The Next Bitcoin, Avoid Your Fear of Missing Out

After all, elephants don’t dance is the old stock market adage, so surely there are smaller stocks worth keeping an eye on.

Litecoin Litespeed

Traders look for instance at the recent Litecoin example. A currency which is meant to mimic Bitcoin in that it is supposed to be faster at settlement and with a greater supply of coins. Well, it went from $100 in the first week of December, to $370 by the middle of December and currently is trading at $252.

And without any news, any announcements, no new major institutional user or investor. So the reason? Access. Coinbase made it possible for more people to access Litecoin.

Exactly how big is the popularity of such exchanges for trading. Well, if you remember the dot-com boom, then here is an interesting fact – Coinbase already has more customers than Charles Schwab. Over 10m to be precise.

Price Lite

A key reason for the push is UX – user experience. I know from my years of trading online, writing about trading online in the Financial Times, presenting on trading online on Bloomberg TV – that the simple fact that if Litecoin is priced at say $300 and Bitcoin at say $13,000, that makes private investors think Lite is the next Bitcoin because they think $300 will go to $13,000.

And in a stupid, dot-com kind of way, this is what the users want you to think. It is not new to the market. It is a general rule of thumb that US stocks grow from $50 to $100 and then split. Sure, not a strict rule, but it didn’t half fuel quite a few rallies. Whilst it may take a traditional stock, like Microsoft a year to go from $50 to $100, the point is the number, not the timeframe.

You see, users forget they can buy fractions of Bitcoin, so in a sense, it’s price per coin is irrelevant. Its value is more important. But when did you meet rational investors, let alone speculators?

Or as Barberis at the University of Washington put it in 2005: “In addition, prior studies show that investors with a taste for gambling concentrate their trading in lottery-like stocks with high skewness and volatility and low nominal prices.”

Basically, it’s a lottery ticket to people who see nominal prices as a sign of value. And that is the attitude of many people. But then again, trading and investing is about buying low and selling higher. Whether you sell to a fool or not is irrelevant, as long as it is higher.

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Bringing up the rear

Other currencies seemingly benefiting from this no news rallies include Verge, IOTA, Monero, Tron, Qtum, Cardano and Stellar Lumens.

Verge: Supposed to be better than Bitcoin by making transactions untraceable so maintaining privacy. It has a market cap over a billion US dollars*. Never in the history of the markets have so many become so big so fast. Leave your morality at the door.

Tron: A market cap of $3 billion* and its goal is to use the blockchain to allow users to control data they publish and how it is distributed including cost.

Cardano: Used for smart contracts and already worth $14 billion*. Its technology will help in compliance and identity recognition.

IOTA: This one doesn’t even use the blockchain but its focus is zero fees in peer to peer transfer. Again a crypto solving one but not all problems. If you think that problem is really important, then this is one for you.

Monero: After celebrities, such a Mariah Carey started accepting the coin, this crypto whose aim is to hide origin and destination of transactions, started skyrocketing.

Qtum: This aims to be the best of Bitcoin and Ethereum by using the Bitcoin blockchain and its proven reliability and using Ethereum’s smart contract flexibility.

This article was written by Alpesh Patel, a hedge fund manager and author of Trading Online (Financial Times). Patel is a partner to 24option, offering CFD trading on Cryptocurrencies.

The content of this article constitutes Marketing Communication and does not qualify as Investment Advice or Investment Research. 24option accepts no liability for the content of this article, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.

Ethereum takes the Battle to Ripple

The weekend was a telling one for Ethereum that had given up its 2nd place ranking to Ripple at the turn of the year, with many seeing Ripple as Bitcoin’s main challenger for the number one spot in 2018.

It’s been a stellar weekend for Ethereum however and, while Bitcoin may have coughed up its weekend gains, Ethereum has been on the rise with gains of 8.85% to $1217.33 at the time of writing.

Having broken through to $1,000 levels for the first time last Thursday, talk of an end to Ethereum’s dominance behind Bitcoin has certainly woken up investors who had been looking elsewhere for the exponential gains that many have become accustomed to.

Sideways moves are of no interest to anyone and cryptocurrencies face significant selling pressure even after a few days of lateral instead of vertical.

For Ripple, today’s losses have been telling, with Ripple down 9.52% to $2.5.

The good news is that, in spite of Ripple’s losses in recent days, there are three major cryptocurrencies with market caps in excess of the $100bn market.

The bad news is that investors may be unclear on who actually has the greatest influence on the future of the cryptos, the teams developing and bringing the respective blockchain technologies into the real world, or the exchanges who decide what can and can’t be sold.

If there was a moment when it became evident that the cryptomarket is just not mature enough, it would have been the market response to the announcement that additional cryptocurrencies would not be included on the Coinbase exchange.

It’s been downhill ever since for Ripple and Ethereum has been the primary beneficiary. Since the news, Ripple has seen its market cap slump to $100.66bn, with Ethereum retaking 2nd spot, with a market cap of $120.04bn.

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While Ethereum and Ripple fight it out for the number 2 spot, Bitcoin investors have something interesting to consider.

Going into the weekend, Bitcoin managed to rally through to 17,000 levels, before coughing up the gains ahead of the start to the new week. The relationship between Bitcoin and Bitcoin futures during the week is certainly evident, with today’s 1.71% decline to $15,849.01 more likely to be as a result of Bitcoin future contract declines than a shift in sentiment towards Bitcoin itself.

Through the early part of the day, the Cboe’s January Bitcoin contract was down $885 to $15,890 at the time of writing. With the futures markets closed through the weekend, the influence of the Cboe and CME futures platforms appears to soften on the Bitcoin clan and Bitcoin in particular.

It’s too early to suggest that such a trend will likely establish itself, particularly when there is no suggestion in the futures markets that $17,000 are on the horizon at the time of writing, even when looking down the road towards March expiry.

Friday’s settlement price on the January contract may well have supported a move to $17,000 levels, but one does wonder whether investors on the futures markets are taking a similar view with regards to the unsupervised weekends.

Momentum for now is with Ethereum, but we’re not likely to see the other cryptos go through the day without attempting to draw in some of the appetite. Ripple has lost the most and has the least to gain for investor sentiment to bounce back. For Ethereum, it’s going to be about holding on to $1,000 levels. A pull back to sub-$1,000 could see appetite for Ripple return.

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Regulators, Exchanges and their influence on Cryptos

What was gearing up to be an interesting week for Bitcoin has ended with little more than a huff, after talk of the South Korean government shutting down the country’s cryptocurrency exchanges, saw Bitcoin fall back to sub-$13,000 levels.

The reality is that such a move would have a far greater price impact than seen over the last week and the very fact that central banks and governments still have the power to have such a material impact on what is considered to be a decentralized, independent alternative to fiat currency goes to show that it’s not quite what it says on the label.

For now, the South Korean government appears willing to allow the exchanges to continue, though they will certainly be under increased scrutiny, and if there are more cyber-attacks that can be linked back to North Korea, then speculation may build again on whether there will be more from the government.

Other good news for Bitcoin was the China’s PBoC stating that there would be no ban on Bitcoin mining, though the talk of increased power consumption will test the government’s new found interest in the environment.

Regulatory risk remains one of the key risks that the cryptomarket faces and with Bitcoin being the largest by market cap, it has more to lose.

Bitcoin closed the day relatively flat on Thursday, down just 0.65% on the day, having fallen to an intraday low $14,192.37 in the early part of the day.

A lack of chatter and an uninspiring futures market has seen investors look elsewhere for gains. The Cboe Bitcoin futures January contract is up $115 to $15,060 at the time of writing, easing back from an intraday high $15,280. The limited upside and Bitcoin’s falling market dominance can be partially associated with the launch of the Bitcoin futures market last month.

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Adding further direction towards the cryptocurrencies is crypto-exchange chatter. As was the case on Thursday, with Coinbase killing off rumours of Ripple being included and last month’s talk of insider dealing and the resulting impact on Bitcoin Cash. These are just two examples of how much influence the larger exchanges have on the direction of the crypto-majors and in an unregulated environment, manipulation is likely to be more common than the news feeds suggest.

As the markets begin to view Bitcoin as more of a tradable asset class and less of a speculative investment that can derive exponential gains, sensitivity to the noise will be akin to the impact of central bank commentary on fiat currencies. The question will be whether crypto-exchanges will take advantage of their position of influence, as central bankers do, or simply provide the necessary platforms for investors to trade.

With Bitcoin down just 0.5% at $15,067.32 at the time of writing, the day ahead looks to be an almost mirror of how the market played out on Thursday and, if there any signs of one of the other cryptocurrencies looking to make a move, that’s likely to be another negative for the Bitcoin futures and Bitcoin clan.

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CryptoMania: TerraNova Surges 500%. Ripple, Cardano, Stellar and TRON with Double Digits Gains

The action continues in the cryptomarkets as more and more coins begin to come under the limelight. The BTC market is in a bit of a lull as the bitcoin futures has helped to cap the gains for now and also, the regulators seem to be focussing increasingly on the BTC market which has made the investors and the speculators a bit edgy. That is why they have been shifting their attention to the altcoins and today, Terranova has been the star.

This crypto had been quiet for a long time and a study of its history shows that there has been very little volume in it during this long period. But it looks as though some big investor or whale seems to have noticed it over the last couple of days as its price has surged by over 500% over the last 2 days and it now trades comfortably over the $2500 region as of this writing. There does not seem to be any specific fundamental developments or news that has made the price of the coin go berserk during this period but it looks more like some serious investor entering into this market.

Other altcoins are also enjoying the limelight as ripple, TRON, Cardano and Stellar have posted double digit gains over the last 24 hours with ripple especially having a great time over the last couple of weeks having more than tripled during this period. It is turning out to be a survival of the fittest in these markets and it remains to be seen which of thee cryptos would be able to overcome the odds and gain the attention of the investors and traders who would in turn help to push the demand and the prices higher.

The Future of Cryptocurrencies: There’s a 20% Chance of a Significant Correction

What will happen next year? Crypto-technologies have integrated deeply into the financial world – the future of Bitcoin has already been announced, cryptocurrencies are indexed on exchanges, token sales successfully raise funds. Without any doubts, cryptocurrencies have become part of the economic landscape.

But will this development continue at the same incredible pace, or will it instead become more streamlined? Will the Bitcoin’s rate continue to grow, or can we look forward to some correction? How flexible or rigid is regulation going to become?

We asked the head of BANKEX Capital Network David Finkelstein to share his insights about the future of cryptocurrencies in 2018.

  • To what extent are cryptocurrencies accepted today?

Many affluent people today still have no faith in cryptocurrency, attributing its dynamics to the hype and expecting it to crash. Personally, I don’t believe in such collapse. I believe cryptocurrency is going to find its place in the modern economy, even though for the time being, unlike other assets, it has no fundamental evaluation.

When, for example, you purchase shares in Tesla, you can look to the various models in order to estimate the fundamental values of the shares. Which is why, if Tesla shares suddenly skyrockets, it will be clear to everyone whether its price is warranted. This model, at least, allows you to understand what kind of profitability the marketplaces in the shares.

In case of Bitcoin, however, there is no such model, so nobody knows how much it should be worth. From my perspective, its proper value is supposed to be derived from the quotient of USD people are willing to store in it. For instance, if people are willing to store $100M in Bitcoins, while the total amount of bitcoins is 21 million, we can divide one by the other then we will receive a reasonable exchange rate for Bitcoin.

  • Why store dollars in Bitcoins? Will cryptocurrency replace fiat currencies?

This is unlikely to happen. Because there are countries that can, at any point, put an end to the existence of the crypto world. It’s not complicated, but they don’t want to do it. What they want to do is to head this whole movement in order to collect taxes. That is why regulators all over the world are pondering how to find a better approach in this field. And when they come to a conclusion, which may well take time, the rules of the game will change.

  • Bitcoin is already being referred to as “digital gold” and one of its unique features is its finite amount. We don’t know how much gold there is in the world, and someone might discover a new mine and start extracting it. That is not the case with bitcoin. Imagine if there was a limited amount of dollars and you could never print more.

That’s normal, it means there is a secondary market needed. Bitcoin, like anything else, has its market price, which is currently being defined by crypto exchanges. In economics this is always the case: when a person has an asset, there will always be a sum for which the person would be willing to sell this asset. If everyone decides to sell the Bitcoins they have,  its price will decrease. Whereas if many people decide they want to buy them – their price will grow. But between them, there will always be an equilibrium price.

  • Will other cryptocurrencies as powerful as bitcoin emerge anytime soon? Right now we see an enormous gap between Bitcoin and all other cryptocurrencies.

Generally speaking, all cryptocurrencies is a whole. Bitcoin grows simply due to the fact that the concept of crypto-currency is associated only with it. The investments from non-professional players have begun to invest in Bitcoin and that stimulated such a growth – an asset can only keep growing while there is a demand for it. If it’s a bubble, then it bursts once the influx of buyers comes to an end. This leads to a natural state of panic and all starts to collapse.

  • Can you make a balanced portfolio out of cryptocurrencies? Even though they move together with Bitcoin?

Yes, you can. A balanced portfolio can be made out of anything. Every time we add any new asset, it decreases the overall volatility of the portfolio.

  • What should one add to bitcoin in order to make such a portfolio?

That depends on the goals of the portfolio. If it’s solely for sake of exposure to crypto, then you would need to add other cryptocurrencies. But there are many nuances. If it’s a long-term portfolio, then it would require some Bitcoin, some Ether, and some other cryptocurrencies, evaluating them in terms of reliability and combining them with reasonable counterweights. You can calculate the Kelly Criterion, optimize your portfolio… but all of this has to be done professionally.

  • Are there other secure cryptocurrencies besides Bitcoin and Ether that are worth including in your portfolio?

There must be, but I am not ready to name them. The reality today is that people mine whatever is the cheapest because it’s easier. But for now, the market has no faith in new currencies, because the power of a currency is defined by the number of people who use it, and this number is not great enough. So people mine it, then at the end of the day, they convert whatever they mined into Bitcoin because it’s considered more secure. How exactly this situation is going to change, I can’t tell now.

  • With the year coming to an end comes a time to make predictions. What do you think will happen to Bitcoin, how will the world of cryptocurrency develop in general?

If we are talking about exchange rates, then I don’t believe it will drop too much. There will not be a total crash. I would say there’s a 20% chance of a significant correction of Bitcoin rates to the level of $5000. For the same reasons I have already mentioned earlier – there is no fundamental model, based on which you could say Bitcoin is worth 5 or 100 thousand dollars.

In all other cases, whenever collapses occur in the market, there is always a fundamental price model, and that has been true for everything from tulips to shares in certain tech companies, that is, in my opinion, currently overrated.

In this case, either the market value catches up with the model and the asset rises or model catches up with the cost.

  • How much is the level of cryptocurrency acceptance going to grow? What will happen to regulations?

There is no doubt that everything is going to develop very rapidly. New products will emerge in capital markets and they will very find ways to implement crypto quickly. Basically, everything there is on the financial markets today will re-emerge with the form of crypto. And I do mean everything, such as advisory, investment management, financial management etc.

  • All the same, but with “crypto”?

It will more likely be crypto-fiat asset management. Asset managers now want crypto to be included in their portfolio. Another noteworthy trend is that at some point regulators will have to find a suitable place for crypto. I don’t think this field will enjoy as much leniency as there is now. There will be more regulations, as well as mutual conversions and eventual integration between fiat and crypto-financial services.

  • And of course, we have to bring up ICO…

I think ICO is very reasonable. Much like IPO and, before them, LLC – Limited Liability Companies, ICO provides people who receive capital to realize their ideas with even greater freedom. This new fundraising mechanism truly does accelerate the economy, therefore it’s very reasonable. Humanity has a natural need for ICO. Before that, there was no way of collecting 25 cents per person out of a million people, but now there is one. This injects more energy for the most ambitious projects, the greatest fantasies. ICO is a great idea!

  • So why do regulators try to ban ICOs while proclaiming it is to protect non-professional investors? Shouldn’t people think for themselves when choosing to give their money to whom?

The problem is there is a fine line between those who are raising funds for an actual project and frauds. The economy needs a mechanism to get rid of frauds. For instance, people take their company to ICO, then they just take the money and vanish without a trace. Or else they falsify accounting information and overrate the company’s value (as it happened with Enron). The regulator’s task is to distinguish frauds and legitimate businesses.

They are trying to do this with ICOs, although perhaps this task could be carried out with the help of the community, the communication between people. The regulator’s role is not to defend the investors, but to clear the market for scams. Non-professional investors are easily lured when you promise them a goldmine. And if there are too many cases of fraud, then it discredits the idea of ICO in the first place and makes people lose their faith in the crypto economy –That actually poses as disadvantageous to the government.

  • I know BANKEX token sale is coming to an end. How are you planning to use the raised funds? When should investors expect results from their investments?

Our website has an elaborate description of our directions and roadmaps that we follow. For instance, in Q1 BANKEX will issue an innovative blockchain platform for movie financing. Led by Oscar-winning Hollywood producer Christopher Woodrow, MovieCoin™ will use BANKEX’s blockchain based Proof-of-Asset protocol and BKX tokens to help film industry raise funds with greater ease and speed.

As we are a B2B company, our token price is strongly associated with the news about BKX token usage. For example, when there is news that Ripple will be used by BBVA bank its price increased around 10x times.

Financial institutions that adopt BANKEX solutions will form the backbone of the early-era Internet of Assets. Our tokens will make this happen. Taking into account that in the future the number of services and ecosystem participants will grow, we realize that the volume of tokens should also increase. The tokens are designed as utility tokens and their primary function will be in circulation. The idea of issuing more tokens in the future is intended to keep the growth of the ecosystem with the focus on value.

Ripple Solves Business Problems: Bitcoin Bubble and the First Mover Advantage Problem

Could Ripple be a better choice than Bitcoin?

If I had to bet on one crypto coin, then the case for Ripple is far stronger. Most people do not dig into the technicalities. Ripple has a strong advantage when it comes to technology.

Whereas Bitcoin was principally established for peer to peer money transfer between individuals, Ripple was established to handle interbank transfer at the larger size. That means more volume and therefore more value of the coin.

Of course, it has the basics of any decent Cryptocurrency; first, connectivity across payments networks, second, the speed of instant on-demand settlement, third, real-time traceability of funds and finally, low operational and liquidity costs.

But what caught my attention is the global network of customers. Ripple has customers such as Santander, Standard Chartered, Credit Agricole, UBS, American Express, India’s Axis Bank, BBVA among others. That’s impressive and Ripple’s investors know that with a solid costumers portfolio, Ripple’s future is bright.

FYI, Ripple is not the original name of the coin, XRP is the name of the coin. Ripple is a private company, different than other cryptocurrencies, meaning, XRP is a centralized coin.

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Who Solves the Bigger Problem?

Ripple was created to solve an important problem, the transaction’s delays between banks. Currently when my business wires fund abroad through my bank, if any information is incorrect, the payment is returned and delays accrue. The chances of error are huge. If you’ve never sought an MT103 trace from your bank, you will not truly appreciate the problems of international corporate money transfer and the ensuing stress.

Ripple ensures both banks validate critical information such as customer ID, fees, rates, time of delivery before funds are transferred. This allows the bank to know beforehand if the transaction will pass or not and so remove the failed transaction problem. By removing the correspondent bank, we remove risk management issues too.

But unlike Bitcoin, which can take over an hour to settle, (still better than traditional systems taking 3-5 days, if you get to your bank before 1530!), Ripple settles in 4 seconds. By the way, Ethereum takes over two minutes.

Ripple handles about 1,500 transactions per second, 24×7. They do claim they can do match Visa scale of 50,000 per second.

Who is behind Ripple?

As mentioned above, Ripple is a private company and that XRP is a private cryptocurrency. As an asset manager running a private equity fund, I like to know who is investing a backing a company. Ripple’s shareholders include Andreessen Horowitz. Not heard of them? They backed PayPal as an original founding investor. How about Google Ventures, Santander InnoVentures, Standard Chartered and Accenture – all investors as shareholders in Ripple.


A traction of any technology is not just if the public is interested, but the big entities. In the case of Ripple, it does not get bigger than the Bank of England. The Bank of England Accelerator has published a report on how they may be able to use Ripple for real-time settlements.

This article was written by Alpesh Patel, a hedge fund manager and author of Trading Online (Financial Times). Patel is a partner to 24option, offering CFD trading on Cryptocurrencies.

The content of this article constitutes Marketing Communication and does not qualify as Investment Advice or Investment Research. 24option accepts no liability for the content of this article, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.

Fire Lotto is the First Blockchain Lottery Platform

It won’t come as a complete surprise that, while the business world is catching up with the blockchain revolution, the lottery fraternity is looking to jump on the bandwagon with the launch of Fire Lotto.

When considering the fact that Lotteries account for just shy of 30% of the gambling industry, that’s a sizeable market to tap into and the breakdown of borders and reaching out to parts of the world where heavy restrictions prevent lotto growth is an enticing prospect. The anonymity element of playing on Fire Lotto means that players are not caught out by regulatory bodies in their home countries.

For the winners, the added incentive to purchase lottery tickets through Fire Lotto is taxation. In many tax jurisdictions, lottery winners face heavy taxes and withholdings that take the shine off winning the jackpot

The lottery platform is 100% decentralized and built on Ethereum (ETH) smart contracts, with a focus being on transparency. 70% of ticket sales goes to the jackpot and winners are paid immediately after the draw to the winners’ ETH wallets. Winners won’t face delays or the possibility of being paid out over a number of years or even face the fear being defrauded, with payments being fully secure and made at a click of a button.

Of the remaining 30% of ticket proceeds, 12% goes towards advertising, 10% as commission to token holders, 5% to cover technical costs and 3% to cover ongoing legal costs.

Fire Lotto successfully launched the first lottery on January 1st. There are four different lottery formats to cater to the needs of its clients. The lottos will be 4/20, 5/36 and 6/45 and there will also be Roger’s Wheel, with tickets starting at 0.007 ETH, approximately US2.

Depending upon demand, Fire Lotto will be free to deliver more popular lottery games to draw in an even greater number of players, who can access Fire Lotto from any device without an app. Currently, any investor can join the business through investing in the company token sale or as a participant in a lottery.

For investors, the 10% commission that is paid to FLOT token holders delivers investors with an endless source of crypto-income, with the prize pool capable of growing into the millions and millions of Dollars and, there’s no government capable of shutting down the operation.

The private token pre-sale is already live and will end on 15th January 2018, with the crowdsale running from 15th March 2018 to 15th April 2018.

77% of tokens will be distributed to investors, 20% to the Fire Lotto team, with the remaining 3% held as bounty.

A total of 100,000,000 tokens will be issued, with an initial price of US$0.5, while investors participating in the bonus program will have a minimum purchase price of US$0.4 and US$0.35 per token in the closed round. The closed round of sales was to finance Fire Lotto’s ICO advertising campaign and generate a minimum prize pool of US$1,150,000, with the lottos already up and running ahead of the Fire Lotto ICO.

Interested parties can buy tokens from Fire Lotto directly.

Move Over Bitcoin!

The Bitcoin Clan have been left floundering at the start of the year and Bitcoin has struggled to inspire, with the only good news of the year being the recovery from the end of the 2017 low of $12,050.

Bitcoin may have managed to hold on to the 2nd half of the day bounce on Tuesday, but since then, any attempts to break through to $16,000 levels have been thwarted.

Wednesday’s 2.95% gain will certainly not be grabbing any crypto-headlines and, as was the case on Wednesday, today’s high of $15,430.27 was followed by a sharp pull back to $14,873.95 at the time of writing, with Bitcoin down 1.88% in the early part of the day.

Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin Gold are down 6.28% and 4.23% respectively, with Bitcoin’s fall weighing on the pair, while Litecoin was also feeling the heat, down 4.9%.

It’s not all doom and gloom in the cryptomarkets however, with Ripple’s continued rise drawing plenty of attention and all for the right reasons.

Following the team’s decision to place the XRP coins held into escrow to bring comfort to the markets that there would be no flooding of XRP coins in the event of a price rally, the gains have been exceptional since and one gets the sense that Ripple has only just warmed up.

Not a bad starting point, with Ripple having already surged to the number 2 spot by market cap, with Bitcoin now in its sites. On its current trajectory, it’s not going to take long before Ripple splashes its way past Bitcoin into the number 1 spot. The sudden shift in momentum is no mean feat when considering the surge in the cryptomarkets, with the global market cap having moved above $700bn for the first time on Wednesday.

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Previous surges in the global market cap had usually been attributed to Bitcoin, but things have changed and this week, Bitcoin has seen its market cap fall to around 35% of the global market cap, which is an all-time low.

The roll out of Bitcoin futures looks to have stifled what was once the darling of the cryptoworld and with hot cryptos, including Ripple and Stellar Lumens to play with, Bitcoin’s grip on the number 1 spot is likely to loosen further.

Many had expected Ethereum to challenge Bitcoin, with Ethereum ever present in the funding of ICOs, but with Ripple’s ascendency and trailblazing start to 2018, the momentum alone could see Ripple ride the wave past Bitcoin.

Bitcoin investors may be wondering what might have been and where Bitcoin would be sitting, if the advice of leading financial institutions had been heeded to and the roll out of Bitcoin futures had been delayed in the interest of allowing the market to age more.

But, while the Bitcoin Billionaires will sit on their accumulated wealth, those dreaming of joining the crypto-millionaire club will be on the hunt and Ripple looks to be an obvious choice.

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Is Bitcoin Ready to POP!?

Bitcoin managed to find its feet in the 2nd half of the day on Tuesday, rallying from an intraday low $12,910.58 to $14,848.91 by the close, shy of an intraday high of $15257.53.

The upside through the day came following some sideways moves through the turn over the year, with the cryptomarkets considering the possibility of the South Korean government shutting down the country’s crypto-exchanges.

On Tuesday, the South Korean government provided a further update on its intentions, stating that the opening of anonymous crypto-exchange accounts would be banned from the 3rd week of January, on or around 20th.

Exchanges will be required to bring on board KYC processes similar to those carried out by banks, while anti-money laundering rules will also need to be improved and, in some cases, incorporated.

There was no suggestion that there would be an outright shutdown of exchanges, though a failure to adopt the new regulations may well result in suspension or closure once enforced.

Adding to the upside in the last 24-hours was news of the Founders Fund’s holdings in cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, with the Fund reportedly having bought between $15m-$20m of Bitcoin, which contributed to the hundreds of millions of dollars in cryptocurrencies held by the Fund.

The smart money also responded to the news through Tuesday, with Bitcoin Futures on the rise, supporting Bitcoin investor sentiment, with the pair having been tracking each other through the morning.

Things are not too dissimilar in the early part of the day today, with Bitcoin up 3.15% to 15,141.53 at the time of writing and Cboe’s Bitcoin futures January contract up $375 to $15,430.

Bitcoin may have eased back from an intraday high 15,500, but with the current spread favouring Bitcoin futures’ January contract, there will likely be some more upside for Bitcoin through the afternoon, though the futures markets will need to hold on to current levels.

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Looking at the Cboe’s February and March contracts, pricing has improved with Bitcoin expected to see upward momentum through the 1st quarter, though there are certainly no hints of a rally to the dizzy heights of $20,000.

This will continue to be an issue that Bitcoin will face and may ultimately lead to a further decline in Bitcoin’s market share. Unless the smart money is willing to bet that Bitcoin is going to make more sizeable jumps intraday, as it has been known to do through its relatively short history, investors may well look elsewhere for the exponential gains that are still likely to be delivered by some of the more than 1,300 cryptocurrencies in the market today.

Lumen (XLM), for instance, is up 22% this morning and up by 94% in just the first few days of the year, compared with Bitcoin’s 9.09% year-to-date gain. That’s quite a difference in return, with even Ripple delivering more than 20% through the first few days. Some will sit tight, hoping that Bitcoin can make its 2017 jumps through the year, with the knowledge that even the 9.09% gain is well ahead of any of the global equity markets and will likely to remain ahead over the near-term at least.

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Betex is the First Peer-to-Peer Binary Option Platform

On Betex, the blockchain technology will enable traders to place bets with one another and not with the trading platform, the platform provider unable to engage in any betting activity, making Betex an impartial party that earns income solely from service fees.

Betex’s goal is to reinvent the financial derivatives market by delivering an incorruptible business logic that addresses trust issues persistent in the marketplace today. Unlike the more traditional funding platforms, the Betex blockchain platform provides traders with access to real-time data, delivering complete transparency.

Payouts from the platform are automatically released to traders’ Ethereum wallets through smart contracts. No deposits are required to gain access to the platform and services that Betex will be offering.

Not only does the Betex Ethereum powered platform bring transparency and fair conduct, but also provides audible results to binary options trading.

95% of the fees generated on the Betex platform are to be distributed to the traders using the platform and services on offer. Of the remaining 5%, 2.5% of the platform’s total turnover will be distributed to token holders, 2% to brokers, 0.3% to the development team,  while 0.2% will be held in reserve.


In summary, key features of the Betex platform include total transparency, provable fairness, a common pool of liquidity, white label offering for brokers and instant payouts.

Betex launched its Round 1 Betex token pre-sale on 4th December 2017 and is scheduled to end on 8th January 2017, with the 1st pre-sale only available to an investor who has completed the KYC / AML process. 5% of the total number of tokens were made available for 1st round pre-sale.

Round 2 of the Betex token pre-sale is scheduled to start on 10th January 2018 and end on 31st January 2018, where a total of 15% of the total number of tokens will be made available for sale.

The sales price of the tokens rises from $2.00 in the 1st round to $2.50 per Betex in the 2nd round, with 40% of the tokens then made available during the main token sale in 2018, the dates of which will be made available after the company has registered with the appropriate regulators, including the Securities and Exchange Commission.

During the pre-sale rounds, the sale of tokens will be under a simple agreement for future tokens (SAFT) agreement, with the minimum purchase amount in the 1st round being 15,000 Betex tokens and 5,000 tokens in the 2nd, with Betex accepting either Bitcoin or Ethereum for the purchase of Betex tokens.

Of the remaining tokens post-sale, 30% will be allocated to Betex’s founders and team members, with 8% of the tokens to be held in reserve.

For interested parties looking to buy Betex tokens during the 2nd round pre-sales period or during the main token sale, purchases can be made on Betex’s website, where the dates of the main token sale will also be made available.

Blockchain-powered Video Streaming Project White Rabbit is to Spend $1 Million to Onboard Streaming Sites

White Rabbit, a project created and developed by experienced filmmakers and software engineers, has announced the launch of so-called Partner Streaming Sites (PSS) program in its official blog post.

White Rabbit was conceived as a browser plug-in enabling users to find any legal content they may want online, store it in the user library called the Rabbit Hole, and, what is most important, directly pay to the film’s or series’ copyright holders thus moving intermediaries and higher prices aside.

The program announced by the project invites all kinds of video streaming services to participate in the development and evolution of what the project calls “the next generation streaming ecosystem.”

The blog post specifies that the project is willing to spend nearly $1 million of its token sale proceedings to onboard websites and services which are to be “most innovative, brand-conscious, film and series loving streaming sites either out there, planned, or about to launch.”

The post goes on to explain:

Improving the market means improving the situation of both users and producers. […] With PSS producers will find sites and users dedicated to films like theirs, allowing focused marketing and release campaigns matching their target audience.”

Any project willing to join White Rabbit’s ecosystem will receive up to $100,000 from the amounts raised over the forthcoming token sale, with 10% of all proceedings upon the service’s launch also going to the Partner Streaming Sites program.

White Rabbit’s presale campaign is set to launch in the first quarter of 2018 seeking to raise 25,000 ETH as a hard cap.

In order to participate in the partner program, the interested services should contact the White Rabbit team via email.

Bitcoin Has Lost it’s Mojo and Bitcoin Futures are to Blame

It’s been a choppy 24-hours for Bitcoin. Perhaps not as volatile as the swings seen in December, but choppy nonetheless, leaving the currency with little direction.

Through the first day of the year, Bitcoin failed to break through to $14,000 and actually ended the day in the red, with Bitcoin futures prices providing little support to Bitcoin and investor hopes of a New Year bounce, which investors were likely to be looking for with the news wires in holiday mode.

Through the early part of this morning, things have not been much better, with Bitcoin up just 0.5% to $13,510.43. Bitcoin had it an intraday high of $13,918.01 at the very start of the day, but quickly pared its gains in what is looking to be a pivotal period for Bitcoin and perhaps some of the other cryptocurrencies that have struggled going into the New Year.

As is always the case, once an investment goes mainstream, as is the case with Bitcoin, expectations are that behaviour will adjust accordingly and, with the introduction of Bitcoin futures, things just haven’t quite been the same for Bitcoin.

If investors were looking for some guidance on which way Bitcoin was going to go at the start of the year, the pricing of the futures contracts for January and February expiry have certainly not been bullish and any hopes of a rally to new record highs have been muffled, in spite of some suggesting that Bitcoin could hit between $40,000 and $60,000 by the end of the year.

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At the time of writing, the Cboe’s Bitcoin futures contract for January was down $1,050 to $13,500, recovering from an intraday low $13,060, with the February contract seeing a heavier decline of $1,150 to $13,450.

Investors will be all too aware of how influential the futures markets have been on other asset classes historically, so while Bitcoin futures may be new, the concept is tried and tested.

With Bitcoin’s price at the time of writing above both January and February contracts, upside for Bitcoin is going to be limited at best and is certainly holding back any $1,000 moves in a matter of hours that investors saw through the latter part of 2017.

The smart money is suggesting that there are some concerns over current levels, particularly when factoring in a number of key risks drivers that are presently negative for Bitcoin.

Amongst the key risk drivers is regulatory risk and the possibility of the South Korean government shutting down cryptocurrency exchanges. This has certainly been an influence at the turn of the year. Until there is greater clarity on the intentions of the South Korean government, the futures market is unlikely to begin getting too bullish anytime soon.

Transaction speeds and backlogs is another fundamental issue that questions whether Bitcoin can ever become truly mainstream. On each occasion that sizeable backlogs have been reported, Bitcoin has taken a hit and such an event could occur at any moment, which is never a good thing for the smart money.

The good news is that there’s been no collapse, the bad news is that some of Bitcoin’s peers are performing well in spite of the risks, with Ethereum up 11.34% and Litecoin up 7.97% at the time of writing.

There’s no doubt that the year ahead is going to be a defining one for the cyptomarkets and there’s just cause for investors to continue to tread carefully at this point in time.

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Cryptos Tip Toe into 2018

Bitcoin may have brought the cryptocurrency market to the mainstream investor, but the end of the year was far from stellar.

Through the weekend, Bitcoin failed to make a move back to $15,000 levels, with Friday’s downward trend persisting through to a weekend low of $12,050 before recovering on Sunday to a weekend high of $14,296.06.

In the early part of today, Bitcoin has been relatively range bound, down 0.82% to $13,765.53 at the time of writing, with an intraday low $13,302.02 and high of $13,941.75.

Recent support has come in the wake of some quite adverse news regarding the cryptomarket’s largest, by market share.

The South Korean government was ultimately the horror show for the Bitcoin bulls last week, with the banning of opening accounts anonymously along with the possibility of the government shutting down the cryptoexchanges two major news pieces of the week. There was also a ban on the trading of Bitcoin futures and the government was also looking to ban banks, foreigners and minors from trading Bitcoin. Following on, KB Kookmin and Shinhan banks announced that they will cease offering redemption of credit card points for Bitcoin by mid-month.

News of the North Korean’s hacking a Bitcoin exchange seems to have gotten the South Korean government into panic mode.

Bitcoin may be steady through the early part of the day, but there are plenty of unknowns surrounding the direction of Bitcoin in the coming weeks.

It will ultimately boil down to whether the South Korean government decides to shut down the exchanges and whether other major Bitcoin geographies will follow.

Certainly, if the concern is over North Korea, then Japan could be next. With Japan and South Korea amongst the top Bitcoin trading nations, the loss of one and / or both would be quite an event and something that Bitcoin will unlikely be able to sidestep.

With government chatter on the cryptos on hold today, there will be little damming news to impact the cryptomarkets, which will leave investors looking towards the future and how the cryptomarket landscape could change in the coming year.

Cboe’s Bitcoin futures are sitting in positive territory at the time of writing, with the January contract up $815 to $14,570. The move suggests that the institutional money is less concerned of a major shift in government sentiment towards Bitcoin that could result in the likes of the South Korean and Japanese governments shutting down the exchanges.

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For now, Bitcoin investors seem to be taking a more cautious approach at the start of the year and perhaps wisely, with more news from the South Korean government likely through the week.

We wouldn’t expect any major sell-off today, with futures prices providing some support. Trading volumes are on the lower side however, which is to be expected and that should prevent any rallies, with Bitcoin needing to catch up with its futures price before the cryptomarkets will consider what’s next.

Whatever is said about Bitcoin, it’s not been a bad year, with Bitcoin gaining 1,311% since the beginning of January last year. It may pale into insignificance when compared with the likes of Ripple, but if you’re looking at the equity markets, which many new cryptocurrencies will have been exposed to, the move across was to the cryptos was a wise one.

For Bitcoin’s peers, it’s been a better 1st January for Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Gold and Ethereum, though the gains have been minor and few are likely to be jumping in until the news feeds start getting busy with government chatter through the week.

At the start of 2017 things started pretty slowly for the cryptos and today is not too dissimilar, though following exponential gains last year, which crypto will be the trailblazer through the year will be the question on everyone’s minds and Ripple certainly looks to be the favourite amongst the front runners for now.

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2017 – The Bitcoin Year, But not Only

Sitting in a coffee shop with a friend and hear a conversation about Bitcoin has become routine in 2017, part of the mainstream and perhaps the real normalization of the economy during 2017. Bitcoin made us forget that on January, the American people chose the most eccentric president in the history, Bitcoin made politics look small and insignificant and it made equities’ records high disappear in the shadow of Bitcoin mania.

Although relatively Bitcoin is still a small market and hasn’t received the corporate and governmental recognition, Bitcoin echoes are a result of the currency potential and what it represents.

Ironically, Bitcoin’s conversations, whether in a coffee shop or on computer screens are similar as one side stands for the acceptance of the new coin while the other one rejects the coin with the bubble argument and the fact that a digital currency system without a centralized control cannot work.

Still, it’s quite exciting to be part of history and Bitcoin is already history, Cliche but true, and that is one of the reasons why common people without any understanding of the crypto, economy and financial markets joined this phenomenon. Be part of something. Bitcoin will be taught in the future in universities, schools and TV programs whether it will be accepted as a legitimate payment method or will be discovered as the biggest bubble in history. Obviously, the next step would be to get it out of the mainstream, out of the bubble zone in order to be legitimized as a currency system. That way, the currency will no longer be an interesting conversation in a coffee shop or an exotic investment but a legitimate instrument that can transform the economic system. That’s a known social behavior, a cycle, and perhaps it will happen in the upcoming years.

Talking of bubbles, then, we all heard the comparison between the Bitcoin mania to the Tulipmania bubble back in the 16th century. The Tulipmania has been associated with us as an economic phenomenon that destroyed the economy and demolished people’s lives. However, there is growing evidence that the Tulipmania is more a myth than the actual reality.

Over the past years, some researchers revoked the myth: In 2006, the economist Earl Thompson published his research ‘The Tulipmania: Fact or Artifact’ claiming that the tulip mania bubble is mostly fiction as the spot prices (these are the actual prices) were stable and option prices rose exponentially. Researchers claim that there are no actual stories in the archives about people that were involved in the Tulipmania bubble and lost their possession. For us, we can say that we have seen an irrational increase in prices of Bitcoin and other cryptos. So far, only good stories. Bubble or not, you name it.


As a matter of fact, cryptocurrencies and in particular Bitcoin sparked a new conversation and that is the biggest achievement of Satoshi Nakamoto (or whoever it is that created cryptos). The common man knows for years that only a country or a governmental entity can issue a currency. It is a country responsibility to back up a currency, and so far it has been done with a natural resource such as gold. Maybe you noticed that in many paper bills there is an agreement by the government to preserve the value of money for the citizens that will use the currency.

You don’t have that in Bitcoin. Any economical obstacle, recession, inflation, deflation, you name it – you can’t complain about it. No one promises you that. Decentralized, for better or worse.

The attempt to form one single currency for the world was not a revolutionary idea that popped up suddenly, some might say it is a master plan to better control the economy. Personally, those things make me know how little I know. Bitcoin was rising from the underground movement of Anarchism, opposing the authorities and the financial system, or maybe not…

However, instead of one currency, there are currently over 1324 cryptocurrencies and the number is growing. It is unfinished business and someone must organize this industry. Even though some will convince you it’s the best investment, it is not yet a reliable economic system or currency.

Blockchain, the technology that activates Bitcoin, is the invention that one can no longer ignore. There are many inventions that changed the world but also were rejected at the time of birth. Light bulbs, umbrellas, the telephone, typing machines, taxis, computers, coffee, and the toilet seat cover are all necessary for our basic life but were rejected by some people at some point of time. On the other side, some inventions stormed the world at the time of release but vanished and did not have any effect. Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are still on the scale of acceptance. Blockchain, on the other hand, officially received its recognition in 2017.

The truth is that no one knows the future of Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies and the economy in general. The economy that forms our daily life is relatively new and probably not the best economic system. Bitcoin is mysterious and mysterious attracts the attention, headlines, central bankers’ comments, and money.

Bitcoin is a statement, an alternative to the current economic system that controls our life. It’s not the price that matters but the idea. The price is just a reflection of the global public opinion towards the economic system. If everyone was happy with the system, no one would really buy a digital, with no physical qualities coin. You buy Bitcoin, you buy an idea.

2017 is without a doubt the year of Bitcoin. And Blockchain and ICO’s and Ethereum and Ripple and Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin Gold and IOTA… All cryptos’ prices are speculative, volatile and unreliable but also reflect people’s excitement of a new market and a new system. The upcoming year will be crucial for Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. It broke the first step of entering the mainstream and coffee shops conversations, now it’s time to pay for a cup of coffee with Bitcoin or other cryptos. That’s the next step and only time will tell how Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies face it.

Crypto-chaos at Year-end

Bitcoin’s more than 6% tumble on Thursday looks to have been relatively short lived, with Bitcoin rising by 3.22% to 14,936.11 at the time of writing.

Sentiment towards the usual suspects turned sour on Thursday, following reports that the South Korean Government was considering to shut down some of the country’s crypto-exchanges and impose real-name cryptocurrency transactions.

Gains through the early part of the this morning have come largely as a result of a bounce in Bitcoin futures prices and not a shift in sentiment towards the latest regulatory revelations, with the South Korean market having been pivotal in December’s crypto-rally.

The good news for the Bitcoin bulls is that Cboe futures prices have seen sizeable gains through the morning, with trading volumes continuing to pick up. At the time of writing, the January contract was priced at $14,880, up $1,125, while the February and March contracts stood at $15,050 (+$1,145) and $15,270 (+1,260) respectively. Looking at the direction of the futures market, there seems to be less concern over the latest South Korean government chatter, though it’s ultimately too early to tell what will be the eventuality.

As we saw when China decided to clamp down, Bitcoin and the cryptomarkets were able to recover relatively quickly, though this time around there may be some complacency on the part of investors, the assumption being that the exchanges will likely continue to be left untouched.

For the rest of the day, with Bitcoin futures providing little room for manoeuvre, Bitcoin will likely hold at sub-$15,000 levels in the early part of the day, with trading volumes likely to be on the slide as Western markets call it a day ahead of the New Year.

There’s plenty to consider for the crypto investor, with news of Bitcoin’s SegWit2x fork hitting the market on Thursday, following November’s cancellation. Other news includes the kidnapping of a Bitcoin exchange manager in Kiev, with the Indian government also taking the opportunity to sledge Bitcoin, reminding ‘want to be’ investors that it is not legal tender and offers no protection.

The list of governments and central banks issuing warnings is ever increasing and, should price and volatility continue to rise, things are unlikely to get any better for the cryptocurrencies.

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It’s certainly been a spectacular end to an unprecedented year for the cryptocurrencies and next year is likely to be all the more interesting, if December is anything to go by.

Exponential gains through the year have put the cryptocurrencies firmly on the map as an asset class, with even the savvier investor unable to ignore the likes of Bitcoin and Ripple.

The launch of Bitcoin futures on the Cboe and CME Group platforms this month was certainly a milestone and more is to come with the anticipated launches of the Bitcoin ETFs and hedge funds. While not on the horizon, it may not be too long before other cryptocurrencies are offered on the futures exchanges and blended ETFs are launched. All of this is assuming that there is no cryptomarket implosion in the New Year, a possible eventuality if regulators and governments get their way.

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Market Snapshot – Bitcoin Feels the Heat From Regulators

BTC Prices Fall

With the markets in a slumber mode due to the holidays in various parts of the world and with many of the traders not at their desks, the attention is now focussed on the cryptocurrency industry as it continues to toss and turn as we head into the new year. The bitcoin market is clearly under pressure from various quarters as the regulation of the industry begins to happen in full swing. The latest to join the bandwagon is South Korea with reports that they are planning a lot of controls on the trading and also have the option of shutting down the exchanges on their radar. This has spooked the markets as a lot of volumes is done at these exchanges and a closure of these would mean another major blow for the industry just as how it happened in China. It managed to recover from the China blow but it remains to be seen whether it can survive this blow, if and when it happens.

Other Markets in Sleep Mode

The rest of the markets are in a slow mode with the dollar weakness being the overriding theme in the markets. The stock markets all around the globe are in a consolidation and ranging mode for most of the last 24 hours which is quite expected as the traders are off on a holiday and most of the trading desks continue to be vacant during this period as the market awaits another long weekend. Gold and crude oil are both trading higher in a low volume trading.

The Bitcoin Clan gets that Sinking Feeling

It’s been a rough time for the Bitcoin family of late, with Bitcoin’s Wednesday recovery coming to an abrupt end to test sub-$15,000 levels once more, before closing out the day at $15,146.56 on Wednesday

Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin Gold showed an inability to shake off the Bitcoin troubles, with the sideways moves in Bitcoin Gold coming to an end through the early part of the day.

Plenty of bad press continues to hit the cryptomarkets and the Bitcoin clan are certainly amongst the worst hit.

At the time of writing, Bitcoin is down 8.3% to 14,090, with Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin Gold down 10.06% and 10.19% respectively.

Performance through the month and in the last week in particular, suggests that a collapse in Bitcoin is likely to lead to a contagion effect across the cryptomarket, while Ripple continues to defy the odds at present.

So, one wonders whether the hard forks that have resulted in the creation of Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin Gold are in fact material to investors. A backlog of transactions on Bitcoin exchanges suggests that there should be an increase in appetite for both Bitcoin Cash and Gold, which has yet to materialise.

While the negative news is certainly contributing to the declines, the direction of the Bitcoin futures contracts are also of significance to the Bitcoin clan.

On the Cboe futures, Bitcoin’s January contract managed to recover from an intraday low $13,520 to sit at $13,820 at the time of writing, with February expiry down $1,060 for the day to $14,000.

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For the rest of the day, Bitcoin together with Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin Gold will remain under pressure, with today’s declines coming off the back of news from South Korea that the government will be imposing certain rules including banning banks from offering accounts to cryptocurrency exchanges.

The Korean government also stated that there is a possibility that cryptocurrency exchanges could be shut down should investigations conclude that such action be warranted.

With South Korea being one of the key contributors to December’s crypto-rally, the possibility of a South Korean crypto-exit has certainly alarmed the markets. South Korea is not alone with concerns over the cryptos, with other central banks having been quite vocal in recent weeks. Currently, cryptocurrencies are particularly exposed to regulatory risk and even more so in geographies where there is significantly higher trading volumes including China, Japan and South Korea.

Concerns over South Korea’s possible regulatory impact on the cryptomarkets has not only impacted the Bitcoin clan, but also Litecoin and the rest, with Litecoin down 6.69%, Ethereum down by 5.95% and Iota and QTUM down 8.29% and 8.66% respectively.

With Bitcoin futures currently sitting at values below Bitcoin’s, pressure will likely remain on Bitcoin and the majority of the cryptocurrencies through the day, though as we have seen on previous occasions, even the threat of a loss of the South Korean market may not stop investors jumping back in at sub-$13,000 levels should Bitcoin continue to slide.

The only major that was sitting in positive territory at the time of writing is Ripple’s XRP, which is up 0.24% to $1.20971.

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Bitcoin Holding on with both Hands

Bitcoin enjoyed a much-needed boost on Tuesday, moving from sub-$14,000 levels through to $15,675 by the end of the day. The gains came in spite of Bitcoin continuing to receive negative press on an almost hourly basis.

For the Bitcoin bulls, the good news is that the momentum continued through this morning, with Bitcoin managing to break through to $16,000 levels and hold on. At the time of writing, Bitcoin was up 1.97% to $16,075.04.

The gains may not be that impressive, but investors will take some comfort from the fact that the lows have picked up through the first half of the week, suggesting that there may be more on the horizon, though things may prove to be a challenge should volumes remain on the lighter side and investors focus on the negatives, all too aware of how quickly market conditions and appetite can change.

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For the rest of the day, there has been a reasonable amount of support from the futures markets, with the Cboe XBT Bitcoin January futures contract gaining $340 to $16,150 and with February’s contract up $365 to $16,300. The numbers suggest that support will be in place, but unless we see futures move back to intraday highs of $16,570 and $16,670 for the respective contracts, Bitcoin is likely to face an uphill battle to break out to $16,150 and beyond.

Hashrates have been on a downward trend since 18th December’s peak and, while some may attribute this to the holiday season, the fact that a significant amount of the hashpower is generated in China suggests that the softer hashrates may be as a result of concerns over Bitcoin’s outlook.

News of more congestion on exchanges hasn’t helped Bitcoin’s recovery, with Coinbase having stated that Bitcoin and Ethereum were both experiencing backlogs equivalent to a few hours of delay.

Exchange platform stability remains one of the key concerns for investors and never more so with the sizeable swings being seen in recent weeks. No investor is going to want to see a Bitcoin price collapse, with exchanges unable to meet the demand of transactions that could see some take quite a sizeable hit. Delays of more than a few hours could be the equivalent of a $2,000 – $4,000 slide in Bitcoin’s value.

For now, the futures markets are not pointing to anything sinister, but should transaction delays continue to be experienced across the mainstream exchanges, things could change rapidly.

If investors were considering which of the three Bitcoin’s to be invested in, those having selected Bitcoin in last week’s sell-off will be thinking that they’ve made the right choice. Time will tell whether the talk of hard forks et al will cause the smarter money to take a more cautious view on Bitcoin’s price outlook. For now, we haven’t seen futures prices collapse.

Across the major cryptocurrencies at the time of writing, IOTA is leading on the day, up 13.8% and considered to be the HODL of the day.

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The Bitcoin Bulls come out after Christmas

Bitcoin has certainly had its moments through the year, but perhaps December will be considered to be its defining moment.

The month’s highs and lows have seen investor sentiment shift from moments of euphoria to ones of sheer panic.

Through the weekend and Christmas Day, Bitcoin continued to see some sizeable moves, hitting a weekend high $15,756.22 and low $12,488 before the ship steadied on Monday in what was a relatively tight ranged day by Bitcoin’s standards.

Bad press and the futures markets have certainly contributed to the gyrations of late, with central banks and governments looking to deliver more dire warnings over the cryptomarkets, in a bid to avert a continued outflow from fiat currencies that could ultimately end in tears, if you believe the bubble stories that have been doing their rounds.

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At the time of writing, Bitcoin is up 9.62% to $15,250 and with such sizeable swings, we will expect the more speculative investor to be a little quicker to lock in profits following the volatility seen through the month.

The good news for the Bitcoin bulls and Bitcoin Billionaire Club is that Bitcoin managed to dust itself off and move back to $15,000 levels, which is still a 53% gain through the current month. That’s not quite as impressive as the gains seen across some of the other cryptocurrencies, but considering the fact that Bitcoin is sitting more than 30% off its December record high, it’s not that bad, though the month is not quite over.

For the less savvy investor looking for direction, the smart money is likely to remain a key driver for Bitcoin and today’s Bitcoin futures have certainly done well, suggesting that the latest round of warnings from central banks and governments may be little more than hype. After all, many a central bank and government will likely be wanting to have greater control over the cryptocurrencies that have remained elusive until now.

Anonymity and the decentralized nature of the cryptocurrencies has enabled investors to bypass any government or central bank crackdowns.

At the time of writing, CME Bitcoin futures was up $1,235 to $15,370 for January expiry and that’s sitting above Bitcoin’s current price of $15,250. Trading may be on the lighter side, but it’s all relative and barring a sudden shift in sentiment that would likely need to be news related, today’s gains are unlikely to evaporate.

Of interest will be how Bitcoin moves in the coming days as trading volumes pickup and whether the negative sentiment going into the holidays returns. The futures prices suggest otherwise, but even the futures markets have been choppy in their first week, with the CME’s January contract seeing quite sizeable swings. The moves may flatten out once more institutional money comes in through the ETFs that are in the process of launching, or so the theory goes. Theory has seemed to have been of little use until now, which has certainly made it a trickier investment this month.

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Cryptos-A Slow Day after a Choppy Week

Investors looking for a Santa rally through the weekend would have been disappointed, with the general trend being negative going into the holidays.

Over the weekend, we saw Bitcoin bounce back to $15,700 levels before another sell-off, which saw a Sunday low of $12,488. It wasn’t as bad as Friday’s $11,159, but with Bitcoin’s lows getting lower and the futures markets also showing existing contract prices on decline, it’s going to be tough for Bitcoin to rally though to record highs through the holiday.

Negative news across the cryptomarkets hasn’t helped, with price manipulation talk doing its rounds again, affecting investor sentiment towards Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash has not been much better after calls of insider trading ahead of Coinbase offering Bitcoin Cash on its exchange.

A lack of regulatory oversight and weak self-policing standards is a bad combination for the market and if the cryptocurrencies are wanting to avoid a shift in regulator attitudes, there will need to be better standards imposed by the exchanges, particularly as the investor base widens.

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With the futures markets shut for the holiday and trading volumes on the lighter side, there’s unlikely to be any major moves across the currencies by December standards, though Bitcoin Gold, Ethereum, QTUM and IOTA have managed to make some relatively meaningful gains at the time of writing. Bitcoin Gold and Ethereum are up 3.82% and 4.94% respectively, while QTUM leads the way, up 5.31%.

Investors will need to get over the events of the last few weeks, where Bitcoin rallied to just shy of $20,000 before falling back to $11,000 levels to then recover to $14,025 at the time of writing. The support has been there though the markets may well begin to question whether it is actual support or price manipulation that has been driving the volatility.

The news has certainly hurt and the jury’s out on whether Bitcoin investors will be able to handle the concentration of Bitcoins held amongst a small number of investors. The same issues may exist across other cryptocurrencies, but until there’s any details, Bitcoin will likely remain under greater scrutiny.

With the markets having gotten through a testing first week of the CME’s Bitcoin futures trading, the next step in Bitcoin’s evolution will be the anticipated launch of Bitcoin ETFs, with a number of ETFs having been filed since the launch of the Cboe and CME Group futures contracts.

Influence will undoubtedly increase in the weeks ahead, with speculative investment likely to get all the trickier. We didn’t see a futures driven upside in Bitcoin last and we may see similar trends stemming from the upcoming ETFs, which are also to invest in the futures markets and not Bitcoin itself.

The existence of both long and short Bitcoin ETFs will be a factor that investors will need to consider and, should we see the shorts garner greater attention, the cryptomarkets could be in for another bout of volatility.

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