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As Crypto Markets Grind Lower, Institutional Adoption Continues to Grow

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Two of Russia’s largest banks have launched portfolios dedicated to trading bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, the local Kommersant newspaper reported Friday. The pilot projects are the latest examples of widening institutional acceptance of digital currencies in spite of the market’s recent correction.

Russian Banks to Offer Crypto Portfolios

Russians with bank accounts at Sberbank and Alfa Bank will soon be able to trade cryptocurrencies in a designated fund that will track price movements on some of the world’s largest exchanges. The portfolio, which is being overseen by the Bank of Russia, will include bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin.

Although the full list of assets has not been provided, the portfolio will be revised four times a year, with a trading algorithm balancing the holdings.

Sberbank is Russia’s largest financial institution, with the central bank owning 50% of its authorized capital. Alfa Bank is one of the country’s largest private banking institutions.

Although cryptocurrencies are largely unregulated in Russia, Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov recently confirmed that the asset class falls under the definition of “other property.” Two draft bills on cryptocurrency are still pending in the State Duma.

The Russian government had initially said it would ban cryptocurrencies as they could be use for money laundering and terrorist financing. As digital assets grew in popularity, government agencies took a decisive u-turn, with President Vladimir Putin even considering the launch of a state-backed cryptocurrency.

Institutions Preparing for Cryptocurrency Trade

Financial institutions from New York to London are planning to launch cryptocurrency trading operations in the not-too-distant future. An April survey by Thomson Reuters showed that one-in-five major banks are considering cryptocurrency trading in 2018, a sign that the niche industry is gaining mainstream acceptance.

Goldman Sachs has been gradually scaling its crypto operations in pursuit of a bitcoin trading operation that is expected to launch later this year. While Goldman won’t be trading bitcoin outright, it will serve in the capacity of market maker for bitcoin futures.

It has been argued that the first wave of institutional adoption of cryptocurrency was poorly timed given the market’s steep losses over the last two quarters. This has led to greater industry consolidation as major firms swept in to acquire cryptocurrency exchanges. Earlier this year, Monex Group announced it would acquire and rehabilitate Coincheck, a Japanese exchange that was hacked for $530 million. Goldman-backed Circle has also bought out Poloniex, one of the world’s largest digital exchanges.

In the realm of blockchain adoption, banks are pouring billions into new commercialization initiatives. According to a recent study by Greenwich Associates, blockchain budgets for major banks in 2017 swelled by 67% to $1.7 billion.

San Francisco startup Ripple has already brought on board hundreds of clients to test drive its blockchain-based payments and liquidity platforms. This includes big-name clients such as UBS, Standard Chartered and Santander.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.7 stars on average, based on 772 rated postsChief Editor to Hacked.com and Contributor to CCN.com, Sam Bourgi has spent the past nine years focused on economics, markets and cryptocurrencies. His work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Avid crypto watchers and those with a libertarian persuasion can follow him on twitter at @hsbourgi




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Analysis

USD/JPY Price Prediction: Trade Talks and FOMC Minutes are Huge Downside Risks; 110.25 Key Daily Support Eyed

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  • Focus shifts to a possible FOMC hiking halt confirmation following the dovish rate decision from January.
  • Trade talks continue in Washington, with USD pumped up on much optimism.

The USD/JPY bulls have been pushing the pair higher at quite some pace, as it completed its second consecutive trading week in the green. It has gained around 160 pips to the upside, moving from 109.50 up to a high last week of 111.13 before running into sellers. The pair managed to jump to its highest level seen since the back-end of December 2018. There are encouraging signs of a full reversal, following the steep losses that came into play from mid-December.

As a recap, a significant drop was observed from the week commencing 17th December last year; this followed the FOMC rate decision that was out during that week. The FOMC did increase rates back then; however, it was very much a dovish hike. The Fed’s accompanying statement at the time appeared to signal FOMC members are anticipating two rate hikes in 2019, down from their previous dot-plot projection of three rate hikes. The indications of a slowdown from this meeting were enough to see the markets start pricing in a downturn in moves north with interest rates from the Fed.

FOMC Minutes on Wednesday

Back in January, the FOMC made a complete U-turn on its monetary policy stance. FOMC members effectively noted that the balance sheet could be adjusted if need be. Furthermore, the FOMC called for ‘patience’ with future rate hikes. At the time, this generated a large amount of weakness for the greenback. Eyes are on a potential dovish statement from the central bank, with close attention to the language used.

Market participants will be looking for further confirmation that the bank’s hiking cycle is over. As a result, this could potentially force pressure to the downside on the USD, should the market interpret such a tone from the FOMC.

Trade Talks Progress

Another big influencer for the greenback this week will be the developments between the U.S. and China with their ongoing trade talks. They remain very much complicated; however, optimism is still seen following their willingness to continue negotiating in Washington. There was little in terms of anything conclusive during the discussions in Beijing last week; clocks are ticking ahead of the deadline.

Markets will be looking for this possible extension announcement in the deadline from Trump, should the talks go as well as he noted. Should nothing conclusive come out of these talks, then the market could grow tiresome and start selling USD. Risks remain tilted to the downside, given that USD has been pumping on hope and optimism.

Technical Review – USD/JPY

USD/JPY daily chart.

In terms of upside targets, the bulls will be eyeing a retest of the psychological 111.00 level. The price managed to move into this territory last week between 13-14th February. Last week’s jump came before running into significant sellers, forcing USD/JPY to retreat down at a critical daily support level. Longs are attractive above 110.25 (daily support), which is in proximity to the 61.8% Fibonacci.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 124 rated postsKen has over 8 years exposure to the financial markets. During a large part of his career, he worked as an analyst, covering a variety of asset classes; forex, fixed income, commodities, equities and cryptocurrencies. Ken has gone on to become a regular contributor across several large news and analysis outlets.




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Cryptocurrencies

6 Upcoming Events That Could Trigger a Price Pump for These Cryptocurrencies

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The kind of fundamental developments that sent a coin to the moon in 2017 had already started to lose their potency by the time 2018 came around. As the year wore on, we started to see partnership announcements and technical developments go unnoticed, when once the mere rumour of them was enough to positively impact the price of a coin.

And while 2019 will probably see an extension of this trend, I can’t help but think of the number of times I’ve seen a coin pump 50% in a week, only to go and check the project’s Twitter page and see that they’ve just implemented a new tech update.

By that time I’m too late, and whatever anticipation was being speculated on has turned into news, and is now being sold.

So in the spirit of experimentation, here’s a few upcoming technical updates due in the coming weeks.

Aeternity (AE) – First Mainnet Hardfork

Aeternity has three hardforks scheduled over the next year as it completes its migration from Ethereum. The date for this hardfork is only a few days away, but I include it on the basis of Aeternity’s previous volatility, exemplified in this chart from the last seventy days. Volume has been climbing all through February, from $10 million to $50 million.

Hardfork Date: February 20th

IOST (IOST) – Mainnet Launch

Just over a week away from mainnet, the IOST token price has shown signs of life with 4% growth in the past seven days. A summary of what the IOST mainnet promises to bring can be found here in a tweet from co-founder Jimmy Zhong.

Mainnet Launch Date: February 25th

 

Ethereum (ETH) – Constantinople Hardfork

The previously delayed Constantinople hardfork is scheduled for the end of the month. Block rewards will be reduced from 3 to 2 ETH, and the difficulty bomb will be delayed for another year, among other tweaks.

At time of writing ETH is up 8% for the week, with Constantinople ten days away.

Hardfork Date: February 27th

CyberMiles (CMT) – 15 Million Users’ Data Uploaded to Blockchain

A huge migration is set to take place at the end of February as the 5Miles mobile app uploads all of its customers accounts onto the CMT blockchain. Once launched, 5Miles clients will be able to transact independently across the chain. 5Miles is a ‘mobile marketplace’ where users buy and sell various items and services.

Launch Date: February 28th

Theta Token (THETA) – Mainnet Launch

Theta Token is another project set to leave Ethereum for its own mainnet. A look at THETA’s weekly chart shows a token at just about break even, but zooming out to the monthly view reveals that something has been building with THETA for a while.

Mainnet Launch Date: March 15th

QuarkChain (QKC) – Mainnet 1.0

QuarkChain was one of the darlings of the ICO period, and big things were expected from this highly rated project. Big things might still be on the horizon, and we may find out more about QuarkChain when the mainnet lands at the end of March.

Read more on what’s in store for QKC fans in 2019. The coin price has been falling all quarter, and all month. But that trend reversed for the first time this week as the coin regained 6% of its value. Volume jumped from $1 million to $6.8 million in the last few days.

Mainnet Launch Date: March 31st

Disclaimer: The author owns Bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.5 stars on average, based on 146 rated postsGreg Thomson is a full-time crypto writer and digital nomad. He eats ICOs for breakfast and bleeds altcoins. Wherever he lays his public key is his home.




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Market News

Fake Satoshi Craig Wright on Asimov, Pseudonymity and Why E-Cash is Still Relevant

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Craig Wright continued to try and convince the world that he was Satoshi Nakamoto this week, even after WikiLeaks released a fairly damning batch of files all but confirming that he wasn’t.

But that didn’t stop Wright from doubling down, and on Saturday he released another Medium screed detailing the many reasons why he can’t conclusively reveal himself to be Satoshi Nakamoto.

Along the way he compares himself to Isaac Asimov’s Hari Seldon, makes some intriguing points on the subject of pseudonymity vs anonymity, and pulls the example of E-Cash from the 1990’s as a reason for why Bitcoin (SV?) can never be truly secretive.

Craig Wright’s ‘Foundation’

According to Wright, the reason he can’t just use his private key to move Satoshi Nakamoto’s original BTC holdings is because it would only cause more problems than it would solve. His reasons for this are vague, and repeated throughout (the way of the huckster in general?).

Wright then goes on to imply that time-locked releases via the blockchain could be the manner in which he chooses to reveal himself – an idea he says he took from Asimov:

“Something people don’t understand about Bitcoin is that it is also a time lock. Bitcoin with nLockTime allows for the pseudonymous release of information at defined times. It’s a concept that I took from Asimov. It is aimed to ensure that information is provably released when the author chooses. Only when the author chooses.”

How long he intends his Seldon-like drip-feeding of clues to last is anyone’s guess, although I wouldn’t be surprised if it ends with an anti-climactic reveal of a ‘second foundation’ – which we once again must wait for to be revealed.

Can Bitcoin be Anonymous?

While describing his own pseudonymity, he also touched on that of Bitcoin’s (I assume Wright is referring to his own pet project, Bitcoin SV, although the same would apply to BTC, BCH, etc).

Wright referenced the failure of 1990’s digital money solution, E-Cash, and pointed out that privacy doesn’t always mean anonymity. He wrote:

“If you want privacy, the last thing you want is anonymous money, because anonymous money allows every action to be traced using legally viable methods and law.”

Wright points out that anonymity brings scrutiny, namely from government agencies. That’s why Wright says Bitcoin can never succeed as a truly anonymous currency.

This 1997 paper titled: ‘The Unintentional Consequences of E-Cash’ suggests something similar, and describes how the very thing that was created to foster privacy could prove to be the same thing that destroys it:

“If the World Wide Web or its successors become fee-based systems in which readers are charged for access, consumers who use traceable digital cash will find that their reading habits as well as transactions become valuable, tradeable data. This will lessen their privacy and could have a chilling effect on readers and, possibly, on authors also.”

Twenty years on from the paper’s publication date and its authors appear to have been remarkably prescient. Will Hari Seldon…  I mean Satoshi Nakamoto… I mean Craig Wright prove to be just so?

Disclaimer: The author owns Bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.5 stars on average, based on 146 rated postsGreg Thomson is a full-time crypto writer and digital nomad. He eats ICOs for breakfast and bleeds altcoins. Wherever he lays his public key is his home.




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