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The Bitcoin-Google Connection?

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Bitcoin has more than doubled over the past month, as the hype and euphoria around crypto-investing continue to outweigh fears of a burgeoning asset bubble. For one astute cryptocurrency analyst, bitcoin’s year-long rally appears to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

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Google ‘Bitcoin’ and See How Many Results Show Up

At the time of writing, a simple google search of ‘bitcoin’ yields about 152 million results. That potentially explains why Bitcoin and competitor Etherum delivered the best return of any asset in the first half of 2017.

The BTC/USD exchange rate has an unusually high correlation with Google search trends for the word ‘bitcoin,’ according  former ARK Invest analyst Chris Burniske. (If you’re not familiar with Chris, he authored the widely cited whitepaper BITCOIN: A Disruptive Currency.)

In Burniske’s view, interest in bitcoin further drives the price of the BTC/USD – a phenomenon he jokingly refers to as “a virtuous Satoshi cycle”. August is already shaping up to be Bitcoin’s most popular month, based on Google search trends.

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Bitcoin’s search popularity have also rubbed off on competitors like Ethereum. However, none have enjoyed anywhere near the exposure of BTC.

BTC/USD: Commanding New Highs

While the cryptocurrency market has gone from one extreme to the other this summer, the underlying trend is overwhelmingly positive. The BTC/USD has not only doubled over the past 30 days, it has gained a staggering 320% this year.

The pair reached multiple record highs this week, with Bitstamp reporting a new closing high of $4,306.23 on Monday. As of Wednesday, some exchanges priced bitcoin above $4,480.00, a move that has boosted its total market value to nearly $69 billion. The total size of the cryptocurrency market is fast approaching $140 billion.

Despite the recent price explosion, sustained momentum in the RSI and MACD suggest further upside is in store. Whether evaluating from a technical or purely fundamental perspective, gains are likely to continue over the short term.

Fiat Currencies Look to FOMC

Cryptocurrencies are often described as censorship-resistant because they are not directly influenced by governments. They are also outside the grip of the central banking system that has largely shaped the post-crisis period. The same cannot be said of fiat currencies, which are highly susceptible to central bank policies.

The world’s most powerful central bank will attract investor attention on Wednesday. At 2:00 p.m. ET, the Federal Reserve will release the minutes of the July FOMC meeting, which saw policymakers vote against raising interest rates. The meeting minutes may provide clues about the Fed’s plan to wind down its massive $4.5 trillion balance sheet – a process expected to begin this year.

The FOMC will hold its next policy meeting September 19-20, making the upcoming minutes all the more important. The U.S. dollar, which rose to nearly three-week highs on Tuesday, will be especially sensitive to the release.

BTC/USD (BitStamp)

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Bitcoin

Trade Recommendation: Ride the Next Rally of Bitcoin

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The profit taking period that saw the Bitcoin market fall from 19,697 to a low of 13,501 in a matter of a few days is almost up. The market appears to have generated a new higher low and will use that level to make its next move up.

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Technical analysis reveals a large reversal pattern in the hourly chart that could signal the end of the correction. In addition, volume has been steadily decreasing. On Coinbase, volume spiked by as much as three times its average value in the hourly chart during the height of selling. In the last seven hours, however, volume has been way below its average indicating that bears have lot ammunition. More importantly, RSI in the hourly chart is far from overbought territory. This gives the market a lot of room to breach resistance at 18,000.

The strategy is to buy the market when it goes above 18,000. With signs of selling exhaustion, bears may not put up much of a fight the next time the pair breaches 18,000 on Coinbase. Also, the market has no stiff resistance above 18,000 so it has a clear path to our target of 22,500.

Hourly Bitcoin Chart on Coinbase

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As of the time of writing, Bitcoin is trading at 17,200.

Summary of Strategy

Buy: breach of 18,000

Support: 17,200, 16,800, and 16,450

Target: $22,500

Stop: Move below 16,450

 

Disclaimer: The writer 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.

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Technical Analysis: Bitcoin Grinds Higher as Records Tumble in Altcoins

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The historical surge in the segment, which is the second such move this year, continued today, with another round of break-outs in some of the major altcoins and tepid gains for BTC investors. Ethereum, Ripple, Dash, and first and foremost Litecoin was leading the charge, with the recent star LTC topping $300, just after a day of hitting the $200 mark.

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Litecoin defied all odds after reaching extremely overbought readings, and the coin rode the speculative wave, turning exponential, not unlike IOTA and Bitcoin previously. With the coin being stretched in an unprecedented way on all time-frames, investors could even consider selling their core positions at the current levels, as a deep correction is almost granted in the coming period. The first meaningful support level is found at $125, and a re-test of the $100 level is probable during the next major correction.

LTC/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

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Ripple finally ended a long period of relative weakness today, and the only major on a long-term by signal jumped over primary resistance at $0.26 and crossed the $0.30-$0.32 too in the euphoric sentiment. As the coin is not long-term overbought following the 6-month long consolidation, the buy signal in XRP remains intact, with the only major resistance level being found at the all-time high near $0.425.

XRPUSDT/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

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Bitcoin

Will CME and CBOE Change the Course of Bitcoin Trading?

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bitcoin trading

There has been a lot of media buzz in the investment world around the introduction of bitcoin futures trading. Two of Chicago’s major firms, namely Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME Group Inc) and Chicago Board Options Exchange (Cboe), have announced plans for bitcoin futures trading on their respective platforms, with the latter already launching its contract on Sunday. While the main fear regarding future bitcoin trading at this point is price manipulation, investors are skeptical about how the whole situation will pan out.

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Fear of Price Manipulation

As mentioned earlier, price manipulation is a big threat to the profitability of bitcoin futures trading. According to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), they will only play the role of a derivatives regulator and not actually manipulate the underlying cash contract. Exchanges will continue to play a major part in handling the underlying cash contract, keeping it safe from the dangers of manipulation. Since the underlying cash market of bitcoin is not regulated, the CFTC has also warned investors about this fact.

Fig 1

Figure 1: Hypothesised Daily Trend of Bitcoin Values

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The Role of CBOE and CME in Bitcoins Trading

The CBOE and CME both have been competing to become the market of choice in the United States. CBOE has already rolled out its bitcoin futures contracts, which they call XBT futures, with a limited free trading offer for the rest of the month for its customers. The rival CME group, on the other hand, is scheduled to release their version of hitcoin futures Dec. 18.

These announcements played a pivotal role last week, influencing traders and institutional investors to perform bitcoin futures trading in a more recognized and secure market. The price of a single unit of bitcoin was also affected, jumping from a formidable $10,000 to a new record high of close to $20,000. The main reason for this can be attributed to investors who understand that the exchanges will bring liquidity and price stability on an otherwise unstable and volatile cryptocurrency.

Here are just some of the ways bitcoin futures trading will change the course of bitcoin trading significantly.

  1. Risk: There’s no denying that bitcoin’s past has been marred by volatile spikes and crashes.  Some of these price changes have occurred over a very short period, enabling traders to recover their positions within a short period of time.  However, with the introduction of CME and CBOE futures trading, the United States markets might prolong the decline through the “domino” effect of selling futures trading.  Moreover, a snowballing effect through selling can affect the entire market.  The Futures Industry Association has already stressed on the bitcoin volatility issue and has requested for some form of “guarantee fund” to clear settlements to the community.
  2. Unstable Exchanges: Besides the CME and CBOE, the majority of bitcoin exchanges in the world come from unregulated markets without proper overseeing or supervision. This is problematic for traders since such exchanges form a reference point in price for the asset. Frequent outages in exchanges are a real threat to bitcoin’s price, often resulting in wild price swings. For instance, Coinbase and IG group, two famous bitcoin exchanges stopped trading on a Friday. As a result, bitcoin’s price shot up and subsequently crashed within 20 minutes.
  3. Increased Volatility: Futures markets work very differently than commodity markets, which draw in a lot of traders as well as speculators. When it comes to bitcoin, the recent Whipsaw in price is unfavorable for the introduction of new traders in the market at this point.
    The increase in speculation surrounding bitcoin price will result in even more price volatility if the number of traders is increased. Many people are of the opinion that the recent parabolic price curves will attract traders with added incentives to play with its price.
  4. Trading Profits: The aspect of trading profits becomes more complicated with the CME’s contract rules. CME’s contracts have price limits which are 20% above or below bitcoin’s reference price. This is done in order to curb unpredictability and regulate volatility.  The sole purpose of these price limits is to minimize the adverse impact of the cryptocurrrency’s wild price swings on futures markets.
    Economists, however, have stated that this might result in an opposite effect, where the trader’s profits are compromised significantly. This is due to the fact that the reference price of the whole bitcoin market is based on exchanges, which are largely operational in unregulated markets.  Such unregulated markets see frequent price swings in excess of 20%. This directly results in futures traders who will no longer benefit from the spike of a greater than 20% increase in bitcoin prices, at the aforementioned exchanges.

Side Effects of Bitcoin Futures Trading on the Market

The bitcoin market is poised to receive institutional money as a result of futures trading.  It will also open up various avenues of asset investment, as many funds that are currently prohibited from dealing in bitcoin-like alternative assets will also be able to participate in the trading exercise.
This, however, can be a major problem, as investors won’t actually be pouring their funds into the bitcoin market, but rather acquire synthetic derivates instead. No extra money goes into bitcoin itself, as these futures do not require ownership of actually bitcoins.

Final Word

The introduction of bitcoin futures trading in two major firms is definitely a blessing as well as a curse.  Both exchanges are seeking to exploit bitcoin’s popularity by attracting interest from Wall Street. Institutional investors have also been keen to trade the asset in a more recognized and regulated environment, which have also seen the increase in CME/CBOE shares by at least 9%. Normal traders are also required to pay higher than normal accounts to backstop their bitcoin trades and allow continued funding for their trade positions. However, it still boils down to the trader’s decision and his or her understanding of the movement of the bitcoin markets, which have in the past experienced significant and unpredictable volatility.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

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