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Crypto Markets Stabilize in Low-Volume Trading; Kraken Value at $4 Billion

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Cryptocurrency prices stabilized on Wednesday, stemming early-week volatility that pushed the majors toward new yearly lows. Kraken, one of the largest U.S.-based exchanges, has reached out to traders about a potential private offering.

No End to the Downtrend

The cryptocurrency market capitalization recovered around $111 billion early Wednesday after coming within striking distance of new yearly lows during the previous session. Despite the modest rally, some of the major cryptocurrencies could test new lows this week given the general lack of buying interest across the market.

At the time of writing, the top-ten coins had registered gains between 1% and 6% over the past 24 hours. Tether, a dollar-backed stablecoin, was trading above parity. The rise of Tether is a clear indication that investors are parking their capital on the sidelines in anticipation of further declines. It wasn’t too long ago that USDT was facing an existential crisis tied to its parent company’s lack of transparency.

In terms of percentage growth, the biggest gainers on Wednesday were outside the top-ten. Tezos (XTX), the 20th ranked coin by market cap, jumped 15% to $0.4128. XTZ received a boost after Huobi, one of the world’s leading crypto exchanges, announced the listing of the token as of Wednesday (GMT+8).

Binance Coin (BNB) also outpaced the broader market, gaining 8.5% to reach $5.02. This includes a gain of more than 6% against bitcoin. Against BTC, Binance Coin is little changed over the past month.

Overall trade volumes have fallen by $800 million over the past 24 hours, according to CoinMarketCap. Total daily turnover reached $12.2 billion.

Kraken Eyes Private Offering

Kraken, the world’s 26th largest exchange by adjusted volume, has reached out to its most prominent customers to prod their interest in a private offering. Emails obtained by Finance Magnates show that the company has approached traders with an investment opportunity. The selected recipients have been asked to fill out an online survey for additional information.

In the email, Kraken boasted significant capital reserves and assured traders that it did not need financing. The company is offering shares in support of a $4 billion valuation, according to the email. The minimum investment amount is $100,000.

“The transaction process will be done by a 3rd party service, who will run accredited investor checks, facilitate the execution of transaction documents, and the funding of your investment,” the email reads, according to Finance Magnates.

Recipients have until Dec. 16 to respond, after which Kraken will evaluate each potential investor’s eligibility.

Cryptocurrency exchanges have seen their business languish during the bear market. Interest in the Kraken offering will largely depend on whether existing clients believe that an imminent reversal is likely in the foreseeable future. That being said, institutions like Nasdaq Ventures and Fidelity have poured millions into exchange startups. ErisX, an up-and-coming exchange platform set to launch sometime next year, has raised $27.5 million from major investors.

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 739 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

XRP Price Analysis: XRP/USD Behavior is Demonstrating Strong Downside Vulnerabilities

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  • Ripple’s XRP was trading up with modest gains in the latter part of Wednesday, just some 0.60%.
  • XRP/USD continues to move within a narrowing range-block formation. The price is subject to a breakout, with risks pointing to the downside.

Recent Price Behavior

Ripple’s XRP is seen holding very modest gains of 0.6% in the latter part of Thursday’s session. Price action remains limited, given the narrow trading range, in which it is moving in. There is a lack of commitment from both sellers and buyers, and as a result a range-block formation can be eyed. XRP/USD has been within the confinements of this for the past seven sessions now. Currently, there aren’t any technical suggestions of the bulls recovering and picking up the mid-December momentum again.

Given the above-detailed price behaviour, risks point to the downside. One of the key reasons for this is XRP/USD moved into consolidation mode after a recent hard fall on 10th January. Prior to the drop, the price was trading sideways, which was seen from 19th December, apart from the freak spike to $0.46 on 24th December. A technical breakout was then observed, as mentioned on 10th January, where XRP/USD dropped a huge 20%. Keeping in mind the described recent journey for the price, similar movements are currently playing out.

Range-block

XRP/USD 4-hour chart.

A breakout is imminent, given that price action is getting tighter. It is worth noting the key levels around this range-block. In terms of the lower support, this should be noted at the $0.3200 mark, the recent low area of 13-14th January. The upper part of this technical formation is eyed at $0.3450, the high from 11th and 14th January.

If the bears manage to force a breach of the above-described, then XRP/USD will quickly be forced to give up the psychological $0.3000 mark. A large area of demand is seen tracking from $0.3000-$0.2500. This has proven to find strong buyers on several occasions – December 2017, August and September 2018.

Furthermore, to see XRP/USD fly the way it has in the past will require a serious amount of upside momentum. Given all of this sideways trading and consolidating, the price is building new areas for itself to have to break down. In terms of upside resistance, this should be noted running from $0.3500 up to $0.4000. Lastly, the price as mentioned earlier, was ranging here between 19th December to 10th January.

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 108 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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Bitcoin

MIT and Stanford Professors are Creating the Answer to Bitcoin’s Scalability Issues

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Researchers from America’s most prestigious universities are coming together to create a new cryptocurrency that will overcome bitcoin’s greatest technical challenge: scalability. Although academics have a poor track record of solving real world problems, the researchers have teamed up with Pantera Capital to develop a cryptocurrency that could serve as a viable payment network in the future.

Academics Designing ‘Better Bitcoin’

According to Bloomberg, professors from seven U.S. universities have joined hands to create a new cryptocurrency capable of achieving faster processing speeds without sacrificing decentralization – a core tenant of the blockchain revolution. The so-called Unit-e cryptocurrency is the first project to be carried out by Distributed Technology Research, the non-profit group uniting the academics.

Among the schools represented are the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University and University of California. They are joined by hedge fund Pantera Capital, which has an impressive track record in generating stellar crypto market investments. Read: How Pantera Capital Engineered a 10,000% Return Investing in Cryptocurrency.

Although several initiatives are underway to boost bitcoin’s transaction speed and scalability, the researchers say the cryptocurrency’s design has inbuilt restrictions that impede on its usefulness as an everyday payment system. The goal of Unit-e is simple but highly ambitious – namely, use blockchain technology to develop a cryptocurrency that can process transactions faster than Visa.

Unit-e is scheduled to go live in the second half of 2019. When released, it will process as many as 10,000 transactions per second, according to DTR. By comparison, Visa processes roughly 1,700 transactions per second.

The Bitcoin Scalability Debate

The issue of scalability is one of the biggest impediments facing bitcoin, so much so that dozens of alternative cryptocurrencies have been designed specifically to address this problem. Some proponents of the original cryptocurrency believe the debate over scalability could be put to rest once Lightning Network achieves full potential. The highly-touted bitcoin scaling solution has seen notable improvements in recent months, including a double-digit percentage gain in processing capacity.

As of Thursday, Lightning Network’s capacity has increased to 529.21 BTC, which is equivalent to just over $1.9 million at today’s prices, according to 1ML. That represents a gain of more than 3% since the last time we covered Lightning Network’s processing power on Dec. 26. At the time, the network saw a 13% surge in processing capability.

Lightning Network has achieved 20,586 channels, an increase of 31.8%. The number of nodes is up nearly 20% to 5,472.

At the core of Lightning Network is the desire to boost bitcoin’s transaction speed while lowering the cost of payments. This is done by creating a second-layer scaling solution that operates as a bidirectional payment channel. Basically, this creates a ‘running’ tab between two accounts, which eliminates the need to record every transaction on the blockchain.

Lightning Network has its fair share of detractors who claim the protocol promotes centralization and suffers from inefficiencies that could allow hackers to target channels holding a high volume of bitcoin. Bitcoin advocate Andreas Antonopoulos addressed some of these concerns in a YouTube Q&A last February. Click here for more.

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 739 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

Longest Bear Market in Crypto History?

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In just 30 days, cryptocurrencies will have entered their longest bear market in history, according to Ran NeuNer, host of CNBC’s Cryptotrader show. The frenzied selloff since early 2018 has delivered a beat down to retail traders, hedge funds and long-term crypto holders. However, for one small corner of the market, business is thriving.

Bear Market Drags On

As of Thursday, the cryptocurrency bear market of 2018-19 has reached 391 days. By this time next month, the bear market would have stretched beyond the 420 days seen in 2014-15. Officially, it will be the longest bear market in crypto’s short history. (To refresh your memory, a bear market is defined as a drop of 20% or more from a recent high).

Of course, frantic selloffs are nothing new for cryptocurrencies. Since 2011, bitcoin has experienced at least five epic meltdowns, with losses ranging from 37% to 84%. Each time, the market has come back stronger than ever, culminating in the 2017 bull run that drove bitcoin toward $20,000.

At the height of the bull market in early 2018, cryptocurrencies were valued at a whopping $840 billion. Less than 12 months later, the market bottomed at just over $100 billion. The bearish trend is expected to resume until at least mid-2019, according to a combination of technical analysis, market sentiment and history of monthly momentum. There are, of course, other reasons to expect the bears to maintain control. These include regulatory uncertainty, hesitation on the part of institutional investors to participate and the fallout from the long-winded ICO boom.

Read why 2019 is bitcoin’s year of accumulation.

Interestingly enough, bitcoin has managed to set higher lows in six of the last seven years. In other words, bitcoin’s price bottom is incrementally higher almost every year stretching back to 2012.

Creditors Capitalize

As the bear market stretches on, crypto traders and startups are turning to creditors to fund their shortfall. As Bloomberg recently reported, crypto creditors are finding strong demand from traders who don’t want to sell their coins at depressed prices as well as from big investors looking to short virtual currencies.

Much like hedge funds, most crypto lenders began their operations in 2017 during the market boom. Hedge funds have struggled since the market downturn took effect while lenders have seen their business thrive.

As Olga Kharif notes, the crypto bust is putting lenders on both sides of the equation: “Helping believers pay their bills while awaiting a rebound, and also enabling bets by people who think the drop has further to go.”

As crypto ventures continue cutting staff, companies like BlockFi have grown their revenues and customers tenfold in just six months. Aave, which owns ETHLend, recently opened an office in London and will soon expand in the United States. A company by the name of Salt Lending already employs 80 people. (Keep your eye on Salt, as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is probing the company’s initial coin offering.)

The Future

Predicting crypto bottom is notoriously difficult, and many analysts have been burned trying to come up with logical answers to a market that is still in its infancy. In the next 12 months, the evolution of the crypto industry will be dictated by several factors, including the SEC’s regulatory oversight of the market, its ruling on a hotly debated bitcoin ETF and appetite for physical bitcoin futures among institutional investors.

Related: As Race for Bitcoin ETF Heats Up, SEC Identifies Cryptocurrency as a Top Priority in 2019

The ICO model that dominated 2017-18 is also undergoing a massive shift toward security tokenization and even initial exchange offerings. While it’s still too early to gauge the impact of these new funding models, it’s clear that the ICO market is on its last leg. Case in point: token projects raised $1.5 billion in January 2018. By December, that figure had fallen to just $59 million.

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 739 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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