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Ripple and Stellar Decline on Monday as Competition Intensifies

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Ripple XRP and Stellar Lumens declined on Monday, as the crypto market’s weekend rally failed to have a lasting impact ahead of U.S. Tax Day.

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From a purely price perspective, XRP and Lumens don’t have much in common. However, the future of cross-border payments will likely flow through one or both of these virtual currencies.

Ripple XRP

XRP moved back above $0.50 over the weekend, but momentum was sorely lacking as prices failed to extend beyond $0.51. The combination of higher volatility and declining trade volumes pushed XRP back down toward $0.4750 on Monday. Current values give Ripple has market cap of $19.1 billion.

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At the time of writing, Ripple XRP was trading at $0.4840, where it was down 3% from the previous day. Trade volumes rose to $266.4 million from a low of around $250 million on Friday. More than one-third of XRP trades were quoted in South Korean won.

Stellar Lumens

Stellar’s Lumens were dragged lower on Monday by the general downtrend in the crypto markets. The coin bottomed at $0.1932 on volumes of $32.2 million. XLM has recovered to just below $0.20, having declined nearly 5% from the previous close.

XLM is quoted against the dollar for convenience only given that the currency is  mainly traded against other crypto assets. At the time of writing, Stellar traded at 0.000029 BTC and 000494 ETH.

XLM is capitalized at $3.7 billion, putting it in the no. 8 spot on the list of active cryptocurrencies.

The Battle for Cross-Border Supremacy

Ripple and XRP are the cream of the crop of digital assets that promise to streamline cross-border payments. Where they differ is in execution.

Whereas Ripple has become known as the banker’s cryptocurrency for its easy interplay with traditional finance, Stellar aims to go around the institutions and straight to the consumer. In terms of fiat-based cross-border transactions, Lumens essentially serves as a bridge between, say, the euro and U.S. dollar. (This also requires a steady supply of XLM in circulation for liquidity purposes).

Stellar is also looking to leverage advances in Lightning Network technology to improve long-term scalability and security. Stellar’s Lightning testnet launched at the beginning of April, with a beta version expected for October.

Ripple’s XRP protocol also enables it to be a bridge payment for international finance. While the company has announced dozens of high-stakes partnerships, including a Japanese consortium that represents 80% of the country’s banking assets, XRP uptake has been limited.

That said, Ripple’s business model has plenty of upside for the company itself, which could lead to a boost in XRP adoption over the long haul. In terms of payment corridors, the company isn’t targeting transactions like Euro-USD because they are already efficient. Rather, it plans to go after corridors like Euro-INR (Indian Rupee).

At the moment, Ripple has the clear advantage in terms of price point, market cap and industry partnerships. However, Lumens isn’t far behind. For crypto purists, it has the added advantage of being decentralized and a potential launchpad for ICOs.

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 332 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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Cryptocurrency Market Hits Five-Week Highs as Investors Shrug Off New York Inquiry

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The cryptocurrency market’s recovery broadened on Thursday, with prices hitting their highest level in five weeks after the Kraken digital currency exchange indicated it would not comply with the state of New York’s request for information.

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Cryptocurrencies Add Value

The combined value of all cryptocurrencies in circulation reached a high near $359 billion on Thursday, according to latest available data. That’s the highest level since Mar. 14.

With the rally, digital currencies have now added more than 32% since last Thursday. Prices have also recovered 47% from the swing low on April Fool’s Day.

In percentage terms, bitcoin cash (BCH) was once again the best-performer in the top-ten, having gained 9.4% over the past 24 hours. The digital currency was last seen hovering north of $965 for a total market cap of $16.5 billion.

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Ethereum saw its value rise by nearly 8% during the day, with prices reaching $564 a coin. The world’s second-largest crypto asset by market cap now has a total value of $55.7 billion.

The value of bitcoin stabilized near $8,277 for a gain of around 1.4%. In the process, its share of the total market has crept below 40% for the first time since late February.

Kraken and the State of New York

Kraken co-founder and CEO Jesse Powell indicated earlier this week that his company would not comply with the New York attorney general’s investigation into crypto exchanges.

“Somebody has to say what everybody’s actually thinking about the NYAG’s inquiry” Powell said via Twitter. “The placative kowtowing toward this kind of abuse sends the message that it’s ok. It’s not ok. It’s insulting.”

He added: “The resource diversion for this production is massive. This is going to completely blow up our roadmap! Then I realized we made the wise decision to get the hell out of New York three years ago and that we can dodge this bullet.”

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman launched his investigation earlier this week by asking 13 major exchanges to fill out a questionnaire related to their operations and security measures.

“Too often, consumers don’t have the basic facts they need to assess the fairness, integrity, and security of these trading platforms,” Schneiderman said in a statement.

The questionnaire asks for detailed information about fees, margin trading requirements and consumer-protection policies employed by the major exchanges. It also asks how they would go about suspending trading or delaying pending orders. Exchanges have until May 1 to respond.

Schneiderman’s investigation is intended to bring more transparency to the market by exposing how platforms charge customers and deal with suspicious trading.

Among the exchanges summoned to respond are Bitfinex, Coinbase, Gemini Trust and bitFlyer USA. At the time of writing, Kraken was the only platform to dissent to the request.

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 332 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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Why IOTA Belongs On Your Focus List

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For the serious student of cryptocurrencies, IOTA is a name most likely you know well. However since only about 8% of Americans own any crypto, and then 80% of those folks own bitcoin, it’s time to get to know your neighbors.  

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Ok, let’s start with a trick question.  Over the next 10-20 years, which technovation will have the greatest impact on society: cryptocurrencies, the Internet of Things (IoT) or Artificial Intelligence (AI)?  

The answer is: they will each be so big and so important that it really doesn’t matter.  As an investor you can go with anyone of these themes. But then, you might want to focus attention on IOTA. It could be like getting a techno triple play.  

This is not to suggest dumping your bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple or other major names. In an uncertain world, the big guys still carry a better risk profile.  But in today’s market, altcoins represent the most depressed values. Out of this group, IOTA offers investors participation in crypto, IoT and AI.

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I do not own IOTA so objectivity isn’t being compromised.  Here are a few things about IOTA that stand out.

Ideal For High Volume Small Transactions

For all their benefits, single layer blockchains present a scaling nightmare to bitcoin and even so called second generation names like Ethereum.  Solutions like the Lightning Network and Raiden, when fully deployed sometime later this year, will help. But the ability to process 50,000 transactions a second is still a way off.

IOTA is specifically targeted for high volume transactions at near zero costs.  This makes a competitive stand against the ultra fast but high cost giants like Visa, MasterCard, etc. The secret is that IOTA doesn’t depend on a blockchain.  

Instead, developers have created something they call Tangle. IOTA is a blockchain free cryptocurrency.  Tangle is designed to remove the necessity of predetermined block times. Instead of many nodes confirming a transaction, the sender of the IOTA transaction must confirm two other transactions on the Tangle.

In other words, the entire time and energy intensive crypto mining process in sidetracked replacing it with a user verification process. To put it more simply, every user becomes a miner in the network.

This reduces cost to the point where IOTA transactions are near zero.  Compare this to a Visa or MasterCard debit card merchant service charge of 1.5% or a credit card fee of 2.9%-4%+ and there is no contest.

Is Tangle more secure than blockchain?  An honest answer is Tangle has not been tested enough to get enough data.  But if you accept that small transactions are less of a so called “attractive nuisance” than the size Bitcoin is best handling, then the effective security risk becomes tolerable.

IoT And AI: Real And Imagined

Small and even micro-transactions will be the measure of IOTA for the immediate future and there is nothing wrong with that.  After all we are talking about a multi trillion dollar global market. But this isn’t what crypto visionaries see as the end game.

Advocates of IOTA paint a glowing picture for the crypto in IoT and AI based on the near zero transaction cost and huge supply of the currency.  If things turn out this way, it means that IOTA is appealing to an entirely different segment than bitcoin, ether, Ripple or many altcoins.

By huge supply we are talking about each traded IOTA quoted in MIOTA or a million units. Total supply is defined as one Petalota. That equals 10 IOTA to the 15th power. If you prefer real numbers, the total supply is 2,779,530,283,277,761. Try saying that number quickly. Certainly the founders of IOTA had such a global vision when they decided to create such a massive supply.

Supply/Demand and Pricing

The one thing about the IOTA story is how can this massive supply benefit investors. It seems counter intuitive.  But I must be too dim witted to appreciate this because back in December before prices tumbled, the public valued IOTA at nearly $15 billion. Since then, like all cryptos, IOTA dropped more than 80% to around $2.6 billion. So did the end of the so called crypto bubble sour investors.  Not at all. Since the April 10th low, the price has jumped 70% to $4.7 billion or about $1.68 per MIOTA.

As we said at the start, long time IOTA watchers will find nothing surprising.  But for the majority, you will want to keep an eye on IOTA; it is not just another altcoin. And it’s price is still less than one-third of last December.  

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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4.3 stars on average, based on 59 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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Bitcoin Cash Surges as Cryptocurrency Bear Market Winds Down

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The value of bitcoin cash rose sharply on Wednesday, as momentum returned to the altcoin following a two-month downtrend.

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BCH/USD Price Levels

Bitcoin cash jumped nearly 16% on Wednesday, outpacing bitcoin and the rest of the major altcoins. In doing so, prices came to within a few dollars of $900.

At the time of writing, BCH/USD was trading at $883.53 for a total market cap of $14.9 billion, according to CoinMarketCap. That puts BCH comfortably in fourth spot on the cryptocurrency leader board when measured by market cap.

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By comparison, the cryptocurrency market as a whole added 5.2% on Wednesday to $342 billion. The total market has now gained more than 37% over the past week, a strong sign that the bear market had ended.

BCH generated trade volumes of $611 million on Wednesday, which is roughly 3.3% of the total market. Digital currency exchange OKEx generated 14% of the daily volume, followed by Huobi (10%) and HitBTC (9%).

Investors tracking the coin’s bullish reversal are keeping close watch of the psychological $1,000 level. The cryptocurrency has generated strong support in the low $800s, with immediate resistance located between $890 and $900.

Bitcoin Cash: Undervalued?

While there was no immediate catalyst for BCH’s oversized gains, some analysts believe that a larger breakout is looming as volatility and trading volumes continue to grow. Bitcoin cash also has the perception of being undervalued, even in light of the recent price recovery. Traders looking to buy the dip still have plenty of opportunity with prices still down a full 78% from the December record.

Bitcoin cash has had prolonged periods of hot-and-cold since it was conceived last August. Prices generally trailed the broader cryptocurrency market until November when the backers of Segwit2x failed to activate their hard fork. The fork was cancelled after its backers were unable to form consensus on the upgrade. The market’s response saw BCH diverge sharply with the original bitcoin, with the former reporting huge gains and the latter equally large percentage losses.

BCH recorded multiple record highs in December after Coinbase announced it was offering trading of the cryptocurrency alongside bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin. However, the launch was shrouded in controversy amid reports of insider trading at Coinbase. As of last month, the company was battling a class action lawsuit over those claims.

 

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 332 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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