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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.

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.

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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4.7 stars on average, based on 122 rated postsSenior Market Analyst at Etoro.com.




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2 Comments

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  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

IOTA, Vechain Lead Tepid Crypto Market Recovery on Sunday

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Digital currencies IOTA and VeChain were among the biggest gainers on Sunday, though a lack of buying interest kept the broader market at a standstill.

IOTA, Vechain Lead Recovery

In terms of percentage gains, IOTA was among the best-performing cryptocurrencies on Sunday. The value of MIOTA sprung up 12.2% to $0.545 on trade volumes of $44.4 million.

IOTA is rebounding from extreme oversold levels after being losing more than 40% of its value during the latest rout in market prices. MIOTA was disproportionately impacted by the recent downturn because of multiple controversies at the Berlin-based IOTA Foundation. As Hacked reported earlier this month, a failed partnership with Sirin Labs and internal divisions at the Foundation have all contributed to the massive drop.

IOTA, which has since dropped to no. 12 on the crypto market cap rankings, has trimmed its seven-day decline to just 1.7%.

Meanwhile, the highly touted VeChain (VET) rose 12.1% to $0.013, regaining much of Saturday’s sharp reversal. The digital currency is also enjoying some momentum after launching its official mainnet in late June. The accompanying token swap on Binance officially produced VeChain Thor (VET), which is the cryptocurrency now quoted by the market.

Although there was no immediate catalyst for the recent upsurge in IOTA and VeChain, both currencies are part of a much larger initiative aimed at monetizing the Internet of Things. In particular, VeChain is benefiting from China’s latest push to speed up development and commercial implementation of blockchain technology. VeChain has developed national level partnerships with various government entities in the world’s second-largest economy.

Broader Market Trades Laterally

Gains in the broader cryptocurrency market were much slower to materialize on Sunday. At the time of writing, the total cryptocurrency market cap was worth $216.6 billion, up just 1.3% over the previous day.

Tepid moves in the broader market were accompanied by a sharp drop in total trading volumes. Market turnover has plummeted by 24% since Saturday, according to CoinMarketCap.

Bitcoin, the world’s largest digital currency by market cap, continues to trade below a key technical resistance. Bitcoin’s lateral moves come despite multiple signs of a bullish reversal over the past few days. As Hacked reported Thursday, the bitcoin price has returned above the 50-day moving average with key measures of relative strength showing stronger upward momentum.

At the time of writing, bitcoin was trading at $6,404 on Bitfinex. The cryptocurrency’s total trade volumes declined to $3.3 billion after spending the better part of a week above the $4 billion mark. The bitcoin price is up 1.7% compared to last week.

Ethereum rose 2.1% on Sunday to $303, trimming its weekly drop to 5.9%. Meanwhile, XRP rose 3.6% on Sunday to $0.342. Compared with last week, the so-called banker’s cryptocurrency has gained 12.8%. At its lowest point, XRP was down 93% from its record high.

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 552 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 Rally Stalls as Bitcoin Price Hits Resistance

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Cryptocurrency prices were down across the board on Saturday, with bitcoin – the market’s biggest bellwether – stalling near a key  resistance.

Market Update

After reaching a high of $225.6 billion on Friday, the total cryptocurrency market capitalization has fallen back to $211.3 billion, according to CoinMarketCap. The broad pullback was accompanied by only a minor dip in trading volumes, a sign that profit-taking was a factor.

Six of the top-ten coins (excluding Tether) had reported declines at the start of the weekend. Bitcoin was down 3.5% to trade at $6,355.00 on Bitfinex. The leading digital currency reached a high of $6,619, which is just shy of the most recent peak. Bitcoin’s market still exhibits strong trading volumes, with 24-hour turnover at $4.3 billion.

Among the major altcoins, Ethereum, Stellar Lumens, Litecoin and Cardano had each declined between 1.2% and 3.5%. On the opposite side of the spectrum, XRP, bitcoin cash and EOS had reported gains of at least 1.6%.

Bitcoin’s dominance rate, or the percentage of the total cryptocurrency market cap held in BTC, was 52%. Bitcoin accounted for as much as 54.5% of the total market capitalization earlier this week.

Dollar Factor?

The recent meltdown in cryptocurrencies originated 11 days ago when the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced it would delay a ruling on a highly anticipated bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF). However, analysts have struggled to explain the extent of the selloff – namely, the $35 billion plunge between Aug. 10-13.

According to eToro analyst and Hacked contributor Mati Greenspan, a surging U.S. dollar may have contributed to the decline. As CCN reports, the cryptocurrency market’s movements this week have been highly correlated with fluctuations in emerging-market currencies. Emerging-market exchange rates have been rocked by contagion fears emanating from Turkey’s political crisis, which have boosted demand for the U.S. dollar. As Hacked reported Friday, the U.S. dollar index recent hit more than one-year highs.

“As the United States moves to tighten its economy and avoid strong inflation, they’re taking action that is strengthening the Dollar. Because the US Dollar is the global reserve currency, many smaller economies rely heavily on a stable exchange rate with the greenback,” Greenspan wrote. “So too, as the Dollar is being seen as a stable store of value at the moment, there really isn’t much incentive for people to store their money in digital assets.”

Bitcoin is generally viewed as a non-correlated asset, which means it enjoys unique price independence when comparted with traditional markets. Correlation, when it does occur, is often driven by the erroneous belief that bitcoin is associated with the broader market. This was observed earlier this year when bitcoin seemingly fell in lockstep with the U.S. stock market.

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 552 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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Cryptocurrencies

2018 Crypto Exchange Trading Revenue Poised to Double to $4 Billion: Bernstein

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For the most part, the cryptocurrency markets have been operating on all cylinders year-to-date with the exception of one very important metric — price. And now that the bitcoin price appears to have found its footing, today’s slip to $6,410 notwithstanding, that component of the market appears to be cooperating, too. Wall Street research firm Bernstein is acknowledging the industry’s impact, predicting that cryptocurrency exchange revenue may grow more than twofold versus year-ago levels to some $4 billion.

The Bernstein report, as cited in Bloomberg, is entitled: “Crypto Trading — The Next Big Thing Is Here?” The title alone reflects a more open-minded if not sanguine take on the cryptocurrency market, more specifically speculative trading. Last year, leading crypto exchanges generated $1.8 billion in transaction fees, which according to the Sanford analysts is 8% of what Wall Street exchanges made. Based on this metric of transaction fees, cryptocurrency trading was second only to global cash equities.

Courtesy: Bloomberg

The outlook may seem shocking, considering that the bitcoin price is down more than 60% from last year’s peak. But leading cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume Binance, which boasts millions of users, tipped its hand to balance sheet strength. The exchange’s CEO CZ recently provided an outlook, saying the company was on track to deliver record profits this year of as much as $1 billion, as CCN previously reported.  On the low end of its range, Binance is looking at $500 million.

Advantage Goes to Coinbase

Meanwhile, Bernstein analysts are quick to point out that Wall Street banks have largely been on the sidelines of crypto, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan’s crypto trading and blockchain investments notwithstanding. As a result, the could find themselves in an unusual competitive position where crypto exchanges like Coinbase dominate market share. Coinbase already boasts some “50% of the transaction revenue pool,” according to Bloomberg, and fears of fraud coupled with a murky regulatory climate hold the big banks at bay.

“As the crypto-asset class seasons and institutional demand builds, there are a plethora of opportunities for traditional firms,” according to Bernstein analysts, who then pointed to examples across custody, portfolio management and making markets, for instance.

Indeed, the persistent downturn in the cryptocurrency market, particularly in the bitcoin price, has had observers wondering how crypto exchanges could offset the damage. After all, they generate revenue based on trading volume.

Exchanges like Coinbase have been adding coins, most recently Ethereum Classic (ETC) but they’ve got several more altcoins waiting in the wings that they’re looking to support. While Coinbase officials have stated that these new altcoin additions are in response to trader demand, it’s also a way for them to continue to collect trading revenues while the bitcoin price has been stalled. Binance, meanwhile, whose trading volume hovers at approximately $1.4 billion in the last 24 hours, supports hundreds of altcoins.

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 40 rated postsGerelyn has been covering ICOs and the cryptocurrency market since mid-2017. She's also reported on fintech more broadly in addition to asset management, having previously specialized in institutional investing. She owns some BTC and ETH.




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