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Moment of Truth

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Hi Everyone,

What can I say? The adoption of crypto by large scale financial institutions is taking longer than expected but is still on track.

The bear market certainly caused some to hesitate but today we have confirmation that things are moving forward as planned.

The Wall Street backed service Bakkt, which plans to allow clients to store and spend crypto in a user-friendly and secure way, has clearly demonstrated that they are going ahead despite delays caused by the partial US government shutdown.

In this blog post yesterday, Bakkt CEO Kelly Loeffler announced their first strategic acquisition. The Chicago based company they’re buying is Rosenthal Collins Group, which boasts more than 100 years experience in the financial services industry. The deal, which is set to be finalized next month, will see RCG’s team completely integrated into the young crypto company.

Meanwhile, in Switzerland, a country that is way ahead of the curve on crypto adoption, a major financial institution known as Vontobel has announced their own crypto custodial service and digital asset vault, which is available for their clients now.

My friends, institutional adoption of cryptoassets is finally upon us.

@MatiGreenspan
eToro, Senior Market Analyst

Today’s Highlights

  • Shutdown: Day 25
  • Brexit Vote Day
  • Ethereum Upgrade Tonight

Please note: All data, figures & graphs are valid as of January 15th. All trading carries risk. Only risk capital you can afford to lose.

Traditional Markets

Stocks are up today on the news that China will be following in Trump’s footsteps and stimulating their economy with massive tax cuts.

As economic conditions tighten around the world, one of the only solutions left for many countries to encourage spending is to cut taxes.

Of course, the long term effect of these type of actions is usually to increase the national deficit as the world’s largest economies sink further into staggering debt. But that doesn’t necessarily need to be an issue as long as they keep making their payments on the debt.

The rally seems to be holding into the European session and even the safe havens like Gold, Swiss Francs, and the Yen are pulling back.

Today is the 25th day of the partial US government shutdown with no end in sight. We’ll also hear from Mario Draghi at 16:00 in France. Let’s hope for some strong earnings reports from the financial sector today and tomorrow.

Brexit Vote

Bigger than all of that though, at least in the UK, is the critical vote on Theresa May’s Brexit plan, which is scheduled to take place around 19:00 London time.

Consensus seems to be that the vote will not carry and some are even predicting the worst upset for a Prime Minister in British History, which does seem a bit exaggerated to me.

Due to the potential impact on the markets many brokers, including eToro, have limited the maximum allowed leverage going into the event on all UK stocks and most major currency pairs. For details of how trading will be affected, please check out @eToroTeam page for updates.

Something tells me though, that this may not be as big as people are preparing for. First, the fact that brokers are limiting leverage in itself should reduce volatility. Second, if the announcement is already set to upset then there shouldn’t be much surprise to the markets. You never know though.

Upgrade Time for ETH

At block #7080000, which should happen sometime tomorrow night, the Ethereum network will undergo a hard fork.

Hard forks might seem difficult to understand because we’re so used to centralized computing, but in a decentralized world, the only way to make a major upgrade is to fork it.

For example, when Microsoft wants to upgrade from Windows 9 to Windows 10, they have their dev team write the code, and then users upgrade one by one in their own time. In decentralized computing, the entire network needs to upgrade together.

A hard fork is like a copy-paste action, where a new blockchain is born and if all goes well, the old one dies.

Sometimes, when there is a disagreement among the community about the upgrade, some members will choose to keep the old version of the blockchain alive and we see a split. The most famous cases of this was when Bitcoin Cash split off of Bitcoin on August 1st 2017 and when Ethereum split with Ethereum Classic back in 2016.

However, the Constantinople upgrade has already received widespread backing from the entire community and so we hope everything goes smoothly. It’s important to note that there is no action required by the end users. If you are holding ETH on eToro or any wallet or exchange, the upgrade should be done for you automatically.

By this time on Thursday, we should have a brand new Ethereum, which is faster, cheaper, and has 33% less inflation.

Let’s have an excellent day.

This content is provided for information and educational purposes only and should not be considered to be investment advice or recommendation.

Past performance is not an indication of future results. All trading involves risk; only risk capital you are prepared to lose.

The outlook presented is a personal opinion of the analyst and does not represent an official position of eToro.

eToro is a multi-asset platform which offers both investing in stocks and cryptocurrencies, as well as trading CFD assets.

Please note that CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 65% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

Cryptocurrencies can widely fluctuate in prices and are not appropriate for all investors. Trading cryptocurrencies is not supervised by any EU regulatory framework.

Best regards,
Mati Greenspan
Senior Market Analyst

Connect with me on….

eToro: @MatiGreenspan Twitter: @MatiGreenspan LinkedInMatiGreenspan |Facebook:MatiGreen

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 152 rated postsSenior Market Analyst at Etoro.com.




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Market Overview

Stocks Surge on U.S.-China Trade Optimism; Dow Notches Eighth Consecutive Weekly Gain

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Stocks surged on Friday, with the Dow hitting its highest in over three months as investors embraced apparent progress in U.S.-China trade negotiations. Meanwhile, President Trump declared a national emergency over border-security funding mere hours after Congress approved a new budget resolution preventing a second costly government shutdown.

Dow Extends Winning Streak to Eight Weeks

All three of Wall Street’s benchmarks headed for gains on the final day of the week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average spiked 443.86 points, or 1.7%, to close at 25,882.25. That was the Dow’s highest settlement since Nov. 9.

Financial bellwethers Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) and JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM) were the Dow’s biggest gainers on Friday.

Read: JPMorgan Becomes the First U.S. Bank to Launch Its Own Cryptocurrency.

The broad S&P 500 Index advanced 1.1% to settle at 2,775.60. All 11 primary sectors finished higher and five reported gains of at least 1.1%. Financials were the biggest contributors to the rally, climbing 1.9% as a group. Energy stocks rose 1.4% and health care added 1.3%.

The technology-focused Nasdaq Composite Index added 0.6% to finish at 7,472.41.

A measure of expected volatility over the next 30 days fell on Friday to its lowest level since early October. The CBOE Volatility Index, also known as the VIX, reached a session low of 14.79 on a scale of 1-100 where 20-25 represents the historical average. Volatility usually drops when stocks rise.

U.S.-China Trade Talks See Progress

The White House on Friday touted progress in the ongoing trade negotiations between the United States and China after both sides concluded two days of meaningful dialogue.

In an official press release, the White House described the negotiations as “detailed and intensive,” which led to “progress between the two parties. The statement added: “Both sides will continue working on all outstanding issues in advance of the March 1, 2019, deadline for an increase in the 10 percent tariff on certain imported Chinese goods.”

China next week will send its trade envoy to Washington to resume the negotiations. While both sides have until Mar. 1 to get a deal finalized, President Trump has said he will let the deadline “slide” if the two countries make progress.

Trump Declares National Emergency

The wall is coming, says Trump. | Source: Shutterstock.

President Trump has declared a national emergency to unlock additional funds for his proposed 234-mile border wall with Mexico. The declaration ignited a new debate over the legality of increased border spending even though “national emergencies” are hardly novel among presidents.

Check out the week that was in our Week in Review: Jamie Dimon Gets Crypto Fever as JPMorgan Develops Stablecoin; Bitcoin Fundamental Improve

On Thursday, both houses of Congress passed $333 billion in new spending legislation. The budget allotted just $1.38 billion towards the border, which is well short of the $5.7-billion Trump had requested. Under the current budget blueprint, the United States would have enough funds to erect an additional 55 miles of barrier.

In a speech at the Rose Garden, Trump said a fortified border was essential to national security. “We’re talking about an invasion of our country,” he said, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. Chart via Barchart.com.

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 770 rated postsChief Editor to Hacked.com and Contributor to CCN.com, Sam Bourgi has spent the past nine years focused on economics, markets and cryptocurrencies. His work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Avid crypto watchers and those with a libertarian persuasion can follow him on twitter at @hsbourgi




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Analysis

The “Accessibility Premium”: How Coinbase’s Overseas Expansion Could Affect Crypto Prices

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The accessibility premium refers to the affect on a cryptocurrency’s price when it is added to Coinbase. The $8 billion valued exchange is now looking to expand beyond its U.S-based institutional trading business to offer institutional services worldwide. Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin may end up being the greatest beneficiaries. These cryptocurrencies could gain from increased accessibility; the new “Coinbase Effect”.

In 2018, as the exchange added more cryptocurrencies, some writers wrote about a perceived “Coinbase Effect”, like Ari Paul. They theorize about an “accessibility premium”, in which those crypto-assets that are more accessible rise in price. With Coinbase bringing crypto to worldwide investors, it could bolster demand for those coins that are listed on the San Francisco-based “Goldman Sachs of Crypto”. They would be more accessible. When a new cryptocurrency or token hit the exchange, traders might expect a bump in price. 

On May 3, 2017 Coinbase integrated Litecoin, resulting in a 30% increase in the price. When Coinbase listed Bitcoin Cash on December 19, 2017, trading on global exchanges skyrocketed. Bitcoin cash closed at $4,000. Two days prior, its price had been $2,200. Volume increased from $2.5 billion on December 18 to nearly $12 billion on December 20 for a 380% increase.

Coinbase added Ethereum on July 21, 2016, resulting in a modest 14% rally. Things changed when Brave browser’s token, BAT, launched on Coinbase. It declined in price. Further data is needed to know the truthful dynamics. By the time BAT was listed, the price of crypto had long since started a consolidation, leaving sentiment low.

Fast forward Q1 2019, and Coinbase is expanding overseas. It is laying down infrastructure for the long-term as it looks towards Asian markets, amid moves to attract international institutional money to cryptocurrency trading. (Coinbase’s product GDAX offers US-based institutional trading) New traders might find Coinbase’s familiarity welcoming. Higher volumes would be to expected for the cryptocurrencies offered by the Silicon Valley giant. 

So, the popular exchange is undergoing an extensive expansion. Coinbase customers residing outside of the U.S. can now trade without a domestic bank account. This could be a boon to the prices of cryptos offered by Coinbase, led by Bitcoin.

There has been discussion about the correlation between simplicity and demand. Opinions on the effect ease of use has on demand are not entirely aligned. As Donald Norman says in his book “Living with Complexity”:

… the so-called demand for simplicity is a myth whose time has passed, if it ever existed.

Make it simple and people won’t buy. Given a choice, they will take the item that does more.

Features win over simplicity, even when people realize that features mean more complexity. You do too, I’ll bet. Haven’t you ever compared two products side by side, feature by feature, and preferred the one that did more? …

Would you pay more money for a washing machine with fewer controls? In the abstract, maybe. At the store, probably not.

Ultimately, Norman argues for managed complexity. But, the demand for simplicity – or at least clarity – seems logical in a chaotic, complex world. In a blog on their website called “The Customer Demand for Pervasive Simplicity”, Cisco writes of this perception, and how it tailors its products towards this end.

A bastion of crypto-simplicity, Coinbase has long courted institutional investors in the U.S., but now its targets are clearly set on a global institutional book. The stage is set for crypto’s first truly global exchange, though Coinbase will need to first successfully assimilate into new countries, with their unique business practices languages, laws, and regulations. Currently, differing regulations in different countries keep crypto’s exchange ecosystem quite regional.

Coinbase holds 5 percent of all bitcoin, 8 percent of all ethereum, and 25 percent of all litecoin in circulation in cold storage. Its success overseas would likely underpin their prices if the “accessibility premium” holds true.

Marcus Hughes, recently appointed as lead counsel for Coinbase in the United Kingdom, has been tasked with overseeing cross-border expansion: “Coinbase takes the long view on bitcoin and wider cryptocurrency prices,” Hughes said, “We need to move beyond the speculation phase of bitcoin and cryptocurrency to the utility phase.”

He added: “The utility phase will mean bitcoin and crypto becomes more widely accepted and understood.”

This solidifies bullish sentiment from the exchange which will be strengthened should it be successful in its bid to attract ‘big money’, not just from a core user base in the U.S. but also from thriving crypto markets in countries such as Japan.

Coinbase reports that, “In the past twelve months, hundreds of crypto-first hedge funds have launched around the world, and many hundreds more traditional institutions have begun [actively trading digital assets]. High-volume clients across Asia will now have access to Coinbase’s flagship trading platforms for institutions. As part of this rollout, we now support inbound and outbound international (SWIFT) wire transfers, allowing Coinbase clients in Asia to fund their accounts from non-US bank holdings.”

Coinbase predicts a bright future for digital currency in Asia, it says, and looks to enter into a market that could help it to cement a role as one of the global leaders in crypto trading. But there remains a big question mark over cryptocurrencies, prominently over how regulation is going to play a role.

Marcus Hughes opines that this year will see a “massive change” for global bitcoin regulation. He says that Europe will gradually lead the way out of a “crypto winter” into regulated digital currency markets with more potential for long-term stability. But, in the short term, irrational trading might paint an entirely different picture. 

As we see Coinbase invest in the long-term it bolsters confidence in a currently inhospitable climate for bitcoin. Should prices continue to fluctuate market sentiment may dip, but it is the notion of institutional money that may serve to give cryptocurrency markets much-needed price stability. 

Image: David McBee, Pexels

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 postsJustin O'Connell is the founder of financial technology focused CryptographicAsset.com. Justin organized the launch of the largest Bitcoin ATM hardware and software provider in the world at the historical Hotel del Coronado in southern California. His works appear in the U.S.'s third largest weekly, the San Diego Reader, VICE and elsewhere.




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Analysis

3 Things You Need to Know About the Market Today: Extended Trade Talks, Economic Data Dump, National Emergency

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1, Trade Talks to Continue Next Week in Washington

S&P 500 Futures, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

The news of the day, so far, is clearly the unexpected extension of the current round of trade talks between the US and China. The negotiations will reportedly continue next week in Washington, and that could mean that some kind of formal agreement is already in the works. We expected, at least, and extension of the March 1 deadline, and although the rumors were pointing to that earlier on this week, the current state of the talks is even more positive for bulls.

That said, the mature global risk rally only managed to grind on, with the key markets missing real bullish momentum this week. The S&P 500 yet again hit marginal new recovery highs today, but the MACD indicator is clearly showing weakness, despite the week’s positive new flow, and as the Volatility Index (VIX) hasn’t been confirming the move either, we are sticking to our defensive stance towards equities here.

2, British Retail Sales Beat as US Consumer Confidence on Tap

FTSE 100 Index CFD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

While the Great British Pound has been weak amid the continued Brexit-related uncertainty, with the weakening economic numbers also weighing on the currency, British equities have been outperforming in the meanwhile. Today, we had the first major positive economic surprise in a long-time from Europe, as the British Retails Sales Report was much better-than-expected, coming in at 1.0% vs. the consensus estimate of 0.2%.

The FTSE 100 hit its highest level since early October today, boosted by the weakening but still ongoing global risk rally and the weakening currency. Stock investors don’t seem to be concerned by the prospect of a no-deal Brexit, despite the apocalyptic forecast by the Bank of England and the anti-Brexiters.

The GBP barely budged following the strong retail sales data, and the GBP/USD pair is near its recent 1-month lows amid the Dollar’s broad push higher. US Industrial Production came in at -0.6% missing the consensus estimate of 0.1% by a wide margin, while the Empire State Manufacturing index was slightly better-than-expected. The day’s most-awaited US report is due to come out after the bell and analysts expect a slight uptick to 93.3 after the huge drop in the measure in December.

3, Dollar on the Verge of Break-Out as Trump to Declare National Emergency

Dollar Index, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

After some consideration, the President decided to sign the bill on border security that removes the immediate risk of a government shutdown. On the other hand, Mr. Trump will also reportedly declare a national emergency to secure additional funding for the Wall and the Democrats are already considering legal action to fight that decision.

As for the effects on markets, the fact that a second government shutdown is off the table boosted equities and the dollar today. Even though, we don’t think that the Border Wall saga is over and we are likely already deep into the 2020 campaign. With that in mind, we expect a ‘light’ legislative schedule for the coming two years, with the legislative gridlock giving a great chance to the Democrats to tackle President Trump ahead of the elections.

We have been tracking the Dollar’s rebound ever since the Fed meeting, and while the key resistance zone near 97, which roughly corresponds with the support zone between the 1.1250 and 1.13 in the EUR/USD, is still intact, a break-out to new multi-year highs looks more and more likely. The momentum of the short-term move could lead to a major break-out following the lengthy consolidation period, but we could still see volatility in the current trading range due to the several failed break-out attempts in recent months.

ChartBook

Major Stock Indices

Nasdaq 100 Futures, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

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Forex

EUR/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

USD/JPY, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

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EUR/GBP, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

AUD/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Commodities

WTI Crude Oil, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Gold Futures, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Copper Futures, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Featured image from 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 464 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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