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ChronoPay Looks to Kickstart Bitcoin Adoption in Russia

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ChronoPay, one of Russia’s oldest online payments providers, is including bitcoin to its payment gateway, enabling all of its clients to accept the world’s most popular cryptocurrency.

“I have publicly criticized bitcoin in the past,” stated ChronoPay founder and chief executive Pavel Vrublevsky, in a phone call with CCN & Hacked today. The former bitcoin skeptic, a controversial figure, has since changed his opinion on bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. “I apologize to everyone – I’ve changed my point of view radically,” he wrote in a public post today, after having “thoroughly studied the subject.”

Established in 2003, ChronoPay is among Russia’s earliest online payment companies. The Moscow-based company is plugged into international payment platforms like VISA, MasterCard, American Express, Maestro and other regional payment systems. Bitcoin will now be among them.

“It’s already enabled,” Vrublevsky tells CCN & Hacked when asked when the company plans begin supporting bitcoin payments on its gateway.

It is like any other payment method. There will be a bitcoin button next to other payment options during a transaction.

To facilitate payments with the cryptocurrency, Vrublevsky reveals that his company will also provide bitcoin wallets for merchants. A representative for the company revealed that tens of thousands of merchants, “from tiny t-shirt online shops to national industry leaders” are among its clientele.

In particular, two of Russia’s four largest mobile operators are ChronoPay clients, including MTS and Tele2 – the former which is the country’s biggest mobile operator with some 70 million users (2012 figures).

“We are working with 2 of Russia’s largest telecom companies,” confirmed Vrublevsky, who revealed that the billion dollar corporations were interested in bitcoin.

Vrublevsky said of the two telecom giants:

It’s not just about blockchain, they’re interested in the possibility of bitcoin payments.

ChronoPay’s vast clientele includes major retail stores including the likes of Holodilnik.ru; Kupivip.ru, Sony.ru and even BMW.ru. Major news organizations like Kommersant, TheMoscowTimes and Interfax are also clients, as are charity organizations like Greenpeace and WWF among others.

The U-Turn

Such a move by the telecom giants would be significant to be sure, if only because Russian authorities have long harbored an aggressive stance toward bitcoin adopters in the country. This time last year, the Russian Finance Ministry was pushing its bill through the Russian parliament to criminalize and ban bitcoin usage in the country. Indeed, the FinMin proposed a 2-year prison term in February 2016, only to amend it to a 7-year prison term a month later in March. The bill never went through.

Russia’s deputy finance minister Alexei Moiseev has since talked about acknowledging bitcoin in a legal capacity in 2018. Vrublevsky says legalization could be even sooner.

He stated:

The central bank last week announced draft legislation for bitcoin as a commodity. Bitcoin could be legalized this autumn.

“It is a complete U-turn”, added Vrublevsky, referring to the shift in bitcoin’s perception from the central bank, much like his own roundabout.

The reversal in bitcoin’s previously fickle future in Russia has seen the likes of Russia’s largest online retailer, Ulmart, planning to begin accepting bitcoin come September this year. It is all the more remarkable that the retailer was told off by Russia’s central bank from accepting bitcoin payments merely three months ago in February.

Workaround

Still, it’s too early for big companies to show their hand in accepting bitcoin. While ChronoPay will enable bitcoin payments to all its clients, only those with their own bitcoin wallets – also provided by ChronoPay – will be able to accept the cryptocurrency. Big industry giants, like MTS, aren’t among them.

Vrublevsky says he is in the process of circumventing the hurdle, by establishing a workaround in the bitcoin-friendly jurisdiction of Netherlands. “I’m looking at options, possibly establishing a company in Netherlands where it will be safe for companies to have their own bitcoin wallets.”

‘ICOs Changed Everything’

The executive is adamant that the possibilty of raising money from new fundraising mechanisms like ICOs where future coins are exchanged with cryptocurrecies for immediate value. This has awoken companies to the possibility of efficient, easier funding and are in-turn, looking at cryptocurrencies in a new light, according to Vrublevsky, who made a pointed example of HumanIQ ICO. “I’m pushing ChronoPay toward bitcoin and blockchain technologies,” he said, revealing his own plans for an ICO in the future.

The executive is also planning to establish a bitcoin exchange in Russia in the future, presumably when the legislation allows for it.

For now, the bitcoin skeptic-turned-enabler is excited about bringing bitcoin payments to the mainstream in Russia.

“It’s funny,” he tells CCN & Hacked after calling us back following an earlier conversation today.

We are a big storm today in Russia, a storm unlike any in years. I’d like to think it’s because of our bitcoin annnouncement.

This article was brought to you by Hacked.com and CCN.

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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 stars on average, based on 1 rated postsSamburaj is the contributing editor at Hacked and keeps tabs on science, technology and cyber security.




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Bitcoin

Bitcoin Reverses Gains as Bears Eye Breakdown of Major Support Level

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Bitcoin swung lower on Sunday, giving back all of Saturday’s gain and setting the stage for a possible re-test of a long-term support level.

BTC/USD Update

Bitcoin’s price fell 4% to $3,596.96, where it was approaching an important long-term support. That level is located at $3,550. A successful penetration south by the bears could set the stage for a bigger drop toward new yearly lows. As a refresher, bitcoin bottomed near $3,100 last month before rebounding more than 30%.

Read: Bitcoin Approaches “GTFO” Level.

The bulk of the selloff on Sunday occurred over the span of one hour beginning around 06:30 UTC. Trading volumes have remained elevated throughout the session, with roughly $5.4 billion worth of BTC trading hands on virtual currency exchanges.

More on this story: Return to $100 Billion Awaits as Crypto Market Loses $5B in One Hour.

The leading digital currency received a boost heading into the weekend, as buyers re-emerged following a period of hesitation. Bitcoin climbed back above $3,700 on Saturday before the latest reversal took root.

Broad Market Reversal

Even with the recent decline, bitcoin’s share of the overall cryptocurrency market was little changed at 52.5%. That’s because altcoins and tokens registered bigger percentage losses, with Ethereum, bitcoin cash and EOS each falling 4.5% or more.

Alternative cryptocurrencies tend to gravitate around bitcoin, especially during bearish trends. Justified or not, bitcoin continues to be a major influence on how other assets perform. At the time of writing, the total cryptocurrency market cap was worth $119.8 billion.

Trading across all virtual assets has remained elevated over the last 24 hours, with total volumes exceeding $16.7 billion. Cryptocurrencies have seen a substantial rise in circulation over the past three months as long-dormant accounts became active once again.

In less than one month, cryptoassets will enter its longest bear market in history, according to CNBC’s Ran NeuNer. As of Sunday, the bear market has stretched on for 394 days. The longest on record was seen back in 2014-15 when the bear trend lasted for 420 days.

2019 could be a year of accumulation for bitcoin, as long-term holders and institutional investors look to capitalize on low prices. As we recently speculated, bitcoin will likely prove to be an attractive investment in the $2,000-$4,000 range. The current hesitation reflects uncertainty about whether the market has reached a definitive bottom.

Read: Bitcoin’s Year of Accumulation.

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 742 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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Altcoins

Crypto Markets Get a Boost Heading Into the Weekend as Debate Over Bitcoin ETF Intensifies

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Cryptocurrency prices rose on Saturday, alleviating the risk of an imminent pullback following days of mostly lateral moves. As history has shown, longer periods of sideways trading are often followed by brisk selloffs in bitcoin and altcoins.

Flush of Green

The biggest cryptocurrencies all reported gains at the start of the weekend. Bitcoin, the largest by market cap, climbed back above $3,700 in a show of momentum for the bulls. At last check, the bitcoin price was valued at $3,744.11, having gained 2.5% from Friday.

Bitcoin’s price broke out on Monday but failed to generate sustained bids throughout the week. As a result, it spent most of that period hovering between $3,600-$3,700. Bitcoin faces a major long-term support at $3,550; a break below this key level could be a momentum killer for the bulls.

The leading digital currency continues to be a good barometer for the overall market. With a market dominance rate of 52.5%, bitcoin has a direct impact on how altcoins and tokens perform. It comes as no surprise that coins other than bitcoin rose by more than $2 billion on Saturday, according to CoinMarketCap.

The total market cap of all cryptocurrencies improved to $124.7 billion, up markedly from a 24-hour low of $120.9 billion.

Litecoin was the top gainer among major cryptos, rising 4.4% to $32.65. XRP added 1.7% to $0.3313, Ethereum climbed 2.5% to $125.01 and bitcoin cash rose 1.4$% to $130.70.

Outside the top-ten, IOTA rose 4.1% to $0.3246. NEO advanced 5% to trade at $8.09.

Bitcoin ETF Debate Continues

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has a big decision to make in roughly five weeks: approve or reject the VanEck SolidX Bitcoin Trust. Unlike previous crypto ETF applications, the VanEck-SolidX application proposes a physically-settled bitcoin fund that addresses many of the SEC’s ongoing concerns around investor protection and market manipulation.

Some investors are clinging to the hope that SEC approval of the VanEck-SolidX product will give the market a much needed boost by the end of the first quarter. But the impact of the approval/rejection could depend largely on how the market performs heading into the decision, now slated for Feb. 27. As Hacked reported last month: “The rejection of an ETF approval could affect the market if the price of Bitcoin has been increasing in anticipation of the announcement.” More here.

The consensus among analysts and market observers is that the SEC is unlikely to approve any bitcoin ETF this year. This view was recently echoed by bitcoin bull and CNBC contributor Brian Kelly, who says the bitcoin futures market isn’t mature enough to allow for an ETF to be approved. He didn’t comment specifically on the VanEck application, which has been designed as an alternative to futures-linked products by holding a repository of physical BTC as opposed to derivatives.

The SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) named crypto as one of six regulatory focal points for 2019. In a recently released report, OCIE said: “Given the significant growth and risks presented in this market, OCIE will continue to monitor the offer and sale, trading, and management of digital assets, and where the products are securities, examine for regulatory compliance.”

For more on this story, read: As Race for Bitcoin ETF Heats Up, SEC Identifies Cryptocurrency as a Top Priority in 2019.

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 742 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: Coins Drift Lower but Damage Remains Limited

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The major cryptocurrencies continue to trade in narrow ranges following last week’s decline and this week’s failed rally attempt. While Bitcoin is stuck near the $3600 support, the other top coins have been losing ground today, with Ethereum dipping below the $120 level, Ripple violating the $0.32 price level and Litecoin testing the $30-$30.50 support zone yet again.

Trading volumes and volatility remain very low across the board, but correlations are still high between the majors, and despite the quiet environment, we haven’t seen bullish signs in the market. That said, the trading ranges that developed this week are still intact, and although the overwhelmingly bearish long-term picture still makes the continuation of the decline more likely, a failed break-down pattern could still develop in the segment, should the top coins recover above their weekly highs in the coming days.

For now, our trend model remains on sell signals on both time-frames in case of most of the majors, and traders and investors should still stay away from entering new positions here, with still no bullish leadership being present.

BTC/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Bitcoin is still relatively stable even in the very quiet environment, and the most valuable coin is trading right at the $3600 support/resistance level. BTC formed a volatility compression pattern in recent days, and that formation points to a more significant move in the coming days, with a move out of it being inevitable as soon as this weekend.

Bulls are still looking for a move above $3850, towards the key zone between $4000 and $4050, but the bearish long-term setup continues to favor a dip below $3600, with support zones still found near $3250 and $3000, and traders and investors should still not enter positions here.

ETH/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Ethereum failed to get close to the $130 resistance level again, and as it dipped below primary support, the test of the swing low near $112 is likely in the coming days. The coin remains on sell signals on both time-frames in our trend model, and a move towards the key support zone and between $95 and $100 is likely in the coming weeks, barring a quick reversal above $130. Further resistance is ahead at $145, $160, and near $180 while the bear market low is found near $80

Ripple Under Pressure Again in Weak Environment

EOS/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Altcoins continue to trade without a clear direction despite today’s dip, but the bearish drift of the recent days means that the key support levels could be in focus during the weekend, should the volatility compression finally end. The few major coins showing signs of strength haven’t been able to maintain the bullish momentum, like EOS, which gave back yesterday’s gains today.

XRP/USDT, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

While the market of Ripple is still very quiet, the coin fell below the $32 support yet again, and it remains relatively weak compared to its closest peers. It is also on sell signals on both time-frames in our trend model, and a dip below $0.30 will likely be the next significant move. Further strong support is found near the $0.26 level, with resistance ahead near $0.3550 and $0.3750.

LTC/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Litecoin is trading just above the key $30-$30.50 support zone, and it sill failed to get anywhere near the next major zone near the $34.50 price level. Given the hostile long-term setup and the short-term sell signal our trend model, traders should stay away from the coin here, with a move toward the $26 level being likely in the coming weeks. Further strong resistance is ahead near $38 and $44 and with another support level found near $23.

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 444 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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