's early days,” Stromberg told the Baltimore Business Journal in an interview when asked if “T. Rowe Price will ever start investing in cryptocurrencies.”

“We have some research going on around it,” the CEO added. “Some companies, just really a handful, have tried to put together products where one can buy and own crypto-related currencies.”

So far, a crypto-free strategy is working for Stromberg. Quarter one of this year was a great one for T. Rowe Price. The firm notched $1.52 trillion in assets under management, and saw its profits rise by over 100%, the Baltimore Business Journal article detailed. 

A number of avenues exist for investing directly in cryptocurrencies. A growing number of avenues also exist for exposure to crypto assets via traditional financial products as well, although the opportunities are not as diverse, as opposed to interacting directly with specific cryptocurrencies.

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange, or CME, offers Bitcoin (BTC) futures and options trading, as well as Ethereum (ETH) futures, for example. Among other crypto investment gateways, Grayscale also offers a variety of mainstream crypto investment vehicles.

“It really truly is early, early days here so I would expect this to move at a good pace but take years to really unfold," Stromberg added in his response to the Baltimore Business Journal’s question on crypto.

Stromberg’s crypto comments came after the CEO discussed the overall financial landscape of American markets, for which he sees a positive future. "We are very bullish on the economy and the growth of the economy as it reopens and that reopening broadens," he told the Baltimore Business Journal.

Although in general crypto is not technically tied to any specific region or government, its price action can arguably be influenced by certain events, based on the price crash Bitcoin suffered during March 2020 around COVID-19 concerns, however some debate exists on the subject.

England’s central bank moves ahead with CBDC with 7 job postings

The Bank of England's CBDC-related job listings range from solution architect to senior manager.

The United Kingdom’s central bank, the Bank of England, or BoE, still maintains that it is unsure on a path forward regarding a central bank digital currency, although the entity is looking to hire at least seven CBDC-related job positions. 

The job listings recently surfaced on the BoE’s job posting website. One such position searches for a “Stakeholder Analyst - Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC).”

As per the site, the bank is also searching for a project analyst, a solution architect, a technology analyst, a senior manager, and a senior enterprise architect — all CBDC-related, as well as a senior CBDC policy analyst. The site posted the listings on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“Like many other central banks, the Bank of England is actively exploring whether it should develop and issue a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC),” said the page for the stakeholder analyst job listing. “No decision has yet been taken on whether or not a CBDC is needed in the UK, but it is an important topic for the Bank to understand.”

The posting mentioned a number of specifics on the job, as well as the BoE’s focus in terms of looking into a CBDC.

Reporting earlier this month showed Her Majesty’s Treasury, or HMT, and the BoE jointly working on CBDC-related research, unveiling a CBDC task force. CBDCs have been a hot topic over the past year or so, with central banks acting at varied speeds.

PlanB speculates that BTC price fall doesn’t mean the end

Is Bitcoin’s bull run over? This crypto analyst doesn't think so.

Bitcoin’s (BTC) price has declined over the past day or so, falling from highs above $60,000 to below $50,000. That, however, does not necessarily mean the asset’s bull run is over, according to a well-known crypto analyst, PlanB

“Nothing goes up in a straight line,” PlanB said in a Tweet on Friday.

“#Bitcoin has gone up 6 months in a row, until this month. This looks like the mid-way dip that we also saw in 2013 and 2017.”

PlanB is known in the crypto industry for his Bitcoin Stock-to-Flow, or S2F, model. The model essentially projects Bitcoin’s price along an upward path in tandem with its halvings and increasing scarcity. He has also constructed a number of other models around the concept, factoring in different aspects.

Over the past several months, Bitcoin has dwarfed its 2017 all-time price high, hitting just shy of $65,000 on April 14, according to TradingView data. In the following days, BTC proceeded to fall down near $47,500 by April 23 — roughly a 26% decline. The move, however, is not out of line with previous Bitcoin bull cycles, according to PlanB’s tweet.

PlanB’s tweet on Friday also included a chart of Bitcoin’s price action during the bull markets that ensued following each of its previous halvings. Halvings occurred in 2012, 2016 and 2020. Bull markets followed in 2013, 2017 and 2020/2021.

Previous bull runs have sustained sizable pullbacks in price amid the backdrop of a greater macro bull cycle. Based on BraveNewCoin’s BLX chart on TradingView, during the bull run of 2013, after notable upside price action, Bitcoin suffered a crash of about 75% between April and July 2013. After that drop, Bitcoin went on to post significant gains before 2014 hit.

In September of 2017, Bitcoin suffered a drop of roughly 40% following significant gains, but went on to hit new highs in subsequent months before falling into a bear market the year after.

Governing body of Louisiana gives Bitcoin its nod of approval

Louisiana recently gave a shout out to Bitcoin’s success in a new resolution.

Bitcoin has gained increasing levels of adoption over the past several months amid its rise past $60,000. The government of the U.S. state of Louisiana recently released a resolution in which it noted some of Bitcoin’s (BTC) accomplishments.

“THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the House of Representatives of the Legislature of Louisiana does hereby commend Satoshi Nakamoto for his contribution to economic security,” said House Resolution No. 33 from Rep. Mark Wright. According to an article from The Hill, the document was signed on Thursday.

The shout out to anonymous Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto came after the document gave BTC a pat on the back for its success in terms of adoption and market capitalization. The first lines of the resolution read:

“To commend Bitcoin for its success in becoming the first decentralized trillion dollar asset and to encourage the state and local governments to consider ways that could help them benefit from the increased use of this new technology.”

Bitcoin achieved a market cap greater than $1 trillion in early 2021. The milestone occurred following the asset’s break of its 2017 record high, which it tallied in late 2020.

The Louisiana document described a number of details around Bitcoin, including noting its prevalence, its decentralization and its usage. The resolution even pointed toward the asset as a gold alternative. “Bitcoin, which could potentially replace gold as a monetary reserve, is limited and finite and there is a maximum capacity of only twenty-one million bitcoins allowed to be produced,” the document said.

Over the past year or so, a number of companies have bought into Bitcoin as an asset, leading to increased mainstream attention.

Bitcoin is not an inflation hedge, Bitcoin skeptic claims

Nassim Taleb persists in his belief that Bitcoin is not a good hedge against inflation.

Untied to any single government or country, Bitcoin is often labeled as a store of value asset and a hedge against other areas of finance. Nassim Taleb, a former risk analyst and author, thinks otherwise, however. 

In an interview with CNBC on Friday, after noting Bitcoin’s (BTC) similarity to a Ponzi scheme, Taleb said: “There’s no connection between inflation and the coin. None.”

He added:

“I mean you can have hyperinflation and Bitcoin going to zero. There’s no link between them.”

This is not the first time Taleb has expressed skepticism toward Bitcoin. Earlier this year, he mentioned selling off his BTC holdings, claiming issues with its volatility. His stance, however, was based on Bitcoin as a currency, not as a store of value — a role in which the asset has transitioned into over the years.

Taleb, however, does seem to fully appreciate the technology behind BTC. “It’s a beautifully set up cryptographic system,” he told CNBC. “It’s well-made, but there’s absolutely no reason it should be linked to anything economic,” he added.

“If you want to hedge against inflation, buy a piece of land. Grow, I don’t know, olives on it. You know, you’ll have olive oil, if the price collapses you’ll have something, but Bitcoin there’s no connection.”

He described the importance of owning cash-generating vehicles, and referred to Bitcoin as a gimmick. Taleb also made other comments on Bitcoin in the interview, including talking about currencies versus speculative assets.

Last year, Taleb referred to most Bitcoin advocates as idiots, citing their lack of knowledge on economic subjects.

Trading apps usurp TikTok in popularity

Does that mean trading is more popular than social media now?

Two trading apps have risen to the top of Apple's App Store in recent days. Robinhood holds the number one position, with Coinbase in second, at time of publication on Friday. In third: popular social media platform TikTok. YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat hold the fourth, fifth and sixth positions respectively.

One possible conclusion? Folks are now more interested in swapping crypto and financial assets than they are in interacting on various social media platforms — a conclusion noted by CNBC in an article on Friday.

Robinhood saw significant coverage in January when the company halted purchases for GameStop stock. The decision came after the asset's price spiked in tandem with activity from a Reddit group known as Wallstreetbets.

Second-place app Coinbase has also hit many headlines this year, especially in recent weeks in anticipation of its direct stock listing. Chatter rose as the stock, under the ticker COIN, was listed by Nasdaq on Wednesday.

Crypto and stocks largely entered the retail spotlight after they both crashed in March 2020. Emerging from the event, both markets posted recoveries, with the crypto markets going on to reach new all-time highs. Bitcoin’s price has since more than tripled its record high from 2017.

Scaramucci surprised at lack of banking response to Coinbase listing

Will competing companies come out of the woodwork?

After much anticipation, Coinbase listed on the Nasdaq on Wednesday via a direct listing. Skybridge founder Anthony Scaramucci thinks the event should have been met with more attention from banks. 

“What I’m surprised about frankly is there isn’t a wake-up call at the banks, the commercial banks, like there was for the Netscape IPO in 1995 at microsoft,” Scaramucci told CNBC on Friday after noting Coinbase’s connection with Bitcoin, in line with the asset’s growth and technical framework.

He added:

“Bill Gates thought the internet was a fad. He then realized what was happening with the Netscape IPO and he deployed several billion dollars into an internet strategy which led to Explorer [Internet Explorer, Microsoft’s browser] and adapted and pivoted into it. I’m surprised the commercial banks, people like Jamie Dimon, aren’t pouring money into a clone of Coinbase.”

Michael Novogratz, Galaxy Digital’s CEO, also recently mentioned Netscape’s debut as similar in gravity to the Coinbase listing. He noted the digital asset company’s public emergence as a key point in cryptocurrency adoption.

“I think this is a seminal event,” Scaramucci said of the Coinbase listing, subsequently noting that he holds some shares of Coinbase. “It trades like Facebook and Google traded in the first couple of days,” he noted, adding:

“People were looking at lackluster performance after the IPO and then look at those stocks over the ensuing years.”

Coinbase stock spiked up to roughly $429 on its listing day, but has since retraced, trading near $340 at time of publication, based on TradingView data. The crypto company trades under the ticker symbol COIN, but a tokenized version of the stock also exists on crypto derivatives exchange FTX.

Want to buy Coinbase stock now? Here’s how to get exposure before April 14

Other than buying Coinbase stock when it lists, retail parties can trade Coinbase stock price action on FTX, but not if they are in the U.S.

Crypto exchange company Coinbase intends to go public via a direct listing on April 14, based on recent details. This means shares of Coinbase stock will become available for trading on the Nasdaq, bringing another part of the crypto space into mainstream finance. 

Confusion can accompany activity in the traditional financial world, though. Companies, accredited investors and other entities engage with stocks and finance in various measures, but what about everyday retail participants? If a retail person wants to buy Coinbase stock when it lists on the Nasdaq or wants to buy it before the listing day, how would they go about doing so?

“With a direct listing, no retail brokerage firms have any role in that listing before it’s available on an exchange,” a spokesperson for financial service provider Fidelity told Cointelegraph. “The first time any retail investor has access to a stock that comes on an exchange through a direct listing is when it’s available to everyone, just like existing stocks, such as AAPL, FB and MSFT.” 

The case is the same with Coinbase’s direct listing, based on an article from NerdWallet. Coinbase has chosen “COIN,” as its stock ticker, a blog post from Coinbase revealed.

Coinbase has grown substantially since its founding in 2012. Back in 2018, Coinbase held an $8-billion valuation after running a funding round in which it secured $300 million. Quarter one of 2021 yielded favorable numbers for the outfit, during which Coinbase’s revenue totalled $1.8 billion, a high for the company.

Coinbase is conducting a direct listing, not an IPO

Direct listings differ from initial public offerings in a number of key areas, including underwriter involvement, although both serve as avenues for companies going public. Initial public offerings involve underwriters, while direct listings do not. “An underwriter is any party that evaluates and assumes another party’s risk for a fee,” Investopedia explains, adding:

“The fee paid to an underwriter often takes the form of a commission, premium, spread, or interest. Underwriters play a critical role in many industries in the financial world, including the mortgage industry, insurance industry, equity markets, and some common types of debt security trading.”

Coinbase filed to go public with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission near the end of 2020. The company originally planned its direct listing to hit in March 2021, but the exchange pushed the event to April after receiving and settling a $6.5-million penalty from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission. The fine arose from the government agency’s claims that Coinbase did not report exchange volume correctly. The fine also included that a worker fiddled with exchange volume numbers by “self-trading.”

Trading Coinbase stock price action on FTX before listing day

Prior to Coinbase’s stock listing, interested parties can trade Coinbase futures contracts using crypto derivatives exchange FTX, according to an FTX information document. The exchange launched the token-settled product in December 2020. “Coinbase (CBSE) is a pre-IPO contract,” FTX says on its exchange page for the product, adding:

“It tracks Coinbase’s market cap divided by 250,000,000. CBSE balances will convert into the equivalent amount of Coinbase Fractional Stock tokens at the end of Coinbase’s first public trading day. In the event that Coinbase does not publicly list by June 1, 2022, CBSE balances will cash-expire to $32, in line with an 8 billion dollar valuation.”

Tokenized stocks on FTX represent ownership of their respective underlying stocks. Using its tokenized Tesla trading product as an example, FTX said in a help article on its website: “These spot tokens are backed by shares of Tesla stock custodied by CM-Equity. They can be redeemed with CM-Equity for the underlying shares if desired.”

Tokenized stocks on FTX, as well as its CBSE pre-IPO contracts, result from cooperation between FTX and financial services outfit CM-Equity AG. FTX, however, is not open to customers of certain regions, such as the United States.

How to get the lowest price for Coinbase stock?

“‘Lowest price’ is relative to an investor’s trading strategy,” the Fidelity spokesperson said, adding: “Once a Fidelity customer decides what is a fair value for any stock, they can set a price alert for when the stock may hit their target price, they can set a limit order, or they can leg-in to the position over a regular schedule — e.g., $50/month — never more convenient since we offer fractional shares and $0 online commissions.”

Coinbase has already sold some of its shares. Reporting in March revealed private auction sales, in which price per share reportedly ranged from $350 to $375. Estimates put Coinbase at a $100-billion company valuation. Later in March, it was reported that 114,850,769 Coinbase shares were registered by the company. The shares fall under Class A common stock categorization.

SEC approves Exodus wallet for Regulation A stock offering

Exodus shares are now available for purchase through its wallet.

Crypto wallet provider Exodus recently received the green light from the United States Securities and Exchange Commission to sell shares of its operation. 

According to a public statement from Exodus on Thursday: “Exodus Movement, Inc., a Delaware corporation that has developed a leading non-custodial cryptocurrency software platform, received notice that the Securities and Exchange Commission has qualified its offering of Class A common stock under Regulation A.”

The shares hit the market last night in the U.S. and are available through the wallet itself. For many years, Exodus has existed as a desktop wallet for crypto users, compatible with an array of digital assets. The wallet also hosts a feature that allows users to swap between assets within the wallet. Now, according to the statement, users can buy Exodus shares through the app as well.

Exodus filed with the SEC for a Regulation A offering in February, as detailed in its related paperwork. Regulation A offers a form of exemption under which entities can sell unregistered shares, based on information from Investor.gov.

The Thursday statement notes a price of $27.42 per unit of Class A common stock. Buyers can pick up as little as a single share, or as much as 2,733,229 shares. “All investors must be registered with the Exodus transfer agent Securitize,” the statement noted, pointing toward two avenues for registration: through Securitize or in the Exodus wallet itself.

Shares can only be purchased by U.S. residents. Arizona, Florida and Texas folks, however, cannot participate. The statement also added:

"Exodus is currently exploring partnerships with alternative trading systems (ATS) that could potentially expand the availability of Exodus shares. Exodus intends to make the Class A common stock available for trading on several ATS, including the tZERO ATS within nine months of this offering."

Crypto companies going mainstream has been hot news as of late, with Coinbase’s direct listing on the horizon, expected to occur on April 14.

Quotes in this article taken from previously published sources have been lightly edited.

Paxful denies reports of customer data leak

A spokesperson from the crypto trading platform clarified that no leaks pertained to sensitive customer info.

An anonymous online source was recently spotted trying to sell private customer and employee data allegedly obtained from crypto exchange Paxful. A spokesperson from the company told Cointelegraph that no customer data has been jeopardized, however.

“Our customers’ data has not been compromised in any way,” said the spokesperson on Friday. “There has been no data breach of the Paxful platform,” they noted, adding:

“The employee data that the person claims to have was obtained illegally from a third party supplier that Paxful previously used; Paxful terminated its contract with this supplier in September 2020. We have taken measures to ensure that our employees are not impacted by this event and we’re continuing to actively monitor the situation as a precautionary measure.”

On Friday, someone posted a message in a Russian-language Telegram channel titled Information leaks that read, "A dump of the database of registered users and employees of the paxful.com P2P cryptocurrency trading platform has been put up for sale on the English-speaking shadow forum.”

The post noted phone numbers, names and addresses, as well as other private information, supposedly were apprehended and made available for purchase as part of a “dump” that purportedly boasted more than “4.8 million entries.”

Hacks and data leaks are unfortunately not uncommon in a world growing more accustomed to technology. Facebook recently suffered a hack which compromised data of more than 500,000 customers. Millions were affected by the notorious Equifax leak of 2017. Crypto hardware wallet company Ledger also suffered data hack troubles in 2020.

Bitcoin to zero? Not while this Redditor has $187,000 to spend

The crypto space can rest easy on Bitcoin’s survival — a lone Reddit user has got you covered.

In the years since Bitcoin’s 2009 launch, the crypto industry’s inaugural blockchain-based asset has survived many speculative deaths. While it is true that Bitcoin (BTC) could theoretically crash by the tens of thousands of dollars necessary to take it to zero, one Reddit user has pledged their intention to buy up the blood.

On the r/Bitcoin subreddit yesterday, Reddit user u/Substantial-Ad-5012 posted a thread titled: “Bitcoin will never go to zero in my lifetime.” Why? “Because I am willing and able to buy all the bitcoin ever mined at 1 cent each,” the user explained, adding:

“So the next time a bitcoin skeptic brings up the bitcoin going to zero argument just let them know that a random reddit guy on the internet said that he will not let that happen.”

CoingGecko estimates that the total number of Bitcoins mined since the genesis block is around 18,677,925. In the unlikely event that Bitcoin does in fact drop to $0.01 USD, it would cost a mere $187,000 to pick up every coin in circulation — not accounting for the fact that some believe 20% of all Bitcoin are inaccessible.

Over the years, many old-world financial personalities have forecast Bitcoin's eventual demise, including gold evangelist Peter Schiff. In 2020, Jim Rogers, a notable investor, said he expects a future price of $0 for BTC. In 2018, Bill Harris, the former CEO of PayPal, also predicted a $0 price tag. Additionally, Distributed Lab CEO Pavel Kravchenko said Bitcoin could become worthless, although his stance was contingent on certain conditions.

U/Substantial-Ad-5012 is not the only one ready to buy Bitcoin either, in the event of a dramatic price spiral. Entrepreneur Alistair Milne has also expressed similar intentions in the past, as demonstrated by his 18.52 million BTC buy order last year. In 2020, after the March crypto market crash, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao also tweeted about the asset not hitting zero, due to his intent to buy before then.  

Other factors that could lead to total price depreciation for Bitcoin include attacks on the global power grid or the destruction of all technology on Earth. The asset does have some safeguards in place in the event of a cataclysmic disaster, however, including a satellite-based system that maintains Bitcoin’s blockchain.

Bitcoin is trading near $58,000 at time of publication. 

Tyler Winklevoss thinks Bitcoin is past the risk of a US ban

Bitcoin has likely become too interwoven into the world for a ban to be plausible, says the Gemini CEO.

The United States government has increasingly stepped up its overwatch on crypto in recent years, although an outright ban on Bitcoin is now unlikely — at least according to Gemini CEO and co-founder Tyler Winklevoss.

“I think, if we were back in 2013, this would be kind of an open question,” Winklevoss told podcaster Peter McCormack when asked about regulation and a Bitcoin (BTC) ban during a Friday episode of the What Bitcoin Did podcast:

“I think that the U.S. will never outlaw Bitcoin. There’s too much precedent that’s been set in the courts. The Coinflip order, which was a CFTC [Commodity Futures Trading Commission] enforcement action which was upheld in the courts, considered Bitcoin a commodity like gold.”

Back in 2015, the CFTC referred to BTC as a commodity in the midst of dealing with Derivabit, a BTC options trading platform. According to the CFTC, Derivabit, a product of a company called Coinflip, was not compliant with the governing body at the time.

“We are a New York trust company regulated by the New York Department of Financial Services,” Winklevoss continued, referring to Gemini. “So much would have to be undone,” he said of a Bitcoin ban, adding:

“You’re talking about like companies that are providing careers, building the economy, some of them are going public. They’re going to become drivers of the stock market. To unroll that back is so unlikely to me. Of course it’s not 0%, but it might as well be.”

The crypto space as it is known today began in 2009 with the inception of Bitcoin. Since then, the asset has given birth to an entire ecosystem, with mainstream players becoming involved in various capacities. Regulatory talk has also continued moving forward in terms of providing and enforcing guidelines as they relate to crypto.

Winklevoss additionally mentioned regulators as stakeholders. They have the well-being of companies and consumers in mind, but some also may hold BTC and see it as valuable. He also noted the trend of crypto industry leaders finding their way into government positions.

“I think it’s like such a strong amount of people who believe in this in the U.S. that I think it’s like next to 0% chance that that sort of gets rolled back for whatever reason,” he said, adding:

“I think the same for the U.K. and Europe. Singapore we’re in a licensing process with the MAS [Monetary Authority of Singapore], their top regulator there. They are embracing it. All of the jurisdictions that are free markets and open markets and believe in capitalism, believe in Bitcoin, believe in crypto, and I think see it as an opportunity more than anything than a threat.”

He also pointed out that stopping Bitcoin would essentially require putting significant restrictions on the internet as a whole, which would affect other economic aspects.

Speaking of crypto leaders finding their way to government positions, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network recently chose a former Chainalysis exec as its incoming acting director.

Latest episode of ‘the Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ involves massive Bitcoin bounty

Is it because of Bitcoin’s price, or simply the asset's ever-increasing mainstream ubiquity? Possible spoilers ahead.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, a new Marvel Cinematic Universe show on the Disney+ streaming platform, incorporated a Bitcoin (BTC) bounty into its newest episode. 

In episode three, “Power Broker,” one of the characters receives a text message which reads: “Selby dead. ₿1K BOUNTY for her killers.” The reference, which drops around the narrative's half way mark, is timely given Bitcoin's ongoing bull market. At time of publication, 1,000 BTC equals approximately $58.8 million USD.

The reference occurs around 24 minutes into episode 3 of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

Reddit user Okitraz1986 spotted the Bitcoin reference, and posted their findings (as well as a screenshot) on Reddit’s r/Bitcoin forum on Friday, saying:

“Thought it was cool, figured I'd share. Mind you this was a lot cooler like 5 years ago back when i got into the bitcoin space but still nice to see we're making headway into cultural touchstones.”

Unfortunately, the story still shows Bitcoin being used in an underworld-esque manner, instead of as an asset for public investment — which would arguably be a more apt use case, if not quite so thematic. Over the years, Bitcoin has found it difficult to shake its reputed connections to nefarious activity, despite increasing legitimacy as a store of value similar to gold.

In late 2020, another TV show called Shameless also included Bitcoin and Ethereum references in one episode.

Former Chainalysis brass is now FinCEN’s acting director

Michael Mosier will replace Kenneth Blanco as the U.S. government agency’s acting director.

The current acting director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN, will bid farewell to the governing body in April. His replacement: Michael Mosier, Chainalysis’ former chief technical counsel. 

“Director Kenneth A. Blanco today announced several leadership changes impacting the bureau,” said a public statement from FinCEN on Friday, adding:

“Director Blanco announced he will depart FinCEN on April 9, after serving as the organization’s director since December 2017. Michael Mosier, former FinCEN Deputy Director and current Counselor to the Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, will return to FinCEN as Acting Director.”

Blanco was the government agency’s eighth director. AnnaLou Tirol, FinCEN’s deputy director, worked as the agency’s associate director of its Strategic Operations Division in the past, the statement said. Mosier takes his post as acting director on April 11.

This is not the first crypto-experienced hire by a government agency. President Biden chose Gary Gensler as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC. Gensler is well-educated on the crypto industry as he taught an in-depth course on the subject at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or MIT, in 2018.

After Mosier’s work for Chainalysis, he spent time working for FinCEN in other capacities, as well as for the U.S. Department of Justice and multiple other U.S. government positions.

"I am proud to have led an incredible organization with an important national security mission that has a profound effect on the lives of so many people, especially the most vulnerable in our society,” Blanco said in the statement upon his exit. “I have every confidence in Mr. Mosier and Ms. Tirol’s ability to lead the bureau forward and continue the progress of ensuring our national security and protecting people from harm.”

U.S. government agencies have become increasingly involved in the crypto industry over time.

ETH breaks all-time high amid fresh price surge

Ethereum has regained the $2,000 zone.

Ethereum, crypto’s second largest asset by market cap, has broken its previous all-time price high near $2,041 , set on February 19, 2021.

Ethereum (ETH) hit a record price high of approximately $2,081 today, according to TradingView data. ETH trades near $2,067 at time of publication.

Since its February high, ETH has corrected twice on its daily chart, posting a higher low on the second correction. In the days after its $2,041 summit, the asset dropped down to about $1,293. ETH recovered up to about $1,943 by March 13 before falling back down near $1,546 in subsequent days.

Since the drop down near $1,546, ETH has posted four consecutive green daily candles. Today will be the fifth, if it closes green.

CoinMarketCap lists ETH as the second largest asset by market cap currently. Holding a market cap near $239 billion at time of publication, ETH sits comfortably in second place above Binance Coin (BNB), but a long way from Bitcoin’s (BTC) $1.1 trillion total valuation.

Ethereum has seen a large number of headlines over the past several months, in line with its transition to Ethereum 2.0, or Eth2, as well as its role in decentralized finance, or DeFi. Eth2 looks to scale the Ethereum network and fully transition its blockchain over to a proof-of-stake algorithm in the coming months.

ETH’s upward price trajectory has also come in line with an overall bull market for crypto, in which BTC has traded above $60,000.

eToro going public: CEO Yoni Assia reveals key details behind the move

A number of factors indicate that the present is a beneficial time for eToro to go public, according to the company’s CEO.

Over the course of 2020, eToro sized up significantly, as Assia explained: “We’ve grown more than 147% year-over-year revenues,” he noted. This year rolled in with mainstream and crypto bull markets in full swing, in tandem with “the biggest discussion we’ve seen in human history around the intersection of social media and investment platforms” — all bubbling together to form what Assia labeled as “a perfect storm.” He added:

“We’re seeing an immense interest all around the world from people who want to participate in the global markets, which was our original vision from 2017 when we started our business of opening the global markets for everyone to trade and invest in a simple and transparent way.”

Bitcoin (BTC), as well as the rest of the crypto market, posted a standout year in 2020 after quickly recovering from a significant price decline around the same time as rising COVID-19 concerns in March 2020. Mainstream markets also rallied in 2020, but Bitcoin picked up steam late in the year, breaking its 2017 record high in December before continuing significantly higher. So far, 2021 has seen a continuation of the mainstream and crypto bull markets.

On March 16, eToro announced plans for taking its operation public on the Nasdaq through a special-purpose acquisition company, or SPAC. Essentially, this is a type of merger in which a private company combines with a specific, already-public company (a SPAC company), turning public in a less direct manner than an initial public offering.

“When your business grows faster than your expectations, it is always the right thing to do to make sure that you’re fully prepared to take the next stage of growth as a bigger company, as a public markets company,” Assia said. “We’re very excited about this next step of growth.”

Crypto exchange Coinbase plans on taking its business public through a direct listing on the Nasdaq stock exchange in April 2021. Alternatively, Diginex, a digital asset-centered entity, went public on the Nasdaq in October 2020 via a SPAC.

EToro has publicized its intent to buy and merge with a SPAC called Fintech V, Assia noted. “We will merge with that company, actually buying that company, and become the listed eToro,” he said. Formally known as Fintech Acquisition Corp V, the SPAC company currently trades on the Nasdaq under the ticker FTCV.

“When SPACs announce business combination agreements signed, the SPACs are already trading, so retail investors have the opportunity to invest in SPACs post-announcement under the SPAC ticker,” Assia said.

Essentially, this route of going public gives interested parties the chance to indirectly invest in a private company right away after it announces its intent to go public, even though it is not technically officially listed as a stock yet, based on Assia’s explanation. The investor would buy the involved SPAC’s stock, which would eventually become the stock of the private company. Generally speaking, if a company went public through an IPO, investors would have to wait for the private company’s stock to list and then buy its stock when it lists.

Related: Catalytic event or unbridled optimism? Coinbase approaches public listing

“During the next couple of months, as we go through the process of completing the merger agreement, we will basically become the listed company on Nasdaq,” Assia explained. Although Assia said his company did not yet have a new ticker name finalized at the time of the interview, eToro will not keep FTCV as its ticker. “We haven’t decided on it frankly,” he said. “We can’t share what we haven’t decided on it yet, like when you’re pregnant with a kid,” he explained with a laugh.

What will going public change for eToro compared to current operations? “I think for the majority of our day-to-day work will stay very much the same,” Assia said, noting customers, persistent technological advancement and products as areas on which eToro will maintain its attention. He added:

“As we conclude the deal, and we bring in the $650-million PIPE [private investment in public equity], as well as a $250-million SPAC into the company’s balance sheet at most, we’ll have a very strong balance sheet to consider potential acquisitions, a more aggressive geographical expansion — whether it’s expanding aggressively in the U.S., or in other markets.”

He concluded that going public while having a balance sheet of over $1 billion “will enable us to be even more aggressive as we think of the growth of eToro.”

In recent months, talk of crypto companies going public has made a number of headlines. Crypto and financial asset trading platform eToro is one of the latest crypto-involved companies looking to go public. The outfit’s CEO, Yoni Assia, recently explained eToro’s rationale behind the move in an interview with Cointelegraph. 

Stock-to-flow creator doesn’t think Bitcoin’s bull market is done

Is Bitcoin's macro upward journey over? PlanB says no.

Bitcoin’s price seems to have stalled below $60,000 after attaining new all-time highs earlier in March. PlanB, a crypto analyst active on Twitter, thinks Bitcoin (BTC) may still have a lot of room to gallup however. 

“IMO we are only ~4 months into the bull market and nowhere near the end of it,” PlanB tweeted on Friday. “Bitcoin is just getting started,” he added, showing Bitcoin’s current path on one of his Stock-to-Flow charts. Multiple Stock-to-Flow models exist for Bitcoin which show Bitcoin’s price path in line with its halving events and supply over time.

YouTuber and derivatives trader Tone Vays also carries a bullish macro view, although he thinks a dip lower for Bitcoin is not out of the question.

“Bitcoin is consolidating but I remain bullish in this market,” Vays told Cointelegraph. “While it is still possible for bitcoin to make a lower low for the month in the $48k range, I believe we will go up to above $70k before June,” he added.

After trading past $61,000 this month, Bitcoin retraced down near $50,000. For the most part, the drop occurred over roughly two weeks, with some relief bounces mixed in, rather than in a straight, single-day $10,000 shot downward. Based on TradingView data, BTC holds a price of $54,550 at time of publication, looking back on a day of overall upward price action.

Meanwhile, other crypto assets continue to make headlines in the price category as well.

Chainalysis has crypto’s ‘heightened momentum’ to thank for multibillion-dollar valuation

The company recently raised $100M in VC funds. How does it plan to spend that money?

Blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis recently added $100 million to its books thanks to investments from a number of parties, including Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff.

In a report from CNBC on Friday, Chainalysis CEO Michael Gronager suggested that the success of this fundraising round was due to a feeling of "heightened momentum" in the cryptocurrency space.

“Chainalysis, the blockchain analysis company, today announced it secured a $100 million Series D financing led by Paradigm, bringing its valuation to over $2 billion,” the company said on Friday in a statement provided to Cointelegraph. “Previous investors Addition and Ribbit increased their investment in the company, and TIME Ventures, the investment fund for Marc Benioff, also participated.”

When asked what the project intends to use its newly acquired funds for, Chainalysis' senior director of communications, Maddie Kennedy, told Cointelegraph, “We’re using the funds to expand our enterprise data offering," adding that:

“We’ll continue to invest in investigations and compliance software, but we’ll also build out new data products both for our existing customer base and new audiences.”

Chainalysis will also focus on crypto businesses, asset managers, financial service providers, government agencies and more as it builds new solutions, Kennedy explained.

Since crypto’s inception more than a decade ago, governments have stepped up their activity in the industry, looking to provide greater clarity and regulatory enforcement. Kennedy seems to feel that a certain level of governmental oversight is good for adoption of the technology:

“Working with government agencies and demonstrating cryptocurrency's transparency has helped bring cryptocurrency into the mainstream. Once regulators and law enforcement are comfortable with crypto, financial institutions and major corporations can invest in it too. We’re proud to have collaborated with our customers and partners across government and commercial enterprises to make cryptocurrency a legitimate and trusted part of the global financial system.”

Back in September 2020, Chainalysis won a $625,000 deal with the United States Internal Revenue Service for services that track anonymity-focused Monero (XMR) transactions.

Fresh wave of interest pushes Cardano near all-time highs

ADA recently came within a penny of its previous U.S. dollar all-time price high.

Cardano (ADA) made a run at its all-time price high on March 18, following renewed retail interest in the asset. It ultimately hit a price of $1.47 on Thursday, based on TradingView data from the Kraken exchange — just short of its $1.48 all-time price high, set on Feb. 27.

Cardano’s 1-hour chart shows the asset has made higher lows since its correction, riding an upward trendline. Price currently looks to have flipped the 50-period moving average, or MA, to support, at least as of the time of publication; its price currently sits near $1.32. On its recent downward move, ADA did not fall far enough to hit its 200-period MA. 

Source: TradingView

On ADA’s hourly chart, after two attempts at its record high on Thursday, the asset fell nearly 20% in price, hitting $1.18. ADA’s drop came around the same time as a similar, albeit notably smaller, correction occurred in Bitcoin’s price.

ADA's increase appears to have followed a March 16 announcement from U.S. exchange Coinbase, stating that that it would be adding ADA to its Coinbase Pro platform.  “Trading will begin on or after 9AM Pacific Time (PT) Thursday March 18, if liquidity conditions are met,” the blog post said. ADA appears to be trading on the exchange as of time of publication.

A blog post today revealed that Coinbase has also added the asset to its Coinbase.com application and platform as well.

ADA is one of the largest crypto assets in terms of market cap.

eToro’s CEO speculates on what’s driving the crypto bull market

He thinks crypto’s ongoing bull market is driven by a number of factors.

EToro’s CEO, Yoni Assia, thinks multiple factors are at play when it comes to the crypto market's current bull run — among them, the economic situation in the U.S. amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think there is a confluence of circumstances that’s leading for this all-time high, both in crypto, as well in the stock markets,” Assia told Cointelegraph in an interview on Thursday. “We’re seeing unprecedented monetary and fiscal sort of reactions from federal governments all around the world leading to zero interest rates, and even negative interest rates in some places.”

Back in March 2020, Bitcoin dropped below $4,000 as COVID-19 prevention measures made global headlines. Since then however, the crypto market has roared upwards, with Bitcoin reaching milestone prices in excess of $60,000, and an overall market cap of over $1 Trillion.

“We’re seeing an unprecedented amount of money being printed by governments all around the world — some of them in a very unique and new concept of direct stimulus checks to consumers,” Assia said. “That has definitely raised the biggest discussion in human history about the value of money — a discussion that started very passionately within the crypto space,” he added, while also mentioning Bitcoin’s scarcity.

Bitcoin has a maximum supply of 21 million coins, though not all of these have been distributed as of yet. Every ten minutes or so, a set number of new coins from this allocation are released into the ecosystem as a reward for miners who contribute to the network. As time goes on, however, the quantity of coins earmarked for distribution will only go down; in the past decade, the block reward has dropped from 50BTC to 6.5BTC. Eventually, there will be no more coins entering circulation, despite a strong and ongoing precedent for increasing investor demand.

The network's inherent scarcity is an easy enough concept for normal folks to understand, according to Assia, who further noted that folks are not blind to excessive money printing and low interest rates in the traditional fiat markets. He also pointed out that crypto and stock purchases are now more globally available to retail buyers, spurring mass scale involvement from people who may not previously have participated.

He reasoned that these factors have also ignited “a renewed interest that hasn’t been seen before since December 2017, so since crypto rally 1.0, we haven’t seen so much interest in cryptocurrency as we are seeing right now with crypto rally 2.0 upon us."

Messari CEO thinks a fresh wave of crypto regulation could be imminent

After nearly a decade of progress since Bitcoin's inception, regulators could be gearing up for further action, given the industry's recent growth.

Regulators may see crypto's recent growth as a problem, according to Messari CEO and founder Ryan Selkis. 

“I’ve never been more bullish on crypto but I think everyone might be mispricing global regulatory risk,” Selkis tweeted on Thursday, adding:

“When crypto looks like a toy, it’s not a threat. When stablecoins hit PayPal volumes and go private, it starts to look like a weapon.”

In the months following its drop below $4,000 in March 2020, Bitcoin (BTC) has surpassed $60,000 in price. DeFi assets have surged over the past year or so as well. Yearn.finance (YFI) went from less than $1,000, all the way up past $48,000, based on CoinMarketCap data. Nonfungible tokens, the current industry craze, may be the biggest of them all — An artist known as Beeple recently sold an NFT artwork for $69M at auction.

Selkis noted his price target for taking profit on what one can assume to be Bitcoin, relative to hi regulatory concerns. “I’ve got early sell orders set for $80k,” he said in his tweet. “Selling 5% 80-100k, and another 5% $100-125k,” he said in a separate tweet as a response to one of the comments on his initial post. “Then we'll see where things go from there,” he added.

During the last major crypto boom in 2017, initial coin offerings, or ICOs, were the big thing. U.S. regulatory bodies increased their governance on the sector in the years following, taking action against a number of projects. Regulation has also affected crypto in other regions in various fashions, including the European Union, with its 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive

CBDCs won’t entirely replace cash if the US Fed gets its way

The U.S. does not want cash to go extinct in the presence of a CBDC, according to the Fed’s chairman.

Many expect that a time could soon come when central bank digital currencies, or CBDCs, replace physical dollars once and for all. Comments from United States Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, however, indicate that this may not be the case.

The chairman’s comments were filmed and later shown at an event in Switzerland on Thursday, according to an article from Bloomberg. The Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures put on the event. In his talk, Powell mentioned that the U.S. central bank and six other central banks collaboratively put together a report in conjunction with the Bank for International Settlements. The report weighed the viability of CBDCs viability in relation to governmental goals.

Powell added, as per Bloomberg’s reporting:

“Relevant to today’s topic, one of the three key principles highlighted in the report is that a CBDC needs to coexist with cash and other types of money in a flexible and innovative payment system.”

Across the board, countries have approached CBDCs differently. Some nations, such as China, have raced toward creating a CBDC. The Bahamas unveiled its CBDC, the Sand Dollar, in the fall of 2020. The U.S., however, has ridden a slower train, prioritizing quality over speed — although comments from Powell in early 2021 emphasized the eventual importance of a CBDC.

In his recent comments, Powell explained, as per Bloomberg’s reporting:

“The Covid crisis has brought into even sharper focus the need to address the limitations of our current arrangements for cross-border payments. [...] And as this conference amply demonstrates, despite the challenges of this last year, we still have been able to make important progress.”

COVID-19 has spurred a number of economic changes since prevention measures were enacted in March 2020. Just over one year ago, Bitcoin crashed below $4,000. The asset has since rallied to prices over $60,000.

Kraken users have already staked half a million ETH

Interest in Ethereum staking continues to grow, as evidenced by recent numbers from Kraken.

Ethereum’s transition to Ethereum 2.0 officially began in December 2020 with the launch of its beacon chain. The long-awaited scaling solution takes the blockchain from a proof-of-work to a proof-of-stake consensus algorithm. In the months since the transition began, users of United States-based crypto exchange Kraken have allocated more than half a million Ether (ETH) to the platform for staking purposes.

On Tuesday, Kraken said via a public statement that the company was, "pleased to announce that the total amount of ether staked through its platform has now surpassed 500,000 ETH, as the Ethereum community continues to express its support for the much-awaited transition to proof of stake (PoS).”

Kraken breached 500,000 staked ETH yesterday, reaching 501,300 by the time the exchange’s news hit the public today.

In general, staking interest for Eth2 grew at the tail end of 2020 leading up to the December beacon chain launch. The launch needed at least 16,384 participants to stake a combined sum of 524,288 ETH or more.

Participants can stake on the Ethereum 2.0 network themselves if they own at least 32 ETH and complete certain processes, Kraken’s statement noted. Kraken ETH staking, however, is more user friendly and requires less capital. “Staking on Kraken can be done in just three clicks and is open to anyone,” the statement said. “Clients can stake from as little as just 0.00001 ETH, which is currently worth a little under 2 cents.”

ETH staked independently must be held locked indefinitely until certain Eth2 developments are met. ETH staked on Kraken operates under more flexible parameters, depending on regulatory requirements of certain regions, said the statement.

Coinbase recently opened a waitlist for those interested in staking ETH on its platform, according to a Feb. 16 blog post. Binance began offering ETH staking in December 2020, as per a blog announcement. Kraken also opened staking on its platform in December.

Eth2 has been in the works for years, despite a number of setbacks, and still faces a long road ahead.

Sotheby’s auction house is getting into the NFT game

The nonfungible token craze continues to proliferate.

The creation and sale of nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, has become a revolution that is increasingly difficult to ignore. On March 16, British-American auction house Sotheby's announced that they too would be entering this burgeoning ecosystem with the sale of tokenized art by a creator known only as "Pak."

“We’ve been following the NFT space for some time and we’re excited this morning to be announcing an upcoming sale next month with an artist who is known as Pak,” Charles Stewart, the CEO of Sotheby’s, said on Tuesday during an interview with CNBC.

Pak's anonymity has led to some discourse over whether they are a single entity, or a collective of multiple artists all operating under a single mononym. A September 2020 article from The Control noted that Pak might even be an artificial intelligence program or bot. Whatever the case, the artist is no stranger to the digital art space, boasting “decades” of experience according to Stewart.

Though NFTs first appeared in 2017, they have gained significant traction in the cryptocurrency industry over the past year. These tokens are provably unique, and therefore capable of representing individual items of tangible value. If two assets share fungibility, individuals can swap one for another, with no loss of fidelity. For example, making a copy of a document on your computer, produces an exact clone of that file's data down to the byte. Both the original file and its copy would be interchangeable one-to-one, and therefore fungible. In contrast, a nonfungibly saved piece of data is provably unique, and therefore rare. Nonfungible tokens provide each individual asset with a traceable provenance, which acts similar to an autograph or certificate of authenticity.

“It’s still very early, needless to say, with crypto art in general,” Stewart told CNBC when asked about the quantity of digital artists that Sotheby’s will host. “This is new for all of us,” he said, adding "but there’s a lot that’s really exciting and we think has staying power."

Stewart explained Sotheby's decided to work with a well-known figure for its inaugural dive into the niche. This is what led them to Pak. “We’re going to be selling both one of one works of art [and] also what are called open editions in the NFT world, where many people can buy tokens for the same work,” he said, subsequently noting more unspecified upcoming “surprises” in the weeks ahead.

“I do think this is the start of something that you’ll see more frequently,” he explained. “This really has the potential to bypass a lot of the traditional gatekeepers and vetting processes of the physical art world.”

NFTs have popped up in many headlines over the past few months, with some art pieces selling for tens of millions of dollars.

Bitcoin now the prize for this sailing event

Another sign of BTC adoption?

Touted as a digital store of value with scarce supply, Bitcoin has seen its fair share of comparisons to gold over the years. Keeping up with that trend, a sailing competition called the Liberty Bitcoin Cup offers Bitcoin (BTC) as a competition prize instead of a gold trophy.  

“The Liberty Bitcoin Cup is the prime cup for the Next Generation of World Class Sailors, competing on the Next Generation of High Tech Class Foil Sailing boats,” says the Liberty Bitcoin Cup’s website. “Where traditionally Gold Cups were the premier Cups in traditional sailing, this next generation is now powered by the Next Generation of gold – Bitcoin.”

Essentially, foil sailing employs new technology and design, according to a 2017 article from the Wall Street Journal. Foil boats utilize a design in which the boat maneuvers above the water’s surface to a degree, reducing friction and adding speed potential.

The Liberty Bitcoin Cup hopes to lower the barrier of entry for young people interested in foil sailing competitions, its website explains. This year’s competitors must fall within the birth year range of Jan. 1, 1996 to Feb. 15, 2003. “Teams consist of 3 or 4 crew members of mixed gender and shall race with both genders or all females on board,” the site says.

Including the finals, the cup consists of four events, and will pay out 1 BTC to the victor, according to the site.

Crypto industry folks have often compared and contrasted gold and Bitcoin over the years. Gold shares some use case similarities with Bitcoin, such as its role as a store of value, and has been viewed as valuable for millennia. Coming on the scene in 2009, Bitcoin does not yet have such a lengthy history behind it, but has gained notable adoption over the past year or so as company allocations to the asset have become more common.

What does it mean to be bullish or bearish in crypto?

Bullish and bearish outlooks on the crypto market can depend on the person holding the view.

When talking about markets, both mainstream and crypto, “bullish” and “bearish” often come up in headlines and conversation, although such usage typically depends on financial knowledge and experience. What do the two terms mean?

Bullish and bearish refer to market sentiment, seen collectively or expressed by an individual. If someone is bullish, it means they expect an asset or asset class to rise in price. Conversely, bearish refers to negative price expectations. Someone holding a bullish lean is sometimes called a “bull,” or “bulls” if a group or faction of the market is bullish. Therefore, “bears” anticipate falling asset values.

Why use bulls and bears as the animals of choice for such terminology? The answer possibly lies in the way the two animals attack their prey. Bulls attack in an upward fashion, driving their horns up through their target. Bears, on the other hand, start high and attack downward with their weight and arms.

This explanation of the terminology’s roots, however, is just one possibility, according to Investopedia. “The actual origins of these expressions are unclear.” The verbiage may also stem from bearskin dealings long ago.

Oxford Learner’s Dictionary describes bullish as: “feeling confident and positive about the future,” or “causing, or connected with, an increase in the price of shares.” Bearish means: “showing or expecting a fall in the prices of shares.”

A desire for bearishness?

Bullish and bearish desires depend on a number of factors. In general, traders may care less about whether a market or asset is bullish or bearish, as long as they can trade in both directions (called going long and short). Traders often move in and out of positions more often than investors, using shorter time horizons for their plays.

Instead of wishing for bullishness over bearishness, or vice versa, traders may care more about whether they are correct in their bullish or bearish assessment, profiting on trades as long as they are accurate in determining which direction a given asset goes, depending on the trading strategies used. Some traders’ strategies, talents or tendencies may favor one market condition over the other, however.

Investors, on the other hand, generally buy into positions and hold them for longer periods of time, profiting on the price rise, so they logically might want bullish markets. An investor may take a long-term short position or sell an asset if they have a bearish view on an asset, although the most anyone can make (in pretty much every instance) is 100% profit if they short at the absolute top and ride the asset to zero. On the other hand, assets can virtually rise in price infinitely, offering possible gains of more than 100%.

Dialing into crypto specifically, why might an investor or trader wish for Bitcoin (BTC) or any given altcoin to decline in price, even if they are bullish overall on the crypto industry? One reason could be their position. If a trader is bearish on BTC — expecting upcoming falling prices — they may enter a short trade on BTC and, therefore, logically want its price to decline, as they would profit on the asset’s drop.

Traders can even be short-term bearish and long-term bullish, or vice versa. They may, for example, expect Bitcoin to retrace in price over a period of days or weeks, but ultimately rise and return to an upward, multi-month trend.

Investors or traders may also hold a bearish short-term view and bullish long-term view, wishing for lower prices in the near term to buy certain assets at relatively cheaper prices. Conversely, a market participant may have a short-term bullish view with a long-term bearish outlook. They may think prices will go up due to hype or other factors, so they may buy or go long in the short term, while ultimately expecting to sell their positions eventually because they believe the market to be a bubble or something of that nature.

It is important to note that in markets, defining short-term and long-term can be subjective.

A look at what might produce a bullish or bearish bias

Each person’s bullish or bearish view is likely based on a wide range of components, such as charts, news and general knowledge. A market participant may think Bitcoin or an altcoin is bearish for a period based on certain chart conditions or patterns.

They may also view assets bearishly on a longer-term basis after negative announcements, such as a specific government regulatory action. One might hold a bullish view for a period based on an upcoming event, such as the Chicago Mercantile Exchange’s Bitcoin futures trading launch in 2017.

People may also hold an overall bearish or bullish view on an asset as a whole. MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor sees Bitcoin as a new way to store value. Gold advocate Peter Schiff, on the other hand, sees Bitcoin as a bubble.

Thus, many factors play into different parts of bullishness and bearishness. Timeframes, perspectives, opinions and events can all impact a person’s outlook on an asset or asset class. Ultimately, each individual must come to their own conclusion regarding what they think.

Buterin helping to strategize against Ethereum 51% attack possibility

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin is working to proactively solve a blockchain vulnerability.

Ethereum developers recently proposed a network change called EIP-1559 — a proposal meant to combat the network's rising transaction fees. Expected to take effect in July of this year, the move would send a part of every transaction fee to the Ethereum network itself. Ether allocated in this manner would then be burned, reducing the number of coins in circulation.

This change would also decrease the amount of rewards going to the network's miners, leading some to protest the move. A vocal group of participants have since begun to advocate for a demonstrative network takeover, which could threaten the security of the network. The group, however, does not seemingly intend to overthrow Ethereum, insisting that they only desire to show the viability of such an attack. Buterin and other Ethereum developers have since responded by planning defensive efforts.

“The goal of this document is to describe a mechanism by which a merge can happen quickly, with little modification to either the ethpow or beacon clients,” said Buterin. This move would essentially transition the network to Ethereum 2.0 faster than expected.

“Like clockwork, the Ethereum community has quickly organized potential solutions to this possible 51% attack, with Vitalik leading the charge,” a blog post from Status said on March 12, pointing toward the framework written by Buterin. “Vitalik describes how Ethereum can perform a ‘quick merge’ by rapidly moving from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake with limited changes required to Ethereum clients,” the post said.

A miner known as "Bits Be Trippin" commented during a March 9 YouTube video that, "Part of the risk display here is not to attack the network, it's to show that force projection is possible." 

Ethereum 2.0 is a scaling effort that looks to take the network from proof-of-work, or PoW, to a proof-of-stake, or PoS, mining consensus — an endeavor that has been in the works for years.

Buterin's recently proposed framework would expedite the network’s mining consensus transition, choosing to work out the kinks and details of the system after the fact, the Status post detailed. The merge could pave the way for smoother development on Ethereum 2.0, according to the post and Buterin’s write-up.

The Status blog noted that the EIP-1559 opposition group have already technically mustered enough power to conduct their 51% attack, based on the group’s web page at the time of the blog post.

Ethereum’s network has been home to many significant developments in both the decentralized finance and nonfungible token arenas over the past year. As the number of platforms and assets running on the Ethereum network have grown, however, so too have the network's transaction fees.

Ethereum initiated Eth2 in December 2020, with the launch of its beacon chain.

Philly t-shirt company allocates $1M of its cash reserves to BTC / ETH

Roughly 30% of the $1 million has already been put toward crypto purchases.

RushOrderTees, a t-shirt printing and embroidering company, intends to buy $1 million worth of crypto with its cash reserves, according to a recent announcement. 

“The company has so far purchased $300k in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies over the past month and will ramp to $1 million in crypto holdings by the end of April,” a March 12 public statement said. The move from RushOrderTees is another sign of adoption and a normalization of digital asset investing.

RushOrderTees is a custom shirt and apparel manufacturer based in Philadelphia, PA. They accept orders that range from single unit purchases to large-scale apparel runs. The business even touts a partnership with the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers, according to the company's website.

Although Bitcoin (BTC) has had its ups and downs over the years, the asset’s price has soared in recent months, breaking its 2017 record price high near $20,000 in December 2020. BTC has continued blazing an upward trail since then, recently flying past $57,000.

“Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, and blockchain technology offer an exciting glimpse into the future,” Mike Nemeroff, RushOrderTees’ CEO, said in the statement. “This is our opportunity to be on the cutting edge of something that has the power to change global commerce forever.”

A number of other companies have also converted some of their company's assets to Bitcoin, with more expected to follow. MicroStrategy has put over $2 billion of capital toward the currency, and Tesla bought $1.5 billion worth of BTC in 2021. Square and MassMutual have also bought Bitcoin in recent months.

Nemeroff is no stranger to the crypto space, as the CEO himself has reportedly bought crypto over the years, the statement included.

What keeps Bitcoin price similar across different crypto exchanges?

Arbitrage plays a part in Bitcoin’s pricing in the crypto market, but that does not explain everything.

Bitcoin trades in countless locations across the globe, including on numerous exchanges. The asset, however, largely trades near the same U.S. dollar value across the market, aside from some countries’ outlying price action from time to time. How is this possible? 

Numerous trading products exist in the crypto space, including Bitcoin (BTC) futures and options, but how is the price of actual transactable BTC, called spot BTC, determined in the crypto market, especially given the vast number of exchanges?

“The price of BTC at any moment is really no more than a function of the price people are ready to buy or sell BTC at that time,” Justin d’Anethan, sales manager at Equos — a digital asset exchange under Diginex Group — told Cointelegraph. “That is why it will vary — very slightly — from one exchange to the other,” he explained, adding:

“Naturally, market makers and arbitrageurs will play off that difference and minimize it (selling when it’s higher; buying when it’s lower so that it naturally corrects). Often, data providers and exchanges themselves use an index as a base, which is composed of the current price monitored across a selection of different exchanges.”

Arbitrage is one aspect of the market that helps keep Bitcoin’s price similar across exchanges. If BTC trades at $50,000 per coin on one exchange and $60,000 on another, people would likely buy BTC for $50,000, send it to the other exchange, sell it for $60,000, and keep the profit of $10,000 per coin. A number of factors play into arbitrage, however, such as transaction timing, exchange restrictions and bots.

Filbfilb, a crypto analyst and trader, also sees arbitrage as a significant component in determining Bitcoin’s spot price on the market. “Generally speaking, arbitrage bots play a major role in eliminating pricing differences brought about by isolated volume,” he told Cointelegraph. “They effectively reward people who correct market price discrepancies, with profit,” he added. Filbfilb explained:

“A high volume dump on one exchange, A, which presses price down beyond that of exchange B, will see arbitrage participants buy the cheaper coins on exchange A and sell them at a higher price on exchange B. This will continue until price A and B are equalized and the opportunity is eliminated. Obviously, that is a simplistic example, but it’s going on literally all the time.”

Arbitrage opportunities have also existed between Bitcoin futures and spot trading, according to a strategy once mentioned by Bitcoin stock-to-flow model creator PlanB. The tactic essentially involves shorting BTC futures while purchasing spot Bitcoin.

Certain Bitcoin futures, such as those tradable on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, sometimes trade above the asset’s price near the beginning of their contract periods, depending on the expiration, finding their way closer to the spot price of BTC by the time expiration comes around. This system depends on a number of factors, however, such as the length of the chosen Bitcoin futures contract.

“Buy orders and sell orders from participants across the globe determine the real-time price of Bitcoin,” Rob Levy, co-founder of Hxro — a crypto trading platform — told Cointelegraph. “The markets are all connected — from the spot markets to the derivatives markets (futures, options, swaps),” he said, adding:

“The most advanced market participants, often called liquidity providers or market makers, trade across all of the most active exchanges across the globe simultaneously. The advanced trading systems built by high-frequency traders monitor the order books on all of the major exchanges around the clock.”

Levy noted fast arbitrage as the force maintaining comparable BTC pricing on various crypto trading platforms.

Additionally, the CME’s BTC futures trading impacts the market price for spot Bitcoin, according to a report by Wilshire Phoenix, an investment firm. “The findings of Wilshire Phoenix [...] indicate that CME Bitcoin Futures contribute more to price discovery than its related spot markets,” the report said.

The CME opened cash-settled Bitcoin futures trading in 2017. In tandem with its BTC futures, the Chicago trading entity uses the CME CF Bitcoin Reference Rate — a value for Bitcoin, taking into account data from exchanges on the BTC spot market.

Overall, although certain factors can play a part in standardizing Bitcoin’s price across exchanges, the asset derives its overall worth based on a number of rationales, including its role as a store of value.