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Countdown to Bitcoin Gold Is On Despite Community Skepticism

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In just a few days, an alternative version of bitcoin will come into existence via the increasingly common ‘hard fork’ process. Bitcoin Gold, or BTG, aims to democratize the blockchain’s lucrative mining infrastructure by taking it out of the hands of big companies.

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Hard Fork Coming

The term ‘hard fork’ has become part of blockchain vernacular following the launch of bitcoin cash Aug. 1. Despite its struggles, the alternative version of bitcoin has created billions of dollar in market value. Backers of Bitcoin Gold are hoping for a similar fate.

By pursuing a hard fork, BTG’s developers seek to transform how mining works by eliminating ASICs – the powerful machines developed solely for minting bitcoin. Eliminating ASIC miners will attract more people to the system, thus democratizing the mining process.

The project, which is being led by Jack Liao of the Hong Kong-based LightningASIC, will launch on block 491,407. Based on current mining activity, that is expected to occur Wednesday.

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However, blockchain experts are quick to remind that BTG isn’t your typical fork. For starters, the newly minted currency will be created in advance of the launch. Roughly 1% of the tokens mined before the public launch will be used to pay BTG’s development team.

These characteristics have led some analysts to issue a warning over the legitimacy Bitcoin Gold. Bitcoin Gold’s development team has already mined tens of thousands of tokens, raising eyebrows about whether this is just a get-rich-quick scheme.

That being said, the official BTG website says the new coin will provide:

  • decentralization
  • fair distribution
  • replay protection
  • transparency

Accessing Bitcoin Gold

If you currently own bitcoin, you will receive an equivalent amount of BTG tokens after the fork – that is, if your broker participates. Japan’s bitFlyer marketplace has already announced it will support the Bitcoin Gold process. The broker issued the following statement on Saturday:

We will credit you with an amount of BTG corresponding to the amount of Bitcoin (BTC) in your bitFlyer account prior to the split. If the BTG split is deemed by bitFlyer to be permanent and secure in regards to customer assets, you will be able to own both BTC and BTG in your bitFlyer account.

In other words, the amount of BTG distributed to bitFlyer account holders will be based on the amount of BTG held in their corresponding account at the time of the chain split.

Some notable exchanges, such as U.S.-based Coinbase, have indicated they will not support the new protocol. This leaves traders with the task of moving over their bitcoin to a wallet that supports the BTG protocol.

Given the red flags surrounding Bitcoin Gold, it’s hard to say how the blockchain community will react come Wednesday. The project states on its website that some 20 exchanges and wallet platforms have already promised to support the new protocol.

Bitcoin Gold is emerging at a time of great opportunity in the cryptocurrency market. The original bitcoin token climbed above $6,000 last week for the first time ever, bringing its total market cap well north of $100 billion. Digital currency is by far the world’s best-performing asset class, dwarfing the stock market’s bullish gains over the past ten months.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

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Technical Analysis: Litecoin Continues Surge as Bitcoin Tests Highs

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With the crypto world being focused on the historical futures launch, the major coins all enjoyed buying following a hectic weekend, and a volatile week as a whole. BTC itself got another boost from the widespread publicity and the volatile correction of the recent days ended, with the most valuable coin bouncing back towards its all-time high.

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While the long-term picture remains severely overbought, the short-term picture is not stretched and further gains are possible even amid the elevated correction risk. That said, investors should wait for a more favorable entry point to ad dot their holdings, while traders should control position sizes in the light of the long-term setup. Major support levels are now near $13,000, $11,300, and $10,000, with stronger levels still at $8200 and $7700.

BTC/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

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The major altcoins are all up today, but only Monero and Litecoin are still within short-term uptrends, and the segment as a whole is still dangerously overextended, and a deeper correction is very likely in the coming weeks. LTC continued its recent break-out, getting close to the $200 level, and joining the extremely overbought group regarding the long-term momentum, and triggering a long-term sell signal in our trend model. Key support levels are found $100 at $75 and $64, with a weaker primary level at $125.

LTC/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

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Cryptocurrencies

Trade Recommendation: Stellar

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The price bounces from the support zone formed by the uptrend line, SMA100 and the support level. RSI confirms price reversal. MACD histogram supports upward movement and DMI allows opening long trades. It’s trading opportunity. Buy orders can be placed at 0.00000870 level with stop orders at 0.00000720 level. Profit targets are 0.00001200 and 0.00002000 levels. The daily chart does not give us strong bullish signals, that’s why this buy signal is more risky than it could be. You should invest small part of your deposit in this market or skip this trading opportunity. If you don’t use leverage, trading volume for this trade is up to 10% from your deposit.

Market: STRBTC
Buy: 0.00000870
Stop: 0.00000720
Profit Targets: 0.00001200 and 0.00002000

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The trading signal is based on Poloniex chart.
Disclaimer: The analyst does not have investments in Stellar.

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Altcoins

Ethereum’s Pullback from Record Territory Continues as CryptoKittes Effect Wears Thin

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Ethereum resumed its descent Monday, a mere 24 hours after hitting new highs, a sign that the CryptoKitties bump was beginning to wear down.

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ETH/USD Price Levels

Ether’s dollar-denominated trade value plunged 10% on Monday to reach an intraday low near $429. Prices would later recover near $450 for a loss of nearly 6%. ETH/USD has declined 2.7% over the past five days in what has been a period of relative calm for the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency.

That being said, prices briefly traded at record highs over the weekend, touching $518. That narrowly beat the Nov. 29 high of $514.

At present values, the ether market is capitalized at nearly $44 billion, which is only a fraction of bitcoin’s $260 billion value. Ether’s 24-hour transaction volume came in at nearly $1.5 billion, according to CoinMarketCap.

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Volumes were evenly dispersed across the exchanges. Bitfinex’s ETH/USD pair saw the highest volume at 7.4% of the total market, which was equivalent to $108 million. Poloniex processed nearly 7% of ether’s daily turnover via ETH/BTC.

Ethereum rebounded from record lows against bitcoin, but remains relatively subdued as the world’s no. 1 crypto continues to dominate the market. ETH/BTC plunged 11% to 0.028040.

CryptoKitties

Much of the excitement surrounding Ethereum lately has centered on CryptoKitties, a simple collectibles-based game that was built on the ether blockchain. The game, which was released Nov. 28, allows users to purchase, trade and even breed digital kittens. Some analysts have likened the game to Tamagotchi, a handheld digital pets game launched in 1996.

Transactions on Cryptocurrencies are processed using ether, which is Ethereum’s native token. Industry estimates show that Cryptokitties transactions account for nearly 20% of all computations on the Ethereum platform. This figure appears to be growing continuously.

Although the game was immediately dismissed by members of the cryptocuurrency community,  Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin and Earn.com CEO Balaji Srinivasan said the game had more virtues than some cared to recognize.

“Why is Cryptokitties actually important?” asked Balaji. “It’s one of the first examples of what people have been talking about for years: frictionless international trading of digital assets (not just cash!) on a blockchain. Basically what Fred Wilson saw.”

Earn.com markets itself as the “first token-based social network.”

At the same time, the CryptoKitties phenomenon presents several challenges for the Ethereum ecosystem related to scalability, future growth and ICO risk.

Ethereum continues to be the platform of choice for the budding ICO industry. The amount of money raised through the controversial crowdfunding model is fast approaching $4 billion for the year. The phenomenon doesn’t appear to be dying off anytime soon as more startups look to raise money to fuel their expansion.

That being said, many token raises and the issuers that back them are attempting to circumnavigate securities regulations by building a utility token. It remains to be seen how the regulatory landscape will evolve to keep up with the evolving nature of the industry. Equally important is how the cryptocurrency community will come together to address regulatory issues.

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. 

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