LunarCrush Poll Shows That Users Want Crypto to Replace Banks

A survey by LunarCrush has revealed that many users are willing to trade their bank accounts for crypto. The survey asked users whether crypto could replace their bank account. The majority was a yes, with 74.71% open to that idea in 24 hours. 

Crypto Enthusiasts Dominated LunarCrush Poll

However, the platform didn’t provide any extra details about the poll, especially in terms of how many people voted. So, it’s hard to tell how representative this poll is of the overall population. Also, the fact that most of the respondents to the poll are crypto enthusiasts means that the results will reflect support for crypto.

Regardless, the polls show the growing interest in Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other digital assets. In a BlockFi survey last year, crypto was a popular gift idea for several Americans, especially the millennials.

In recent years, the crypto industry, especially the DeFi sector, has positioned itself as an alternative for traditional financial institutions.

By offering similar products as traditional institutions but with higher returns, many people have embraced it. The general belief is that they can get better services through this space.

Risks Associated With Crypto Puts Many Away

While this is true to an extent, traditional financial institutions still represent the best option for many people. Beyond the volatility of these assets, the associated security risks discourage many people. 

In 2021, over $14 billion worth of crypto assets were lost to crypto crimes. The DeFi sector accounted for a major part of these losses.

The trend has continued into the new year, with crypto hacks already resulting in millions in losses. For instance, around $15 million worth of assets were stolen from the Crypto.com exchange, but the firm has denied this vehemently.

Though these security issues discourage some investors, it hasn’t stopped others. A number of traditional financial institutions are already entering the crypto industry as regulations permit. 

The DeFi platform, Aave, recently launched Aave Arc, a permissioned DeFi platform for financial institutions. Several regulated and licensed financial institutions have already signed on to it, including Switzerland-based Seba Bank. Thus, a future where crypto and bank coexist is very much possible.

Miami and New York City Progress in Raising Funds through CityCoins

Earlier this year, the Mayors of Miami and New York City were in the crypto news. Miami City Mayor Suarez confirmed that he will receive a Bitcoin (BTC) salary.

In the first week of the year, New York City Mayor Adams also confirmed that he will take his first 3 pay checks in BTC. Both mayors had talked of crypto salaries during their respectively election campaigns.

Miami City to Pay BTC to Local Residents

Late last year, Miami City Mayor Suarez had already been in the crypto news, however. Bitcoin advocate Suarez announced an initiative to pay BTC to locals who create a digital wallets.

In June 2021, the City of Miami had launched its very own MiamiCoin (MIA), which became the first CityCoins to market.

CityCoins provides citizens a medium to generate crypto-based revenue. Powered by Stacks (STX), CityCoins enables smart contracts on the Bitcoin network. While most crypto protocols are a single token system, the CityCoins protocol allows for a multiple token systems. This feature allows users to generate tokens for each  individual city.

CityCoin miners receive CityCoins token rewards by depositing STX into smart contracts. 70% of all STX tokens deposited into the smart contract go to the stackers. The remaining 30% goes to City Wallets. City Wallets are considered a crypto equivalent of a city’s treasury. Mayors can exchange the accrued tokens for fiat to invest into the city. Alternatively, mayors can mine with the accrued STX tokens to earn Bitcoin.

MiamiCoin Market Cap hits $25m, with NewYorkCityCoin Hitting $30m

At the time of writing, MiamiCoin was ranked #4,002 on CoinMarketCap, with a market cap of $24.15m. For the City of Miami and its residents, as the value of MiamiCoin rises, the number of miners increases. The result is an increase in STX blocks, which leads to a larger crypto treasury chest for the city. Coin holders are then also rewarded Bitcoin.

In a nutshell, it is up to the people with vested interest in the City of Miami to mine. This then leads to a larger treasury chest to invest into the city.

Miami is not alone, however, with NewYork Coin (NYC Coin) also in circulation.

With regulatory activity on the rise at the turn of the year, CityCoins could have  a tough road ahead. Environmental concerns around Bitcoin could be a stumbling block. A number of governments have raised concerns over the impact of Bitcoin mining on the environment. China banned Bitcoin mining last summer as it looks to be carbon neutral by 2060.

Philippines’ UnionBank Opts Metaco and IBM for Crypto Safekeeping

The Union Bank of the Philippines, a pro-crypto bank, has chosen Metaco and IBM to provide orchestration for cryptocurrency storage solutions. Announced Thursday, Union Bank will deploy crypto management services on IBM Cloud.

“It’s a way to future-proof our banking business,” Cathy Casas, head of the bank’s blockchain, said in an interview with Bloomberg.

The bank will use Metaco’s Harmonize service, a crypto orchestration system. By doing so, UnionBank can improve the insurability of assets with certified physical controls for managing and migrating keys.

“We have the passion for meaningful and sustainable reinvention. We value our strategic partners, like Metaco, and collaborate with them in an alliance that is meaningful in pursuit of a common vision,”

UnionBank Senior Executive Vice President Henry Aguda said in the release.

The partnership with UnionBank follows Metaco’s recent opening of Asia Pacific headquarters in Singapore.

Pro-Crypto Moves

The UnionBank debuted its crypto custody services in August 2021, stating that the bank is in “full compliance” with the central bank of the Philippines, in offering this service.

The bank has been exploring crypto-friendly options ever since it installed the first two-way bitcoin ATM, at its main bank branch in early 2019, mainly to address remittance service demand.

The UnionBank has even issued its own stablecoin – PHX – pegged to the Philipino peso and backed by UnionBank reserves. PHX is similar to the US dollar-pegged Tether or USDT.

The stablecoin is available to all UnionBank account holders and can be purchased through debits to account holders.

Crypto Custody Services vs. Wallets

Put simply, custody services are safekeeping solutions for cryptocurrencies. On the other hand, wallets, though hot and cold wallets address safety concerns, are third parties offering storage and safety for digital tokens.

Importantly, crypto custody services are primarily intended for institutional investors and for those who hold large amounts of Bitcoin or Ethereum or other digital assets. But wallets are for all crypto buyers, sellers, traders and investors.

Having said, Metaco services enable institutions to manage not only crypto custody and trading, but also smart contract management and decentralized finance (DeFi). Some of Metaco’s crypto custody clients include Swiss banks BBVA and GazpromBank.

“[Clients] can leverage the existing stack, existing run capabilities to manage Metaco vaults directly from existing infrastructure. And we have a number of other similar deals in the pipeline, leveraging our combined capabilities,”

Seamus Donoghue, Metaco’s VP of business development said in a CoinDesk interview.

Polygon (MATIC) Is At Risk Of Trend Reversal

MATIC is trying to rebound after the recent pullback, but the technical picture looks dangerous despite recent positive developments on the fundamental front.

MATIC Failed To Move HigherDespite Positive Catalysts

On January 18, EIP-1559 upgrade went live on the Polygon network. The network has also attracted almost 500,000 daily active users, and its popularity continued to grow.

However, these positive catalysts failed to provide enough support to MATIC as crypto markets found themselves under pressure due to rising Treasury yields.

The world’s leading cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, has been recently stuck in the $41,000 – $44,000 range, and smaller cryptos kept moving lower, pushing the world’s total crypto market cap below the psychologically important $2 trillion level.

Classic Head And Shoulders Pattern On The Chart

matic january 20 2022

On the daily chart, we can see that MATIC has developed a classic head and shoulders pattern. This pattern occurs when a financial instrument has three local peaks, and the second one is the highest.

Here, we can see that “shoulders” have occurred at roughly the same levels, so it is very easy to recognize the pattern. The head and shoulders pattern indicates that there is a growing risk of a trend reversal.

In case MATIC manages to settle below the nearest support level at $2.00, it will head towards the next support which is located near recent lows at $1.90. A successful test of this support level will open the way to the test of the support at $1.83.

On the upside, the nearest resistance level for MATIC is located at $2.15. A move above this level will push MATIC towards the resistance at the 50 EMA near $2.20. A successful test of the resistance at the 50 EMA will open the way to the test of the next resistance level at the 20 EMA near $2.24.

From a big picture point of view, MATIC needs to get to the test of the recent highs near $2.45 to destroy the head and shoulders pattern and have a chance to gain additional upside momentum that could push it back to December 2021 highs.

Millions in Cryptocurrency Stolen by Criminals Attacking Individual Investors

In the growing industry of a new form of finance, we also see growth in all other aspects related to it. One such is cybercrime, and the crypto market is taking a severe hit from it.

The New Wave of Cybercrime

In a report from Chainalysis, these crypto-criminals developed methods of hacking came to light. Now hacks and attacks on exchanges and DeFi protocols are known and usually since they have a significant social media presence, they tend to be noticed and fixed sooner or later.

However, there are some who manage to escape thanks to the unconventional methods of hacking. Using methods like Cryptojacking, Clipping, etc. these criminals can target smaller traders or holders and steal little amounts of money.

Multiply this method to thousands or millions of people and you get stolen funds running up to millions of dollars.

The most widely used method is Cryptojacking and it amounts to up to 73% of the total steal by hackers.

Cryptojacking accounts for the most funds received by hackers | Source: Chainalysis

However, instead of directly stealing money from them, they steal computing power from their victims. Using it they illicitly mine cryptocurrencies like Zcash and Ethereum but the most mined altcoin is Monero. 

According to Chainalysis, the reason why it’s more difficult to identify these Cryptojackers is that,


“Since funds are moving directly from the mempool to mining addresses unknown to us, rather than from the victim’s wallet to a new wallet, it’s more difficult to passively collect data on cryptojacking activity”

Furthermore, most of these illicitly mined cryptocurrencies are sent to different platforms from where they are liquidated for money. In 2021 about 54% of the funds were sent to exchanges, And another 20% of them were deposited into DeFi protocols.

Most of the funds are sent to Exchanges | Source: Chainalysis

Additionally, Illicit services also received a significant 15% of the stolen funds which is related mostly to the darknet markets which is a major money-laundering avenue for malware operators.

Another successful Clipper, Hackboss, managed to drain over $560k from crypto holders by essentially “inserting its own addresses into the clipboard when victims attempt to copy and paste another address to carry out a cryptocurrency transaction”, stated Chainalysis.

Would This Continue Going Forward?

There is a very high chance that such crypto-attacks would further flare-up in the future given the immense growth the crypto market is witnessing.

Throughout 2021, the total market cap of the entire crypto market shot up by 201.97% amassing more than $1.505 trillion. Thus, such growth serves as a lucrative opportunity for cybercriminals.

The growth of the crypto market last year

Secret (SCRT) Draws in Big Investors, Raising $400m to Support Big Goals

While it’s been a bearish start to the year for Bitcoin (BTC) and the broader market, Secret (SCRT) has been on the move.

Having fallen back from a November high $11.08 to sub-$4.00 levels late last year, Secret has found strong support.

For the current month, Secret was up by 78% to a Wednesday closing $9.06. Earlier in the month, Secret had struck a new ATH $11.25 before easing back.

Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction NFTs and Privacy Key Drivers

At the turn of the year, there’s been no shortage of favorable news to support Secret’s current breakout.

Early this year, news hit the wires of Pulp Fiction’s Tarantino going ahead with the sale of 7 Pulp Fiction NFTs. The sale of the 7 NFTs, called “Secret NFTs” started on Monday and ends on 31st January.

The Secret’s NFT launch will have two components. Uncut scenes from the movie and secret content, only accessible by the buyer. A key attribute of the Secret (SCRT) is that users can build and use applications “that are both permissionless and privacy-preserving”. Secret (SCRT) therefore protects users and also secures applications. The goal is to allow users to control how their data is used and viewed.

With regulatory scrutiny also on the rise, Secret’s platform attributes are likely to provide strong demand in the year ahead.

Such has been investor interest that SCRT is currently ranked #79 on CoinMarketCap, with a market cap of $1,352m and a Total Value Locked (TVL) of $65.95m. Secret had only just entered the top 100 at the start of the year.

Secret Network Announces $400m in Ecosystem Funding

With SCRT having hit an ATH this month and bucking the trend across the broader crypto market, Secret Network delivered more good news this week.

Overnight, Secret Network announced $400m in ecosystem funding, with some big names loosening their purse strings. Marquee investors included HashKey, DeFinance Capital, CoinFund, and Alameda Research among others.

As part of the announcement, Secret revealed “a new $225m ecosystem fund targeted at expanding Secret Network’s application layer (NFTs and DeFi), network infrastructure, and tooling”. In addition, Secret announced a $175m accelerator pool. Funded in SCRT, the pool is there to “provide non-dilutive capital, grants, and ecosystem incentives to rapidly expand user adoption”.

Secret’s targets for the first half of this year include launching hundreds of new apps as well as the on-boarding hundreds of thousands of new users.

Secret (SCRT) Price Action

At the time of writing, down by 0.63% to $9.003. A move back through to $10.00 levels would give SCRT a run at 14th January’s $11.25 ATH. With the broader crypto market under pressure, we can expect plenty of resistance at $10.00, however. The day’s first major resistance level sits at $9.85.

A fall back to sub-$9.00 levels would bring this week’s low $8.37 into play before any recovery. The day’s first major support level sits at $8.32.

Bitcoin (BTC) Mining Comes under EU Scrutiny

It’s been a bearish turn of the year for Bitcoin (BTC) and the broader crypto market. Back in November, Bitcoin had struck a new ATH $68,979 before hitting reverse. An extended sell-off saw Bitcoin visit sub-$40,000 levels at the start of the year. Bitcoin had last visited sub-$40,000 back in September.

Regulatory Focus on Cryptos Intensifies

Market sentiment towards FED monetary policy has certainly contributed to the reversal. Regulatory chatter and activity have also been crypto market negative at the turn of the year, however.

Late last year, the Bank of England raised concerns over the crypto market and financial stability. The BoE also called for a global crypto regulatory framework. Earlier this year, the IMF raised similar concerns. Just this week, India’s Prime Minister Modi also called for a unified approach to cryptos at DAVOS 2022.

With cryptos back in focus, crypto mining has also drawn plenty of attention in recent weeks. Last summer, China banned Bitcoin mining as part of its goal to be carbon neutral by 2060. As a result of the ban, Bitcoin miners relocated to other crypto mining friendly nations that included the U.S and Kazakhstan.

According to Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, the U.S accounted for 35.4% of the global hashrate in August 2021. Before China’s ban on Bitcoin mining, the U.S had accounted for just 16.8% of global mining back in April 2021.

With the U.S having a goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2050, Bitcoin mining has come under scrutiny. Later today, a U.S Congress subcommittee hearing will look into cryptocurrencies, with mining likely to be a key area of focus.

EU Takes Aim at Crypto Miners

This week, world leaders are attending virtual DAVOS 2022. Among the top 10 global risks over the next 10-years are climate action failure, extreme weather, human environmental damage, and natural resource crisis.

Environmental activists and governments could argue that cryptos and crypto mining could contribute to all of these and possible more.

With plenty of focus on mining, the EU has also stepped forward, calling for a ban of Proof-of-Work (PoW) mining.

News hit the wires overnight of European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) vice-chair Erik Thedeen calling for the ban on PoW mining. The vice-chair reportedly spoke of the significant risks that PoW mining poses to the environment. He reportedly added that EU regulators should encourage the Proof-of-Stake protocol as it has “a significantly lower energy profile”.

Both Bitcoin and Ethereum (ETH) are currently PoW networks, though Ethereum 2.0 will be a shift to a PoS protocol.

With no reported plans of Bitcoin moving to a PoS protocol, the chatter on Bitcoin mining and the environment will likely intensify. Whether pressure from regulators forces a change to a PoS protocol remains to be seen. Many may argue, however, that this would be another example of influence from centralized power.

Bitcoin (BTC) and the Broader Market Follows the U.S Equities into the Red

It was a bearish day for Bitcoin (BTC) and the broader crypto market on Wednesday.

Bitcoin fell by 1.65% to end the day at $41,676, with resistance at $42,500 pegging Bitcoin back on the day.

Elsewhere, Litecoin (LTC) slid by 3.77%, with Ethereum (ETH) ending the day down by 2.39%. Cardano (ADA) was amongst the biggest losers on the day, however, sliding by 8.29%.

Cryptos and Interconnectedness with the U.S Equity Markets

Movement across the crypto market was once more aligned with the U.S equity markets mid-week. Market angst over inflation and FED monetary policy continued to weigh on riskier assets.

The NASDAQ followed Tuesday’s 2.60% tumble with a 1.15% slide. Things were not much better for the Dow and the S&P500, which saw losses of 0.96% and 0.97% respectively.

For regulators and IMF, the recent trends have been a source of concern. Earlier this year, the IMF had raised concerns over the interconnectedness of the crypto and U.S equity markets. The IMF’s concerns were aligned with those of the Bank of England. Late last year, the BoE had called for a global economic framework to address risks to financial stability.

For the crypto market, increased regulatory chatter and activity has contributed to the bearish start to the year. Market sentiment towards FED monetary policy, which has weighed heavily on the NASDAQ, has also been key.

In spite of the bearish moves, the Bitcoin Fear & Greed Index has avoided a fall back to a current month low 10/100. At the time of writing, the Bitcoin Fear & Greed Index sat at 24/100. We’ve seen the index hover at current levels for a number of days. Regulatory chatter and any apprehension ahead of today’s U.S Congress subcommittee hearing on cryptocurrencies have failed to instill greater investor fear.

Fear And Greed Index LookIntoBitcoin - Google Chrome

For the Day Ahead

With market jitters over inflation likely to linger, economic data from the Eurozone and the U.S will draw interest later today.

Finalized Eurozone inflation and German wholesale inflation figures are due out from the Eurozone. From the U.S, jobless claims will also be key. Rising consumer prices and weaker labor market conditions would be a negative for riskier assets.

Following two days of heavy losses for the NASDAQ, however, dip buyers could deliver both the NASDAQ and cryptos with support.

Much will depend on updates from today’s U.S Congress subcommittee hearing. A key topic will likely be crypto mining and the impact on the environment. Bitcoin mining has had plenty of airtime in recent weeks…

At the time of writing, Bitcoin was up by 0.33% to $41,814. A break back through to $42,500 levels would bring $43,000 levels into play. Avoiding a fall back through today’s $41,798 pivot will be key, however. A pullback to sub-$41,500 levels would bring sub-$40,000 into play.

Looking at the U.S futures, the NASDAQ was up by just 26 points at the time of writing.

BTCUSD 200122

Bitcoin Takes a Hit as Crypto Market Records $193 Million in Liquidations

More than 70,000 traders were hit with liquidations over the past 24 hours as the broader cryptocurrency market sustained losses.

The Crypto Market Loses 2.4% of its Value in 24 Hours

The recent data obtained from Coinglass has revealed that more than $193 million worth of liquidations was recorded in the cryptocurrency market over the past 24 hours.

Over the last one hour, more than $7 million worth of liquidations took place in the market. The liquidations have resulted in the total cryptocurrency market cap dropping below the $2 trillion mark a few hours ago.

Bitcoin accounted for most of the losses, with $11.47 million worth of BTC liquidated over the past 24 hours. Ethereum, Cardano, Fantom, and Cosmos complete the top five cryptocurrencies with the highest liquidation.

Bitcoin has struggled below the $45k resistance level over the past few weeks. At press time, BTC is trading at $41,788, up by less than 1% over the past 24 hours.

Fed Rate Hike the Likely Catalyst Behind Market Liquidation

The United States Federal Reserve is expected to announce more significant rate hikes over the coming months. This has resulted in a stronger dollar over the past few days, ultimately affecting the performance of the cryptocurrency market.

According to Coinglass, Binance accounted for most of the liquidations. The cryptocurrency exchange recorded more than $80 million worth of liquidations over the past 24 hours. It is followed by OKEx, with $49 million in liquidations during that period.

Coinglass added that more than 70,000 traders were liquidated over the last 24 hours. The largest single liquidation order happened on Okex, BTC-USDT-SWAP (a total of $3.81M).

If the cryptocurrency market continues to underperform, Bitcoin could lose the $40k support level over the coming hours or days.

Over 64% Canadians Desire To Be Paid in Cryptocurrency: Survey

The discussion of cryptocurrency’s mainstream adoption has been going on forever and the only way to turn it into reality is by finding the easiest mass influential method.

Salary in Bitcoin?

That is the demand of Canadians at the moment. A survey of 1000 Canadians brought to light the demand and current use of cryptocurrency in the country and what they expect from the future.

Presently crypto payments aren’t accepted by every business in the country.

Although some retailers do accept crypto currently, it is yet to be accepted conventionally. And the process would have to start with none other than the king coin, Bitcoin.

Of the surveyed individuals, about 81% of them had used Bitcoin at some point in their life. Following by a gap of 33% is Ethereum which holds about a 48% usage domination.

Other altcoins used by the focus group included Dogecoin which was used by 28% of people, followed by Litecoin and Cardano at 18%

And their usage comes from the fact that 2021 had crypto hyped the most ever as over 58% of the users jumped into this space less than a year ago. Only 4% of the 1000 individuals were truly dedicated users as they had been using crypto for more than 5 years.

The duration of crypto being used | Source: Capterra

Alas, most of those who entered the crypto space did not join with the intention of truly utilizing the strengths of this technology. About 58% of respondents said that their motivation was to make profits through cryptocurrency.

However, some 26% of them truly looked forward to escaping the clutches of the regular banking system, and being paid in crypto would certainly enable them to do so.

Reasons for why cryptocurrency | Source: Capterra

This particular reason has been driving not just Canadians but also people from other countries to be paid in crypto.

Earlier last year Australian companies too began paying a portion of their employees’ wage in crypto. And the year before New Zealand made it legal for salaries to be given using digital currencies.

But This Is a Matter of Concern…

While 64% of the respondents refrained from using crypto due to a lack of knowledge, another 44% feared the end of cryptocurrencies’ demand in the future.

Reasons for why not cryptocurrency | Source: Capterra

Although another reason why being paid in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum would be risky is the rampant volatility of the market.
Within the span of just the last 3 months, Bitcoin shot up by 65% to touch $67,500 and then dropped back to $41.9k as of press time.

Bitcoin and Ethereum’s volatility – Source: FXEMPIRE

Thus, maybe looking into a more stable form of cryptocurrency such as stablecoins (USDC, USDT, etc.) would be advisable for paying wages in crypto.

Russia Raids Ransomware Group REvil, Seizes $7 Million

Russian domestic intelligence agency, Federal Security Service (FSB), has announced that it has put an end to the ransomware gang, REvil.

The Russia-based criminal gang has been at the center of some of the most prominent ransomware attacks in recent years.

FSB Arrests 14 People, Seizes Almost $7 Million Worth in Cryptos

In a large-scale crackdown, FSB raided 25 residences tied to the gang. The agency arrested 14 members and seized  $6.8 million worth of different currencies, including crypto assets. It also seized crypto wallets, computer equipment, and luxury cars. 

REvil has been at the center of several major ransomware attacks, especially against US companies. In May 2021, the gang hacked Colonial Pipelines, forcing it to pay almost $5 million in Bitcoin for ransom. The hackers were able to take the pipeline offline, leading to a major gas shortage across the country.

Though the authorities were able to recover most of the ransom, the attack represented how notorious the organization had become.

Some REvil Cyberattacks

Beyond that, REvil was responsible for over ten major cyberattacks in 2021. In March alone, it attacked Harris Federation and Acer, leading to confidential data leaks. 

In May of the same year, it attacked Brazilian meat processing company, JBS SA, forcing it to pay an $11 million ransom.

Its largest ransomware attack was in July when it affected thousands of people and businesses in at least 17 countries. The gang collected a ransom of $70 million worth of Bitcoin at that time.

The US Pressured Russia to act

The widespread impact of the cyberattacks by the gang and other similar groups led to the US President pressuring Russian authorities to act.

While Russia has been slow to act, it appears that it has finally heeded US calls. According to FSB, this crackdown was at the request of US authorities.

This will mark the first time in years that US and Russian intelligence will collaborate on a mission like this.

Russia’s motive for doing it now remains unknown; however, it should be noted that the global effects of cyber attacks have also led to more global security collaborations. 

Authorities in Kuwait, South Korea, and Romania arrested suspected REvil members last year. With this Russian-US partnership, the momentum is to curb cyber hacks and limit safe havens for cybercriminals.

Key Milestones of the Financial Market in 2021

The year 2021 was packed with exciting developments and meaningful circumstances in world affairs—its economy, politics, and policies—impacting the financial sector as a whole. With the help of its analytics team, the international Forex broker OctaFX compiled a basic rundown to deliver some of the more critical, vital events which it deemed especially important.

The U.S. dollar’s tumultuous journey through quantitative easing (QE)

During the COVID-19 crisis, the U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) and the European Central Bank (ECB)—the central banks that issue the world’s reserve currencies—flooded the financial markets with new money. The official reason stated was helping the suffering economy because of the pandemic.

Therefore, U.S. president Joe Biden’s proposal of a 1.9 trillion USD stimulus package to Congress arrived on 21 January. The Republican Party was highly sceptical about this approach—some congressmen even recalled the already worrying, continual growth of the national debt (a mass total of 21.6 trillion USD at the time). It is a long-term development whose lack of resolution as of yet does not shake the market’s firm belief in the reliability of the U.S. dollar.

Biden follows suit by signing stimulus plan

Fast forward two months, the U.S. Senate (6 March) and the U.S. House of Representatives (10 March) both approved the stimulus plan before Biden signed it on 11 March as a 1.9 trillion USD economic rescue package. Far from being a bipartisan undertaking, no Republican approved the new order. Although, the document was amended, for example, the clause on raising the minimum wage was removed. New money flooding the market like this filled most market participants with a bullish sentiment.

Another 1.2 trillion USD for ‘infrastructure spending plan’

Towards the end of June 2021, expectations for a tight monetary policy were running high but then the U.S. Senate agreed on and approved a new ‘infrastructure spending plan’, totalling another 1.2 trillion USD. The reason was a sharp increase in inflation in the months prior to June.

Both institutions—the Fed and the ECB—have kept rates at zero or negative and implemented quantitative easing (QE) throughout 2021, increasing their balance sheets and buying bonds with that money. Because of this, their yields fell, which encouraged investors to put capital into companies’ stocks and look for other projects.

Fed announces the end of bailout measures

In September, the U.S. Federal Reserve officially declared that it is ready to end its quantitative easing programme and may raise the base rate already from 2022 rather than 2023, as previously assumed. The Fed further added it would continue to buy 120 billion USD worth of assets each month for the time being: 80 billion USD in treasuries and 40 billion USD in mortgage-backed bonds.

The regulator’s rhetoric initially spooked investors, but overseas markets moved higher on 23 September. The American S&P 500 was recovering from a marginal fall and rose by 1%. Finally, the U.S. monetary regulator started winding down asset purchases from the market to 105 billion USD in November (from 120 billion USD previously) and to 90 billion USD in December—strong signals for the market that the economy starts to revitalise itself.

Bitcoin reaches historic ATH in April before falling again by 53%

The whole of April, the crypto industry radiated with enthusiasm over an ongoing bull market before bitcoin—surprisingly to most—started a steep correction from a historical all-time high of 63,500 USD (13 April 2021) to 34,600 USD (29 May 2021). In those first initial waves downward, due to triggered margin calls, around 8 billion USD in position liquidations took place. This process had put most of the trading community on a new kind of alertness.

This downtrend continued up to 20 July 2021, reaching a price of 29,600 USD per bitcoin (that’s over 53% from the previous all-time high). Only after that point did an uptrend start with a late-summer high of 52,600 USD (6 September 2021). Most were sure the bottom for bitcoin back then had been hit and more frequent but careful trading resumed during that time.

Ethereum stays strong but stable while bitcoin tops twice more

Six weeks later, the mother of all cryptocurrencies topped off its previous all-time high twice in close succession—65,990 USD (20 October 2021) and 67,500 USD (8 November 2021), vindicating a suspected bull market across market observers, retail investors, and legacy institutions once again. All the while, the altcoin market soldiered on with a fluctuating performance, seeing Ethereum’s persistence and some success stories such as the Solana smart-contract platform.

The latter rose from 1.84 USD on 1 January to its all-time high of 258.93 USD on 6 November, gaining 13,972%. Many opportunities for lucrative trades and initial long-term investments were realised. At the same time, some solid altcoin projects stagnated during this period, only showing that their turn for growth has yet to come.

U.S. and E.U. prioritise the basic materials sector

In autumn, the E.U. and the U.S. have agreed to suspend duties on steel and aluminium products. During a speech, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, stressed that her institution planned to develop proposals to suspend duties imposed on goods from the U.S. She elaborated that this would bring trade in steel and aluminium products back to their levels before these tariffs were imposed in 2018.

U.S. President Joe Biden reiterated the intentions of the European Union and the United States jointly committing to a carbon-based agreement on steel and aluminium trade. After President Trump’s era of ‘economic isolationism’, many investors in the relevant industries understood this development as a bullish long-term sign.

European Union at a crossroads

In 2021’s fourth quarter, the euro fell to its lowest value since the start of July 2020. The reason for the plunge was the worsening business climate in the E.U.

In Germany, supply problems within most industries have worsened. Berlin, as the fourth-biggest economy in the world, also inaugurated its new government in December. One important aim of the new coalition is to introduce a wide variety of new taxes on secondary homeownership and carbon emissions on all levels, be it corporate or private. Germany is a major player in the European Union’s power dynamics structure. Its new government in Berlin will have much to say about the way onwards in terms of the continent’s financial and political development.

What the future holds

As Powell hinted throughout the year, in January 2022 there will be a monthly quantitative easing cap of 60 billion USD, halving the 2021 rate and initiating a probable and gradual farewell to the emergency policy. A process that market participants of all shapes and sizes (private and corporate) will have to pay close attention to.

All of the dynamics above will have exciting new developments in 2022 and the years after—many of which will hit most by surprise. So, financial education and constant research and training towards economic and financial literacy are paramount to navigating through these fast-paced markets. This plain truth applies just as much to Foreign Exchange as it does to the stock market or the cryptocurrency domain.

About OctaFX

OctaFX is a global broker that provides online trading services worldwide since 2011. It offers a state-of-the-art trading experience to over 7.5 million traders worldwide. The company is well-known for its financial expertise, analytics, and educational programme. It maintains a high emphasis on financial literacy in its trading community. OctaFX has also won more than 45 awards since its foundation, including the 2021 ‘Best Forex Broker Asia’ award and the 2020 ‘Most Transparent Broker’ award from Global Banking & Finance Review and Forex Awards, respectively.

 

Saylor Advocates Bitcoin Mining, says BTC Energy Use is ‘Inconsequential’

Bitcoin’s tussle to gain dominance not just in the cryptocurrency space but the larger financial structure has often been hindered by the controversies around BTC mining.

Nonetheless, recent reports by the Bitcoin Mining Council (BMC) show that the percentage of the global Bitcoin mining industry running on renewable power has increased by 1% to 58.5% in the last quarter of 2021, thereby pushing a positive narrative for the sector.

The BMC announced the findings of its fourth-quarter survey on January 18 where MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor pointed out that the total use of energy for Bitcoin (BTC) mining is ‘inconsequential,’ and that it is ‘rapidly becoming more efficient.’ 

A Long-drawn War 

Bitcoin mining is generally done using large mining pools spread across many geographies where BTC miners aggregate mining systems consuming massive amounts of electricity in the process.

Bitcoin production is estimated to generate between 22 and 22.9 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions a year, as per a 2019 study in scientific journal Joule and the same has resulted in negative commentary around the coin and the larger narrative for cryptocurrencies

In fact, in May 2021, after Tesla CEO Elon Musk had a sudden change of mind over accepting BTC amid the cryptocurrency’s energy usage issues, the effects of the same were spotted in the larger market sell-offs that followed the tech tycoon’s announcement.

Around that time, Saylor convened a meeting of North American BTC miners to address issues pertaining to Bitcoin mining and energy consumption. 

During the quarterly briefing by the BMC on January 18 Saylor said:

“This quarter we saw the trend continue with dramatic improvements to Bitcoin mining energy efficiency and sustainability due to advances in semiconductor technology, the rapid expansion of North American mining, the China Exodus, and worldwide rotation toward sustainable energy and modern mining techniques.”

Here’s the Brightside 

The BMC survey compiled sustainable energy information from miners including more than 46% of the global Bitcoin network. As per the recorded data, the members of the Mining Council itself are harnessing electricity with a sustainable energy mix of 66.1%.

The estimated global Bitcoin mining industry’s sustainable energy mix came out to be 58.5% during Q4, 2021 while the industry’s estimated technological efficiency grew by 9% as well, to 19.3 petahash per MW.

That said, the report also highlighted that global Bitcoin mining has the highest sustainable energy mix in comparison to various nations. 

Bitcoin Mining Council, Bitcoin Mining, Saylor, BTC, Crypto, FXempire
Source: The Bitcoin Mining Council

The survey focused on three metrics including sustainable power mix, technological efficiency, and electricity consumption. The data compiled by BMC over the last month, further presented that global BTC mining consumes 3.2% of the electrical system energy wasted or lost in the USA in one year.

It also claims that Bitcoin mining energy usage is 0.142% when compared to the world’s total energy.

That said, ahead of the House Energy and Commerce Oversight Subcommittee’s hearing on ‘Cleaning Up Cryptocurrency’ scheduled for January 20, the findings of the BMC could play an important role in tipping the scales in favor of BTC.

Kadena (KDA) Retreats Amid Calls To Ban Proof-of-Work Mining

Kadena (KDA) continues to slide amid worries about a potential crackdown on proof-of-work (PoW) mining.

PoW Mining Is in Spotlight Due to Energy Shortage and Climate Change

The token of the PoW blockchain made an attempt to settle above the $17 level back at the end of December but lost momentum and declined towards the $7.00 level.

While crypto markets have been under pressure due to rising Treasury yields and fears about aggressive rate hikes from the Fed, it looks that there is an additional catalyst in Kadena’s decline.

The Vice-Chair of European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) Erik Thedéen has recently called for banning of the PoW mining due to concerns over energy usage and climate change.

It remains to be seen whether such calls will have any material impact on the dynamics of Bitcoin. Bitcoin makes up over 40% of the total crypto market cap, and many funds have positions in the world’s leading cryptocurrency. In this light, it is not easy to ban Bitcoin without consequences for financial markets. However, a war on smaller PoW projects is easier, and it looks that traders are worried that Kadena’s value proposition may hurt the project if regulators increase their efforts against PoW.

KDA Tests Important Support at $7.50

kda january 19 2022

KDA managed to settle below the support level at $8.40 and is testing the strong support at $7.50. In case KDA manages to settle below this level, it will move towards the next support level at $6.50.

A successful test of the support at $6.50 will push KDA towards the support at $5.75. In case KDA declines below this level, it will head towards the next support level at $4.85.

On the upside, the previous support at $8.40 will serve as the first resistance level for KDA. A move above this level will push KDA towards the resistance which is located near the 20 EMA at $9.50.

kda h1 january 19 2022

Taking a look at H1 chart, we can see that RSI has moved away from the oversold territory, so there is plenty of room to gain additional momentum if KDA settles below $7.50.

Can Intel Dominate the Bitcoin Mining Industry With the Bonanza Mine?

The University of Pennsylvania recently announced Intel’s intention of releasing a new Bitcoin mining ASIC chip which will be released during the 2022 IEEE International Solid-State Circuits Conference on February 23.

The Bonanza Mine

Described as an Ultra-Low-Voltage Energy-Efficient Bitcoin Mining ASIC, the chip titled Bonanza Mine will make Intel the first major semiconductor company to jump into producing traditional Bitcoin mining ASICS.

Although AMD has been a part of the crypto mining industry for a while now owing to its super-powered GPUs, it never witnessed any competition as such.

But since Intel has a higher production capacity, and both ASICs as well as GPUs are priced almost similarly, Intel could bolster the production to give AMD serious competition.

But for Intel, the concern is bigger than just AMD since there are already better established ASIC production companies in the market. Bitmain, Bitfury, etc are some such companies that have dominated the ASIC-specific mining rig manufacturing industry for most parts.

However, Intel might have actually made this decision at the right time. The mining industry just a week ago finally recovered from the effects of The Great Migration and is currently growing at a quick pace.

Hash Rate marked an all-time high a few days ago after taking 7 months to recover from the dent made by China’s mining ban.

Bitcoin Hash Rate is at an all-time high | Source: Glassnode

Additionally, at the moment, miners are now entering the market. Chinese educational company Midland International is one of the most recent ones.

The company had already secured 147 cryptocurrency mining rigs and AGMH shipped another 1335 BTC mining rigs which are set to be operational this month.

Additionally, the success of mining Bitcoin is pushing companies to go public. Rhodium Enterprises is one such company, valued at $1.7 billion which is about to go public tomorrow.

So if Intel can tap the market properly, it could gain footing in the mining industry.

How Is Bitcoin Performing Though?

These developments are yet to have any major impact on the king coin’s price action since Bitcoin is still stuck in the lower $42k zone. Although price indicators do show an uptrend, we are yet to see how far up it could take Bitcoin.

Bitcoin yet to recover from $42,000 – Source: FXEMPIRE

No Crypto ATM’s in Singapore Until MAS Clarifies on New Guidelines

Two cryptocurrency ATM operators have acted quickly to the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s (MAS) new guidelines issued on Monday. Under the new guidelines, the central bank of Singapore said that crypto trading should not be promoted to the public.

Daenerys & Co. and Deodi Pte crypto ATM operators in the city-state have shut down quoting the MAS guidelines as an “unexpected surprise.”

“To comply with the sudden announcement, we have ceased to offer buy or sell services via our ATMs while seeking further clarification from the MAS,” a representative from Daenerys told FXEmpire.

Another operator, Deodi Pte has halted services from its public Bitcoin machine on Tuesday, pursuant to MAS notice.

Singapore crypto ATM
A Bitcoin ATM machine was removed on Tuesday in Singapore – Source: The Straits Times

Daenerys has five crypto ATMs, that accept fiat currency to lend cryptos, mostly Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple among others.

Alongside digital currencies’ increasing prominence in Singapore, the untraceable nature making it an attractive medium for illegal activities has made the regulator reiterate the risks it poses.

However, MAS did not impose any penalties from ATM operators for non-compliance.

MAS has restricted crypto businesses from providing physical crypto ATM services in the country. According to the watchdog, convenient access to Bitcoin ATMs might encourage “impulse-driven” trading activities, without considering the risks involved.

Daenerys has an “ongoing application” with MAS as a payment service provider and is waiting for the regulator to approve licensing, the company stated.

No Crypto Ban – Just Made It Less Accessible

Singapore’s financial regulator has clearly told crypto companies to refrain from advertising or promoting their digital currency services but has not banned its usage.

Users can still go and buy cryptos – but it will be more deliberate and less on impulse.

Having said that, with tougher rules spread out by the government, crypto entrepreneurs lured by the country’s crypto-embraced culture, find it difficult to get approval to legally operate in the city-state.

The cautious approach on every aspect is due to the fear of cryptocurrencies being abused for money laundering, terrorism financing, due to the speed and cross-border nature of the transactions.

“Digital payment token service providers in Singapore have to comply with requirements to mitigate such risks, including the need to carry out proper customer due diligence, conduct regular account reviews, and monitor and report suspicious transactions,” a MAS spokesperson told Nikkei.

Such steps by the government show how Singapore’s stance on digital assets has resulted in cryptos being less accessible to the public and the country being one of the most advanced and mature nations when it comes to crypto inclusion.

How Does It Work in Preventing Frauds

Singapore is one of the few countries that openly support cryptocurrencies and blockchain projects. According to a recent poll by fintech comparison website Finder.com, nearly 16 percent of Singaporean adults currently own cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin is the most popular coin owned by citizens, followed by Ethereum and Cardano.

However, some crypto ATM kiosks allow certain transactions to take place without acquiring any customer information other than their phone numbers. Some even use prepaid cellphones, that are disposed of after a transaction.

Shutting down crypto ATMs means that it is important for operators to set know-your-customers (KYC) standards to protect them from fraudulent activities and transactions. This is however been more challenging to implement in the cryptocurrency space where anonymity thrives.

European Countries Should ban Proof of Work Mining — ESMA Vice Chairman

Due to growing concerns about the energy consumption of crypto activities, the Vice-Chair of European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) Erik Thedéen has called for banning Proof of Work (PoW) mining. 

According to a Financial Times report, Thedéen believes that regulators in Europe should instead opt for Proof of Stake (PoS) networks instead. 

PoW Energy Consumption Raises Concerns

Both PoW and PoS are the most common consensus mechanisms for blockchains today. However, unlike PoW, which requires energy-intensive miners, PoS depends on a few validators to process transactions. 

Many blockchains now adopt PoS as a newer and more energy-efficient consensus mechanism. But the major blockchains such as Bitcoin and Ethereum still use PoW. 

For early adopters, PoW aligns better with the decentralization that blockchain promises.

However, not many people agree, especially with the global energy crunch and climate change. 

Several countries have already banned or limited crypto mining due to this reason. Recently, Kosovo banned crypto mining after blackouts due to high electricity use.

Thedéen, who also serves as the chair of sustainable finance at The International Organization of Securities Commissions and director-general of Sweden’s Financial Services Authority, has spoken against crypto mining before. 

He described Bitcoin mining as a national problem. According to him, banning PoW is the solution as “Proof of stake has a significantly lower energy profile.”

Countries now Look to Regulate Crypto Industry

ESMA calls for banning Proof of work mining echoes a wider call for regulation of the cryptocurrency industry. Almost every stakeholder from the International Monetary Fund to the Bank of England has called for more regulations. Already, some countries have started drafting regulatory frameworks for the crypto industry.

Recently, we reported that U.K. authorities might regulate decentralized finance and the crypto industry in general. Spanish financial regulators also made new rules for crypto advertising. And many countries, including South Korea, have enacted crypto-focused laws.

The current appetite for crypto regulation makes the call for a mining ban to be critical. With the global energy crunch and influential position of Eric Theéden in Europe and the international scene, the pressure on crypto miners will only increase. This represents a real threat for crypto mining companies and proof of work blockchains.

IOTA Down by 5% in 24 Hours Following Management Changes

The total cryptocurrency market cap has dropped below the $2 trillion mark again as Bitcoin, Ether, and the other leading coins continue to underperform.

IOTA’s Co-Founder Moves to the Supervisory Board

The IOTA team announced yesterday that its co-founder Serguei Popov has moved from the Board of Directors to the Supervisory Board. The management changes come as Serguei feels it is time to focus on managerial oversight rather than day-to-day decisions and responsibilities.

IOTA is a permissionless distributed ledger that targets the Internet of Things ecosystem. The project aims to support the growth of a machine economy by promoting fee-less machine-to-machine payments. It also seeks to offer greater scalability than blockchain networks.

Since the announcement, MIOTA, the native token of the IOTA ecosystem, has lost more than 5% of its value. At press time, MIOTA is trading at $1.0490 per coin.

IOTA’s poor performance in recent days comes despite being selected for phase 2 of the EU Blockchain Pre-Commercial Procurement last week. The selection will see IOTA improve its protocol over the coming months.

MIOTA Could Soon Enter the Oversold Region

MIOTA has been underperforming since the start of the year, losing 23% of its value during that period. At press time, MIOTA is trading at $1.0490, below its 50-day moving average price of $1.2247.

MIOTA could soon enter the oversold region. Source: FXEMPIRE

The MACD line has been below the neutral zone for more than two weeks now. Meanwhile, the RSI of 39 shows that MIOTA is facing selling pressure and could soon enter the oversold region if the bearish trend continues.

If the negative performance persists, MIOTA could drop below the $1 psychological level for the first time since August.

ADA Loses Its Momentum and Is Down 10% in the Last 24h

ADA, the 5th biggest cryptocurrency by market capitalization ($46 billion), joins other cryptocurrencies with the crypto bearish sentiment and is down over 10% in the last 24 hours.

ADA’s price has been in an amazing rally in the last seven days, especially because of its upcoming launch on January 20 of the decentralized exchange (DEX) SundaeSwap and its first metaverse called Pavia.

Another fact that could have pushed ADA’s price up in the last week, was the recent poll in Twitter made by Ethereum‘s co-founder, Vitalik Buterin, in which ADA was preferred as the currency in 2035 if ETH does not exist, you can see the results below in his tweet:

This recent rally made ADA to top at $1.62, but it is now trading at $1.38$ and it’s still approximately 50% down from it’s all time high of September 2021.

What Seems To Stop ADA’s Rally?

The total cryptocurrency market capitalization is down approximately 2.5%, from $2 trillion to $1.95 trillion, giving an overall bearish sentiment in most of the cryptocurrencies, according to CoinMarketCap.

Bitcoin, the biggest cryptocurrency with $780 billion in market capitalization, and representing 40% of total crypto market cap, is down 1.5% in the last 24 hours. Bitcoin, usually drives the crypto sentiment, either if it is bullish or bearish, as it is happening right now.

Yesterday, a blockchain data company claimed that cryptocurrency exchange Crypto.com lost about $15 million of crypto because of a hack, but a few hours later Crypto.com’s CEO denied the loss of the funds.

What’s Next for ADA in the Short Term?

ADA’s price right now is around $1.38, touching its previous support of January 16th, but if this support is broken, its next strong support is around $1.25 as you see in the price chart below:

ADA/USD chart. Source: FXEmpire

ADA could consolidate in the area of 1.38$ for the next few days, but can also continue the rally after SundaeSwap is launched tomorrow.

But time will tell, and let’s see if ADA can move on its own way without relying on the crypto sentiment in general, especially in Bitcoin price movements.

 

Crypto.Com (CRO) May Soon Get to the Test of the $0.40 Level

Crypto.com Coin is currently trying to settle below an important support level at $0.43 and risks developing additional downside momentum in case the crypto market pullback continues.

Several Negative Catalysts Are in Play

Crypto.com has recently denied that $15 million worth of assets were lost to a hack, but the controversy has clearly served as an additional bearish catalyst for CRO.

Bitcoin’s move below the important support at $42,600 put additional pressure on crypto assets, while rising Treasury yields hurt all riskier assets.

Today, Treasury yields are moving higher again as traders bet on aggressive rate hikes from the Fed. In this environment, cryptocurrencies may find themselves especially vulnerable.

A Move Below the Support at $0.43 Will Push CRO Towards $0.40

cro january 19 2022

CRO is currently testing the important support level at $0.43. This support level has already been tested in January and proved its strength. RSI remains in the moderate territory, so there is enough room to develop additional downside momentum in case the right catalysts emerge.

A successful test of the support at $0.43 will open the way to the test of the next support at $0.40. If CRO declines below this level, it will head towards the next support at $0.38.

On the upside, CRO needs to settle above $0.45 to have a chance to gain upside momentum in the near term. The next resistance level for CRO is located at $0.47. In case CRO gets above this level, it will head towards the next resistance at the 20 EMA at $0.4840.

cro h1 january 19 2022

Taking a look at H1 chart, we can see that shorter-term RSI also remains in the moderate territory, so CRO will have a good chance to develop additional downside momentum in case it manages to settle below the important support level at $0.43.

The near-term trend is bearish, and CRO looks ready to move lower amid broader crypto market pullback which is triggered by rising Treasury yields.