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Hot Crypto Topics For 2018

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It is pretty hard to understate what 2017 has meant for investors. The S&P 500 had one of it best years in more than five appreciating 20% to a record near 2700. The global economy continued to recover from the last vestige of the 2008 financial crisis. Everybody has the right to feel financially more secure.

But if you were for fortunate to be a crypto investor, you have cause to celebrate like never before. Bitcoin rewarded you with a 1660%+ price appreciation, Ethereum gained a monster 10,200%+ while Litecoin turned in a 6,500%+ price increase.

And these are just the majors. Returns with some of the successful ICOs were even more spectacular. Of course not every ICO paid off and some fell victim unscrupulous operators. Nevertheless, 2017 was a golden year.

When prices increase as much as they have it is easy to get fixated solely on price alone and forget about the underlying forces that represent true value.

So what will be the fundamental forced in 2018? It is hard to know the future so far out because it is evolving so quickly, but here are some thoughts on several very important issues.

 The Need For Speed

 Turning away from the ton of good things that happened in 2017, there are the twin issues of slow speed and high transaction fees. It is a thorny situation. Each of us can appreciate the need to any system to be successful has to be capable of scaling. Appreciating the higher energy consumed can be a bit more obtuse but it a big deal.

The promise of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin going back to the beginning was “fast and free” As the table below illustrates, transaction speeds are stalling and falling short of the promise.

The high transaction costs for all cryptocurrencies is presently a major deterrent to broader acceptance. Depending on how you work the math, performing a transfer in bitcoin can be more the using a fiat currency and using the traditional banking system.

Presumably the solution to faster transaction speeds would be less energy consumed which in turn would allow competition to drive down fees.

At present even 10-15 transactions per second is not nearly enough to meet projected demand in the future. Finding a solution is important to everyone from the major currencies like bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin down to companies linked to each.

Some help for Ethereum may be on the way in 2018 when Casper is fully in action.

Casper changes the Ethereum verification process from “Proof of Work” to “Proof of Stake”. One of the issues Casper addresses is high-energy consumption.

Part of the issue spills over into security. In order to maintain adequate security of Ethereum POW protocol involves very high operating costs. Casper dramatically lowers these costs.

Experts who have deep knowledge of Casper claim that honest miners will be able to cheaply validate while attackers somehow will still face extremely high costs.

Casper addresses this problem. In doing so, Casper puts Ethereum in a much stronger position to serve the world. The more users, the more demand for Ether and that, of course means even more upward Ether price pressure.

And then there is the Ethereum Raiden Network. This is Ethereum’s version of bitcoins Lightning Network. The technical definition of Raiden is allowing off-chain scaling solutions for performing so called ERC20-compliant token transfers

Raiden supposedly enables near-instant, low fee, scalable transactions. The operative words here are off-chain scaling and privacy preserving. This is an option to watch closely in 2018 to see if Raiden can live up to some big promises.

Could Terabyte Blocks Be The Big Solution

 It is only a research paper but the founder of Lokad Joannes Vermorel has come up with a possible answer by creating terabyte size blocks. His idea has only focused on transactions for bitcoin cash but if it works there you can bet that adaptations for other currencies will follow.

 Joannes argues that terabyte blocks could not only be fast but economical. He explains how terabyte blocks could scale to far more than the current 1MB blocks size or about 3-4 transactions per second.

According to his research paper a terabyte block could contain around 7 million transactions per second. That relates to 50 daily transactions for virtually every human on planet earth. That promise alone is what makes Vermorel’s idea worth keeping an eye on.

How difficult it will be to translate Joannes idea into a real world application and then be adapt to cryptocurrencies beyond bitcoin cash is anybody’s guess. One thing is certain, transaction speed and costs are likely to be hot topics in the New Year.

Remember, one of the original selling points of bitcoin was that transactions were fast and free. At present neither of these two promises are being consistently met. Even so, the possibilities are so fascinating that it keeps our attention glued to events that will shape the future. Whatever 2018 brings we will share our views and hope your prosperity continues.

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 106 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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Altcoins

Selling Pressure Hits Bitcoin, Altcoins Following Large Rally

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Cryptocurrencies declined across the board on Monday, as the market returned to a defensive posture following a $38 billion inflow over the past six days. Losses affected all major assets but were largely concentrated in altcoins and tokens.

Market Update

From a peak of around $230 billion on Friday, the cryptocurrency market cap has fallen back to $218.4 billion. The brisk selloff began around 00:00 UTC on Monday; the market would go on to lose roughly $8 billion over the span of six hours.

Trading volumes have held steady over the last 24 hours with $13.7 billion transacted on virtual currency exchanges.

All major assets were down on Monday, with XRP and Stellar XLM each declining more than 11%. Both currencies were the top performers last week. XRP is currently trading at $0.517 and XLM is sitting at $0.2556.

Ethereum slipped 5.1% to $232. Bitcoin cash was down 7.3% at 464. EOS, which was briefly overtaken by Stellar in the market cap rankings, declined 6.6% to $5.67.

Losses in bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency by market cap, were more contained. BTC is down 2.1% over 24 hours to $6,607. Bitcoin’s price crossed the 50-day moving average on Friday and is currently testing that key level.

Pullback Expected

A pullback was expected for the leading altcoins after demonstrating spectacular growth over a short period. XRP posted a three-fold increase in price last week while Stellar XLM added a third to its value in roughly the same period. Cardano was also among the top performers a ADA began its long recovery from a 96% retracement.

Fundamentals were a major catalyst behind last week’s rally but appear to be absent from the recent reversal, reinforcing the view that technical re-positioning was largely responsible. Sharp corrections are common for cryptocurrencies after a large run-up in prices.

With the pullback, bitcoin’s share of the overall market has returned above 52%. Bitcoin’s dominance rate approached six-week lows on Sunday as altcoins and tokens outpaced the leading digital currency.

BTC trade volumes are holding above $4 billion, a figure that is generally consistent with rising prices. Bitcoin’s price action this week could be influenced by expiring CME futures contracts. The September futures contract is set to expire on Friday.

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 610 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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Bitcoin

Bitcoin Network Faced One-Two Punch of Inflation and DoS Threats

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Bitcoin Core has emerged seemingly unscathed from a major vulnerability that threatened to shut down parts of the network in a denial-of-service (DoS) attack. But apparently, the bug was even worse than originally thought. According to a Bitcoin Core Full Disclosure Report, the issue included an “inflation vulnerability,” one in which if seized upon could have bolstered the supply of bitcoin beyond the famous 21 million coin ceiling. By pouring more coins into the supply, the hackers would have diminished the value of the circulating bitcoins.

The decision to expose only the lesser extreme part of the bug to the public was deliberate. According to the report:

“In order to encourage rapid upgrades, the decision was made to immediately patch and disclose the less serious Denial of Service vulnerability, concurrently with reaching out to miners, businesses, and other affected systems while delaying publication of the full issue to give times for systems to upgrade. On September 20th a post in a public forum reported the full impact and although it was quickly retracted the claim was further circulated.”

Double-Edged Sword

The strategy was a success and the bug is no longer a threat, as evidenced by more than 50% of the bitcoin mining hashrate having been upgraded to the patched nodes with no known attempts to “exploit this vulnerability.”

Here’s what we know, according to the report –

“A developer by the title earlz independently discovered and reported the vulnerability to the Bitcoin Core security contact email.”

Meanwhile, on social media, a contributor identified as a Bitcoin Cash developer who goes by the handle “Awemany” was cheered on Reddit for discovering and reporting the bug and cementing their place in “bitcoin’s history book.” Awemany in a blog post pointed to bitcoin developer Matt Corallo, whose 2016 pull request in an attempt to accelerate validation times led to what Awemany characterized as “one of the most catastrophic bugs in Bitcoin ever.”

The bottom line is that the bug was discovered and the threat has been lifted. It’s both a reminder of the risks associated with the consensus mechanism and a demonstration of good faith among the decision makers.

While it’s mostly the future of ETH that has been contemplated of late, given the plummeting of the No. 2 cryptocurrency’s value this year along with the confidence of investors, bitcoin has its own issues. In an exclusive interview with CCN, Sheffield Clark, who is at the helm of bitcoin ATM maker Coinsource, pointed to potentially “stagnant” mainstream adoption of bitcoin amid a lack of regulatory framework to help resolve issues like extreme volatility.

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 62 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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Bitcoin

Bitcoin Price Crosses 50-Day MA amid Seller’s Fatigue

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Bitcoin is charting a bullish reversal after an impressive Friday rally pushed prices back above the 50-day moving average.

BTC/USD Update

Bitcoin’s price clocked a high of $6,840.90 on Bitfinex Saturday, the highest in over two weeks. BTC was last seen trading at $6,678, having declined 1.2% from the previous session.

The leading digital currency shot up $400 on Friday after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced it will delay a ruling on the highly touted VanEck SolidX Bitcoin Trust. The broader market was in a firm uptrend thanks to XRP’s triple-digit surge.

Bitcoin is now trading above the 50-day moving average, an important indicator for the bulls. Relative strength has weakened over the past 24 hours but remains in positive territory.

The bulls have a lot more work to do to ensure a stable recovery in the bitcoin price. Although BTC has successfully defended its key support, the market has been characterized by lower highs since mid-July.

At current values, bitcoin’s total market capitalization has risen to $115.2 billion. However, its share of the overall market has depreciated considerably. At the time of writing, bitcoin’s dominance rate was below 52%, according to CoinMarketCap. It recently peaked above 58%.

Classic Bottom?

Michael Novogratz, the billionaire investor and founder of Galaxy Digital, believes bitcoin is due for a strong comeback as “seller fatigue” takes hold.

Speaking at the second annual “All Markets Summit” hosted by Yahoo Finance, Novogratz said crypto assets will be back on the upswing following the boom-and-bust cycle of the last two years. According to Galaxy Digital’s cryptocurrency index, the market has experienced a “classic bottom” that will make the top-ten coins more attractive in the foreseeable future.

“Bitcoin has held $6,000. Yes, it is off its highs, but it has established itself as a store of value,” Novogratz said, as quoted by Reuters.

The $6,000 price point has proven to be a formidable support zone for bitcoin as it is commonly cited as the break-even point for miners. The launch of bitcoin futures in December has also contributed to a sharp decline in volatility – albeit incremental – which appears to have set the price floor at or around $6,000. Although the market has breached this level on multiple occasions, each breakdown proved to be short-lived.

In terms of institutional adoption, Novogratz believes there are sizable sums of money currently waiting to be invested. This view conforms with the business strategy being employed by Coinbase, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, which has developed new custody services to attract institutional investors. Coinbase believes there is currently $10 billion in institutional capital sitting on the sidelines.

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 610 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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