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Canary in a China Mine

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In the old day, or possibly still today I’m not sure, coal miners used to carry a live canary in a cage when going into the mines.

The strategy is that if any poisonous gases start to leak, the canary will die first and give the humans enough warning to get out in time.

This proverbial “canary in a coal mine” is now used widely in financial markets to describe a warning sign of possible dangers ahead.

The regulators are coming after crypto. We saw it earlier this month with the announcement in South Korea. Yesterday, Chinese authorities held a closed door meeting to figure out how to stop the flow of electricity into bitcoin.

As we know, most cryptocurrency mining happens in China because power is cheap there. So if that tap were to be cut off abruptly it could potentially deliver a fatal blow to the world’s number one cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin itself is already on borrowed time. Even though blockchain is cutting edge and potentially revolutionary, bitcoin’s protocol has not undergone a major upgrade since it was created in 2009. The transaction log has been seriously backed up for the past month and in the past few days the average transaction time has spiked to a record high of 11.5 hours.

The SegWit solution which was implemented in August allows some of the transaction data to be stored off-chain, which should make things more efficient. Unfortunately, less than 10% of miners are currently using this option.

We hope that bitcoin finds a way to scale quickly, and I personally believe that it will, but if it does not it may die a very gruesome and public death but in death will have given life to this new marvelous industry we call crypto.

@MatiGreenspan
eToro, Senior Market Analyst

Today’s Highlights

Dollar Bites Back

Oil Through the Roof

Ripple Continues

Please note: All data, figures, and Graphs are valid as of January 4th. All trading carries risk. Only risk capital you’re prepared to lose.

Traditional Markets

Yesterday the largest player in the financial markets, the US Federal Reserve, released the minutes from their previous meeting on December 13th, in which they raised the interest rates by 0.25%.

It’s always fun to peer into the minds of the Fed and it can usually give an excellent indication as to what’s happening in the economy.

The main topic of discussion was rather concerning. With all the money that they’ve pumped into the system since 2009, we should be seeing massive inflation at the moment. This should be simple economics, increase the supply of money, should decrease it’s value. But for some reason it’s not.

Despite this, it seems that their path remains steady. They will continue to raise the interest rates in the United States gradually over the next three years.

Though this information is not new, market participants did use it as an opportunity to place some buy orders (yellow circles) on the already soaring stock market as well as the badly beaten buck.

However, the long term trends of the market resumed fairly quickly and by tomorrow these will be tiny blips on the chart.

Oil in Focus

Oil continued to climb yesterday. The protests in Iran continue to gain momentum, which in turn causes speculators to continue the buying pressure on crude.

This afternoon, the EIA in the USA will release their inventories data, which usually has a pretty significant impact on the price.

Ripple Wow!

The price of Ripple has continued its rampage last night, tearing up everything in its path. Over the last month, XRP tokens are up a total of 1343%, making it the fastest gorwth in value of any asset I’ve ever heard of.

Still, the buying pressure continues with many clients asking about this exciting token. I did some number crunching yesterday and it seems that even with XRP at $10 per token, the minimum transfer on the Ripple blockchain would still only cost one hundredth of a cent.

Meaning, in order for the minimum ripple transaction to be $1, the price of XRP would need to be $100,000. Still, in order for that to be super useful, we’d need to see a lot more banks integrating this option and using these tokens. Otherwise, it could be worthless.

Let’s have an awesome day!

This content is provided for information and educational purposes only and should not be considered to be investment advice or recommendation.

The outlook presented is a personal opinion of the analyst and does not represent an official position of eToro.

Past performance is not an indication of future results. All trading involves risk; only risk capital you are prepared to lose.

Cryptocurrencies can widely fluctuate in prices and are not appropriate for all investors. Trading cryptocurrencies is not supervised by any EU regulatory framework.

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 103 rated postsSenior Market Analyst at Etoro.com.




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Altcoins

Selloff Resumes: Cryptocurrency Market Heads for Weekly Loss After Friday Tumult

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Cryptocurrency prices fell hard on Friday, with EOS hitting its lowest level in 60 days as bear-market pressures re-emerged following days of stable trading ranges.

Coins See Red

Cryptocurrency prices were down across the board, with major altcoins like EOS and Ethereum falling double digits percentage-wise. EOS reached a session low of $9.30, its worst reading in two months, following a botched mainnet launch that has yet to be resolved.

Ethereum prices are down more than 10% at $477. Ether bottomed around $468 earlier.

Bitcoin is currently testing four-month lows after being rejected several times at $6,800, a key inflection point for the digital currency. As Hacked reported Thursday, bitcoin’s rejection at that level was a strong sign that the recovery was losing steam. BTC/USD reached a low of around 6,092.38 on Friday, according to CoinMarketCap.

Bitcoin was last down more than 7% at 6,210.

Nearly every coin ranked in the top-100 by market cap was down compared with 24 hours ago, with the only exception being Game.com, a lesser-known altcoin.

The cryptocurrency market cap plunged by more than $30 billion to $257 billion. It had spent most of the week above $285 billion. Total trade volumes have averaged $14.1 billion over the last 24 hours.

Bearish Cycle Continues

While there was no immediate catalyst for the Friday selloff, the pullback is likely a continuation of the bearish cycle that re-emerged last month. The market has formed a new bottom in the wake of last week’s $60 billion selloff, a sign that bearish pressure is likely to remain.

Contrary to some reports, the recent cyber attack on Bithumb is not the cause of the recent price shakeup. Although the market dipped initially following reports of the breach, it recovered just as quickly and continued higher.

That said, the attack did catch the attention of financial watchdogs across the Asia Pacific region. On Friday, Japan’s financial regulator
ordered several digital currency exchanges to improve their anti-money laundering practices.

The order from Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) led bitFlyer, the country’s largest crypto exchange, to suspend the creation of new accounts as it beefed up its standards.

South Korea’s financial regulators have also stated they will expedite the creation of new cryptocurrency laws following the recent attack. According to various reports, new legislation could be on its way in a matter of months.

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 462 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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Analysis

Crypto Update: Bitcoin Plunges Below $6500 as Heavy Selling Resumes

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The cryptocurrency segment is having another very negative day after a calmer period, as selling pressure intensified yet again. All of the major coins turned sharply lower, with the laggards of the recent period, Litecoin, Monero, and Dash confirming their downtrend and the relatively stronger coins also taking a beating.

The total capitalization of the segment dropped below $270 billion, and from a long-term technical standpoint, several currencies are in precarious positions. With no clear news catalyst behind the move, technicals are playing a very important role, and last week’s lows will likely be in focus in the coming days.

BTC/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Bitcoin is still relatively weak both on the short- and long-term time-frames, and it dropped back to the $6275-$6500 zone that has been acting as primary support during the recent leg lower. Given the importance of the long-term zone between $5850 and $6000, a break below $6275 could set up a crucial test in the coming days. For now, traders still shouldn’t enter new positions, while investors should hold on to their coins as the bullish secular trend is still intact.

No Hiding From the Selloff as Altcoins Broadly Lower

LTC/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

With the weakest coins leading the way lower again, new swing lows are likely in the majority of the coins, although there is still hope for bulls that a major long-term breakdown can be avoided. Ethereum fell below $500 after touching the declining short-term trendline, and it remains in a bearish trend, even as it’s still in a much better technical position compared to BTC, holding up well above the April lows, and being further away from last week’s swing low as well.

ETH/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

 That said, we remain negative regarding the short-term outlook for the second largest coin, and traders shouldn’t enter new positions here.  Above the $500 level, strong resistance is ahead between $555 and $575, while primary support is found at $450, with further zones near $400 and $480.

BNB/USDT, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

There are no real hiding places for crypto investors from the current selloff even as Binance Coin is still holding up relatively well, within a clear uptrend and above crucial technical support.  That said, as we warned before, given the broad downtrend in the segment, traders should be cautious with new short-term positions.

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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4.6 stars on average, based on 279 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

Stellar Lumens Update: Acquisitions and Retirement Accounts

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Stellar Lumens is in the headlines this week amid reports that it is negotiating to acquire a high-profile startup by the name of Chain. Meanwhile, a bitcoin IRA that lets users buy cryptocurrency for retirement added XLM to its list of available assets, potentially raising the investment appeal of the Stellar protocol.

Stellar Eyes Chain Acquisition

Fortune reported Wednesday that Stellar has been in talks to buy the San Francisco-based blockchain startup for $500 million. Citing anonymous sources, the report said the payment would be made in XLM, the seventh-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization. No cash or equity will be part of the sale, which has yet to be finalized.

Although Stellar’s plan for Chain is not yet known, its interest in the startup is tied to its team of talented blockchain developers. Stellar founder and crypto trailblazer Jed McCaleb has a keen eye for talent, having founded Mt. Gox, eDonkey and Ripple XRP.

Chain develops enterprise-grade blockchain solutions, including ledger products that allow businesses to transfer funds in token format. The company raised over $43 million in venture funding from high-profile investors including Visa, Nasdaq, Citi Ventures and Blockchain Capital.

It is not entirely clear how the purchase would impact XLM’s market value. For current investors, the main concern is a wholesale dump of Lumens by Chain’s backers in the event that the sale actually takes place.

At a current price-per-coin of less than $0.23, the Chain acquisition would translate to roughly 219.3 million XLM. There are roughly 18.7 billion Lumens in circulation, giving the currency a total market cap of $4.3 billion.

Stellar for Retirement

The BitcoinIRA retirement platform has announced the addition of both Stellar Lumens and Zcash to its available list of cryptocurrencies, giving investors the ability to diversify their crypto holdings for retirement.

“[W]e’re excited to meet the high demand for both Stellar Lumens and Zcash in the marketplace by making these coins available to customers looking to diversify their retirement portfolios,” said Chris Kline, BitcoinIRA’s Chief Operating Officer.

In addition to Lumens and Zcash, the BitcoinIRA platform allows retirement planners to access bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin, bitcoin cash and Ethereum Classic.

Crypto IRAs fall under a much broader category of assets called digital IRAs, which are self-directed retirement accounts. Cryptocurrencies are recognized by the IRS as property, which allows for their inclusion in retirement accounts. Self-directed IRAs have unique tax benefits that can help investors maximize their digital currency holdings.

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 462 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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