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Bitcoin Price Scrapes the Barrel While Stellar (XLM) Losses Fall in Line

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Bitcoin returned to its lowest valuation of the year on Friday, as the last week of cautious upward movement by the crypto market came to a crashing halt.

Just last week BTC fell to a dollar valuation in the high $3,200 range – a fifteen-month low at the time. After seven days of false hope and another rinsing of weak hands, BTC returned to the same valuation early on Friday morning – a sign that $3,000 is destined to act as a baseline in the short-term?

Meanwhile, after months of positive developments and upward momentum, Stellar (XLM) is finally feeling the pinch and may be about to fall back in line with average market losses. XLM’s valuation is down over 18% for the week, and 7.5% for Dec 14th alone – leaving Tether (USDT) waiting in the wings to take over XLM’s 4th spot ranking by market cap.

Bitcoin Price – BTC/USD

Bitcoin fell 4.75% leading into Friday morning, compounding 10% losses over the last five days. From the daily high of $3,448, BTC found itself trading as low as $3,200 on some exchanges, while the aggregate valuation drawn from all exchanges remains closer to $3,300 at time of writing.

Bitcoin volume remains high while overall trade volume has declined. This has sent BTC dominance to over 55% again, and may be the beginning of a trend which sees altcoin gains continually cashed out to the more trusted BTC (via USDT) for the duration of the bear market.

Stellar Price – XLM/USD

A portion of those gains may now be coming from the Stellar market, which is being dominated by USDT and BTC trades as of Friday.

From the daily peak of $0.111740, XLM’s valuation fell to £0.103288 by noon Friday. That’s a 7.5% decline for the day, and comes on top of 18.3% losses over seven days as Stellar finally seems to be falling in line.

Stellar had kept the bears at bay for much of the prolonged market dip in the last few months, even rising in the rankings to become the 4th highest capped cryptocurrency. Fuelled by prominent announcements and almost constant speculation regarding a Coinbase listing, XLM managed to buck the trend and hold onto its value while all around it were losing theirs.

Now, this latest dip has singled out XLM specifically, leaving the coin’s losses firmly in line with ETH and the major alts’ +60% losses since mid-November. Once valued at nearly $17 billion by market cap at its peak, Stellar is now valued at less than $2 billion, and only the slightest fluctuation by ‘stable’ coin, Tether, would drop XLM out of the top four ranked cryptos.’

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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4.5 stars on average, based on 123 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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Bitcoin

MIT and Stanford Professors are Creating the Answer to Bitcoin’s Scalability Issues

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Researchers from America’s most prestigious universities are coming together to create a new cryptocurrency that will overcome bitcoin’s greatest technical challenge: scalability. Although academics have a poor track record of solving real world problems, the researchers have teamed up with Pantera Capital to develop a cryptocurrency that could serve as a viable payment network in the future.

Academics Designing ‘Better Bitcoin’

According to Bloomberg, professors from seven U.S. universities have joined hands to create a new cryptocurrency capable of achieving faster processing speeds without sacrificing decentralization – a core tenant of the blockchain revolution. The so-called Unit-e cryptocurrency is the first project to be carried out by Distributed Technology Research, the non-profit group uniting the academics.

Among the schools represented are the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University and University of California. They are joined by hedge fund Pantera Capital, which has an impressive track record in generating stellar crypto market investments. Read: How Pantera Capital Engineered a 10,000% Return Investing in Cryptocurrency.

Although several initiatives are underway to boost bitcoin’s transaction speed and scalability, the researchers say the cryptocurrency’s design has inbuilt restrictions that impede on its usefulness as an everyday payment system. The goal of Unit-e is simple but highly ambitious – namely, use blockchain technology to develop a cryptocurrency that can process transactions faster than Visa.

Unit-e is scheduled to go live in the second half of 2019. When released, it will process as many as 10,000 transactions per second, according to DTR. By comparison, Visa processes roughly 1,700 transactions per second.

The Bitcoin Scalability Debate

The issue of scalability is one of the biggest impediments facing bitcoin, so much so that dozens of alternative cryptocurrencies have been designed specifically to address this problem. Some proponents of the original cryptocurrency believe the debate over scalability could be put to rest once Lightning Network achieves full potential. The highly-touted bitcoin scaling solution has seen notable improvements in recent months, including a double-digit percentage gain in processing capacity.

As of Thursday, Lightning Network’s capacity has increased to 529.21 BTC, which is equivalent to just over $1.9 million at today’s prices, according to 1ML. That represents a gain of more than 3% since the last time we covered Lightning Network’s processing power on Dec. 26. At the time, the network saw a 13% surge in processing capability.

Lightning Network has achieved 20,586 channels, an increase of 31.8%. The number of nodes is up nearly 20% to 5,472.

At the core of Lightning Network is the desire to boost bitcoin’s transaction speed while lowering the cost of payments. This is done by creating a second-layer scaling solution that operates as a bidirectional payment channel. Basically, this creates a ‘running’ tab between two accounts, which eliminates the need to record every transaction on the blockchain.

Lightning Network has its fair share of detractors who claim the protocol promotes centralization and suffers from inefficiencies that could allow hackers to target channels holding a high volume of bitcoin. Bitcoin advocate Andreas Antonopoulos addressed some of these concerns in a YouTube Q&A last February. Click here for more.

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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4.7 stars on average, based on 739 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he leads content development for one of the world's foremost cryptocurrency resources. Over the past eight years Sam has authored more than 10,000 articles and over 40 whitepapers in the fields of labor market economics, emerging technologies, cryptocurrency and traditional finance. Sam's work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Contact: sam@hacked.com Twitter: @hsbourgi




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Bitcoin

Bitcoin Price Clings to $3,600 as the Search for a Bottom Continues

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Bitcoin’s price continued to drift sideways on Thursday, as a lack of trading catalysts kept markets subdued following an active start to the week.

Stuck in a Range

After breaking out to the upside at the start of the week, bitcoin has managed to trade within a narrow range over the past 48 hours. The leading digital currency by market cap is currently valued at $3,628.23, down 1.3% from the previous day. Trading volumes remain elevated near $5.2 billion despite a sharp drop off in volatility.

Bitcoin’s 30-day volatility index, courtesy of bitvol.info, declined to 4.25% on Wednesday. Volatility has been in firm retreat since December, when it peaked at nine-month highs.

That being said, bitcoin’s narrow trading range reflects a lack of direction in the market as opposed to newfound stability. A failure to break above $3,700 in the short term could put BTC on the backfoot and vulnerable to fresh waves of selling. This is fairly consistent with the trading patterns we’ve observed since the onset of the bear market last year.

At current values, bitcoin has an overall market capitalization of $63.4 billion. Its dominance rate has strengthened to 52.4%, which reflects broad pressures on altcoins and tokens.

Read: Bitcoin’s Year of Accumulation

Search for a Bottom Continues

Although some analysts have already called bitcoin’s bottom, others are convinced that new lows are likely before the market makes a definitive turn. Jani Ziedans, an analyst at Cracked Market, believes bitcoin is demonstrating a lethargic base, which signals weak underlying demand. This continues to be the case insofar as bitcoin struggles in the mid-$3,000 range.

Morgan Creek Digital’s Anthony Pompliano has also stated that bitcoin will probably fall below $3,000 before the bottoming process finally concludes. This comes despite a more than 30% bounce from the December low near $3,100. Read more: Crypto Markets Search for Catalysts as Bitcoin Lightning Network Sees a Surge in Capacity.

Nevertheless, 2019 looks to be a year of accumulation for bitcoin as prices consolidate in the $2,000-$4,000 range. The anticipated influx of institutional investors, combined with the sharp rise in circulation on virtual exchanges, means trading in BTC is likely to grow as the year progresses. According to analyst Willy Woo, these and other factors may put bitcoin on the path to recovery by the third quarter.

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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4.7 stars on average, based on 739 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he leads content development for one of the world's foremost cryptocurrency resources. Over the past eight years Sam has authored more than 10,000 articles and over 40 whitepapers in the fields of labor market economics, emerging technologies, cryptocurrency and traditional finance. Sam's work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Contact: sam@hacked.com Twitter: @hsbourgi




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Analysis

Crypto Update: Sideways Drift Continues but Sellers Still in Control

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While the bounce on Monday gave some hope to crypto bulls that last week’s plunge was just a correction in an ongoing broader counter-trend move, so far, we haven’t seen meaningful follow-through. That means that the bearish short- and long-term trends are still dominant in the segment and sellers are clearly in control of every major top coin.

Also, while volatility is relatively low, correlations are still elevated, and volume patterns are bearish as well, so our trend model remains on sell signals with regards to the overwhelming majority of coin on all time-frames. Traders and investors are still advised to stay away from entering new positions, as we have no evidence the bear market is over, and at least the test of the lows is likely in the coming months.

That said, a quick recovery above the primary resistance levels would be a positive sign here, but until we see signs of technical strength, the defensive approach is warranted as bearish risks remain very high here.

BTC/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Bitcoin’s relative stability is still the only positive sign among the top coins, but BTC also lacks bullish momentum and it failed to leave the close vicinity of the key $3600 support level. The $3850 resistance is out of reach, for now, and given the clearly bearish long-term setup, traders and investors shouldn’t enter positions here.

A move above that level would be a positive sign for bulls, with further zones between $4000 and $4050, and near $4450, but we still expect a move towards the support levels near $3250 and $3000 in the coming weeks, even if a broader bottoming process might already be underway.

ETH/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

While Ethereum spiked higher again towards the $130 resistance level today, the move failed again and bulls failed to make technical progress, with the recent low still being in danger. A sustained push above $130 could still signal a failed break-down pattern, but the lack of bullish momentum points to a continuation of the decline.  Key support is found near $120 and between $95 and $100, while further resistance is ahead at $145, $160, and near $180.

Altcoins Unchanged and Bearish After Choppy Day

LTC/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

The volatility compression continued in all of the major altcoins as well, but the broad selling pressure is still apparent in the segment. Litecoin failed to get close to the primary resistance zone near $34.50 despite the early-week rally attempt, and it continues to threaten with a move below the key $30-$30.50 support zone.

A breach of support would likely trigger a move towards the $26 level, with the oversold short-term momentum readings now being cleared in the market of LTC. Further strong resistance is ahead near $38 and $44 and with support found near $23, and traders and investors still shouldn’t enter positions here.

XRP/USDT, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Ripple has been showing signs of relative weakness again today, after the brief period of stability and the technical picture continues to be negative on all time-frames, and our trend model is also on short- and long-term sell signals. The $0.32 price level is still in focus, and we still expect a move below $0.30, with strong support found near the $0.26 level, with resistance ahead near $0.3550 and $0.3750.

DASH/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Dash remained among the relatively weaker majors as well, and it still hovering around the $70 price level after bottoming out close to $67.50. A test of the bear market low near $56 seems very likely in the coming weeks, and only a move above the strong resistance zone between $76.50 and $80 would change the short-term outlook for the coin.

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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4.7 stars on average, based on 443 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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