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Bitcoin Is Only for Tech Nerds and the Paranoid, Says ING

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Bitcoin’s mainstream appeal will probably die off soon, leaving only tech nerds and the paranoid involved in the digital currency, according to a recent report from ING bank.

Bitcoin to Become a “Niche Asset”

In a Dec. 18 publication, ING chief economist Teunis Brosens argues that bitcoin’s key benefits “may actually be impediments to wider adoption.”

Brosens wrote: One day, beyond the hype, bitcoin will return to being the niche product that it was in its initial years. Users will include tech nerds, people obsessed about their privacy, people afraid of (hyper)inflation in traditional currencies, and people wanting to circumvent central banks for ideological or criminal reasons.”

In making his case, Brosens argued it was nearly impossible to appraise bitcoin’s actual value given that price action has been largely guided by speculation. He says the “true” value of bitcoin will depend largely on its future use case, which means it can be worth anywhere “between zero and several million dollars.”

The blockchain community aims to create more use cases for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. However, of the biggest debates is how to improve bitcoin’s transaction capacity without jeopardizing its other core features. The subject of bitcoin’s scalability has divided the blockchain community along technical and philosophical lines, leading to multiple forks in the underlying protocol.

A sizable minority of developers recently abandoned their mission to double bitcoin’s block size – a protocol called Segwit2x – after the community failed to reach consensus. Many opponents of Segwit2x saw the hard fork as a takeover by some large stakeholders.

Skepticism Grows

With bitcoin’s value virtually doubling in the span of three weeks, market participants are becoming more skeptical about its long-term appeal. Danish central bank chief Lars Rohde is the latest to sound the alarm bells over bitcoin, warning investors to “stay away” from the digital asset. Like others before him, Rohde likened bitcoin to “tulip mania,” a term that describes an out-of-control bubble waiting to burst.

Cryptocurrency investor Oliver Isaacs recently told the Express.co.uk he believes bitcoin to be “the biggest bubble of our lifetime.” Other experts have also warned about the cryptocurrency’s rapid rise, a sign that more people were buying into the hype.

Fifty-one of 53 economists recently polled by The Wall Street Journal said they consider bitcoin’s current value to be unsustainable.

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 773 rated postsChief Editor to Hacked.com and Contributor to CCN.com, Sam Bourgi has spent the past nine years focused on economics, markets and cryptocurrencies. His work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Avid crypto watchers and those with a libertarian persuasion can follow him on twitter at @hsbourgi




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Altcoins

Monero Price Analysis: The Choice of Cyber Criminals, XMR/USD is Vulnerable to Full Reversal

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  • Monero price on Thursday was hit with steep losses, dropping as much as 5% in the session.
  • Trend Micro, a security intelligence firm, finds a Monero hacking tool for installing mining malware.

XMR/USD: Recent Price Behavior

Monero’s XMR price has been cooling over the last day, having dropped around 5% at the time of writing on Thursday. The move south comes after a decent run higher over the past couple of weeks. XMR/USD jumped almost 30% from 7th February up to 19th February, before easing away from the high print. The price did manage to hit its highest level seen since 10th January.

Security Intelligence Identifies Monero Hacking Tool

Researchers at Trend Micro, a security intelligence firm, have detailed that there is a notable surge in a Monero hack-tool installation. It reportedly attempts to exploit a vulnerability seen on Windows SMB, which has been patched up since 2017. Organizations in mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Italy are said to be the ones targeted, according to the researchers.

The blog published via Trend Micro details that the tool seems to be a merger of existing threats. In particular, it has targeted Microsoft Windows users – MIMIKATZ and RADMIN. As per Trend Micro:

“Between the last week of January to February, we noticed an increase in hack tool installation attempts. That dropped seemingly random files into the Windows directory. Initially appearing unrelated, the analysis showed the final payload to be a Monero cryptocurrency-mining malware variant. It scans for open port 445 and exploits a Windows SMB Server Vulnerability MS17-010 (patched in 2017) for its infection and propagation routines.”

The research does not come as much of a surprise, given the raft of Monero mining malware threats seen over the past year. Cyber criminals have strong favor for the altcoin given its privacy and anonymity, in addition to the ease of mining it on devices as simple as laptops and smartphones.

Technical Review – XMR/USD

XMR/USD daily chart.

Given the current edging south, eyes are now on the next area of support, which can be seen below at the prior acting range-block formation. XMR/USD between 11th Jan to 8th February was moving within a narrowing daily range. The area above this is now acting as support, as seen between 10-17th February. This came into play after a breakout and retest of the breached block. In terms of the comfort area, it is seen tracking from $47.50 down to $42.00. The bear pressure may prove to be too much for the support and force a breach. Another potential retest of the low down at $38.80 could be called into action.

Lastly, resistance to the upside is observed from the $53-$60 price range, which is the near-term supply and high area from 24th December to early January 2019. Further north, there can also be a chunky barrier seen ahead of the psychological $100 mark, tracking from $75-$95 range.

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 126 rated postsKen has over 8 years exposure to the financial markets. During a large part of his career, he worked as an analyst, covering a variety of asset classes; forex, fixed income, commodities, equities and cryptocurrencies. Ken has gone on to become a regular contributor across several large news and analysis outlets.




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Analysis

USD/JPY Price Prediction: Trade Talks and FOMC Minutes are Huge Downside Risks; 110.25 Key Daily Support Eyed

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  • Focus shifts to a possible FOMC hiking halt confirmation following the dovish rate decision from January.
  • Trade talks continue in Washington, with USD pumped up on much optimism.

The USD/JPY bulls have been pushing the pair higher at quite some pace, as it completed its second consecutive trading week in the green. It has gained around 160 pips to the upside, moving from 109.50 up to a high last week of 111.13 before running into sellers. The pair managed to jump to its highest level seen since the back-end of December 2018. There are encouraging signs of a full reversal, following the steep losses that came into play from mid-December.

As a recap, a significant drop was observed from the week commencing 17th December last year; this followed the FOMC rate decision that was out during that week. The FOMC did increase rates back then; however, it was very much a dovish hike. The Fed’s accompanying statement at the time appeared to signal FOMC members are anticipating two rate hikes in 2019, down from their previous dot-plot projection of three rate hikes. The indications of a slowdown from this meeting were enough to see the markets start pricing in a downturn in moves north with interest rates from the Fed.

FOMC Minutes on Wednesday

Back in January, the FOMC made a complete U-turn on its monetary policy stance. FOMC members effectively noted that the balance sheet could be adjusted if need be. Furthermore, the FOMC called for ‘patience’ with future rate hikes. At the time, this generated a large amount of weakness for the greenback. Eyes are on a potential dovish statement from the central bank, with close attention to the language used.

Market participants will be looking for further confirmation that the bank’s hiking cycle is over. As a result, this could potentially force pressure to the downside on the USD, should the market interpret such a tone from the FOMC.

Trade Talks Progress

Another big influencer for the greenback this week will be the developments between the U.S. and China with their ongoing trade talks. They remain very much complicated; however, optimism is still seen following their willingness to continue negotiating in Washington. There was little in terms of anything conclusive during the discussions in Beijing last week; clocks are ticking ahead of the deadline.

Markets will be looking for this possible extension announcement in the deadline from Trump, should the talks go as well as he noted. Should nothing conclusive come out of these talks, then the market could grow tiresome and start selling USD. Risks remain tilted to the downside, given that USD has been pumping on hope and optimism.

Technical Review – USD/JPY

USD/JPY daily chart.

In terms of upside targets, the bulls will be eyeing a retest of the psychological 111.00 level. The price managed to move into this territory last week between 13-14th February. Last week’s jump came before running into significant sellers, forcing USD/JPY to retreat down at a critical daily support level. Longs are attractive above 110.25 (daily support), which is in proximity to the 61.8% Fibonacci.

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 126 rated postsKen has over 8 years exposure to the financial markets. During a large part of his career, he worked as an analyst, covering a variety of asset classes; forex, fixed income, commodities, equities and cryptocurrencies. Ken has gone on to become a regular contributor across several large news and analysis outlets.




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Cryptocurrencies

6 Upcoming Events That Could Trigger a Price Pump for These Cryptocurrencies

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The kind of fundamental developments that sent a coin to the moon in 2017 had already started to lose their potency by the time 2018 came around. As the year wore on, we started to see partnership announcements and technical developments go unnoticed, when once the mere rumour of them was enough to positively impact the price of a coin.

And while 2019 will probably see an extension of this trend, I can’t help but think of the number of times I’ve seen a coin pump 50% in a week, only to go and check the project’s Twitter page and see that they’ve just implemented a new tech update.

By that time I’m too late, and whatever anticipation was being speculated on has turned into news, and is now being sold.

So in the spirit of experimentation, here’s a few upcoming technical updates due in the coming weeks.

Aeternity (AE) – First Mainnet Hardfork

Aeternity has three hardforks scheduled over the next year as it completes its migration from Ethereum. The date for this hardfork is only a few days away, but I include it on the basis of Aeternity’s previous volatility, exemplified in this chart from the last seventy days. Volume has been climbing all through February, from $10 million to $50 million.

Hardfork Date: February 20th

IOST (IOST) – Mainnet Launch

Just over a week away from mainnet, the IOST token price has shown signs of life with 4% growth in the past seven days. A summary of what the IOST mainnet promises to bring can be found here in a tweet from co-founder Jimmy Zhong.

Mainnet Launch Date: February 25th

 

Ethereum (ETH) – Constantinople Hardfork

The previously delayed Constantinople hardfork is scheduled for the end of the month. Block rewards will be reduced from 3 to 2 ETH, and the difficulty bomb will be delayed for another year, among other tweaks.

At time of writing ETH is up 8% for the week, with Constantinople ten days away.

Hardfork Date: February 27th

CyberMiles (CMT) – 15 Million Users’ Data Uploaded to Blockchain

A huge migration is set to take place at the end of February as the 5Miles mobile app uploads all of its customers accounts onto the CMT blockchain. Once launched, 5Miles clients will be able to transact independently across the chain. 5Miles is a ‘mobile marketplace’ where users buy and sell various items and services.

Launch Date: February 28th

Theta Token (THETA) – Mainnet Launch

Theta Token is another project set to leave Ethereum for its own mainnet. A look at THETA’s weekly chart shows a token at just about break even, but zooming out to the monthly view reveals that something has been building with THETA for a while.

Mainnet Launch Date: March 15th

QuarkChain (QKC) – Mainnet 1.0

QuarkChain was one of the darlings of the ICO period, and big things were expected from this highly rated project. Big things might still be on the horizon, and we may find out more about QuarkChain when the mainnet lands at the end of March.

Read more on what’s in store for QKC fans in 2019. The coin price has been falling all quarter, and all month. But that trend reversed for the first time this week as the coin regained 6% of its value. Volume jumped from $1 million to $6.8 million in the last few days.

Mainnet Launch Date: March 31st

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 147 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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