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Can SAFTs Create a Self-Regulated Cryptocurrency Market?

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The Chinese government’s recent ban on initial coin offerings (ICOs) has reignited the debate on how crypto-assets should be regulated. In the United States, lawmakers are grappling to define ICOs from a tax, legal and securities perspective. To this day, no one is certain how this new crowdfunding model will be treated.

ICOs mirror initial public offerings by allowing companies to raise money via Ethereum-based token sales. Their growth has occurred in lockstep with the broader cryptocurrency market, which has seen enormous uptake since the start of 2017. However, the key challenge for market participants has been predicting how the regulatory environment will evolve to keep pace with crypto-based crowdfunding.

The murky regulatory environment surrounding token sales has hastened the need to bring the cryptocurrency ecosystem to maturity. Recognizing the limitations of existing frameworks, the crypto community came together to create standard legal agreements for the ICO market. These efforts led to the creation of the Simple Agreement for Future Tokens (SAFT) project, which aims to streamline the verification and investor accreditation process. The open source movement is uniting technology companies, legal experts and members of the blockchain community to converge on a framework that gives rise to a self-regulated cryptocurrency market.

The Rise of SAFT

In its simplest form, a SAFT promises investors future tokens at a fixed price. It can be structured so that investors receive their tokens when the network launches or via inbuilt vesting that encourages their continued support.

SAFTs were modelled after the Simple Agreement for Future Equity (SAFE) protocol, which was created by Y Combinator to reduce the complexity of funding early stage startups. Whereas SAFTs promise investors future tokens, the SAFE guarantees future equity.

While SAFTs certainly fall under the ICO umbrella, they are structured to provide much more regulatory certainty. This is what people mean when they say SAFTs are creating a self-regulated crypto market.

Unlike plain ICOs, which sell tokens to pretty much everybody, the SAFT structure limits participation to accredited investors as defined by Rule 506(c) of the SEC’s Regulation D. This list includes high net worth individuals, high-income earners and multi-million-dollar trusts, among others. This is the demographic to which SAFT is designed to serve. By meeting these and other requirements set out under Rule 506(c), startups can theoretically raise an unlimited amount of money via crowdfunding and advertise their sale over the internet.

Uniting the Blockchain Community?

Because SAFT is open source, it can be used by anyone. It’s therefore no surprise that a budding startup community leveraging SAFTs has already emerged. Their goal is to create a more secure way for investors to access the ICO market. This will serve as an important stopgap until new laws are crafted and implemented.

Members of the blockchain community have already encouraged regulators to join the SAFT movement. At the time of writing, the only ruling on digital coin offerings has come from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Earlier this year, the agency ruled that the tokens offered by ‘The DAO’, an ether-based venture capital fund, were securities and therefore subject to national securities laws. The SEC maintains that not every token will be defined as a security, but determined on a case-by-case basis.

Other regulators expected to chime in on the digital token debate are the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Internal Revenue Service and the Financial Crime Enforcement Network. Internationally, financial regulators in Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, Russia and Canada are also exploring whether ICOs should be regulated as securities.

Just How Big Have ICOs Become?

The amount of money raised by startups via initial coin offerings approached $800 million in the second quarter, data from CoinDesk recently revealed. By mid-2017, ICOs had already outpaced early venture capital funding. That’s a significant achievement given that ICOs were barely heard of just 12 months ago.

The growth and widespread adoption of ICOs mirrors the massive explosion in cryptocurrency over the past nine months. Before 2017, the cryptocurrency market was synonymous with Bitcoin, which was officially launched in 2008 as the brainchild of Satoshi Nakamoto, the person or entity who designed its original reference implementation. While Bitcoin continues to lead the pack in terms of overall capitalization, nearly a dozen altcoins have surpassed the $1 billion mark in the past few months. Ethereum is among those, and is currently ranked second in terms of overall capitalization. The crypto market is collectively valued at over $140 billion, although this figure is prone to wild fluctuations.

Bitcoin has been the world’s best-performing currency in six of the past seven years. As of early September, it appears likely that the cryptocurrency asset class will retain that title over fiat currencies.

The Beginnings of a Self-Regulated Market

The ICO ban initiated by China dealt a major blow to the cryptocurrency market, with ether prices plunging as much as 30% in the days following the decision. There’s a general fear that China’s attack on ICOs marks an end to the first era of digital token offerings. At first glance, the decision appears to have set a bad precedent for an industry still finding its footing.

At the same time, China’s unique context makes the ruling hardly surprising. Beijing has zero tolerance for any activity that will undermine its financial stability. This is especially true at a time when policymakers are steering their economy away from export- and investment-dependence toward a model that is based on services and consumption. The People’s Bank of China has already intervened in the cryptocurrency market on several occasions, probably as a backhanded attempt to manage capital flight from the country. (Cryptos are a popular way for mainland investors to diversify away from a volatile yuan, which fell to more than eight-year lows against the dollar in 2016.)

While the Chinese ban may stifle blockchain development in the short run, it will only embolden industry players to converge on a new model for self-regulating this space. From a regulatory perspective, the combination of identity verification and investor accreditation offered by SAFT has several advantages, including greater token compliance and more clarity for entrepreneurs. These features make SAFT well positioned to become the industry standard. By giving accredited investors an easy onboarding platform, SAFT opens token crowdfunding to a large segment of the market, leading to vastly greater adoption than we’ve seen through the early stages of the ICO hype.

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 772 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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Analysis

Crypto Update: Bitcoin Touched $4000 as Broad Rally Continues

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Yesterday’s break-out to new short-term highs continued today in the cryptocurrency segment, with Bitcoin’s push towards the $4000 making headlines in the segment. The most valuable coin surged past the $3850 level, dragging most of the majors higher, but Ethereum and most of yesterday’s leaders lagged behind BTC during today’s session.

That said, the short-term trend remains positive in case of the majority of the coins, and even though some of the top currencies are overbought, the counter-trend move could continue. In light of the increased activity, trading volumes, and volatility in the market, the majors might be in for a more sustained bullish, move, and as now only Ripple is showing clear signs of relative weakness, despite today’s rally, the leadership of the short-term move looks healthy.

While the long-term picture is still clearly negative in the segment, until the newly established short-term uptrends remain intact, traders could still play the move, sticking to strict risk management rules and relatively small position sizes.

BTC/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

While Bitcoin left behind the initial resistance level near $3850, and quickly rallied up to the strong longer-term zone between $4000 and $4050, it might need to consolidate before another push higher. BTC is slightly overbought from a short-term perspective, and given the significance of the resistance, traders could exit a part of their positions here.

The $4000-$4050 zone stopped the year-end rally (outside of a brief, failed break-out), and a move above it could open up the road towards the $4250 and the crucial $4450 levels. Below $3850, further support is found near $3600 and just above $3450, and our trend model remains on a short-term buy signal and long-term sell signal.

ETH/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Ethereum continues to trade near the $145 resistance level following yesterday’s surge, and bulls are still eyeing a test of the next major resistance zone near $160, which marked the top of the previous counter-trend move in the coin.

While the coin is still overbought form a short-term perspective, given the momentum if its recent move, the rally could continue after a brief consolidation period. The newly-established uptrend is intact in ETH, and traders could enter new positions should the overbought readings got cleared, with support levels found near $130 and $112.

XRP/USDT, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Although Ripple continues to be relatively weak compared its major peers, today it spiked to a new 5-week high, riding the market-wide trend and testing a strong declining trendline in the process. The coin triggered a short-term buy signal in our trend model by topping its January swing high, but given its relative weakness, traders should focus on the more bullish coins during the current counter-trend move.

The long-term setup remains negative, and from a broader perspective, odds still favor the test of the key long-term $0.28 and $0.26 levels, with further support levels found near $0.32 and $0.30, and with short-term targets being ahead near $0.3550, and $$0.3750.

EOS Continues to Lead but Litecoin Struggles to Gain Ground

LTC/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

LTC continues to trade slightly above last week’s highs but compared to the leaders of the current leg of the rally it remained relatively weak today. With that and the still negative long-term setup in mind, traders should exit a part of their positions here, even as the short-term uptrend is intact and a push towards the next major resistance level near $51 is still possible. Our trend model is still on a buy signal, as a failed break-out is not yet confirmed, with support levels still found near $44, $38, and $34.50.

EOS/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

EOS remained relatively strong today, spiking above the $3.80 level after leaving behind the $3.50 resistance. Now, the coin is clearly overbought from a short-term perspective, and that led to a downgrade in our trend model as a pullback is now likely.

The short-term trend remains bullish despite the correction risks, and should the coin clear the overbought momentum readings traders could reenter their position following strict risk management rules. Support is now found near $3.50, $3, and $2,80 while strong resistance is ahead near $4.50 and $5.

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 466 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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Altcoins

Busiest Day in Tether’s History as USDT Volume Matches Bitcoin’s $10 Billion

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Tether (USDT) was utilized to a greater extent than ever before on Tuesday, as traders pumped $9.95 billion worth of trades through the stablecoin.

That’s the highest value of daily trades recorded in Tether’s history. While the global cryptocurrency market cap climbed to $136 billion, USDT trades were just a few hundred thousand off that of Bitcoin. Tether accounted for 27.7% of Tuesday’s $36 billion market wide daily volume.

Tether Volume Nears That of Bitcoin

After processing $4 billion worth of trades on Sunday, USDT volume rose steadily throughout Monday. By the time of the market peak Tether was processing the second most trades in the crypto space, second only to Bitcoin.

Excluding transaction mining, BTC/USDT trades dominated ahead of Ethereum and EOS. There’s an opportunity for arbitrage trading between Coineal and Binance at time of writing, where USDT is valued at $0.999847 and $1.01 respectively.

The algorithms that keep Tether stable did their job well today, as the coin avoided the kind of major fluctuation that often accompanies a market pump. Besides Coineal, aggregate prices remained between $1.00 and $1.01.

Tether’s Stablecoin ‘Price Predictions’

In an example of an article that seems like it was written by algorithm, this post details some Tether price predictions for 2019. According to the author, USDT will hit $1.50 before the end of the year:

“Tether price prediction 2019 is up to 1.50$. It seems very less. For now if you buy Tether for 100$ right now then you will get 100 USDT (Tether). So price prediction 2019 shows you will get profit of 50$ within a year. Its mean your 100$ will turn in to 150$.”

The rationale behind the prediction? Corrective and impulse waves:

“Tether forecast shows that price shows a corrective wave. After every corrective wave there will a impulse wave. Inverters should wait for that impulse wave and after that they will gain 50% profit.”

Tether’s clearly defined function as a dollar-backed stablecoin hasn’t stopped others from taking shots at USDT price predictions.

Has Tether Had a Negative Effect on Bitcoin?

When Tether burst onto the scene in 2014 (as Realcoin), many Bitcoin adherents immediately saw doom on the horizon. Rightly or wrongly, they foresaw the prospect of Tether becoming a more convenient on-ramp to the altcoin market than Bitcoin, and so eliminating one of Bitcoin’s useful functions.

Five years on from the birth of Realcoin and that vision hasn’t really come to pass. Bitcoin remains the on-ramp to the altcoin market, while the rebranded Tether has become the off-ramp. How different would the Bitcoin market cap look today if BTC was still the beneficiary of all of the altcoin profits.

Over $30 billion of today’s volume came from top-ten major alts – all of which have USDT pairs on major exchanges. Combined BTC and USDT trade volume today would be just $2 billion less than Bitcoin’s own all-time high changeover.

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 146 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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XRP Price Analysis: Explosive Breakout from Pennant Confirmed; SBI Holdings CEO Bullish on XRP

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  • XRP/USD is enjoying three consecutive sessions of gains, having jumped around 17%.
  • SBI Holdings CEO believes XRP market capitalization will be higher than bitcoin’s.

Ripple’s XRP price has been enjoying a decent move to the north over the past few sessions, as life flows back into the bulls. XRP/USD is currently running at a third consecutive session in the green, having gained around 17% within this period. The explosion of buying pressure came after the price managed to escape a bullish pennant pattern.

XRP/USD: Price Recap

XRP/USD had initially been cooling since the big bull run at the back end of 2018. The price rallied on 24th December up to a high of around $0.4670, before quickly losing upside momentum. It was then forced to trade within the confinements of a descending wedge pattern. XRP lost over 30% in value before it was able to break out from the wedge.

On 8th February a chunky push higher from the bulls was observed, resulting in a breach of the upper acting trend line. XRP/USD jumped around 10% on this day but then eased south to retest the trend line for a few sessions. During the cooling period, price action has formed a pennant structure which saw an eventual big breakout to the upside, as described earlier.

SBI Holdings CEO Bullish on XRP

The SBI Holdings CEO, Yoshitaka Kitao, was recently speaking on XRP and said this year is a significant one for the so-called banker’s cryptocurrency. He believes that the market capitalization of XRP is likely to dwarf bitcoin’s at some point in the future. Kitao has firm belief in the future sucess of XRP and can see it being adopted on a global scale. He was quoted saying:

“Because XRP is already beginning to become international, xRapid will be used for fund transfers in 2019. By increasing the so-called XRP’s plastic use, we anticipate that the XRP market capitalization will easily exceed the market capitalization of bitcoin.”

SBI has many joint ventures set up with Ripple across the blockchain industry; it’s therefore not too surprising to see such comments. The organization will also be launching its very own cryptocurrency exchange called VCTRADE, scheduled for March. Deposits and withdrawals for bitcoin, XRP, and Ethereum (ETH) are already available on the platform.

Technical Review – XRP/USD

XRP/USD daily chart.

Given current upside, eyes must now be on the next likely barriers of resistance for the bulls. A supply area noted from $0.3450 up to $0.3600 is the next target; XRP has not traded comfortably above this region since 10th January. A break above this zone should put the bulls in an excellent position to retest the $0.4000 area. On several occasions, this price territory has caused issues for the bulls in their attempts to push further north. In terms of support, this is seen back down at the psychological $0.3000 mark. If that fails to hold, then there is a demand which runs from $0.3000 down to $0.2500.

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 124 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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