Ethereum Slayers 2.0: Crypto’s Usual Suspects, or New Kids on the Blockchain?

Whenever a new blockchain platform launched between 2017 and 2018, it was inevitably heralded as a future replacement for the largest, most successful cryptocurrency platform of all. In short, it came bearing the name of Ethereum Killer.

Those prophecies turned out to be premature, and by 2019 the hit that’s been put out on Ethereum is still waiting to be cashed.

A year is a long time in the crypto space, and many would argue that the lineup of possible contenders for Ethereum’s throne has changed already. New upstarts have come to the fore, while some who’ve been in the fight for too long are starting to weaken due to falling coin prices.

So let’s take a look at the so-called Ethereum Killers in 2019. Are we looking at a new crop of assassins – or just the usual suspects?

Zilliqa (ZIL) Draws First Blood

Zilliqa has perhaps already drawn first blood in the battle against Ethereum – last year the Ethereum-based game Etheremon was packed up by developers and emigrated to the Zilliqa blockchain. | Source: Shutterstock

Zilliqa has perhaps already drawn first blood in the battle against Ethereum – last year the Ethereum-based game Etheremon was packed up by developers and emigrated to the Zilliqa blockchain.

The move was in response to rising gas prices on Ethereum, and the assertion that Ethereum’s lack of scalability solutions was draining the game’s potential. The Zilliqa team announced at the time:

“We are glad to announce that we will work with the Zilliqa team to explore Zilliqa as a scalability solution for Etheremon. The higher throughput and low gas of Zilliqa’s sharding solution offer players better experience.”

More on Zilliqa can be read here, in CCN’s interview with Zilliqa CEO, Xinshu Dong where he goes into detail on Zilliqa’s sharding process:

“Imagine a sample network of 1,000 nodes. ZILLIQA will automatically divide the network into 10 shards each with 100 nodes. Each shard can now process transactions in parallel. If each shard is capable of processing 100 transactions per second, then all shards together can process 1000 transactions per second.”

If all of this sounds too good to be true, read my deep-dive on Zilliqa which covers some of the technical difficulties still facing this possible Ethereum slayer.

Holo (HOT) – The Non-Blockchain Wildcard

In this sense Holo opts for a distributed network as opposed to a decentralized one (however, a distributed network is by nature decentralized). | Source: Apollo Capital/Medium

wildcard compared to some in this list, Holo (HOT) sets itself apart from the rest of the crowd by not actually utilizing a blockchain. Instead, Holo uses distributed hash tables (DHT), which are more similar to a torrent network than a blockchain.

In this sense, Holo opts for a distributed network as opposed to a decentralized one (however, a distributed network is by nature decentralized).

Already, several projects have opted to build on the Holochain network, including a Holo-based Reddit competitor named Comet; an open-source legal system called Ulex; as well as several others in industries ranging from social media to supply-chain.

In early 2018, the CFO of Mozilla, Jim Cook, named Holo as one of the projects which was creating an agent-centric model that could wrestle control of the internet back from the hands of Google and friends. Holo’s association with Mozilla is extended by their common use of the Rust programming language.

When Binance’s CEO and founder, Changpeng Zhao, sent out job posts for Rust developers last year, the effect was such that the HOT coin price responded by jumping 26%.

Waves (WAVES) – The Old Guard

Waves launched in early 2016, and within two years over 100 projects had opted to launch ICO’s on the Waves platform. The most successful of those is the gaming-focused MobileGo (MGO), which briefly broke onto CoinMarketCap’s front page in November, and now has a market cap of $18 million.

That could soon change, however, as $120 million was just raised via the Waves platform for its Vostok ICO. With Waves holders set to be airdropped a portion of the Vostok tokens, it could be speculated that Vostok was the driving force behind Waves’ 300% ascent throughout December 2018.

Waves can boast of its own decentralized cryptocurrency exchange and a strong position around the top twenty by market cap. It was launched just one year after Ethereum.

Read More: The Ethereum Killers – A Hit Still Waiting to Be Carried Out

Tron (TRX) – The Young Pretender

No other coin has leveraged the Ethereum Killer label as much as Tron – the trouble is, it’s usually being leveraged by the Tron’s CEO and founder, Justin Sun. | Source: Shutterstock

No other coin has leveraged the Ethereum Killer label as much as Tron. The trouble is, it’s usually being leveraged by Tron’s CEO and founder, Justin Sun. We only have to go back to the start of this month to find the last time Sun wielded the term – this time in reference to Tron’s domination of the dApp rankings compared to Ethereum.

That domination is genuine – Tron dApps account for six out of the ten most utilized in existence. The proliferation of dice games and gambling dApps on Tron may also account for its soaring transaction rate towards the end of 2018.

But statistics can make anything look good, and one should ask what value these gambling dApps have in comparison to the tried and tested blockchain platform that remains Ethereum’s main use-case.

The arrival of blockchain projects and ICO launches on the platform will have to wait until the completion of the Odyssey phase of Tron’s roadmap – scheduled to for completion in mid-2019.

Notable Mention – Stellar (XLM)

Despite a recent increase in the number of projects being launched on its platform, Stellar isn’t really compared to Ethereum in that way. | Source: Shutterstock

Stellar (XLM) has been around for one year longer than Ethereum, and despite a recent increase in the number of projects being launched on its platform, Stellar isn’t really compared to Ethereum in that way.

Often regarded as one of the ‘finance coins,’ along with Ripple, Stellar’s priorities can be ascertained from the opening line which greets visitors to its website (emphasis theirs):

“Stellar is an open platform for building financial products that connect people everywhere.”

That’s not to say Stellar can’t fulfill some of Ethereum’s roles, as evidenced when one of its recent progeny, Repo Coin (REPO), hit 1,437% growth within the space of a month in early January.

Ethereum Killers Not Living up to Their Name?

EOS is still the fifth highest capped cryptocurrency, but the enthusiasm surrounding its potential dislodging of Ethereum is much less than this time last year, at the height of its $4 billion ICO. | Source: Shutterstock

One of last year’s Ethereum Killers looks to be in much worse shape this time around, as the EOS blockchain flirts with being a money-losing machine for its block producers. EOS is still the fifth highest capped cryptocurrency, but the enthusiasm surrounding its potential dislodging of Ethereum is much less than this time last year, at the height of its $4 billion ICO.

Meanwhile, a project which didn’t make last year’s list, but was at one point in contention with the coins listed above, is NEM (XEM). The NEM blockchain was tipped to play host to Nicolas Maduro’s Venezuelan Petro cryptocurrency, although much of the Petro’s existence was clouded in confusion, as was its launch.

By the end of January 2019, the ‘crypto winter’ was such that the NEM Foundation had begun to freeze over – with the team announcing a suspension of all projects and partnerships due to lack of funds.

Ultimately, Ethereum is still alive and well, and with upgrades to scalability and speed on the horizon, it may yet be a long time before it is displaced.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not represent those of, nor should they be attributed to, CCN.


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Author: Greg Thomson 
Image Credit: Featured Image from Shutterstock

Elon Musk Jokes about Giving Satoshi a Nobel Prize, Reveals Bitcoin Balance

Wall Street is abuzz with rumors that Apple might dip into its $245 billion war chest to purchase electric vehicle giant Tesla, but all Crypto Twitter wants to talk about is what Elon Musk thinks about bitcoin – and its pseudonymous creator.

Tesla CEO Doesn’t Have Much Crypto, But He Owns Bitcoin

Just one day after heaping praise on bitcoin during the latest episode of the ARK Invest podcast, Musk revealed that he still owns a relatively small amount of cryptocurrency. All of it, he said, is denominated in bitcoin.

Responding to a report that he had called bitcoin “brilliant” and said that crypto was a “far better way to transfer value” than paper money,” he stressed that he had not yet made the transition himself:

“That said, I still only own 0.25 BTC, which a friend sent me several years ago. Don’t have any crypto holdings.”

Elon Musk said the only cryptocurrency he owns is bitcoin. | Source: Twitter

Musk has long maintained both that he only owns one-quarter of a bitcoin and that it was a gift – he did not purchase it himself.

Almost exactly one year ago, Musk tweeted:

“I literally own zero cryptocurrency, apart from 0.25 BTC that a friend sent me many years ago.”

Those funds were worth as much as $5,000 during the crypto market’s late 2017 bull run, which doesn’t even add up to a drop in the bucket of Musk’s massive $22 billion net worth.

Musk owns no ethereum, which is somewhat ironic given the proliferation of crypto scammers who have schemed to trick his followers into participating in a fake ethereum giveaway.

Elon Musk: Satoshi Deserves a Nobel for ‘Delayed Gratification’

Rumors have long circulated that Elon Musk himself created bitcoin, though he flatly denies them and few within the crypto industry give them any credence anyway.

Replying to yet another tweet implying that he was Satoshi Nakamoto, the Tesla CEO joked that Satoshi deserves a Nobel Prize for “delayed gratification,” given that he/she/they owned a fortune in cryptocurrency but never spent a dime, other than for testing purposes.

“Whoever owns the early BTC deserves a Nobel prize in delayed gratification”

While the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has not yet recognized “delayed gratification” as a valid scientific field, Musk does have a point.

Satoshi is believed to have at one time controlled bitcoin wallets holding as much as 1 million BTC – funds that have never been spent.

At the height of the crypto boom, the mysterious programmer would have ranked as one of the world’s richest people, with a net worth – nearly $20 billion – rivaling that of Musk’s. However, a decade after the cryptocurrency’s launch, the general consensus is that those coins are locked away forever, either because Satoshi died or otherwise lost access to the wallets containing them.

Despite his praise for bitcoin, Musk maintains he does not think it is wise to involve Tesla in the still-fledgling crypto industry. However, some believe that his love for technology and courage to gamble on nascent-but-potentially-world-changing ideas makes a future embrace of cryptocurrency inevitable.

After all, if someone’s going to take bitcoin to the moon, it makes sense that it would be the founder of SpaceX.

Elon Musk Image from AP Photo / Rich Pedroncelli


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Author: Josiah Wilmoth 
Image Credit: Source: AP Photo / Rich Pedroncelli

$8 Billion Coinbase Faces Backlash for Latest Acquisition

Bitcoin exchange giant Coinbase has acquired Chainalysis competitor Neutrino in an effort to enhance its compliance efforts and regulatory relationships. Neutrino uses blockchain analytics to identify potential money laundering or other illegal transactions on the blockchain. Until its acquisition, it was one of a few companies growing in the space of analyzing blockchains. Its work mainly benefits crypto exchanges, regulators, and other centralized powers.

According to Coinbase, companies like Chainalysis, Whitestream, and Elementus are “necessary” in an “open financial system.”

“Blockchain intelligence is increasingly important in the crypto ecosystem, and is necessary to achieve our mission of bringing the open financial system to the world. By analyzing data on public blockchains, Neutrino will help us prevent theft of funds from peoples’ accounts, investigate ransomware attacks, and identify bad actors. It will also help us bring more cryptocurrencies and features to more people while helping ensure compliance with local laws and regulations.”

Coinbase has chosen to buy the company outright for an undisclosed price. Neutrino’s team will move from its base in Italy to Coinbase’s offices in London.

Coinbase: Bitcoin Bank Extraordinaire

Long the subject of derision at the community level of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, Coinbase’s acquisition is one more in a list of “anti-crypto” charges against it.

Neutrino’s CEO, Giancarlo Russo, formerly worked as Chief Operating Officer for HackingTeam, the government security contractor that was famously hacked in 2015. Documents leaked by the HackingTeam attackers showed that the company willingly aided repressive governments including Saudi Arabia, who wanted to buy the company.

Crypto community members are unfriendly to anything which can lead to censorship. That is the bottom line for many.

If it leads to censorship, it’s poison.

Very little of Coinbase’s business model has been favored by long-time members of the crypto community.

Nevertheless, Coinbase has grown to be an $8 billion company in spite of regular complaints. Its notorious customer support and various compliance initiatives frequently raise ire. Whatever you have to say against them, they’ve done a great job onboarding millions of people. People who might not otherwise have been able to join the cryptocurrency world.

Now Can We Have a Crypto ETF?

According to Coinbase, Neutrino is superior to Chainalysis, a leader in the space.

“Neutrino’s technology is the best we’ve encountered in this space, and it will play an important role in legitimizing crypto, making it safer and more accessible for people all over the world.”

Coinbase director of product and engineering Varun Srinivasan added in a CoinDesk interview:

“We want to bring them to the American market and the international market and introduce them to companies that are doing all kinds of things with crypto that need blockchain intelligence.”

Is blockchain intelligence the last mile?

We have regulated custodians, exchanges, payment processors, and a thriving community of enthusiastic users. We also have several multi-million dollar firms dedicated to preventing fraud and money laundering. Now can we have a Bitcoin ETF?

Venerability of markets is an important part of the SEC’s concerns toward cryptocurrency investment products. One persistent fear is the potential for market manipulation in Bitcoin. Such concerns aren’t helped any by the accusations against Bitfinex and Tether regarding the 2017 bull run.


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Author: P.H. Madore 
Image Credit: Source: Shutterstock

Why Nasdaq’s Bitcoin Index is a Bigger Deal Than Most People Realize

On February 11, Nasdaq, the world’s second-largest stock exchange, launched Bitcoin and Ethereum indices to present accurate prices of the two leading crypto assets.

Nasdaq’s Bitcoin Index a Likely Precursor to Crypto Investment Products

According to cryptocurrency analyst Alex Ziupsnys, the introduction of the crypto indices of Nasdaq could lead to the approval of a wide range of investment vehicles in the long-term.

The analyst said:

“NASDAQ to add a bitcoin index on its platform. They are reading the writing on the wall and don’t want to get left behind. There is no stopping this. Adoption happens gradually right in front of you, until you finally pause, look around, and bitcoin is the dominant asset.”

“This is big news. The launch of Nasdaq crypto indices could lead to regulatory approval for crypto-based derivatives in the market. And as a direct initial effect could mean more interest from institutional traders. The feeds are going live Feb 25th.”

Bitcoin ETF is a Prime Example

In July 2018, the Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) proposal of Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss was officially rejected by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

At the time, among other issues, the SEC named the pricing of Bitcoin as its main concern. The commission claimed that the risk of price manipulation exists on cryptocurrency exchanges and as such, an ETF cannot be operated based on the price of digital assets on exchanges.

The official document released by the SEC explicitly stated that small trades can sway the price of Bitcoin on exchanges, and due to the presence of overseas markets, it is virtually impossible to audit all BTC transactions.

“This commenter expresses concerns regarding the Gemini Exchange Spot Price, noting that the nominal price of the Shares under the proposal is supposed to be tied to the market price of bitcoins at the Gemini Exchange, which is closely tied to the ETP proponents,” the document read.

Speaking to CNBC in November of last year, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton further emphasized that cryptocurrencies have to become free from the risk of manipulation and until the issue is addressed, an ETF will not be approved.

Nasdaq’s Bitcoin Liquid Index (BLX) and Ethereum Liquid Index (ELX) provide a real-time spot or reference rate for the price of BTC and ETH in USD derived from the most liquid parts of the global market.

The indices of Nasdaq are not concentrated in a small group of exchanges or over-the-counter (OTC) exchanges. Rather, the indices take into consideration all platforms processing cryptocurrency trades and find a reliable spot price.

BLX and ELX could serve as the base prices of Bitcoin and Ethereum for regulated investment vehicles in the long-term.

With the track record of Nasdaq in the financial sector and the emergence of a wide range of cryptocurrency indices, Bitcoin ETF operators could consider utilizing several indices including Nasdaq’s BLX and ELX to find an accurate representation of the value of leading digital assets.

Currently, firms like VanEck, Bitwise, and the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) are working with the SEC to release the first Bitcoin ETF in the U.S. market.

Liquidity is Key

As CCN reported earlier this week, Hwang Hyeon-cheol, a former Citi and Allianz executive, said that the cryptocurrency market still does not have a stable level of liquidity and market size for both institutional and retail investors.

Most investment vehicles that are pending approval in the U.S. are targeted at retail investors, and for their success, large liquidity and a reliable source of price is key.

Analysts expect Nasdaq’s indices to operate as the main source of crypto prices throughout the years to come, opening the door for various investment tools.


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Author: Joseph Young 
Image Credit: Source: Shutterstock

Put Your Money On Crypto for the Long-Term, Says Major Wealth Manager for Pensions

It’s time institutional whales put their money into cryptocurrency according to major investment management firm Cambridge Associates.

IT’S TIME TO ‘BEGIN EXPLORING’ SAYS CAMBRIDGE ASSOCIATES

The Boston-based consultancy only advises major institutions who manage more than $300 billion worth of clients’ assets. Cambridge was quoted in Bloomberg on Monday as saying:

“Despite the challenges, we believe that it is worthwhile for investors to begin exploring this area today with an eye toward the long term. Though these investments entail a high degree of risk, some may very well upend the digital world.”

That’s a remarkably on-point statement in a space dominated by optimistic cheerleading and deathly pronouncements. Cambridge specializes in pensions and endowments, and its declaration of support for crypto is probably not a spur of the moment decision.

The firm advise would-be investors to conduct an industry-wide deep-dive on the various aspects of cryptocurrency; from investing in venture capital to trading tokens on exchanges.

Despite the year-long decline in the value of the cryptocurrency market, Cambridge believes we are still in the developing stages of the industry:

“The dramatic declines that swept across the crypto space raised questions about the future of these assets and the blockchain technology that underpins them. Yet, in looking across the investment landscape, we see an industry that is developing, not faltering.”

SIGNS OF A TURNING TIDE AMONG FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS?

Last week Grayscale released this report detailing the steady influx of institutional money to the crypto space in the past year. The fact that institutional investments only increased as coin prices declined is an encouraging sign, and suggests that major firms see potential for a reversal.

Grayscale went so far as to declare cryptocurrency a new asset class, and suggested they could play a ‘diversifying role’ within the average investor’s portfolio:

“Despite a slowdown in investment across products in the fourth quarter, we continue to see evidence that digital assets are here to stay as a new asset class. Moreover, we believe in a future where multiple digital assets survive, thrive, and complement one another in the digital economy.”

Days ago it was revealed that two public pensions – the Virginia’s Police Officer’s Retirement System, and Employees’ Retirement System in Fairfax County – had invested in the new $40 million cryptocurrency fund started by Morgan Creek.

Katherine Molnar, the chief investment officer overseeing the Fairfax County pensions said:

“Blockchain technology is being applied in unique and compelling ways across multiple industries. We feel it is important to be opportunistic and are excited to participate in this emerging opportunity, due to the attractive asymmetric return profile that it represents.”

On top of all this, the much derided JPM Coin marked a major change of sentiment for JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon this week. While the coin is unlikely to add anything in the way of innovation, it stands as another example of rapidly growing sentiment for the crypto space among financial institutions.


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Author: Greg Thomson
Image Credit: Source: Shutterstock

Newsflash: Why This Virginia Police Department’s Pension Just Invested in a $40 Million Crypto Fund

Frequent Bitcoin commentator and t-shirt salesman Anthony Pompliano told Bloomberg this morning that two Fairfax County, Virginia pension funds have gone in on Morgan Creek Digital’s new fund for cryptocurrency companies. The funds represent $1.2 billion in assets for the pensions of police and other public workers in the county.

$25 Million Fund Oversubscribed to $40 Million

The $40 million fund originally only sought $25 million. A small portion of its investment will be in liquid blue chip cryptos like Bitcoin and Ethereum. Investment in cryptocurrency companies will be the majority of the fund’s work, however. Coinbase and Bakkt have already been named as targets for investment.

Public pension funds affect almost 20 million Americans. Nearly 4,000 exist. If the experiment in Fairfax County goes well, and police have an even more comfortable retirement as a result, will others follow suit?

Bloomberg reports that “an insurance company, a university endowment and a private foundation” is also throwing in with the fund. It has already bought equity in Bakkt, the Starbucks/NYSE crypto exchange which will likely launch America’s first Bitcoin ETF (eventually).

Everything will be tokenized in the future, Morgan Creek convinced asset managers. Whatever the crypto markets have been doing, blockchain as an industry has been attracting many of the brightest minds in Silicon Valley for years. Fairfax County’s police fund chief investment officer Katherine Molnar told Forbes:

“Blockchain technology is being applied in unique and compelling ways across multiple industries. We feel it is important to be opportunistic and are excited to participate in this emerging opportunity.”

Meanwhile, Pompliano told Bloomberg:

“The smart money is not distracted by price but looks at the long-term trends, and believes they’re betting on innovation as a great way to deliver risk-mitigated returns.”

Coinbase and Bakkt: First Choices for Morgan Creek

To safely manage the money, Morgan Creek needs to focus on companies not directly attached to the value of Bitcoin. Companies focused on the innovation of the blockchain itself, exchanges that profit whether the price is up or down, and companies looking to use the technology for public interest projects. In addition to Bakkt, the fund is making a play in Coinbase, the king of retail crypto sales.

The outspoken Bitcoin bull Pompliano might just invest the money in Bitcoin at these discount prices if it were up to him, however. He spends a great deal of time on Twitter telling people to stop waiting around.

Pompliano recently made headlines when his podcast “Off the Chain” was banned by Apple without warning. Morgan Creek Digital’s $1 million bet against the stock market as of yet has no takers, indicating that while some people speak strongly against cryptos, most people aren’t sure enough to put their money where their mouth is.


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Author: P.H. Madore 
Image Credit: Source: Shutterstock

Canada’s Regulators Might Help Crypto Exchange QuadrigaCX’s Victims After All

Provincial securities regulators in British Columbia, Canada, won’t be investigating the QuadrigaCX scandal. However, new developments could see Canada’s largest securities body, the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC), begin an investigation.

On Friday, according to Reuters, the OSC has confirmed in a statement it will be looking into cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX, where currently $190 million in cryptocurrency has been lost. Though an OSC spokesperson did not confirm if the regulator will conduct a formal investigation, it said:

“Given the potential harm to Ontario investors, we are looking into this matter.”

The OSC’s role, as the Ontario provincial arm of the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) is to protect regional investors. In its “2018-2019 Statement of Priorities,” the body committed to “innovative regulation” of cryptocurrencies and actively encourages fintech start-ups in the province.

Canada has yet to beef up crypto regulation and add a more comprehensive legislative framework for the sector. But it has also taken action against illicit ICO offerings and the OSC may well decide to pursue QuadrigaCX further.

Allan Goodman, co-chair of a technology group at Goodmans LLP believes the OSC would first check if QuadrigaCX has breached securities laws in Canada. He stated:

“For example, should (Quadriga) have been registered as an exchange and were any securities laws breached with respect to the trading of the coins on the exchange?”

Earlier, the British Colombia Securities Commission (BCSC) said QuadrigaCX was outside of its jurisdiction. It will take no action to benefit those affected.

A BCSC spokesperson told Bloomberg in an email:

“[BCSC] does not currently have any indication that Quadriga CX, the crypto asset trading platform, was trading in securities or derivatives or operated as a marketplace or exchange under British Columbia securities laws.”

QuadrigaCX – An Elaborate Scam or an Unprecedented, Unexpected, Scenario?

The QuadrigaCX scandal is unprecedented. Its founder Gerald Cotten, reportedly the only person with access to QuadrigaCX cryptocurrency cold storage died suddenly in India. There were no protocols in place to allow another QuadrigaCX employee access and now no one can reach the $190 million belonging to QuadrigaCX users.

There is ongoing speculation about whether Cotton is really dead. Or if this could be some elaborate scam, as well as if QuadrigaCX really held cryptocurrency balances in cold storage.

One user, Ethan Lou, with $2,000 invested in the platform and who met with Cotten in 2014, writing for the Toronto Star says:

“Cotten’s death in India is suspicious. Vancouver’s Quadriga had been having cash-flow problems for months. Twelve days before Cotten’s death, the man made a detailed will, including money for his Chihuahua dogs — how did he neglect his laptop password?”

Last Tuesday, a judge gave QuadrigaCX a 30 day stay on claims from creditors and potential lawsuits while the exchange continues to try to gain access to Cotton’s laptop and the millions in lost cryptocurrency.


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Author: Melanie Kramer 
Image Credit: Source: Shutterstock

Bitcoin Bulls Stampede Past $3,700 & Wider Crypto Market Rallies with Them

Everyone knew a breakout was coming. A tight trading pattern lasted for weeks, which is almost always a precursor to big activity, one way or the other. In the case of Bitcoin and most everything else in the crypto market over the past 24-hours, things went very positive.

Bears lost their stranglehold on the market and plenty of short positions were likely vaporized. Traders in recent weeks had become accustomed to movements of sometimes less than $100 in a whole day. Like as not, plenty of positions were primed for movements of that size. But virtually every market saw Bitcoin go over $3,700 in the past 24 hours, and the rest of the market is lifted as a result.

The increased valuation of Bitcoin had a side effect of bringing Ripple (XRP) back over $0.30. Ethereum’s rise to just under $120 wasn’t enough to launch it into the second spot in the market cap rankings, where Ripple currently sits. This reporter still feels bearish about XRP, at least for the interim. Mass adoption is an important vector in considering the prospects of cryptocurrencies.

Flippening Lite

Litecoin price
Source: Shutterstock

The other notable happening on the markets was the reshuffling of the top 5 by market capitalization. Litecoin displaced EOS for the fourth spot in the rankings.

Litecoin grew more on its own merit than it did by virtue of the overall market capitalization increase, which was significant. Yesterday, as this capture shows, the overall market cap of the top 10 cryptos was around $95 billion. Today it’s more like over $103 billion.

Judging by the green percentages all the way down the top 100 cryptocurrencies, the money wasn’t coming from other crypto markets. It’s new money. The only big question is: will it stay or run? If we’re in a true bull run, anything is possible. Let’s keep in mind that sharp pops in either direction can often precede massive breaks in the opposite direction.

Bitcoin Price Stampedes Past $3,700

After some faltering in the $3,800 range on Bitfinex, Bitcoin is still shuffling up 8%. This is hundreds of dollars per share, in old world terms, which is a significant change that any user will feel. The purchasing power of BTC has increased overnight.

Bitfinex traders used levers to propel the price consistently higher than other markets.

As we said before, the money doesn’t appear to be entering from other wings of the crypto market. Instead, it’s new money. Bitcoin wasn’t the biggest gainer today. Litecoin holds that mantle. But Bitcoin’s gains are serious.

Where will we be Monday? Hardened crypto traders will tell you that’s a long time away. There are plenty of people who bought the extended dip, after all, and could dump on the renewed strong market.

Ethereum Gets Some Breathing Room

Ethereum has officially shoved off the $100 mark, to the relief of everyone. Ether needs to retain a strong market capitalization to float the thousands of tokens it supports.

Goodbye, $100! Cheap Ether might be on the way out.

Versus Bitcoin, Ether pulled out all the stops at Coinbase. If this is an indication as to how trading will go for Bitcoin in the coming days, prepare for a wild ride.

As we can see, most of the price shifts took place this morning. Could there be a psychological aspect to this? Everyone’s been expecting a big movement. At the same time, a comfortable majority of investors believe in the strength of crypto assets. Perhaps a few small changes catalyzed the bigger movements. Deeper data would need to be made public by Coinbase.

Perhaps in the future when decentralized exchanges are the rule of the day, we’ll be better able to analyze the size of the trades that actually precipitate these types of changes.

Litecoin is Absolutely Killing It

Litecoin’s been playing possum, it seems. Hovering around $30 over the past several weeks, with an occasional dip to $28 or on some markets worse, we were curious what would happen if Bitcoin’s price continued its downward trend but Litecoin’s didn’t.

Litecoin’s volume was double the norm. It also sustained double the gains of Bitcoin percentage-wise. The exercise shows Litecoin is no longer as reliant on Bitcoin as it was.

What we saw today was a similar story, however. Litecoin gained a lot more than any other top 10 crypto. By and large, on a day like this, you can attribute rises to the rise of Bitcoin itself. But Litecoin added half a billion. Charlie Lee reportedly increased confidence in Litecoin with his note that confidential transactions – the type available on Monero or Zcash (or even MimbleWimble) – are coming to LTC.

Litecoin’s future seems bright. It’s managing to maintain its price targets over massive trading volumes. The 24-hour volume for Litecoin was double the usual, at $1.5 billion. If this becomes the new norm, the next move for Litecoin could be back to the #2 market cap spot it hasn’t held for years.


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Author: P.H. Madore 
Image Credit: Featured Image from Shutterstock. Price Charts from TradingView.

$136 Million in Missing Crypto From QuadrigaCX Could be Gone Forever: WSJ

Canada’s largest digital asset exchange QuadrigaCX has claimed to have lost more than $136 million worth of crypto in cold wallets controlled by its CEO Gerald Cotten.

In an official affidavit filed with the Nova Scotia Supreme Court by Jennifer Robertson, the widow of Cotten, Robertson claimed Cotten passed away in India with the sole control over user funds.

Affidavit Filed With Nova Scotia Supreme Court, Source: CoinDesk.com

On February 6, at a court hearing, the exchange confirmed that it has lost 250 million CAD, roughly $188 million in user funds, mostly in crypto and partially in fiat, which the exchange still cannot access.

According to CBC, a Canadian mainstream media outlet, 116,000 users of QuadrigaCX are currently left without their funds.

Controversy Intensifies, Missing Crypto May Be Gone, Not Locked

On Thursday, The Wall Street Journal reported that there exists a possibility the missing cryptocurrencies from QuadrigaCX may be missing, not locked in cold wallets.

Several researchers including James Edwards, an editor at Zerononcense, suggested that there is no evidence to prove the existence of QuadrigaCX’s cold wallets.

Most of the main wallets, those identified to date, are said to have processed the types of transactions that are normally not settled through cold wallets.

Cryptocurrency exchanges often go extra lengths to secure their cold wallets, which are offline wallets containing digital assets. To ensure the majority of user funds are out of the reach of hackers, exchange utilizes cold wallets to store most of its funds.

When a cold wallet transaction is initiated, as seen in one transaction initiated by Binance in November 2018, the transaction typically involves many millions of dollars.

Source: Blockchain.com

However, most transactions initiated by the main wallets of QuadrigaCX were small in size and were processed at a rate in which it is difficult to justify they were cold wallets.

According to WSJ, researcher James Edwards obtained 50 accounts of QuadrigaCX clients and carried out an analysis of the addresses. Edwards could not link any of the addresses to the cold wallet QuadrigaCX is referring to.

The report published by Edwards read:

“Based on the analysis of dozens of aggregated wallet addresses and transaction IDs for bitcoin withdrawals and deposits on the exchange, there is no evidence that a cold wallet for QuadrigaCX is currently in existence.”

Speaking to CCN, MyCrypto CEO Taylor Monahan also suggested that there may be no cold wallets in existence for the Ethereum holdings.

While Monahan emphasized that one main wallet holding 500,000 transactions is yet to be analyzed, it is highly unlikely that it is a cold wallet.

“Oh, and just in case you weren’t shaking your head enough, don’t forget that Quadriga ran an exchange with KYC. They have a pile of user’s KYC data. They could turn around and open an exchange account with any of that KYC data to move money,” she added.

No Report Can be Definitively Proven But Suspicions Remain

As David Jevans, the CEO of CipherTrace, said, it is not possible to definitively prove any of the claims against QuadrigaCX and its lack of cold wallets is accurate.

“In my opinion, that’s an impossibility to determine,” Jevans said, referring to the reports that have been published since the QuadrigaCX case went public.

But, if funds in the supposedly lost wallets of QuadrigaCX, which are traceable on the public blockchain networks of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other major crypto assets, then the story of QuadrigaCX could quickly fall apart.

For now, both investors and the cryptocurrency community are waiting on a thorough investigation to be completed in the QuadrigaCX situation.

The claims of researchers in the cryptocurrency sector are that if no cold wallets or reserves of the exchange cannot be identified, how would it be possible, whether it is the exchange or third-party firms to even attempt to recover millions of dollars in user funds?


Source
Author: Joseph Young
Image Credit: Source: Shutterstock

Why the Latest Bitcoin Dump Could Actually Launch the Crypto Market into Bullish Territory

The bitcoin price on Wednesday depreciated as much as 2.56 percent on the back of a stronger US dollar. Paradoxically, that might not be such a bad thing for the crypto market.

The bitcoin-to-dollar exchange rate (BTC/USD) bottomed at $3,340 on an intraday basis, while retesting the low of January 29 trading session. There was a little attempt from bulls to reverse the price action with the bearish bias intact. Nevertheless, the pair consolidated above $3,340, which served as an opportunity to reclaim $3,400 in the near-term.

Bitcoin’s Six Triangles

BITCOIN (BTC/USD) 4H | SOURCE: COINBASE, TRADINGVIEW.COM

In our previous analysis published Monday, we had predicted a bitcoin dump as the cryptocurrency’s volatility and volume went lower than normal. We also noted a strikingly similar pattern between bitcoin’s current and previous price actions. In this analysis, we aim to elaborate on the same to predict where the next bitcoin move could be.

In the Coinbase chart above, we can see bitcoin trending lower inside a falling wedge formation. Inside the wedge, the price consolidated inside a small symmetrical triangle (1). It attempted a breakout that eventually failed to blossom. The price reversed and formed a large bear flag, then continued to consolidate again inside a new symmetric triangle (2). The price action repeated four times, excluding the current scenario (6) which has yet to mature.

A Closer Look at the Bitcoin Price

Let’s have a closer look at the same chart.

BITCOIN (BTC/USD) 4H | SOURCE: COINBASE, TRADINGVIEW.COM

As period 6 develops, bitcoin could form a smaller symmetrical triangle as it attempts to retest the falling wedge resistance to the upside (depicted as a dotted falling trendline). Meanwhile, the price would keep pressure on $3,430 to remain its interim resistance. Based on the previous price actions, bitcoin should continue its downside momentum. However, as we are reaching the apex of the falling wedge, the price should technically attempt a strong upside breakout action.

As we wrote in our previous analysis:

“Technically, a falling wedge pattern is a bullish indicator. It begins broadly at the top but squeezes as the asset moves lower while forming reaction highs and reactions lows that eventually converge. Upon closing in towards the cone’s apex, the asset undergoes a resistance breakout to find a new support area.”

Consequently, there is a strong chance for bitcoin to break above its wedge pattern on the next upside move. Traders should watch out for reversal indicators such as a doji — which occurs when a candle has an open and close at the same price — coupled with a spike in trading volume.

Conversely, an extended downside action would push the bitcoin price towards $3,100 – the current bottom level.


Source
Author: Yashu Gola 
Image Credit: Featured Image from Shutterstock. Charts from TradingView.