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Global Banks Pouring Billions into Blockchain Development, Survey Finds

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Global financial institutions have moved past the exploratory stage when it comes to blockchain technology and are now pouring billions into new commercialization initiatives, according to industry research published by the U.S.-based Greenwich Associates.

Blockchain Spending Surges

The Greenwich study shows financial institutions increased their blockchain budgets by 67% last year, spending a combined $1.7 billion on various commercialization projects. Ten percent of the surveyed institutions reported spending at least $10 million on blockchain technology in 2017.

The study, which interviewed over 200 financial institutions from around the world, noted a major shift in how banks view distributed ledger technology (DLT). In particular, the industry has moved “beyond the proof-of-concept phase” and is now actively rolling out commercial blockchain products.

Employment dedicated to blockchain initiatives doubled in 2017, with top-tier banks averaging 18 full-time staff working on the technology.

Among those surveyed, 14% reported to have successfully deployed a blockchain solution, with payments and trade finance targeted the most frequently. Cost reduction was cited as the biggest driver of blockchain adoption, though revenue opportunities, settlement time and risk management also factored into the decision-making process.

“More than half the executives we interviewed told us that implementing DLT was harder than they expected,” Richard Johnson, Vice President of Greenwich Associates, said in a statement. “Nevertheless, more than three-quarters of projects currently under development are expected to be live within two years.”

The Blockchain Economy

The global blockchain industry is expected to top $60 billion over the next six years, with the likes of IBM, Microsoft and Accenture leading enterprise-grade adoption. Much of that effort will be dedicated to creating new “digital economic infrastructure,” according to the India-based Market Reports Center.

In a recent study, McKinsey & Company tested 64 use cases for blockchain technology in a survey of 200 companies. Seven of the 24 financial services use cases identified were deemed to be the most viable. Researchers concluded that these seven use cases alone could generate between $80 billion and $110 billion in economic impact, with cross-border business-to-business payments being the most likely to benefit.

Enterprise blockchain only scratches the surface of the true size and scale of the distributed ledger economy. Hundreds of startups have raised tens of billions in financing for initial coin offerings (ICOs), which have themselves spawned multi-billion-dollar investment communities dedicated to buying and trading tokens.

Cryptocurrency markets are currently in a protracted downturn. Six months ago, they peaked above $840 billion. Recent developments in institutional adoption suggest banks and other financial service giants could drive the next leg in the crypto-market rally.

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 743 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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2018 Crypto Crash: Here’s What Actually Caused It

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Tech-savvy investors have kept their eyes on cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin for several years now. The most prolific form of cryptocurrency has brought backers on a rollercoaster of highs and lows over the past two years. While this culminated with an all-time high of more than $19,000 in 2017, Bitcoin, in particular, would go on to lose almost 70 percent of its value just several months later. And as we saw in the altcoin universe, some losses clocked in at over 95%.

But what exactly caused the recent crypto crash of 2018? Even more importantly, what does the future hold for the various other types of cryptocurrency? Below is a rundown of some of the common themes that precipitated the 2018 selloff.

A Limited Supply Increases Demand

In its purest form, Bitcoin and its competitors are all a form of currency. But the format differs so much from traditional forms of money — like the Dollar or the Euro — that people trade cryptocurrencies as if they were commodities. The limited supply of cryptocurrencies, coupled with increased consumer demand, is bound to inflate the price. But such inflated value can only last for so long.

Crypto Challenges Cause Consumer Hesitation

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are fighting an uphill battle. Not only do they face increasing government scrutiny, standardization and regulation, but they’ve also gained a lot of unfavorable press in the past months and years.

In South Korea, three executives of an exchange called Upbit got charged for making fraudulent transactions that allegedly occurred between September and December 2017. Moreover, there are allegations that those executives sold 11,500 BTC to individuals during rigged transactions that solely benefitted the executives. That’s just one example of recent cryptocurrency corruption.

Plus, people who invest in cryptocurrencies rightfully wonder how secure their funds are. A report indicates that the total amount of cryptocurrency stolen in 2018 will likely reach $1 billion, with the thefts often resulting after hacks happen at the platform layer level or when cybercriminals infiltrate exchanges. When people hear about those headline-capturing events, it’s not surprising if they fear being the next victims.

There was also a widespread belief that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin were untraceable and that it was impossible to connect transactions back to specific users. However, that claim has been debunked, since there are numerous ways to violate the supposed inviolable privacy cryptocurrency offers and link transactions to the people who performed them.

Between fraudulent transactions, stolen funds, and online privacy concerns in general, many consumers are hesitant to embrace these new platforms. When they balked due to the unsettling events described above and others like them, the hesitation partially caused the crypto crash.

The Effect of SEC Regulation Fears

Potential cryptocurrency investors are also hesitating due to proposed Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulations. They recently considered adding strict control to govern the trade of Ethereum — which caused a lot of concern over the likelihood of even tighter rules and regulations in the future.

Fortunately, the SEC ruled Ethereum is not the same as corporate bonds or stocks. Instead, it’s more akin to commodities like gold and silver. While this has eased some investor concerns, the lack of stability in the cryptocurrency market is still a significant concern.

A Recent Panic Triggered by the Bitcoin Cash Hard Fork and Resulting Drama

Analysts have also weighed in to state how they believe the Bitcoin Cash hard fork, which happened on August 1, 2017, set the stage for the 2018 crash by causing bickering between the two crypto communities associated with Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash. The hard fork caused an initial drop in Bitcoin’s value, partially driven by the negativity surrounding the event. A technical selloff occurred after the fork, followed by full-blown capitulation after that.

The technical selloff and capitulation have defined many of the discussions about Bitcoin’s crash, especially over the past six weeks or so.

Even long-term holders of Bitcoin have started to decide it’s time to sell. Bitcoin’s price dropped 36 percent in November 2018 alone. However, some people are still confident that the cryptocurrency will bounce back — as it has before, after other substantial drops.

Is the Bubble Bursting?

Opponents of cryptocurrency suggest the bubble has already burst. They compare the current situation to the “dot-com” bubble of the late ’90s and early 2000s, which bankrupted countless IT entrepreneurs. But experts in the field disagree. According to Angel Versetti, CEO of Ambrosus, the cryptocurrency bubble hasn’t even begun.

Matthew Newton, a top analyst with the online investment platform eToro, suggests it’s far too early to determine whether there is a bubble and if it has already burst. But he was also quick to point out the formation of a cryptocurrency bubble is an inevitable step in the processes of evolution and maturation.

Where Do We Go From Here?

There isn’t a failsafe method for keeping cryptocurrency alive. Instead, it will take a concentrated effort from investors, consumers and retailers alike. Not long ago, the value of Bitcoin was struggling to top $1, so it’s still come a long way in a short time. Additionally, there have been some key developments — despite the recent setbacks — that show great potential for the future.

The big challenge for investors moving forward is navigating between the short-term risks and long-term potential of digital assets. The apparent bursting of the asset bubble in 2018 exposed an overbought market that had risen too frantically for the fundamentals to support. But the pullback hasn’t weakened the value proposition of Bitcoin or other leading cryptocurrencies. As we’ll see over the next six months, topics ranging from institutional adoption to business innovation will dominate the headlines as the market continues its evolution.

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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5 stars on average, based on 1 rated postsKayla Matthews has been a technology and productivity journalist for over 7 years contributing to publications such as MakeUseOf, The Next Web, VentureBeat and Cointelegraph. She's also the editor of her tech blog, Productivity Bytes, where she writes everything from how-tos to the latest news in technology. To see more of her work, subscribe to Hacked.com or follow her on Twitter @KaylaEMatthews.




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Stellar Price Analysis: XLM/USD Has the Potential for a Short-term Rally, Though Bearish Set-up Eyed

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  • Stellar’s XLM potentially has further room for upside, within the short-term view.
  • Danger still looms for XLM/USD, as the daily chart suggests of a bearish technical pattern set up.

Steller’s native token XLM, has failed to commit to any sustained trend. This has been the case since the start of July. Bull rallies that have been witnessed were quickly sold by the market bears. This led the market to trade within a generally long running form of consolidation. Price action is narrowing, given the unsustainable short-term trend runs that have been witnessed. It comes as somewhat of a surprise, as the Stellar foundation have certainly been busy.

Stellar Developments

It was reported recently, blockchain security company BitGo, announced their support of Stellar Lumens (XLM). Being added to the BitGo’s list, Stellar now receives custody solutions. Their users will be able to generate wallets for Stellar Lumens. This is said to be starting at some point within the next couple of weeks. Elsewhere, as previously reported, the Stellar foundation at the start of this month released their heavily anticipated decentralized exchange, StellarX.

4-hour Chart Technical Review

XLM/USD 4-hour chart

Looking via the 4-hour chart, price action has formed a bullish pennant pattern. This comes after the surge higher between September 20-23. XLM/USD has since entered consolidation mode, trading within a range-bound nature. The price is coming very much towards the end of this technical pattern seen, raising the case for an imminent breakout. Near-term support can be observed around $0.2350 area. This is the lower tracking trend line of the mentioned pennant. A failure of the support could very likely see a fast fall to $0.2050. XLM/USD was last trading in this territory between September 12 – 20. The mentioned period was during a time of consolidation, prior to the mentioned breakout higher.

Resistance is seen just ahead of the current price. The above descending trend line of the pennant pattern is tracking around $0.2460-70. Enough bullish momentum to see the breach would likely force the price running to $0.2650. This is seen as an area of resistance on the 4-hour chart view. Looking further to the north, eyes would be on the supply heading into the $0.3000 mark.

Daily Chart Technical Review

XLM/USD daily chart

Taking into consideration the 4-hour chart view, there is still room for another squeeze higher. Despite this, danger appears to still be looming for XLM/USD. Risks on the daily chart point to the downside. The view of this is that a longer-term bearish pennant pattern is containing the price. XLM/USD support on the daily chart can be seen just sub of $0.2000. A long-running supporting trend line can be seen. The price having required assistance on June 29 and several occasions from September 8 – 12. To the upside, resistance can be seen around $0.2900. XLM/USD was rejected already on a few prior occasions, by the above descending trend line. July 25-2 and then most recently September 23, all saw respective bull runs halted.

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 112 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 Cash Price Analysis: When is BCH/USD Taking Another Extended Move Higher?

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  • The Bitcoin Cash price behavior suggests another imminent breakout is likely. Upside surprises appear move likely than any potential downside breakouts.
  • BCH/USD continues to move within a bullish pennant pattern formation. Narrowing price action indicates a breach is near.

The Bitcoin Cash price after the huge surge to the upside on 26th September, attributed to the Bitmain IPO news, has remained elevated. Risks appear tilted to the upside, given current price behavior and technical patterns observed. Outside of the technical view, news flow and updates have remained positive around Bitcoin Cash.

News Flow Remains Positive

Bitcoin Cash adoption continues to take place. It was reported that the events ticketing company, Bigtickets.com, has expanded its payment options, with acceptance of cryptocurrency. Customers will be able to pay using Bitcoin Cash. The CTO said “We know our dedication to innovation is deserving of a secure and seamless purchase method for our event attendees. The use of Bitcoin Cash is a major social trend we’ve been following. Therefore, we’re excited to be one of the first event ticketing platforms in the United States to accept the burgeoning cryptocurrency,”

Elsewhere, earlier in the week, TD Ameritrade, announced it is investing in a cryptocurrency exchange platform, ErisX. This will be facilitating a range of products, including crypto futures contracts. Fortunately for Bitcoin Cash, it has earned its way into the top 4 cryptocurrencies by market cap. Given its status, Bitcoin Cash will be one of the crypto futures products offered by ErisX.

This follows news back in August, Crypto Facilities announcing a Bitcoin Cash futures product. Crypto Facilities are regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The move came given Bitcoin Cash has a growing presence and acknowledgement across the market. The introduction of Bitcoin Cash futures is joining the company’s other crypto-based products.

Near-term Analysis (60-minute chart)

Eyes are locked on BCH/USD movement within a bullish pennant pattern formation. Price action is well-supported by the lower trend line. It for now remains within consolidation mode, after the strong surge on 26th September. The price is moving towards the end of the pattern, into a narrower range. This behavior suggests a breakout could very much be imminent, subject to bullish momentum.

BCH/USD 60-minute chart

Resistance to the upside is seen at the above trend line of the pennant, $523. Given the pole of the mentioned pattern, the breakout may be chunky. A retest of the supply around $640-$660, will therefore be the likely first target area. The price last traded in this region from the 1st to the 4th September. Support is eyed around $510-509, as mentioned above, the lower trend line of the pennant.

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 112 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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