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Bitcoin (BTC) Losses in November Worst in 7 Years

Bitcoin (BTC), Cryptocurrency–With Bitcoin again slipping below $4000, the market of cryptocurrency is continuing the bear trend into the final month of the year.

After several months of low price volatility, where the fluctuation in value for the number one cryptocurrency by market cap dropped below that of tech stocks, it appeared that the crypto markets were going to make an eventful upward turn in November. Part of the influx of investment was driven by Bitcoin Cash, as buyers anticipated the minting of new coins following its hard fork on November 15.

However, the opposite occurred, with the coin plummeting in value in the hours leading up to the split and dragging most of the market with it. Instead of providing a resurgence to market prices, the forking of Bitcoin Cash into Bitcoin ABC and SV created a strong degree of investor uncertainty which in turn led to falling prices. The two camps, helmed by crypto figureheads Roger Ver and Craig Wright, created an all out “hash war,” which drew the wrong kind of attention for crypto and led to a general fire sale for the market.

Bitcoin plummeted alongside altcoins, and nearly $100 billion was wiped from the market capitalization in less than two weeks. While BTC watched a steady erosion in price throughout 2018, falling from an all time high of $20,000 at the end of last year to its stable trading point around $6500, the bottom fell out for the currency. Bitcoin dropped further to $3500, with nearly all analysts predicting a bleak outlook for the recovery of cryptocurrency prices that could continue into next year–and possibly beyond.

As reported by Bloomberg, the most recent price fall for Bitcoin was as bleak as it appeared to investors, with November constituting the worst month for BTC in the last seven years. While investors were flush in the midst of a bull run for Bitcoin at this time a year ago, November saw the currency drop 37 percent to a relative low for 2018, which constitutes the biggest loss since August 2011 when BTC fell 39 percent to $8.90. As previously reported by EWN, billionaire investor Mike Novogratz of Galaxy Digital Holdings admitted to the steep drop in valuation for cryptos and his crypto-based fund. Speaking in a conference call on November 30, Novogratz made no attempt to sugar coat the situation,

“It’s been a horrible bear market in tokens.”

However, as prices continue to find shaky ground in their lowest trading range of the year, general enthusiasts for cryptocurrency continue to find developments to be excited for, in addition to the catalyzing work of some development teams. Last week, EWN reported on a commitment by the TRON Foundation, makers of the TRX currency, to pay out $100 million over three years to spur innovation and creation of blockchain gaming for their network.

As token prices continue to cause headaches for long-term investors, adoption and blockchain growth is a positive for cryptocurrency advocates to hang their hat upon. While Novogratz, a long time Bitcoin and crypto bull, admitted defeat in 2018, even he pointed out that bubbling adoption today could lead to big moves–including institutionally backed investments–in 2019 and 2020.

The post Bitcoin (BTC) Losses in November Worst in 7 Years appeared first on Ethereum World News.

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Bloomberg: $500 million in Tether (USDT) Has Made No Impact on Bitcoin (BTC) Price

Bitcoin (BTC), Tether (USDT)–Despite Tether (USDT) printing over half a billion dollars worth of new coinage throughout the month of August, financial news outlet Bloomberg reports the move has had little to no impact upon the crypto markets.

While the company behind the most popular stablecoin cryptocurrency, now ranked 8th in total market capitalization with $2.84 billion in circulation, has been the target of numerous investigations, particularly those pertaining to the assets backing the coin, August’s massive influx of new tethers is apparently not swaying the crypto markets. Despite adding an additional $500 million worth to the total market capitalization, a move that has in the past brought accusations of Tether and its partners artificially propping up the price of the industry, Bloomberg reports that the link between new USDT hitting exchanges and an increasing Bitcoin price has eroded over the past year. Whether because of the prolonged bear cycle of 2018, which is already drawing attention for its investor fatigue, or a new market force at work, Tether no longer has the same impact as in the past.

Several economists and market analysts, most recently a group out of the University of Texas, have been observing Tether, it’s regular injecting of USDT into the market and the impact that has upon crypto prices to conclude that some form of manipulation or price stabilization is occuring. With the massive influx of freshly minted Tethers throughout the month of August, Bloomberg feels confident concluding that the input of the high-profile stablecoin is no longer swaying prices. Bloomberg also refutes another paper by the research group Chainalysis, which made the claim that USDT is influencing prices of altcoins and smaller capitalization cryptocurrencies, even if the stablecoin fails to move the price of BTC as it did with some regularity throughout 2017. Citing as an example, Bloomberg looks at August’s push of half a billion dollars worth of USDT into the crypto markets, without a corresponding price increase–or stabilization–for Bitcoin, in addition to other popular currencies such as EOS and NEO. Instead, altcoins have been largely in decline, with the price of Bitcoin fluctuating throughout the $6000 – $7000 range since the beginning of the month.

Whereas past injections of Tether, particularly to the tune of half a billion dollars (or roughly 17 percent of the total Tether now in circulation) would have corresponded to a significant price movement for Bitcoin, and the crypto markets in general. Instead, August 2018 has seen one of the steepest declines across the board for BTC and altcoins, with most currencies experiences double-digit losses in an already prolonged bear market. This has led some to the conclusion that either Tether is not directly manipulating the market with its timing and method for USDT injection–or at the very least not attempting to do so–or that the same forces that coupled Bitcoin rallies so closely with Tether injections have evaporated from the market.

Some have found stablecoins to be an interesting caveat to the high volatility, high risk of cryptocurrency investing. Compared to BTC and other altcoins, USDT and its brand of stablecoins provide the benefits of cryptocurrency while pegging the valuation to a fixed amount–in this case the U.S. dollar. Some find that the currencies exhibit too much centralization, and lack the departure from government fiat that has been so enticingly portrayed in the majority of cryptocurrencies. However, with the slumping crypto markets throughout 2018, Tether has become a safe harbor for investor funds, particularly those left on exchanges to ride out the price volatility of the market.

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Australians Can Pay Utility Bills With Bitcoin (BTC)

Bitcoin (BTC)–In terms of adoption for cryptocurrency, being able to pay for real world goods and services with the digital currency has long been viewed as the gold standard. The bear market of 2018 has led to a shift in focus away from the fundamentals of crypto and the usability of blockchain transactions in favor of wild price speculation. However, an Australian-based partnership is attempting to provide a solution for customers looking to pay their utility bills with cryptocurrency.

Cryptocurrency exchange Cointree announced a joint-venture with billing platform Gobbill to give Australian customers the opportunity to pay their utility bills with cryptocurrency. The goal of the union is to provide a solution for automated billing via crypto, with Gobbill functioning as the intermediary in the exchange, taking user funds in crypto and making the payment in fiat.

Using the Cointree wallet, users of the cryptocurrency exchange will be able to convert stored coins automatically into utility bill payments, giving customers the opportunity to pay in BTC, XRP, and nearly 40 other currencies. While Australian utility companies will not be accepting crypto directly for payment (the exchange involves a conversion to fiat), it does represent a way for Australian crypto users to get around having to cash out of their denomination on exchanges to free up funds for utility payment. The service is being aimed at small businesses and average investors, with the co-founder and CEO of Gobbill, Shendon Ewans, expounding upon the planned form of payment,

“We anticipate a surge in the number of customers who would like to pay their bills in crypto in the coming years. Our partnership with Cointree will cater to this market and ensure Gobbill continues to remain ahead of the curve when it comes to allowing our users to pay their bills automatically, while knowing they’re protected from fraud and scams.”

According to Ewans, Gobbill views this partnership with Cointree as getting ahead of the curve, a refrain we have heard several times from tangential businesses attempting to capitalize on cryptocurrency. By offering a service that automatically takes payments in cryptocurrency, Gobbill is exposing itself to the growing, and vocal, userbase of cryptocurrency, in addition to paving a future for their company that involves a takeoff in the digital currencies.

Cointree also sees partnerships for bill payments and automatic drafting as a way to increase their customer base, with efforts already enacted for several years on the front of crypto-to-bill payment. Jess Rendon, operations manager of Cointree, reported that the company has processed $100 million in bills paid in 2017,

“Last year alone we had about AU$100 million of bills paid and saw ten times growth in this payment feature.

CCN reports that paying bills with cryptocurrency has seen an explosion in Australia over the last several years, having grown by 3300% in a three-year period. While the system devised by Gobbill is still a step removed from utility companies accepting Bitcoin and altcoins directly, it does provide another avenue for investors looking to use their coins outside of exchange speculation.

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Ethereum Co-Founder: Sinking Price of Crypto Will Not Hurt Growth

Ethereum (ETH)–Joseph Lubin, one of the co-founders to the second largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization Ethereum and current CEO of ConsenSys Inc., told Bloomberg in an interview published yesterday that he is not concerned with the sinking price of cryptocurrency or the overall impact it will have upon the growth of the industry.

While investors across the world reel from double-digit losses to extend an already taxing market in 2018, Lubin is confident that the industry will continue it’s march of adoption and growth that has characterized 2018 despite the otherwise bearish atmosphere. In particular, Lubin cites last December’s massive bull run, which bled over into the early weeks of 2018, as being bubble-like developments that are similar to price increases in the past. As Lubin points out, the past occurrence of BTC and cryptocurrency in general spiking in price, followed by a crash (hence creating multiple bubbles over time) is just par for the course, and each time getting slightly worse. While the bubble makes for a terrible experience to investors having to survive the bear market, it doesn’t indicate that the industry is failing in terms of development or adoptive achievement. Lubin claims there have been,

“six big bubbles, each more epic than the previous one, and each bubble is astonishing when they’re happening.”

Despite being all consuming during the bubble, looking back on the ebb and flow of the market reveals a more steady movement in price, which Lubin refers to as ‘pimples’ on the chart. He also finds, in some small part, the severity of the crash to be indicative of the industry’s growth. The most recent crash has been that much more severe due to the fact that cryptocurrency is spreading, ICOs are on the rise, more projects are being developed with intriguing concepts compelling investors to pour money into,

“…we build more fundamental infrastructure, we see a correction, and the potential gets even more impressive… I absolutely expect that there is a strong correlation between the rise in price and the growth of fundamental infrastructure in the ecosystem and the growth of development in the ecosystem. We are probably two orders of magnitude bigger as a developer community than we were eight or 10 months ago.”  

Lubin, like other leading authorities in the industry of cryptocurrency, blames part of the crash and price volatility on the large number of speculative investors swaying the market, creating unhealthy conditions and myopic goals. Lubin, who helped co-found Ethereum alongside the outspoken Vitalik Buterin, has put his primary focus on growing the cryptocurrency industry in terms of utility and building greater adoption rather than through a price-focused discourse. Having the market dominated by speculative-driven investors is not a proper indicator of how the actual industry and underlying technology is performing,

“So we can look at the price and make growth plans and projections, and we’re still on track, basically. So this is not unexpected.”

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UPDATE: Bitcoin Bulls Push BTC Price Back Above $8200

Bitcoin (BTC)–Investors in cryptocurrency, particularly the original coin BTC, have had an interesting week. While the currency managed to grow nearly 35% over the past two weeks, signaling what appeared to be the end of 2018’s prolonged bear cycle, the run was put to an abrupt halt following news of the Winklevoss twins’ bid for a Bitcoin ETF being denied by the SEC.

Bitcoin prices had hovered around $8300 for most of the week, before taking a plunge back into the $7900 range on Thursday when news broke that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had denied high profile crypto figures Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss the creation of a Bitcoin Exchange Traded Fund. The Winklevoss twins, who also founded the cryptocurrency exchange Gemini, had made a second attempt with the SEC on approval of a BTC-based ETF, which would mark the first ever of its kind. While much of the market and industry news has been in a stir over the looming–as some would put it “almost guaranteed”–creation of Bitcoin ETFs, the news came as a harsh ruling by the SEC on the potential for other funds.

However, while Bitcoin prices seemed to be rebuffed by the sudden news out of the U.S. regulatory agency, bullish investors were able to renew the price run on Friday morning, bringing BTC back into the $8300 range.

The denial of the Winklevoss ETF does represent a momentary setback for cryptocurrency. However, the SEC had previously announced a move to delay the decision on five other Bitcoin ETFs until September, giving the appearance that the agency is still collecting information on Bitcoin and evolving its position towards cryptocurrency. Given the overwhelming number of institutional figures, hedge fund leaders and other financial entities clamoring over the need for a regulated Bitcoin ETF, it seems only a matter of time until the SEC allows one to go through. As Arthur Hayes, co-founder of cryptocurrency exchange BitMex, told CNBC in early July, the presence of regulated funds in addition to greater government oversight in the investment process could lead to a significant price run for BTC.

While every investor and crypto-enthusiast has been espousing “institutional money” that has yet to throw its weight behind cryptocurrency, Hayes points out that most big-money and Wall Street players are waiting for greater clarity from government authorities before taking the plunge. Given the erratic nature of most exchanges, from hacks to the mounting catalog of consumer complaints, it’s almost no surprise that an ETF would provide a more appealing route for investing in Bitcoin. The bullish return for investors this morning would indicate that sentiments are still strong on the possibility of a BTC ETF creation, despite the setback received by the Winklevoss twins, as opposed to yesterday’s headlines concerning the status of a new fund formation.

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TechCrunch Founder Michael Arrington Predicts Bitcoin to Reach $25K in 2018

Bitcoin (BTC)–Michael Arrington, the Founder and former co-editor of popular tech site TechCrunch, told CNBC in a Cryptotrader interview that he believes Bitcoin’s price will reach $25,000 before the end of the year.

Speaking at Korea Blockchain Week, Arrington reiterated his bullish stance on Bitcoin, admitting that he was optimistic about the price outlook of the number one cryptocurrency by market capitalization. Since the launch of his $100 million hedge fund last November, tilted Arrington XRP Capital, the founder has been exploring the space of cryptocurrency with the intention of primarily investing in different currencies as well as ICOs.

However, given that the fund is based in the highly liquid, easy to transact XRP, it was a surprise when  Arrington revealed that, at present, the fund holds more Bitcoin than XRP.

While Arrington has been a major supporter of Ripple’s cryptocurrency in the past, he went so far as to create a hedge fund that would be valued in XRP and use the coin as its primary source of liquidity. Despite holding more BTC than XRP, the founder still had praise for his fund’s native currency. Speaking with Cryptotrader host Ran NeurNer, he had this to say on the state of XRP,

“Ripple is a really, really good way to move money. We’ve denominated our fund in XRP because it’s a fantastic way to move money across the border quickly at almost zero cost.”

As to the wave of negative press XRP has received throughout 2018, from the back and forth SEC contention over the coin being classified as a security, to the most recent market fallout over Coinbase being tied to rival currency Stellar Lumens, Michael Arrington placed the blame on toxic tribalism. He lamented the individual factions, much like religious zealots, that have sprung up around various coins, saying that XRP had become the punching bag for an industry that likes to use the label of centralization and corporation in a negative light,

“The one thing they all agree on is they all hate XRP.”

His response to the issue of centralization or XRP being a security?

“None of that’s really true. From a hedge point of view, it’s great to denominate ourselves in XRP.”

In addition, he reiterated his praise for the speed and negligible transaction costs of sending XRP anywhere around the globe. He also shed light on more of the specific makeup of the fund, stating that they are denominated in XRP, but focused on diversifying the underlying assets. Therefore, XRP accounts for only 3-4% of the fund’s holdings, worth around several million dollars. Bitcoin makes up the largest fraction of the fund’s portfolio, with wide ranging investments from U.S. based Mainframe (a decentralized application platform), as well as cryptocurrency exchanges and Dapps.

Both NeurNer and Arrington came to agreement over the $25K figure for Bitcoin to achieve in 2018, stating the emerging presence of Bitcoin ETFs by year’s end as a catalyst for growth.

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CEO of Xapo Predicted Bitcoin (BTC) Trajectory Years Ago

Bitcoin (BTC)–Wences Casares, Argentinian tech entrepreneur and founder of Xapo, has been a proponent of Bitcoin since nearly the inception of the currency. While he has made bold claims that the innovation of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies will be bigger than the internet in terms of global impact, his draw to digital currencies has been shaped from his experience living in inflation-heavy countries, such as Argentina. For Casares, Bitcoin not only offers a secure means for digital payment, but an immutable store of value that can cross global borders without the interference of government oversight.

As Bitcoin continues to gain steam again following 2018’s prolonged bear cycle, the inevitable public scrutiny will once again fall on the currency for its utility and use in real-world scenarios. In January, we saw Bitcoin transaction volumes reach a peak that caused widespread network congestion, causing fees to spike and transfer times to crawl to a halt. Some, particularly BTC detractors, saw the failure of Bitcoin to scale as an indictment of the technology. Others simply realized that Bitcoin is still a work in progress. For now, the currency’s role as a digital asset is still valuable, particularly to the billions of unbanked individuals around the globe.

This preference for store of value was captured in the book Digital Gold, as a conversation that took place years ago between Casares and the widely renowned, Oracle of Silicon Valley Reid Hoffman. Hoffman was arguing that few people, especially in the U.S., found fault with the process of using debit or credit cards and would have trouble making the transition to cryptocurrency. Casares countered with an overview of Bitcoin’s trajectory that has proven to be accurate. Author Nathaniel Popper writes,

“Wences agreed with Hoffman that Bitcoin was unlikely to catch on as a payment method anytime soon. But for now, Wences believed that Bitcoin would first gain popularity as a globally available asset, similar to gold. Like gold, which was also not used in everyday transactions, Bitcoin’s value was as a digital asset where people could store wealth.”

As Bitcoin climbs back into the general media’s spotlight, it is worth reviewing some of the repeated, and tired, arguments against the currency.

Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency, it is not all of cryptocurrency. Those outside of the industry of cryptocurrency seem to have a deep misunderstanding of the difference between Bitcoin and cryptocurrency–in all its variations. Yes, Bitcoin can be hailed as the original cryptocurrency (in its modern form), and holds an overwhelming proportion of both market capital and household name appeal. But Bitcoin is not cryptocurrency. The failures of BTC, at least in its present state, from rising costs of mining to the inability to scale the network to useful levels, are not the flaws of the industry. While the world arguably doesn’t need the 1500+ cryptocurrency projects littering the landscape and clogging the perception of the field, it can surely do with a handful that offer unique functionality. There’s no reason why the world cannot entertain a recognizable, flagship cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin, as a primary digital asset for the store of wealth, while also having other currencies that accomplish global utility like remittance and fee-less payments. Likewise, the rise of Dapps and coin tokens also gives the industry an outlet in decentralized networking features, in addition to the traditional perception of transacting currencies.

Assuming the volatility of cryptocurrency is inherent to the technology. For whatever reason, economists cite the volatility of cryptocurrency at present as being an inherent flaw to the underlying technology and system of operation. Volatility is the result of an emerging market, with a concentration of wealth in a disproportionate userbase, having the expectation that it will function as smoothly as the stock market.

For one, the investment base is much smaller. Adoption in cryptocurrency is minuscule compared to the global market, and holds less of the entrenched practices of the traditional stock market. Two, the capital volume is vastly different. Cryptocurrency, at its peak, commanded a market cap of over 800 billion USD. The present U.S. stock market has a capitalization approaching 30 trillion USD. To compare the two in terms of stability is comparing two different entitiies. Three, it’s clear that investors are uncertain what the worth of cryptocurrency should be–which is plausible given the early state of the industry–and the market reflects that erratic pricing structure. As mentioned earlier, crypto is an emerging market. Currencies don’t have the same layering as investing in stocks or other assets, and instead rely upon the sway of the market to dictate price. Higher volume of adoption in addition to a clearer purpose for cryptocurrency projects–and higher standard for what gets funded–will smooth out the volatility in due time.

It’s a fallacy to label volatility as an intrinsic property of cryptocurrency. The modern conception of banking stretches back more than 5,000 years. The world has only had cryptocurrency for less than a decade. Give it time.

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