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Bitcoin Forges New Highs as Prices Quadruple This Year

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Bitcoin’s relentless surge continued over the weekend, with prices crossing $4,000.00 for the first time since the cryptocurrency was introduced back in 2009.

BTC/USD: On to a New Milestone

The BTC/USD exchange rate reached a high of $4,190 for a new all-time record, according to Bitstamp.

After a brief pause, Bitcoin’s breathtaking rally resumed in mid-July. Prices have since doubled in value and are up nearly 300% on year.

The new record follows multiple all-time highs in the wake of the Aug. 1 hard fork – an event that was far less volatile than analysts had feared. What’s more, the transition to the new SegWit protocol, which was officially locked in last week, has been smooth.

Since fork day, the BTC/USD has eluded volatility and retained market share from rival Bitcoin Cash (BCH). The newly minted BCH has witnessed volatile swings since coming into existence. It was last up 3.7% at $323.00.

Bitcoin Well Ahead of the Pack

In terms of overall market value, BTC and BCH are ranked No. 1 and 4, respectively. Bitcoin’s market cap crossed $66 billion over the weekend. Bitcoin Cash was worth just over $5.3 billion. Eight other cryptocurrencies are worth at least $1 billion. The total value of all cryptocurrencies is approaching $140 billion, according to CoinMarketCap.

Though fundamental and geopolitical forces are expected to keep bitcoin prices elevated, the cryptocurrency is already “ahead of the pack” in terms of longer-term momentum. This suggests altcoins such as Ethereum, Litecoin and Dash may be better better options from a purely risk/reward perspective.

Japanese Buying Frenzy Drives Gains

Japanese traders continue to drive the bitcoin rally, with nearly 46% of global trade volume denominated in the yen currency. That’s up from roughly one-third on Friday. U.S.-dollar bitcoin trade accounts for roughly 25% of the market.

As of April 1, Japan has accepted bitcoin as a legal payment method. It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of Japanese stores will begin accepting the cryptocurrency as soon as this year.

ICO Frenzy Boosts Confidence in Cryptocurrency Market

Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) are all the rage these days. Just last week, it was announced that the amount raised via ICOs in June and July topped the amount raised via early-stage venture capital.

Filecoin, a highly anticipated cryptocurrency, raised a staggering $180 million in a few hours.

Analysts say that the hype surrounding ICOs reflects growing confidence in the future of cryptocurrencies. Even on Wall Street, there is a sense of urgency to “get to the bottom” of cryptocurrency-as-an-asset. Hedge funds, wealth managers and institutional investors are devoting greater time and resources to understanding this new asset class.

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 505 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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  1. FalconX

    August 15, 2017 at 8:02 am

    I can see BTC reaching $10k by the end of this year

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Blockchain

Lightning Network Reaches 10,000 Channels And Total Capacity Of 100 Bitcoins

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The lightning network reached a major milestone today, with the CTO of Satoshi labs Pavol Rusnak stating that it had reached 10,000 channels with a total channel value of 100 bitcoins.

Given this huge accomplishment, it is worth providing a quick recap on what exactly the lightning network is.

The lightning network arose out of a need to solve Bitcoin’s high fees and slow transaction speeds as more and more people began conducting transactions on the network.

Specifically, the core idea behind how the lightning network works is that is possible to create small “bidirectional payment channels” that act as a running tab between two separate accounts.

The smart contracts determine how much is owed to who, but none of this is stored directly on the Bitcoin blockchain until a payment is rendered. Basically, it is a running tab system that allows for microtransactions. Allocations are made between parties off-blockchain, with all the confidence of performing commerce on-blockchain.

This approach, while not technically as secure as transacting on the blockchain directly, drastically reduces the load on the actual network, effectively outsourcing much of the processing power needed to send transactions.

After examining today’s lightning network data myself, it became apparent that today’s milestone has already been exceeded and continues to grow.

At the time of writing, there was a total of 10,105 channels open, with a channel value of 102.5 Bitcoins. This is a major leap forward for the scaling potential of the lightning network and could trigger further bullish sentiment on blockchain services making use of it in the future.

That is not the only positive lightning network adjacent news. Specifically, Bitrefill, which is a service integrated with the lightning network that allows customers to top up their phone plans with cryptocurrency, announced that it will start selling gift card vouchers to Amazon and other brands.

While the company may be little known, what this means in practice is that you can now use the lightning network to basically buy anything online.

As more and more lightning channels become used, and as more mainstream services make use of the network, (even if only to facilitate their own branded gift cards), the greater adoption of the network overall will occur.

This means in practice that the long-term vision of Bitcoin as a reliable backbone for payments and data transmission is on track. While this is great news to supporters of Bitcoin, supporters of Bitcoin Cash may want to begin questioning the overall utility of their coin as lightning is adopted more and more.

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

Cryptocurrencies Bounce from Intraday Lows as Bitcoin Price Stabilizes, Stellar Regains Momentum

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The crypto markets were back in positive territory Saturday, with prices rebounding from an intraday slump that saw the likes of Stellar XLM post double-digit percentage losses.

Crypto Market Update

Bitcoin and the largest altcoins were seeing green Saturday afternoon, as bullish sentiment returned to the market following an earlier slump. At the time of writing, the combined value of all cryptocurrency was $282.7 billion, according to CoinMarketCap. The market bottomed closer to $272 billion at 21:00 UTC on Friday. Total trade volumes were $12.3 billion, a decline of 20% from the previous day.

The bitcoin price reached a low of $7,262 Friday before swinging sharply in the opposite direction over the next 16 hours. Bitcoin now sits at $7,411, with average daily volumes hovering near $3.9 billion.

Stellar XLM – the week’s top performer – was down 10% earlier in the day as bullish sentiment wavered. However, Lumens have bounced back sharply, and now trade more than 6% higher compared with 24 hours ago .The Stellar price currently sits at $0.291.

Stellar returned a whopping 53% for the week through Friday on reports that IBM was looking to launch a new stablecoin on the XLM network.

Ethereum was also trading in positive territory Saturday following a week of modest gains. At the time of writing, ETH/USD held near $467 for a 24-hour return of 3.8%.

Fake Volumes?

Trading volume – the amount of a security that changes hands over a given period – is a hotly debated topic in the cryptocurrency market. Last month, Hacked reported on a recent study showing that a large chunk of crypto trade volume is fabricated by exchanges.

Cryptocurrency trader and researcher Sylvain Ribes concluded that more than $3 billion in claimed trading volume was fabricated. The study, which was carried out in March, outed OKEx as the worst offender with over 90% of its order books being nonexistent.

While we have not been able to verify Ribes’ claims, data provider CoinMarketCap has announced new measures to crack down on fake volumes.

Now, data provider CoinMarketCap has announced new measures to address what it says could be fake volume figures.

In a blog post published Thursday, the site said it has already lowered a minimum volume requirement for digital currency exchanges listed on the site. The policy is intended “to filter for more popular exchanges that could be listed on CoinmarketCap.”

The blog post identified three “volume concerns” it intends to tackle, including fee-free mining models, low fee models and artificial volumes.

The post added:

“While we have a relationship with most of the exchanges listed on our site, there is no guarantee that any of them will respond or comply to any specific guidelines, but we have to continue showing users the best approximation of price and volume based on all the data we have available.

The evolution of new models such as transaction mining also means that there needs to be new ways to account for volume. Compounding it is the fact that they are, in fact, enabling greater liquidity in the way that users are trading more readily on the platforms.”

CoinMarketCap added that its volume data reflects of “best approximation of price and volume” based on available data.

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 505 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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Bitcoin

Bitcoin Price Holds Steady as Market Dominance Hits 3 1/2 Month High

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The bitcoin price was undeterred by a wider slump in crypto assets Friday, with its share of the total market reaching the highest level since early April.

Bitcoin Price Update

On a 24-hour basis, bitcoin’s price is little changed Friday, with values continuing to hover north of $7,400. Coin values briefly surpassed $7,500 before reverting all the way back to the low $7,400 region.

The largest digital currency by market capitalization booked most of its gains in the span of 24 hours on Tuesday and Wednesday. The uptrend followed a week-long consolidation where markets successfully defended the $6,000 price floor. A confluence of support later emerged near $6,400, propelling a short-term rally toward $7,000 and, eventually, a high near $7,600.

Bitcoin is on track for weekly gains of nearly 19%. Trade volumes have surged 40% week-over-week, including a peak of $6.8 billion.

Bitcoin Dominance Index

Bitcoin’s strength relative to other cryptocurrencies is exemplified by its growing share of the overall market. As of Friday, bitcoin accounted for 45.4% of the total market capitalization for cryptocurrencies, its highest since early Aprilm according to CoinMarketCap. The so-called bitcoin dominance index is up nearly 3 percentage points since Tuesday, when BTC/USD first broke out.

At nearly $128 billion, bitcoin’s market share is nearly three times that of Ethereum, the second largest cryptocurrency by value. Ethereum narrowed the gap to less than half last year, right around the time the bull market began to take off.

As last year’s bull market demonstrated, bitcoin’s dominance index usually declines during a major market uptrend as more capital flows into altcoins. However, the recent rally had the distinction of being largely concentrated in bitcoin. While this may bode well for long-term holders of the digital currency, it can also be viewed as a bearish sign for the overall market. That’s because altcoin price independence is considered an important feature of a healthy cryptocurrency market.

Measured by market cap, cryptocurrencies not named bitcoin (BTC) have gained 10.5% over the past seven days. By comparison, bitcoin’s total capitalization has increased nearly 19%.

Despite bitcoin’s outsized gains, the market is enjoying wider institutional support and important regulatory breakthroughs that could bring greater stability to the asset class. Business Insider and CCN have reported that Coinbase, one of the world’s major crypto exchanges, has scored a major institutional client. Although names have not been disclosed, the client is said to be a $20 billion hedge fund.

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 505 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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