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Weekly Recap: Crypto Volatility Declines as Bitcoin Shows Renewed Stability; U.S.-China Trade War Could Soon End

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Cryptocurrencies remained under pressure this week, though newfound stability for bitcoin alleviated the risk of a new bearish breakdown. The leading digital currency has managed to hold above a critical long-term support line, which has had a stabilizing effect on the broader market.

In traditional markets, signs of progress on U.S.-China trade talks pushed stock prices to new monthly highs even as the partial government shutdown in Washington entered its fourth week. Corporate earnings have been mostly positive, helping Wall Street extend its recovery from a brutal fourth quarter.

Cryptocurrencies Lack Direction

Cryptocurrency prices turned green on Monday, overcoming a potentially devastating correction that appeared imminent last weekend. Bitcoin swung below $3,550 on several occasions ahead of Monday’s session, setting the stage for a deeper fall back toward December lows. As we reported earlier, a sustained fall below $3,550 would put bitcoin in “GTFO” territory.

In other news, Ethereum’s long-anticipated Constantinople hard fork was delayed this week after developers identified a critical security flaw in one of the proposed changes. Read more here.

The cryptocurrency market cap bottomed at $116.3 billion on Sunday before recovering closer to $125 billion on Monday. Crypto markets have been directionless ever since despite the presence of larger than normal volumes. Bitcoin’s daily trading volumes have surpassed $5 billion since Monday.

At the time of writing, the total cryptocurrency market was worth $121.5 billion, little changed compared to seven days ago. Trade volumes reached $16.7 billion, which is fairly consistent with the weekly average.

Bitcoin’s Accumulation Phase?

2019 is shaping up to be the year of accumulation for bitcoin, as long-term holders and new market entrants look to capitalize on more affordable prices. According to technical analyst Eric Thies, the next 12 months could mirror the trend observed in 2015, a year where many crypto holders bolstered their position following a protracted bear market. This view holds water regardless of whether you believe bitcoin has bottomed or not.

In less than 30 days, bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will enter their longest bear market in history. As of Friday, the crypto bear market had stretched on for 392 days. The longest bear trend was observed back in 2014-15 at 420 days, according to Ran NeuNer of CNBC’s Cryptotrader.

The amount of bitcoin in circulation suggests more traders are entering the market. Whether they will be buyers or sellers is yet to be determined. As we recently noted, the supply of active bitcoin in the market has increased by 40% since last summer, with much of the influx occurring since October. Read more: Bitcoin Likely Headed Lower as Whales Activate Long-Dormant Accounts.

Trade War Winding Down?

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that the Trump administration is considering lifting tariffs on Chinese goods in an effort to broker a new trade agreement with Beijing. The speculation was a welcome sign for investors who were growing more concerned with the backlash against Huawei and its potential impact on a trade deal. Read: Why the Huawei Scandal Will Reignite the US-China Trade War.

U.S. and Chinese trade delegations made important progress in their first round of talks in Beijing earlier this month. China has reportedly agreed to purchase more U.S. agriculture and energy commodities as well as open up its domestic market to American companies. Talks are expected to heat up over the next six weeks ahead of a self-imposed deadline in March. That’s when the 90-day truce agreed to by President Trump and China’s Xi Jinping is scheduled to end.

Stock Markets in Recovery Mode

Wall Street and global stocks have risen sharply this week, as a combination of trade optimism and upbeat corporate earnings lifted investor sentiment. U.S. stock markets have recovered more than 11% since Christmas Eve, when they plunged to their lowest levels in over a year.

Strong earnings from Bank of America Corp (BAC) and Goldman Sachs Inc. (GS) set the tone early this week. Both banks beat on profit forecasts, with Goldman shattering both top- and bottom-line estimates.

The CBOE Volatility Index, also known as the VIX, is currently trading at half of its December peak. This not only puts it below the long-term average, it signals renewed optimism in the stock market. The VIX trades in the opposite direction of the S&P 500 Index roughly three-quarters of the time.

The Week Ahead

Corporate earnings will dominate the headlines next week, as several Dow blue chips and S&P large-cap stocks report fourth quarter results. New proposals to end the U.S. government shutdown are also expected next week. The shutdown, now in its 28th day, is the longest in U.S. history.

In cryptocurrencies, all eyes will be on key technical levels. A lack of trading catalysts has kept markets subdued for the past four days. It remains to be seen whether this will alleviate bearish pressure or invite new sellers back into the fold.

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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4.7 stars on average, based on 770 rated postsChief Editor to Hacked.com and Contributor to CCN.com, Sam Bourgi has spent the past nine years focused on economics, markets and cryptocurrencies. His work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Avid crypto watchers and those with a libertarian persuasion can follow him on twitter at @hsbourgi




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XRP Price Analysis: XRP/USD Could be in Serious Trouble as Test of Major Support Back in Play

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  • Ripple’s XRP price is seen trading marginally in negative territory towards the latter part of Friday, with XRP/USD heading for a weekly closure in the red.
  • Ripple has announced a newly improved XRP Ledger 1.2.0 for improved censorship resistance.

XRP/USD: Recent Price Behaviour

Ripple’s XRP price continues to cool, running towards is a third consecutive session in the red as the bulls fail to sustain any upside. XRP/USD has dropped more than 5% over the mentioned period, with the bears set to the test the big psychological $0.3000 mark once again. The price had not traded below this area since 8th February, when it received a chunky amount of buying pressure.

Ripple Announces Newly Improved XRP Ledger 1.2.0

Ripple, the San-Francisco-based blockchain startup, released an updated version of its XRP ledger 1.2.0. The update is expected to significantly improve user experience, in addition to expanding upon the range of services within its offering.

Details provided by the Ripple team suggest that this update has seen its resistance to censorship improve. In other words, a single entity will not be able to decide success or fail. No one will have the ability to alter any transaction once added to the ledger.

Moreover, the upgrade has introduced the MultiSignReserve amendment. Ripple has further streamlined the process, reducing the number of barriers for those involved in signing the transactions. The amendment will now allow just a reverse of 5 XRP, in comparison to the prior of between 15-50 XRP.

The blockchain startup has also announced a bounty program, inviting developers to review their updates in the new version. Should any vulnerabilities or errors be detected, Ripple will reward those who communicate such to them.

Users of the ledger should update to the latest version before 27th February 2019. It is critical that users complete the upgrade, as the server will not be able to determine the authenticity of the ledger. Without the upgrade, transactions will not process and cannot be submitted.

Technical Review – XRP/USD

XRP/USD daily chart.

Last week, the XRP/USD bulls managed significant double-digit gains of around 11%, breaking out of a descending wedge pattern formation. The bearish structure had contained price action since the back-end of December 2018. It was forced to drop around 30% while moving within this wedge after such a promising initial recovery started from the middle of December.

In terms of support to the downside, eyes will be on a retest of the upper part of the wedge pattern. It can be seen tracking around the high-mid $0.28000 region. A significant buying area is also in proximity, ranging from $0.3000 to $0.2500; an area that has on several occasions proven to attract decent sized buyers. Any failure of this providing necessary comfort will expose $0.2000 as the next target.

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 123 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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Stellar Price Analysis: XLM Bulls are Back as Coinsquare Acquires StellarX

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  • XLM/USD is trading up around 4% on Friday, with the bulls looking to break out of a narrowing daily range.
  • Canadian cryptocurrency exchange has acquired StellarX, a decentralised platform.

XLM: Recent Price Behaviour

Stellar’s XLM has seen a pick-up in bullish momentum in the session on Friday, having jumped around 4% at the time of writing. The price has managed to stabilize somewhat after producing all-time lows down at $0.07318000. XLM/USD had remained within an extremely stubborn trend to the south, following the bears smashing out of a pennant structure. The price had been confined since from early December 2018 up to 20th January, when the breach occurred. As a result, a fresh wave of selling pressure hit XLM, forcing the mentioned new bottom.

Coinsquare Acquire StellarX

Canadian cryptocurrency exchange Coinsquare has acquired the StellarX decentralized exchange. StellarX is a trading platform built by the developers of the Stellar blockchain. The platform was initially launched in July 2018, offering fast transitions, zero costs, and a wide range of asset classes that include crypto, fiat and commodities. XLM is used as the base currency for trading across the decentralized exchange.

The camp at StellarX detailed the announcement via Medium, specifying that they will still be pressing forward with the outlined roadmap noted back in September of last year. StellarX detailed that the reason for the acquisition is to make way for the exchange to maximize its full potential. The platform will be able to leverage the sizeable regulatory experience that Coinsquare has, with their visions to build around the platform. It is worth noting that the Canadian exchange has a network with regulators in Canada, the United States, and Europe. Additionally, Coinsquare also previously managed to secure a relationship with one of Canada’s big five banks, the Bank of Montreal.

Moreover, Coinsquare already has experience with the Stellar network; it previously acquired BlockEQ in the back-end of last year for $12 million. Moving forward, StellarX is going to be led by BlockEQ’s co-founder Megha Bambra, with the sights to continue growing and enhancing the Stellar ecosystem. BlockEQ is a private Stellar wallet which allows users to have total control of their funds via a private key. The wallet is accessible on both mobile and desktop.

Technical Review – XLM/USD

XLM/USD daily chart.

XLM/USD has managed to find its feet after resuming the downside pressure seen throughout 2018 and carried into 2019. This year the price has dropped as much as 45%, due to the crypto market-wide cooling. Should the mentioned bottom area $0.07318000 remain intact, eyes will be on a retest of the breached pennant pattern structure. The bulls must breakdown a small resistance barrier, which is the upper part of the past fifteen trading days range.

Furthermore, the lower part of the pennant is tracking at $0.11150000; a move back here would complete the breakout and retest. Lastly, if this resistance holds firm and rejection occurs, then it could very well make way for another wave of selling pressure.

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 123 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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JPMorgan Becomes the First U.S. Bank to Launch Its Own Cryptocurrency

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JPMorgan Chase & Co, America’s largest bank, is launching its own cryptocurrency. Dubbed ‘JPM Coin,’ the new cryptoasset has a fixed value tied to the U.S. dollar.

Introducing JPM Coin

JPMorgan Chase unveiled its new cryptocurrency in an official press release on Thursday. JPM Coin, which has a fixed value redeemable for one U.S. dollar, will lower the cost, risk and processing time of money transfers. The bank operates a massive wholesale payment business, with more than $6 trillion in client funds transferred each day.

The bank used the press release to clarify its position on cryptocurrency and blockchain technology: “We have always believed in the potential of blockchain technology and we are supportive of cryptocurrencies as long as they are properly controlled and regulated,” the bank said.

Over time, JPM Coin will be “extended to other major currencies,” it added.

The release date for the new stablecoin hasn’t been confirmed, but the bank said it is working with regulators to solicit feedback and approvals.

Related: Jamie Dimon May Hate Bitcoin, but J.P. Morgan Is Embracing Blockchain.

Cryptocurrency is Here to Stay

Jamie Dimon: Bitcoin’s biggest basher. | Source: Shutterstock.

JPMorgan’s entry into the cryptocurrency market is a significant departure for the bank, whose CEO has been among the most vocal critics of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Jamie Dimon, the bank’s CEO, called bitcoin a “fraud” back in 2017. He later regretted those comments and said so publicly, but reaffirmed his lack of interest in bitcoin.

Jamie Dimon Doesn’t Want to Talk About Bitcoin Anymore

While Jamie Dimon was bashing bitcoin, competitors like Morgan Stanley were quietly clearing bitcoin futures contracts for clients. The market for bitcoin futures has picked up steadily since CBOE and CME Group first launched their respective contracts back in December 2017. In just a few months from now, Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) will launch its very own bitcoin futures contract with physical delivery of the cryptocurrency. Nasdaq is also planning to launch its own crypto derivatives market focused on bitcoin.

Meanwhile, global asset manager Fidelity Investments is investing in a cryptocurrency exchange and launching a new custody service for bitcoin investors. The firm is already working with a “select set of eligible clients” and is planning further expansion of crypto custody solution in the next several months. Custody solutions involve a third party holding onto securities to eliminate the risk of loss or theft. This service provides a more reliable mechanism for trading and storing bitcoin.

Read more: Bitcoin Stabilizes as Fidelity Sets Launch Date for New Crypto Custody Service.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is also said to be working on a range of crypto service offerings, including a bitcoin trading desk. However, the investment bank has put its plans on hold due to complex regulatory processes.

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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4.7 stars on average, based on 770 rated postsChief Editor to Hacked.com and Contributor to CCN.com, Sam Bourgi has spent the past nine years focused on economics, markets and cryptocurrencies. His work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Avid crypto watchers and those with a libertarian persuasion can follow him on twitter at @hsbourgi




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