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Is Bitcoin Driving Gold Prices Lower?

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Bitcoin’s record-setting advance since the start of the year has left other asset classes out in the cold. As gold continues to struggle below $1,300, some analysts have noted an inverse correlation between the two asset classes.

Battle of the Safe Havens?

Gold has long been valued as a safe haven and store of value capable of shielding against economic, financial and geopolitical risks. Although the yellow metal has lost much of its luster, it remains the go-to haven asset for investors concerned about the future. Case in point: gold has risen several times this year on geopolitical tensions between North Korea and the West.

At the same time, gold has been unable to break above $1,300 a troy ounce with any real conviction. Gold futures traded on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange appear to have peaked north of $1,350 in September before crashing back down.

Indeed, 2017 has been a frustrating year for bullion, with prices following a predictable pattern of peaks and troughs. That being said, the metal has still managed to add around $100 since the beginning of the year.

Bitcoin, on the other hand, has enjoyed unrivaled success, culminating in a yearly gain of around 1,200%. The world’s most traded cryptocurrency spiked above $19,500 last week in anticipation of the first-ever cryptocurrency futures contract. Prices have since pulled back, but remain strongly bullish as institutional capital enters the market.

Although bitcoin cannot be entirely described as a safe haven, it is being used exactly in this way by investors. Its finite supply and shrinking producer base over time give it unique attributes that haven-seeking investors may find appealing.

Strategist Weighs In

As CCN reports, ACG Analytics analyst Larry McDonald believes the growth of bitcoin could weigh on gold prices more acutely in the near future. According to McDonald, the cryptocurrency asset class is equivalent to roughly a quarter of liquid tradable gold. That figure has increased manifold over just one year ago. As the $450 billion cryptocurrency market grows, it may continue to eat away at the yellow metal.

Meanwhile, Phillip Streible of RJO Futures said bitcoin futures will play an important role in how gold is priced. Speaking to CNBC’s Power Lunch, Streible said gold stands to benefit should bitcoin futures go bust. At the same time, bullion may continue to lose its shine should bitcoin and the crypto asset class more generally push higher.

“Bitcoin has stolen a large market share of gold,” Streible said.

There were no signs of a crash on day one of CBOE’s bitcoin futures contract. After initial volatility, the contract provided a boost to the spot price, eventually sending BTC/USD above $17,000. That being said, the rally wasn’t nearly as convincing as the one that occurred last week. With its latest upsurge, bitcoin controls more than half of the total cryptocurrency market when evaluated on total capitalization. In terms of volume, it accounts for roughly half, according to data provided by CoinMarketCap.

Institutional traders will soon get their fill of bitcoin futures. CME Group is planning on launching its own contract on Dec. 18. Nasdaq is reportedly working on its own bitcoin-linked derivatives product for next year.

On Monday, the Security and Exchange Commission’s public filing system also showed two new applications for a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF). REX and VanEck have each submitted a proposal to the securities regulator to create their own bitcoin ETF. Some analysts say it is only a matter of time before cryptocurrency enters the multi-trillion-dollar ETF market.

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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4.6 stars on average, based on 551 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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Ethereum

Progress Scaling Ethereum

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In the blockchain technology world, scaling debates are pretty much the centre of everything. It is one thing to create a solution that works on a micro-level, but no one knows how things will look once it is expanded to the global level.

Many people spend time talking about the scaling of Bitcoin, but the efforts to scale Ethereum have been far more interesting. Between sharding and the switch to proof-of-stake, there have been countless solutions provided, and Vitalik Buterin seems to think his hard work is about to pay off.

Ethereum’s End Goal

Everyone knows this, but it is important to restate it: Ethereum wants to become a world computer of sorts. The end goal is to build a giant, decentralized network of computers that are both able to record transactions (using blockchain technology) and produce smart contracts (using artificial intelligence technology).

The combination of these features allows for the development of decentralized applications (DApps), which piggyback off the underlying technology and create a market for Ethereum’s token, Ether.

ERC-20 Standard

Tokens classified as ERC-20 are designed and used on the Ethereum platform, and follow a list of standards that allow for a simpler method of sharing, exchanging, and transferring tokens between users.

DApps use the ERC-20 token standard to represent shares in companies, proof of ownership, or coins of a currency. These tokens have essentially become the building block of any DApps that developers seek to develop on Ethereum. It is important not to confuse ERC-20 tokens with Ether, as Ether is what is used to compensate a user for their computing power, whereas the ERC-20 tokens are endemic to the actual DApps.

This high level of simplicity comes with a cost though. Some vulnerabilities have been found that allow attackers to gain access to a large quantity of tokens. Additionally, tokens may be destroyed by accident with the use of some smart contracts. A new standard, ERC-223, is now being developed to solve this problem.

The Best Alternative

Companies like Golem, which saw the release of its token delayed 3 years, are finding there to be some difficulties integrating with Ethereum. Most of these issues stem from current scaling problems, as was evidenced when Cryptokitties (a popular game building on top of Ethereum) created massive congestion within the system.

The technological barriers become more important once you process the fact you are dealing with other people’s money. There can be no room for error, and this is where much of the delays came from. For example, the verification of basic cryptocurrency transactions is fairly simple, but once you are verifying the results of a smart contract, the system begins to fail.

That being said, Golem’s CEO, Julian Zawistowski, still believes that Ethereum is “by far the most promising blockchain platform”. There aren’t many competitors in the space, and it seems like all the current problems will be solved, or on their way to being solved, soon.

Why Scaling Matters

The critical difference between Ethereum and Bitcoin is the fact that Ethereum acts like a company, whereas Bitcoin is a scarce commodity that is generally unmanaged and has no new offerings. As a result, this puts pressure on the Ethereum foundation to continually improve the capabilities of their platform so it is able to handle the required amount of transactions and tokens.

Not every company wants to build a whole new framework for the operation of their own protocol. The same way that WordPress has made it unnecessary for every company to learn how to code their own website on a deep level, Ethereum hopes to do this for all blockchain companies. Its ability to enable the development of DApps makes it a unique player in the space, and the fact that scaling issues are beginning to be solved (as is evidenced by ERC-20 problems being solved and projects like Golem finally being released) is a great sign for its future.

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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Altcoins

Why Investors Should Pay Attention to Golem

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Did you know most of us only use a fraction of our computers’ capacity? Thinking about it, you wouldn’t expect most of the tasks we do on a daily basis to take up much computing power. So what do you think happens to the rest of your capacity?

It sits idle, and nothing is done with it. Your computer is still on and consuming electricity and this power goes to waste. Based on this exact “problem” Golem has come up with a solution that ends up being a lot like AirBnb for your computer.

Golem has created a peer-to-peer system for sharing computing power across the network. The result is a flexible, scalable solution that aggregates idle resources and democratizes the payout to the millions of people on the network.

Golem’s Long Road to an ICO

It took 3 years, but Golem finally completed the sale of their GNT token in early April 2018. The platform is built on ETH and utilizes smart contracts to drastically bring down the cost of distributed computing. The sale was completed in under 20 minutes and raised 820,000 ETH ($340 million).

How it works is that suppliers have extra computing power and are willing to be paid GNT in exchange for their computers performing tasks for requesters.

The app is 100% secure and operates in the background, and you can also choose what fraction of your computing power to use, so there’s no worry about getting slowed down by its operation. Ideally, the only time you would notice it is when you earn some ETH for performing tasks for other users.

Golem’s Economics

The mechanics of the market are pretty simple. There is demand (requesters) and supply (providers). The supply is essential, because there are no central servers that are able to perform computations. Providers will come to the network with the goal of earning a few dollars a month in ETH, at virtually no cost to themselves.

On the demand side, you have users who buy GNT tokens in order to pay for providers to perform tasks for them. Requesters generally join the network because of its lower cost. They are able to set the maximum they will pay (their bid) and Golem distributes the tasks appropriately.

A final party to consider are the software developers who enjoy access to a distribution channel that helps them depoy and monetize new software. Golem has a store that enables this function and adds much more value to the network.

The obvious competitors to Golem are big cloud services like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. The fact is that these services are grossly overpriced because the companies have developed an oligopoly that allows them to collect high margins. This is crazy because computing power is not actually a scarce resource and this is the market inefficiency Golem aims to fix.

Golem’s Long Game

Golem is currently trading at a fraction of a dollar ($0.145) and is down from a high above $1.00. The same downturn has affected many companies in the blockchain space, and Golem has received extra flak for taking so long to release their product. At the same time, another way to look at this is as a major buying opportunity.

Most of this has to do not with ineptitude, but a complex framework (Ethereum) that isn’t perfectly designed for integration yet. However, in the long-run Golem still has huge potential. As more features are released (Clay Golem is next) and they scale to be able to help data centres, there is no limit to how far they can go. The size of the market has been proven by Amazon and Microsoft, and now it is up to Golem to see if they can get a piece of the pie.

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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Bitcoin

Dan Morehead Weighs In on Bitcoin’s Seventh Bear Market

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Bear markets are nothing new for bitcoin, with the latest devaluation marking the seventh such occurrence since 2009. According to Pantera Capital’s Dan Morehead, now is the ideal time to increase your position. He also had a few choice words for the traditional banking industry.

Bitcoin: Time To Buy

In a recent interview, Morehead described blockchain investments as the most “asymmetric risk-reward trade” he has ever seen. In other words, if you invest in blockchain, there’s no way you can lose everything. What’s more, many of the funds currently invested in bitcoin can increase their value 25 times.

With bitcoin hovering around $6,300, now is “actually a good time to increase your position,” Morehead said, as quoted by CCN.

“It’s highly likely to be the low point for the industry,” he said, reminding investors that the bitcoin price has been steadily increasing since 2009. “My normal view is that it’s going to return to its trend.”

Since inception, bitcoin has had only one down year (2015). In all other years, the cryptocurrency has returned at least 145%.

Morehead also responded to Warren Buffett’s claim that bitcoin is “rat poison squared.”

“It is rat poison; it’s just the banks and credit card companies are the rats.”

As Hacked recently reported, Pantera Capital has engineered returns of more than 10,000% since its inception.

Institutional Money

Despite the recent downturn, 2018 is shaping up to be the year of the crypto hedge fund. A total of 96 cryptocurrency funds have come into existence this year, according to Crypto Fund Research. This figure is expected to reach 165 in 2018 compared with 156 all of last year.

There are now 466 cryptocurrency funds around the world, with more than half coming into existence since the start of 2017. Crypto hedge funds account for more than half of the total.

The crypto market is expected to receive a huge boost from institutional capital once regulators change existing rules allowing for bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to be listed. The launch of Bakkt – a startup company backed by Intercontinental Exchange, Microsoft and Starbucks – is also expected to streamline mainstream adoption of cryptocurrency both at the investor and consumer levels.

Leading digital currency exchanges such as Coinbase are expanding custody services to appeal to Wall Street. Crypto custody is one of the biggest developments currently underway in the industry.

However, institutional involvement in crypto may be a double-edged sword. Multiple researchers, including the San Francisco Federal Reserve, believe institutional meddling is responsible for the 2018 bear market. They cite the launch of bitcoin futures in December as the main catalyst for the selloff.

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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4.6 stars on average, based on 551 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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