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Currency Wars

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It’s been a while since we’ve used the term “currency wars” to describe the foreign exchange market but over the past 48 hours, this issue has once again been thrust into the limelight of global politics.

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For those of you who are new or have “just come for the cryptos” this is important, so let’s recap.

On and off for the past few decades, we’ve seen many different attempts from world leaders to influence the currency markets. For the most part, it’s better for a country to have a weaker currency because then more countries will be attracted to buy their products.

If a washing machine made in Japan costs ¥25,000, it will be easier for someone from Germany to buy it when the yen is cheap against the Euro.

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It seems Steven Mnuchin’s comments about a weaker Dollar have sparked massive controversy. Especially since the Dollar did plunge in response. Let’s take a look at the charts and some of the responses below.

@MatiGreenspan
eToro, Senior Market Analyst

Today’s Highlights

Dollar Blowback

Japanese Washing Machines

Unconnected Crypto

Please note: All data, figures & graphs are valid as of January 26th. All trading carries risk. Only risk capital you’re prepared to lose.

Traditional Markets

The weirdest response by far was from Donald Trump who said that he read Mnuchin’s exact statement and the market had simply misinterpreted what he was trying to say.

This is a complete 180 degree turnaround from the US President and his treasury secretary. At the beginning of the year, Trump was trying to weaken the buck while Mnuchin was talking it up. Now they’ve gone and done a complete role reversal and at this point, it’s hard to tell who’s the good cop, or if there even is one.

On point, as usual, was the Governor of the European Central Bank Mario Draghi who said in much more elegant words that the United States was now involved in manipulation of their own currency. It seems the US government is taking quite a hypocritical stance. The Trump administration often labels other countries as currency manipulators.

Here we can see the US Dollar whipsawing at the time of the statements from Draghi (blue) and Trump (purple).

As the Dollar continues to weaken, we can see the commodities gaining. All commodities traded on eToro are up over the last few days on the sliding buck.

One of the most fun pairs to trade now is the USDJPY. As we mentioned a few weeks ago, the pair has been showing a rather stable trading range over the last year from about 108 to about 114.50.

The cool thing about the above chart is that the fundamentals match up nicely. Even though the Bank of Japan might be planning to ease their monetary policy, they really can’t afford for this graph to go too much lower. Because if it does, the Yen could get too strong and they’ll start to have trouble selling washing machines.

Crypto Drop

When I started writing today, the crypto market was showing a bit of a drop across all the top coins. By now it looks like the drop is getting a bit more significant…

It’s important to note that the futures contracts from the CME group will close today. The volumes that have been traded there are still rather small but there does seem to be concern among cryptotraders that Wall Street may be trying to manipulate the price.

In my opinion, it is still too early for Wall Street to try and take any such action using the Bitcoin Futures. So far they have rightfully shown extreme caution in regards to this asset as they still don’t fully understand it. That’s not to say that they won’t try to pull a fast one later on, but I think the first few settlements should go through smoothly.

At this point, cryptotraders have nothing to fear but fear itself. The currency wars happening now on the global stage shouldn’t have any effect on crypto market.

Wishing you an excellent weekend.

This content is provided for information and educational purposes only and should not be considered to be investment advice or recommendation.

The outlook presented is a personal opinion of the analyst and does not represent an official position of eToro.

Past performance is not an indication of future results. All trading involves risk; only risk capital you are prepared to lose.

Cryptocurrencies can widely fluctuate in prices and are not appropriate for all investors. Trading cryptocurrencies is not supervised by any EU regulatory framework.

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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2 Comments

  1. amg893

    January 26, 2018 at 9:36 pm

    Thanks Mati – great article. Just got a few questions. Do you know when the all the comtracts for CME expire? Also do you think the crash on the 17th has anything to do with the CBOE contracts? Thanks mate

  2. Mati Greenspan

    January 29, 2018 at 11:20 am

    Hi AMG. The CME contracts expired on Friday the 26th. If there is any correlation it would probably be more psychological than anything else. Wall Street is taking a very cautious approach to the new bitcoin related assets and volumes are still incredibly light. So I wouldn’t expect them to be moving the markets much at this stage.

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Altcoins

As Gemini Embraces Zcash, Japan’s Coincheck Delists Privacy Coins

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Japanese crypto exchange Coincheck has announced it will remove privacy coins from its trading platform in the wake of a “drastic review” of its internal controls. The decision paints privacy coins like Zcash in a negative light vis-a-vis consumer protection and stability.

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Coincheck to De-List Privacy Coins

Beginning next month, trading of Zcash (ZEC), Monero (XMR) and Dash (DASH) will no longer be possible for Coincheck users, according to a recent statement issued by the firm. The so-called privacy coins are being removed as part of a “new management strategy that thoroughly protects customers.”

Traders have until June 18 to withdraw their coins or risk having them converted to yen at market price. According to CCN, Augur coin (REP) will also be de-listed due to its association with online gambling.

Rumors have circulated for months about Coincheck’s plans to de-list anonymous cryptocurrencies in the wake of a high-profile cyber heist in January. The attack, which targeted $530 million worth of NEM tokens, resulted in a sweeping review of domestic cryptocurrency exchanges by Japanese regulators.

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Coincheck may not be the last Japanese exchange to de-list anonymous coins. Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) is said to be encouraging other domestic exchanges to do the same.

The Coincheck platform has since been acquired by Monex Group, one of Japan’s largest online exchanges. The purchase allows Monex to rehabilitate the troubled exchange following a disastrous PR campaign.

Privacy Coins: An Opportunity and a Challenge

Though privacy coins had nothing to do with the Coincheck heist, regulators have made a causal link between anonymity and criminality when it comes to cryptocurrency. Pressure from regulators could force more exchanges to de-list privacy coins to avoid further complication down the road.

Debate over privacy coins extends far beyond the currency and into the realm of politics and philosophy. Banks and governments have a vested interest in keeping anonymous currencies in check. On the opposite side of the spectrum, privacy advocates like Edward Snowden argue that anonymous coins are the future of trade regardless of whether criminals take advantage of them.

Research carried out by the University of Michigan-Dearborn’s Jeffrey Quesnelle concluded that Zcash had no major vulnerabilities when it comes to privacy. This has been confirmed by other privacy specialists who say ZEC is the most anonymous privacy coin of all. That’s because it employs zero-knowledge proofs as well as enhanced encryption techniques that completely obscure the sender’s address. This is in contrast to other privacy-focused protocols, which generate fake addresses to hide the sender’s identity.

The U.S.-based Gemini exchange recently announced it had gained regulatory approval to begin listing Zcash. Deposits in ZEC were enabled on Saturday with full trading support expected to be launched on Tuesday.

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 406 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

Cryptocurrencies Rebound 8% from Recent Low as Tom Lee Gives Post-Consensus Takeaways

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Cryptocurrenc prices have begun the week on a positive note, as bullish sentiment returned to the market following an underwhelming reaction to the Consensus blockchain summit.

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Crypto Prices Rally

Bitcoin and the broader altcoin universe booked solid gains Monday. The combined value of all cryptocurrencies peaked at $392 billion, according to CoinMarketCap. At time time of writing, the total market cap was worth $389.6 billion.

Prices bottomed near $361 billion on Thursday, their lowest level of the month, in the wake of a high-profile blockchain event.

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The ten largest cryptocurrencies by market cap rose by at least 3% on Monday. Tron was the biggest gainer percentage-wise, adding 12.7% to $0.077. Bitcoin cash (BCH) jumped 8.1% to $1,275 following a double-digit selloff last week. Cardano and Stellar each rose more than 4%.

Bitcoin rose 3.1% to $8,493. Its share of the overall market slipped to 37.2% from a high of around 37.6% last week.

Trade volumes have been relatively thin over the past 24 hours, with turnover amounting to $16.8 billion. Crypto trade volumes averaged around $21 billion at the end of last week. During the height of the bull rally earlier this month, daily turnover exceeded $30 billion.

Tom Lee Remains Bullish on Bitcoin

The head of research at Fundstrat Global Advisors admitted recently that his Consensus price forecast missed the mark.

In an interview with CNBC that appeared Friday, Lee said his firm was “overly optimistic” about the potential for a bigger Consensus price rally but nevertheless reaffirmed his bullish outlook on bitcoin.

“While there was not a Consensus bump, our conviction on crypto-currencies strengthened during the conference,” he said. “It’s the people that you know are important to this industry coming together.”

Prior to the event, Lee had predicted significant gains for bitcoin and other crypto assets. His reasoning was rooted in the last three Consensus summits, which sparked an immediate rally for digital currency prices.

Bitcoin prices declined sharply during the blockchain conference and eventually bottomed below $8,000 – a figure not seen in a month.

In Lee’s view, the Consensus rally did not happen for three underlying reasons: regulatory uncertainty, acceptance hurdles within banks and a lack of institutional custodial tools for mass adoption.

He added:

“Bitcoin doesn’t have to go up every day to move from $8,000 to $25,000. The ten best days account for all the return of bitcoin in a year. If you didn’t own bitcoin for ten days each year, you lost 25 percent each year.”

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 406 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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Analysis

What Is Po.et?

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There are now so many alt-coins out there that it’s almost impossible to keep track of which projects are legitimate and which are garbage.

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This article is the first entry in a series I will write for Hacked which will give summaries and context around a specific crypto project.

The topic of today’s summary is Po.et.

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So what is Po.et?

Essentially, Po.et is a universal ledger built off of the Ethereum Blockchain that intends to track attribution and ownership for the world’s digital creative assets.

In the digital age, all it takes is one click to copy someone else’s picture, video, paragraph, or song, and repost it as your own. The thief then reaps the monetary benefits of someone else’s work while the creator gets nothing.

Even if artists or journalists wanted to license their work properly, the current methods are highly labor-intensive and generally aren’t worth the time and effort spent.

Po.et wants to digitally timestamp content and be utilized as the main source of what content is licensed by who and when they were licensed.

Po.et utilizes this via something they dub, “Proof of Existence”, which they describe as the first non-financial application of the blockchain.

If I were to upload a media file or essay to the Po.et platform, the file is given a unique digital “fingerprint” that can’t be altered given the immutability of the ledger.

While a useful implementation of blockchain technology, the real value that Po.et offers is that there is no barrier to the licensing information itself. All of it is public and viewable by anyone without having to spend any money or tokens.

Po.et also wants to be a platform for content to get discovered.

Creators can create their own decentralized marketplaces that use POE tokens to upload and rate content. In order to add content to a specific marketplace, a creator must stake a certain amount of POE tokens. If the users of the marketplace don’t feel that the content belongs there, they will reject it and confiscate the staked coins.

Each marketplace determines their own voting terms requirements and amount of POE that new content contributors must stake to join. The more quality content in a given marketplace, the more valuable the marketplace will become.

In theory, this incentivizes members to only accept quality, relevant submissions and reject content that does not fit.

The process of staking is supposed to act as a self-selecting mechanism for individual markets. For example, in a marketplace for cat pictures, adding a dog picture would get my staked coins confiscated, disincentivizing me from trying to add it there in the first place.

But what if the first time a piece of content is submitted to Po.et is by someone who has plagiarized it?

Po.et gives users the ability to “challenge” the submission. Using the unique fingerprints assigned to each document, members can vote to accept or reject a challenge. If the challenge is approved by the majority of the members of a given marketplace, the new content is removed from the marketplace.

The Po.et team describes the use of POE tokens as follows:

  1.  To bootstrap the network effects of Po.et by creating a community of engaged invested stakeholders and publishers
  2. To raise funds for the long-term development of the Po.et Foundation
  3. To provide a mechanism to incentivize and reward early adopters and positive contributions to the Po.et network

The founder’s argument is that POE tokens will serve as the economic incentive behind Po.et’s need to promote quality, curated content on their trustless platform.

The team minted a total of 3,141,592,653 POE during their ICO in August 2017. The team sold 50% to the community through a token sale event, raising a total of $10 million USD.

The rest of the token allocations were as follows:

  • 8% Founding Team
  • 10% Angel Investors
  • 10% Integration Partners
  • 22% Foundation
  • 50% Token Sale

The Po.et team currently has 10 core members, who include CEO Jarrod Dicker.

Having Dicker as a CEO is impressive given that he previously served as the president of innovation and commercial strategy at The Washington Post. As such, it stands to reason that he is extremely well versed in the issues plaguing the licensing of media content.

The development of Po.et has been separated into three phases by their team. These are as follows:

1. The Rosetta Era

The Rosetta Era began in June 2017. During this period, Po.et released their ICO and raised $10 million dollars from the token sale. They used these funds as their seed round and were thus able to launch their public test net and integrate their first publishers onto the platform. WordPress users were officially able to timestamp and keep an updated log of all of their written work.

2. The Guttenberg Era

This is the era the project is currently in. According to their roadmap, Po.et will unveil their licensing marketplace in the upcoming months. This marketplace will supposedly integrate 20+ established publishers and allow creators to begin hosting their written content.

As well as facilitating discovery, the marketplaces will also accommodate creative licenses and allow for payments to content creators through what they describe as frictionless payment channels.

3. The Alexandria Era

The final era of development for the platform will be open to all interested users and begin supporting images and videos in the marketplace.

The current value of POE tokens is hovering about $0.03 cents.

Given that the team is led by an absurdly overqualified CEO, and that the team has already reached multiple successful development milestones on time, my analysis is that Po.et is a sleeping giant.

They solve a very specific problem that the leaders of the project have tons of professional experience dealing with in their prior careers.

Po.et could be a great token to hold long-term in anticipation of the platform being fleshed out. As always, I encourage readers to exercise caution and do their own due diligence on a project.

In the future, I will write a guide on how to properly allocate an altcoin portfolio but for now, I would recommend putting in no more than $200-$400 for small accounts (as part of a diversified portfolio), or $500-$1000 for larger accounts.

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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