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The Week in Review: Cryptocurrencies Shine as Global Stocks Rise

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Weekly Recap

Asset Current Value Weekly Change
S&P 500 2363 0.80%
DAX 12312 2.06%
WTI Crude Oil 50.81 5.92%
GOLD 1247.50 -0.24%
Bitcoin 1072 1.19%
EUR/USD 1.0657 -1.49%

The correction that took hold of global stock markets last week didn’t last too long and the leaders of the rally, namely the Nasdaq and the DAX, were once again flirting with all-time highs this week. The US healthcare bill debate was put on the sideline, as the media’s attention switched to the Brexit process that officially started on Tuesday with the triggering of Article 50 by the British Government. The Pound experienced some volatility thanks to the announcement, but the currency finished the week on a positive note, even as the FTSE 100 underperformed most of its peers.

Weekly progress of the main global indices, Comparison Chart (% gains)

The end of the first quarter brought active trading in the second half of the week, as per usual, but volatility remained muted following the most volatile period in a while. Oil bounced back strongly after the key technical breakdown of the previous week, and the WTI contract finished above the crucial $50 per barrel on Friday. Gold hovered around the $1250 level all week long, successfully ignoring the rally in the Dollar, as it remains encouragingly strong despite the rate hike cycle of the Federal Reserve. The Euro lost ground against all of its major counterparts, while the Yen and the Franc remained stable throughout the week.

Cryptocurrencies had a great week, with several up-and-coming altcoins gaining significant ground during the period. Ripple and Litecoin were the most notable winners of the week, but Ethereum and Monero also held on to their recent gains. Bitcoin traded sideways, but it remained above the crucial $1000 level, while Dash was the only clear loser of the week.

Economic numbers continued to provide support for the global bull market, with only a few negative surprises throughout the week. In fact, there were several blowout numbers, such as the German retail sales reading, the US consumer confidence index (a new 16-year high!!), and US pending home sales. The only worrying sign is the rise in US initial jobless claim, but even if it’s a quite reliable early indicator, the 258,000 number is still far from being scary.

Technical Corner

The recent correction in global stocks was led by the US financial sector, as the largest US banks suffered double-digit losses following the Fed-meeting. Investors evaluated the central bank’s statement as a sign of a less aggressive rate hike schedule. That pushed bank’s lower, as the hikes are generally considered bullish for them in the current environment. That said, the sell-off was very much in the cards already, as technicals screamed for a correction.

The US financial sector (XLF), Daily Chart

The sector was well in overbought territory following the strong post-election advance, and the ETF that represents the segment also showed a significant momentum divergence before the decline. The extent of the previous rally is well described by the fact that a 12% correction only carried XLF to around the middle of the rising trend channel (this is a multi-trillion dollar industry, mind you).

This week’s bounce took the sector back to a previously important resistance level at $23.75, after precisely reaching the 23.6% Fibonacci retracement level at $23.07. The MACD indicator is now in neutral territory, but further sideways price action, or another sell-off, is still likely before a sustainable rally can develop. It will be interesting to see how the segment performs, as it should be a good tell for the direction of the whole US market in the coming weeks.

Key Economic Releases of the Week

Day Country Release Actual Expected Previous
Monday EUROZONE German Ifo Business Climate 112.3 111.2 111
Tuesday US CB Consumer Confidence 125.6 113.9 114.8
Wednesday US Pending Home Sales (monthly) 5.50% 2.30% -2.80%
Wednesday US Crude Oil Inventories 0.9 million 1.2 million 5.0 million
Thursday GERMANY Prelim CPI 0.20% 0.40% 0.60%
Thursday US Final GDP 2.10% 2.00% 1.90%
Thursday US Initial Jobless Claims (weekly) 258,000 244,000 261,000
Friday GERMANY Retail Sales 1.80% 0.70% -0.80%
Friday UK Current Account -12.1 billion -16.3 bil -25.5 bil
Friday UK Final GDP (quarterly) 0.70% 0.70% 0.70%
Friday CANADA GDP (monthly) 0.60% 0.30% 0.30%
Friday US Chicago PMI 57.6 57.2 57.4

 

The Story of the Week: Apple Hits New High Again And Tops $750 Billion

Apple, Weekly Chart Analysis

The most valuable company in the world keeps on delivering respectable returns to its shareholders, despite its already enormous size. As an example of just what $750 billion dollars mean, a country with such a GDP would be in the top 20 largest economies globally. With that in mind, the fact that the value of the company went down by more than 30% in the past years alone is mind-boggling.

The obvious question is that did the value of the company really change that much in that short period of time? Well, the correct answer is that probably not. The emotional rollercoaster of the stock market led to these fluctuations, together with the change in global investor sentiment, while also being heavily influenced by the amount of “free” money supplied by the central banks.

So, will this be another triple digit rally, or is the stock about to turn lower? The answer is tricky, since we are after an 8-year bull market that helped Apple immensely, and a new bear market could wipe out a large chunk of its recent gains (yes, even such a strong brand is vulnerable). What’s sure is that the trend is still clearly bullish, and the company also keeps on paying dividends. That said, taking some chips off the table when the stock is getting overbought, like right now, is not a bad idea, as a good entry point is always ahead.

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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4.7 stars on average, based on 444 rated postsTrader and financial analyst, with 10 years of experience in the field. An expert in technical analysis and risk management, but also an avid practitioner of value investment and passive strategies, with a passion towards anything that is connected to the market.




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Altcoins

Your Guide to Stablecoins 2019

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Stablecoins are cryptocurrencies with a value pegged to a currency or to exchange traded commodities. Many projects today are researching and developing such technology. Issuers distribute stablecoins to customers in exchange for fiat currency such as USD at a 1:1 fixed exchange rate. USD is a desirable medium of exchange and globally accepted unit of account, making it a good choice for a stablecoin. Stablecoins most often take the following shapes.

  • Fiat-collateralized: Reserves in a national currency collateralize the creation and issuance of such tokens. The goal is price stability by pegging a token’s value to a reserved fiat value.
  • Crypto-collateralized: Cryptocurrencies backing cryptocurrencies. That might sound far fetched or futuristic, but it is possible in the present day. Forget the Gold Standard. Now you can hold a cryptocurrency backed by a basket of cryptocurrencies.
  • Seigniorage: These tokens are not-collateralized. Software maintains the price stability.
  • Hybrid: When you blend the three basic approaches above – or some assortment thereof – you get a hybrid stablecoin.

Let’s go deeper.

Fiat-backed

Fully-backed by fiat money at a 1:1 ratio, you might receive $1 of fiat-backed stablecoins in exchange for $1 of fiat money. Custodians (third-parties) typically manage the fiat in such an arrangement. In order to maintain a stable price, fiat-backed tokens may be issued or destroyed as needed. When holders redeem cash with tokens, for instance, the company might wire money to a bank account, then destroy or otherwise remove the tokens from circulation so as to maintain the fiat currency peg.

Tether (USDT)

Tether’s daily volume on January 18 was $189,134,405. Traders use tether as a way to hedge and to convert holdings into the equivalent USD value without having to cash-out. Detractors argue that Tether lacks transparency when it comes to reserves, though the company claims all issued USDT tokens are backed on a one-to-one basis. The CEO of Bitfinex is also the CEO for Tether Limited, which issues Tether.

TrueUSD (TUSD)

TrueUSD claims to be more transparent than Tether, while still enabling TUSD customers to exchange USD through an escrow account over which the TUSD team claims to have no control. The company uses smart contracts to ensure the 1:1 parity between real USD reserves in the escrow accounts and the TUSD tokens issued.

Gemini

Gemini took a different approach than most stablecoins, receiving permission from the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) before creating its USD-pegged stablecoin. Designed to provide traders and institutions with a “regulated” version of tether (USDT), Gemini claims their stablecoin establishes trust through cryptographic proof and regulatory oversight.

Gemini’s ERC20 stablecoin includes an “upgrade feature, an offline approval mechanism for high-risk actions, and a hybrid online-offline approval mechanism for high-risk actions and token issuance that provides the desired level of security and flexibility.”

Gemini links licensed financial institutions and examiners. They form a network of trust that backs the Gemini dollar. This regulated stablecoin is to serve as a medium of exchange and unit of account for centralized and decentralized applications. Gemini has pledged to create a network of trusted and licensed financial institutions and examiners. These implementations combined form the Gemini dollar, a regulated stablecoin that can serve as a viable medium of exchange and unit of account for centralized and decentralized applications.

Gemini’s proof-of-solvency is also a unique selling point requires a trusted third party. It plans to have the audit committee of the board of directors of Gemini engage an independent registered public accounting firm to attest to the underlying US dollar balance.

Paxos Standard

Paxos Standard is built upon the Ethereum blockchain as an ERC-20 token. Rather than issuing new money to maintain price stability, as past coins have attempted, Paxos Standard provides a more stable representation of existing money with accepted and trusted value. The company posits early use cases for the technology as a payment means; hedge against volatility; contracts for more complicated transactions, and more. Longer term use cases include asset mobility and settlement and ecosystem development.
Centre

CENTRE is creating a network scheme to manage the creation, redemption and mechanisms enabling issuing members to mint and burn/redeem asset-backed fiat tokens, ensuring price stability. CENTRE’s fiat-collateralized approach entails a unit of tokenized fiat currency being backed by one unit of reserved fiat. According to CENTRE, Circle will become a “licensed member of the CENTRE network”, but an independent entity will govern and develop CENTRE protocols separate from Circle.
Commodity-Backed

Commodity-backed stablecoins are pegged to a specific value of, say, gold. One token, for instance, might represent one gram of gold. Physical gold is often claimed to be stored in a trusted third party vault. BitShares was one of the first projects to introduce a commodity-backed stablecoin. Backed by real assets and redeemable at the conversion rate of the real asset, commodity-backed stablecoins try to maintain the stable value of gold, while being easily transferred.

Digix Gold Tokens (DGX)

Digix has two tokens. Digix Gold Tokens (DGX) and DigixDAO Tokens (DGD). DGD tokens are used for DigixDAO’s governance model. DGX tokens are used as collateral and a trading pair by other crypto projects like MakerDAO, Kryptono Exchange, Kyber Network, WeTrust, Monolith, and others.

A Digix customer might buy gold through the Digix platform. The vendor then supplies gold and a custodian stores the customer’s gold. Relevant details (vendor, custodian, customer, etc.) are stored on a digital card, and sent to smart contracts so new, gold-backed coins can be minted.

DGX, created by DigixGlobal, is an ERC-20 token backed by physical gold. Fully-audited and stored in a vault in Singapore, the Safe House, each token’s value is fully redeemable and pegged to price of gold. Digix’s Proof-of-Provenance algorithm ensures that each gold bar’s custodianship status is tracked on the Ethereum blockchain. Reserves are audited each quarter.

Cryptocurrency-Backed Stablecoin

Backed by other cryptocurrencies, crypto-collateralized cryptocoins can be less stable than fiat and commodity-backed stablecoins because the underlying asset is less stable. Cryptocurrency-backed stablecoins might sometimes be over-collateralized to account for the volatility. While a US-backed stablecoin might be pegged 1:1, an Ethereum-backed stablecoin might be worth 2:1. (US $2 worth of ethereum for US$1 worth of stablecoin).  Still, cryptocurrency backed stablecoins are more volatile than stablecoins backed by other assets like commodities and fiat money.

Usually backed by a basket of cryptocurrencies instead of a lone currency, some such stablecoins require users to stake and lock cryptocurrency via a smart contract to create a fixed ratio of stablecoins. Considered a more decentralized alternative to fiat and commodity-backed stablecoin, cryptocurrency backed stablecoins offer quick liquidation from one cryptocurrency to another.

MakerDAO (DAI)

Maker, a smart contract platform based on the Ethereum platform, stabilizes the value of Dai, a collateral-backed cryptocurrency, through a dynamic system of Collateralized Debt Positions (CDPs), autonomous feedback mechanisms, and appropriately incentivized external actors.

Collateralized debt position are smart contracts on the Maker system. CDPs keep track of assets deposited by users so that users can generate Dai. The value of an active CDPs collateral is higher than the value of the debt. Ether is used as collateral for new coins, and must be sent to a CDP, which locks the staked ETH so new DAIs are minted. Dai is designed to be sent to others, used as payments for goods and services and held as savings. MakerDAO also issues MKR token.

Seigniorage-Style Stablecoin

Seigniorage-Style stablecoins are uncollateralized and stabilized by algorithms. Algorithms might maintain the value and stability of a coin by controlling the supply of the uncollateralized stablecoin, shrinking and growing it based on certain indicators.

Seignoriage-style coins’ algorithmically governed approach to expanding and contracting a stablecoin’s money supply. New stablecoins are minted to maintain stable prices, when, say, demand increases or decreases.

Conclusion

Technologists claim that stability offered in stablecoins would be a boon to cryptocurrency by minimizing fluctuations of value. A stablecoin theoretically represents a stable means of payment and trade, making it appealing for daily use, and perhaps more palatable for the general public. Yet, stablecoin technology is still nascent, and questions such as how to manage supply and demand in such a way as to create stable value have yet to be fully answered and understood. Of the coins listed here, Digix, Gemini, MakerDAO and Paxos represent under-publicized products on which to keep an eye.

Image: Artem Beli

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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5 stars on average, based on 1 rated postsJustin O'Connell is the founder of financial technology focused CryptographicAsset.com. Justin organized the launch of the largest Bitcoin ATM hardware and software provider in the world at the historical Hotel del Coronado in southern California. His works appear in the U.S.'s third largest weekly, the San Diego Reader, VICE and elsewhere.




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Altcoins

Tron Price Analysis: TRX/USD Constructing a Head and Shoulders Pattern

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  • TRX/USD remains vulnerable to further downside, with eyes on the possible head and shoulders technical structure.
  • TRX/BTC bulls are having much difficulty breaking down huge area of supply.

TRX/USD Price Action

TRX/USD daily chart.

There has been little in terms of committed market direction. It appears that after the huge bull run, which was observed from mid-December until 10th January, the price is trying to find its feet again. The gains of that push higher were a chunky 180%, before quickly becoming unstable and losing some of that ground.

Head and Shoulders Pattern

TRX/USD head and shoulders formation, via daily chart.

A near-term ascending trend line can be observed via the daily chart. This could be forming a head and shoulders formation. The left shoulder and head have already been constructed, with attention on this possible right shoulder. It is currently moving back towards the trend line, acting as a neckline for the technical pattern. A breach could see a fast fall below the $0.020000 mark.

The next major area of support is seen at a demand zone, which tracks from $0.017500 down to $0.016000. TRX/USD last traded here on 20th December, when the bulls ran through this range, which at the time was acting as supply. At a worse case scenario, a failure of this zone holding will shift attention to the December low area, $0.011150.

TRX/BTC Bulls Cannot Break Down Big Supply Zone

TRX/BTC daily chart.

This trading week, the TRX/BTC bulls attempted on a few occasions,to break down heavy area of supply. It can be seen tracking from 0.00000700 up to 0.000007500. The price has not been convincingly breached since June 2018, a strong sign of the bearish trend gripping the market. Briefly on 10th January, an aggressive spike to the upside was observed, pushing above for a very short-time before the sellers piled in.

Weekly Chart

TRX/BTC weekly chart.

Looking via the weekly chart view, TRX/BTC has been pushing higher for the past three consecutive weeks, at the time of writing. Despite this run of gains, the technical picture does still somewhat express some vulnerabilities. The large upper wick produced during the week which commenced 7th January appears to be a bearish pin bar formation.

If this week fails to close in the green, it could suggest that a larger wave of selling pressure may materialize. Typically, the types of candlesticks described above tend to come ahead of downside pressure. In addition, then numerous rejections seen within the earlier detailed supply zone, stacks favorably for the bears.

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 110 rated postsKen has over 8 years exposure to the financial markets. During a large part of his career, he worked as an analyst, covering a variety of asset classes; forex, fixed income, commodities, equities and cryptocurrencies. Ken has gone on to become a regular contributor across several large news and analysis outlets.




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Altcoins

Monero Price Analysis: Stronger Malware to Mine Monero; XMR/USD Has Room for Another Potential Squeeze South

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  • Researchers: a stronger malware has been uncovered, which can mine Monero.
  • XMR/USD price action remains stuck in a narrowing range, subject to an imminent breakout.

The XMR/USD price has seen some upside on Saturday, holding gains of around 3% towards the latter stages of the day. Despite the press higher from the bulls, a move which has been observed across the cryptocurrency market, vulnerabilities remain. Price action has been ranging for the past nine sessions. Once again, this isn’t specifically just XMR, as this type of behavior is witnessed across the board. The narrowing in play came after the steep drop that rippled across the market on 10th January.

Price action was initially well-supported to the upside by an ascending trend line, which was in play from 15th December. This at the time was a very promising recovery, as XMR/USD had gained as much as 55%. Unfortunately, however, the bulls were unable to break down supply heading into the $60 region and were eventually dealt a big hammer blow. On 10th January, the market bears forced a heavy breach to the downside, smashing through this support. The price had dropped a big double-digits, some 20%.

Stronger Malware Mining Monero (XMR)

There is a dangerous form of malware that can bypass being detected and mine Monero (XMR) on cloud-based servers. A recent notice was put out by Palo Alto Networks’ Unit 42, an intelligence team that specializes in cyber threats, regarding a Linux mining malware. This was detailed to have been developed by Rocke group, which has the ability uninstall cloud security products. It can do this to the likes of Alibaba Cloud and Tencent Cloud, to then illegally mine Monero on compromised machines.

The two researchers from Palo Alto Networks, Xingyu Jin and Claud Xiao, detailed the findings of their studies. Once the malware is downloaded, it takes administrative control to initially uninstall all cloud security products. Shortly after, it will then then transmit code that will mine the Monero (XMR). Further within their press release, they said, “To the best of our knowledge, this is the first malware family that developed the unique capability to target and remove cloud security products.”

Technical Review – XMR/USD

XMR/USD daily chart.

Given the current range block formation, eyes should be on the key near-term technical areas. Firstly, to the downside, $43, which is the lower part of the range. A breach here will likely see a retest of the December low, $38. To the upside, resistance be observed at around the mid $46 level. Should a breakout be observed here, then a potential retest of the broken trend line will be watched.

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 110 rated postsKen has over 8 years exposure to the financial markets. During a large part of his career, he worked as an analyst, covering a variety of asset classes; forex, fixed income, commodities, equities and cryptocurrencies. Ken has gone on to become a regular contributor across several large news and analysis outlets.




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