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Week in Review

Week in Review: Bitcoin’s Improbable Surge Continues, Dollar Posts Best Week This Year and Stocks Hit New Records

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Bitcoin has been the talk of the town lately, as volumes spiked and prices surged in anticipation of the CBOE futures contract. Altcoins also rose sharply before reversing course later in the week.

Stocks also rose this week, with Wall Street returning to record territory. Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar index also put up strong gains on upbeat domestic data and uncertainty overseas.

Bitcoin’s Earth-Shattering Volumes

BTC/USD went through the roof this week, as prices crossed $19,500 in an incredible show of strength. At its peak, the world’s no. 1 cryptocurrency was valued at roughly $310 billion.

By the end of the week, bitcoin was trading at roughly $16,000 for a five-day gain of $5,000.

Bitcoin’s 24-hour transaction volumes reached a staggering $29 billion Thursday, a five-fold increase over month-ago levels. On Friday, daily volumes reached $21 billion, with BitMEX, Bithumb and Bitfinex accounting for more than a third of the turnover.

Altcoins also surged this week, bringing the total market cap to $452 billion. The global cryptocurrency market shed $50 billion on Friday in a broad correction before prices stabilized within $10 billion of the record high.

CBOE Announces Bitcoin Futures Launch Date

Underpinning the latest rally in cryptos was CBOE’s surprise announcement that it will begin offering bitcoin futures this Sunday. The new contract, which will be traded under the ticker symbol “XBT,” will be offered free through December.

“Given the unprecedented interest in bitcoin, it’s vital we provide clients the trading tools to help them express their views and hedge their exposure,” CBOE chairman and CEO Ed Tilly said.

By launching its derivatives contract Sunday, CBOE becomes the first major exchange to venture into bitcoin. CME Group is expected to launch its own bitcoin futures contract Dec. 18.

Stocks Return to Record Territory

Stocks returned to record highs this week, with the S&P 500 Index gaining 0.6% to close at 2,651.50. Ten of 11 sectors contributed to the rally, with telecom, healthcare and energy leading the way higher. Energy experienced a broad retreat earlier in the week along with information technology stocks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 117.68 points, or 0.5%, to close at 24,329.16 on Friday. Meanwhile, the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.4% to 6,840.08.

A measure of 30-day volatility known as the CBOE VIX declined for four straight days on Friday to close at its lowest level in over a month. The so-called “fear index” settled at 9.58 on Friday, on a scale of 1-100 where 20 represents the historic mean.

European equity markets also rallied Friday after Britain and the European Union announced a breakthrough in Brexit negotiations, paving the way for future trade talks. The Eurozone blue-chip Stoxx 50 Pr climbed 1.8% for the week to end at its highest level since Nov. 29.

Japanese stocks finished a volatile week on a high note, with the Nikkei 225 adding 2.9% over a two-day period. The benchmark gauge plunged through the first half of the week.

Tax Reform on the Horizon

The Trump administration is moving closer to implementing its long-awaited tax plan after Senate Republicans passed a sweeping overhaul of the legislation earlier this month. The president now believes Congress will come together quickly to reconcile differences in time for Christmas. Trump has stated that the new plan will come into effect Jan. 1, 2018 if Republicans can iron out differences between two versions of the bill.

Analysts say that the new tax provisions would be retroactive in the event that a deal is reached in the new year.

Dollar Hits Its Stride

The U.S. dollar wrapped up its best week of the year, as upbeat economic data and expectations of higher interest rates drove the world’s most active currency higher. The U.S. dollar index (DXY), which tracks the greenback’s performance against a basket of six peers, rose 1.1% this week to close at 93.90.

U.S. employers added 228,000 workers to payrolls last month, following a downwardly revised gain of 244,000 in October, the Labor Department reported Friday. Analysts in a median estimate called for a November increase of 198,000. The jobless rate held steady at 4.1% on month, while average hourly earnings rose at a smaller than expected 2.5% annual rate.

The Week Ahead

The Federal Reserve’s policy board will hold its final meeting of the year next week. Policymakers are widely expected to raise interest rates for a third time this year, according to the CME Group’s FedWatch tool. The rate announcement will be accompanied by a quarterly summary of economic projections covering GDP, unemployment and inflation.

Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) members will coalesce in Washington on Tuesday, with the official rate announcement scheduled for the following Wednesday afternoon.

Global data flows will also make headlines next week, including reports from China and the United States.

In other policy news, the Bank of England, European Central Bank and Swiss National Bank will each deliver interest rate verdicts. No change on either front is expected.

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 666 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he leads content development for one of the world's foremost cryptocurrency resources. Over the past eight years Sam has authored more than 10,000 articles and over 40 whitepapers in the fields of labor market economics, emerging technologies, cryptocurrency and traditional finance. Sam's work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Contact: sam@hacked.com Twitter: @hsbourgi




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Week in Review

Week in Review: Hard Fork, Hash Wars and Crypto Mayhem

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A schism in the bitcoin cash community has unleashed chaos on the cryptocurrency market, threatening to undermine the resolve of long-term holders who may have forgotten what extreme volatility looks like following weeks, if not months, of unprecedented calm. The controversial split, which came into effect late Thursday, has resulted in all-out war between two competing blockchains vying for dominance of the bitcoin cash community.

In the process, bitcoin, altcoins and tokens have experienced one of the biggest selloffs of 2018, dragging the total market capitalization to its lowest in over a year. Although the worst of the selloff appears to have ended for now, uncertainty over the future of bitcoin cash continues to loom large.

Bitcoin Cash Splits

Shortly after 18:00 UTC Thursday, bitcoin cash officially split into two competing blockchains – raising the spectre of all-out war between Roger Ver’s ABC camp and the alternative SV protocol backed by Craig Steven Wright. The controversial split was activated at block number 556,766.

In the hours following the split, Bitcoin.com and Bitmain had already secured a combined hash rate that overwhelmed the mining power of the bitcoin SV side of the fork. In fact, Roger Ver tweeted Thursday that the Bitcoin.com pool “now has more hash rate on it than the entire BCH network had earlier today.”

While bitcoin SV has threatened a 51% attack on the ABC camp, industry statistics suggest this is not currently possible.

That said, the race for control of the bitcoin cash community is not over yet. Just five hours ago, Wright reminded the community via Twitter that the final marathon had not yet begun:

“In our hash competition, we have seen the ABC team bring on their strongest sprinters. We are just at the trials and not yet on the finals to Marathon and they have made a remarkable burst to do a 9.9 second 100m (unfortunately in the wrong direction).”

Crypto Market Plunges

Despite controlling a tiny fraction of the cryptocurrency market cap, bitcoin cash has had an oversized influence on how assets behaved this week. The value of all coins in plummeted by as much as $37 billion over two days, with all major assets in the top-20 recording double-digit percentage losses.

The crypto market bottomed around $175 billion, the lowest in over a year. Bitcoin’s price briefly traded below $5,200, its lowest since October 2017, following its biggest selloff since March. By Friday, bitcoin and the major altcoins had rebounded from their recent lows, though bitcoin cash was still nursing losses.

XRP and XLM are leading in the recovery on Friday; the former is trading more than 4% higher at the time of writing while the latter added nearly 8%. Outside the top-10, basic attention token jumped 15% and 0x added nearly 10%. Both assets were recently added to Coinbase, which allows traders to purchase them directly via fiat currency.

Trade Hopes Fade

U.S. stocks came under renewed pressure Friday after President Trump’s Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said a new China trade deal by January was virtually impossible.

In a Thursday interview, Ross tempered expectations that upcoming negotiations between President Trump and Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping would yield a new trade agreement. At best, the trade negotiation would result in a common “framework” that would guide both sides in resolving tensions. The face-to-face meeting will be held at the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina Nov. 30-Dec. 1.

The S&P 500 Index finally managed to snap a five-day losing skid on Thursday, but markets were once again subdued at the end of the week. Plunging oil prices, risks to global economic health and a rollover in technology shares have placed downward pressure on markets this week.

The Week Ahead

The so-called hash war engulfing the bitcoin cash community is set to rage on next week, as the competing chains battle for market dominance. At the time of writing, bitcoin ABC remains in the lead with the SV camp failing to deliver on Wright’s egregious threats. However, things can change fairly quickly given Wright’s supposed control of large swathes of the network’s hash rate. Recent commentary by Roger Ver suggests that Bitcoin.com now has more hash rate than the entire BCH community had just hours before the hard fork was implemented.

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 666 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he leads content development for one of the world's foremost cryptocurrency resources. Over the past eight years Sam has authored more than 10,000 articles and over 40 whitepapers in the fields of labor market economics, emerging technologies, cryptocurrency and traditional finance. Sam's work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Contact: sam@hacked.com Twitter: @hsbourgi




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Week in Review

Week in Review: Crypto Rally Runs into Resistance as Bitcoin Cash Hard Fork Nears

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Bitcoin fork

Cryptocurrency markets engineered an impressive rally through the midweek, with bitcoin cash and XRP posting massive gains on positive speculation concerning hard forks and business adoption, respectively. Over the past 48 hours, markets have lost a combined $8 billion in value, as profit-taking and overbought resistance tempered growth.

In traditional markets, Wall Street’s bulls re-emerged after a disastrous October selloff, with the S&P 500 gaining 3.5% so far this month. A divided Congress has fueled speculation that the Republicans won’t be able to implement sweeping reforms that could impact big business.

Crypto Rally Softens

The crypto markets were a sea of red Friday, extending a 48-hour retreat that knocked the majors from overbought territory. After gaining as much as 53% week-on-week, bitcoin cash had pared its seven-day advance to 27%, according to CoinMarketCap. BCH was last seen trading at $566, down sharply from a peak near $640 earlier in the week.

XRP also witnessed broad declines in the latter half of the week, paring its seven-day gain all the way down to 9%. The so-called banker’s cryptocurrency is back below $0.5000 at the time of writing.

Bitcoin was late to the BCH-inspired rally but still managed 18-day highs on Wednesday. The largest cryptocurrency by market cap has given back most of those gains and currently resides below $6,400.

The cryptocurrency market cap is currently valued at $212.2 billion, down from highs near $221 billion on Wednesday but well above week-ago levels. Daily trade volumes are back below $14 billion after hitting highs of $17 billion on Wednesday.

Stock-Market Bulls Make Their Return

U.S. stocks made big gains this week, adding to an already impressive November start that has contrasted sharply with the previous month. As of Friday, the large-cap S&P 500 Index was on track for a weekly gain of 3%.

Most of the gains occurred on Wednesday following the U.S. midterm elections, which saw the Republicans widen their majority in the Senate but give up control of the House. A divided Congress, it is believed, could force the Trump administration to compromise on a number of issues ranging from trade to immigration.

Stocks are coming off their worst month in at least seven years as mixed corporate earnings, elevated trade risks and slowing global growth undermined the bull market. The dramatic selloff pushed the major indexes to the brink of overt correction, with the CBOE VIX Volatility Index reaching its highest level in eight months.

Oil Enters Bear Market

Crude prices hastened their decline this week, with the U.S. futures benchmark Friday tracking its tenth consecutive down session on fears that global supplies will offset demand even with Iran sanctions in place.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) broke below $60 a barrel Friday for the first time since February and is down 22% from last month’s multi-year high. With the loss, WTI has officially entered bear-market territory, which is defined as a loss of 20% or more from the most recent high.

Members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) are meeting in Abu Dhabi this weekend to review current production strategies and decide whether a shift in output levels is warranted. Saudi Arabia and Russia, which is not part of the cartel, have already expressed plans to raise output to account for the loss of Iranian barrels.

The Week Ahead

The hard fork of bitcoin cash is scheduled to take place Nov. 15, with several exchanges already announcing support for the split. BCH holders on Coinbase, Binance and others can expect a one-for-one distribution of the new BCH token relative to their holdings 1-2 hours before the hard fork takes place.

Economic data are also in the spotlight next week, with the U.S. Department of Labor scheduled to report on the latest inflation numbers. The annual consumer price index (CPI) is forecast to reach 2.4% in October, up from 2.3% the month before. Higher inflation all but guarantees that the Federal Reserve will continue raising interest rates in December. The Fed implied as much Thursday when it voted to keep interest rates on hold but acknowledged broad improvements in the labor market.

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 666 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he leads content development for one of the world's foremost cryptocurrency resources. Over the past eight years Sam has authored more than 10,000 articles and over 40 whitepapers in the fields of labor market economics, emerging technologies, cryptocurrency and traditional finance. Sam's work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Contact: sam@hacked.com Twitter: @hsbourgi




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Week in Review

Week in Review: Institutions Pivot to Crypto and Tron Outshines Its Peers

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After a noticeable setback on Monday, cryptocurrency markets stabilized later in the week as bitcoin returned to its predictable trading range and major altcoins pared losses. The institutional pivot toward crypto was perhaps the biggest newsmaker of the week. Not only are there signs that Goldman Sachs may finally launch a bitcoin trading operation, fellow Wall Street bank Morgan Stanley heralded cryptocurrency as a “new institutional asset class.”

Institutions Flocking to Crypto?

As Hacked reported this week, Goldman Sachs could be nearing the launch of a new bitcoin trading product, with early reports indicating a limited rollout of the new offering. According to The Block, Goldman has already signed up new customers for a non-deliverable forward product that will provide cash-settled exposure to bitcoin.

While Goldman appears to still be on the fence about bitcoin, Morgan Stanley issued a bold statement earlier this week declaring crypto to be the new asset class for institutional investors. In a report titled, “Bitcoin Decrypted: A Brief Tech-In and Implications,” the bank says blockchain technology has made surprise developments in recent years, paving the way for new crypto funds that are making it even easier for investors to enter the market.

Although the bear market is showing little signs of letting up, institutions are beginning to recognize the utility of digital assets and are likely to broaden their involvement in the sector moving forward.

Tron: The Standout Performer

Tron’s TRX token managed to break even during the month of October, defying a broad market downtrend that saw the likes of Ethereum, XRP and bitcoin cash post double-digit percentage losses. As it turns out, Tron’s hype machine is turning out favorable results following several key partnerships and acquisitions being announced.

That being said, Justin Sun was recently the center of controversy yet again after the Tron founder teased another high-stakes partner. That “partner” turned out to be Baidu, one of China’s largest cloud computing companies. However, as CCN reported, Tron is just a client of Baidu and not a partner in the conventional sense of the term.

While truth twisting appears to be the norm for Sun, his project is gaining steam. One of Tron’s largest decentralized applications, TRONbet, announced first-week payouts in excess of 300 million TRX. According to Tron’s official website, the platform has onboarded dozens of decentralized applications since launching the Tron Virtual Machine.

TRX recently secured a listing on CoinSuper, a Hong Kong-based digital currency exchange, a move that induced heavier than usual volatility for the token. As Hacked reported on Thursday, TRX’s sudden and sharp rally followed by an equally large drop has all the characteristics of a pump-and-dump.

Relief Rally on Wall Street

After their worst month in seven years, U.S. stocks are rising again thanks to a series of positive earnings calls and signs of a potential breakthrough on the U.S.-China trade rift. Bargain hunters have also rushed in to snatch up tech stocks pummeled by the month-long correction.

Investor sentiment was lifted on Thursday by a tweet from U.S. President Donald Trump, who said he had a long, productive dialogue with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping. Both sides are attempting to bridge the gap on trade ahead of a face-to-face meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina later this month. The Trump administration is pushing to get a new trade deal done by early December and a failure to do so would lead to new tariffs being issued.

Q3 is shaping up to be another positive quarter for U.S. earnings despite several disappointing results. As of last Friday, more than three-quarters of S&P 500 companies had reported better than expected profit results. More than half said third-quarter sales were better than expected.

The Week Ahead

From the perspective of trade volume and volatility, crypto markets remain on ice. Investors’ collective lethargy is unlikely to let up any time soon as debates over securitization and regulation continue to swirl. A lack of new buyers in the market will keep prices subdued until new fundamental developments inspire capital flows back into the crypto space. At present, there’s no sign of that emerging.

That being said, long-term holders of bitcoin have grown accustomed to longer market cycles. After all, the last bear market lasted several years. The difference this time is there are more people watching and more users invested.

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 666 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he leads content development for one of the world's foremost cryptocurrency resources. Over the past eight years Sam has authored more than 10,000 articles and over 40 whitepapers in the fields of labor market economics, emerging technologies, cryptocurrency and traditional finance. Sam's work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Contact: sam@hacked.com Twitter: @hsbourgi




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