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Europe Accounts for Nearly Half of All ICO Funding, Study Finds

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When evaluated on the basis of initial coin offerings (ICOs), Europe is crypto central. The continent has attracted nearly half of the total ICO funding of the last three years, a sign that the region remains a favorable stomping ground for the fast-growing cryptocurrency space.

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Europe Leads the Pack

Over the past three years, there have been 446 token raises held in the European Union (EU), according to venture capital firm Atomico. Combined, they generated $1.76 billion in funding. That’s nearly half (46%) of the worldwide total.

The data also found that EU countries accounted for 40% of global ICOs during the reference period.

In terms of ICO activity, North America is the second largest region with 244 crowdsales. Together, they raised $1.076 billion.

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Atomico commissioned Token Data to collect the information and also relied on primary survey results.

Decentralized Teams

Although Europe may be dominating the ICO space, the report found that roughly a quarter of all token projects employed a decentralized team. This means that token launches are run by teams that are geographically dispersed, with founders and chief executives opting to build remote workplaces around the world. It’s not difficult to see why.

Remote workers offer significant cost savings and a diverse talent pool for business leaders seeking access to global markets. A simple search of Upwork or Freelancer talent webs reveals huge demand for cryptocurrency writers, blockchain experts and ICO marketing specialists.

Hacked reported last month that crypto-employment rose sharply in the third quarter. Matt Barrie, CEO of Freelancer, told CNBC that his platform is a hotbed for all things cryptocurrency.

With respect to decentralized teams, Atomico’s report issued the following statement:

“We see a pattern of geographical diversity between ICO founding teams and also within the teams themselves. If the future of business ideas lies in decentralisation, then decentralised founding teams will be a key aspect of it.”

The report also identified a burgeoning venture capital scene across the European Union, a sign that investors are zeroing in on the region’s technology sector. European venture capitalists have raised more than €10.6 billion in funds since 2016. First time funds accounted for up to 25% of the total raise.

That being said, many startup founders view regulation as a major barrier to scaling up the region’s technology industry. This was especially the case for Southern European firms, who were more likely to say that regulation makes it harder to start and scale a technology business.

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 452 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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EOS Mainnet Grinds to a Halt Post-Launch as Transactions “Freeze” Unexpectedly

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EOS’ blockchain has reportedly gone offline after an apparent bug in the mainnet caused the network to freeze unexpectedly.

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EOS Network Bug

According to the EOS Authority, transactions on the EOS blockchain froze at 09:56 UTC. Block producers producers convened shortly thereafter to “identify and fix the issue.” At 10:57 UTC, the block producers turned off their nodes and backed up the network’s data to ensure continuity once operations are up and running again.

EOS’s official Telegram channel confirmed that the “Root cause was due to how deferred transactions were handled.”

As of 11:02 UTC, block producers had formulated a “method to unpause the chain” according to EOS Argentina’s official Steemit page. Normal EOS functions are scheduled to resume within the next three-to-six hours.

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Following weeks of confusion and uncertainty, the EOS mainnet officially launched about two days ago after the blockchain received more than the 150 million votes needed to determine the entities that will maintain the network. At press time, more than 218 million votes have been staked. The current list of the top 21 block producers is as follows:

  • EOS Cannon
  • LiquidEOS
  • EOS Canada
  • EOS Beijing BP
  • EOS Authority
  • EOS DAC
  • EOS.Store
  • EOS Cafe Block
  • EOS New York
  • EOS Gravity
  • Bitfinex
  • EOS.42
  • Cypherglass
  • Argentina EOS
  • EOS Sweden
  • EOS South Korea
  • Huobi Pool
  • EOS Rio Brazil
  • EOS Seoul
  • ZB EOS
  • EOS Asia

Although initial voting for network launch has concluded, the voting for block producers is ongoing. This means block producers can be voted out of the top 21 at any time.

EOS Market

The EOS blockchain is the world’s fifth-largest by market cap after a yearlong crowdsale by parent company Block.One raised more than $4 billion in revenue. As the latest bug demonstrates, the launch of the highly anticipated network has faced several stumbling blocks ranging from technical glitches to user distrust over third-party software. Uncertainty over the voting process has also been a factor.

The value of EOS dipped more than 4% Saturday to reach $10.46 a token, according to CoinMarketCap. Daily trade volumes topped $715 million.

EOS’ total market capitalization is $9.4 billion. The blockchain peaked in April near $18 billion.

Over the past seven days, EOS tokens have shed more than 27% in value. Comparable declines have been reported by IOTA, Tron and Neo. The combined value of all cryptocurrencies is currently $276.4 billion after bottoming near $264 billion earlier in the week.

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 452 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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Despite Declines, Cryptos Continue to Attract Polarizing Figures

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If the cryptocurrency market has proven anything this past week, it’s that this market is not meant for the queasy. Bitcoin has wiped billions of dollars off its market cap in a few short days and the bear market could take out some altcoins along the way. Some have called into question the viability of the market. But for others, the market selloff only seems to have emboldened them, industry veterans and newcomers alike.

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CoinMarketCap

Steve Bannon has had many roles, from Wall Street investment banker to media tycoon as the former executive chairman of Breitbart News. He’s perhaps best known for his brief tenure as a White House official under the current administration, but now he’s pursuing a new identity and it involves cryptocurrencies.

Bannon is a bitcoin bull, as evidenced by what The New York Times characterized as a “good stake” in the leading cryptocurrency. He told the Times of the decentralized world: “It’s disruptive populism. It takes control back from central authorities. It’s revolutionary.”

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Indeed Bannon, a former member of the Tea Party, which was born out of a desire to challenge the norm, could fit right in alongside other corporate figures who have caught bitcoin fever, including the likes of John McAfee and Overstock.com’s Patrick Byrne, for instance.

His history as a former government official makes him kind of a hybrid in a decentralized market but he’s got innovative ideas, such as the development of asset-backed tokens for governments reflecting their resources, such as a marble-backed Italian coin, the Times described.

Bannon Baggage

But Bannon knows the baggage that his name carries with it, and as a result, don’t expect to see a Steve Bannon coin circulating in the market any time soon. Instead, he wants to take a more white-label approach where he’s engaged with certain blockchain projects — including both startups and international governments — but is not prominently featured as a backer or advisor.

Indeed, Bannon is a controversial figure who was ousted not only from the White House but also Breitbart News. But his desire to keep a low profile suggests he may be in it for the right reasons instead of just using cryptocurrencies as a platform, which some have accused McAfee of doing.

Bannon is also a loose cannon and could also drag politics into the cryptocurrency arena, as evidenced by his idea to create a “deplorable” token to represent the supporters of his former boss whose political opponent attempted to ostracize.

And while there may not be a Bannon coin, that doesn’t mean he won’t do an initial coin offering (ICO) to raise funds for a blockchain startup. These days Bannon is at the helm of a Connecticut-based financial planning firm that bears his name and targets wealthy investors. He’s in discussions with the institutional side of the market, including hedge funds, which suggests that he is looking to integrate cryptocurrencies into his financial planning for the mainstream, if he hasn’t already.

ICO Market on Fire

Incidentally, the ICO market is red hot in 2018 and seems to be paying no attention to the struggles of its more established peers. ICOs have raised a combined $5.4 billion year-to-date, $219 million of which was raised in June alone. And there are a couple of blockbuster deals in the works as well that could bolster the tally even further.

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 15 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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Last Year’s Crypto Boom Was Fixed: Researchers

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Bitcoin’s plight in 2018 has been a stark reversal from the leading cryptocurrency’s performance in 2017, particularly vs. the end of last year. So what gives? If you were to ask a pair of researchers, one of whom has a penchant for uncovering fraud in the financial markets, the gains have an asterisk next to them, one that leads to popular U.S.-dollar linked cryptocurrency Tether (USDT).  

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The University of Texas Finance Professor John Griffin and understudy Amin Shams have published a paper entitled “Is Bitcoin Really Un-Tethered?” It chronicles what the academics ultimately conclude is a shady dynamic between bitcoin and Tether, the No. 12 cryptocurrency by market cap.

Using algorithms and transaction data collected from the public blockchain, the researchers determine that Tether is a coin that is “pushed out into the market” and not driven by supply and demand but instead the whims of the bitcoin price. 

They point to the Bitfinex exchange, which is looking to redomicile from Asia to Switzerland, aka Crypto Valley. After monitoring the activity surrounding Tether coins on Bitfinex, the researchers propose that Tether supply is added to the market by Bitfinex at crucial times in bitcoin’s performance.

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Source: “Is Bitcoin Really Untethered?”

What Gives?

That’s what drove the bitcoin price to nearly the $20,000 level in December 2017, according to the report, whose results they say are “consistent with the Tether issuers pushing out Tether to stabilize the price of bitcoin,” the report states. The U.S. CFTC earlier this year issued subpoenas to both Bitfinex and Tether, both of which are led by J.L. van der Velde, to ensure that there were adequate reserves that they claim make the coin stable. No fraud was uncovered.

Tether boasts a market cap of $2.5 billion and it is viewed as a more stable alternative to bitcoin’s erratic price swings, though the details surrounding the mechanics of it all are held close to the vest. From what the researchers say, Tether coins are created in groups of 200 million, after which time the coins are directed to Bitfinex.

Meanwhile, when bitcoin suffers a dramatic decline, researchers found evidence that the Tether coins are then directed by Bitfinex and other leading exchanges toward purchasing more bitcoin, resulting in an inflated price. They studied the period from March 2017 through year-end and found dozens of instances in which the behavior occurs.

Given the regulatory scrutiny that’s on the markets today, it would make sense that if Tether-fueled bitcoin price manipulation were occurring, it would slow down in this environment and thus no rescue for the bitcoin price. But the pressure in the cryptocurrency markets could just be a function of all the uncertainty that’s swirling at the moment.

“I’ve looked at a lot of markets. If there’s fraud or manipulation in a market it can leave tracks in the data. The tracks in the data here are very consistent with the manipulation hypothesis,” Griffin told Bloomberg.

Meanwhile, Bitfinex CEO van der Velde told the publication: “Tether issuance can’t be used to prop up the price of bitcoin nor any other coins/token on Bitfinex.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Justice is in the midst of a probe to determine whether traders are responsible for previous market gains by manipulating the bitcoin price.

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 15 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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