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Global Malware Campaign WannaCry is Affecting Bitcoin’s Price

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As CCN earlier reported, WannaCry has infected more than 36 000 computers. Users of affected machines are prompted with the following screen:

The malware WannaCry automatically encrypts files on the computer and demands the user to send $300 in bitcoin to a particular bitcoin address.

For the last weeks, we have seen a dramatic surge in cyptocurrency prices with bitcoin leading the way. The first thing I reacted to when I read other news articles about WannaCry was the press’ immediate “conclusion” that this is a targeted attack on multiple governments (even Russia is hit).

I do not believe that’s the case. I believe that the guys (and girls) behind this massive Windows-attack might be interested in one thing only, money (or rather bitcoins). I do not believe for one second that they have targeted specific companies nor countries. They have money on their mind.

Was the bitcoin price surge a part of the attack?

Then I started to wonder, what if these “hackers” are so sophisticated and powerful that they have been able to manipulate cryptocurrency prices? And then started the attack once they were satisfied with their gains? What you should consider is that bitcoin and ethereum are still small compared to other stocks and commodities; it’s much easier to manipulate cryptocurrencies than e.g. Gold.

I find it strange that the hackers have given users of the infected computers such a short timeframe to unlock the malware. There are two reasons I can think of:

  1. They want to create chaos and uncertainty for cryptocurrency holders
  2. They want to dump their coins fast

I cannot believe they want bitcoins sent to their addresses and expect “ordinary people” with no understanding of bitcoin to be able to buy and send them bitcoins within the respected timeframe. The attack seem to have started on May 12th (a Friday) and banks are closed during the weekend. It just doesn’t make any sense to me.

As you can see from the graph above, the Bitcoin price was negatively affected by the announcement of WannaCry. My guess is that there are some that have made a lot of money by shorting Bitcoin the last couple of days.

What will happen with the bitcoin price next?

I’m afraid that we have seen the highest high for bitcoin this year. I could be very wrong (and I hope I am), but something tells me these last couple of weeks have been “fishy”. There could be some very adverse effects for bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general caused by the massive malware campaign WannaCry. Politicians and police authorities can put their combined effort into preventing malware attacks like WannaCry by implementing stronger regulations on cryptocurrencies (exchanges and withdrawals). In the worst cases, banks may be banned from accepting deposits or withdrawals from bitcoin exchanges. If they see that bitcoin can harm their economies, they will throw everything they got towards blocking and making bitcoin illegal.

Yes, I do know that cryptocurrencies will survive either way, but mass adoption might be much tougher to accomplish.

These are just my thoughts, I believe the following week(s) will give us a better idea what this major attack will do to cryptocurrencies in general.

If you got a lot of funds in bitcoin, ethereum or any other cryptocurrency, I would take my profits and wait with entering the market again until the dust settles. Be aware; I like to play it safe (and I could be wrong). At least secure some profits for now (ensure you won’t lose it all).

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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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. knightofone

    May 13, 2017 at 6:31 pm

    This isn’t the first ransomware, i don’t see why it would affect the crypto space this much this time

    • Jonas Borchgrevink

      May 13, 2017 at 6:34 pm

      Hello, It’s probably the largest to date. But yeah, you might be right. It might not affect the price more than it already has..

  2. eko6321

    May 13, 2017 at 6:53 pm

    I think weekdays we will know more better results but your article make a sense.

  3. dano5050

    May 13, 2017 at 9:09 pm

    Trying to impute this or that price movement to this or that event is so contrived. If the price of bitcoin had gone up you would have said that all the folks having to rescue their computers had put upward pressure on prices.

    And then “I’m afraid that we have seen the highest high for bitcoin this year”. Really? Based on what analysis?

    Come on. We’re actually paying to read this. Try harder.

    • Jonas Borchgrevink

      May 13, 2017 at 10:26 pm

      As I explained, these are my thoughts. I’ve been into this game since 2013, I’ve seen ups and downs. Let’s see what happens the coming months. Would you buy me a beer if I’m correct? 🙂

  4. jacobcanfield

    May 14, 2017 at 1:15 am

    What do you think of all the server issues that Poloniex and Kraken are having? Do you have any recommendations for where to move my funds to? I have been following your blog very closely and saw the trend patterns for Stellar and Ripple as well and it seems like it’s consolidating and following the pattern, but the lows only seem to happen with website crashes. Does it matter if the sell offs occur from a website crash or natural course of action according to your technical charting? If so, could you do another analysis in the next few days?

    Thanks!

  5. Gabriel

    May 14, 2017 at 5:00 am

    Interesting take. My first reaction was to see it as a risk that people would associate bitcoin with illegal activities and be put off. But then, malware and ransomware have been around for a long time now, and the problem is not really the medium of payment but rather poor computer security across the board.

    • Jonas Borchgrevink

      May 14, 2017 at 11:35 am

      Yes, you might be right! Let’s see what happens the coming week.

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Bitcoin

‘Bitcoin Is Better than Gold’, Says Venture Capitalist

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The bitcoin price is trading above $6,500 again and technical indicators like RSI appear more stable, all of which bodes well for market sentiment heading into the weekend.  The improving outlook for the BTC price has silenced the naysayers for now and reinvigorated the case for bitcoin and its applications as both a store of value and payment method.

Lou Kerner of CryptoOracle, a crypto advisory and VC fund startup, on CNBC made the case for bitcoin overtaking gold as a store of value, pointing to gold’s “awesome run” as a “global store of value for a couple thousand years.”

“We now have something that we think is functionally much, much better. So we would expect over time — not in a day, not in a week, not in even five years — but we would expect over time for some of the people using gold as a store of value to switch to bitcoin,” Kerner told CNBC.

Precious metals investors have in fact been switching from gold, as evidenced by a decline in the gold price to an 18-month low this week. The price of gold is currently trading below $1,200 an ounce. Take a look at the declining performance in this popular gold ETF. And while billions of dollars have poured into crypto over the past week, bolstering the total value of the market to $214 billion, there hasn’t been much evidence of investors redirecting assets from gold to bitcoin in 2018 until now.

Source: Trading View

Kerner went on to compare the emergence of the new technology that is Bitcoin to the junk bonds of Michael Milken’s era, pointing to when junk bonds were similarly volatile and viewed as a scam decades ago but today are offered alongside the most traditional of investment products.

“We think bitcoin is going in that same trajectory. Any new assets in its early days are extremely volatile. Nobody knows how to price it. And that’s exactly what we’re seeing with bitcoin,” he said.

Kerner cut his teeth on Wall Street as an equity analyst at Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch, according to his LinkedIn profile. Now his career as a venture capitalist dedicated to crypto, which he says is the “biggest thing to happen in the history of mankind.”

Coinbase Payments

Meanwhile, leading U.S. cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase wants to bolster the security of bitcoin payments for its customers, as evidenced by a new payment-fueled patent that was published in recent days. The invention is comprised of features like a “key ceremony” involving a custodian, master key, bundle and encryption “during a checkout”.

Source: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

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 38 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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Analysis

Crypto Update: Ripple Leads Oversold Bounce

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The major cryptocurrencies are holding on to their recent short-term gains, as the oversold bounce that followed the early-week liquidation continues. One of the most oversold top coins, Ripple is leading the way higher as it broke out above the $0.30 resistance and rallied to $0.32 in early trading. The total value of the market reached $215 billion, but as Bitcoin and Ethereum are still capped by the $6500 and $300 levels respectively a broad short-term trend change is not confirmed in the segment.

Monero is also among the relatively stronger coins today, extending its bounce above the $90 level, and getting close to the key $100 zone in the process. Litecoin, which has been also showing early signs of strength, failed to build on the rally, and as the leadership is still weak, correlations are high, and the downtrends are intact with regards to most of the coins, traders should remain defensive until further signs of strength in the segment emerge.

XRP/USDT, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Ripple is trading in the strong $0.30-$0.32 zone, after the overnight rally, being the only major that triggered a short-term buy signal. Despite the signal, the long-term bearish setup is still clearly in place, and the coin continues to face strong resistance at $0.32, with a weaker level also ahead near $0.35, and traders should only treat the current move as a counter-trend rally. Support below $0.30 is found near $0.28, with a stronger long-term level at $0.26, and the coin already cleared the oversold short-term momentum readings.

ETH/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

We are still looking at Ethereum as the most important gauge of the state of the market, as ETH has been in the epicenter of the recent steep selloff, and now it is trying to gain ground above the key $300 level.

Despite the relative stability of the coin, it failed to follow Ripple higher, and also failed to trigger a short-term buy signal, as the declining trend clearly remained intact, even as the steepest trendline has been broken. The coin faces strong resistance just above the current price level and near $335, while support is found between $275 and $280 and near $260.

Bitcoin Still Stuck Below Resistance

BTC/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

BTC has been trading in a narrow range below the $6500 level as altcoins attempted to rally, but the relatively strong coin still failed to show bullish meaningful momentum. The coin remains on a neutral short-term trend signal, and with the key long-term $5850 level not being in danger, the long-term outlook is also neutral.

A move above $6500 could still trigger a short-term buy signal, but the rest of the segment will likely need further consolidation for a trend change, and further strong resistance is ahead at $6750 and $7000, while support is found at $6275 and $6000.

EOS/USDT, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

While a few coins are showing promising short-term signs, most of the majors remain deeply wounded from a technical perspective, with the likes of NEO, IOTA, DASH, and EOS all managing only a weak bounce, despite the clearly oversold momentum readings. With that in mind, the odds of a re-test of the lows are still high, and volatility might increase again in the coming days.

Featured image from Shutterstock

Disclaimer:  The analyst owns cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but doesn’t engage in short-term or day-trading, nor does he hold short positions on any of the coins.

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 320 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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Bitcoin

A Bullish Bitcoin Mining Hashrate Prevails Despite Price Uncertainty

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With Beijing-domiciled Bitmain reportedly readying a blockbuster $3 billion IPO, cryptocurrency mining has been thrust into the spotlight once again. Bitmain, which boasts more than three-quarters of the market for mining equipment like ASICs, plans a September regulatory filing in Hong Kong, which based on some market predictions could coincide with when the real market recovery begins.

Bitcoin miners, meanwhile, are a loyal bunch and haven’t abandoned ship in the midst of the cryptocurrency storm, which bodes well for Bitmain’s upcoming listing as well as the outlook for the broader crypto market. This is apparent because the hashrate, which reflects the amount of computing power dedicated to the process of creating new coins, has been on the rise, according to Bloomberg.

Source: Bloomberg

The bullish trend suggests that bitcoin miners continue to generate a profit and have remained committed to the process while more skittish investors have abandoned ship. Bloomberg suggests that there is a lag between the price of bitcoin and the hashrate, but in some instances miners are “willing to run at a loss,” at least for a while.

Which brings us to the breakeven level for bitcoin mining, for which there are various estimates cited by Bloomberg:

  • Fundstrat says $8,000
  • Morgan Stanley says $8,600
  • CoinShares says $6,400

With the bitcoin price hovering at $6,359, miners are about profitable based on CoinShares research. But that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been any collateral damage, as consolidation has left the smaller mining shops out in the cold as the largest miners run the leanest and most efficient operations.

Genesis Mining’s Outlook

Genesis Mining, which is a cloud-fueled bitcoin mining company, is among the firms increasing capacity, with Marco Streng, mathematician, an early bitcoin investor and CEO of Genesis Mining, telling Bloomberg: “There are still major expansions happening, especially from more efficient miners. The expansion is so big that it compensated for the drop-out of not-so-efficient miners.” Indeed, it’s those firms with a grip not only on mining pools but also mining equipment, like Bitmain, that have the most control.

But even Genesis Mining has its limits. The company stated in a blog post today that “miners around the globe are struggling to stay in the game,” pointing to “declining rewards,” which the company has no control over.

Genesis in the blog pointed to a perfect storm of a falling bitcoin price since January, a “rising difficulty” surrounding the mining process, which increases computing power requirements, and subsequent weak mining output by some users. As a result, these miners are in jeopardy of having their accounts closed once a grace period expires unless they upgrade to a different contract.

So in a sense, “it is the best of times, it is the worst of times” for crypto miners in a script whose next act has yet to unfold.

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 38 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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