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Ripple Briefly Overtakes Ethereum as World’s No. 2 Cryptocurrency

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Ripple has achieved multiple milestones this week, the latest being a brief stint as the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap. The altcoin surged more than 30% on Friday en route to new record highs.

XRP Hits New Highs

The XRP/USD exchange rate rose nearly 34% on Friday to reach $1.67, where it was trading near session highs. In the process, Ripple unseated Ethereum as the world’s second-largest crypto. At the time of writing, ether’s market cap was around $70 billion compared with ether’s $73 billion. According to The Wall Street Journal, Ripple’s market valuation now exceeds that of ride-share giant Uber.

The latest gains give XRP a five-day return of more than 50%. The altcoin has added a breathtaking 630% over the past four weeks.

Buying activity has been heavily concentrated in South Korea, where XRP tokens trade at a significant premium. The coin’s 24-hour trade volumes exceeded $5 billion on Friday, with South Korea’s Bithumb processing nearly one-third of the transactions. Nearly $1.6 billion worth of XRP was transacted on the exchange.

Coinone, another South Korean broker, processed more than 7% of the daily transactions. Binance and Bitfinex accounted for 9% and 8% of the daily turnover, respectively.

Ripple’s gains have been more impressive when we consider its performance in the face of multiple broad corrections. The XRP token virtually tread water during repeated downturns before quickly turning up the offensive.

Promise of Instant Settlement

Ripple’s practical use cases have led many to believe that the cryptocurrency is significantly undervalued relative to the broader altcoin universe. Whereas bank transfers can take days to clear, the XRP platform can process similar transactions in seconds. These advantages have landed Ripple some high profile partners, including American Express and a large coalition of Asian banks looking to build a blockchain-powered payment platform.

For banks and other payment providers, Ripple offers near-instant settlement time at a rate that is much lower than conventional methods. Deeper partnerships with traditional finance will likely make Ripple a much more attractive investment for investors who are skeptical about cryptocurrencies.

The token’s success have inspired rumors of its possible inclusion on the coveted GDAX exchange. Coinbase currently lists just four cryptos – bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and bitcoin cash – but is widely expected to broaden this universe as early as next year.

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 462 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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Stellar Lumens Update: Acquisitions and Retirement Accounts

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Stellar Lumens is in the headlines this week amid reports that it is negotiating to acquire a high-profile startup by the name of Chain. Meanwhile, a bitcoin IRA that lets users buy cryptocurrency for retirement added XLM to its list of available assets, potentially raising the investment appeal of the Stellar protocol.

Stellar Eyes Chain Acquisition

Fortune reported Wednesday that Stellar has been in talks to buy the San Francisco-based blockchain startup for $500 million. Citing anonymous sources, the report said the payment would be made in XLM, the seventh-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization. No cash or equity will be part of the sale, which has yet to be finalized.

Although Stellar’s plan for Chain is not yet known, its interest in the startup is tied to its team of talented blockchain developers. Stellar founder and crypto trailblazer Jed McCaleb has a keen eye for talent, having founded Mt. Gox, eDonkey and Ripple XRP.

Chain develops enterprise-grade blockchain solutions, including ledger products that allow businesses to transfer funds in token format. The company raised over $43 million in venture funding from high-profile investors including Visa, Nasdaq, Citi Ventures and Blockchain Capital.

It is not entirely clear how the purchase would impact XLM’s market value. For current investors, the main concern is a wholesale dump of Lumens by Chain’s backers in the event that the sale actually takes place.

At a current price-per-coin of less than $0.23, the Chain acquisition would translate to roughly 219.3 million XLM. There are roughly 18.7 billion Lumens in circulation, giving the currency a total market cap of $4.3 billion.

Stellar for Retirement

The BitcoinIRA retirement platform has announced the addition of both Stellar Lumens and Zcash to its available list of cryptocurrencies, giving investors the ability to diversify their crypto holdings for retirement.

“[W]e’re excited to meet the high demand for both Stellar Lumens and Zcash in the marketplace by making these coins available to customers looking to diversify their retirement portfolios,” said Chris Kline, BitcoinIRA’s Chief Operating Officer.

In addition to Lumens and Zcash, the BitcoinIRA platform allows retirement planners to access bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin, bitcoin cash and Ethereum Classic.

Crypto IRAs fall under a much broader category of assets called digital IRAs, which are self-directed retirement accounts. Cryptocurrencies are recognized by the IRS as property, which allows for their inclusion in retirement accounts. Self-directed IRAs have unique tax benefits that can help investors maximize their digital currency holdings.

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 462 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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Three Reasons XRP Is Not a Security: Ripple’s Garlinghouse

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Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse was a featured panelist at the CB Insights Future of Fintech conference in New York today. Chief among the themes in the discussion was XRP, the No. 3 cryptocurrency based on market capitalization in which Ripple owns the majority of tokens.

While the No. 1 and No. 2 digital currencies, bitcoin and Ethereum, respectively, were cleared from being regulated as securities, Wall Street regulators have yet to make a call on XRP.

“I think it’s really clear XRP is not a security,” Garlinghouse said in the session.

There is a misconception in the cryptocurrency community that Ripple controls XRP. In fact, XRP is a decentralized digital currency that Ripple uses in its cross-border payments product xRapid. They could just as easily use bitcoin except “ bitcoin transactions on average are 45 minutes in and 45 minutes out. So XRP is uniquely positioned to solve the cross-border liquidity problem,” Garlinghouse said. 

He went on to outline a trio of reasons why XRP should never be identified as a security.

  1. “If Ripple as a company shut down tomorrow, the XRP ledger would continue to operate.”  
  2. “If you buy XRP, you’re not buying shares of Ripple.” As a holder of XRP, you’re not entitled to dividends or equity. Even though Ripple owns more than half of XRP, it doesn’t give them control of the currency, he said, comparing it to the dynamic between Saudi Arabia and oil. “Saudi Arabia owns a lot of oil, but they do not have control of oil.” 
  3. Utility. “XRP is solving a problem. There’s no security in a utility,” he said, adding that he “looks forward to the SEC clarifying some things.

Crypto Exchanges

Garlinghouse was diplomatic about cryptocurrency exchanges like Coinbase that have yet to add XRP to their trading platforms. In recent weeks, Coinbase announced that it would begin supporting Ethereum Classic (ETC), while many in the cryptocurrency community have been wondering when the U.S.-based exchange will add support for XRP.

“XRP is listed on 75 exchanges around the world. It has expanding liquidity … The consumer speculator is not our target market. Our target market is financial institutions that we can solve big problems for,” Garlinghouse noted.

Crypto Rivalry?

Yesterday Ethereum Co-Founder and ConsenSys Founder Joseph Lubin, who was included among the panelists, took a swipe at rival coin XRP, suggesting it is “massively overvalued.” The same question was posed to Garlinghouse during his session about Lubin’s ConsenSys. Garlinghouse took the high road, saying he was “excited” about them, adding they’re “underrated.”

XRP is the third largest cryptocurrency, boasting a market cap of $21 billion compared to more than $53 billion for Ethereum and $115 billion for bitcoin. Garlinghouse’s outlook is that at least one bank will be using it by year-end.

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 16 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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Calm Prevails in Crypto World as Bitcoin Runs Up Against Resistance

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Cryptocurrencies resumed their rangebound trading Thursday, as bitcoin’s relief rally showed signs of stalling while Ethereum and the major altcoins were held to break-even.

Market Update

The combined value of all coins and tokens in circulation is $287 billion, virtually unchanged from the overnight hours.

Bitcoin touched a session high of $6,790.25 but was unable to extend its rally past $6,800. The bulls have been rejected at this level on at least three occasions since Tuesday, a sign the relief rally was losing steam.

The largest cryptocurrency by market cap bottomed around $6,133 on June 13. At the time, the short-term technical indicators supported a further breakdown in price, with $5,900 seen as the next likely target.

Ethereum prices were up a mere 1% Thursday to $534. ETH/USD values reached an earlier high of $542.74, which was not unlike the high from Tuesday.

The major altcoins ranked between nos. 3 and 10 by market cap were virtually unchanged compared with 24 hours ago.

Digital currency prices have shown remarkable progress in terms of stability, as total market values fluctuated within a $4 billion range through the overnight session. Twenty-four hour trade volumes have held just above $12 billion, according to CoinMarketCap.

Bithumb fell to the no. 9 spot based on total volume after the exchange shut down deposits and withdrawals in the wake of a $31 million cyber heist. The exchange has processed $181 million worth of cryptocurrency trades since early Wednesday, which is roughly half of the previous day’s turnover.

In Search of Direction

While cryptocurrencies have exhibited rare price stability over the past nine days, it is too premature to conclude that the bears have relinquished control of the market. The total market is down a whopping 38% from the April swing high and volumes have declined by more than half over that period.

With the exception of the recent attacks on South Korean exchanges, the latest crypto headlines have been mostly positive. If they can be summed up in one theme, it would likely be the growing institutional interest in cryptocurrency.

The San Francisco-based Coinbase exchange has been leading in that capacity by announcing the arrival of crypto custodial services. Goldman Sachs-backed Circle and BitGo are also in negotiation with regulators about launching similar services. Meanwhile, Wall Street custodians JPMorgan Chase & Co and Bank of New York Mellon Corp are reportedly working on custody services that could facilitate digital currency transactions.

While promising, these developments alone won’t be enough to generate the next crypto bull market. For institutional capital to be the driving force of the next major market uptrend, actual custodial services and not merely the promise of them must be deployed.

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 462 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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