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Bitcoin Price Defends $6,000 as Crypto Market Cap Returns Above $200 Billion

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Bitcoin rebounded sharply on Wednesday after a bear market breakdown dragged prices to within $100 of yearly lows. Although the technical indicators have improved, significant downside risks remain.

BTC/USD Update

Bitcoin’s price was up 4.6% on Bitfinex to trade at $6,483. The leading digital currency reached a session high of $6,483, having recovered more than 8% from Monday’s swing low. Bitcoin’s 24-hour trade volumes averaged $4.6 billion on Wednesday.

The $6,000 price point has emerged as an important support level for bitcoin. As Hacked previously reported, this level is not only psychologically significant, it represents more or less the break-even rate for miners.

The monthly technical chart shows improving conditions in the bitcoin price, though this should be taken with a grain of salt given the market’s extreme moves as of late.

At current levels, bitcoin has a total market capitalization of $109.8 billion, which represents 53.6% of the total cryptocurrency market.

Altcoins and tokens collectively rose by $8 billion on Wednesday to reach a total value of $94.4 billion, according to CoinMarketCap. The value of all digital assets was $204.6 billion.

The Market’s Next Move

Although predicting bitcoin’s next move is notoriously difficult, a successful defense of the $6,000 floor is an important step in facilitating the next rally. That the yearly low ($5,755) wasn’t breached during the latest downtrend suggests the bulls may be running out of steam.

That said, bitcoin’s dominance rate reveals structural weakness in the cryptocurrency market, not to mention damaged investor psychology. As Hacked reported Tuesday, cash-out from the ICO boom appears to be largely responsible for the latest reversal, a sign that investors were losing confidence in riskier assets. This is further corroborated by Ethereum’s dramatic selloff over the past seven days. The so-called developer’s cryptocurrency has been responsible for three-quarters of initial coin offerings.

According to BitMEX CEO Arthur Hayes, investors shouldn’t expect a large price recovery at this stage given the general lack of momentum, volume and stability in the market. Trading volumes – a key proxy for demand in the cryptocurrency market – averaged $13.4 billion on Wednesday, based on latest 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 601 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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Kovri & Bulletproofs: How Monero is Improving Privacy

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Kovri Bulletproofs Monero

Monero is one of the premier privacy conscious cryptocurrencies currently on the market.

It makes use some of the most advanced technologies in cryptography and blockchain technology. These include such features as stealth addresses, transaction mixing and Ring Confidential transactions.

These have made Monero (XMR) almost untraceable. Yet, “almost” is not good enough for the Monero community as they have strived to improve the protocol in their latest updates.

These updates include the Monero Kovri I2P implementation as well as what are termed “bulletproofs”. These developments have been in the pipeline for sometime and we are starting to see them being actively rolled out.

So what are they and how are they going to make Monero even more secure?

Before we can delve into the technology, we have to take a look the current state of Monero’s privacy.

Secure, Untraceable Digital Cash

Currently, Monero is able to hide all details about a transaction. Making use of stealth addresses, they are able to hide the recipient’s and payers’ details from the rest of the network. They are also able to hide the amount that has been transacted.

Making use of Ring Confidential transaction and transaction Mixin, information about future transactions is also hidden from the original sender of these funds.

Therefore, a Monero transaction is probably the closest you will get to making a payment with untraceable bank notes.

Monero USPs. Image source: Monero.

However, there are two outstanding quirks that the Monero community was not 100% comfortable with.

The first related to the potential of user IP address leaks and the other revolved around the inefficiencies of current Monero “Range proofs”.

Kovri and IP Anonymization

As mentioned, Monero is almost completely private. However, there was always a question that remained around the IP addresses of those who interacted with the Monero network.

When you initiate a transaction on the Monero blockchain, your IP address is being exposed to the network. If there was a malicious actor, they could observe this event and log your IP address. This could create the potential for meta data analysis by large and determined adversaries.

While this is a really difficult attack to complete, it is still a concern for some.

This is the reason that the community has been excited about the release of Kovri and its potential to encrypt and route transactions through I2P (Invisible Internet Protocol) nodes. Technically, Kovri will make use of “Garlic encryption” and “Garlic routing”

We won’t go into more detail about Garlic routing but one can think of it as a more secure version of the Onion routing. Onion routing is the current networking implementation that is on use in the TOR network.

By using this routing protocol, your connection to the Monero network is masked and your IP address cannot be identified. According to the Kovri lead developer, Anonimal, the Kovri protocol will:

“Essentially, we will be able to anonymise monero transactions even more than what monero is capable of doing right now, technically speaking, at the network layer”

Kovri is currently in alpha release stage and there is still a great deal of testing that needs to be done. There are currently 48 contributors who are working on it and the project still has a healthy chunk of funding to move the project forward.

BulletProofs and Lower Fees

While Monero transactions are completely private, they are relatively inefficient. This basically comes down to the nature of Monero’s “range proofs”.

Range proofs basically allow anyone to verify that a particular commitment represents an amount within a particular range without revealing anything else. These are needed in order ensure that transaction input and output amounts are positive.

This may sound like a mouthful, but all you need to know is that these range proofs are essential components for the private transaction.

However, the current range proofs on the Monero network are inefficient as they make up the bulk of the size of the transaction. This means that a great deal of mining resources goes towards verifying these range proofs and increases the cost of these transactions.

This is where BulletProofs come in.

Despite the catchy name, BulletProofs are the ideal solution to the Monero range proof problem. They scale in size differently to Monero’s current proofs and as a result, save space as transactions inputs and outputs increase.

A full explanation of Bulletproofs is beyond the scope of this article but if you wanted to flex your intellectual muscles you could read the paper on it by Bünz, Bootle et al.

The most important takeaway from the bulletproofs is the space that it saves in Monero transactions. For example, a simple Monero transaction that has two outputs is about 13.2kb in size. However, with bulletproofs the transaction is only 2.5kb in size. This is a full 80% reduction in size which will translate into a commensurate reduction in fees.

Given that bulletproofs scale logarithmically, the space savings on these transactions are even more pronounced with multiple output transactions.

In short, bulletproofs is a solution that all Monero users will notice immediately.

So where in the pipeline are Monero bulletproofs?

In July, Kudelski securities completed their audit of Monero compatible bulletproofs. While there were a few minor issues, it passed audit stage and was ready for implementation on the Monero test network.

If all goes well in the testing phase, then the bulletproofs are expected to be released live on the Monero network in October.

Conclusion

Monero has proven itself to be one of the premier privacy coins on the market. The community is thriving and is comprised of some of the smartest and most privacy conscious individuals in the world.

Of course, as Monero has garnered attention from government backed entities, so too have the risks increased for vulnerabilities and deanonymization.

The Monero developers are well aware of this and are always looking for solution to improve on the Protocol.

Kovri and bulletproofs are two really important improvements that will help cement Monero’s market leading status.

We will keep a keen eye on the rollout of this technology.

Featured Image via Fotolia

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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5 stars on average, based on 3 rated postsNic is an ex Investment Banker and current crypto enthusiast. When he is not sitting behind six screens trading Bitcoin, he is maintaining his numerous mining rigs.




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Altcoins

Who Needs Liquidity? Aurora (AOA) Recovers 251% On One Exchange

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Aurora (AOA) was one of the hardest hit altcoins between August and September as AOA tokens fell 81% in value. That descent occurred over the space of just thirty-eight days, and marked a spectacular fall for a token that only launched in June.

Now that same momentum appears to have reversed with AOA gaining 251% of its value against the dollar, with all of the growth springboarding from the market-wide low of September 12th.

Incredibly, all of AOA’s trade has come from Kucoin alone – one of just two exchanges that AOA is listed on.

AOA Price Surges 251% In Four Days

From September 12th’s low of $0.008640, AOA has recorded day-on-day growth right up to today’s coin price of $0.030391.

One of the least traded coins in the top one-hundred, Aurora regularly saw average daily trades of $87,000 in the past month, particularly during the worst of August’s dip. Today that volume has climbed to above $800,000, and every penny of it has come from just one exchange, split between two trading pairs.

AOA/BTC trades account for 70% of the total, and signals the relative strength of Bitcoin to Aurora in recent times. As mentioned above, Aurora lost 81% of its value in the month leading up to September 12th. Bitcoin on the other hand gained 0.5%.

AOA/ETH trades make up the remaining 30%, which also happens to be the same percentage as Ethereum’s growth since September’s dip. The question now will be how long do the AOA holders plan to hold on for. At this point there is a strong cash-out opportunity, not only for investors who bought in four days ago, but also for those who bought in this morning.

After all, AOA spiked by close to 50% today alone. Even after the subsequent cool-off, which has commenced at time of writing, AOA is still up by 37% since this 09:00 UTC this morning.

The Power of Bounties?

The Aurora team recently opened up an EU office in Berlin, Germany, and the event was followed up with an extensive bounty program that put 10,000 AOA up for grabs.

Bounty programs like this produce an influx of articles, posts and comments on social media for the time that they run, and it’s certainly conceivable that the increased exposure could have helped boost AOA trades over the past few days.

On the other hand, this month has been like Christmas come early for bottom-pickers and bargain hunters, and AOA fell further than most throughout Q3 of 2018.

Also, in what turn out to be big news (for good or bad reasons), the Aurora twitter page recently tweeted out this enigmatic image of what looks like a smartphone, accompanied by the hashtag #Apple, and the words:

“Faster TPS is just the beginning.”

Apple? Smartphone? That would be big news indeed, but let’s just wait and see before jumping to the conclusions that a tweet like that is obviously designed to produce.

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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Altcoins

Good Crypto News: What It All Means

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It was another one of those weeks.  Crypto prices hit rock bottom around $186 billion. Goldman Sachs backs away from it plans to offer a crypto trading desk.  Vitalik Buterin tells Bloomberg how little he thinks of Ethereum. Technical analysts give us little hope for getting bullish anytime soon.

But that was before The New York Department of Financial Services approved Gemini and Paxo cryptocurrency exchanges. Both GUSD and PAX are based on the Ethereum ERC-20 token and backed by physical dollars custodied in FDIC-insured U.S. bank accounts. This insulates investors for whatever else may be rocking the wider crypto market. This development alone is a step forward for investors and regulators.

The most negative news of the week appeared in a Forbes article, written by Pawel Kuskowski titled: “How To Stop Ether Going To Zero: Defusing The ‘Difficulty Bomb’.  The negative slant of the title alone reflects the mindset of the crypto market these days.  It hard to expect anything else with the market having lost a tidy $600 billion in value this year.

Pawel’s strength is his ability to spell out a core unknown to Ethereum’s immediate future. That is if ETH developers will solve the much talked about Difficulty Bomb with modifying Proof of Work or moving to Proof of Stake.  This is hardly a new issue but Pawel does a solid job explaining how either choice still produces uncertainty. As for the price of ETH, uncertainty is no friend.

So the question becomes simply this.  If Vitalik Buterin and his group fail to solve the Difficulty Bomb and ETH goes to zero, won’t this produce a similar result on virtually every other ERC-20 token built on the Ethereum platform?  The answer is so apparent that is makes you want to liquidate your investment position even at current depressed levels.

Unfortunately, there is no immediate answer to this riddle. That doesn’t mean that we should cut and run from crypto. Let’s take some of this week’s developments and apply the principles of a reasonable person.

The Sun Still Shines

And now for something that lends hope that the crypto world is not coming to and end.

On a purely technical note, Hacked.com’s Greg Thomson documented a $1 billion trade influx in the five days up to September 13th producing a tidy little bump of 23% in the price of ETH.

On a more fundamental point comes the word that the big Wall Street investment bank, Morgan Stanley is building a Bitcoin swap trading product.  The key feature here is that the new product will create so called synthetic exposure to the price of Bitcoin.

Just how this will function remains to be seen but the implications both for individual and institutional investors is promising.  The ability to create a security that addresses the custody issue for institutions and protects parties from loss from hackers is a real value added proposition.

According to CCN, Morgan Stanley is one of several major Wall Street firms that even includes Jamie Dimon CEO of JP Morgan Chase.

So what does all this focus on Bitcoin have to do with the rest of the crypto market? Moreover, what does any of this have to do with solving the Difficulty Bomb? Simply put, the answer is money or more precisely, the expected return on investment.

Each of these Wall Street firms has some serious money behind these decision to commit capital and human resources to crypto currencies. Their initial interest may be in Bitcoin, but it would be foolish to assume that it is limited to a single coin in a multi billion asset class.

So it is important to assume that these folks have done their homework and have gotten comfortable with the many short term uncertainties of the current crypto marketplace.  Apparently their crystal ball can read beyond some of the recent negative price action.  This may not entirely remove the uncertainty, but it is good to be in the company of smart money.

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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4.4 stars on average, based on 104 rated postsJames Waggoner is a veteran Wall Street analyst and hedge fund manager who has spent the past few years researching the fintech possibilities of cryptocurrencies. He has a special passion for writing about the future of crypto.




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Hacked.com and its team members have pledged to reject any form of advertisement or sponsorships from 3rd parties. We will always be neutral and we strive towards a fully unbiased view on all topics. Whenever an author has a conflicting interest, that should be clearly stated in the post itself with a disclaimer. If you suspect that one of our team members are biased, please notify me immediately at jonas.borchgrevink(at)hacked.com.

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