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Has the Crypto Market Finally Turned a Corner?

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Bitcoin and the broader crypto universe traded firmly higher on Wednesday as South Korea left little doubt about its intent to foster a vibrant market. Not only are the South Koreans not banning cryptocurrency trading, they have shifted their focus to making the market more transparent.

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Market Extends Recovery

The total value of cryptocurrencies reached a high of $455 billion on Wednesday, just $3 billion shy of their February high. At the time of writing, the market was worth $452.6 billion, according to CoinMarketCap. That represents a gain of more than $30 billion over the past day.

All the major coins posted strong gains on Wednesday, with Litecoin jumping more than 30% to reach its highest level in a month. The coin was last seen trading at $208.65 for a market cap of $11.5 billion.

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Earlier we speculated that Litecoin could be even more undervalued than the broader market ahead of the planned launch of LitePay later this month. The new payment platform attempts to solve the payments trap currently inflicting most digital currencies. According to the official website, LitePay will allow retailers to “accept payments from customers anywhere in the world.”

Meanwhile, the value of bitcoin jumped to $9,300 for the first time in two weeks, taking its total market cap to nearly $157 billion.

Broad gains on Wednesday were accompanied by higher trade volumes across the digital asset class. Roughly $23.4 billion worth of transactions were carried out over the past 24 hours, much higher than recent levels.

Market Outlook Improves, but Risks Remain

The cryptocurrency market has entered a consolidation phase as volatility continues to recede. The important question for traders is whether the recent bout of good news is enough to offset a dominant downtrend that extends back to the middle of January.

That being said, the cryptocurrency market has recovered roughly $175 billion from its swing low earlier this month, a significant achievement given the general lack of interest from speculators in recent weeks.

Wednesday’s announcement from South Korea that it has no plans to ban cryptocurrency trading is also significant, and follows recent testimony from U.S. regulators echoing similar sentiment. Although regulators are concerned about the cryptocurrency market, they have no intent to shut them down – at least, not in South Korea or the United States.

However, ICOs may be singing a different tune as U.S. lawmakers continue to warn about dubious “utility” token labels. Washington’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has made it abundantly clear that it will be keeping a close eye on this market. Token issuers have quickly taken notice, with many omitting U.S. investors from their list of eligible participants.

Depending on who you ask, the ICO market is heating up at the start of the year, with billions flowing into token raises. However, conflicting data from ICOWatchlist.com shows that the market came to an abrupt halt in January, with only $52 million raised.

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 161 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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Altcoins

Cryptocurrency Market Enters Corrective Phase as Majors Retreat from Recent Highs

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The cryptocurrency market declined across the board Thursday, as bitcoin, Ethereum and the rest of the major altcoins retreated from recent highs.

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Crypto Market Backpedals

After peaking above $518 billion on Saturday, the market capitalization for all cryptocurrencies has fallen to $469 billion, based on latest data from CoinMarketCap. That represents a decline of more than 9%. Trade volume across all digital assets approached $24 billion over the past 24 hours.

The latest drop in total coin value seems to have coincided with broader uptake in bitcoin, the world’s most popular cryptocurrency both in terms of market cap and trade volume. Bitcoin now accounts for more than 39% of the total market,  a near seven-point increase over last month’s lows.

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Bitcoin made a strong move above $11,000 on Wednesday, eventually hitting a three-week high of $11,329. As we wrote Wednesday, bitcoin in particular seems to be benefiting from a myriad of market forces ranging from favorable regulations to improved investor sentiment.

At the time of writing, the cryptocurrency was worth $10,901.

Other major cryptos were also down at the start of Thursday trading, with Ethereum slipping 3.6% to $864.83. Ripple’s XRP token declined 2.7% to $1.04, while bitcoin cash fell 4.3% to $1,336.50.

Even Litecoin, a currency that has witnessed a 50% surge this week, fell more than 3% to $219.43.

Paul Singer Calls Cryptocurrencies a Huge Scam

Elliot Management, a multi-billion-dollar hedge fund headed by Paul Singer, recently came out with a report calling cryptocurrencies “one of the most brilliant scams in history.” It added that “FOMO (fear of missing out) has solidly trumped WTHIT (what the hell is this??).”

In the cryptocurrency world, talk is incredibly cheap, and arguments from authority don’t hold much credence. Although Elliott dedicated three pages to cryptocurrencies, there doesn’t seem to be a strong argument against cryptocurrencies. (Calling cryptos “nothing except the marketing power of inventors, financiers and others who love the idea of buying a black box…” is not an argument.)

That being said, the fund’s comments may have resonated with speculators who are already on the fence about re-entering the market. After all, the daily news headlines play a huge role in shaping investor sentiment, regardless of whether those headlines are true. This has been demonstrated time and time again by regulatory developments in nations such as South Korea and India.

As Singer’s comments clearly show, there’s still plenty of FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) driving the cryptocurrency market. This is unlikely to change soon even as bitcoin and the technology that underlies it enjoys greater mainstream adoption.

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 161 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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Altcoins

Litecoin Touches New Five-Week High in Wake of Hard Fork

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Litecoin hit fresh five-week highs Tuesday, as the coin continued to generate momentum in the wake of a hard fork that produce Litecoin Cash (LCC). Although holders of the original Litecoin were credited with the new token, project founder Charlie Lee has warned investors that LCC has nothing to do with the original cryptocurrency.

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LTC/USD Price Levels

Litecoin jumped around 9% to a session high of $244.11, putting it on track for its best close since Jan. 15. At press time, the LTC/USD exchange rate was valued at $240 for a gain of 8%. The currency has added more than 53% over the past five days, but is still trailing its year-to-date high by about 25%.

With recent gains, Litecoin has moved back into fifth place on the active list of cryptocurrencies with a market cap of $13.5 billion. The coin was previously overtaken by Cardano, a lesser known altcoin that has seen huge gains this year.

The latest rally has also been accompanied by an upsurge in trade volumes involving LTC. More than $1.1 billion worth of Litecoin trades were placed over the past 24 hours, according to data provider CoinMarketCap.

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Hard Fork Produces Litecoin Cash

Litecoin Cash came into existence on Sunday following a hard fork of the original LTC protocol at block 1,371,111. The official split occurred around 11:00 p.m. GMT. Investors who held the original Litecoin at the time of the hard fork received the new LCC at a ratio of 10:1.

The hard fork introduces bitcoin’s SHA-256 algorithm into the blockchain. The original uses Scrypt to verify transactions.

Earlier this month, Litecoin founder and chief visionary Charlie Lee warned investors that the planned hard fork was not affiliated with his company. In a Feb. 4 tweet, Lee issued the following statement from his @SatoshiLite handle:

“PSA: The Litecoin team and I are not forking Litecoin. Any forks that you hear about is a scam trying to confuse you to think it’s related to Litecoin. Don’t fall for it and definitely don’t enter your private keys or seed into their website or client. Be careful out there!”

A hard fork is generated when the original cryptocurrency splits into two, usually as a result of changes to the original blockchain’s code. Bitcoin went through two hard forks last year that produced bitcoin cash (BCH) and bitcoin gold (BTG).

As for the newly created Litecoin Cash, prices surged more than 400% following the Sunday fork. At the time of writing, LCC was valued at $7.63 for a gain of 150%. The coin peaked at $9.25.

Though largely influenced by the LCC fork, Litecoin’s recent bullish streak has also benefited from the planned launch of LitePay, a new payment processor that will help e-commerce businesses accept cryptocurrency payments. LitePay is scheduled to go live Feb. 26.

Litecoin’s popularity is also growing on the dark web and among those who are more concerned with privacy. A recent study published by Recorded Future found Litecoin to be the second-most popular cryptocurrency among criminals, behind bitcoin.

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 161 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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Altcoins

Bitcoin Leads Cryptocurrency Market Back Above $500 Billion

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The cryptocurrency market’s broad recovery continued on Saturday, as bitcoin inched closer to $11,000 and nearly all major altcoins reported gains.

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$500 Billion Market

Cryptocurrencies achieved a combined market cap of $508 billion on Saturday, their highest since Jan. 30. The market is up 22% over the past seven days and a staggering 84% from the Feb. 6 bottom of $276 billion.

Gains were reported across most major assets on Saturday. Bitcoin led the major market rally, climbing more than 7% to a high of $10,874.24. At last check, the currency was trading at $10,813 for a total market cap of $183.4 billion.

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The recent rally attempt has given bitcoin strong momentum, with RSI and MACD indicators showing the continuation of bullish upside. The coin is currently trading at more than two-week highs, having recovered 81% from its early February low. Its share of the total market is just over 36%, up from around 34% last week.

Several other major cryptocurrencies, including Ethereum, Ripple and bitcoin, were also higher on Saturday. All are part of the top-five coins by market cap.

Privacy coin Monero was among the biggest gainers percentage-wise, rising 12%. Cryptocurrency Lisk also rose by a similar amount.

Momentum Builds

Momentum has been gradually returning to the market as “fear of missing out” replaced “fear, uncertainty and doubt” as the major paradigm. South Korea also sent positive vibes throughout the market after government officials downplayed fears of an all-out ban on domestic exchanges. As Hacked reported earlier this week, Minister Hong Nam-ki says his government will focus on making digital currency exchanges more transparent.

According to a report that appeared in BusinessKorea on Monday, Seoul is exploring the possibility of a licensing system for domestic exchanges. The report indicated it would be similar to the BitLicense system currently employed in the U.S. state of New York. Under this regime, digital currency exchanges must seek regulatory approval before entering the market.

Speculators have spent most of their time on the sidelines since the market tanked earlier this month. The latest rally could draw more investors back into the fold as “FOMO” mentality takes root. The turnaround in the market has been broad-based, with only ten of the top-100 coins reporting declines on Saturday.

The market’s rebound also came as bargain hunters scooped up coins at rock-bottom prices last week. One trader reportedly purchased $400 million worth of bitcoin between Feb. 9 and Feb. 12. The identity of the so-called “bitcoin whale” remains anonymous.

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 161 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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