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Op-Ed

They Built It. Who’s Coming?

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2018: The year of opportunity if you are reading this right now.

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You know either on a basic or high level that cryptocurrency has value, and hopefully you have begun poking around at what is investable. I do enjoy having private investors from around the world joining together to invest in things that we will never be able to fully understand. That is textbook early adoption! We aren’t supposed to know every single speck and detail. The reason I have so much faith is because regardless of what people tell you, there are facts in cryptocurrency that no pessimist can deny. The facts that I care most about are: Who is here, who is coming, and how much are they coming with.

Who is here

Well, I don’t think we could be joined by any better group of people. When co-workers and family members tell you that it’s all going to $0 (as all day job final adopters will say), you must first think of who is going to go to $0 with you in their world. The founders of what would be Facebook, the founder of PayPal, Hedge Fund Managers, Creme de la Creme Back/Front end developers (some of which left HUGE Silicon Valley jobs), and of course, all of us fine normal people who don’t want to miss out on the Google IPO of our generation. There are more big money people here than we can count. A lot of them have significant amounts of their net worth tied to cryptocurrency.

I am sure you could go throughout history and find me smart people who have made bad second business decisions. However, if we just think about the history of innovation, cryptocurrency has all the signs of a wave that is not yet a wave. The first sign is anger. When the talking heads on TV discuss blockchain, there is always someone declaring it’s demise in hyperbolic fashion. Smart people get upset when they can’t grasp the concept of something. It happened with the automobile, internet, computer, and the list goes on. I could pull up blips all day from news anchors in the 60-70’s running their mouths about something new and useful. Society has to repel it before they can embrace it. I don’t know where in the exact part of the process we are at, but I am hoping 2018 will give us our road map that we so desperately need.

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Who is Coming

I will summarize and explain: Coinbase People, Big Business, Intermediaries 

Coinbase People

Coinbase people are people who are not yet able to really grasp the concept of cryptocurrency. Think about what is needed to be done if you would like to invest in currencies that aren’t the big 4-5 that everyone can buy with cash. You need to make two accounts, use your cash to buy one virtual currency to pay for another virtual currency. Yes, I know that makes sense to you and I (sometimes it doesn’t), but for most people it simply doesn’t. This extra layer of annoyance and deterrence is what is going to make us money. If it was easy for these people to buy all of the currencies we hold so dear, Raiden would already be on a beach somewhere. If you just think about all the steps you went through to buy coins and store them, that is enough to put more than half the population into a technology coma. This, once again, is my bet. My bet is that once it becomes easy for these people to buy different coins (and the government makes it easy for them), then we will begin to see some rapid adoption. You are just simply not going to get most people to go to Hong Kong virtual Exchanges to buy cryptocurrencies. It must be at their doorstep, especially for Americans. Look at the drive-thru food culture! They wait. We want them to wait, that is what creates discounts for early adopters.

Businesses 

There are plenty of businesses who are actively looking into implementing blockchain. Think of the SWIFT system for money transfer. It takes days, its expensive, and backlogged. How about securing client information? Well, I couldn’t possibly think of any data breaches in the past 5-10 years. How about the rapid exchange of information/data? Companies already do this on “secure” email servers en masse. That’s an 86′ Toyota Corolla with 300,000 miles on it compared to the cars that people can encrypt their information on in the blockchain. Encrypting money and information from a basic level makes complete sense. If the best cars/roads are crowd sourced on an alternative platform, so be it. If they want to stick their nose up to it, that’s fine. Darwin’s finches had some losers obviously. Blockchain will be the place where all things are done eventually. Brick and Mortar stores are slowly dying, while our internet identity grows at an unstable pace. All of this volume must go somewhere. Clearly the way we use the internet now is outdated and dangerous. So, we must migrate. Here in lies the bet.

Intermediaries

I saved the best for last. Remember those lazy Coinbase people? Intermediaries are the folks who will make the drive-thru window for them. Let’s think about how an asset manager could use cryptocurrencies. They can actively manage a pool of currencies for investors, they can make an index that costs people essentially nothing to buy on an e-trade account, or they can simply buy large amounts to go with the other holdings that they have of traditional investments. The amount of ways they can use these products to derive fees from their clients its infinite. Each and every single way will benefit us. I have never known a financial services firm to turn down a financial market because of it’s volatility. These are the people to listen for. Currently, there are a couple funds investors can buy that have a holding of bitcoin. If you and Raiden aren’t satisfied with just one coin, why do you think others would be?

I am sure you recently saw the SEC is quietly telling all asset managers to pull their bids for cryptocurrency funds. Governments are still trying to get taxes from the last big wave, you think they can handle another one right now? This was expected. This wasn’t going to be a smooth ride. If you have read my earlier posts, we like when the government talks. They scare people! We can make money from scared people.

All of what I have told you means something. Think ahead. What would your parents buy? Grandparents? Co-workers? Or better yet what are they willing to be exposed to in a financial product. A fund listed on an American Exchange can’t have “road map” currencies as constituents. That wouldn’t make sense. My homework to you is to write down your own hypothetical American Index fund. find the names you think are stable enough to be tracked in a basket of other currencies.

This is going to be an exciting year if you are prepared, and you are creative. I do hope this has stimulated some thought. I am not recommending you buy or sell any currencies, as my intention is to give you as much armor as I can in the trenches of the exchange. I wish you the best of luck. But, this all can go to $0. Take profits. Read.

Images courtesy of Pennex and 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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4.4 stars on average, based on 27 rated postsMythological God of Lightning. Cryptocurrency/Blockchain writer, evangelist, and friend. May the odds be ever in our favor.




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Op-Ed

Is Manipulation Behind Bitcoin Cash’s Absurd Rally?

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Although you wouldn’t know it by today’s prices, bitcoin cash (BCH) has topped the crypto market leader board this month. The digital currency more than doubled over the span of 18 days, and in doing so far outpaced the broader market. But a closer examination of the value drivers suggest manipulation could be partly responsible for the rally.

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As a reminder, the author has no vested interest in smearing BCH as I believe it to be one of the more advantageous coins on the market today. That said, the circumstances surrounding the most recent rally are peculiar to say the least.

What’s Up with Bitcoin.com?

A Hacked user informed me earlier this week that Bitcoin.com has been using the “BCH” ticker next to the word “bitcoin”. Normally, the ticker “BTC” is reserved for bitcoin, which is the original blockchain we all know about. Instead, the website quotes “BTC” next to the term “bitcoin core”.

In other words, BCH is quoted next to bitcoin and BTC is referred to as bitcoin core. See here for yourself:

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For most readers of Hacked, the distinction is easily discernible, but for new traders the difference isn’t easily gauged.

The first question I have is, how many people bought bitcoin (BCH) thinking they were receiving actual bitcoin (BTC)?

Bitcoin.com describes itself as the “premier source for everything bitcoin.” Although the website doesn’t appear to offer a full-fledged trading platform, users can purchase bitcoin and bitcoin cash using the following link.

It is unclear how long the website has been referring to BCH as bitcoin. For those of us who’ve been following the market for some time, the way BTC and BCH are quoted is certainly strange.

Antpool

A large cryptocurrency mining group by the name of Antpool has also been accused of pumping BCH in recent weeks. The pool announced about six days ago that it is responsible for confirming more than 8% of all bitcoin cash transactions. In addition to confirming those, Antpool is also said to be burning BCH on a daily basis in order to reduce supply and boost prices.

Of course, crypto pumps do not require such elaborate setups to achieve their goals. Pump-and-dumps can be orchestrated rather easily through a chat group on social media. But Antpool does have a large and privileged position in the BCH ecosystem, which has raised suspicion over its recent actions.

Bitcoin Cash is Overbought, According to Tom Lee

Fundstrat’s Tom Lee recently weighed in on the bitcoin cash phenomenon, concluding that the cryptocurrency was overbought. In his view, investors should stick with bitcoin if they had a choice between Core and Cash.

In a segment on CNBC’s Fast Money, Lee said:

“I prefer not to pick winners and losers when we’re looking at cryptocurrencies like bitcoin/bitcoin Cash… Both have merits but if I was putting new money to work today… I would be a lot more interested in buying a lagger that could attract inflows rather than something that’s potentially overbought.”

Bitcoin cash added around $1,000 to its value between Apr. 6 and 23, with prices peaking near $1,600. The cryptocurrency corrected sharply lower on Wednesday and was still declining as of Thursday’s early-morning session. At the time of writing, BCH/USD was down 4.6% at $1,268.

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 354 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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Decentralization

JP Morgan’s Surprise Cryptocurrency Fees are a Reminder of Why Decentralization Is Sorely Needed

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JP Morgan Chase & Co has been hit with a class-action lawsuit by cryptocurrency traders over allegations of unannounced fees and higher interest rates on purchases of digital currencies. Though the allegations have not been proven, extra fees are a tactic routinely employed by traditional banking institutions. In the case of JP Morgan, this has karma written all over it given the way its chief executive has ridiculed digital assets by associating them with fraud.

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Class Action Lawsuit

Traders from across the United States are seeking statutory damages of $1 million for unannounced interest charges and fees on cryptocurrency transactions between January and February of this year. The named plaintiff in the lawsuit is Brady Tucker, an Idaho resident who paid a total of $163.91 in fees and surprise interest charges over a six-day stretch.

According to information obtained by Reuters, the lawsuit accuses the bank of violating the U.S. Truth in Lending Act, a piece of legislation that requires credit card issuers to inform customers in writing of any notable change in fees.

The lawsuit asserts that Tucker tried to resolve the dispute by calling Chase’s customer support service directly. His request was turned down, prompting him to seek legal help. According to Bloomberg, the case in question is Tucker v. Chase Bank USA NA, 18-cv-3155, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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The Growing Case for Decentralization

Depending on who you ask, the allegations against JP Morgan are akin to cryptocurrency fraud not unlike the kind Jamie Dimon talked about while ridiculing bitcoin. But the irony in Dimon’s comments extend far beyond Chase’s latest dealings.

As the actions of Chase bank and other financial institutions have clearly demonstrated over the years, those who control the size and growth rate of fiat money cannot be trusted to do the right thing. As Nassim Taleb argues in The Black Swan, banks have a tendency of losing as much money as they make in the long run due to shady business practices and high-risk ventures. Decisions like these are easy when you are Too Big to Fail.

Decentralization, like the kind advocated by blockchain startups and cryptocurrencies, allows users to trade directly with each other without having to go through a (predatory) middleman. Decentralized systems not only help participants avoid unnecessary fees, red tape and other forms of unwanted intervention, they are virtually impossible to shut down. In this vein, decentralized currencies give people a fighting chance in their battle against never-ending inflation. As we’ve argued before, this is not only a prudent fight, but a noble one as well.

Cryptocurrencies that rely on decentralization offer society a unique value proposition unlike anything we’ve seen in recent history. What’s more, their adoption is not contingent upon us leaving the realm of traditional finance – at least, not yet. That’s because cryptocurrency started off as an obscure and esoteric asset class but has since become a value store for investors. Tomorrow, it will become a viable medium of exchange accepted worldwide.

That said, we are still in the very early days of the crypto revolution and it may be a while still before we can conclusively prove people like Dimon wrong. But crypto backers and investors should take comfort in knowing that big banks rarely lead in disruption these days. They have the resources to play catch-up, which they are clearly doing with blockchain.

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 354 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

Will Dash Be the Bitcoin Killer?

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Well, it has finally happened.  We’ve gone a full week with crypto prices showing positive returns.  OMG, what a big surprise; ether is leading the pack, advancing nearly 15% at the time of this writing.  This is encouraging because it shows that perhaps finally value investors are stepping in and helping set a pricing bottom.  

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It hasn’t hurt a bit that stock and bond market investors have become seasick from all the volatility.  Suddenly, a tiny little weekly Litecoin move of +0.46% or even a 2.47% bitcoin cash gain, looks like pure serenity.  

 

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For a while now our focus has been on relative value and there is very little argument that, after the first quarter price collapse, a whole lot of risk has been taken out of bitcoin, ether, Ripple and thousands of others.

The question is where to go and what to go with from here.  The big crypto names are the safe way to go in the short run, but each has become mired in network limitations on scaling and the concomitant cost issues.  

Yes, transaction fees have dropped like a stone from their prohibitively high levels of December but then transaction volumes have fallen by half and more.  That is not the stuff an investor wants to see.

Both bitcoin and Ethereum hope to solve scaling issues with the Lightning Network and Raiden. But for now, if transaction volume were to suddenly rise, the same network limitations would be there.  So even though the big crypto names offer the safest short term options, does that mean we shouldn’t look further out to find value?

Will Dash Solve Bitcoin’s Problem?

Dash emerged last year as one of the most popular and most valuable altcoins. At the time it was considered a real competitor to bitcoin and the leading cryptocurrency of the future. The price of Dash increased from $11 to over $1,430. Dash had a capitalization of over $11 billion at its December peak. Since then it has tumbled more than 80%.  Is now the time to move into Dash? The timing could be very good but before making that decision, we should consider a few things.

Judgement Time

If a jury of its peers were to grade Dash on its performance in 2017, the majority would say it lived up to its billing.  Using Dash, users could send money instantly using the InstaSend feature that allowed for complete anonymity. At the peak, transaction costs were around $0.60, which were dwarfed by bitcoin’s high of $30. 

Since then, Dash fees have fallen to about $0.20, making them attractive for small sized transactions. All alone this represents a compelling feature of Dash.  Add to that the immediacy of InstaSend and you have the makings of a genuine challenge to Bitcoin.

Caveat Emptor

In appraising Dash’s performance it is useful to look at Metcalfe’s Law, which values social media assets based on a formula of network size.  For Dash, it’s network is processing a tiny fraction of bitcoin’s. The limitations of its network have very likely not yet been tested, so proclaiming Dash the speed king is a bit early. There is still a larger issue to consider.

In the case of Metcalfe’s Law we need to include merchants and other service providers that accept Dash as payment.  That is the big hump for them to overcome before overturning bitcoin. So far, after all, bitcoin is accepted by only about 10,000 or so merchants.  

Further progress by bitcoin is stymied by transaction costs that remain far too high.  Even so look at how many years it has taken bitcoin to attract merchants. Dash faces the same hurdles.

In other words, the trick for Dash is the find a way to gain mass acceptance quickly. That is when the huge $11 billion valuation of last December will begin to be justified. Look over your shoulder bitcoin – faster, lower cost competition is looking to eat your lunch. Dash could be one of those.

 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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4.4 stars on average, based on 64 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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Hacked.com and its team members have pledged to reject any form of advertisement or sponsorships from 3rd parties. We will always be neutral and we strive towards a fully unbiased view on all topics. Whenever an author has a conflicting interest, that should be clearly stated in the post itself with a disclaimer. If you suspect that one of our team members are biased, please notify me immediately at jonas.borchgrevink(at)hacked.com.

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