Crypto Markets Stabilize in Low-Volume Trade; World Bank President Hails Blockchain

Cryptocurrency prices were little changed on Saturday, as investors shifted to the sidelines following a brisk technical selloff that knocked $20 billion off market values.

Market Update

The combined value of all cryptocurrencies in circulation continues to hover near $202 billion, according to CoinMarketCap. Values plummeted more than $20 billion last week to a low of $196.9 billion. The selloff had no apparent fundamental drivers, a sign that technical re-positioning was the likely culprit.

Bitcoin was down 0.4% compared with 24 hours ago to trade at $6,278. The leading digital currency plunged more than 6% on Thursday to reach new three-week lows. As the author previously noted, bitcoin usually declines heavily in the ten days before the CBOE XBT futures expiry. The current contract is set to expire Oct. 17.

In terms of other major assets, Ethereum edged up 0.7% to $199 on Saturday after declining sharply in the latter half of the week. Bitcoin cash, EOS and Stellar XLM were little changed.

Tepid price action was accompanied by a sharp drop in trade volumes. Total market turnover on digital currency exchanges plunged 30% compared with Friday, with the top-three exchanges recording declines of at least 28%.

In terms of adjusted volume, Bitfinex has fallen out of the top-five exchanges and into the no. 14 spot after the exchange temporarily halted fiat deposits. The company issued a statement informing traders that the issue would be resolved within the week. It failed to provide any reason for the abrupt closing of fiat deposits.

World Bank’s Positive Take on Blockchain

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim believes blockchain technology has “huge potential” to transform the banking system. Speaking at the IMF World Bank’s annual meeting in Bali, Indonesia on Thursday, Kim acknowledged there are innovations in technology that can help traditional finance “leapfrog generations of bad practice, generations that would take forever in terms of reducing corruption.”

The World Bank issued the first blockchain bond in August – a practice that involved, creating, allocating and managing the entire bond issuance process through distributed ledger technology. ‘Bond-i,’ which stands for Blockchain Operated New Debt Instrument, was administered in Australia and raised more than $80 million.

As Hacked reported two weeks ago, Austria became the first country to issue government bonds on the Ethereum network. A total of  €1.15 billion worth of bonds was issued in the first week of October, according to local news agency Kleine Zeitung.

Blockchain technology is not only boosting transparency, it is helping organizations reduce costs and paperwork. These efficiency gains are likely to spearhead wider adoption of distributed ledger technology within banking and government circles despite existing apprehension over cryptocurrencies.

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.

Chief Editor to and Contributor to, 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