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XRP Price Plunges Again; Down 93% from Record High 

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Ripple’s XRP fell on Tuesday to its lowest level of the year, highlighting collective panic in the cryptocurrency market following last week’s non-decision by the SEC concerning a highly touted bitcoin ETF. Although XRP’s losses aren’t unique, the so-called banker’s cryptocurrency is among the biggest losers in the top-ten.

XRP/USD Price Update

The XRP price fell 13.4% on Tuesday to a new yearly low of $0.262, according to CoinMarketCap. The decline puts XRP back 36% over the past seven days and a whopping 93% from its record high of $3.75.

At present values, XRP has a total market capitalization of $10.3 billion. Bitcoin cash, the fourth largest cryptocurrency by market cap, now trails XRP by less than $2 billion.

XRP’s 24-hour trade volumes amounted to $304 million, with Bitbank processing nearly one-fifth of the turnover.

Market Searches for Direction

As Hacked previously reported, the recent selloff began last Tuesday when the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) delayed a ruling on a keenly awaited bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF). From there, the market meltdown intensified amid signs that initial coin offerings (ICOs) are cashing out. Ethereum, whose protocol is responsible for at least three-quarters of ICOs, has declined to 14-month lows as a result.

With respect to ICO liquidation, Matthew Newton of eToro summed up the situation:

“The crypto market seems to have hit panic mode, with prices falling significantly across the board. As we can see in the case of ethereum, investors seem to be increasing liquidations of their ICO holdings, with significant drops in price and increased volumes.”

XRP’s fate, at least in the short-term, is tied to these broader market forces.

Ripple’s Regulatory Scrutiny

Unlike some of its well-known peers, XRP has faced growing scrutiny from regulators over its potential security status – so much so that Ripple Labs appears to have hired a PR company to remove the term “Ripple XRP” from online sources.

Ripple Labs has made it clear that the San Francisco-based company is not synonymous with the XRP currency, and that ownership of XRP does not give investors a stake in Ripple Labs. This is consistent with Hacked’s previous reporting on the matter, which showed the vast majority of Ripple’s business partners have not adopted XRP. In other words, banks and clearing companies have experimented with Ripple’s technology without adopting XRP as a base or quote currency.

On Aug. 11, a California district court dismissed a remand request related to a lawsuit against Ripple Labs by an investor seeking damages over alleged price manipulation. Plaintiff Ryan Coffey, a former XRP investor, sought to keep the case in the state’s lower courts rather than have the final verdict decided by a Federal judge.

The court issued the following statement:

“Having read the papers filed by the parties and carefully considered their arguments and the relevant legal authority, and good cause appearing, the court hereby DENIES plaintiff’s motion.”

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 601 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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Stellar Acquires Blockchain Startup Chain to form Interstellar

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The commercial arm of the Stellar Development Corporation has acquired a promising blockchain startup by the name of Chain, paving the way for possibly higher enterprise adoption of distributed ledger technology. The deal adds to Stellar’s credibility as one of the world’s leading blockchain companies.

Chain Acquired

Chain, a San Francisco-based startup pursuing enterprise grade adoption of blockchain technology in finance, has sold to Lightyear in an undisclosed cash agreement. Lightyear, the subsidiary of the Stellar Development Corporation, will be re-named Interstellar, according to official reports. Jed McCaleb, Stellar’s founder, will be the chief technology officer of the newly formed company, which he said should help companies build on the Stellar network. He adds:

“Chain’s team has led the market for enterprise adoption of blockchain technology, which is a critical component of building a future where money and digital assets move over open protocols.”

Interstellar’s new CEO Adam Ludwin explained how the newly merged company will work together:

“Chain has worked from inside the enterprise while Stellar has focused on the network between organizations. As a single team we will have a complete view and set of capabilities to make value-over-IP a reality.”

Chain is said to be a leader in the world of fin-tech, having built enterprise-grade blockchain solutions for Visa, Citigroup and Nasdaq, among others. With the merger, Interstellar will have access to Sequence, Chain’s powerful cloud solution that enables companies to monitor assets moving between private ledgers and the Stellar network.

Previously, Chain had raised more than $43 million across multiple deals. Financiers included Capital One, Citigroup, Pantera Capital and Blockchain Capital.

XLM Price Update

Although the merger between Chain and Lightyear has not had a demonstrably positive effect on XLM’s price, the cryptocurrency continues to outperform leading assets such as Ethereum and bitcoin cash. The XLM price was down 4.4% on Tuesday but has gained 3.2% over the past seven days. By comparison, bitcoin has declined nearly 1% over that period while Cardano has lost more than 10%. Ethereum is trading in positive territory over seven days as prices recovered from 16-month lows.

XLM, which is currently valued at $0.197, has declined roughly 12% over the past month. At current values, it has a market capitalization of $3.7 billion, placing it sixth among active cryptocurrencies. Bitbox is the most active market for XLM traders, accounting for more than 54% of daily transactions.

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 601 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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Kovri & Bulletproofs: How Monero is Improving Privacy

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Kovri Bulletproofs Monero

Monero is one of the premier privacy conscious cryptocurrencies currently on the market.

It makes use some of the most advanced technologies in cryptography and blockchain technology. These include such features as stealth addresses, transaction mixing and Ring Confidential transactions.

These have made Monero (XMR) almost untraceable. Yet, “almost” is not good enough for the Monero community as they have strived to improve the protocol in their latest updates.

These updates include the Monero Kovri I2P implementation as well as what are termed “bulletproofs”. These developments have been in the pipeline for sometime and we are starting to see them being actively rolled out.

So what are they and how are they going to make Monero even more secure?

Before we can delve into the technology, we have to take a look the current state of Monero’s privacy.

Secure, Untraceable Digital Cash

Currently, Monero is able to hide all details about a transaction. Making use of stealth addresses, they are able to hide the recipient’s and payers’ details from the rest of the network. They are also able to hide the amount that has been transacted.

Making use of Ring Confidential transaction and transaction Mixin, information about future transactions is also hidden from the original sender of these funds.

Therefore, a Monero transaction is probably the closest you will get to making a payment with untraceable bank notes.

Monero USPs. Image source: Monero.

However, there are two outstanding quirks that the Monero community was not 100% comfortable with.

The first related to the potential of user IP address leaks and the other revolved around the inefficiencies of current Monero “Range proofs”.

Kovri and IP Anonymization

As mentioned, Monero is almost completely private. However, there was always a question that remained around the IP addresses of those who interacted with the Monero network.

When you initiate a transaction on the Monero blockchain, your IP address is being exposed to the network. If there was a malicious actor, they could observe this event and log your IP address. This could create the potential for meta data analysis by large and determined adversaries.

While this is a really difficult attack to complete, it is still a concern for some.

This is the reason that the community has been excited about the release of Kovri and its potential to encrypt and route transactions through I2P (Invisible Internet Protocol) nodes. Technically, Kovri will make use of “Garlic encryption” and “Garlic routing”

We won’t go into more detail about Garlic routing but one can think of it as a more secure version of the Onion routing. Onion routing is the current networking implementation that is on use in the TOR network.

By using this routing protocol, your connection to the Monero network is masked and your IP address cannot be identified. According to the Kovri lead developer, Anonimal, the Kovri protocol will:

“Essentially, we will be able to anonymise monero transactions even more than what monero is capable of doing right now, technically speaking, at the network layer”

Kovri is currently in alpha release stage and there is still a great deal of testing that needs to be done. There are currently 48 contributors who are working on it and the project still has a healthy chunk of funding to move the project forward.

BulletProofs and Lower Fees

While Monero transactions are completely private, they are relatively inefficient. This basically comes down to the nature of Monero’s “range proofs”.

Range proofs basically allow anyone to verify that a particular commitment represents an amount within a particular range without revealing anything else. These are needed in order ensure that transaction input and output amounts are positive.

This may sound like a mouthful, but all you need to know is that these range proofs are essential components for the private transaction.

However, the current range proofs on the Monero network are inefficient as they make up the bulk of the size of the transaction. This means that a great deal of mining resources goes towards verifying these range proofs and increases the cost of these transactions.

This is where BulletProofs come in.

Despite the catchy name, BulletProofs are the ideal solution to the Monero range proof problem. They scale in size differently to Monero’s current proofs and as a result, save space as transactions inputs and outputs increase.

A full explanation of Bulletproofs is beyond the scope of this article but if you wanted to flex your intellectual muscles you could read the paper on it by Bünz, Bootle et al.

The most important takeaway from the bulletproofs is the space that it saves in Monero transactions. For example, a simple Monero transaction that has two outputs is about 13.2kb in size. However, with bulletproofs the transaction is only 2.5kb in size. This is a full 80% reduction in size which will translate into a commensurate reduction in fees.

Given that bulletproofs scale logarithmically, the space savings on these transactions are even more pronounced with multiple output transactions.

In short, bulletproofs is a solution that all Monero users will notice immediately.

So where in the pipeline are Monero bulletproofs?

In July, Kudelski securities completed their audit of Monero compatible bulletproofs. While there were a few minor issues, it passed audit stage and was ready for implementation on the Monero test network.

If all goes well in the testing phase, then the bulletproofs are expected to be released live on the Monero network in October.

Conclusion

Monero has proven itself to be one of the premier privacy coins on the market. The community is thriving and is comprised of some of the smartest and most privacy conscious individuals in the world.

Of course, as Monero has garnered attention from government backed entities, so too have the risks increased for vulnerabilities and deanonymization.

The Monero developers are well aware of this and are always looking for solution to improve on the Protocol.

Kovri and bulletproofs are two really important improvements that will help cement Monero’s market leading status.

We will keep a keen eye on the rollout of this technology.

Featured Image via Fotolia

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 3 rated postsNic is an ex Investment Banker and current crypto enthusiast. When he is not sitting behind six screens trading Bitcoin, he is maintaining his numerous mining rigs.




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Who Needs Liquidity? Aurora (AOA) Recovers 251% On One Exchange

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Aurora (AOA) was one of the hardest hit altcoins between August and September as AOA tokens fell 81% in value. That descent occurred over the space of just thirty-eight days, and marked a spectacular fall for a token that only launched in June.

Now that same momentum appears to have reversed with AOA gaining 251% of its value against the dollar, with all of the growth springboarding from the market-wide low of September 12th.

Incredibly, all of AOA’s trade has come from Kucoin alone – one of just two exchanges that AOA is listed on.

AOA Price Surges 251% In Four Days

From September 12th’s low of $0.008640, AOA has recorded day-on-day growth right up to today’s coin price of $0.030391.

One of the least traded coins in the top one-hundred, Aurora regularly saw average daily trades of $87,000 in the past month, particularly during the worst of August’s dip. Today that volume has climbed to above $800,000, and every penny of it has come from just one exchange, split between two trading pairs.

AOA/BTC trades account for 70% of the total, and signals the relative strength of Bitcoin to Aurora in recent times. As mentioned above, Aurora lost 81% of its value in the month leading up to September 12th. Bitcoin on the other hand gained 0.5%.

AOA/ETH trades make up the remaining 30%, which also happens to be the same percentage as Ethereum’s growth since September’s dip. The question now will be how long do the AOA holders plan to hold on for. At this point there is a strong cash-out opportunity, not only for investors who bought in four days ago, but also for those who bought in this morning.

After all, AOA spiked by close to 50% today alone. Even after the subsequent cool-off, which has commenced at time of writing, AOA is still up by 37% since this 09:00 UTC this morning.

The Power of Bounties?

The Aurora team recently opened up an EU office in Berlin, Germany, and the event was followed up with an extensive bounty program that put 10,000 AOA up for grabs.

Bounty programs like this produce an influx of articles, posts and comments on social media for the time that they run, and it’s certainly conceivable that the increased exposure could have helped boost AOA trades over the past few days.

On the other hand, this month has been like Christmas come early for bottom-pickers and bargain hunters, and AOA fell further than most throughout Q3 of 2018.

Also, in what turn out to be big news (for good or bad reasons), the Aurora twitter page recently tweeted out this enigmatic image of what looks like a smartphone, accompanied by the hashtag #Apple, and the words:

“Faster TPS is just the beginning.”

Apple? Smartphone? That would be big news indeed, but let’s just wait and see before jumping to the conclusions that a tweet like that is obviously designed to produce.

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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4.3 stars on average, based on 57 rated postsGreg Thomson is a full-time crypto writer and digital nomad. He eats ICOs for breakfast and bleeds altcoins. Wherever he lays his public key is his home.




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Hacked.com and its team members have pledged to reject any form of advertisement or sponsorships from 3rd parties. We will always be neutral and we strive towards a fully unbiased view on all topics. Whenever an author has a conflicting interest, that should be clearly stated in the post itself with a disclaimer. If you suspect that one of our team members are biased, please notify me immediately at jonas.borchgrevink(at)hacked.com.

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