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Ripple Spikes 50% as Bitcoin Lifts Smaller Altcoins

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Ripple spiked to new highs on Wednesday, as altcoins followed bitcoin higher in the wake of CBOE’s successful futures launch.

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XRP/USD Price Levels

Ripple (XRP/USD) shot up to 0.4442 on Wednesday, which was a new all-time high for the altcoin. Prices were last seen hovering at 0.3651 for a gain of roughly 50%, according to CoinMarketCap.

At present values, the XRP market is capitalized at $14.7 billion. Trade volumes over the past 24 hours exceeded $1.7 billion. South Korean trading desks were responsible for the lion’s share of the turnover, with XRP/KRW transactions on Bithumb accounting for roughly 30% of the transactions. Coinone, another South Korean exchange, turned over nearly 8% of the transactions.

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Ripple benefited from a broad upswing in the cryptocurrency market on Tuesday as bitcoin rose above $17,000. The global cryptocurrency market is currently valued at roughly $488 billion. Bitcoin now accounts for less than 40% of the daily turnover. Ripple is down at nearly 5%, which is enough for fifth in volume terms.

AMEX Partnership

Positive vibes from bitcoin futures aren’t the only catalyst behind Ripple’s record surge. The San Francisco-based company recently confirmed a partnership with credit card American Express, the Dow Jones blue chip that is embracing blockchain. American Express is looking to Ripple to solve liquidity shortfalls in remittances by offering instant blockchain-based payments.

Rumblings of an AMEX-Ripple partnership made headway in October. Last month, American Express’s chief information officer Marc Gordon commented on his company’s new venture with Ripple as well as Santander, a financial institute based in the U.K.

Ethereum and Litecoin also surged to record highs on Tuesday, as markets continued to prosper in the wake of CBOE’s bitcoin futures contract.

“American Express has a long history of integrating new technologies,” Gordon said. “This collaboration with Ripple and Santander represents the next step forward on our blockchain journey, evolving the way we move money around the world.”

The Santander connection appears to be opening a U.S.-U.K. corridor for real-time gross settlement for business to business transactions. This is expected to reduce cost and enhance the end user experience. Proponents say the new protocol is a significant improvement over the existing SWIFT system.

Some speculators say there’s the potential for a Ripple-Paycase partnership in the near future, given that both rely on a bitcoin blockchain. Paycase has successfully created a remittance corridor between Canada and Latin America, making Ripple a natural ally.

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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Altcoins

Ubiq: What It Is and Why You Should Care

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Decentralized apps (Dapps) have been described as a paradigm shift in sofrware modelling. If you’re a believer, then Ubiq is one cryptocurrency worthy of consideration.

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An Introduction to Ubiq

Ubiq first emerged in early 2017 as a fork out of Ethereum, the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency and blockchain of choice for developers looking to create their own digital tokens. Ubiq intends to improve upon its predecessor by acting as a distributed ledger and supercomputer, which allows developers to create Dapps that are carried out by third parties.

By enabling the development of Dapps, Ubiq diverges sharply from some of the leading cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin.

To refresh your memory, Dapps must meet four criteria to be considered decentralized:

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  • must be open source and anonymous, which means no single entity holds token majority;
  • data must be stored on blockchain;
  • tokens must be used within the network; and
  • tokens are generated based on an algorithm that incentivizes contribution to the network.

For those interested in the technical specifications, Ubiq hosts the Ethereum Virtual Machine without the risk of hard forks. Some industry spectators say this makes it instantly more attractive for businesses. The system is based on Turing completeness rules

without having to deal with frequent updates and instability caused by Ethereum hard forks. As an Ethereum spin-off, it is built with a Turing-complete language that makes it functionally different from other cryptocurrencies, most notably bitcoin.

The platform’s native cryptocurrency is UBQ.

If bitcoin made us reevaluate our definition of store of value, Dapps can potentially expand our understanding of incentive-based applications. (In the strictest sense of the term, bitcoin can be thought of as the first Dapp because it created the blockchain solution that solves real-world problems concerning centralization and a lack of transparency.)

Until now, much of the transition toward Dapps has been driven by Ethereum, which has generated several successful projects utilizing the new technology. Some of the most notable include Golem and Augur.

All this is to say that Dapps have a promising future, and Ubiq is looking to capitalize on this movement.

Token Specifications

Unlike other cryptocurrencies, the total supply of UBQ tokens is not capped. At the time of writing, there were 39,213,112 million UBQ tokens in circulation, according to data provider CoinMarketCap. The total supply increases every year according to a pre-defined inflation rate.

You read that correctly: the Ubiq platform has its own monetary policy. Inflation in year one of the project (2017) was set at 7.29% per block. By year 12, the inflation rate is set to fall to 0.71%.

At the start of the year when the token launched, there were 36,451,770 tokens in circulation. The number of tokens increases by 8 UBQ per block.

UBQ Price Levels

Even after Tuesday’s flash crash, the value of UBQ tokens has more than tripled in the last three months. At the time of writing, the coin was priced at $3.85, which represents a daily loss of 15%. At its lowest point Tuesday, Ubiq traded at $3.28, or roughly half of its record high from early January.

More than $1.2 billion worth of UBQ traded hands over the last 24 hours, with 82% of transactions occurring on Bittrex. Digital currency platforms Cryptopia and Upbit processed 10% and 8% of the daily transactions, respectively.

At present values, Ubiq is capitalized at $151 million, placing it outside the top 100. This means the cryptocurrency is still very much a dark horse. As we’ve seen before, that hasn’t stopped cryptocurrencies from catapulting into mainstream consciousness (for recent examples, see Cardano and Tron).

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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Fears of Regulatory Crackdown Flush $190 Billion Out of Crypto Market

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Bitcoin, Ethereum and every other major cryptocurrency collapsed on Tuesday, as fears of regulatory clampdown in South Korea triggered a mass exodus from the digital asset class. The collapse comes as mainstream media reports continue to push the idea of an imminent ban on cryptocurrency exchanges even as lawmakers cautioned no decision had been reached.

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Cryptocurrency Market in Free Fall

The cryptocurrency market declined rog $190 billion on Tuesday, marking one of the biggest single-day drops on record. At its lowest, the market was valued at $510 billion,  which was than $200 billion below its peak earlier this month.

The top 20 coins were each down in excess of 17%, according to data provider CoinMarketCap. Nearly $49 billion worth of cryptocurrency exchanged hands over the past 24 hours.

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Bitcoin plunged below $12,000, reaching its lowest level since early December. Ethereum, its biggest rival, fell back toward $1,000, while Ripple bottomed out at $1.23 after peaking above $3 just a few weeks ago.

South Korea Jolts Market

It was mainly regulatory issues that jolted cryptocurrencies on Tuesday, with South Korea mulling new legislation to stamp out excessive risk from the market.

South Korea’s finance minister Kim Dong-yeon reportedly told local radio that an all-out ban on cryptocurrency trading was a “live option, but that government officials still need to “seriously review it.” Seoul’s biggest issue with cryptocurrency trading is the level of speculation in the market and the role of anonymous accounts in spurring volatility. New regulations have already banned anonymous trading on domestic exchanges and barred foreigners from participating in the market.

Last week, some of South Korea’s busiest crypto exchanges were raided by police and tax agents over alleged tax evasion. The raids were confirmed by an employee at Coinone, who spoke to Reuters anonymously.

Seoul’s financial authorities had previously indicated they were investigating six banks that offer cryptocurrency accounts. In addition to speculative risks, authorities are also concerned about the link between cryptocurrency trading and organized crime.

South Korea is a major center for cryptocurrency and is home to some of the largest exchanges. Local traders have been the main catalysts behind some of the crypto market’s biggest gainers, including Ripple.

Some analysts believe that further regulatory crackdown will be ineffective given the borderless nature of cryptocurrencies. When China banned cryptocurrencies, traders there migrated their accounts offshore to Hong Kong or Korea. This suggests that a regulatory crackdown can only succeed with broad international cooperation, which does not exist at the time.

Chinese regulators know that their measures have done very little to limit virtual capital flight from the country. That’s why they are moving to block domestic access to offshore exchanges, according to a recent Bloomberg report.

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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NEO Shows Poise While Other Cryptocurrencies Struggle

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NEO has quietly emerged as one of 2018’s best performing cryptocurrencies, defying multiple market selloffs en route to new highs. The so-called Ethereum of China has also carved out a name for itself in the fast-growing ICO market, where it is now among a small handful of blockchains enabling startups to raise capital through the popular crowdfunding model.

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New Record Highs

NEO was the only major cryptocurrency to spike this weekend, even as bitcoin and Ethereum suffered declines. The coin pushed higher on Monday, hitting a new record of $205.46. It would later consolidate around $190 for a gain of 17%.

The latest rally gives NEO a market cap of $11.8 billion, putting it eighth among active cryptocurrencies. Trade volumes over the last 24 hours reached $1.5 billion with 65 million tokens in circulation. The majority of the turnover occurred on just two exchanges: Upbit and Binance.

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With the gain, NEO’s value has appreciated around 120% year-to-date. That’s nearly double the price growth of Ethereum, a comparable platform that recently took back the second seed on the crypto market cap leader board.

Ethereum of China

NEO’s trajectory over the last six months has mirrored Ethereum’s both in terms of value and project development. Its success is partly owed to ether, as both cryptocurrencies are based on smart contracts. NEO differs from Ethereum on several fronts, including the execution of C# code, which makes it more attractive for developers.

Beyond the hype, NEO provides developers with the toolbox to advance the smart economy by digitizing assets and automating the management of those assets through smart contracts. It is perhaps the only cryptocurrency that can succeed in a heavily regulated China, which only recently tightened the noose on cryptocurrency miners as part of its broad offensive against digital assets.

With the exception of Stellar Lumens, NEO is perhaps the only cryptocurrency not named Ethereum that is making inroads into the ICO market. Dozens of token raises have launched on the NEO platform, including 27 in the span of two days. Although China has banned ICOs, there’s a possibility that regulators may one day introduce a centralized model that will allow the government to oversee the entire process.

According to at least one metric, ICOs raised more than $6 billion last year, with December being the most successful month yet with more than $1.6 billion raised.

While this is merely speculation at this point, the Chinese ban on cryptocurrency was initiated just before the 19th National Congress of the National Party. The event, held every five years, is usually a showdown between communists die-hards who want to maintain the old system of central planning and those who are seeking more liberal reforms.

Regardless of China’s regulatory future, NEO appears poised to capitalize on any opportunity involving public blockchain. The company certainly has that ambition, and has shown no issue following national guidelines.

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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