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Venezuela’s ‘Petro’ Cryptocurrency Sees Huge Demand, President Maduro Claims

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Investors are rushing to get their hands on Venezuela’s state-issued cryptocurrency, according to President Nicolas Maduro. State-run media outlets have reports that hundreds of thousands of individuals and companies have already certified their intent to purchase the Petro (PTR). Of course, the veracity of the claim has already been subject to a great deal of scrutiny.

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171,000 Registrations

President Maduro announced Monday that Venezuela had received registrations from 171,000 individuals and businesses to participate in the pre-sale of Petro, which opened last week. The announcement was made on Maduro’s official Twitter page in a message that claimed 40.8% of contributors intend to pay with U.S. dollar. Another 6.5% will contribute with the euro.

Investors are also using cryptocurrencies to fund their stake in Petro, the message also read. Roughly one-third (33.8%) of registrants intend to complete their purchase with bitcoin, while another 18.4% will pay via ether tokens.

Of the 171,000 registrants, 3,523 were companies, government sources said.

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Last week, the Venezuelan president said Petro had raised some $735 million in the first day of the pre-sale.

No information on the purchasers has been made public. There’s also no evidence that the tokens have been distributed to any potential investor. According to the NEM transaction ledger, the government still owns all 100 million PTR tokens. The cryptocurrency’s buyer’s guide lists the NEM blockchain as the primary infrastructure during the pre-sale.

Petro Cryptocurrency

Pegged to domestic oil barrels valued at $60, Petro is the first ever state-backed cryptocurrency to be released to the public. The Venezuelan administration say the cryptocurrency will help their country reaffirm its economic sovereignty. This is likely in reference to U.S.-led sanctions on the country over human rights violations during a popular uprising in 2014.

In the years following the protests, Venezuela’s economy would take an unprecedented turn for the worse as collapsing oil prices exposed the Communist regime’s poor planning.

Venezuela’s foreign minister recently remarked that U.S. sanctions are hampering the ability of Caracas to renegotiate its debt. This in turn is causing “panic” at international banks.

“The renegotiation of external debt is underway, but it has been made more difficult by U.S. sanctions,” foreign minister Jorge Arreaza said, as quoted by Reuters.

Arreaza claims that global banks have closed government accounts, as well as those belonging to Venezuelan businesses and embassies.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has indicated that a new round of sanctions targeting Venezuela’s oil industry is very much in play. In a news conference in Buenos Aires earlier this month, Tillerson said the Trump administration is evaluating the impact of oil sanctions on the Venezuelan people. Any measures that would deepen the country’s economic and political crisis would likely be avoided.

Although Caracas rarely publishes official figures, the Venezuelan economy is said to have contracted a staggering 18.6% in 2016. The country is not only fighting a deep recession, but hyperinflation and a widespread food shortage.

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 453 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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  1. Jochem50

    February 28, 2018 at 1:36 pm

    Would love to get some of the PTR coins, anyone knows when it will be available

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Bitcoin

Crypto Expert Maintains $60,000 Price Target for Bitcoin

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Back in January, cryptocurrency expert Phillip Nunn made two bold predictions: bitcoin will reach a low of $6,000 this year before rebounding to a high of $60,000. With his first prediction proving true, Nunn remains steadfast that the latter price point will also come to fruition in spite of recent market turmoil.

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The Bulls Will Prevail

In a recent interview with BusinessCloud U.K., Nunn said market volatility will ultimately work in favor of bitcoin, leading to an historic rally before year’s end.

Referring to his January forecast, Nunn said “the prediction was based on, first of all, market volatility which we’re experiencing at the moment.”

Nunn, who heads The Blackmore Group and Wealth Chain Group, said his $60,000 price forecast is “absolutely” possible given bitcoin’s long-term trajectory and role in disrupting traditional sectors. However, at present, bitcoin and other digital currencies are at the mercy of market sentiment and price manipulation, given the relatively small size of the industry. Case in point: cryptocurrency trade volumes plummeted to around $9.5 billion this weekend, the lowest in over two months. Such low turnover makes crypto assets prone to extremely wild swings not unlike the price forecasts Nunn put forward in January.

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“All the money that exists in crypto at the moment is from the public, so it’s all about market sentiment,” he said. “A flood of bad news can wobble the market, stuff like regulation. The industry is so small that there’s market manipulation.”

Ultimately, Nunn says bitcoin is helping to create an “internet of value” that will disrupt everything from money to record-keeping.

His view differs markedly from an institution like the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), which on Sunday released a report arguing for bitcoin’s ultimate demise. Although BIS didn’t frame the outcome exactly in those terms, the Swiss institution said the digital currency is ultimately too costly and too prone to manipulation to become a mainstay in traditional finance.

Bitcoin Prices

Bitcoin was little changed on Sunday, as prices consolidated around $6,500. With daily turnover of $3 billion, bitcoin’s trade volumes accounted for more than a third of the crypto market total.

The world’s largest cryptocurrency by market cap is down nearly 5% over the past week. That pales in comparison with some of the leading altcoins, which have fallen double digits over the same period.

Bitcoin has experienced multiple selloffs this year, with some analysts attributing the decline to the launch of bitcoin futures in December. Fundstrat Global Advosrs’ Tom Lee recently argued that bitcoin prices tend to fall into the expiration of the monthly futures contracts. This is likely caused by traders longing actual bitcoin and shorting the futures market.

Like Nunn, Lee maintains a strongly bullish outlook on bitcoin and has called for prices to rebound to $25,000 this year despite recent market dynamics.

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 453 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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Bitcoin Could ‘Bring Internet to a Halt,’ Says Bank for International Settlements

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The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) has delivered its most vocal criticism yet of bitcoin and related cryptocurrencies, arguing that the digital asset class may never be ready for mainstream adoption in the financial world.

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BIS Weighs on Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency

In a 24-page report published Sunday as part of its annual economic review, BIS said bitcoin suffers from “a range of shortcomings” that will ultimately derail its effort to become a widely used method of payment and investment asset.

The arguments put forward by BIS are not unlike previous criticisms lobbed at the digital currency. The report’s authors argue that bitcoin consumes too much electricity and is at the center of too much manipulation to become a key artery in the global economy and financial system.

“At the time of writing, the total electricity use of bitcoin mining equalled that of mid-sized economies such as Switzerland, and other cryptocurrencies also use ample electricity,” the report said. “Put in the simplest terms, the quest for decentralised trust has quickly become an environmental disaster.”

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According to the Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index courtesy of Digiconomist, bitcoin miners consume more electricity than 159 countries. For BIS, the size and growth rate of digital currency ledgers will eventually overwhelm existing technologies and bring the Internet to a halt.

BIS also concluded that, despite claims to the contrary, bitcoin’s decentralization is a fundamental flaw because it is “a poor substitute for the solid institutional backing of money.”

Based in Basel, Switzerland, BIS is an 88-year-old institution that promotes financial stability through central banking. It has been described as ‘the central bank for other central banks’ and has been instrumental in measuring the impact of the global currency markets.

Institutions Embrace Cryptocurrency

Despite BIS’ warning, institutions ranging from Goldman Sachs Group to the New York Stock Exchange are taking important steps to make cryptocurrencies accessible to their clients. Even banks choosing to remain on the sidelines of the crypto revolution are adopting blockchain technology to improve internal processes and boost business opportunity.

According to a recent study by the U.S.-based Greenwich Associates, major banks increased their blockchain budgets last year by 67% to $1.7 billion. Payments and trade finance are the most popular commercialization initiatives. The blockchain is also being exploited for revenue opportunities, settlement times and risk management.

BIS even acknowledged the power of distributed ledger technology in its criticism of cryptocurrency. The report released on Sunday conceded that distributed ledgers can improve functions related to cross-border flows and trade finance.

That said, an institution like BIS is clearly ingrained in the existing financial paradigm that has given more power to central banks. The “solid institutional backing of money” really refers to the fact that central banks can print as much money as they want while fractional banking allows institutions to lend out considerably more money than they hold in reserve. A supranational body like the BIS, which promotes this system, is unlikely to develop a favorable view of bitcoin.

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 453 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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EOS Mainnet Grinds to a Halt Post-Launch as Transactions “Freeze” Unexpectedly

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EOS’ blockchain has reportedly gone offline after an apparent bug in the mainnet caused the network to freeze unexpectedly.

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EOS Network Bug

According to the EOS Authority, transactions on the EOS blockchain froze at 09:56 UTC. Block producers producers convened shortly thereafter to “identify and fix the issue.” At 10:57 UTC, the block producers turned off their nodes and backed up the network’s data to ensure continuity once operations are up and running again.

EOS’s official Telegram channel confirmed that the “Root cause was due to how deferred transactions were handled.”

As of 11:02 UTC, block producers had formulated a “method to unpause the chain” according to EOS Argentina’s official Steemit page. Normal EOS functions are scheduled to resume within the next three-to-six hours.

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Following weeks of confusion and uncertainty, the EOS mainnet officially launched about two days ago after the blockchain received more than the 150 million votes needed to determine the entities that will maintain the network. At press time, more than 218 million votes have been staked. The current list of the top 21 block producers is as follows:

  • EOS Cannon
  • LiquidEOS
  • EOS Canada
  • EOS Beijing BP
  • EOS Authority
  • EOS DAC
  • EOS.Store
  • EOS Cafe Block
  • EOS New York
  • EOS Gravity
  • Bitfinex
  • EOS.42
  • Cypherglass
  • Argentina EOS
  • EOS Sweden
  • EOS South Korea
  • Huobi Pool
  • EOS Rio Brazil
  • EOS Seoul
  • ZB EOS
  • EOS Asia

Although initial voting for network launch has concluded, the voting for block producers is ongoing. This means block producers can be voted out of the top 21 at any time.

EOS Market

The EOS blockchain is the world’s fifth-largest by market cap after a yearlong crowdsale by parent company Block.One raised more than $4 billion in revenue. As the latest bug demonstrates, the launch of the highly anticipated network has faced several stumbling blocks ranging from technical glitches to user distrust over third-party software. Uncertainty over the voting process has also been a factor.

The value of EOS dipped more than 4% Saturday to reach $10.46 a token, according to CoinMarketCap. Daily trade volumes topped $715 million.

EOS’ total market capitalization is $9.4 billion. The blockchain peaked in April near $18 billion.

Over the past seven days, EOS tokens have shed more than 27% in value. Comparable declines have been reported by IOTA, Tron and Neo. The combined value of all cryptocurrencies is currently $276.4 billion after bottoming near $264 billion earlier in the week.

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 453 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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