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Bitcoin Futures Volume on CME Soars as Bakkt Debut Nears

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Bitcoin futures

Cryptocurrency exchanges that are wondering where the bitcoin trading volume has gone may want to consider expanding into derivatives trading. The CME has experienced exponential growth in its bitcoin futures trading volume this summer, as evidenced by a doubling of activity in July and similar momentum this month. CME month to date has generated “daily futures volumes of 30,000 bitcoin equivalent”, as per the FT, despite the meager performance in the bitcoin price.

In fact, bitcoin futures trading volume on CME outpaced that of its rival the CBOE, the latter of which debuted bitcoin trading futures contracts first and whose August daily futures volume is in the doldrums at 5,000, as well as spot market trading in bitcoin on popular cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, where trading volume hovers at 11,000-plus BTC, according to the Financial Times.

Courtesy: Financial Times

Bakkt Says No Leverage, No Margin Trading

The CME and CBOE have been jockeying for market share in the bitcoin futures market since year-end 2017, and now they’ll have another exchange to contend with — the Intercontinental Exchange, or ICE and its new Bakkt exchange, which is set to make its debut in November. It’s been a couple of weeks since the Bakkt announcement and Kelly Loeffler, who is at the helm of the new company, said that the exchange was formed in response to an “evolving market”, one in which “price discovery” for the bitcoin price is at the center.

On Bakkt, trading in bitcoin futures is “fully collateralized or pre-funded,” said Loeffler, adding that margin and leverage are not allowed.  “This supports market integrity and differentiates our effort from existing futures and crypto exchanges which allow for margin, leverage and cash settlement,” according to Loeffler in a blog post. The margin requirements for bitcoin futures on the CME and CBOE are 35% and 40%, respectively, according to reports.

Meanwhile, the CBOE isn’t sitting idly by and has restructured its bitcoin futures terms in an attempt to bolster volume. According to the FT, the CBOE lifted the limits on the number of XBT futures contracts a trader could have fivefold to better resemble the opportunity at the CME. According to a regulatory filing with the CFTC, the CBOE did this to “promote competition between CFE’s market for XBT futures and CME’s market for bitcoin futures by providing for more of a level playing field in terms of the position levels that can be held in both products.”

We will have to wait and see which concessions, if any, derivatives exchanges make when there’s another player on the block, Bakkt.

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 60 rated postsGerelyn has been covering ICOs and the cryptocurrency market since mid-2017. She's also reported on fintech more broadly in addition to asset management, having previously specialized in institutional investing. She owns some BTC and ETH.




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Altcoins

Bitcoin, Ether and Ripple Up in the Air as SEC Delivers a Sobering Reminder

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The U.S Securities and Exchange Commission just delivered a sobering reminder to the crypto community regarding the legal status of Bitcoin and Ethereum. SEC Director of the Division Corporation Finance William Hinman originally told a San Francisco conference in June that:

“…based on my understanding of the present state of Ether, the Ethereum network and its decentralized structure, current offers and sales of Ether are not securities transactions. And, as with Bitcoin, applying the disclosure regime of the federal securities laws to current transactions in Ether would seem to add little value.”

SEC Clarifies Crypto Security Stance

Today the SEC Chairman Jay Clayton released this official statement in which he reminded everyone that media statements made by SEC personnel should not be taken as legal pronouncements. Clayton stated:

“The Commission’s longstanding position is that all staff statements are nonbinding and create no enforceable legal rights or obligations of the Commission or other parties.”

In a particular sentence that may have been included specifically to cool the enthusiasm generated from his colleague Hinman’s original statement, Clayton states:

“…our divisions and offices, including but not limited to the Division of Corporation Finance, the Division of Investment Management and the Division of Trading and Markets, have been and will continue to review whether prior staff statements and staff documents should be modified, rescinded or supplemented in light of market or other developments.”

The last part about ‘modifying, rescinding or supplementing’ future documents suggests that the SEC are starting to worry about the effects their own words have on the very market they’re attempting to regulate.

When the original statement by Hinman hit the headlines in June, Bitcoin immediately surged by around 6%. Ethereum benefitted even more from the news and spiked 10% within the space of an hour.

Consequences for Bitcoin, Ether and Alts

The reminder from the SEC is unlikely to affect the average bag-holder, who in all likelihood disregards much of what comes out of such traditional institutions as the SEC. The news is more likely to strike hesitation into the minds of large-scale, corporate investors who thought all of this uncertainty was already behind them.

It could also spell either good or bad news for Ripple, which is currently fighting five lawsuits – including two federal lawsuits – against claims that its token sale represents a security issuance.

Director Hinman’s original statement back in June suggested that decentralization was key to avoiding being classed as a security. He suggested that coins and tokens from centralized blockchains would have a harder time with the SEC:

“Over time, there may be other sufficiently decentralized networks and systems where regulating the tokens or coins that function on them as securities may not be required. And of course there will continue to be systems that rely on central actors whose efforts are a key to the success of the enterprise. In those cases, application of the securities laws protects the investors who purchase the tokens or coins.”

With XRP being the third largest capped coin in existence, its prominence has made it a prime target for those suspicious of the currency’s relationship to the Ripple company. As the lawsuits began to pile up, many began to question what Hinman’s words would mean for XRP.

Today’s clarification by Chairman Clayton could be seen as a reprieve for XRP, as it essentially shelves the decentralization issue for the time being. On the other hand, it could mean that even if XRP is proved to be wholly decentralized, it may have even larger requirements to fill before gaining a positive classification – as could the rest of the entire crypto market.

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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4.3 stars on average, based on 57 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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Analysis

Crypto Update: Monday Selloff Drags Majors Lower

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The cryptocurrency continues to show mixed short-term signs following last week’s Ethereum-led bounce, and the subsequent consolidation. Today, all of the majors sold off after the US open, triggering downgrades in our trend model, but the two largest coins, barely, retained their short-term buy signals, holding up above key support levels.

Ethereum remained north of $200, while Bitcoin is still above the $6275 level, but the total value of the market is back at $195 billion as BTC failed to gain ground during last week’s rebound, and as several coins failed to join the move. The odds of a failed rally got higher after today’s selloff, and the move still only qualifies as a counter-trend one, with the long-term downtrends being in no danger in most cases.

XMR/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Monro, which has been the third major on a short-term buy signal, is also still positive in our model, despite bouncing lower off the $120-$125 resistance zone and getting close to testing the $108 support level. The coin is now trading slightly below the rising short-term trendline and it would need to show strength quickly to retain stay on a buy signal. Further support is found near $100, while key long-term resistance is ahead at $150.

ETH/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Ethereum fell back to the $200-$205 support zone today, and the coin is trying to establish a swing low, following the initial rally of its 15-month low. Despite the pullback, ETH is still on a short-term buy signal, but given the segment-wide long-term weakness, traders should still not enter full positions. A sustained move below $200 would warn of a test of the lows and a possible new leg lower, with strong resistance still ahead at $235 and $260 and with further support found at $180.

Market Still Lacking Sustained Strength

BTC/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Bitcoin fell back to $6275 again after failing to show bullish momentum last week, and although BTC is still trading with relatively low volatility, well above the crucial support zone near $5850, the recent days are not positive for crypto-bulls. A sustained move below primary support would warn of a test of the weaker support near $6000 and a likely move to the key long-term zone, with resistance levels now ahead at $6500, $6750, and $7000.

XRP/USDT, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Ripple’s weakness is also a warning sign for bulls, as the third largest coin not just failed to join the rally last week, but it turned lower today, threatening with another move towards the August lows. XRP is still trading within its short-term range, and it remains on a neutral short-term signal, but further weakness could quickly trigger a sell signal. Support below $0.26 is found near $0.23, while resistance is ahead at $0.30, $0.3130, and $0.32.

EOS/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

EOS also remained weak during the recent altcoin bounce and now it is back on a short-term sell signal after dipping lower together with the broader market, plunging below $5 yet again. Now, a test of the August lows and a move to $4 is once again the most likely, with only the support between $4.55 and $4.65 found above the August low, while strong resistance is ahead between $5.35 and $5.55.

Featured image from Shutterstock

Disclaimer:  The analyst owns cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but doesn’t engage in short-term or day-trading, nor does he hold short positions on any of the coins.

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 347 rated postsTrader and financial analyst, with 10 years of experience in the field. An expert in technical analysis and risk management, but also an avid practitioner of value investment and passive strategies, with a passion towards anything that is connected to the market.




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Bitcoin

Bitcoin Price Stable Near $6,500; Path of Least Resistance Higher

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Bitcoin’s price traded within a narrow range on Monday after failing to make new highs over the weekend, a sign that the bulls were dialing back their optimism of an imminent breakout. However, the technical charts suggest that slow and steady upside is the path of least resistance in the short term, barring any new cases of market manipulation.

BTC/USD Update

Bitcoin is currently trading at $6,477 on Bitfinex, where it was virtually unchanged compared with 24 hours ago. The price reached a high of $6,543.30 earlier in the session. Trading volumes on Bitfinex and all exchanges have declined sharply over the weekend. As of Monday, bitcoin’s 24-hour volumes were $3.4 billion.

A look at the moving averages suggests bitcoin is poised to continue higher in the short term. BTC crossed the 50-day moving average last week and is now targeting the longer-term MAs. What’s more, the 100-day moving average is fast approaching the longer-term 200-day MA.

At current values, bitcoin is capitalized at $112.2 billion, according to CoinMarketCap.

Trading in the broader cryptocurrency market was equally tepid on Monday. Total trade volumes across all cryptocurrencies and exchanges reached $10.5 billion, according to latest available data. The total market is currently valued at $202.8 billion. The majority of coins in the top-ten have posted narrow gains compared with Sunday.

XBT Issuer Doubles Down on Cryptos

The yearlong downturn in bitcoin has not deterred Sweden’s leading crypto issuer from doubling down on the market. The Stockholm-based XBT Provider AB is planning to launch a new exchange-traded product (ETP) that tracks a basket of up to ten cryptocurrencies. The product, which will be available this year, will provide blended exposure to some of the world’s leading cryptocurrencies.

In an interview with Bloomberg, company CEO Laurent Kssis said a blended ETP is “something that the market is looking for. They are telling us ‘I’d just like blended exposure to 5 or 10’ cryptocurrencies.”

XBT has been offering crypto exchange-traded products since 2015. After finding initial success in Sweden, XBT’s products entered the U.S. market last month. However, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) quickly suspended trading of the Bitcoin Tracker One (CXBTF) and Ether Tracker One (CETHF) over investor confusion.

In a statement after the SEC’s decision, the company said the suspension “relates only to trading in the Unites States, does not apply to trading on the listing market – Nasdaq Stockholm, and does not relate to any action taken or failed to be taken by XBT Provider AB.”

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 602 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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