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It’s Official: Alt Season is Here! (But BTC Remains The King), eToro’s Mati Greenspan Says

Mati Greenspan

Since 2017, the crypto market has not had good times. The bearish streak that began at the end of that year (just as the initial futures contracts gained strength) became more pronounced throughout 2018 and seems to have diminished in intensity during the initial quarter of 2019.

This behavior, along with the active development of several projects based on blockchain technologies seems to have aroused the interest of traders and crypto enthusiasts, however, while previously Bitcoin grabbed everyone’s attention, 2019 appears to be the year of altcoins and so has been “decreed” by Mati Greenspan, one of the most respected analysts not only in the community of cryptocurrencies but among traders of diverse financial instruments.

Alt Season Is Here!

In an essay published by Hacked and replicated by The Bitcoinist, Mati Greenspan points out that from a technical analysis standpoint, Bitcoin trading is lagging behind the rest of the cryptocurrencies, something that many experts see as a sign of increasing influence of altcoins in the whole crypto trading market.

Also, Bitcoin’s modest price variation makes it unappealing for traders accustomed to more volatile and risky markets. While Bitcoin maintains a low variability in prices and volume, other cryptocurrencies have tripled their numbers, with noticeable gains that stimulate the growth of their market cap:

“Of course, there’s no telling how long this could last but the signs are all in place. Global volume across crypto exchanges is holding steady at around $30 billion per day, yet Bitcoin’s volume is less than a third of that figure. Sure, Bitcoin exchange volumes are still about double what they were in early February, but some coins like Litecoin, EOS, and BNB have more than tripled their daily volumes in the same time frame.”

Alt Season Means Good News for Bitcoin (BTC)

However, the alt season has also benefited Bitcoin (BTC) trading: Being the most widely used cryptocurrency, it forces traders to operate with this cryptocurrency as the base for most of their trading pairs, increasing its demand.

He also illustrates that there has been a decline in the number of Bitcoin transactions over the last few days, indicating that users might prefer other currencies although the Bitcoin dominance index still gives BTC over 50% of strength.

number of BTC Transactions

Number of BTC Transactions. courtesy: Bitcoinist

The community seems to share Mr. Greenspan’s sentiment. On “Crypto Twitter” (and also Reddit) several users have talked about not only to a possible reversal of the bearish trend but also about the end of the infamous “crypto winter.”

If this is true, happy trading! But please remember: Never invest more than you can afford to lose.

The post It’s Official: Alt Season is Here! (But BTC Remains The King), eToro’s Mati Greenspan Says appeared first on Ethereum World News.

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Jimmy Song Highlights Decentralization as Key to Success of Bitcoin Over Altcoins

An analysis of 2018 price performance and the slowdown of the ICO sector demonstrates the pitfalls of centralization, Jimmy Song says.

Perceptions of Bitcoin (BTC) versus altcoins changed forever in 2018, as the largest cryptocurrency separated itself from the rest, Bitcoin developer Jimmy Song wrote in a blog post on Dec. 31.

An ardent defender of Bitcoin’s decentralized values, Song, who is also a frequent social media commentator, argued that last year “showed […] what Bitcoin Maximalists have been saying all along.”

“Bitcoin is different because Bitcoin is decentralized,” he summarized, adding:

“The advantages of decentralization are often subtle and easy to dismiss, but they are real benefits.”

One of many sources to have criticized the initial coin offerings (ICO) market in 2018, Song noted that the huge amounts of money raised by projects contrasted with the small number that launched, while fewer still delivered a product that the market would want or need.

The mismatch between fundraising and product success was due to centralized operation, he suggested, continuing:

“What we saw in 2018 is that having lots of ‘developer activity’ is not the same thing as producing something the market wants. Bitcoin has distinguished itself by releasing features that are actually used, and not duds that aren’t like so many altcoins.”

Song used the example of prediction market Augur as one of the success stories of the ICO space, despite the platform currently averaging a mere 25 daily users, each corresponding to $3.65 million in market cap.

The perspective on ICOs contrasts with predictions from trading platform BitMEX CEO Arthur Hayes, who last week told Cointelegraph the industry was set for a rebirth within the next 18 months.

In a separate interview on Monday meanwhile, Jed McCaleb, co-founder of payment platform and associated altcoin Stellar (XLM), told Yahoo! Finance that financial institutions would not end up using Bitcoin in the future.

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Crypto Market Sees 3% Pullback After A Short-Term Recovery

As Tuesday rolled around, many traders thought that the worst was yet to come for the market, with critics expecting Bitcoin to chip away at the $5,800 support as the week continued. For those who are unaware, the $5,800 level has been continually cited as a strong line of support, with analysts highlighting previous bounces around this price, along with an amassment of technical indicators.

But to the surprise of some, on Tuesday, the crypto market began a slow recovery of its recently-established year-to-date lows.

From $190 Billion To $220 Billion — The Market Recovery

The valuation of all cryptocurrencies recovered from a low of $190 billion to $220 billion within a three-day timespan, with this move restoring faith in an otherwise bearish market. A majority of cryptocurrencies saw strong gains throughout the past three to four days, with Bitcoin taking a cautious move from $5,950 to $6,600 that was backed by consistent volume.

But with this move, altcoins have seen an unexpected resurgence, with Bitcoin dominance taking a three percent dive even as the market continued upwards. As reported by Ethereum World News, cryptocurrencies like Nano (NANO), VeChain (VET), and Populous (PPT) all saw staggering gains of 30% or more, which was quickly attributed to the decreasing Bitcoin dominance figures. Traders saw their portfolios turn green overnight, and a slight sense of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) return to the minds of optimistic traders.

However, some industry leaders aren’t convinced that the bear market is over yet. Susquehanna’s head of digital assets, Bart Smith, recently claimed that this recovery, albeit relatively strong, could just be a “bear market rally.” This sentiment was doubled-down by Dan Nathan, a CNBC trader and Fast Money panelist, who also agreed with what Smith had to say.

While Arthur Hayes, the CEO of BitMEX, still expects Bitcoin to reach and establish a low of $5,000 before eventually continuing to new all-time highs. Moreover, some analysts expect that this is a “dead cat bounce,” where the price(s) of a publicly-traded asset sees a quick recovery after a downtrend, only to fall further at a later date.

“Too Much Of A Good Thing Is A Bad Thing”

Attesting to this bearish sentiment, on Saturday, traders were reminded of the age-old saying — “too much of a good thing is a bad thing” — as the market experienced a slight pullback after the aforementioned recovery.

At the time of writing, Bitcoin is currently down by 2%, with altcoins posting similar losses. It remains to be seen whether the market will continue to head lower in the near future, but according to the traders on CNBC Fast Money, the technicals on Bitcoin’s chart has begun to show signs of weakness. CNBC analyst David Seaburg stated:

“Look at just the charts, without any other knowledge, it looks like its going lower. The technical set-up right now for Bitcoin does not look promising in my eyes.”

Michał Mancewicz

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Social Media Giant LINE Adds Tron (TRX) To Its BitBox Exchange

As reported by Ethereum World News previously, social media giant LINE announced the creation of an in-house crypto-to-crypto exchange going by the name of BitBox. In LINE’s original announcement, the firm stated that it would offer the trading of thirty cryptocurrencies at a 0.1% fee, with the press release only mentioning the largest cryptocurrencies offered. Additionally, it was noted that BitBox’s crypto-to-crypto service would be open globally, offering exchange options to consumers in all countries but Japan and the U.S.

Since our original report, BitBox has officially launched and is now home to tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of individuals looking to trade cryptocurrencies through an easy-to-use mobile platform.

But with today’s announcement, LINE has now launched support for Tron (TRX) and an unexpected $10 million token venture fund. Tron, which was recently confirmed by BitBox’s listing committee, will now be available for trading on BitBox via multiple new trading pairs, such as TRX/BTC and TRX/ETH.

To celebrate the listing of TRX, the Asian social media giant has partnered with Tron to airdrop nine million TRX tokens to all BitBox users “in a promotional event running until August 22nd.”

Youngsu Ko, the CEO of LINE Tech Plus, a Singapore-based subsidiary that runs BitBox, issued a statement on the reasoning behind this move, seeming to show an affection towards the project, writing:

“Integrating TRON (TRX) with BITBOX will enable us to connect with the world’s fastest-growing blockchain project. TRON has a solid tech platform, especially now it has joined forces with BitTorrent.”

In an additional comment, Line noted that the addition of Tron (TRX) is one of its first steps in ensuring that its customers have access to a diverse set of “coin options,” aided by an easy-to-use, efficient, and secure user-centered service. 

Closing off this segment of the press release, Tron CEO Justin Sun expressed his excitement via an impassioned statement regarding the addition, noting that the collaboration between the two firms will prove to be successful.

Line Launches “Token Venture Fund”

As aforementioned, the addition of TRX wasn’t the only announcement mentioned. LINE has also launched Unblock Ventures, which is a new subsidiary aimed at becoming a “corporate token venture fund.” The Hong Kong-based Unblock fund will be launched with a capital allocation of $10 millionUSD, and will focus on investing in token investment vehicles for the time being.

However, $10 million won’t be the be all and end all of Unblock, as LINE plans to expand the fund along with the growth of the blockchain industry. If all goes according to plan, Unblock Ventures should help to boost the development and adoption of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology throughout the world.  The firm elaborated, writing:

“By launching this new corporate token fund, LINE is aiming to boost the development and adoption of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. As such, LINE is one of the first publicly traded corporations to formalize token investments through a corporate fund.”

Photo by Chris Liverani on Unsplash

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Bitcoin (BTC) Holds $6,000, While Xapo’s President Says Altcoins May Go Extinct

As reported by Ethereum World News previously, the market has been teetering on the edge between freezing waters and thin ice, with the smallest move in the wrong direction potentially dragging the market even further lower. While this market’s outlook may look dismal, all hope is not lost yet, as BTC has held relatively strong above the $5,800 and $6,000 price levels over the past 24 hours.

Bitcoin Holds Steady In The Low $6,000s

As altcoins fell over the weekend, many thought that BTC would follow. But against all the odds, Bitcoin has not just survived this season of altcoin capitulation but thrived in a relative sense, with Bitcoin dominance quickly rising to new year-to-date highs at 54.5%.

Taking a brief gander at CoinMarketCap, it quickly becomes apparent that one cryptocurrency stands out, and as is normally the case, its the asset that has been dubbed “digital gold” by many. Despite the fact that altcoins plunged in value, BTC has held relatively strong, finding a place to stand in the low $6,000s over the past few days.

Although the price of this asset temporarily moved below $6,000, it wasn’t there for long, with it quickly rebounding off a daily low of $5,900 to $6,100 in rapid succession.

As reported by Ethereum World News, Jeff DeGraaf, a well-known Wall Street technical analyst, sees the ~$5,700-$5,800 level as a near ‘life or death’ line of support for BTC, where a move under that level could put Bitcoin into a so-called “game over” phase. DeGraaf elaborated more on what this meant, stating:

“Parabolic moves are notoriously dangerous for short‐sellers … Usually, a top develops that often appears as a descending triangle over months, with reduced volatility and little [fanfare]. Once the top is complete on the support violation, the security in question can often be considered permanently impaired or even ‘game‐over’. We are of course referencing Bitcoin as exhibit ‘A’ in today’s market.”

So investors can find the smallest smidges of solace in the fact that BTC has yet to break the heavily contested $5,800 line of support.

Although it has become evident Bitcoin is still a force to be reckoned with even in a bearish market, there are some that are convinced altcoins will not prove to be much of a challenge as prices move lower.

“We Could Be In The Midst Of An Extinction-Level Event For Crypto Assets”

According to Ted Rogers, the president of the cryptocurrency infrastructure firm Xapo, in this market correction, over 90% of all altcoins listed on CoinMarketCap could get wiped out. He added that as altcoins “disappear, (which) might as well happen now,” BTC could prove to be a great buy at this “lower BTC price”.

This sentiment comes via a tweet made on August 13th, in which he wrote:

We could be in the midst of the extinction-level event for “cryptoassets” that many maximalists have predicted. 90%+ of list will disappear eventually – might as well happen now. Meantime, lower BTC price means incredible opportunity to buy more

It is likely he is alluding to the tough time altcoins have been having, with coins/tokens like ETH, BCH, XLM, XMR, and TRX posting losses of upwards of 10%. Whilst he did not explicitly call out any altcoins to “disappear,” as you scroll through his Twitter feed, it is easily discernable that he is somewhat of a “Bitcoin Maximalist.” As such, this sentiment was deemed unpopular by some, with critics pointing out that this opnion is flawed.

As pointed out by @ThamJason, the destruction of many altcoin projects may not be healthy for the ecosystem, later adding that such a correction would taint the public’s view of this market.

It remains to be seen whether this extinction-level event will occur, but while some may be hard set on predictions, the crypto market’s next move could really be anyone’s guess.

Photo by Anna Popović on Unsplash

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Consumers Have Lost Almost $100 Million To ICO Exit Scams

A common criticism that onlookers have for the cryptocurrency industry is that it is rife with scams and criminal wrongdoings. While this is often an unwarranted blanket classification of this nascent industry, research done by Diar, a weekly fintech-focused publication, claims that there are still some bad actors present in this industry

According to last week’s Diar report, ICO exit scams have raked in approximately $96.8 million in the past two years. While this is a staggering figure in and of itself, it was reported that approximately 70% of these funds were stolen within the past two weeks, with the culprits being four different projects run by two ‘firms’.

The first firm is Shenzhen Puyin Blockchain Group, a shady crypto-centric firm based in China’s Guangdong province, who reportedly ran three scam ICOs — ACChain, BioLifeChain, and PuyinCoin — which raised over $60 million in funds collectively.

As pointed out by eagle-eyed users on Reddit, the office in which the teams of the three aforementioned ICOs were supposed to be in remains empty, clearly indicating that something shady had occurred. Eventually, as news of this scam spread, the State Market Regulatory Administration (SMRA) of China caught wind of these projects and the company behind it.

The second firm was NVO, who raised nearly 3000 Bitcoin to ‘build’ a decentralized exchange and cryptocurrency wallet before disappearing altogether.

While the publication didn’t go into much detail about the other 10 scams listed, there was one that stood out, this being Block Broker. Ironically enough, Block Broker was founded in a bid to “completely eliminate ICO fraud by creating a 100% safe investment environment.”

It all seemed well and good, with ICO review sites like TrackICO, posting a multitude of raving reviews for the project. However, when it was revealed that the likeness of the project’s CEO was nothing but a stolen photo, it became evident that BlockBroker was a scam posing as a scam “eliminator.” Sadly, by the time the expose occurred, it was too late, with the figures behind the project running away with $3 million.

As the publication notes, the use of “fake profile pictures” is a common practice with exit scam projects, along with the plagiarism of promotional materials and whitepapers, which should be focused on showing a token or project’s worth instead of the malicious action of copy and pasting.

Although these projects — or scams more accurately — are clearly in the wrong, the aforementioned report notes how the incentives around an ICO offering are inherently flawed, writing:

“Unsurprisingly, the blatant exit scams continue to plague the largely unregulated ICO sector where the founders have no contractual obligation to deliver a product. After raising millions of dollars with no string attached, the founders’ incentives to actually build a valuable company are very limited.”

While this is a powerful statement by itself, as it clearly highlights the issue with the ICO crowdfunding structure, to add insult to injury, the report drew attention to yet another issue in the following statement:

“Even if the founders were to build a valuable venture, it’s unclear at best whether the price of the utility token would reflect the success of the company.”

This statement brings a much more fundamental issue to light, where cryptocurrency projects can be often overvalued, as investors seek to make

Despite the theory that scams are likely a minority in the ICO pool, as Ethereum World News has reported, many projects which are operated in good faith fail to meet promises touted in their whitepapers, including claims of decentralization.

While this issue may be starting to subside, with the development of blockchain technology pushing forward at a relentless pace, the aforementioned problems with the ICO structure still prove to be a problem in today’s cryptosphere.

Photo by Fancycrave on Unsplash

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A Thin Ice Market — Altcoins Bleed Out

On Monday morning, the cryptocurrency market awoke to a horrific sight, with the market reestablishing new year-to-date lows amidst an altcoin ‘cliff dive’.

Bitcoin May Have Sprained Its ‘Ankle’, But Altcoins Have Broken Some ‘Bones’

The cryptocurrency market remains on thin ice, as Bitcoin teeters above the ever so important level of support at $5,800, while altcoins threaten to drag the price of BTC down with them. At the time of writing, Bitcoin is down 1% on the day, falling to $6,250, which is only a small step down from the $6,400 level that was established during Saturday afternoon.

As reported by Ethereum World News, Jeff DeGraaf, a well-known Wall Street technical analyst, sees the ~$5,700-$5,800 level as a near ‘life or death’ line of support, where a move under that level could put the cryptocurrency market into a “game over” phase. DeGraaf elaborated, stating:

“Parabolic moves are notoriously dangerous for short‐sellers … Usually, a top develops that often appears as a descending triangle over months, with reduced volatility and little [fanfare]. Once the top is complete on the support violation, the security in question can often be considered permanently impaired or even ‘game‐over’. We are of course referencing Bitcoin as exhibit ‘A’ in today’s market.”

So the fact that Bitcoin has not broken through the $5,800 line of support can be a silver lining in a stormy market.

Although Bitcoin has remained relatively strong in the face of tribulations, altcoins have begun to suffer, metaphorically breaking some ‘bones’ on their way to new year-to-date lows. A majority of altcoins are currently posting losses of 5%, while some altcoins have had it even worst off if you can believe it.

Today’s bout of altcoin sell-side has led Bitcoin’s market dominance to rise to a staggering 52.5%, which is the highest it has been since December’s crypto boom as ‘digital gold’ briefly hit the price of $20,000 a piece.

Ethereum Falls Below $300 For The First Time Since November 2017 

In this move downwards, one player stands out from the rest. Sadly, instead of positively standing out from the ‘altcoin crowd’, this is a case of Ethereum sticking out like a sore thumb. Ethereum unarguably had it the worse today, as it became the only top 10 crypto asset to fall by over 10% at an earlier point today.

As it stands, the price of ETH has just moved below $300, which is the first time it has been at this level since November 2017.

Over the past week, Ethereum has fallen by over 28%, while Bitcoin has ‘only’ posted a loss of 10%. With this devastating move downwards has led some to ask, “Why is the price of Ethereum doing so poorly in comparison to other altcoins?”

As reported by Bloomberg, this specific capitulation event with Ethereum has been widely attributed to a large sell-off with ETH funds raised by ICO projects. Biswa Das, who works at crypto hedge fund BloomWater Capital, commented on this occurrence, stating that the market is too fragile to take an ICO sell-off in the following statement:

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

While Ethereum has already been pressed down for months with this factor, Spencer Bogart of Blockchain Capital says it may be far from over, as there are still hundreds of thousands, if not millions of ETH that are still being prepped to be sold en-masse on open order book exchanges.

Nonetheless, it remains to be seen whether a drastic Ethereum downtrend will drag down the rest of market into icy cold waters, which may be ready to nip at the feet of cryptocurrency investors.

Photo by Erica Nilsson on Unsplash

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Tether Prints 50 Million USDT, The Controversy Continues

Tether is the project that you either love, hate, or know nothing about. For individuals falling into the latter category, here’s a quick overview of this often controversial topic.

Tether Remains A Controversy 

Tether is a stablecoin that is inherently tied to the value of one U.S. dollar and is reportedly backed by legitimate reserves. Many use USDT as a method to find solace in a bear market, as you can trade your altcoins/Bitcoin into Tether, in an act fittingly named “tethering”, to maintain the dollar value of your holdings.

Despite the fact that USDT has quickly become the 9th most valuable project in the industry, many remain skeptical about the funds behind the project, as the Tether organization has been slow to procure the documents that show that it holds $2.5+ billion in its reserves. While the Tether organization, which has been linked to Bitfenix’s leadership team, fired its auditors earlier this year, it has since shown some evidence to suggest that there are funds that back 100% of USDT tokens.

Although the fears around its USD reserves may have subsided, USDT has still remained a primary topic of controversy within the cryptocurrency community.

As reported by Ethereum World News, researchers claim that USDT was used to push up the price of Bitcoin throughout 2017. According to the research paper, which hailed from the University of Texas, the stablecoin was used to artificially inflate the price of Bitcoin following (or during) a sharp decline.

Not only do fears of manipulation surround the project, but so do technical concerns. According to SlowMIst, a Chinese crypto-centric cybersecurity team, an unnamed exchange falsely accepted 694 USDT tokens in a “double spend” attempt. Following this revelation, the community went into a panic, with some believing that the whole Tether ecosystem would come crashing down. However, as addressed by well-known exchanges and an Omni developer, this issue should not affect all USDT tokens, as this was just a case of “poor exchange integration.”

While the aforementioned fears have since been addressed in some capacity, the project remains as one of the most contested topics in the cryptosphere.

Kaching! Tether Prints 50 Million USDT

On Saturday morning, the Tether organization issued $50 million new USDT tokens amidst a bearish market. This information comes via the Omni block explorer (Omniexplorer), which helps track Omni-based assets, such as USDT tokens. With this move, Tether now has a $2.4 billion market cap, which has brought it to become the 9th most valuable cryptocurrency.

During a previous Tether issuance, Charlie Lee, a well-known cryptocurrency personality and founder of the Litecoin project, pointed out that the printing of USDT likely is a bullish sign.

But this time around, the market continued lower instead of seeing a healthy 2-3% move upwards as prices normally do, which surprised more than just a few investors.

Photo by Jeremy Paige on Unsplash

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