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Nouriel ‘Dr. Doom’ Roubini Argues Against Crypto at Senate Hearing

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Economist Nouriel Roubini is kicking cryptocurrencies while they are down. In his testimony today before the Senate Banking Committee today at a crypto and blockchain hearing, Roubini argued that cryptocurrencies are “the mother of all scams and (now busted) bubbles.”

The timing of today’s hearing before skeptical U.S. Senators couldn’t have been worse, with the broader cyrpto market having shaved billions of dollars from its value overnight.  Roubini took advantage of the current sell-off, using it to his advantage and pointing to double-digit declines in leading coins like “ETH, XRP and other key cryptocurrencies.” The ETH price is currently barely holding above $200, while XRP is down by 13%, with the total value of the market hovering at $201 billion.

Chief among Roubini’s argument is that cryptocurrencies aren’t scalable and that there is “massive centralization” in an “oligopoly” that’s extremely risky. In fact, in recent days, he accused Ethereum Co-Founders Vitalik Buterin and Joseph Lubin of being “criminals” for their ETH holdings and wealth. Buterin fired back, hitting Roubini — who earned the nickname Dr. Doom for predicting the housing crisis of 2008 — where it hurts.

Skeptical Senators

Senators peppered Roubini and Peter Van Valkenburgh, who is the director of research at Coin Center, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting the open blockchain networks, with questions about bitcoin. They were seemingly looking for a way to distinguish between opportunities for technological innovation, e.g. crypto derivatives, and challenges surrounding regulation and scams.

U.S. Senators are open-minded about hearing about use cases for crypto and blockchain technology that can help the unbanked but appear skeptical about profit potential in light of this year’s 70% downturn in the BTC price and the ability to stamp out scams.

Meanwhile, Roubini may be an expert on the economy, but he knows enough about cryptocurrencies and the community that he refers to as “crypto land” to be dangerous. The blockchain, he stated is “nothing more than a glorified database.” He complained about the blockchain only being able to handle five transactions per second, adding that 80% of mining is controlled by an oligopoly.

But in defense of the crypto market, Van Valkenburgh frequently gave Mr. Roubini a wake up call on topics like TPS in which he rebutted:

“We can do a lot more. There are multiple layers being built on top of Bitcoin today that do [robot-powered] batch settlement” in which thousands of transactions can be completed.

As for Roubini’s argument about centralization, Van Valkenburgh quipped that miners with power “can’t do much.” For instance, the number of bitcoins in circulation is fixed, so they can’t change that. Also, they “can’t reallocate or move other people’s funds on the blockchain.” The worst they can do, he stated, is to “slow down the network” via a denial-of-service attack, which is the internet is similarly vulnerable to.

Market Volatility

The instability in cryptocurrency market prices this year was the elephant in the room. But as investors in any emerging asset class could attest to, there can be a “struggle to price something new,” said Van Valkenburgh, pointing to “irrational exuberance” that had, in fact, gripped the market. But institutional capital beginning to come off the sidelines, into bitcoin first and eventually other digital currencies, which is a sign of a maturing market. “We could use ETFs regulated by the SEC. We could use better [custodial solution] in general,” he added.

U.S. Senators questioned Roubini and Van Valkenburgh about the risks for Main Street investors. One Senator described that while the Winklevoss twins may be able to shoulder the risk, families risking their savings may not.

The profile of the average cryptocurrency investor, however, is someone who is “technologically sophisticated” as they must know how to manage public and private keys, Van Valkenburgh explained. The market is attractive to millennials, which reflects the ideal time to take investment risk in someone’s life.

Meanwhile, crypto exchanges have adopted “know-your-customer” standards for consumer protection. One shortfall is these companies must gain a money transmission license on a state-by-state basis, which is a cumbersome process. As a result, a federal license that encompasses a solution for market manipulation “would be a wise choice to make America a leader and protect our consumers,” Van Valkenburgh said.

While the Senate hearing on crypto may have taken place on a tough market day, the price declines are rivaled by the fact that bitcoin, while imperfect, is working.

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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USD/JPY Price Prediction: Trade Talks and FOMC Minutes are Huge Downside Risks; 110.25 Key Daily Support Eyed

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  • Focus shifts to a possible FOMC hiking halt confirmation following the dovish rate decision from January.
  • Trade talks continue in Washington, with USD pumped up on much optimism.

The USD/JPY bulls have been pushing the pair higher at quite some pace, as it completed its second consecutive trading week in the green. It has gained around 160 pips to the upside, moving from 109.50 up to a high last week of 111.13 before running into sellers. The pair managed to jump to its highest level seen since the back-end of December 2018. There are encouraging signs of a full reversal, following the steep losses that came into play from mid-December.

As a recap, a significant drop was observed from the week commencing 17th December last year; this followed the FOMC rate decision that was out during that week. The FOMC did increase rates back then; however, it was very much a dovish hike. The Fed’s accompanying statement at the time appeared to signal FOMC members are anticipating two rate hikes in 2019, down from their previous dot-plot projection of three rate hikes. The indications of a slowdown from this meeting were enough to see the markets start pricing in a downturn in moves north with interest rates from the Fed.

FOMC Minutes on Wednesday

Back in January, the FOMC made a complete U-turn on its monetary policy stance. FOMC members effectively noted that the balance sheet could be adjusted if need be. Furthermore, the FOMC called for ‘patience’ with future rate hikes. At the time, this generated a large amount of weakness for the greenback. Eyes are on a potential dovish statement from the central bank, with close attention to the language used.

Market participants will be looking for further confirmation that the bank’s hiking cycle is over. As a result, this could potentially force pressure to the downside on the USD, should the market interpret such a tone from the FOMC.

Trade Talks Progress

Another big influencer for the greenback this week will be the developments between the U.S. and China with their ongoing trade talks. They remain very much complicated; however, optimism is still seen following their willingness to continue negotiating in Washington. There was little in terms of anything conclusive during the discussions in Beijing last week; clocks are ticking ahead of the deadline.

Markets will be looking for this possible extension announcement in the deadline from Trump, should the talks go as well as he noted. Should nothing conclusive come out of these talks, then the market could grow tiresome and start selling USD. Risks remain tilted to the downside, given that USD has been pumping on hope and optimism.

Technical Review – USD/JPY

USD/JPY daily chart.

In terms of upside targets, the bulls will be eyeing a retest of the psychological 111.00 level. The price managed to move into this territory last week between 13-14th February. Last week’s jump came before running into significant sellers, forcing USD/JPY to retreat down at a critical daily support level. Longs are attractive above 110.25 (daily support), which is in proximity to the 61.8% Fibonacci.

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 125 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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Cryptocurrencies

6 Upcoming Events That Could Trigger a Price Pump for These Cryptocurrencies

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The kind of fundamental developments that sent a coin to the moon in 2017 had already started to lose their potency by the time 2018 came around. As the year wore on, we started to see partnership announcements and technical developments go unnoticed, when once the mere rumour of them was enough to positively impact the price of a coin.

And while 2019 will probably see an extension of this trend, I can’t help but think of the number of times I’ve seen a coin pump 50% in a week, only to go and check the project’s Twitter page and see that they’ve just implemented a new tech update.

By that time I’m too late, and whatever anticipation was being speculated on has turned into news, and is now being sold.

So in the spirit of experimentation, here’s a few upcoming technical updates due in the coming weeks.

Aeternity (AE) – First Mainnet Hardfork

Aeternity has three hardforks scheduled over the next year as it completes its migration from Ethereum. The date for this hardfork is only a few days away, but I include it on the basis of Aeternity’s previous volatility, exemplified in this chart from the last seventy days. Volume has been climbing all through February, from $10 million to $50 million.

Hardfork Date: February 20th

IOST (IOST) – Mainnet Launch

Just over a week away from mainnet, the IOST token price has shown signs of life with 4% growth in the past seven days. A summary of what the IOST mainnet promises to bring can be found here in a tweet from co-founder Jimmy Zhong.

Mainnet Launch Date: February 25th

 

Ethereum (ETH) – Constantinople Hardfork

The previously delayed Constantinople hardfork is scheduled for the end of the month. Block rewards will be reduced from 3 to 2 ETH, and the difficulty bomb will be delayed for another year, among other tweaks.

At time of writing ETH is up 8% for the week, with Constantinople ten days away.

Hardfork Date: February 27th

CyberMiles (CMT) – 15 Million Users’ Data Uploaded to Blockchain

A huge migration is set to take place at the end of February as the 5Miles mobile app uploads all of its customers accounts onto the CMT blockchain. Once launched, 5Miles clients will be able to transact independently across the chain. 5Miles is a ‘mobile marketplace’ where users buy and sell various items and services.

Launch Date: February 28th

Theta Token (THETA) – Mainnet Launch

Theta Token is another project set to leave Ethereum for its own mainnet. A look at THETA’s weekly chart shows a token at just about break even, but zooming out to the monthly view reveals that something has been building with THETA for a while.

Mainnet Launch Date: March 15th

QuarkChain (QKC) – Mainnet 1.0

QuarkChain was one of the darlings of the ICO period, and big things were expected from this highly rated project. Big things might still be on the horizon, and we may find out more about QuarkChain when the mainnet lands at the end of March.

Read more on what’s in store for QKC fans in 2019. The coin price has been falling all quarter, and all month. But that trend reversed for the first time this week as the coin regained 6% of its value. Volume jumped from $1 million to $6.8 million in the last few days.

Mainnet Launch Date: March 31st

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 147 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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Market News

Fake Satoshi Craig Wright on Asimov, Pseudonymity and Why E-Cash is Still Relevant

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Craig Wright continued to try and convince the world that he was Satoshi Nakamoto this week, even after WikiLeaks released a fairly damning batch of files all but confirming that he wasn’t.

But that didn’t stop Wright from doubling down, and on Saturday he released another Medium screed detailing the many reasons why he can’t conclusively reveal himself to be Satoshi Nakamoto.

Along the way he compares himself to Isaac Asimov’s Hari Seldon, makes some intriguing points on the subject of pseudonymity vs anonymity, and pulls the example of E-Cash from the 1990’s as a reason for why Bitcoin (SV?) can never be truly secretive.

Craig Wright’s ‘Foundation’

According to Wright, the reason he can’t just use his private key to move Satoshi Nakamoto’s original BTC holdings is because it would only cause more problems than it would solve. His reasons for this are vague, and repeated throughout (the way of the huckster in general?).

Wright then goes on to imply that time-locked releases via the blockchain could be the manner in which he chooses to reveal himself – an idea he says he took from Asimov:

“Something people don’t understand about Bitcoin is that it is also a time lock. Bitcoin with nLockTime allows for the pseudonymous release of information at defined times. It’s a concept that I took from Asimov. It is aimed to ensure that information is provably released when the author chooses. Only when the author chooses.”

How long he intends his Seldon-like drip-feeding of clues to last is anyone’s guess, although I wouldn’t be surprised if it ends with an anti-climactic reveal of a ‘second foundation’ – which we once again must wait for to be revealed.

Can Bitcoin be Anonymous?

While describing his own pseudonymity, he also touched on that of Bitcoin’s (I assume Wright is referring to his own pet project, Bitcoin SV, although the same would apply to BTC, BCH, etc).

Wright referenced the failure of 1990’s digital money solution, E-Cash, and pointed out that privacy doesn’t always mean anonymity. He wrote:

“If you want privacy, the last thing you want is anonymous money, because anonymous money allows every action to be traced using legally viable methods and law.”

Wright points out that anonymity brings scrutiny, namely from government agencies. That’s why Wright says Bitcoin can never succeed as a truly anonymous currency.

This 1997 paper titled: ‘The Unintentional Consequences of E-Cash’ suggests something similar, and describes how the very thing that was created to foster privacy could prove to be the same thing that destroys it:

“If the World Wide Web or its successors become fee-based systems in which readers are charged for access, consumers who use traceable digital cash will find that their reading habits as well as transactions become valuable, tradeable data. This will lessen their privacy and could have a chilling effect on readers and, possibly, on authors also.”

Twenty years on from the paper’s publication date and its authors appear to have been remarkably prescient. Will Hari Seldon…  I mean Satoshi Nakamoto… I mean Craig Wright prove to be just so?

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 147 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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