Ethereum Reaches a Pivotal Level as Analyst Watch for a Massive Decline

Ethereum and the aggregated crypto market bore witness to immense volatility this morning that was sparked by Bitcoin’s capitulatory decline from the $10,000 region. This decline caused major altcoins like ETH to post massive losses, with many underperforming Bitcoin as they continue struggling to garner any notable momentum against their BTC trading pairs. It now appears that this decline has led Ethereum down to a pivotal level. Its reaction here could influence where it trends in the days and weeks ahead. Buyers have defended the key support level that was previously resistance during ETH’s latest uptrend, but its latest downtrend marks a trendline rejection that could trigger a far-reaching downtrend. Some analysts, however, still remain optimistic that the cryptocurrency could see some further upside if buyers are able to defend its next key support level. Ethereum Sees Massive Decline Amidst Widespread Market Downturn At the time of writing, Ethereum is trading down just under 2% at its current price of $233. This marks a notable decline from daily highs of over $250 that were set at the peak of the rally it saw it yesterday. ETH appears to have catalyzed the recent market-wide uptrend, as it started rallying earlier this week prior to Bitcoin and most other major altcoins. Today’s decline was catalyzed by that seen by the benchmark cryptocurrency, which was previously hovering within the lower-$10,000 region before incurring a massive influx of selling pressure that led it to lows of $8,600 on BitMEX. This movement was fueled by sellers squeezing the massive amount of long positions that arose once it broke its resistance between $9,700 and $10,000. Analysts are now noting that this decline has led ETH to a pivotal level, with its reaction to the mid-$230 region offering significant insight into which way it may trend next. One trader offered a chart showing the importance of this level, explaining that the response to this level should offer insight into its near-term trend. Image Courtesy of Calmly As seen on the above chart, the trader’s downside target sits at roughly $216, with an upside target at its recent highs of $253. ETH Could Maintain Mid-Term Uptrend if it Bounces Around $215 Despite Ethereum’s tremendous decline, the cryptocurrency still remains up significantly from its recent lows of $205 that were set last week. One analyst believes that this mid-term uptrend could persist in the days and weeks ahead if it is able to bounce around $215. He offered a chart showing this possibility, while also noting that the green zone seen below could be a good area to open potential long positions. “Well, $250 rejection and now consolidating. Green is a great zone for potential longs. And has to hold,” he noted. Image Courtesy of Crypto Michael Featured image from Shutterstock. ETHUSD, ETHBTC, ETHUSDT

Blockchain Is Part Of China’s Master Plan for New Competitor Island to Hong Kong

China’s master plan for making Hainan a free trade island encourages institutions to use blockchain in transforming government function.

Chinese authorities have released a master plan for turning southern island province Hainan into a free trade port, Xinhua news reports on June 1. A trade port system will focus on facilitating free trade, investment and cross-border capital flows in the whole island.

Government institutions reform

The master plan encourages government institutions to use blockchain and other technologies to reform government function. Authorities hope the new modern technologies will help build a comprehensive, scientific, standardized and effective free trade port governance system. They added that: 

“We should give full play to the role of modern information technology, such as big data and blockchain, standardize government service standards through government service platforms, realize government process reengineering and government service, and strengthen orderly sharing of data and improve government service and governance level.” 

China says it’s committed to strengthening the application of blockchain technology in intellectual property transactions, certifications and other aspects, and exploring new models suitable for the development of free trade ports. 

Hainan vs. Hong Kong

The decision to develop the entire island of Hainan into a pilot free trade zone was announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping during a visit to the island in April 2018.

Earlier last year, China’s richest man Jack Ma remarked at the Business Leaders’ Advisory Council that Hainan must aim to “overtake Hong Kong” by becoming a major player in digital-age international trade. The council was created to advise the government on its plan to accelerate Hainan’s opening up and the development of the Hainan Pilot Free Trade Zone, according to the South China Morning Post.

The Hainan free trade port will be "basically established" by 2025 and become "more mature" by 2035, says the plan jointly issued by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council.

As Cointelegraph reported previously, a special fund of about $142 million was set up to finance blockchain companies in Hainan at the end of last year.

China’s calls for “speed up” of Hainan’s “Blockchain Pilot Zone,” no sign of crypto even as Digital Yuan rises

China’s leaving no stones unturned in its well-publicized quest to become the world’s leader in blockchain development and services. 

After introducing favorable terms for Bitcoin miners, a parliamentary book on the topic, and even considering Bitcoin as “virtual property,” the country’s new “master plan” on June 1 released measures to “speed up” progress of the technology in the country. 

Hainan, the new blockchain hub?

As reported on local publication Xinhua Net, the southern Chinese island of Hainan will speed up efforts for integrating blockchain technology into various administration and societal protocols. The region is colloquially known as China’s Hawaii due to favorable policies and a generally relaxed regulatory environment. 

Called China’s first “blockchain pilot zone,” Hainan boasts 175 companies, including foreign firms like Microsoft and HP, working on blockchain- and distributed ledger-focused systems. The region allows for increased collaboration and relaxed policies to run test pilots and other relevant arrears. 

As per a conference held in the provincial capital of Haikou on Monday, Chinese officials said the government will support the local blockchain industry via technological application, social investments, and talent “cultivation.” 

(Haikou could be the new blockchain hub. Source: Business Traveller)

Areas identified as ripe for the deployment of blockchain-based systems include healthcare, housing, tourism, and trade. A “special” fund of RMB 1 billion, or about $142 million, will be set up shortly to finance local blockchain businesses. 

Wang Jing, head of the Blockchain Pilot department, said at the conference:

“The pilot zone has so far accommodated more than 100 blockchain organizations and companies and is one of the fastest-growing blockchain clusters across the country.”

An action plan titled “Secure, Sharing, Compliance+” (SSC+) was released at the same event. The framework is aimed at bolstering “trusted” data sharing and digital governance by integrating blockchain technology and big data, noted Xinhua

Digital Yuan in force, but no sign of BTC or ETH

Despite the push, cryptocurrencies have remained absent from China’s agenda. But the country’s ambitious stablecoin project, termed “Digital Yuan” by industry observers, continues to develop both technically and fundamentally. 

As CryptoSlate reported last month, China is testing digital yuan with an aim to include it in the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics event in Beijing. If completed, the effort will be the world’s first state-backed digital currency project powering a major event on a massive scale. 

But popular cryptocurrency networks like Bitcoin or Ethereum remain absent from China’s plans, even as corporations and countries are adopting the two by either enterprise-focused development or investment. 

Meanwhile, Hainan is poised to become a blockchain powerhouse of sorts. The region even has a dedicated blockchain research lab, opened in collaboration with U.K’s prestigious Oxford University in 2018. 

Ryan Kim, the founder of Korea’s Hashed Capital, tweeted about the “epic” plans that China holds for Hainan:

Even Livio Weng Xiaoqi of Huobi Global is bullish on Hainan’s development. When the crypto exchange was forced to shift base in 2019, it chose to settle part of its team in the region. Xiaoqi commented at the time:

“If China is to make some breakthroughs in the blockchain industry, it is most likely to happen in two places: Hong Kong or Hainan.” 

The post China’s calls for “speed up” of Hainan’s “Blockchain Pilot Zone,” no sign of crypto even as Digital Yuan rises appeared first on CryptoSlate.

Ransomware Group Threatens Auction of Madonna’s Legal Data

REvil’s ransomware gang is launching an auction of stolen data, including legal information hacked from Madonna.

The ransomware gang REvil has launched an auction feature on the dark web in the past 24 hours, starting with the stolen data from a Canadian company and threatening to auction off information hacked from famous singer Madonna next. 

Cointelegraph accessed information from the first auction campaign conducted by REVil, who detailed that the Agromart Group is the “first batch” of data to be put up for auction, which is the data stolen after a ransomware attack.

Madonna’s data auction threat

At the bottom of the list, the ransomware gang warned Madonna and “other people” that they could be the next victims of future auction listings in their campaign.

The reference to Madonna is related to her latest ransomware attack on a high-profile New York entertainment law firm — first reported by Cointelegraph — which represents the private legal affairs of dozens of the world’s biggest music stars and world cinema, including Lady Gaga, Elton John and Robert DeNiro.

An initial price in Bitcoin (BTC) or any other crypto has not been disclosed as of press time.

According to the details, scanned copies of Agromart’s financial accounts, personal net worth documents, aging report of records of their users, company’s credit application and agreement form, among others, are among the data included in the REvil’s campaign.

Source: Remsisoft

Source: Remsisoft

Ransomware gangs are getting sophisticated with their attacks

Speaking with Cointelegraph, Brett Callow, threat analyst at malware lab Remsisoft, and one of the first experts to unveil the new move by the ransomware gang, said that companies in this situation have no good option available to them. 

He added the following about the sophistication of recent ransomware attacks:

“The tactics used by ransomware groups are becoming ever more extreme, and this was a logical progression. It enables the criminals to monetize stolen data while also serving as a warning to other companies regarding the consequences of non-compliance.” 

Callow believes that although ransomware groups have sold and traded data in the past, this is the first time that hacked information is being auctioned under a somewhat formalized process. The ransomware expert commented on the following:

“I suspect the auctions are more about applying additional pressure to other victims than they are making money. It’s just one more way that the criminals can strike fear into companies.”

Recent REVil’s ransomware attacks

The REvil gang has starred in a few attacks recently, aside from the law firm. Cointelegraph reported on December 5 about a ransomware attack perpetrated against Texas-based data center provider CyrusOne.

Also, on May 22, a report from the UK-based cybersecurity firm Sophos released reports of a new method of human-operated ransomware attack launched by groups like REvil.

Massive Bitcoin Plunge Nothing More Than Traders Being Traders, OKCoin Exec Says

Bitcoin's recent price dive may have been nothing more than the result of standard trading activities.

Bitcoin (BTC) dove more than $1,000 on some exchanges on June 2, although the event seems to be the result of simple trading activity, according to OKCoin's head of market development Matthew Ficke. 

"Price movement like we saw yesterday typically attracts short-term traders trying to position for a larger break higher," Ficke said of the day prior, when Bitcoin surged notably past $10,000. 

Bitcoin pumped and then dumped 

Bitcoin's price surged up past $10,400 from $9,450 on June 1, only to fall back down to $9,275 on the following day. The first asset even fell below $9,000 on some exchanges, visiting $8,600 on BitMEX

Ficke noted the $10,400 price level as an important zone historically. Since fall 2019, Bitcoin has visited this zone three times, unable to break past with significant staying power. 

"It is likely that short liquidations were triggered nearby," Ficke explained of the June 2 action. "Active traders positioning for breaks often manage risks by setting nearby stop levels," he said, referencing stop-losses — levels traders set in advance that automatically close trading positions at a loss, preventing further losses.

The OKCoin exec added:

"Unless momentum carries the market higher, their long positions can quickly become vulnerable. This dynamic can exaggerate short-term price volatility." 

Ethereum stands tall in bullish market 

In terms of recent bullish crypto prices, Ficke said Ethereum (ETH) could lie as a catalyst behind the action. Since Bitcoin's halving a few weeks ago, the asset's market dominance has fallen.

"More attention was brought to crypto as an asset class, and the increased awareness seems to be bearing fruit now," Ficke said. The OKCoin exec also expects upcoming hype surrounding ETH 2.0. 

Additionally, Bitcoin's recent push upward made sense in light of the current U.S. economic and public uncertainty, he said, adding:

"Some argue the environment reminds the market that BTC can act as a hedge against excessive government influence. As equities are near pre shelter in place levels, many seem to view crypto as relatively attractive." 

Regardless of the reasoning, crypto asset awareness continues rising, evident in a number of categories, including increased interest seen by algorithmic trading startup Floating Point Group

Beginning of the greatest Bitcoin bull trap? BTC vulnerable after 191% upsurge

The Bitcoin price surged by more than 191 percent in the past three months. BTC dropped to as low as $3,600 on the so-called “Black Thursday” on March 12. Since then, the dominant cryptocurrency rose to as high as $10,440, completing its fastest recovery since June 2019.

A confluence of key fundamental and technical factors pushed the price of Bitcoin up in a short period of time. Most notably, relatively high options, spot, and institutional volume in comparison to previous years seemingly played a vital role in the upsurge.

Yet, on June 2, the price of Bitcoin abruptly fell by 14% against the USD.

Bitcoin price is below $10,000 again, now what?

Technically, Bitcoin is at a crucial pivotal point that may decide its medium to long-term trend over the next 12 months.

If the price of Bitcoin remains above $10,500 over the next week, it will confirm a breakout above a multi-year cycle dating back to 2017.

Global Macro Investor CEO Raoul Pal emphasized that Bitcoin is breaking out of a three-year trend.

Pal said:

“No big deal. Here is bitcoin breaking out.”

bitcoin cycle
Bitcoin price on the verge of breaking out of its 3-year cycle (Source: Raoul Pal)

But, the price of Bitcoin plunged from $10,440 to $8,600 within minutes, demonstrating a brutal rejection.

The fundamental difference between the ongoing rally and previous upsurges seen in October 2019 and February of this year is the involvement of retail, professional, and institutional investors.

In February, less than four months ago, the price of Bitcoin reached a local peak at around $10,550. At the time, various metrics suggested that the futures market primarily fueled the rally. This time around, the Bitcoin options market is maintaining an open interest above $1 billion. That means, the total amount of options contract actively open in the market is above a billion dollars.

The futures market is still accounting for a large portion of the market. Longs account for 72 percent across the big three Bitcoin futures exchanges: BitMEX, Bitfinex, and Binance Futures.

But, the ratio of retail, spot, futures, and institutional inflow has been significantly more balanced in recent weeks than in 2018 and 2019.

One risk that may spoil the rally

Market data shows more than 70 percent of contracts in the Bitcoin market are longs. When the majority is long, it increases the likelihood of a long squeeze.

The term long squeeze refers to a cascade of liquidations of long contracts that leads to a rapid price decline within a short period of time.

If a correction is avoided in the near-term, it paves a path forward for a post-halving rally for Bitcoin.

Initially, there was a strong possibility that the recent price action marks the start to an extended bull market. Now, following the sharp price drop on June 2, BTC remains vulnerable once again.

Three Arrows Capital CEO Su Zhu said on June 1:

“1k BTC buy wall on okex jun moving up incrementally.”

Until June 1, data suggested buyers are continuing to step up and absorbing the selling pressure coming from miners. Such a trend typically raises the probability of another upsurge.

The post Beginning of the greatest Bitcoin bull trap? BTC vulnerable after 191% upsurge appeared first on CryptoSlate.

XRP Could Soon Decline By 55% as Strength Against BTC Degrades

XRP has been flashing signs of immense weakness as of late, which has only grown further following the latest market-wide rally Although many altcoins have been able to hold up well against BTC throughout the course of the latest uptrend, XRP has shed 2% of its value. This weakness has also restrained its USD trading pair from incurring any explosive momentum One analyst is now noting that the crypto could soon decline by as much as 50% as its underlying weakness mounts It’s no secret that XRP has been one of the worst performing cryptocurrencies throughout the past few years, struggling to garner any sustainable momentum. This lackluster price action has caused it to post massive losses against its BTC trading pair in particular, as Bitcoin’s price has performed quite well over the same time period. Some analysts are now noting that this weakness could be far from being over, as one chart forecasts that the crypto will soon decline by 50% against BTC. This potential decline would do serious damage to its already weak market structure. XRP Struggles to Match Bitcoin’s Momentum At the time of writing, XRP is trading down over 2% at its current price of $0.20. The crypto is also trading down 2% against its BTC trading pair, with today’s price action simply marking an extension of the weakness it has seen over the past several months. One factor that could be hampering its price action is the fact that Ripple and the company’s estranged co-founder Jed McCaleb both hold massive amounts of the crypto. They also both conduct regular sales of these tokens, placing a steady stream of selling pressure on XRP. Just yesterday, Whale Alert noted that 500 million tokens had been unlocked from Ripple’s escrow wallet, worth over $100 million. “500,000,000 #XRP (101,063,166 USD) unlocked from escrow at Ripple Escrow wallet.” 🔓 🔓 🔓 🔓 🔓 🔓 🔓 🔓 🔓 🔓 500,000,000 #XRP (101,063,166 USD) unlocked from escrow at Ripple Escrow wallet Tx: https://t.co/eaUOaxUNEh — Whale Alert (@whale_alert) June 1, 2020 This news startled investors and could be part of the reason why it is failing to garner greater momentum today. Here’s Why the Crypto Could Soon Decline By 50% One analyst recently offered a chart outlining a grim path forward for the embattled cryptocurrency. He explains that although he would be open to trading XRP’s BTC trading pair when it starts showing signs of strength, it could still see another 50% drawdown if it loses its current support. “I will trade XRP vs BTC when it shows strength. Any weekly close above green and I’m interested. Until then who knows what can happen, currently down 91% since ATH but has seen 95% drops before, which is close to another 50% drop down. Move slow,” he explained while pointing to the below chart. Image Courtesy of Ethereum Jack Featured image from Shutterstock XRPUSD, XRPBTC, XRPUSDT

Bitcoin Nears “Last Ditch” Support at $9,300 as Downwards Momentum Grows

Bitcoin has seen some immense volatility in recent times, with the benchmark cryptocurrency rallying up to $10,400 yesterday before plummeting to lows of $9,000 this morning. It has since been able to garner some support that has allowed it to climb back into the mid-$9,000 region. This recent price action has done little to offer any insight into BTC’s macro trend, as the cryptocurrency has remained within a massive multi-month trading range. Analysts are now noting that the cryptocurrency is incurring “scary” downwards momentum, while also fast approaching a key support level. If it fails to hold above this support level, the cryptocurrency could be positioned to see major downside in the days and weeks ahead. Bitcoin’s Massive Volatility Causes It to Incur “Scary” Momentum At the time of writing, Bitcoin is trading down marginally at its current price of $9,500. This marks a $900 decline from its recent highs of $10,400 that were set overnight when the crypto garnered some immense buying pressure. The sharp plunge from these highs appears to have been the result of a long squeeze. The break above $10,000 led many traders to open large and overleveraged positions, giving sellers fuel to spark a sharp decline. There were multiple warning signs suggesting that a sharp decline was imminent, as funding rates for BTC positions also rallied overnight just before today’s downwards spiral. Movements that come about as a result of both short squeezes and long squeezes can be fleeting, but BTC’s inability to post any major bounce from its intra-plunge lows suggests that this isn’t the case. One analyst is now noting that he is looking to short any near-term bounces, as Bitcoin has incurred “scary” downwards momentum as a result of this recent rug pull that led it to smash below $10,000. “Scary momentum, I’ll be looking to sell the bounce BTC,” he explained while pointing to the chart seen below. Image Courtesy of SalsaTekila BTC Fast Approaching Key Support  This latest movement has led Bitcoin to hover just above its key near-term support at $9,300. It does appear that this is the “last ditch” support stopping the crypto from declining to its range lows of $8,600 that were briefly tapped on BitMEX. Another crypto analyst spoke about this in a recent tweet, explaining that how the crypto reacts to $9,300 will be the determining factor for its near-term trend. “Still within daily range ($8600 support, $10000 resistance). Testing midrange + monthly S/R at $9300s. Failed breakout usually leads to opposite boundary, so I’ll look to sell the underside of $9300s if it fails. Boring, but watching developments at $9300s before acting.” If it breaks below this level in the near-term, it could be positioned to see a swift movement down to its daily lows of $8,600. Featured image from Shutterstock. BTCUSD, XBTUSD, BTCUSDT

Payment-Centric Projects Bring Blockchain to People – Blockdaemon CEO

Payment-centric projects are the ever-larger focus of Blockdaemon, a blockchain infrastructure platform for node management, as these bring blockchain to the masses, CEO and Founder Konstantin Richter told Cryptonews.com, noting that Celo and Libra have fundamental differences. Blockdaemon is “spending more and more time working on payment-centric projects,

South Korean Prosecutors Freeze Crypto Wallets of Suspected Child Porn Ring Chief

A Seoul court granted the petition demanded by the prosecutors to freeze crypto wallets owned by the head of the Nth Room case.

On June 2, a South Korean court ordered a freeze on all the cryptocurrency wallets, securities deposits, and stocks account owned by Cho Ju-bin, the suspected head of Nth Room. Nth Room is a Telegram channel under investigation for circulating child pornography.

According to KBS Korea, the Seoul Central District Court Criminal Settlement Division 30, led by Judge Lee Hyun-woo, accepted the request from prosecutors in the South Korean capital to freeze 15 cryptocurrencies wallets that reportedly belong to Cho.

The funds within the confiscated are suspected of clarifying the profits that the defendant would have obtained as the mastermind behind the Telegram Nth Room.

Key findings in the investigation

The court mentioned the 130 million won ($106,734) in Cho’s house in April as one of the critical pieces of evidence establishing the magnitude of the criminal’s gains. 

Cho is accused of leading a network of sexual exploitation and of broadcasting videos of child rape. 

The authorities behind the investigation revealed that the child porn ring gathered thousands of members who paid in cryptos to access the chat room.

Local crypto industry’s efforts in helping with the authorities

Both the local law enforcement authorities and the crypto industry have been taking steps to help with the investigation and to reduce these crimes committed with cryptocurrency transactions.

Cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb announced the official delisting of Monero (XMR) from their trading platform on June 1, as part of the efforts in the Nth Room case’s investigation as that cryptocurrency was primarily used in the child ring’s transactions.

Hurdles to overcome during the investigation

Cointelegraph reported on May 6 about comments from South Korean IT experts, who assured the local press that investigators could have trouble with users who used anonymous crypto payments to access illicit videos via the Nth Room chat platform.

South Korean authorities managed to trace the digital fingerprints of at least 40 people suspected of having paid with cryptos to access videos of child rape and sexual exploitation in the case.

Although there was no official confirmation, local media suspect that such identification of the alleged users was made possible by the assistance provided by four South Korean crypto exchanges (Upbit, Bithumb, Coinone, and Korbit) to local law enforcement authorities in the investigation.

Uptrend in Mainstream Crypto Interest Started Last Fall, MIT Startups Says

Mainstream crypto trading interest has been on the rise since fall 2019.

Cryptocurrency has seen a rise in mainstream attention starting last fall — before COVID-19 measures took off, according Floating Point Group, or FPG, an algorithmic trading technology startup conceived at MIT.

"An increasing portion of our inbound prospects are established industry participants coming from FX, equities and derivatives markets," FPG co-founder Kevin March told Cointelegraph on May 28 after confirming the presence of increased mainstream crypto trading interest. 

Cryptocurrency opportunity knocking

Abiding with U.S. regulation, FPG offers institutional players a number of tools, APIs and other tech for trade automation. March noted similarities among the incoming crypto trading interest.

Elaborating, he added:

"The cryptocurrency markets offer a novel and attractive line of business ripe with opportunities for asset managers and a flashy way to bring in additional clients for service providers."  

Rallying in price more than 170% from its coronavirus-induced 2020 low, Bitcoin has seen a number of traditional market entities express interest in the industry in recent weeks, including billionaire hedge fund founder Paul Tudor Jones

The trend started last fall 

Although cryptocurrencies have seen rising prices and attention since COVID-19 measures and fear picked up globally in March 2020, FPG saw crypto interest start its climb in Q4 2019, March said. "The Covid-19 pandemic seems to have had little effect on this trend," he said, adding:

"In fact, the inactivity associated with working from home may give many of the relevant decision makers a propensity to think outside the box and consider new strategic initiatives like venturing into cryptocurrencies."

Last week, FPG attracted $2 million from a number of investors, including AngelList founder Naval Ravikant. 

Bitcoin Crash May Be Profit-Taking To Prepare For Incredible Altcoin Season

As difficult it may be to believe, you’ve read that headline accurately – altcoins may finally be ready to break out against Bitcoin and bring the battered and beaten asset class more in line with the recovery the number one cryptocurrency has had. The first shot fired came today with the latest Bitcoin price flash crash, which appears to have been whales taking profit into altcoins ahead of an upcoming altcoin season. Bitcoin Flash Crash Potentially Sees Captial Flow Into Alts This afternoon, Bitcoin price plummeted over $600 in less than five minutes in a dramatic flash crash. Crypto traders and investors scrambled to dump the asset without taking a larger loss in the selloff, further causing a cascade effect. The move also liquidated over $220 million worth of long positions on the notorious crypto margin trading platform BitMEX. What wasn’t as obvious, however, is the fact that much of the capital leaving BTC may have made its way into altcoins like Ethereum, Ripple, Chainlink, and others. Related Reading | Crypto Exchange Coinbase Fails To Stay Operating During Explosive Market Volatility  Last night’s pump into Bitcoin saw a crash in altcoins that almost immediately recovered. As buyers further drove up the price of the first-ever cryptocurrency, a large player kicked off today’s selloff and potentially started a trend reversal. Coinciding with the selloff in Bitcoin, on the total altcoin market paired against BTC, altcoins pumped while Bitcoin dumped at the exact same moment the leading cryptocurrency asset crashed on the USD trading pair. The number one crypto trading sideways is the prime environment for altcoins to thrive in, and a full-blown altcoin season is long overdue. It’s been well over a year since altcoins truly saw the upside, not counting the early 2020 rally that almost immediately got wiped out in the Black Thursday market collapse. Falling Wedge Breakout And Historical Recurrence Suggest Altcoin Season Is Finally Here An altcoin season may soon be upon us, according to chart and date patterns. Markets are cyclical and history often repeats. There are also strange correlations around dates that don’t always make sense. For example, the BTC block reward halving which is said to be incredibly bullish for Bitcoin in terms of supply and demand appears to be a trigger for a powerful altcoin season. Related Reading | Bitcoin Price Flash Crashes $600 In Less Than 5 Minutes, Last Night’s Rally Erased After the asset bottomed out in 2015, come July 2016 when it reached its halving, Bitcoin crashed while altcoins began their first-ever rise into superstardom. From that breakout moment to the very tip-top, altcoins grew over 10,000% against BTC. Meanwhile, Bitcoin also rose to $20,000, showing just how strong performance in altcoins was by comparison. Although sentiment in altcoins remains in the gutter, and Bitcoin sentiment has never been stronger. The asset’s recent crash dumping into altcoins, a repeating pattern matching the last halving, and a massive falling wedge on the monthly timeframe on the altcoin/BTC chart indicate that altcoins will once again outperform the first-ever cryptocurrency for a sustained period.

Travala Sees 205% Jump in Booking Revenue as Travel Demand Returns — 60% Paid With Cryptocurrencies

Travala Sees 205% Jump in Booking Revenue as Travel Demand Returns - 60% Paid With Cryptocurrencies

Crypto-friendly travel booking platform Travala has reported booking growth as demand for travel returns despite continued coronavirus crisis and extended lockdowns in many places. Its booking revenue in May soared 205% and 60% of all bookings were paid with cryptocurrencies.

Travel Demand Returning Despite Covid-19

Travala.com, a website where travelers can book flights from over 600 airlines and over 2 million hotels and accommodations worldwide, published on Monday its monthly performance report for May. The global travel industry has been severely hit by the coronavirus pandemic, economic crisis, and extended lockdowns.

“We have endured a turbulent few months, due to travel restrictions and border closures resulting in cancellations and reduced bookings,” Travala admitted. However, the company added:

Confidence and a desire to travel are returning with a significant increase in demand … Overall [our] booking revenue for the month of May was $68,162 which is an increase of 205% compared to April.

Traffic to Travala.com grew substantially during the month, the company detailed. Direct traffic to the site from the U.S. grew the most at 541%, followed by Vietnam (118%), the U.K. (80%), the Netherlands (56%), and Germany (54%).

Moreover, “the total number of room nights booked [in May] was 541, which is an increase of 45.8% compared to April.” The top countries booked were the U.S., Thailand, Spain, the Netherlands, Australia, Poland, and Vietnam.

More Than 60% of All Bookings Were Paid With Cryptocurrencies

Travala has listed many business partners across several categories as well as numerous payment methods on its website. Its travel partners include Booking.com, Priceline, and Travelbybit. Its blockchain partners include Binance, Litecoin Foundation, Digibyte, Tron, Huobi, Bitcoin.com, Gemini, Komodo, Waves, Coingate, Gocoin, Kucoin, Crypto.com, and Changelly.

Travala Sees 205% Jump in Booking Revenue as Travel Demand Returns — 60% Paid With Cryptocurrencies
List of Travala’s partners showing many crypto companies and cryptocurrencies accepted on the Travala.com website.

The crypto-friendly travel booking website accepts a wide range of cryptocurrencies, such as BTC, BCH, BNB, AVA, USDT, ETH, LTC, XRP, TRX, EOS, ADA, WAVES, XEM, DAI, QTUM, DASH, XMR, XLM, NANO, NEO, and GUSD. Overall, the company detailed:

Over 60% of the total bookings in May paid with cryptocurrencies.

Moreover, Travala provided details of popular payment methods used on its website. About 21% of all bookings were paid in bitcoin (BTC), followed by its native token AVA (16%), Crypto.com Pay (14%), BNB (2%), and other cryptocurrencies (7%). Meanwhile, credit card and Paypal accounted for 40%.

What do you think about Travala’s growth? Let us know in the comments section below.

The post Travala Sees 205% Jump in Booking Revenue as Travel Demand Returns — 60% Paid With Cryptocurrencies appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Charles Hoskinson: ‘I Don’t Live in Vitalik’s Mind’

Charles Hoskinson laments Vitalik Buterin’s inability to engage in a meaningful discussion about Cardano, which in his opinion hurts Ethereum.

Charles Hoskinson does not know why his fellow Ethereum (ETH) co-founder Vitalik Buterin will not acknowledge the existence of Cardano (ADA) while speaking enthusiastically about other blockchain projects.

Ignore fetish

In a recent Cointelegraph interview, Hoskinson lamented Buterin ignoring Cardano. Hoskinson said that this ignorance of Cardano’s achievements hurts Ethereum, as everything that Cardano does is open source and could be borrowed by the rival. Ethereum has been plagued by delays in the development of its second generation proof-of-stake platform. When asked directly about about the crux of this tacit conflict, Hoskinson responded:

“I don't live in his mind, so I don't know why he never mentions our project. And, it's his decision not to do that. It’s just a detriment to his ecosystem because there's a lot of ideas in Cardano that could be very useful to Ethereum. And if the leaders of Ethereum decide to just have a blind spot for our project and just not ever reference our tech or our papers other than to criticize them, all they're doing is they're just preventing those ideas from providing value to them. We have no patents and everything's open source and Ethereum is larger than Vitalik.”

Buterin would work on a project like Cardano

What is even more befuddling to Hoskinson is that Buterin is eager to discuss other projects like EOS (EOS) but even when prompted by community to talk about Cardano, Buterin, according to Hoskinson, avoids the topic:

“Because every now and then you see tweets like, ‘Hey, you know, EOS is an interesting project. Maybe Tezos, but are there any other projects that are interesting?’ And then the immediate follow-on was Vitalik describing Cardano as a project he would work on. When he was describing the features and capabilities and my own community started picking on him on Twitter and being like, you're literally describing what we're working on in Cardano. And of course, there's no engagement or even reply or acknowledgment that Cardano exists. That has to be purposeful.”

In Elon Musk’s footsteps?

Hoskinson was also perplexed that the only time Buterin took time to discuss Cardano happened on Reddit and was not very productive. Yet Buterin eschews discussing Cardano in an academic medium. Hoskinson compared Buterin’s style of interaction with that of Elon Musk:

“He's got a big ecosystem. He's very young. He's learning how to be a CEO and he's just going to do things his own way. And you can't really argue with success. He's so far been very successful in that respect. So who knows? Maybe that's the new way to do business. I mean, Elon Musk certainly has a unique way of interacting with people, and it's worked pretty well for him.”

Fact checking

Finally, it happened, on May 22 (the interview was recorded on May 18) Buterin mentoned Cardano on Twitter:

Buterin’s Tweet From May 22 Acknowledging Cardano. Source: Twitter.

Buterin’s Tweet From May 22 Acknowledging Cardano. Source: Twitter.

On the other hand, Buterin has discussed EOS and Tezos (XTZ) extensively.

Is thy face like thy mother’s?

The last personal interaction between the two Ethereum alums happened a couple of years ago, when Hoskinson wished Buterin a happy birthday over Skype. Maybe the answer to this hostility lies in the words of one of Hoskinson’s favorite poets, Lord Byron, for whose daughter Ada Loveplace Hoskinson named Cardano’s cryptocurrency:

“Is thy face like thy mother’s, my fair child!

Ada! sole daughter of my house and heart?”

Perhaps, Buterin cannot accept the fact Hoskinson left Ethereum to build a network of his own.

Thailand’s OmiseGo rebrands to OMG Network, Tether goes ahead and issues USDT noting Ethereum issues

Late on June 1, Thailand’s high-flying OmiseGo rebranded to OMG Network. The project was one of 2017’s biggest ICOs, raising $25 million and going on to be valued at over a billion dollars in the successive months. 

The project also rolled out the Plasma sidechain yesterday, promising scalability for developers and a faster network for transactions. 

Network is paramount

OMG Network touts its main focus as building a “shipping-ready network,” explaining the launch of Plasma builds further on the firm’s “main product,” the underlying network that powers applications running on its native blockchain and the OMG token. 

On why the move from “Omise,” an official announcement notes the term refers to “shop” in Japanese, which is unsuited for a firm committed to running and developing a public blockchain network. 

The parent firm’s enterprise payments application, the Omise Payments Gateway, remains active and different from the OMG Network’s efforts. The two firms are, put together, owned by SYNQA, which rebranded from Omise Holdings in April 2020. 

OMG Network said its new logo and other design rebrands will be shipped to exchange providers and wallets soon.

At press time, OMG is valued at $0.70 per token. The project has seen better token values, reaching an all-time high of over $25 in early-2018 — and even breaking into the top-20 cryptocurrencies by market cap on CoinMarketCap

Soon after the rebranding, controversial stablecoin project Tether announced its issuing USDT stablecoins on the OMG Network’s Plasma sidechain. 

Tether’s OMG moment

Tether, which recently slipped into third-highest valued blockchain over XRP, said reduced confirmation times, low fees, and the ease of deposits were factors behind the issuance of USDT on the Plasma sidechain operated on the OMG network.

In an announcement, OMG Network stated it was delighted to partner with Bitfinex, Tether’s parent firm, addressing the scalability issues and spearheading the adoption of “open” financial services. 

Vansa Chatikavanij, the CEO of OMG Network, noted the network’s Layer-2 scaling solution could support “thousands of transactions per second” at one-third the cost. Bitfinex CTO Paolo Ardoino added:

“By migrating USDt value transfers to the OMG Network we save costs, drive performance improvements, and relieve pressure on the root chain network. This is good for Bitfinex and our customers, and the whole Ethereum ecosystem.”

The blog cited Ethereum’s vulnerability to “severe network congestion” under heavy demand, adding the network’s transactions are capped at 12 per second. Gas fees increase “significantly” over this value, said Bitfinex. 

With the integration, Tether is now issued on over seven blockchains, such as Ethereum, Omni, EOS, and Tron, among others. 

The post Thailand’s OmiseGo rebrands to OMG Network, Tether goes ahead and issues USDT noting Ethereum issues appeared first on CryptoSlate.

Crypto Analyst on Bitcoin Collapse: Never Understimate The Power of TD Sequential

Just ahead of last night’s daily close, Bitcoin price exploded above $10,000 in a powerful break of the asset’s most important resistance, liquidating overleveraged shorts along the way. But Sunday night’s daily price candle coming to a close also opened a new weekly price candle, which also triggered a TD 9 sell setup. It’s that signal that may have accurately called today’s flash crash in Bitcoin, reminding crypto traders to never underestimate the power of the TD Sequential indicator. Bitcoin Flash Crash Called In Advance By TD 9 Sell Setup With Sunday night’s weekly and monthly candle closed, a new week and month opened with it. June 1 kicked off with an explosive rally that seemed to put an end to the popular investment phrase “sell in May and go away.” Bitcoin price rocketed ahead of last night’s daily close by over $600 and 6%, breaking above $10,000. The leading cryptocurrency by market cap has struggled with the resistance level for years now. Related Reading | Bitcoin Price Flash Crashes $600 In Less Than 5 Minutes, Last Night’s Rally Erased The pump brought the price of Bitcoin just high enough to perfect the sell setup on the TD Sequential indicator, which requires the 9 candle to push higher than the 7 or 8 candles before it. Bitcoin held above $10,000 overnight, but this afternoon flash crashed by $600 and 6%, erasing the entire rally from last night in what the crypto market refers to as a “Bart” pattern. Never underestimate the TD ! pic.twitter.com/rjVVxahstc — Moe (@Moe_mentum_) June 2, 2020 One crypto analyst who pointed out the 9 sell setup ahead of last night’s crash, used the successful call to remind crypto traders to “never underestimate” the power of the TD Sequential indicator. Why You Shouldn’t Underestimate The TD Sequential Indicator In the image below, you can clearly see how the wick on the 9 candle extended higher than the previous several candles. It also touched a key resistance block that Bitcoin has been unable to close above on weekly timeframes. Also pictured above, a 9 candle can be seen at the top of the June 2019 rally that sent Bitcoin back into another year-long downtrend. The TD Sequential indicator created by market timing expert Thomas Demark, has once again shown to the cryptocurrency world just how powerful and accurate the tool can be. A TD 9 signal also called Bitcoin’s top at $20,000 in 2017, and bottoms at $3,200 and again at $6,400 in December of 2018 and 2019. Related Reading | Top Cryptocurrency Assets Trigger TD9 Sell On Weekly Price Charts  The tool works extremely well with altcoins also. A TD 9 sell signal also triggered on various altcoins on weekly timeframes, including Etheruem, Chainlink, Cardano, and many more. Given how accurate the signal can be, the rally from $4,000 to $10,000 may now be complete, and a strong correction could soon follow.

Nexo Finance CEO Talks Crypto Lending On Recent Podcast Interview

During a recent interview by the Cryptotesters podcast , the Nexo CEO, Antoni Trenchev provided a lot of insight on the Nexo crypto lending platform. Antoni talked about product offering, digitized gold, potential tax benefits, and more.  With being a regulated entity, the company continues to position itself as a leading decentralized finance ( DeFi ) organization. 

Background Information on Nexo

The Nexo platform provides loans to individuals that are backed by crypto. Their model is quite simple; you give them some of your Bitcoin or Ether and in return, you receive an instant loan. The loan is paid out in Euros, dollars, or any other supported currency. Thus far, the platform has processed over $1.5 billion in loans.

The Nexo lending model is radically different from the one used commercial lending institutions. It could represent the future of lending. Antoni Trenchev also discussed several issues in the industry including fierce competition in the sector, what sets Nexo apart, the future of decentralized finance, and much more.

Expanded Product Offering

The basic concept of the Nexo platform is that you undergo a quick KYC process. After that, you deposit your BTC, and then you receive an instant line of credit. To ensure your BTC is secure, they use a third party custody service such as BitGo. The company is also expanding into the gold sector with tokenized gold.

For tokenized gold, the platform is working with PAX Gold, a platform that has tokenized gold. With the tokens, you have the physical ownership of the gold that is stored in a vault in London. The main benefit is that you have the security offered by gold and the transferability offered by tokens. Once you send the tokenized gold to Nexo, they instantly process a loan for you, and the funds are sent to your local bank. Earlier this year, Visionary Financial outlined how Nexo Finance was “filling the gap” with gold backed lending. At the time, Nexo had purchased more than $5 million in “PAX Gold” , which is a token offered on the Paxos network. This gave Nexo the ability to service the increasing demand it was seeing within its user base for tokenized gold.

A Great Way to Hold Onto Your Gold

The Nexo CEO explained that during the recent halving event, they saw an influx of borrowers. Many of them wanted to liquidate some of the BTC holdings without having to lose their BTC. As a result, they took loans against their BTC, which they can always recover later.

The Tax Benefits

Antoni Trenchev delved into the tax benefits of borrowing against your crypto assets instead of selling them. He explained that if you are a US citizen, the tax obligations of selling the BTC for a profit are 40-44%. However, when you borrow against your BTC, you can write off the repayments as part of your tax obligations. In general, borrowing against BTC instead of selling the assets outright is more tax efficient. With itemized deductions being eliminated from previous tax plans, many individuals continue to search for ways to mitigate their overall tax obligations. This is one method that may be possible for digital asset investors. It’s always important to speak with a tax professional to assess the overall situation.

Earning Interest on Your Cash

Besides offering loans, Nexo also allows you to earn interest. The platform allows users to earn interest on USD, EUR, GBP, and many stablecoins. These high yield interest accounts give users the ability to earn 8% interest on their own “cash.” In a recent report by Visionary Financial, it was outlined that the Ethereum network is being fueled by stablecoin growth. More investors across the globe are interested in stablecoins based on the economic uncertainties and the low interest rate environment. As economies push closer to negative interest rate environments, this pushes investors out of traditional cash. With stablecoins nowhere near negative rates, it creates pent up demand as a mechanism to store liquid assets.

The Nexo platform is creating a sustainable model of finance and opening up opportunities to the far-flung parts of the world. As a result, people in remote areas with limited access to financial services can access these services with the click of a button. They currently offer loans in 45 currencies, which is part of their goal to be as inclusive as possible.

The information has been obtained from sources we believe to be reliable; however no guarantee is made or implied with respect to its accuracy, timeliness, or completeness. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only. This Sponsored Article was sourced from Visionary Financial . Visionary Financial and its affiliates do not provide investment, tax, legal or accounting advice.

The post Nexo Finance CEO Talks Crypto Lending On Recent Podcast Interview appeared first on NullTX.

Neo becomes the founding board member of InterWork Alliance, joining Microsoft, IBM, Nasdaq 

Blockchain platform Neo has announced that it has joined the InterWork Alliance (IWA) as a founding board member. In a press release shared with CryptoSlate, the company said that it will work with other IWA members, including Microsoft, IBM, Nasdaq, and UBS, to promote tokenization standards and encourage mainstream adoption of blockchain technology by businesses.

Neo to develop tokenization standards to be used in enterprises around the world

Neo, a blockchain platform often dubbed the “Chinese Ethereum,” has just joined the InterWork Alliance (IWA), a non-profit, platform-neutral organization that aims to encourage mainstream adoption of blockchain technology.

In a press release shared with CryptoSlate, the company said that it has joined IWA as a founding board member and will work alongside other launch members such as Microsoft, IBM, Nasdaq, UBS, and Accenture to develop next-generation internet (NGI).

The company will use its position in the market to empower large-scale, commercially viable blockchain applications and solutions.

Da Hongfei, the founder of Neo, said:

“Digital assets are at the core of Neo, and we’re excited to come together with IWA together to drive mainstream adoption by developing standards that will foster greater interconnectivity and cooperation at all levels.”

Interconnectivity and cooperation supported by detailed frameworks

Joining the alliance could prove to be a major move for Neo, as it gives it direct access to some of the largest companies in the world. The IWA works on providing the frameworks needed for businesses to create standardized token definitions and smart contracts in non-technical terms, enabling businesses to adopt and employ them without speed and efficiency.

Neo’s main influence will be seen in the Token Taxonomy Framework, a common language and toolset that enables multiple parties to agree on the definition of a token and how its value can be exchanged or used. The company has already started to push forward the development of TTF through its Visual Token Designer, which will enable developers, business analysts, and policymakers to collaborate on developing token standards.

The post Neo becomes the founding board member of InterWork Alliance, joining Microsoft, IBM, Nasdaq  appeared first on CryptoSlate.

Ethereum Second-Layer Scalability Still Needs Work, Says Starkware CEO

Uri Kolodny, co-founder and CEO of blockchain firm StarkWare, told Cointelegraph that Ethereum’s second-layer scalability solutions still need some work.

Uri Kolodny, co-founder and CEO of blockchain firm StarkWare, told Cointelegraph that Ethereum second-layer scalability solutions still need some work.

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin claimed on June 1 that the blockchain’s layer-two scaling initial deployment has “basically” succeeded. Kolodny — on the other hand — told Cointelegraph that he is not as convinced:

“I wouldn't pop the champagne bottles just yet, as many of these proposed solutions have at this point been deployed only on Twitter, not on Ethereum Mainnet.”

Kolodny admitted that there are many promising developments when it comes to second-layer Ethereum scalability solutions. He explained that “there are several efforts around what is called Optimistic Rollups.” Still, he said that nobody really knows how well this approach could work:

“None of the Optimistic Rollups has yet to reach mainnet, so it's still too soon to tell how they will do.“

Building new systems takes time

As Cointelegraph reported in early November, decentralized exchange IDEX claimed to have created an “infinite scaling solution” for the Ethereum network based on a variation of Optimistic Rollups. While Kolodny is optimistic that second-layer Ethereum scalability solutions are indeed possible and will succeed, he thinks we are not there yet:

“A lot of these ideas are relatively new, and it simply takes time to build them out. We at StarkWare are getting on Mainnet after 2 years of very intense development work.”

When asked what is holding off Ethereum second-layer scalability solutions, Kolodny said that “lack of proper integration into wallets and other tooling already in place” is part of the reason. Another reason why he believes that such systems are not more widely used is the lack of developer confidence in any second-layer solution:

“Finally, there is tremendous uncertainty for many DApp developers — which solution will emerge as the dominant one? Which [one is] right for them? What about all those Ethereum killers? Should they perhaps wait for Eth2.0 — all this uncertainty results in delayed decisions, which also slows down adoption.”

The future of Ethereum second-layer scalability solutions

Looking into the future, Kolodny said that he believes that “transactions (i.e. trading and transfers) will move to layer two faster than we realize.” He explained that Ethereum transaction fees are really high today and this will force many to move to second-layer solutions that allow them to perceive lower and more predictable transaction costs. He continued:

“I think that what will follow is plenty of bells and whistles around these basic transactions. [...] I think that things like perpetual contracts and margin trading are another interesting capability that layer two solutions should support. The rest of the DApp crowd will follow.”

An Inside Look Into the Surprisingly Friendly Rivalry Between Ledger and Trezor

The Ledger vs. Trezor beef has a long history, but Ledger’s CTO efforts may have fanned the flames as he reported vulnerabilities his team discovered in its competitor.

Trezor and Ledger, two of the most prominent hardware wallet manufacturers, have long been locked in a rivalry.

As part of Cointelegraph’s interview with Charles Guillemet, the CTO of Ledger, he revealed that the relationship is more complex than it may seem at first. Despite the rhetoric, cooperation and respect can be found as well.

A collaborative rivalry

Guillemet said that he doesn’t know who started the rivalry, as it goes back to the “very beginning of the Ledger and Trezor companies.”

“I think things got more serious when I created the Donjon, which is our internal security team,” he conceded. The Donjon was one of the first innovations introduced by Guillemet when he joined Ledger, due to his belief that the only way to design a secure system is to “try to break it, again and again.”

While the Donjon focused on Ledger wallets, they also began looking at competitors’ products. “At the beginning that was mostly by curiosity. We just wanted to understand how they work,” he said.

That study resulted in the team finding vulnerabilities in “each single wallet that we looked at.” Guillemet noted:

“When you find a vulnerability, the right thing to do is to report it to the vendor. And that’s what we did.”

The vendors then fixed the vulnerabilities, even giving bounties to Ledger some of the time. Regarding Trezor, he mentioned a “battle of PR” between the companies, adding:

“At the end, one thing which is completely true, is that the wallet security of Trezor improved a lot thanks to us.”

While Guillemet did not remember the exact number of vulnerabilities reported to Trezor, he said they were about “six or seven.” All of them were patched except one, which was unfixable due to the fundamental design of Trezor’s chips.

Due to this, the Ledger team did not disclose its details, though they were independently reported a year later by Kraken’s security team.

Open source vs. security

The reason why the bug is unfixable is that Trezor uses a so-called MCU chip in its wallet, which is used in common household appliances and was not meant for secure data storage, Guillemet explained. When asked why, he said that this was a conscious design choice:

“They are of strong belief in open source philosophy, and when you use the Secure Element, you have to sign an NDA with the chip manufacturer, which prevents you from giving any information on what's going on inside the chip.”

The Secure Element used by Ledger contains many countermeasures, which an open source firmware would likely reveal. According to Guillemet, secure elements are unacceptable to Trezor as they want to maintain their software completely open.

Guillemet said that open source software is “a very good thing” and noted that he personally contributed to some projects. “But when you design a security device, I think security is the most important thing.”

While he conceded that open source software could be a security benefit due to the additional scrutiny, this is not enough:

“As it prevents you from using a dedicated Secure Element, at the end you end up with a less secure device.”

Guillemet shared that he has a “good relationship personally with people at Trezor,” referring to them as “very interesting guys” — even if the two teams’ philosophies are different.

Don’t Get Overconfident About the Bitcoin Price, On-Chain Metrics Show

After a relatively long stagnation phase, volatility has returned, and Bitcoin has done nothing but shoot up. Several indexes suggested that a price breakout was imminent. But nobody would have thought that the $10,000 resistance level will break so easily. The recent price action sent investors and market participants alike into “greed,” according to the Crypto Fear and Greed Index. Greed, however, is not necessarily a positive sign as one of the most successful investors in the world, Warren Buffett once said: “Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.” Indeed, multiple on-chain metrics advise taking a precautionary approach despite the sense of optimism surrounding the bellwether cryptocurrency. On-Chain Metrics Spell Trouble Now that Bitcoin is back above $10,000, it is reasonable to dive into different on-chain gauges to analyze the state of the network. The idea is to identify whether or not the health of its blockchain and the social activity around it support the rally seen in the last few hours. Bitcoin’s on-chain volume, for instance, leveled off and was steadily declining following the early May peak of $10,045. Nevertheless, the recent price action triggered a spike in on-chain volume, allowing it to make a higher high for the first time in the past month. If this metric continues to increase, the pioneer cryptocurrency could be poised for a further upward advance. Bitcoin On-Chain Volume. (Source: Santiment) A look at Bitcoin’s daily active addresses and social volume, however, does not seem to justify the recent price action. These two indexes provide a holistic view of the crowd interaction with the flagship cryptocurrency. Since the beginning of May, BTC’s daily active addresses and social volume continue reaching lower lows, which can be considered a negative sign, according to Santimet. “With these mixed results in the network’s health, we advise staying cautious here and watching BTC metrics to see which way momentum begins moving over this next week. It will be crucial to see whether #FOMO kicks in now, or profit takers end up taking the safe route with the expectation of buying below $10,000 again,” said the behavior analytics platform. Bitcoin Daily Active Addresses and Social Volume. (Source: Santiment) Bitcoin Isn’t Out of the Woods Yet From a technical perspective, it seems like the bullish outlook will be confirmed once Bitcoin turns $10,500 resistance wall into support. If this were to happen, one could expect a further advance to the 127.2% Fibonacci retracement level at $12,250 since there isn’t any significant barrier in-between. Bitcoin Sits Between Two Major Supply Barriers. (Source: TradingView) On the flip side, market participants must pay close attention to the 78.6% Fibonacci retracement level that sits at $9,060. A sudden bearish impulse that sends Bitcoin below this critical support level could jeopardize the bullish outlook. Under such circumstances, the next supply barriers to watch out for are the 61.8% and 50% Fibonacci retracement levels. These support zones sit at $8,000 and $7,100, respectively.

Firefox Wants to Compete With Brave but it Will Cost Users Money

Brave has often been dubbed to be a much better internet browser compared to Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. The Firefox team is not taking this lying down, however, as their new extension may bring stiff competition to Brave.

There are different ways to reward web publishers and content creators.

Firefox Developers Take an Important Step

As the Brave browser shows, introducing native tipping capabilities is one way of achieving that goal.

More importantly, the browser also prevents advertisements from being displayed unless the end user grants explicit permission.

Firefox is now trying a somewhat similar approach, although with a different long-term goal.

Thanks to a partnership between Mozilla and Scroll, a new Firefox extension has been created.

Known as Firefox Better Web, it prevents tracking on the web and ads from loading.

That latter aspect only applies if one signs up for Scroll, which costs $5 per month.

Furthermore, Scroll only works on select websites.

One interesting aspect is how the plugin will also break cryptomining malware, which has become a major issue in recent months.

The main objective now is to get people to try this extension and Scroll accordingly.

Whether anyone is willing to pay for an experience that Brave provides for free, is a different matter altogether.

Image(s): Shutterstock.com

The post Firefox Wants to Compete With Brave but it Will Cost Users Money appeared first on NullTX.

Firefox Wants to Compete With Brave but it Will Cost Users Money

Brave has often been dubbed to be a much better internet browser compared to Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. The Firefox team is not taking this lying down, however, as their new extension may bring stiff competition to Brave.

There are different ways to reward web publishers and content creators.

Firefox Developers Take an Important Step

As the Brave browser shows, introducing native tipping capabilities is one way of achieving that goal.

More importantly, the browser also prevents advertisements from being displayed unless the end user grants explicit permission.

Firefox is now trying a somewhat similar approach, although with a different long-term goal.

Thanks to a partnership between Mozilla and Scroll, a new Firefox extension has been created.

Known as Firefox Better Web, it prevents tracking on the web and ads from loading.

That latter aspect only applies if one signs up for Scroll, which costs $5 per month.

Furthermore, Scroll only works on select websites.

One interesting aspect is how the plugin will also break cryptomining malware, which has become a major issue in recent months.

The main objective now is to get people to try this extension and Scroll accordingly.

Whether anyone is willing to pay for an experience that Brave provides for free, is a different matter altogether.

Image(s): Shutterstock.com

The post Firefox Wants to Compete With Brave but it Will Cost Users Money appeared first on NullTX.

Here’s Why Bitcoin’s Outlook Remains Bleak as Long as It Trades Below $10,500

Bitcoin saw a sharp and unexpected rally past $10,000 yesterday that caught sellers off guard This movement allowed the benchmark crypto to rally to highs of $10,400 before it lost its momentum and declined back to the lower five-figure price region The cryptocurrency now appears to be trading at a pivotal point, and analysts are noting that it could still see further downside in the days and weeks ahead There is one level that, if broken above, could lead to massive upside Bitcoin has seen some immense volatility over the past day, rallying to highs of $10,400 overnight before plummeting back into the $9,000 region. The crypto appears to be trading at a pivotal level, as buyers reclaiming its position within the $10,000 region would be an overtly bullish sign. Analysts are noting that even if BTC does reclaim $10,000, isn’t in the clear yet, as it could still be prone to seeing significantly further downside. One analyst even believes that a movement into the sub-$4,000 region could still be a real possibility. Bitcoin Posts Breakout Rally Past $10,000 Before Facing Grim Rejection At the time of writing, Bitcoin is trading up just under 1% at its current price of $9,500. This marks a massive decline from daily highs of just over $10,400 that were set overnight. It also marks full erasure of the uptrend that was first incurred yesterday evening. $10,000 has been a historically fleeting level for Bitcoin to trade at, as virtually all of its movements past this level in years past have been followed by sharp selloffs that result in bouts of capitulation. The latest decline below this key level also seems to invalidate a previously bullish triangle formation that the cryptocurrency had moved to confirm. One trader recently offered a chart showing this pattern, showing that prior to today’s dump the crypto was flashing signs of strength. Image Courtesy of CryptoBirb Here’s the Level BTC Needs to Break to Go Parabolic Another trader recently explained that Bitcoin’s latest upswing didn’t lead it to surmount $10,500 – opening the gates for it to see further downside. He does note that the crypto could soon go parabolic, however, if buyers are able to successfully flip $10,500 into a support level in the near-term. “S/R flip of the $10.5k level: bearish scenario almost invalidated, and targets should be $12k and $14k. Consolidation above $14k and it will probably go to the ath.” The same trader also explained that a close below $8,500 could confirm his bearish scenario – as seen on the below chart – which could lead Bitcoin to post massive losses. “-3D candle close below $8.5k: bearish scenario (primary) almost confirmed.” Image Courtesy of il Capo Of Crypto Featured image from Shutterstock. BTCUSD, BTCUSDT, XBTUSD

CBDCs With a Twist: The Public-Private Solutions Needed for Adoption

Crypto pundits believe that central bank digital currencies based on public-private partnerships could see the light of day much sooner, as many solutions under development use the approach.

On May 26, Tommaso Mancini-Griffoli, a representative from the International Monetary Fund, stated that moving forward, the best way to harness the potential of central bank digital currencies would be by fostering synthetic partnerships between the private and public sectors.

Further expounding his views on the matter, the deputy division chief of the IMF’s monetary capital and markets department stated that the vision behind CBDCs being completely under the control of a central bank is now an outdated one and that the entry of private players could help spur innovation.

When asked about how such a partnership could even start to become conceptually feasible, he suggested that in cases of synthetic partnerships it should be the role of the private sector to concentrate on things such as innovation, interface design and client management, while the public sector should focus on issues related to regulation and confidence building.

This joint effort, in Mancini-Grifolli’s view, will not only allow CBDCs to flourish but also allow such unique financial offerings to operate smoothly within the confines of a regulated framework, thereby maximizing financial stability.

The pros and cons of synthetic CBDCs

To get a better understanding of the matter, Cointelegraph reached out to Luisa A. Blandon, a representative for Micobo GmbH, a software development and technology consultancy company with a focus on distributed ledger technology for capital markets. She pointed out that the suggestion of a public-private CBDC is not a new one and that forward-looking central banks such as the People's Bank of China already require payment operators such as Alipay and WeChat Pay to hold customers' funds in the form of reserves.

Blandon also alluded to the fact that other central banks, such as the Bank of England, have also considered the option. Not only that, but even the Reserve Bank of India, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and the Swiss National Bank offer special-purpose licenses to nonbank financial technology firms, allowing them to hold reserve balances, subject to an approval process.

In terms of the benefits of synthetic CBDCs, the foremost advantage of such a partnership would be the increased stability of “e-money.” Synthetic CBDCs can disregard market and liquidity risks as well as mitigate default risks, two points that seem to be constants when considering how easy the issuance of e-money can be. Not only that, but public-private CBDCs can also ease the audit and control of client funds being issued using e-money, especially if the funds are dispersed across many banks. Given this fact, CBDCs can remain credible by offering lower risks as well as staying redeemable, meaning they hold the same value as the domestic currencies.

Another advantage of this approach is the direct involvement of central banks in e-money issuance. Using DLT, all reconciliations between participants can become more efficient and transparent, ultimately protecting consumers and reducing transactional costs. Additionally, audit processes and compliance procedures can be automated and encrypted, thus increasing the resiliency of the financial network in question. Moreover, the public-private partnership also ensures healthy market competition, given that the network can be controlled by a central banking authority, thereby disincentivizing the emergence of monopolies.

On a somewhat contrary note, Matthew Unger, the CEO of iComply — a regulatory technology and Know Your Customer/Anti-Money Laundering services firm — stated that if structured correctly, the public-private partnership model may enable blockchain technology to be applied to CBDCs sooner than any other alternative. However, he added:

“As with many things, the devil is in the details. Who is the ‘private’ party - Huawei? They already own the hardware for about half of the central banks in the world and have been advocating for blockchain based CBDCs for several years.”

Commenting on the disadvantages of the public-private setup, Blandon pointed out that if synthetic CBDCs were to go mainstream in the near future, they would end up “transforming the current system of Fractional banking to a Narrow banking one.” Furthermore, she added:

“During times of economic crises, it is entirely possible that massive runs of bank deposits may go to e-money and if client funds supporting e-money were held as wholesale financing banks, the run could be reversed as customers would likely to seek the protection of the banks’ deposit insurances. Conversely, if those funds were held as central bank’s reserves, the run risks would not be able to be discounted, provoking a migration of uninsured deposits from banks to e-money providers.”

Will central banks entertain the idea?

Even though CBDCs based on synthetic partnerships sound extremely appealing on paper, it is still worth looking at whether central banks are even willing to entertain such a compromise idea and part with so much of their power.

Cointelegraph spoke with Rich Foster, the former head of North America settlements for market and securities services at Citigroup and the founder of E2E Blockchains, a project that seeks to facilitate settlement finality with central bank currencies. In Foster’s view, many established banks are already exploring the idea of synthetic CBDCs. In this regard, he alluded to a recently formed consortium called Fnality International that has devised its very own central-bank-denominated digital currency: a hybrid CBDC that will still hold funds in each country’s central bank account and will be available for wholesale use only, not for retail.

The consortium is backed by many of the largest commercial banks and national exchanges across the globe such as UBS, Barclays, Banco Santander, the BNY Mellon, CIBC, Commerzbank, Credit Suisse and ING, among others. Foster added: “From a more retail-based standpoint, the Digital Dollar Project is another solution currently in the public discussion phase.”

Also, with the banking sector continuing to lose consumer confidence across the globe, the idea of private entities acting as substitutes for certain banking functions as well as distributors for CBDCs would most likely be viewed as a positive development.

Lastly, some believe that it would be ideal if CBDCs were backed and issued by central banks with the distribution side of things handled by private institutions. This is because private entities may not only warrant a higher settlement efficiency in the use of CBDCs for retail payment and settlement purposes but also in whole payment variants, which include large value, high priority transactions.

Could privacy be a major factor?

Privacy concerns in relation to public-private CBDCs have risen considerably over the past few months, especially as the financial sector has leaned more and more toward digitization. However, where traditional banking setups fail in terms of privacy, crypto-related technologies such as zero-knowledge proofs and smart contracts provide users with a highly secure transaction environment. In this regard, the wallet architecture for the distribution of CBDCs should ideally be designed using advanced cryptography such as homomorphic encryption or other similar methods.

Blandon opined that with a synthetic CBDC, many extra layers of technical complexity can be avoided, such that supervisory authorities can be given direct but pertinent access to encrypted transactions instead of going through rounds of requests, thereby making payments way more streamlined and hassle-free. She added:

“And while such modifications may change today’s existing due-process standards, the outcome would be the same, i.e. the information will easily be available for all the parties involved, especially if their aim is consumer protection.”

Unger believes that with the advent of client-side authentication software, zero-knowledge proofs and frameworks such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s OPAL — or Open Algorithms — project, fears related to KYC and AML can largely be alleviated. However, he did add that without proper controls for privacy and governance, a public blockchain CBDC could be the “most privacy-invading citizen surveillance tool we have ever seen.”

E-money all the way

It seems quite clear that institutional and traditional financial players are aware of the fact that the future of payments and stores of value lies within the domain of e-money. However, it still appears as though they are yet to fully understand and embrace such technology with open arms.

That is why the synthetic CBDCs offer many risk-averse mainstream players an opportunity to leverage developments that have successfully been implemented by private initiatives. Also, mainstream banks may now have to rethink their role and start enhancing their capabilities to become better, more trusted and efficient e-money providers.

Synthetic CBDCs would definitely change many of the roles that banks currently handle, but they could also make consumer protection much more efficient, reducing risks and compliance costs.

3 Experts on 3 Ways to Compare Cryptoassets

Dispersion of coins, order book data, and traditional customer growth metrics are three useful ways to compare cryptoassets, according to three crypto industry players. On Monday, during a panel at Messari’s Mainnet event, Kaiko CEO Ambre Soubiran, Coin Metrics Co-founder Nic Carter, and Flipside Crypto CEO Dave Balter discussed on how blockchain data and

Nike Unlocks Up to 3% in Crypto Rewards With Plutus Partnership

The U.S. footwear giant Nike entered a new affiliate partnership allowing customers to earn up to 3% from online purchases with crypto.

The United States footwear giant Nike continues to explore the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry by introducing cash backs in crypto.

The famous footwear and clothing company has just entered an affiliate partnership with London-based fintech startup Plutus​ to unlock up to 3% in crypto and 9% cash rewards for making purchases on Nike’s online store.

Rewards are available for GBP and EUR only

In order to receive the rewards, customers should use the Plutus Visa Card while shopping online. As Plutus operates within the United Kingdom and the European Economic Area to date, the service is now available for purchase in euro (EUR) and the British pound (GBP), a spokesperson at the firm told Cointelegraph.

The rewards are generated in Plutus’ native token, Pluton (PLU), a decentralized loyalty token running on the Ethereum network. Apart from 12% in total rewards available, Plutus users can also earn more rewards by staking the PLU token via Plutus’ app, the firm said. As of press time, the token is trading at $1.75, with a market capitalization of about $1.5 million.

Plutus is an affiliate partner for Airbnb and Skyscanner

By introducing Nike crypto rewards, Plutus is making another step in its mission to bring cryptocurrencies into everyday life. Nike’s affiliate partnership comes months after Plutus introduced a similar feature on major travel websites, Airbnb and Skyscanner, earlier this year. Unfortunately, development had to be paused due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Danial Daychopan, Plutus CEO and founder, said:

“Plutus was approved as an affiliate partner for both Airbnb and Skyscanner at the start of the year, however all programs in the travel category have been temporarily paused by the company due to travel restrictions caused by COVID-19. Both of these partners were included to offer cash back to qualified Plutus members.”

Crypto-linked features are nothing new to Nike brand so far. In late 2019, Nike patented the so-called “CryptoKicks,” shoes that are tokenized as a non-fungible token on the Ethereum blockchain. Nike has also participated in a blockchain-based supply chain pilot backed by Alabama’s Auburn University.

Russia Leads Global BTC Trading on LocalBitcoins for 2nd Month in a Row

Russia tops global Bitcoin trading on P2P exchange LocalBitcoins amid local crypto regulation uncertainty.

Despite local cryptocurrency uncertainty, Russia is strengthening its leadership on major peer-to-peer exchange LocalBitcoins in the share of Bitcoin (BTC) trading volumes.

Russia has traded the most Bitcoin on LocalBitcoins exchange for two consecutive months, April and May 2020, according to an analysis by crypto media startup CryptoDiffer.

Russia trades nearly twice as much BTC on LocalBitcoins as Venezuela and the U.S.

According to the data, Russia was responsible for 19% of total BTC trading volumes on LocalBitcoins this May, leaving Venezuela and the United States trailing. LocalBitcoins’ BTC trading in Venezuela and the U.S. reportedly accounted for 11% and 10%, respectively. Total Bitcoin trading volumes on LocalBitcoins in May 2020 amounted to 17,867 bitcoins, the firm found.

The information provided by CryptoDiffer apparently coincides with data from major Bitcoin statistics website, Coin Dance. According to Coin Dance’s website, Russia’s weekly BTC trading volumes on LocalBitcoins accounted for about 800 BTC in May 2020. Meanwhile, Venezuela and the U.S. were trading around 400 BTC per week during the same month.

LocalBitcoins expands its push into Russian market

A spokesperson for LocalBitcoins confirmed to Cointelegraph that Russia has been one of the leading markets on the platform. Citing an internal LocalBitcoins’ report, the representative said that Russia was responsible for 17,9% of the total trade volume on the exchange in May 2020.

Finland-based LocalBitcoins has been providing Bitcoin trading services against the Russian ruble since 2013, the person said. After hitting all-time highs in weekly BTC trading in 2017, Russian market has remained an important market to date, the LocalBitcoins’ representative noted.

Russia’s Bitcoin trading leadership on LocalBitcoins comes amid the firm’s apparent push into the Russian market. In mid-April 2020, LocalBitcoins introduced a dedicated Russian-language blog, debuting with an article featuring a Russian community manager, Vladislav Alimpiev. LocalBitcoins has been also promoting its service for Russian users, tweeting that the platform is among key crypto exchanges for Russia.

Overall trading volumes on LocalBitcoins has declined in recent years

Russia became the largest trader of Bitcoin on LocalBitcoins amid a general decline of Bitcoin trading activity on the platform. According to data from Coin Dance, weekly Bitcoin trading volumes on the exchange collapsed from around 10,000 BTC in May 2019 to about 4,500 BTC in May 2020.

Bitcoin trading volumes on LocalBitcoins dropped significantly after the platform abruptly terminated some local cash trades in June 2019. The volumes continued to decline as the exchange was tightening Anti-Money Laundering measures and suspending accounts in multiple regions.

Global BTC trading volumes on LocalBitcoins. Source: Coin Dance

Global BTC trading volumes on LocalBitcoins. Source: Coin Dance

The drop on LocalBitcoins’ global markets comes in line with a significant decline in its Russian market. As such, weekly BTC trading volumes in Russia dropped roughly 60% from about 2,000 BTC in May 2019 to 800 BTC in May 2020, according to data from Coin Dance.

While Russia is apparently the top market for LocalBitcoins so far, the country has seen some issues in terms of crypto regulation. On May 21, Russian lawmakers suggested criminalizing crypto violations with fines up to $28,240 and imprisonment for up to seven years.

Addressing the issue, the LocalBitcoins’ representative said:

“We are following the legal situation in Russia and we hope that Russian people will continue to have access to Bitcoin and its benefits in the future too.”

Crypto Exchange Coinbase Fails To Stay Operating During Explosive Bitcoin Volatility

The popular crypto exchange Coinbase has come under scrutiny recently by the greater cryptocurrency community, after widespread frustration over system outages during peak Bitcoin volatility has boiled over. What’s causing the issues and why can’t Coinbase keep up with the meager crypto demand currently, and what does this mean for the next bull market if and when it happens? Coinbase Can’t Seem To Keep Their Platform Stable During Bitcoin Volatility Last night, Bitcoin price jumped by over $600 in less than an hour, just ahead of the first daily close of June 2020. Also during this time, the popular San Francisco based cryptocurrency platform experienced a system outage that left users unable to trade the volatility. What's wrong with Coinbase? pic.twitter.com/R6rwzHSgS3 — Zack Voell (@zackvoell) June 2, 2020 Volatility is what brings traders profits, so being unable to access the trading platform where they keep their Bitcoin makes the platform far less appealing. Related Reading | Major Crypto Assets Are Preparing For Powerful Volatility Against Bitcoin  Thus far, it’s remained amongst the most popular fiat on-ramps for US crypto investors, who dominate the lion’s share of the overall market. The cryptocurrency community erupted in frustration, wondering why one of the most dominant and longest-standing crypto platforms can’t get its act together. Speaking of a rigged system…you have one job to do @coinbase You’ve had years to fix it. #shameful #rigged #oneofthem #dumpcoinbase pic.twitter.com/GCUCG2xeoT — RE₿ECCA 🍋🧚🏻‍♂️🪐🌙♊ (@I_Make_Lemonade) June 1, 2020 Traders everywhere voiced their annoyance over the lack of access, while analysts questioned why this was happening at all given the relatively low levels of interest in cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin at the moment. How Will This Impact the Next Bull Market If The Most Popular Fiat Onramp Can’t Clean Up Its Act? This wasn’t the first Coinbase outage in recent weeks, which has only added fuel to the fire of already upset traders. What’s more concerning, however, is the fact that Coinbase can’t keep up with current levels, then how will they expect to support the influx of users during the next bull market? Dear @coinbase, I ask this with much respect – How does an exchange with an $8 billion valuation crash every time Bitcoin pumps 5%? I genuinely would like to know — Crypto Capital Venture ⚡ (@cryptorecruitr) June 2, 2020 Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong was famously quoted for stating that bear markets are used to build for the next bull market. “We use the down cycles to build a strong foundation so we can thrive in the next growth cycle,” he said, in a now-deleted tweet. Somewhere along the lines, this effort to build may have been lost, and what remains is a platform that appears to be woefully underprepared for any increase in its userbase. Related Reading | Crypto Confusion: Long-Legged Doji Across Altcoin Market Hints At Trend Change  The crypto market is jam-packed with competitors, and leadership roles like what was seen with BitMEX can easily fall from grace. Coinbase remains one of the most important and popular fiat onramps in the crypto market, but if system outages continue to plague traders, the throne will soon be challenged. Can Coinbase retain the crypto crown for the next bull market, or will system outages continue to leave them looking like the court jester instead?