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Who Killed The ICO?

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For all the hype and chatter we listened to going back to last year, initial coin offerings have suddenly gone dead.  The entire month of January 2018 raised only $52 million according to ICOWatchlist.com.  In the halcyon days this was the rate of  inflow every three days (it’s important to note that crowdfunding amounts vary, but there seems to be a general downtrend in the market from the data we were able to collect). What happened and what does it mean?  First, let’s take a look at some numbers that may bore you but help illustrate the point.

Last year produced just under $4 billion in fresh capital to fund startups. According to ICOWatchList, $1.8 billion was raised in the five months ending in October.  About 78% of the ICOs used the Ethereum platform.  This explosion helps us understand some of the energy that pushed Ethereum into the forefront of the cryptocurrency sweepstakes.  Between Halloween and mid January the price of Ether quadrupled in value hitting $1338 (Coinbase).

Investors suddenly viewed Ethereum as the poster child for ICOs.  Obviously the open source nature of its blockchain platform along with its smart contracts feature offered a natural fit for startups looking to raise capital.

The reality, of course, is the use cases for Ethereum go vastly beyond facilitating ICOs but for an investing public getting started on crypto investing, it didn’t matter.  When outsized returns are being achieved, who needs to understand the details.

ICOs Get a Bad Rap

In recent weeks a lot of bad press has been earned by certain bad actors in the ICO space.  Much has been written about the cryptocurrency startup Confido. Someone posing by the name Joost Van Doorn raises and then vanishes with about $375,000 sometime just after November 15th.   Trouble was Joost also deleted the Confido website and his presence on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Subsequently, Mr. Van Doorn resurfaced and is working to make financial amends but the media has yet to say much about this side of the story.

Some analysts of ICOs claim the incident of scamming with ICOs runs a high as 20%.  It is difficult to verify how these numbers are derived.  These and related ICO stories can not be helping instill investor confidence.  

Regulation of ICOs Would Be a Mistake

There is an argument suggesting that in order to improve the ICO marketplace, it should be regulated presumably by some authority such as the US Securities & Exchange Commission for example.

Here is why that won’t work.  The presence of ICOs have their origins in crowdfunding, that being the outgrowth of The Jobs Act passed during post financial crisis by the Obama Administration.  The whole purpose was to create pathways for unregulated capital raising by young companies.  To date ICOs have evolved into the most efficient way to accomplish the goals of The Jobs Act.  

One of the most compelling arguments in favor of ICOs is their ability to circumvent the jaws of venture capitalists.  In a typical arrangement for a young company to raise money a VC might demand a 50% equity stake and a lengthy 5-7 year lock up in exchange for providing just the first few million in capital.  By the end of the lock up, the company may have many more millions in capital but the founders are left with just a sliver of equity.

Last year three companies: Tazos, Filecoin and Finney went the ICO route raising a total of nearly $600 million without giving up equity.  This represents democracy in the capital market and that is a good thing.

Misconception About Size of Offerings

One of the biggest misconceptions about ICOs relates to the perception that they are all  tiny little startup companies that have little more than a whitepaper and a wish for fast cash. Reality is there were thousands of ICOs that were attempted last year but few went very far.

ICO Watchlist data covers about half of all capital raised last year: about $2.3 billion. The average ICO raised nearly $40 million and that is required some greater substance that a whitepaper and a wish.  Granted that the data is bias toward larger sized offerings but that does not reduce the importance that ICOs are playing in the capital formation process.   

Institutional Investment Opportunity

Rather than tighter regulation of ICO, there should be tighter research on the buy side.  For the individual investor this could present a problem.  How much research can one person do if 20 or more ICO come to market in a short period like a single month.  This is where Venture Capital and hedge funds with their well staffed analytical departments have the edge: 2018 could be the year it happens.  

Here is the key point for institutions everywhere.  Global stock markets are clearly overvalued based on interest rates.  The shaken US market is confirming this fact.  This raises the question of relative risk.  Is there greater risk in global equity markets than in cryptocurrencies?  The answer appears to be yes and that will increasingly favor cryptocurrencies.  

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 115 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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2 Comments

  1. scottolson

    February 11, 2018 at 3:52 am

    I disagree that’s disinformation on earth, The total amount of the 2018’s ICO that presented on the icowatchlist.com you have mentioned doesn’t show the real numbers, take a glance on how many ICO they has listed on their site, what? only 3 for 2018, buut Apart those ICO’S on the site I has passed at least thro 10 ICO with 20 000 000 $ or even more fund raised, so why do you misinform us about the real digits? There are too much ICO has ended in less than 10 minuts with 10 mill market cap or more(about 120 I could recall)….

    • Sam Bourgi

      February 11, 2018 at 5:38 am

      Hey Scott, I recently wrote an article showing over $1 billion was raised in January based on figures generated by ICOData.io. I double checked the ICO Watchlist numbers and they were as James mentioned. I figure there’s a lot of discrepancy in how the numbers are reported. I still think James provides some unique insights into the direction of the market.

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Cryptocurrencies

Can EOS Overcome the Bear Market?

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Since concluding its year-long crowdsale, EOS has quickly emerged as one of the world’s leading cryptocurrencies. This was highlighted not only by its rapid growth during the bear market, but by its ability to attract hundreds of developers and enterprises to its protocol. As the bear market drags on, there are several compelling reasons why EOS could have staying power in an industry facing constant pressure and change. (Note: the author has no investment stake in EOS or its parent company, Block.one).

EOS: A Look at the Benefits

Block.one, the company behind EOS, recently published four reasons why developers are migrating to the EOSIO protocol. They include scalability (15-20 transactions per second), speed (very low latency compared to other blockchains), practically zero fees (eliminates the need for transaction costs) and environmental sustainability (66,000 times more efficient than bitcoin).

Against this backdrop, there are at least 260 projects being built on top of the EOS platform, a strong sign that the Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS) model was appealing to a wider range of developers. Although the company didn’t elaborate on the types of projects being deployed, the general view among industry is that EOS allows users with very little technical background to leverage blockchain technology.

At the same time, EOS’ strong development capacity has been well documented by industry observers and even government entities. A widely consumed blockchain index developed by the Chinese government has routinely ranked EOS as the world’s top cryptocurrency based on technology, application and innovation. As of December, EOS had once again dominated the ranking with a total index score that was nearly 20 points higher than Ethereum, the second-best cryptocurrency based on the same value metrics.

EOS was designed with scalability in mind. As such, it is a direct competitor to Ethereum, whose shaky position may have pushed developers toward EOS and other protocols. In fact, decentralized application volumes on Tron and EOS have already overtaken Ethereum by a considerable margin. (The author would argue that EOS has a much stronger value proposition than Tron for reasons too numerous to name here.) According to Dapp Radar, the largest Ethereum dapp by volume is ranked 37th, with EOS and Tron accounting for the first 36 spots.

The EOS blockchain is also well funded, with the network paying for development through a maximum 5% inflation. A portion of that is earmarked for block producers but token holders get to decide on how the rest is allocated. Options include burning tokens to reduce overall inflation or allocating funds to pay for popular projects.

A Look at the Risks

While no blockchain project is without risk, EOS faces several unique challenges that have been well documented by the cryptocurrency community. Concerns about voting cartels, block-producer incentives and even regulatory scrutiny have weighed heavily on investor sentiment. Those fears have been exacerbated by the second-longest bear market in crypto history.

EOS creator Dan Larimer has more or less admitted that he botched the protocol’s constitution by giving the network arbitrator too much power. In proposing a new constitution last summer, Larimer said, “I have learned a lot about human nature by watching the disputes, the witch hunts, the ‘bring everything before the ECAF mindset.” ECAF is the EOS Core Arbitration Forum.

The platform recently launched the EOSGO referendum tool, which some analysts speculate may result in constitutional changes. In the meantime, a group of EOS developers have already joined hands to create a new alliance for collaborative decision making. According to the official EOS Alliance website, the group “will be held accountable to the community under the EOS Constitution.”

Read: Spiral of Bad Incentives: EOS Block Producers No Longer In Profit.

EOS has also faced controversy over allegations of irregular block producer voting, which critics say undermine the network’s “free and democratic election process.” Evidence purporting to show voter collusion involving Huobi, a Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange, and other block producers surfaced last fall, forcing Block.one to take decisive measures to end the so-called voting cartel.

Then there’s the issue of EOS’ original funding mechanism, which managed to raise $4 billion in a highly irregular, year-long crowdsale. EOS may have skirted federal scrutiny during its token sale, but that could change if the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chooses to re-evaluate the ICO. That’s the view of Charles Hoskinson, founder of Cardano.

Speaking at a press conference in Edinburgh, Scotland in November, Hoskinson predicted that the SEC will bring punitive measures against Block.One for its “egregious” token sale.

Market Update

EOS has not been immune to the bear market inflicting all cryptocurrencies. Despite demonstrating inverse trading patterns during the early stage of the bear market – namely, after the cryptocurrency was launched – EOS has more or less traded in the general direction of its peers.

The EOS price has declined nearly 50% since mid-November. The total cryptocurrency market cap has declined by roughly the same over that period.

At the time of writing, EOS/USD was valued at $2.43, having gained 3.3% compared with Tuesday. At current prices, EOS has a total market cap of $2.2 billion, placing it fourth among active blockchain projects.

Daily trade volumes amounted to $666 million, which is fairly consistent over the past week. Bibox is the largest market for EOS, with trades against Ethereum accounting for 12% of total market volumes.

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 743 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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Altcoins

Dash Price Analysis: DASH/USDT Downside Risks Linger Despite Trust Wallet Support Announcement

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  • DASH/USDT price action is moving within a narrowing range formation, subject to further downside risks.
  • Trust Wallet, Binance-owed crypto wallet provider, announces support of DASH.

Price Behavior

DASH/USDT has been trading within a $6 range for the tenth session in a row, at the time of writing. The upper part of this range should be noted at $73. Looking to the downside, the lower support of the formation is seen at $67. The price, like many of its peers within the cryptocurrency market, is stuck within a narrowing range block. They are all currently demonstrating strong downside vulnerabilities, given the current behaviour.

This trading range came after a steep fall in the market last Thursday, 10th January. Double-digit losses were seen across the board after moving within a prior narrowing range formation. DASH/USDT had a strong run from 15th – 24th December, gaining as much as 81% within that time frame. Following the high print towards the latter part of that period, at $102.50, price cooling was seen and then begun to trade sideways.

Between 26th December 2018 – 9th January 2019, DASH/USDT was moving between a narrow $86 at the high and $73 at the low. This led to the explosive breakout to the downside, where the price dropped around 20% on 10th January.

Trust Wallet Supports Dash (DASH)

Trust Wallet, a mobile crypto wallet owned by Binance, announced earlier this week that it has added support for Dash. The announcement followed after just a week ago, when the wallet provider revealed the support of Litecoin (LTC), Bitcoin (BTC), and Bitcoin Cash (BCH). In addition, the app also supports Ethereum (ETH), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Tron (TRX) and others.

The team at Trust Wallet, upon their DASH support update, also left users somewhat excited about further announcements lined up. They stated, “Going forward, we will monitor the performance and stability of our Dash release very closely, and if everything works well, hopefully, we can surprise you with more new coins in the coming weeks!”

Technical Review – DASH/USDT

DASH/USDT daily chart.

A breakout of the key mentioned levels that make up either side of the range, $72 and $67, will likely determine the next committed trend. Firstly, in terms of the next major area of support south, eyes will be on the December low area, $58. To the north, drop supply remains heading into and just above the psychological $100 mark.

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 112 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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Bitcoin

Bitcoin’s Year of Accumulation

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Although bitcoin looks poised to extend its January losing streak to five consecutive years, 2019 will be a year of slow accumulation for the virtual currency, according to Eric Thies, a well-known technical analyst. In the meantime, traders can expect the bear market to reach its climax once a new yearly bottom is breached.

Accumulation Year

In promoting the view that 2019 will be an accumulation year for bitcoin, Thies directed our attention to the major bear trend that emerged in 2015. That was the year bitcoin exhibited significant volatility, albeit in a lower range. Following the latest breakdown in price, bitcoin could be in for a similar trading pattern this year.

“Similar to 2015, 2019 may be the year of accumulation,” Thies said, according to CCN. This means bitcoin is likely to be an attractive investment in $2,000-$4,000 range – even with wild swings priced in.

Bitcoin’s volatility regime has changed dramatically in the last two months. Following a period of unprecedented calm, volatility surged to nine-month highs in the back end of December. Volatility will likely remain a factor for the foreseeable future as the technical tug-of-war continues. More on this: Bitcoin Maintains Narrow Trading Range as Recovery Faces More Resistance.

Circulation Grows

That bitcoin will remain highly volatile is supported by the recent influx of digital currency into circulation. Anonymous owners of dormant bitcoin wallets have been trading with greater frequency since October, which means their activity may have predated the November price collapse.

Data from Flipside Crypto recently showed that long-dormant bitcoin wallets have accounted for about 60% of the market’s circulating supply in the last 30 days alone. What’s more, active bitcoin supply has increased by a whopping 40% since the summer. This, of course, feeds into higher expected volatility.

If that’s not enough, consider that 1,000 addresses hold 85% of available bitcoin. As Bloomberg recently noted, many of these holders remained on the sidelines during the 2017 bull run and its subsequent collapse. If dormant accounts are becoming active again, there’s good reason to suggest that the whales are looking to re-enter the market.

Not Overnight

It’s reasonable to expect that bitcoin will become more attractive at lower prices, especially as more institutional investors access the crypto market in the coming year. But that doesn’t mean the accumulation will happen overnight. Previous bear cycles have taught us that downtrends can stretch for 1-2 years before any noticeable accumulation takes place. The only difference this time is there are more people involved, and more eyeballs on the price.

Additional reading: Crypto Winter and the Fed?

To demonstrate bitcoin’s potential at current levels, and why 2019 will be an attractive year to boost one’s holdings, it’s worthwhile to reflect on the cryptocurrency’s yearly lows rather than its highs. Below is a quick snapshot of bitcoin’s yearly bottoms stretching all the way back to 2012:

  • 2012: $4
  • 2013: $65
  • 2014: $200
  • 2015: $185
  • 2016: $365
  • 2017: $780
  • 2018: $3,200

Traders tend to focus on bitcoin’s lack of new all-time highs as evidence that the market is going nowhere, but these figures clearly show that BTC is a solid investment at almost any period in the last seven years (of course, this isn’t the case if you bought during the peak of 2018).

Make no mistake: technical analysis and market sentiment clearly show there is more pain ahead for bitcoin and the broader cryptocurrency market. But as the long-term value proposition continues to hold, there’s strong reason to believe we haven’t seen the last bull market. In the meantime, 2019 prices could represent a unique buying opportunity for those who missed the boat two years ago.

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 743 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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