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Ripple Crashes to 2018 Lows Amid Lingering Doubts Over South Korean Regulation

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Ripple took the plunge on Monday, falling to its lowest level in nearly three weeks as investors continued to ponder South Korea’s regulatory shakeup of the cryptocurrency market.

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XRP/USD Price Levels

Ripple’s native XRP token touched a session low of $1.47 on Monday, which represented a decline of more than 16%. The coin’s price was last seen hovering at $1.58 for a loss of 10%.

XRP briefly traded at its lowest level since Dec. 29. The token is currently testing the Jan. 11 low of around $1.57.

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At present values, Ripple is capitalized at $62 billion, according to CoinMarketCap. That’s roughly half of Ethereum, the world’s no. 2 digital currency system. Ripple had briefly claimed the second spot in the crypto charts before a brisk selloff knocked it from record highs.

Ripple ran into volatility last week after CoinMarketCap removed several South Korean exchanges from its listing due to “extreme divergences in prices from the rest of the world.” The action prompted a multi-billion-dollar selloff of XRP, which is traded heavily on the Korean peninsula.

Why is Ripple Plunging?

It has been a roller coaster two months for Ripple. The cryptocurrency has managed to distance itself from other altcoins thanks to growing institutional support from major banks, credit cards and clearing houses. News of major partnerships sent XRP north of $3.30 after New Year’s day. The gains were quickly followed by profit-taking that was followed by a sharp correction in the cryptocurrency market.

The latest drop is largely attributed to fears over pending South Korean regulations governing cryptocurrency. Hacked reported earlier that central authorities were looking to shut down anonymous trading on domestic exchanges, not ban cryptocurrencies entirely.

The initial shockwave was triggered by Justice Minister Park Sang-ki, who announced Thursday that his department was proposing a bill to regulate the crypto market. The Korean government later said it was considering a response to what it believes to be excessive speculation, but had not reached a decision.

Like other cryptocurrencies, Ripple’s record-breaking gains have been largely driven by South Korean trade desks. Of the nearly $2 billion in XRP tokens transacted Monday, roughly 55% were traded using the won, according to CoinMarketCap. Bithumb continues to be the biggest platform for XRP trades, followed by Upbit and HitBTC. Bithumb and Upbit are both based in South Korea.

It hasn’t been entirely negative for Ripple. The company recently announced a partnership with MoneyGram that will provide the remittance firm with instant liquidity. The partnership appears to be a pilot program, with MoneyGram testing XRP payment flows via xRapid, the cryptocurrency’s blockchain solution for real-time liquidity.

XRP has the ability to settle transactions within seconds, thereby enabling faster cross-border flows. Its potential is currently being explored across Asia’s financial district, giving XRP the unofficial distinction of being the banker’s cryptocurrency.

Ripple’s fundamentals as a transaction agent suggest it still has room to grow in a highly diverse cryptocurrency market. There’s also speculation that U.S.-based exchange Coinbase is considering XRP for its platform. The exchange only supports four cryptocurrencies at the moment, including bitcoin, Ethereum, bitcoin cash and Litecoin.

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 145 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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Altcoins

Bitcoin Leads Cryptocurrency Market Back Above $500 Billion

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The cryptocurrency market’s broad recovery continued on Saturday, as bitcoin inched closer to $11,000 and nearly all major altcoins reported gains.

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$500 Billion Market

Cryptocurrencies achieved a combined market cap of $508 billion on Saturday, their highest since Jan. 30. The market is up 22% over the past seven days and a staggering 84% from the Feb. 6 bottom of $276 billion.

Gains were reported across most major assets on Saturday. Bitcoin led the major market rally, climbing more than 7% to a high of $10,874.24. At last check, the currency was trading at $10,813 for a total market cap of $183.4 billion.

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The recent rally attempt has given bitcoin strong momentum, with RSI and MACD indicators showing the continuation of bullish upside. The coin is currently trading at more than two-week highs, having recovered 81% from its early February low. Its share of the total market is just over 36%, up from around 34% last week.

Several other major cryptocurrencies, including Ethereum, Ripple and bitcoin, were also higher on Saturday. All are part of the top-five coins by market cap.

Privacy coin Monero was among the biggest gainers percentage-wise, rising 12%. Cryptocurrency Lisk also rose by a similar amount.

Momentum Builds

Momentum has been gradually returning to the market as “fear of missing out” replaced “fear, uncertainty and doubt” as the major paradigm. South Korea also sent positive vibes throughout the market after government officials downplayed fears of an all-out ban on domestic exchanges. As Hacked reported earlier this week, Minister Hong Nam-ki says his government will focus on making digital currency exchanges more transparent.

According to a report that appeared in BusinessKorea on Monday, Seoul is exploring the possibility of a licensing system for domestic exchanges. The report indicated it would be similar to the BitLicense system currently employed in the U.S. state of New York. Under this regime, digital currency exchanges must seek regulatory approval before entering the market.

Speculators have spent most of their time on the sidelines since the market tanked earlier this month. The latest rally could draw more investors back into the fold as “FOMO” mentality takes root. The turnaround in the market has been broad-based, with only ten of the top-100 coins reporting declines on Saturday.

The market’s rebound also came as bargain hunters scooped up coins at rock-bottom prices last week. One trader reportedly purchased $400 million worth of bitcoin between Feb. 9 and Feb. 12. The identity of the so-called “bitcoin whale” remains anonymous.

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 145 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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Altcoins

Bitcoin Cash Jumps 12%, Hitting $1,500 for the First Time in February

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Bitcoin vs. bitcoin cash

Bitcoin cash (BCH) generated strong momentum on Friday, as the world’s fourth-largest cryptocurrency added 12% en route to its highest level in over two weeks.

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BCH Price Levels

The BCH currency reached a session high $1,546, bringing its total market cap to $26 billion. At the time of writing, the coin was valued at $1,510, putting it on track for its highest settlement since Jan. 30.

Bitcoin cash experienced a similar uptrend on Thursday, with prices breaking above $1,400 to form a new bullish trend line. Following a pair of brief dips on Friday, BCH has broken sharply higher and is now said to be challenging a key psychological resistance.

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Relative strength has fallen back to the mid-60s after triggering overbought signals earlier in the session. The uptrend in the coin is being accompanied by growing appetite for cryptocurrencies as a whole, with the total market adding around $50 billion over the past two days.

More than $800 million worth of BCH has traded hands over the last 24 hours, according to data provider CoinMarketCap. The OKEx cryptocurrency exchange processed about $195 million of that total, which is equivalent to roughly a 25% of the daily volume.

South Korea’s Upbit and Bithumb turned over a combined $168 million, latest data show.

Bitcoin cash is the sixth most traded cryptocurrency at around 3.3%. Its main rival bitcoin has seen its volume rise to 37% of the total market.

Crypto Market Uptrend

The cryptocurrency market is being pulled higher by positive developments out of South Korea after regulators in the Asian country reaffirmed their commitment to let digital currency exchanges operate freely. A strong technical reversal also appears to be underway, although analysts continue to warn of a choppy uptrend in the days and weeks to come.

Coins such as Litecoin and Ripple XRP are also rallying on business optimism, with both companies announcing measures to boost mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies as money. In the case of Litecoin, a new payment infrastructure called LitePay is expected to launch later this month, making it easier for retailers to accept crypto payments. Meanwhile, Ripple and Western Union recently confirmed their new partnership around xRapid.

As for bitcoin cash, the digital currency has routinely outpaced the market’s broad consolidation attempt over the past week-and-a-half. The difference between earlier rallies and the one we’re seeing today is improved risk appetite, which is helping more digital currencies tip the scale in favor of the bulls.

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 145 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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Altcoins

Ripple’s XRP Gaining Traction as Western Union Confirms Partnership

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Ripple XRP rallied on Thursday, with prices testing two-week highs after Western Union confirmed a pilot partnership with the San Francisco-based company.

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Western Union to Pilot xRapid System

After much speculation, Western Union’s Chief Technology Officer Sheri Rhodes indicated that the global money transfer system will in fact integrate Ripple’s xRapid.

“We continue to explore possible blockchain applications for our business, and we are piloting some settlement tests with Ripple for certain corridors,” Rhodes said, as quoted by Yahoo Finance and CCN.

She added: “For blockchain in general, we’re looking at areas such as transaction processing and settlement, working capital optimization, regulatory technology, and digital identity. We have a strong platform and system that work well today, but we continue to explore and test whether these technologies could potentially reduce costs and improve the customer experience.”

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Ripple also issued the following statement: “We’ve been testing different products with Western Union for a while. We’re excited about our work towards a pilot implementation of xRapid, which uses XRP in payment flows.”

The partnership with xRapid (and not RippleNet) is significant because it means Western Union will be using XRP tokens to boost real-time liquidity. One of the main arguments against investing in XRP is that financial institutions don’t have to adopt the currency when partnering with Ripple. Rather, banks pay Ripple (the company) to use its protocol without actually holding or implementing XRP tokens. In the case of Western Union, the money transfer service will use XRP to streamline payment flows.

Although Western Union is only the fifth company to test xRapid, it is the second major money transfer service to do so. Last month, MoneyGram signed on to xRapid for currency transfers.

XRP Price Levels

Ripple’s XRP reached a session high of $1.17 on Thursday for a market cap of $45 billion, according to data provider CoinMarketCap. The coin was last seen trading around $1.10.

Nearly $1.6 billion worth of XRP was transacted on global exchanges Thursday, placing it fifth in terms of overall trade volume behind bitcoin, Tether, Ethereum and Litecoin. The South Korean won facilitated more than half the daily transaction amount, with Bithumb, Upbit, Coinone and Korbit handling the volumes.

To be frank, Ripple’s acceleration Thursday wasn’t unique. Cryptocurrencies as a whole jumped to two-week highs, as calm returned to the market following a prolonged period of instability. The market’s total value peaked peaked at $481.5 billion, the highest since Jan. 31.

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 145 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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