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Last Year’s Crypto Boom Was Fixed: Researchers

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Bitcoin’s plight in 2018 has been a stark reversal from the leading cryptocurrency’s performance in 2017, particularly vs. the end of last year. So what gives? If you were to ask a pair of researchers, one of whom has a penchant for uncovering fraud in the financial markets, the gains have an asterisk next to them, one that leads to popular U.S.-dollar linked cryptocurrency Tether (USDT).  

The University of Texas Finance Professor John Griffin and understudy Amin Shams have published a paper entitled “Is Bitcoin Really Un-Tethered?” It chronicles what the academics ultimately conclude is a shady dynamic between bitcoin and Tether, the No. 12 cryptocurrency by market cap.

Using algorithms and transaction data collected from the public blockchain, the researchers determine that Tether is a coin that is “pushed out into the market” and not driven by supply and demand but instead the whims of the bitcoin price. 

They point to the Bitfinex exchange, which is looking to redomicile from Asia to Switzerland, aka Crypto Valley. After monitoring the activity surrounding Tether coins on Bitfinex, the researchers propose that Tether supply is added to the market by Bitfinex at crucial times in bitcoin’s performance.

Source: “Is Bitcoin Really Untethered?”

What Gives?

That’s what drove the bitcoin price to nearly the $20,000 level in December 2017, according to the report, whose results they say are “consistent with the Tether issuers pushing out Tether to stabilize the price of bitcoin,” the report states. The U.S. CFTC earlier this year issued subpoenas to both Bitfinex and Tether, both of which are led by J.L. van der Velde, to ensure that there were adequate reserves that they claim make the coin stable. No fraud was uncovered.

Tether boasts a market cap of $2.5 billion and it is viewed as a more stable alternative to bitcoin’s erratic price swings, though the details surrounding the mechanics of it all are held close to the vest. From what the researchers say, Tether coins are created in groups of 200 million, after which time the coins are directed to Bitfinex.

Meanwhile, when bitcoin suffers a dramatic decline, researchers found evidence that the Tether coins are then directed by Bitfinex and other leading exchanges toward purchasing more bitcoin, resulting in an inflated price. They studied the period from March 2017 through year-end and found dozens of instances in which the behavior occurs.

Given the regulatory scrutiny that’s on the markets today, it would make sense that if Tether-fueled bitcoin price manipulation were occurring, it would slow down in this environment and thus no rescue for the bitcoin price. But the pressure in the cryptocurrency markets could just be a function of all the uncertainty that’s swirling at the moment.

“I’ve looked at a lot of markets. If there’s fraud or manipulation in a market it can leave tracks in the data. The tracks in the data here are very consistent with the manipulation hypothesis,” Griffin told Bloomberg.

Meanwhile, Bitfinex CEO van der Velde told the publication: “Tether issuance can’t be used to prop up the price of bitcoin nor any other coins/token on Bitfinex.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Justice is in the midst of a probe to determine whether traders are responsible for previous market gains by manipulating the bitcoin price.

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 70 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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Altcoins

EOS Price Analysis: Cardano Founder Charles Hoskinson Warns of Regulatory Action Against EOS

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  • Charles Hoskinson projects some form of action from the SEC on EOS.
  • EOS/USD enjoys a relief rally on Wednesday, as price moves further north following recent bounce.

The EOS price hasn’t done much but decline of late. Back in August, EOS/USD entered into a very stubborn narrowing range. The price had been confined within this mode of trading right up until November. The range was seen from the $6 territory down $4 area. On the 19th November, EOS/USD bears had finally pushed for a breakout to the downside, from this mentioned range-block. Following this fall, the price plummeted over 60%, over the course of 3 weeks.

Cardano Founder Hoskinson Expresses EOS Regulatory Concerns

The Cardano (ADA) founder, Charles Hoskinson, has beliefs that EOS chief developer of the network is likely to face strong action from regulatory bodies. The SEC would be a potential regulator that investigates their $4bln ICO, as he has described as “egregious.”

Speaking at a press conference in Edinburgh, Charles Hoskinson has made a projection that the Securities and Exchange Commission will look at taking firm measures against Block.One. He believes that this would be done due to the way it had run and hosted the EOS ICO.  Hoskinson further detailed how the EOS token sale sits within the remit of the regulators for them to review the potential for harm of retail investors in the United States.

Charles Hoskinson Anticipating SEC Action on EOS

Hoskinson predicted that the SEC will likely bring punitive measures against Block.One for the way it ran the EOS Initial Coin Offering. The IOHK leader explained that EOS’ token sale falls well within the regulator’s remit to take action against any financial activity which harms US retail investors.

There were several fundamental issues with the EOS ICO, which clearly raise red flags, from Hoskinson’s view. He expressed for particular focus on the amount they had raised over the course of a year, in addition to their “utter lack of respect” for investors. Hoskinson said, the SEC “needed” to take action.

Technical Review – EOS/USD

EOS/USD daily chart

Most recently, the price has managed to stabilize, which could be due to sellers exhaustion. A bounce was seen on 7th December, after falling to a low of around $1.55. The bulls are attempting to make a convincing push back into the $2 territory. Demand in the near-term should now be observed from that recent low, $1.55 up to $1.80.

It is interesting to note the area of which EOS/USD received some comfort on 7th December (this is a known acting support). Back in November 2017 during the big bull run, the price consolidated within the mentioned demand zone for a brief period. This came before continuing its strong move to the north.

Downside Observations

EOS/USD daily chart

Should the near-term area of support fail to hold, then there could be some devastating moves to the downside. A breach of the $1 mark could very well be seen. The next major demand area will be within the depths of $0.90 region. EOS/USD had last traded down here again within the early part of Nov 2017 bull run.

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 79 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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Altcoins

Coinbase to ‘Explore Support’ for Over 30 Altcoins; XRP, Cardano, EOS, NEO & More

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Coinbase has announced plans to ‘explore support’ for over thirty cryptocurrencies, with major altcoins such as XRP, EOS, Cardano and Stellar up for consideration.

Just yesterday Coinbase Pro surprised everyone by suddenly accepting inbound transfers of four new ERC-20 tokens: Loom Network (LOOM), Civic (CVC), districtOx (DNT) and Decentraland (MANA).

Coinbase Gets Alt-Happy

The addition of those four tokens leaves twenty-seven coins remaining out of Coinbase’s list, published yesterday. According to the announcement, the following batch of coins and tokens are currently being explored:

“Cardano (ADA), Aeternity (AE), Aragon (ANT), Bread Wallet (BRD), Dai (DAI), EnjinCoin (ENJ), EOS (EOS), Golem Network (GNT), IOST (IOST), Kin (KIN), Kyber Network (KNC), ChainLink (LINK), Loom Network (LOOM), Loopring (LRC), Mainframe (MFT), Maker (MKR), NEO (NEO), OmiseGo (OMG), Po.et (POE), QuarkChain (QKC), Augur (REP), Request Network (REQ), Status (SNT), Storj (STORJ), Stellar (XLM), XRP (XRP), Tezos (XTZ), and Zilliqa (ZIL).”

Caveats

Such news will be a boon to bag-holders everywhere, assuming they’re still in the game. However, the announcement does come with a caveat or two:

“Adding new assets requires significant exploratory work from both a technical and compliance standpoint, and we cannot guarantee that all the assets we are evaluating will ultimately be listed for trading.”

With that said, Coinbase has shown itself to be one of the more cautious cryptocurrency exchanges over the years, and the team don’t tend to make many calls that they can’t back up. As many of these coins have already started to pump following the announcement, it’s more than likely that the exchange is fairly confident that the listings will go ahead as planned.

Coinbase stated the possibility that not all of the assets may get the same level of exposure on the platform, owing to technical and legal difficulties:

“…our listing process may result in some of these assets being listed solely for customers to buy and sell, without the ability to send or receive using a local wallet. Finally, as per our listing process, we will add new assets on a jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction basis, which allows us to add assets efficiently and responsibly.”

Market Effects

Every coin mentioned felt some kind of price volatility yesterday, even the stable coin Dai (DAI). Tezos (XTZ), Quarkchain (QKC), Aeternity (AE) and OmiseGo (OMG) were all leading the front page of CoinMarketCap on Saturday morning, surging to between 15-20% gains overnight.

Many of the other coins mentioned also attempted upswings, such as NEO and EOS, but were halted by the movement of the broader market.

The four ERC-20 tokens added to Coinbase Pro yesterday experienced between 20-50% gains within a matter of minutes, however they couldn’t be sustained and ultimately pulled back by large margins.

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 103 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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Cryptocurrencies

Coinbase Announces Four New ERC-20 Tokens; Prices Surge

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Coinbase Pro announced plans to list four new ERC-20 tokens on Friday, triggering a flurry of buys which saw all four soar to double digit growth.

As per the announcement, inbound transfers have already begun for Decentraland (MANA), districtOx (DNT), Loom Network (LOOM) and Civic (CVC).

Coinbase Focuses on ERC-20

Coinbase announced its intention to focus on ERC-20 tokens back in Q1 of 2018, and Basic Attention Token (BAT) and Ox (ZRX) were the first to gain listings later in the year. As per today’s announcement:

“Following our recent launches of 0x (ZRX), Basic Attention Token (BAT), and our stablecoin, USDC (USD Coin) — all of which are built on Ethereum’s ERC20 standard — we’re now announcing support for Civic (CVC), district0x (DNT), Loom Network (LOOM), and Decentraland (MANA), on Coinbase Pro.”

The news came out of nowhere on Friday afternoon, depriving traders of the usual speculative build-up which occurs with a coin listing. This marks the continuation of a new trend for the exchange following a similar methodology with the recent Zcash (ZEC) listing.

Despite the lack of build-up, the valuations of all four tokens surged within minutes of the Coinbase tweet ringing out.

Decentraland (MANA)

MANA tokens spiked 20% in value following the announcement, with particularly strong gains being felt against BTC.

From a low of 1470 satoshis, Decentraland peaked at 1770 sats before a significant drop-off back to the 1640 range. All numbers taken from Binance, which housed 75% of the $11 million daily trade volume – up 37.5% from before the announcement.

districtOx (DNT)

The Coinbase boost gave DNT 60% gains against Bitcoin today, as an 1,169% increase to trade volume saw the token price rise from 293 sats up to 470 within one hour.

The price was pulled back to the 393 range before finding some stability around 410. Over 80% of DNT trades came from Binance today – which rose from $260,000 to $3.2 million following the announcement.

Loom Network (LOOM)

Loom Network spiked 31% on the announcement, climbing from 1116 to 1465 satoshis and floated by a +200% increase to trade volumes, which rose from $700,000 to $2.2 million.

As with the previous two, the majority of action came from Binance, which housed 77.5% of the daily trades.

Civic (CVC)

Ranked around 130th place by market cap, Civic climbed 28% in value against BTC today, with CVC tokens climbing from 1418 satoshis up to 1827 sats by the peak of the surge. The subsequent drop-off on the Binance trading floor saw the valuation drop as low as the 1620 range, marking an immediate halving of the day’s gains.

Trade volumes quadrupled during the spike, rising from $500,000 to $2 million, with 47% of the total coming from Binance.

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 103 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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