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Crypto Markets Remain Buoyant Following Holiday Slump; Former Wall Street Executive Touts Digital Assets

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Cryptoassets saw modest gains on Saturday, as bitcoin gravitated toward $4,000 and major altcoins showed recovery potential. Gains have moderated in the last 12 hours, marked by a sharp drop in trade volumes.

Market Update

Bitcoin’s 7% surge on Friday set the stage for a broader market recovery following a tumultuous three days. The leading digital currency briefly traded above $4,000 on Saturday but has since fallen back to the low $3,900 range. That represents a substantial gain from the midweek low around $3,600.

XRP reached a high of $0.3839, having gained 8% during the session. It last traded at $0.3770.

Ethereum, the third largest cryptocurrency by market cap, climbed 4.7% to $142.53. ETH has narrowed the gap on XRP to less than $1 billion.

The altcoin and token recoveries pushed bitcoin’s market share back down to 51.6%.

For more information about crypto market share, read: Bitcoin’s Market Dominance Nears 50% for the First Time in Five Months

Most of the top-20 cryptocurrencies have recorded gains within 60 minutes of this publication, pushing the combined market cap back toward session highs. The market cap is currently valued at $132.8 billion, based on latest available data. CoinMarketCap reports daily trade volumes of $16 billion, down from a high near $19 billion on Friday.

Read about the latest market drivers in our Week in Review

Crypto Recovery 2019

A former Wall Street investor says cryptocurrency could become the best performing asset class of 2019. The reasoning: a crypto bear market has never coincided with a major downtrend in traditional assets, and the continuation of the latter could lead more investors into digital assets.

“Crypto has never existed during a bear market in traditional assets,” says Travis King, former executive of the multi-billion-dollar Point72 hedge fund. “BTC was birthed at the very beginning of the largest monetary experiment ever- globally coordinated QE. Ending QE is causing pain There is a significant chance Crypto is the best performing asset class in 2019.”

Equities have seen wild swings in recent weeks, marked by bear-market lows and record-setting rallies. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose nearly 1,100 points on Boxing Day after teetering on the edge of a bear market prior to the holiday. The broad S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite Index both fell to the bears earlier in the month.

Rising interest rates, slowing global growth and geopolitical tensions are expected to keep markets under pressure for the foreseeable future. The ever-present nature of these risks means the recent rally attempt may have just been a bear trap.

Investors are bracing for more volatility on Monday as the partial government shutdown in Washington enters its second week. Trade negotiations between the U.S. and China will also dominate the headlines heading into the new year. Progress has been achieved since both sides reached a truce in early December. However, a new comprehensive trade agreement remains far off at this stage.

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 773 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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Altcoins

Monero Price Analysis: The Choice of Cyber Criminals, XMR/USD is Vulnerable to Full Reversal

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  • Monero price on Thursday was hit with steep losses, dropping as much as 5% in the session.
  • Trend Micro, a security intelligence firm, finds a Monero hacking tool for installing mining malware.

XMR/USD: Recent Price Behavior

Monero’s XMR price has been cooling over the last day, having dropped around 5% at the time of writing on Thursday. The move south comes after a decent run higher over the past couple of weeks. XMR/USD jumped almost 30% from 7th February up to 19th February, before easing away from the high print. The price did manage to hit its highest level seen since 10th January.

Security Intelligence Identifies Monero Hacking Tool

Researchers at Trend Micro, a security intelligence firm, have detailed that there is a notable surge in a Monero hack-tool installation. It reportedly attempts to exploit a vulnerability seen on Windows SMB, which has been patched up since 2017. Organizations in mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Italy are said to be the ones targeted, according to the researchers.

The blog published via Trend Micro details that the tool seems to be a merger of existing threats. In particular, it has targeted Microsoft Windows users – MIMIKATZ and RADMIN. As per Trend Micro:

“Between the last week of January to February, we noticed an increase in hack tool installation attempts. That dropped seemingly random files into the Windows directory. Initially appearing unrelated, the analysis showed the final payload to be a Monero cryptocurrency-mining malware variant. It scans for open port 445 and exploits a Windows SMB Server Vulnerability MS17-010 (patched in 2017) for its infection and propagation routines.”

The research does not come as much of a surprise, given the raft of Monero mining malware threats seen over the past year. Cyber criminals have strong favor for the altcoin given its privacy and anonymity, in addition to the ease of mining it on devices as simple as laptops and smartphones.

Technical Review – XMR/USD

XMR/USD daily chart.

Given the current edging south, eyes are now on the next area of support, which can be seen below at the prior acting range-block formation. XMR/USD between 11th Jan to 8th February was moving within a narrowing daily range. The area above this is now acting as support, as seen between 10-17th February. This came into play after a breakout and retest of the breached block. In terms of the comfort area, it is seen tracking from $47.50 down to $42.00. The bear pressure may prove to be too much for the support and force a breach. Another potential retest of the low down at $38.80 could be called into action.

Lastly, resistance to the upside is observed from the $53-$60 price range, which is the near-term supply and high area from 24th December to early January 2019. Further north, there can also be a chunky barrier seen ahead of the psychological $100 mark, tracking from $75-$95 range.

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 125 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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Altcoins

Why Investors Should Be Paying Attention to Aelf

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So far, each iteration in the evolution of cryptocurrencies and blockchain companies has come with its own issues and setbacks. This is because the scale of the companies is actually fairly limited, and not as comprehensive as the promises made by blockchain fanatics.

Part of this the lack of connectivity between blockchains, but there is also the issue of the blockchains not having the scalability necessary to accommodate huge companies. When you have a bunch of separate blockchains functioning out of sync, it is hard to build anything significant, as the “ecosystem” is coming to find.

A Natural Evolution

The evolution of the space started with Bitcoin – there were coins before, but nothing that caught on – which was the equivalent of a “simple app”. It could be traded and used the basic functionality of blockchain, but there was nothing complicated about its use case.

Then there was Ethereum, which allowed for smart contracts and other protocols to be built out upon it. This results in a lot of different apps functioning on the same platform, much like an app platform.

Finally, the hope is that Aelf will be able to create a blockchain operating system (much like Linux) that will add an infinite level of scalability to the platform. It would be developer and consumer friendly and function with high reliability.

Two Key Innovations

This blockchain operating system depends on two major innovations: side chains and a unique governance system. By using a multi-chain architecture rather than a “main” blockchain, they avoid many of the pitfalls of NEO or Ethereum. Ideally, this will allow Aelf to be highly available and have a high transaction-per-second capacity.

Additionally, companies will be able to rent out nodes (nodes as a service) to help process their side chains when they’re having scaling issues. This is one of the many benefits of operating on an operating system-esque model.

The governance system for Aelf must be unique, since regular consensus algorithms wouldn’t work when confirming information from side chains on tho the main chain. Therefore, a Delegated Proof-of-Stake algorithm is used, which helps you vote on which nodes will become mining nodes and have the ability to confirm transactions.

Current State of Aelf

Aelf is currently in a big growth period. The main net launch is scheduled for 2019, with the development team publishing consistent updates along the way.

The protocol uses their proprietary token, ELF, as a utility token that permits users to access, interact with, and directly participate in DAPPS and other services. No ICO occurred for ELF and it was instead financed using a private token sale.

Breakout Potential

Currently ranked 89th in terms of market capitalization and available on Binance, ELF had a rough December, with a recent recovery occurring during a consolidation period.

The current prices around 3,000 to 3,500 satoshis represent a good buying area while waiting for a breakout. ELF is a fairly volatile coin and with consolidation occurring rapidly, it isn’t unreasonable to think it could hit 4,500 satoshis.

Additionally, with the pending development and release of its mainnet, the fundamental could potentially change very quickly. This could assist the technicals and create a highly profitable breakout, which makes it a good short- or medium-term trade.

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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Crypto Update: Litecoin Leads Pullback in Majors

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The major cryptocurrencies are all lower today following the test of the recent swing highs. Yesterday, the early leader of the current short-term uptrend, Litecoin hit the key $51 resistance, and today the coin pulled back sharply, triggering a broad correction in the segment. The leaders of the rally are all notably lower, but they are still holding on to the bulk of their recent gains, and the rising short-term trendlines are all intact.

From a short-term technical perspective, the current pullback is orderly, and as the coins clear the overbought momentum readings, traders could re-enter smaller, speculative positions with strict risk management rules. The long-term technical picture continues to warrant caution, and bear market rules still apply despite the consolidation of the recent months.

LTC/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Litecoin’s performance continues to be an important tell for the whole segment, and after yesterday’s downgrade in our trend model, the coin’s pullback is weighing on the whole market today. That said, volume patterns and price action in general, are still in line with a short-term uptrend, and traders could be looking for re-entry points and the overbought momentum readings get cleared.

The key $51 resistance level, which halted yesterday’s move, could be in focus again in the coming days, while a deeper correction could see the test of the $44 level. For now, our trend model remains on a neutral short-term signal, while the long-term signal is still clearly negative, with further support levels found near $44 and $38, and with strong resistance also ahead near the $56 level.

BTC/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Bitcoin remained within its short-term consolidation pattern, as the $3850 level provided support, so far, during the broad pullback in the segment. The MACD indicator is now pointing to an ongoing short-term correction, but the relatively weak short-term uptrend is still clearly intact.

Traders could hold on to their positions here despite the pullback, as the momentum indicators haven’t reached extreme overbought levels, leaving our trend model on a short-term buy signal, but we would with entering new positions until the pullback runs its course. While the long-term technical outlook is clearly negative for BTC here, a move above the key $4000-$4050 zone could lead to a test of the next major zone near $4450, while support below $3850 is still found near $3600 and just above $3450.

Ethereum and EOS Remain Stable as Ripple Fails to Show Strength

ETH/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Ethereum continues to trade in a bullish short-term correction pattern near the $145 resistance level. The uptrend is clearly intact in the coin, and although the short-term momentum indicators continue to show overbought readings the rally could soon continue, with the $160 price level still being in sight. Support levels are still found near $130 and $112, while the next major resistance zone is found near $180, and the long-term downtrend is still in no danger here.

EOS/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

EOS, which has also been among the leaders of the rally, continue to show stability amid today’s pullback, but as it got severely overbought during the recent upswing, our tend model is on a neutral signal. Traders should wait for the correction to run its course before re-entering their positions, since the long-term setup in EOS still warrants caution. Support is found near the current price level at $3.80, at $350 and near $3, while resistance is now ahead near $4 and $4.50.

XRP/USDT, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Ripple remains the primary concern for bulls here, as the relatively weak coin failed to show signs of stability falling back to the vicinity of the $0.32 level. The coin got stuck below the dominant bearish short-term trendline, and our trend model is now on a short-term sell signal, despite the broad rally in the segment.

With the long-term technicals still being hostile even in the case of a new swing low in the coming week, traders should remain cautious with XRP and focus on the stronger currencies with regards to trading positions. Below $0.32, further support zones are found near $0.30, $0.28, and $0.26, while short-term targets are still ahead near $0.3550, and $$0.3750.

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 469 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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