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Blockzero Jed McCaleb Interview: My Outlook on XLM

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In terms of price trends, we recently saw a bit of a dip, with Ethereum and bitcoin losing about 10% no reason. I am staying away from this market until it starts to act according to good news and bad news. All of this bouncing around for no reason just smells like market manipulation and/or stupidity. Two things I don’t trade into.

As I have looked through the content YouTube “stars” and some of the more well-known cryptocurrency enthusiasts are putting out, I am noticing one shocking thing. They come up with new coins daily to invest in. They just poof one out of thin air, they say how great the idea (not the business) is, and that it could change stuff. Wow. Well, I pride my reputation on being a broken record. I only like 4-5 coins, and I only talk about those coins. I don’t invest in anything else, nor do I want to talk about anything else. Stellar Lumens is one of those coins, and a great interview just came out with CEO Jed McCaleb. Although I have followed what Jed has said throughout Stellar’s business cycle since 2014, hearing him talk about the market right now (as of Feb. 8) was something I sorely needed as an investor when XLM is trading at a mere $0.38.

Most of these coin projects have founders who shouldn’t be anywhere near a microphone, as their explanations of their businesses is actually detrimental to marketing, not helpful. Digging into deep technical jargon on a public forum when you are supposed to be marketing your coin is not helping anyone. There are so few people who understand blockchain that companies are paying high s9x figure salaries for amateurs. Marketing should be an explanation on who’s buying, why, and how much. Jed did exactly that in his interview. He talks faster than a New York City stock broker on speed, but wants to provide only information that will give investors better insight into the XLM business; not the deep tech of the coin. I will touch on some of the key points that I loved: update on corporate relationships, innovations for public use, and ICO platform.

Corporate Relationships

CEOs are not often people who talk candidly. They are the head salespeople of the firm, and everything has to be perfect at the company. Jed is taking a humble blockchain approach. He wants to make sure that the record is straight about what partners are doing at Stellar, and how it will help/affect XLM specifically. Case in point: he said explicitly that bank relationships are far off for Stellar, and the market as a whole. He admitted the banks he works with are very early on in the sales cycle, and that 1,000+ year incumbents aren’t too used to working with new entrants. The trial runs and beta versions are all common practices in every industry. They don’t mean adoption. This was a surprise to me. I was under the assumption that these banks had a fire lit under them to catch up to blockchain. It seems they aren’t in a hurry, or just making it seem that way.

This is where it gets good. Jed has since re-shifted focus to companies that he knows will be immediate adopters, just because of how easily it can fit into their structure. Remittance companies (Western Union, Moneygram, etc.) are the low hanging fruit in his mind. These are high volume transfers of cash, with high fees to come with it. The biggest demographic of remittances are obviously foreign workers, who also happen to be the last people who can afford to spend 5-10% of their capital on transfer fees. With an industry size of $500 billion in 2016, remittances can feed quite a few companies that have friendly corporate technology.

XLM is a shell. It can take form of fiat currency, transfer anywhere in the world, and settle in a bank account in any currency. There are 300 coins that claim they can be the new PayPal, and most them are still spouting off about decentralization. This is a company that wants control mechanisms so it can give tangible control to their corporate customers.

The way he spoke about his corporate partnerships is translucent. He doesn’t tweet (says he only watches, not talks) out random fodder that happens each day. He wants to be the business person that people can depend on. People will go back and read through the information that all of these coins put out during late 2017/early 2018. I think his spot in the annals of the crypto boom will prove to be very noble. I am happy with remittances, and I am happy he was open that banks just aren’t there yet. I haven’t heard anyone else admit it, have you?

Public Use

I was unaware of the infrastructural scope that Stellar has built since 2014. Jed created a conglomerate, not a business. He has a platform for the public to launch DAPPs/smart contracts, token offerings, and an exchange soon capable of atomic swaps (no base currency; you can trade LTC for KMD). His main goal is to create an exchange capable of housing the U.S. cryptocurrency market, while also having ICOs launching on it in tandem. The recent $30 million ICO of Mobius (I don’t invest in any ICOs) had all the looks and smells of a compliant offering. If the exchanges play well with the government, we can see some very big moves.

The next public project was partnered out. Because remittances are so large, the big companies are just necessary evils in the early adoption phase. He is working with a confidential company on creating a global Venmo-type network that can work directly with any kind of bank account. You can send USD from an American bank account, and it will deposit in yen in a Japanese bank account. All on the app in 3-5 seconds. XLM was designed specifically for this purpose, and its use cases are beginning to take up speed. XLM is the sought after technology, not private chaining. I am very excited to see what he comes up with here because this fiat currency settlement mechanism is almost monopolistic right now.

ICOs

Staying far away from ICOs right now, even Stellar’s. But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t find the winning race horse before the race. Stellar’s platform works with fiat currency, and it can launch ICOs. Need I say more? I have harped on this fact many times, but this is just too good not to repeat. If central banks, corporations, institutions, and high net-worth individuals feel comfortable enough with Stellar’s way of handling their native paper currencies, we could see Regulation D token securities being offered on Stellar. Big American business is waiting for the rulebook to be written, and then they will pounce. Stellar is already working with banks in the South Pacific with America’s tech darling IBM: we are seeing the heir being groomed in my opinion. All of the information listed is leading to me to a rather large conclusion.

Conclusion

My conclusion is getting fast out of XRP, and putting it all into XLM. XRapid, Xcurrent, X-me out of this XRP business. Ripple is creating blockchain systems, and has gotten the taste of private chain revenue. Their coin does not need to be used, and each company they work with has specific press releases saying they aren’t using XRP.  On the contrary, we have the head of blockchain for IBM saying they love XLM, and are actively working together to introduce it to banks. XLM, not just Stellar. That is crucial for coin holders. I am not running over to the computer to sell right now, but I will get up to my basis, and exit. I will most likely keep some for a Coinbase push, but XLM needs more of Raiden’s money. Jed McCaleb has created 3 gigantic blockchain companies (Mt. Gox, Ripple, Stellar), and smart money doesn’t bet against him. I sure won’t be.

 

This is not a recommendation to buy cryptocurrencies. I am not buying or selling anything right now, and I suggested you don’t either. If you do, be aware of the risks. I wish you the best of luck.

Disclaimer: The author has an investment stake in XRP.

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 27 rated postsMythological God of Lightning. Cryptocurrency/Blockchain writer, evangelist, and friend. May the odds be ever in our favor.




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  1. citizen_x

    February 11, 2018 at 5:59 pm

    Really great and very interesting article, like your reasonable point of view, the fundamentals have to be solid for the project to succeed long term. Thanks for sharing those ideas.

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Market Overview

Comparing Nasdaq and Bitcoin: What Lessons Can We Learn?

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Bubbles

Over the past few months, lots of people have talked about the similarities between the .com bubble in the early 2000s and the bitcoin market today. It seems that the further down the bitcoin market goes; the more people are using this analogue to help them stay in the game for the long-run.

One of the influential people in the crypto space who often refers to this comparison is Teeka Tiwari at Palm Beach Research Group. While he usually compares the Nasdaq during the late 1990s with the total cryptocurrency market cap, we are here going to compare the Nasdaq during that same period with the market for bitcoin specifically.

Nasdaq vs Bitcoin

In the image above, the top chart is a weekly chart of bitcoin, while the bottom chart is a monthly chart of the Nasdaq 100 Index from 1989 to 2004.

As we all know, the crypto market tends to behave like the stock market on steroids. Moves are larger, and trends change faster in crypto compared to in stocks. It therefore makes more sense to compare these two charts using different timeframes, which is why I have chosen the monthly chart for Nasdaq while bitcoin is represented with a weekly chart.

There are a few interesting things to take note of regarding this comparison:

The Nasdaq found support following the crash in 2000 and 2001, and has later gained more than 600%. The Nasdaq has, in other words, returned more than three times as much for investors than the broader S&P500 index has done.

One explanation for why all financial bubbles have so much in common is that the one thing that causes them – human fear and greed – never changes.

What was different during the dot-com bubble back in the early 2000s was that communication was slow and ineffective compared to the high-speed Internet connections we have today on our phones and laptops. This is one of the reasons why it took the Nasdaq a few years to rise 1,700%, while bitcoin managed to achieve the same return in just a few months.

Similarly, it took the Nasdaq 30 months to fall 78%, while bitcoin lost 70% in just one and a half month.

Another thing both markets have had in common is that when they were down 70% from the top, many people completely lost faith in the future of these markets.

It has been pointed out by observers that even the arguments these people used against investing in the said markets were largely the same: No underlying value, too much volatility, too much regulations/lack of regulations/bad regulations, lack of social responsibility from the market actors, etc.

In hindsight, it has become clear that only the investors who had the mental clarity to ignore all this noise during the early 2000s were able to catch the 600% move that followed in the Nasdaq.

Diversification saved investors

When we are talking about ignoring noise and riding out the storm, let’s not forget that many of the companies that made up the Nasdaq in the early 2000s did eventually go out of business. Betting everything on a single company, in many cases, ended up being a catastrophe for the investor, despite the fact that the sector as a whole did incredibly well. This really made the benefit of diversification clear to everyone.

We can assume that the same is true for the cryptocurrencies of today. Some will emerge and become hugely successful, while others will slowly but steadily decrease in value and become irrelevant. Which ones they are is extremely difficult to tell at this early stage, but the lesson to be learned is clear: Diversification may be the only free lunch we will ever get in the world.

Featured image from Pixabay.

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 35 rated postsFredrik Vold is an entrepreneur, financial writer, and technical analysis enthusiast. He has been working and traveling in Asia for several years, and is currently based out of Beijing, China. He closely follows stocks, forex and cryptocurrencies, and is always looking for the next great alternative investment opportunity.




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Op-Ed

Is Manipulation Behind Bitcoin Cash’s Absurd Rally?

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Although you wouldn’t know it by today’s prices, bitcoin cash (BCH) has topped the crypto market leader board this month. The digital currency more than doubled over the span of 18 days, and in doing so far outpaced the broader market. But a closer examination of the value drivers suggest manipulation could be partly responsible for the rally.

As a reminder, the author has no vested interest in smearing BCH as I believe it to be one of the more advantageous coins on the market today. That said, the circumstances surrounding the most recent rally are peculiar to say the least.

What’s Up with Bitcoin.com?

A Hacked user informed me earlier this week that Bitcoin.com has been using the “BCH” ticker next to the word “bitcoin”. Normally, the ticker “BTC” is reserved for bitcoin, which is the original blockchain we all know about. Instead, the website quotes “BTC” next to the term “bitcoin core”.

In other words, BCH is quoted next to bitcoin and BTC is referred to as bitcoin core. See here for yourself:

 

For most readers of Hacked, the distinction is easily discernible, but for new traders the difference isn’t easily gauged.

The first question I have is, how many people bought bitcoin (BCH) thinking they were receiving actual bitcoin (BTC)?

Bitcoin.com describes itself as the “premier source for everything bitcoin.” Although the website doesn’t appear to offer a full-fledged trading platform, users can purchase bitcoin and bitcoin cash using the following link.

It is unclear how long the website has been referring to BCH as bitcoin. For those of us who’ve been following the market for some time, the way BTC and BCH are quoted is certainly strange.

Antpool

A large cryptocurrency mining group by the name of Antpool has also been accused of pumping BCH in recent weeks. The pool announced about six days ago that it is responsible for confirming more than 8% of all bitcoin cash transactions. In addition to confirming those, Antpool is also said to be burning BCH on a daily basis in order to reduce supply and boost prices.

Of course, crypto pumps do not require such elaborate setups to achieve their goals. Pump-and-dumps can be orchestrated rather easily through a chat group on social media. But Antpool does have a large and privileged position in the BCH ecosystem, which has raised suspicion over its recent actions.

Bitcoin Cash is Overbought, According to Tom Lee

Fundstrat’s Tom Lee recently weighed in on the bitcoin cash phenomenon, concluding that the cryptocurrency was overbought. In his view, investors should stick with bitcoin if they had a choice between Core and Cash.

In a segment on CNBC’s Fast Money, Lee said:

“I prefer not to pick winners and losers when we’re looking at cryptocurrencies like bitcoin/bitcoin Cash… Both have merits but if I was putting new money to work today… I would be a lot more interested in buying a lagger that could attract inflows rather than something that’s potentially overbought.”

Bitcoin cash added around $1,000 to its value between Apr. 6 and 23, with prices peaking near $1,600. The cryptocurrency corrected sharply lower on Wednesday and was still declining as of Thursday’s early-morning session. At the time of writing, BCH/USD was down 4.6% at $1,268.

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 464 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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Decentralization

JP Morgan’s Surprise Cryptocurrency Fees are a Reminder of Why Decentralization Is Sorely Needed

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JP Morgan Chase & Co has been hit with a class-action lawsuit by cryptocurrency traders over allegations of unannounced fees and higher interest rates on purchases of digital currencies. Though the allegations have not been proven, extra fees are a tactic routinely employed by traditional banking institutions. In the case of JP Morgan, this has karma written all over it given the way its chief executive has ridiculed digital assets by associating them with fraud.

Class Action Lawsuit

Traders from across the United States are seeking statutory damages of $1 million for unannounced interest charges and fees on cryptocurrency transactions between January and February of this year. The named plaintiff in the lawsuit is Brady Tucker, an Idaho resident who paid a total of $163.91 in fees and surprise interest charges over a six-day stretch.

According to information obtained by Reuters, the lawsuit accuses the bank of violating the U.S. Truth in Lending Act, a piece of legislation that requires credit card issuers to inform customers in writing of any notable change in fees.

The lawsuit asserts that Tucker tried to resolve the dispute by calling Chase’s customer support service directly. His request was turned down, prompting him to seek legal help. According to Bloomberg, the case in question is Tucker v. Chase Bank USA NA, 18-cv-3155, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

The Growing Case for Decentralization

Depending on who you ask, the allegations against JP Morgan are akin to cryptocurrency fraud not unlike the kind Jamie Dimon talked about while ridiculing bitcoin. But the irony in Dimon’s comments extend far beyond Chase’s latest dealings.

As the actions of Chase bank and other financial institutions have clearly demonstrated over the years, those who control the size and growth rate of fiat money cannot be trusted to do the right thing. As Nassim Taleb argues in The Black Swan, banks have a tendency of losing as much money as they make in the long run due to shady business practices and high-risk ventures. Decisions like these are easy when you are Too Big to Fail.

Decentralization, like the kind advocated by blockchain startups and cryptocurrencies, allows users to trade directly with each other without having to go through a (predatory) middleman. Decentralized systems not only help participants avoid unnecessary fees, red tape and other forms of unwanted intervention, they are virtually impossible to shut down. In this vein, decentralized currencies give people a fighting chance in their battle against never-ending inflation. As we’ve argued before, this is not only a prudent fight, but a noble one as well.

Cryptocurrencies that rely on decentralization offer society a unique value proposition unlike anything we’ve seen in recent history. What’s more, their adoption is not contingent upon us leaving the realm of traditional finance – at least, not yet. That’s because cryptocurrency started off as an obscure and esoteric asset class but has since become a value store for investors. Tomorrow, it will become a viable medium of exchange accepted worldwide.

That said, we are still in the very early days of the crypto revolution and it may be a while still before we can conclusively prove people like Dimon wrong. But crypto backers and investors should take comfort in knowing that big banks rarely lead in disruption these days. They have the resources to play catch-up, which they are clearly doing with blockchain.

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 464 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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