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Fed Explains The Bitcoin Crash: What Were They Thinking?

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I heard a really dumb idea the other day.  In fact, it was so ridiculous that I wanted to just laugh it off and forget about it.  But because it involved something that cost real money and that money was paid by taxpayers like you and me, I had to share it.  OK, so here we go.

On Monday, the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and a Stanford University professor released a report concluding the launch of bitcoin futures last December contributed to the ensuing price collapse.  

With all respect due the brilliant minds that are nestled into Stanford or the San Francisco Fed, this is more than just far fetched stuff. Quite frankly, it is junk.  The advent of futures trading in bitcoin had as much to do will falling bitcoin prices as the swallows returning to Capistrano: totally ridiculous.

A Few Facts

After reading through the report, I realized that much of their conclusion was based on a favorite tool of statistical research: correlation.  Bitcoin futures trading began on December 10, about the time that the price peaked on December 18th at just over $19,000. Drawing from the Fed’s data bank showed how other asset prices corrected when future contract trading was started.  For them, that was enough to prove their case.

Birds flying north correlate almost 100% to the arrival of  spring. But they don’t cause it. Here are just a few facts to illustrate the lack of cause and effect.  In the first month of bitcoin futures trading, reports were coming from all over of the sheer lack of volume in bitcoin futures.  In fact BarChart.com shows the CME traded a measly 932 contracts while the CBOE handled 3,887. Of that total some 2,828 contracts were still “Open Contracts” on December 29th.

Open interest measures how many contracts had been bought but not sold during the period. In other words, not only was there almost no interest in bitcoin futures but more than half remained open at the end of the month.

To be clear, unlike other futures contracts, a bitcoin future is equal to one single bitcoin not thousands of barrels of oil, for example.  So let’s put this total of less than 5,000 futures into context. During the month of December and for the months that followed up to April 1,  itcoin traded an average about 1.4 million digital coins per week.

Fed Bias Or Just Bitcoin Bias

To many readers the San Francisco/Stanford report may be just another headline to be filed away on your hard drive.  So you may ask, what is the point of all the fuss? 

The first reason has to with SFO Fed Chair and soon to be President of the New York Fed, John Williams.  This guy is no friend of crypto. He holds an outspoken opinion that cryptocurrencies don’t represent a storehouse of value. Clearly crypto investors won’t have a friend when Williams takes over the largest position in the Fed system next to the Chair.

Extraordinary Popular Delusions And The Madness of Crowds

In explaining the movement of asset prices there is one correlation that is almost never mentioned.  It is the correlation between asset prices and the public assessment of those prices. The correlation is proven everyday in the changes of prices for bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple and the bazillion of altcoins out there.

Way back in 1841, Charles Mackay published a three part volume titled Extraordinary Popular Delusions And The Madness of Crowds.  For the record, he broke down into Natural Delusions, Peculiar Follies and Philosophical Delusions.

Mackay’s work may be older than your great grandmother but it is suggested reading for crypto investors in general and specifically for anyone trying to make sense of the crypto crash.  It explains in clear terms how, when certain events take place, mankind desperately searches for reasons to explain the happening.

Just for the record, the official celebration for the return of the swallows to Capistrano was March 19, which correlates with the beginning of the most recent crypto rally.  Well, finally we now have irrefutable evidence of why things have been going so well lately.  

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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4.4 stars on average, based on 114 rated postsJames Waggoner is a veteran Wall Street analyst and hedge fund manager who has spent the past few years researching the fintech possibilities of cryptocurrencies. He has a special passion for writing about the future of crypto.




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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. mvppvm_07

    May 11, 2018 at 3:33 am

    Shall we just name future Fed assessments of correlation the Capistrano effect? After all, they’re just wingin it.

  2. Dr_shibeh

    May 11, 2018 at 3:44 am

    You’re right. He is not the friend of BTC but do u think really the people who buy FUD instead of BTC ( specially the bankers and stockers like Goldmansachs that involved once again before the crash)are friend of BTC?

  3. Dr_shibeh

    May 11, 2018 at 3:49 am

    And the readers of the San Francisco/Stanford report had more Volume and effect as FUD and all other investors in the World?

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Altcoins

Litecoin Price Analysis: LTC/USD Developers to Slash Transaction Cost, with Upcoming Core Update

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  • Litecoin fees are set to be largely reduced in the forthcoming upgrade, in an attempt to boost adoption.
  • LTC/USD remains heavily dictated by triangular pattern, behavior suggests a breakout is imminent. 

Litecoin Fees to lower by 10x in next Core Release

The Litecoin foundation will be updating the Litecoin protocol to version 0.17, following an announcement via Twitter. This update will ultimately reduce the network’s fees drastically compared to its already nominal costs.

It is reported that with this upcoming upgrade, the network fee will go down to $0.005. Their goal is to encourage greater adoption of Litecoin. Currently, the average transaction fee is floating around $0.05. Bitcoin’s transaction fee is currently seen around $0.10.

At the back end of 2017, a large bull market was observed. Bitcoin prices were up at heights around $20,000. Users as an alternative started to use LTC, given its inexpensive nature, in comparison to Bitcoin. It is interesting to note also that Bitcoin transactions were as much as $55 during those highs. However, Litecoin remained by far competitive, facilitating lower transaction fees, less than $1. During the peak, LTC fees reached $1.5.

Litecoin’s Core lead developer, Adrian Gallagher, was commenting on the upgrade intentions, saying: “To encourage more adoption and usage of Litecoin, I think lowering the fees are a good thing. We’re not even close to block limits and the block size on disk is pretty small (20GB) relative to other coins. Technically people can already adjust their fees right now to the one above, because of the more relaxed min relay/dust relay fee.”

Elsewhere, he was speaking about the current market conditions, believing that the bear market being observed, will not last. Predicting that in the next three to six months, prices could start to rise again. He stated: “With lower fees, it would be possible to lay down the foundation for a fee rate, that can grow proactively rather than re-actively.”

Technical Review – Daily Chart

LTC/USD daily chart

Looking via the daily time frame, LTC/USD price action remains trapped and dictated by a triangular pattern. This is seen across several of the other cryptocurrencies. The calls of an imminent breakout make much sense, with this type of price behavior seen.

Over the past few days, upside has been capped around the $55 mark. Further north, resistance is seen at the $56.50-60, the upper part of the triangular pattern formation. A breakout higher should allow a run well into the $60 territory. Testing the 27th September high ($65.85) would be probable. Supply is seen running from that high up until $70, where the price faltered on 4th September.

In terms of support, $53 has proven to be an area of comfort, over the last five sessions. The lower trend line of the above-mentioned pattern is seen tracking at $51.50. Finally, a demand zone is seen just below running from the big $50 mark, down to $0.47.

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 33 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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Analysis

Pre-Market Analysis And Chartbook: Chinese Stocks Extend Rally

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Monday Market Snapshot

Asset Current Value Daily Change
S&P 500 2,773 0.22
DAX 30 11,629 0.65%
WTI Crude Oil 69.42 0.07%
GOLD 1,226 -0.28%
Bitcoin 6,406 -0.10%
EUR/USD 1.1513 0.01%

Global stock markets started out the week on a positive note, with Chinese equities surging higher, extending their late-day gains from Friday. European and US indices are not that enthusiastic though, and from a technical standpoint, today’s early rally didn’t change anything yet, with the declining trends in the majority of risk assets being intact. With the economic calendar being empty today, technicals, the EU-Italy debate, and the Khashoggi-assassination will likely be in focus.

Shanghai Composite Index CFD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

The Shanghai Composite gained the most in two days in over 2 years, with the active help of PBOC, and the benchmark is now testing the previous support that held up Chinese stocks during the bear market. The index broke above one declining trendline and that could open up the way for a larger correction, even if the broader trend is still clearly bearish. The 2700 level could be in the center of attention this week, especially if global markets can also rally following two weeks of turmoil.

S&P 500 Futures, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

US stock futures are broadly higher in European trading, but the momentum of the move is very weak, and the gains of the Asian session are already eroding. From a technical standpoint, the short-term picture is clearly bearish and the charts suggest a test of the lows this week, especially as small-caps continue to underperform and market internals are negative.

Treasury yields are unchanged so far, as Italian assets are up today, and safe haven flows slightly reversed in early trading. The short-end of the yield curve is still very close to its recent highs, and with the European Central Bank’s rate decision on tap this week, we expect further fireworks in bonds, and in turn equities.

Currencies Already Active as Emerging Markets Still in Trouble

EEM (Emerging Markets ETF), 4-Hour Chart Analysis

While the Chinese rally helped equities across the board, other emerging markets lagged on Friday, and despite today’s bounce their technical position still suggests troubles ahead. The EEM ETF is set to open well below the break-out level near 41, and with that, the segment is among the weakest parts of the global market. While the most vulnerable currencies are still performing very well, stocks are seemingly sinking into a grueling bear market.

Elsewhere in currencies, we already saw relatively large moves to start the week, as the EUR/USD rallied up to 1.1550 thanks to the optimism regarding the Italian budget. The most traded pair already sunk back in the red, and the Dollar is higher against most of its peers, reversing some of Friday’s pullback. The Japanese Yen is the weakest so far, due to the Asian risk-on shift, and gold is also lower today as safe-haven assets are struggling.

Copper Futures, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Besides gold, the key commodities are higher thanks to the Chinese rally, but both crude oil and copper are still below key resistance levels, as technicals are unchanged, so far today. The WTI crude contract is trading below the $70 per barrel level, while copper advanced up to the declining trendline of the consolidation pattern that has been dominating trading in the metal for almost a month.

ChartBook

Major Stock Indices

Nasdaq 100 Futures, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Dow 30 Futures, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

VIX (US Volatility Index), 4-Hour Chart Analysis

DAX 30 Index CFD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

FTSE 100 Index CFD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

EuroStoxx50 Index CFD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Nikkei 225 Futures, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Forex

EUR/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

USD/JPY, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

GBP/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

EUR/GBP, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

AUD/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Commodities

WTI Crude Oil, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Gold Futures, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Featured image from 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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Analysis

5 Things To Watch Next Week

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An Italian Budget Deal?

EuroStoxx50 Index CFD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Outside the European Union, the ongoing debate regarding the Italian budget might be quite perplexing, especially given the strong reaction by financial markets. While the relatively small budget deficit of the country is really violating the rules of the Eurozone, we have seen much larger deviations from the fiscal rules without meaningful consequences.

That said, the sorry state of the Italian financial system, the stealth capital flight from the country, and the structural imbalances of the ECB’s bond purchasing program validate the scrutiny of the EU. Some analysts say that the Italian banking system is outright insolvent, but in any case, deep structural reforms would be necessary, and the real issue behind the debate is the populist anti-EU rhetoric of the new government. With that mind, even if the two sides reach a deal on the budget, which could lead to a strong relief rally in Europe, Italy will likely cause further severe headaches down the road.

Trillions in Market Cap Reporting

Nasdaq 100 Futures, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

The US earnings season is entering its crucial phase, with next week being one of the busiest in this quarter. The Nasdaq will be in the focus throughout the week, but the sheer size of the tech giants reporting means that the whole market could experience wild swings.

The three largest companies Microsoft (MSFT), Amazon (AMZN), and Google parent Alphabet (GOOG), alone represent more than $2 trillion in market value, and Intel (INTC), Verizon (VZ), AT&T (T), Visa (V) are also very important for the US and the global economy.

So far, the quarter surpassed expectations, and should the string of earnings beats continue, it could provide stability to the shaky stock markets. Besides the largest firms, we will keep a close eye on anything China-related, to get authentic information on the real state of the country’s economy.

The European Central Bank Behind the Curve, as Usual…

EUR/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

As global economic growth is clearly slowing, and the Italian worries already caused a widening in the yield spreads between the core and the periphery in the Eurozone, the ECB seems to be way behind the curve with its monetary policies.

Although the tightening the schedule of ECB is very gradual, we could still get a hawkish surprise next week, and that could enter the hall of fame among the disastrous decisions by the central bank. The ECB managed to hike rates in the middle of financial crises before (the summers of 2008 and 2011), and although the Euro’s weakness and the Fed’s tightening steps could give the impression that there is room for a hawkish shift, the macro backdrop suggests otherwise. Look for a strong bounce in the Euro and further weakness in equities, should Draghi & Co. confirm our suspicions.

Will the Chinese Bounce Last?

Shanghai Composite Index CFD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

2018 for Chinese stocks has been nothing short of disastrous, with the key benchmarks entering deep bear markets, fading all rally attempts so far. With the largest credit bubble in history threatening the country’s financial system, and with Chinese growth being more important than ever for the global economy, what happens in the coming months could be crucial for all investors.

On Friday, one of the lowest (official) GDP prints came out from China, while auto sales also dropped for the first time in decades, suggesting that the stock market could be correct in pricing a hard landing. While the verbal and other forms of intervention lifted stocks before the weekend, should another rally attempt fail, the bear market could enter an accelerating, mainstream phase.

US Midterms Drawing Closer

The Chinese problems are likely not caused, but definitely amplified by the ongoing trade spat with the US, and before the midterm elections in three weeks time, it’s unlikely that we will see easing in the conflict. According to polls and prediction markets, the GOP will likely keep the Senate majority. While the Democrats are still expected to take the House, the Republicans and Trump seem to have the momentum.

As stocks usual suffer in times of political uncertainty, risk assets would likely be better of, at least short-term if the current trends would continue, as A blue House + Senate combination could mean two very stormy years in Washington.

ChartBook

Major Stock Indices

S&P 500 Futures, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Dow 30 Futures, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

VIX (US Volatility Index), 4-Hour Chart Analysis

DAX 30 Index CFD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

FTSE 100 Index CFD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Nikkei 225 Futures, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

EEM (Emerging Markets ETF), 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Forex

USD/JPY, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

GBP/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

EUR/GBP, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

AUD/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Commodities

WTI Crude Oil, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Gold Futures, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Copper Futures, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Featured image from 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 380 rated postsTrader and financial analyst, with 10 years of experience in the field. An expert in technical analysis and risk management, but also an avid practitioner of value investment and passive strategies, with a passion towards anything that is connected to the market.




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