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Is Bitcoin Really Un-Tethered? Yes, Says University Researcher

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The debate surrounding Tether’s (USDT) effect on the price of Bitcoin has been around since the start of the year when Tether Limited was subpoenaed by the U.S Commodity Futures Trading Commision. A short while later this anonymous report was published which claimed USDT was being printed willy-nilly and that it was subsequently manipulating the price of BTC.

The BTC-Tether Connection

The debate was sparked again in June when this research paper was presented by two University of Texas researchers. The paper, titled Is Bitcoin Really Un-Tethered?, written by John Griffin and Amin Shams, arrived at the conclusion that Bitcoin was indeed being manipulated by Tether issuances:

“Overall, our findings provide substantial support for the view that price manipulation may be behind substantial distortive effects in cryptocurrencies. These findings suggest that external capital market surveillance and monitoring may be necessary to obtain a market that is truly free.”

The paper noted how little Tether activity had to take place for Bitcoin to be affected, stating at one point that a mere 1% fluctuation in USDT could affect BTC prices hugely:

“Indeed, even less than 1% of extreme exchange of tether for Bitcoin has substantial aggregate price effects. The buying of Bitcoin with Tether also occurs more aggressively right below salient round-number price thresholds where the price support might be most effective. Negative EOM price pressure on Bitcoin only in months with large Tether issuance indicates a month-end need for dollar reserves related to Tether.”

A Case for the Defence

The above paper grabbed headlines and was viewed close to 90,000 times on SSRN, however, an alternative case laid out by Dr. Wang Chun, Ph.D. in Finance at Queensland University has been viewed only 1,500 times, and arrives at the opposite conclusion – namely that no correlation is found between Tether issuances and Bitcoin price.

Furthermore, the report even suggests that issuances of Tether are broken down into time-marked clusters to avoid having an effect on BTC:

“…we find Tether grants are strongly autocorrelated. This suggests Tether Limited is intentionally breaking down large grants into smaller blocks to be issued over several days, perhaps in a bid to reduce price impact on Bitcoin exchanges. It may also suggest demand for Tether coins are clumped and exhibit time clustering.”

Either way, Dr. Chun admits that Tether issuances frequently impact BTC trade volumes, albeit briefly. But ultimately, returns for Bitcoin holders are not affected by USDT:

“In conclusion, we do not find any evidence suggesting that Tether issuances cause subsequent increases in Bitcoin returns. However, we do find that Tether issuances are highly autocorrelated and cause subsequent increases in Bitcoin (and Tether) trading volume over the short term.”

Both sets of analysis use different methods in their approximations. The report by Griffin and Shams of Texas University approached the problem by monitoring wallet activity on exchanges where USDT trades were popular.

Dr. Chun used vector autoregression, or VAR analysis. Both reports make for interesting reading without appearing conclusive in their findings.

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 104 rated postsGreg Thomson is a full-time crypto writer and digital nomad. He eats ICOs for breakfast and bleeds altcoins. Wherever he lays his public key is his home.




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Bitcoin

Bitcoin Price Scrapes the Barrel While Stellar (XLM) Losses Fall in Line

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Bitcoin returned to its lowest valuation of the year on Friday, as the last week of cautious upward movement by the crypto market came to a crashing halt.

Just last week BTC fell to a dollar valuation in the high $3,200 range – a fifteen-month low at the time. After seven days of false hope and another rinsing of weak hands, BTC returned to the same valuation early on Friday morning – a sign that $3,000 is destined to act as a baseline in the short-term?

Meanwhile, after months of positive developments and upward momentum, Stellar (XLM) is finally feeling the pinch and may be about to fall back in line with average market losses. XLM’s valuation is down over 18% for the week, and 7.5% for Dec 14th alone – leaving Tether (USDT) waiting in the wings to take over XLM’s 4th spot ranking by market cap.

Bitcoin Price – BTC/USD

Bitcoin fell 4.75% leading into Friday morning, compounding 10% losses over the last five days. From the daily high of $3,448, BTC found itself trading as low as $3,200 on some exchanges, while the aggregate valuation drawn from all exchanges remains closer to $3,300 at time of writing.

Bitcoin volume remains high while overall trade volume has declined. This has sent BTC dominance to over 55% again, and may be the beginning of a trend which sees altcoin gains continually cashed out to the more trusted BTC (via USDT) for the duration of the bear market.

Stellar Price – XLM/USD

A portion of those gains may now be coming from the Stellar market, which is being dominated by USDT and BTC trades as of Friday.

From the daily peak of $0.111740, XLM’s valuation fell to £0.103288 by noon Friday. That’s a 7.5% decline for the day, and comes on top of 18.3% losses over seven days as Stellar finally seems to be falling in line.

Stellar had kept the bears at bay for much of the prolonged market dip in the last few months, even rising in the rankings to become the 4th highest capped cryptocurrency. Fuelled by prominent announcements and almost constant speculation regarding a Coinbase listing, XLM managed to buck the trend and hold onto its value while all around it were losing theirs.

Now, this latest dip has singled out XLM specifically, leaving the coin’s losses firmly in line with ETH and the major alts’ +60% losses since mid-November. Once valued at nearly $17 billion by market cap at its peak, Stellar is now valued at less than $2 billion, and only the slightest fluctuation by ‘stable’ coin, Tether, would drop XLM out of the top four ranked cryptos.’

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 104 rated postsGreg Thomson is a full-time crypto writer and digital nomad. He eats ICOs for breakfast and bleeds altcoins. Wherever he lays his public key is his home.




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Analysis

Crypto Update: Majors Testing Lows Following Broad Selloff

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The major cryptocurrencies have been once again under pressure in the past 24 hours and most of the coins got very close to their recent lows, even as the losses are limited for now. While the top coins avoided a breakdown, given the overwhelmingly bearish long-term picture and the steep short-term trend, odds continue to favor new lows in the coming weeks, so traders and investors should still remain defensive.

Dash/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

The continued technical weakness in the lagging coins, like Dash, and the lack of a relatively strong leadership is still apparent, and it reinforces the bearish overall picture. That is true even as the long-term momentum indicators are showing deeply oversold readings and investors sentiment remains very negative which could lead to a larger scale correction after a short-term trend change. That said, traders shouldn’t enter new positions here until we see meaningful short-term technical improvements.

BTC/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Bitcoin failed to regain momentum despite the weekend bounce and the coin is back near its recent low trading near the $3250 level today. The key $3600 level is out of reach for the most valuable coin, and with that in mind, our trend model remains on clear short- and long-term sell signals.

The current weakness of BTC is a negative sign for the whole segment, and a test of the key long-term $3000 level is more and more likely. Further string resistance is ahead between $4000 and $4050, and traders and investors shouldn’t enter positions here.

ETH/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Ethereum has been trading in a very narrow range in recent days, and the coin is still stuck below the key $95-$100 zone, as it failed to show relative strength despite being among the most oversold majors. ETH also faces strong resistance near $120 and $120, with the next major support zone found between $73 and $75, and traders and investors should still stay away from the coin.

Litecoin Breaking Down Again?

LTC/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Litecoin is threatening with another break below support today, with the $23 support level looking very weak now, and the steep short-term downtrend remains clearly intact in the coin. LTC continues to be relatively weak from a short-term standpoint, and traders shouldn’t consider even ultra-short term positions here, despite the deeply oversold broader picture.

The next major support zone is found between $20 and $20.50 and odds favor a test of that zone as soon as in the coming days, with strong resistance found near $26 and $30.

XRP/USDT, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Ripple continues to hover around the $0.30 level, still being very weak on the short-term time-frame, and being on sell singles both short- and long-term in our trend model. XRP faces strong resistance near $0.32, $0.3550, and $0.3750, while primary support is found at $0.28, with the prior bear market low being at $0.26. We expect at least a test of the lows in the coming weeks, despite the still relatively strong long-term technical setup and new low bear market lows are also likely in Ripple.

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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4.7 stars on average, based on 416 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

Bitcoin Price Hits New Yearly Low; Now is Best Time to Buy, Says Weiss Ratings

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Bitcoin was back on the defensive Friday, as prices sunk to new yearly lows following a minor consolidation earlier in the week. As Hacked recently reported, the bears are making a run at the psychologically significant $3,000 support and are likely to test that level in the near future.

BTC/USD Update

The bitcoin price is currently trading around $3,250 on major exchanges, having previously set a new 15-month low. On Coinbase Pro, BTC/USD bottomed near $3,200 late Thursday before quickly recovering near $3,300. Over the next 12 hours, prices would consolidate in the mid-$3,200 range. The leading digital currency printed similar levels on Bitstamp, Bittrex and Gemini. A premium of $100 was seen on Bitfinex, where bitcoin was trading hands around $3,350.

Aggregate data courtesy of CoinMarketCap show an average price of $3,305 at the time of writing. That represents a decline of 3.8% over the 24-hour trading cycle. With the drop, bitcoin saw its total market capitalization fall below $58 billion.

Daily trade volumes picked up slightly, reaching $4.4 billion on virtual currency exchanges. BitMEX was by far the largest market, processing nearly a quarter of transactions.

Bitcoin futures contracts offered by CME Group recorded a daily volume of 1,317 contracts. CBOE bitcoin futures registered 1,136 contracts. Over the past five days, both products had an average volume of more than 2,300 contracts.

Like bitcoin, the broader cryptocurrency market was also approaching new lows for the year. The combined cryptocurrency market cap reached a low near $104 billion, which is slightly higher than last week’s bottom.

Time to Buy is Now

Amid the search for an elusive bottom in the bitcoin price, a U.S.-based rating agency believes now is the best time to buy the digital currency anyway. According to Weiss Ratings, current prices reflect bitcoin’s “least speculative investment,” making it an ideal time to increase one’s holdings of the cryptocurrency. This is based on the belief that cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are “here to stay.”

Bitcoin “is getting to such low levels that it’s becoming one of the best buying opportunities of the year,” the Florida-based rating agency tweeted earlier this week. “As a store of value, Bitcoin is here to stay. We truly think it’s the least speculative investment a person can make in crypto right now.”

Weiss is no stranger to cryptocurrencies. Earlier this year, it issued the first-ever public rating of cryptocurrencies, ranking 74 blockchains along several criteria. At the time, EOS and Ethereum were the only assets to receive a “B” rating. No cryptoasset was given an “A.” Bitcoin, despite being the largest and most influential cryptocurrency, received a rating of “C+.”

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 698 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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