It’s no secret that mainstream financial experts are seldomly big fans of cryptocurrency, and they are often one of the primary groups that vocalizes that largest amount of qualms with the nascent technologies. One example of this is Kevin O’Leary, co-founder of O’Leary funds and SoftKey, who is perhaps best known for his role as a shark on the popular television Shark Tank, who recently called Bitcoin (BTC) “garbage.”Despite this, one legendary investor who was previously ardently against Bitcoin is now flipping bullish on the cryptocurrency, saying that it is “alike and well,” a statement that is a far cry from his previous designation of Bitcoin as simply a massive bubble.Mark Mobius Says Bitcoin is “Alive and Well” in a Recent InterviewMobius, who is an emerging markets fund manager and the founder of Mobius Capital Partners LLP, was recently asked to share his thoughts on Bitcoin in a recent interview with Bloomberg, where he referenced the desire people have to seamlessly transfer money around the world as one reason the crypto is going to survive in the long-term.“There’s definitely a desire among people around the world to be able to transfer money easily and confidentially. That is really the backing to Bitcoin and other currencies of that type. So I believe it’s going to be alive and well,” Mobius explained.Despite sharing a seemingly bullish sentiment, he further noted that one must be “very careful” when investing in cryptocurrencies, citing their massive volatility as one reason why he still has not added any to his portfolio.“Whether I would invest in it is another question, because it has incredible volatility and at the end of the day, you can’t trace one individual or group or organization that would keep track of what is going on,” Mobius noted, referencing several massive exchange hacks that had the potential of significantly harming investors.Could Financial Big Shots Begin Foraying into BTC and the Crypto Markets?Mati Greenspan, the senior market analyst at eToro, spoke about Mobius’ comments in a recent email, explaining that the crypto market’s volatility should actually be seen as an attractive aspect of crypto for fund managers.“Mobius has not yet himself invested in bitcoin due to the extreme volatility. Mark!!… The volatility is one of the most attractive qualities of crypto from an asset managers perspective. The idea of asymmetric risk allows us to use this unique and uncorrelated asset class to greatly increase our return on risk in any otherwise well-diversified portfolio… I believe that one day soon asset managers around the world will diversify with crypto,” Greenspan explained.As the persistant Bitcoin bear market comes to an end and the crypto’s bulls begin to awake from their year-long slumber, it is highly likely that the world will once again shine a spotlight on BTC that may lead more prominent investors to foray into the markets.Featured image from Shutterstock.
Archives for May 16, 2019
By CCN: Coinbase CEO Brain Armstrong conducted a live YouTube AMA today from the company’s New York offices. Presumably, he’s in town for blockchain week, which brought him away from the San Francisco headquarters.
Armstrong answered several questions in the session, beginning with one regarding “community trust ratings” for altcoins. Armstrong said that crypto is much like the internet: as more options emerge, better mechanisms of finding the actual high-quality projects need to come along. He pointed out that Yahoo began by manually indexing the web, but later things like PageRank started. He likened the experience to shopping and the issues associated with customer reviews.
“The most important thing to understand about the cryptoeconomy is that we’re not simply righting the wrongs of finance 1.0. We’re creating an entirely new way to access financial services.” @brian_armstrong shares his vision for the future of cryptoeconomy from #consensus2019 pic.twitter.com/NOg3XbEt3V
— Coinbase (@coinbase) May 15, 2019
Margin Trading Eventually Coming to Coinbase Pro
Then a much more interesting discussion came up around margin trading. Armstrong said that as far as he knows, it’s one of the most requested features. He said a lot of exchanges are offering leveraged trading and doing well with it, “so there’s clearly a market demand for that.” When it comes to providing such a product to consumers, there are regulatory issues to consider. Coinbase is aiming to become a global exchange, which means it’s best products will have to meet the lowest common denominator of regulatory standards. He told viewers that it’s something they’re considering, but there’s no real movement on it yet.
“This is one of those products where you have to innovate not just on the technology, but also on the regulatory side.”
Coinbase Card Expanding to the U.S.
He had some revealing things to say about Coinbase’s fraud prevention program.
Answering a question about why there is a five-day hold on GBP-based accounts, Armstrong said:
“Unfortunately, there’s people out there who trade in stolen bank accounts and credentials, and they often come and try to use them. That’s why in actually making a fiat-to-crypto exchange, one of the hardest things to do is fraud prevention, in addition to the security and regulation. We put holds up there because we’re waiting to see if we get chargebacks from fraudulent accounts. The fraud rate is something we measure really carefully, because it ever gets out of hand, I mean, it can wipe our entire margin from the fee that we charge for these things.
“Fiat-to-crypto through these kinds of reversible payment methods is a really difficult and expensive business. It’s part of why I’m so excited about crypto, because if you’re in a world where people have crypto in the future, a lot of these problems go away. For instance, you can make an irreversible transaction where it makes sense, or you can do the payment in real time, where it arrives in a few seconds instead of two or three days.”
There Will Be a Token for Pretty Much Everything
According to Armstrong:
“A directory kind of works when there are less than 100 or less than 1,000 of something, but quickly the number of pages on the internet grew to be in the millions and then billions. So you needed search engines, and you need things like PageRank to try to surface the best results.”
He went on to say:
“Another analogy is Amazon.com, which has millions of products. There might be a product that has two out of five stars, and you can decide if you want to buy it or not, but the best products get surfaced to the top once there are millions of something. And we are moving to a world where there’s going to be probably five or six major cryptocurrencies that are doing a lot of the payment volume, but there’ll be millions of tokens out there. One for every company, or project, or community, or non-profit.
“So we’re very quickly going to end up in a world, and you can see the beginnings of this – Coinbase has asset pages, where you can go read a little bit of information about each different type of asset out there, but you can see a world very quickly where those need to have ratings and reviews, and some kind of equivalent like PageRank, where it looks at maybe hundreds of factors to try and surface best assets out there when you search for something. It’s not just companies. You’re going to see assets issued for specific funds where people want to raise money, all kinds of security tokens and stuff like that.”
Armstrong hinted that Coinbase may soon have improved price alerts for the assets that it lists, but they haven’t rolled that feature out yet because they don’t want it to be “annoying.”
The Bitcoin price has started 2019 off in fine form. Since reaching the $3,200 price point last December, which some have been calling this cycle’s ultimate bottom, the value of BTC has surged around 150% in just six months. With the price of most other crypto assets also increasing in recent weeks relative to the U.S. dollar, many analysts have declared that the current price action looks like the early stages of a new bull market.There are increasing signals that they might be correct too. Terms such as “Bitcoin”, “Coinbase”, and “Blockchain” have been trending across various online search platforms and technical analysis is pointing towards the theory that there is upside to come.Have the Bitcoin Bears Finally Been Vanquished?There is a growing body of evidence to suggest that the Bitcoin price could finally be ready to make a prolonged move to the upside once again. The price has been generally on an upward trend since it sank as low as $3,200 in December 2018.Just recently, however, there has been a much more dramatic price increase than we have seen since the days of 2017. During April and the start of May, Bitcoin’s price more than doubled to a yearly high of $8,320 (according to CoinMarketCap). It has since dropped back to just below $8,000 as of the time of writing.The rising prices have been accompanied by other signs that new money might be ready to get back into the Bitcoin and crypto asset markets. One indicator of such investor confidence is the fact that wallet software is trending hard in the Apple wallet store.Both Coinbase and Blockchain’s software are now listed as trending in the popular application store. This was highlighted by Twitter user Cryptorae recently:Trending now: “Coinbase” and “Blockchain”. Not sure I’m ready for this. pic.twitter.com/mRGgcr8RWO— rae (@cryptorae) May 14, 2019A related signifier that there is renewed interest in crypto relates to trending searches on the well-known search engine Google. According to data from the technology giant, the term “Bitcoin” is currently being searched for three times as often as it was just three weeks ago. It is still nowhere near as high as it was during the peak of the 2017 bull market but it is a clear sign that those less familiar with the technology are becoming interested either again or for the first time.Crypto pundits have posited some theories as to why interest might be on the rise once again. RT’s Max Keiser believes recent financial policies initiated by the US have made the sound monetary policy offered by Bitcoin highly attractive once again. He also states that during this bull market, institutions are likely to fear missing out just as much as retail did in 2017. This could lead to the $100,000+ Bitcoin he has been calling for as clients of Fidelity, Bakkt, and TD Ameritrade all scramble against retail investors to buy up the increasingly scarce crypto asset.Technical analysis also appears to be pointing towards more upside too. One trader and CEO of coding firm NodeSource, Joe McCann, highlighted that Bitcoin’s 200-day moving average recently moved into an upward-facing position. Previous times this has happened — in 2012 and 2015 — huge run-ups in the value of cryptocurrencies have been observed. The trader says we could be looking at a “prolonged bull market”.Judging from the technicals, along with clues into current levels interest in Bitcoin and crypto provided by trending searches at Google and Apple, the likes of Keiser, McCann, and others might be right in their bullishness. There might finally have been enough healing time for investors’ appetites for risk to have returned.Related Reading: Moving Averages Will Be Key In Bitcoin’s Next Move, What Are The BTC Pullback Prices?Featured Image from Shutterstock.
Kik’s CEO says the company has spent $5 million engaging with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over what the regulator claims was an unregistered securities sale.
Kik, a messaging platform founded by Canadian entrepreneur Ted Livingston in 2010, raised $98 million in an initial coin offering (ICO) at the end of 2017 to support its kin cryptocurrency and ecosystem. The SEC later indicated the sale may have violated U.S. securities laws, and that SEC staff would recommend bringing an enforcement action against the company.
On Thursday, Livingston told CoinDesk at Token Summit in New York that this hasn’t happened yet, but that both his firm and the regulator have been in talks since late 2017.
“We’ve spent a lot of money on this, over $5 million,” he told CoinDesk. “We’ve spent a lot of time on this, we’ve spent the last 18 months traveling to Washington.”
In November 2018, the SEC filed a formal letter, known as a Wells notice. In Kik’s response to the SEC, the company highlighted a clause in existing law that says currencies are not securities, a comment Livingston echoed Thursday.
Livingston maintains that kin is being used as a currency, adding:
“In the last month alone, over a million people earned kin from 40 different apps, from 40 different companies. Over a quarter million people used kin, making it the most-used cryptocurrency in the world, and they’re not even willing to say that’s not a security.”
“It just continues to drag out,” he said.
While Livingston said he does not have any plans to sue the SEC for greater regulatory clarity, he did say the agency needs to provide clear guidance.
“Enough is enough, you’ve been promising clarity for years now, somebody needs to go to court and get this settled,” he said.
Livingston said he does want to work with the SEC, however.
Addressing the securities regulator, he said:
“We want to find a win-win with you, we understand the tough position you’re in, but at the same time innovation needs to move forward.”
Regulatory uncertainty may be holding back the U.S. cryptocurrency industry, Livingston and others have argued during Blockchain Week. Developers need to pause as they try to determine what regulatory agencies might think of a particular innovation or process, he said, which slows down work.
Indeed, many companies may be afraid of regulatory action, with only one “no-action” letter issued by the SEC to date.
Competition is another issue, Livingston said.
“You have companies like Binance, who look at what Coinbase does and say, ‘We’ll do that but we’ll do it everywhere but the U.S.’ – and now Binance has replaced Coinbase as the top exchange in the world,” he explained, adding:
“We do not want to get Binance’d.”
Ted Livingston speaks at an event in New York, photo by Brady Dale for CoinDesk
By CCN: John McAfee is famous for predicting that the bitcoin price will hit $1,000,000 at some point or he’ll eat his own appendage. What you might not know is that he dislikes Ethereum and doesn’t even care that much for BTC, either. Yes, the reason is as silly as you might have hoped. Meanwhile, similar to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, McAfee has a soft spot for meme-fueled cryptocurrency Dogecoin.
Folks asking my opinion of Ethereum:
Well . . .. Frankly, I prefer one syllable coins and am not fond of Ethereum’s spelling. Additionally, many of my friends who hold Ethereum dress oddly. And, of course, Buterin looks underfed to me. But do not take this as investment advice.
— John McAfee (@officialmcafee) May 15, 2019
John McAfee Is “Merely Predicting” Bitcoin’s Rise, Doesn’t Care For It
He’s got a point. Ethereum is a mouthful. His methodology also brings bitcoin into his crosshairs, and it turns out despite his bullish attitude for the price, McAfee has always been a Doge man.
Did I say I liked it? Merely predicting its rise. The name itself connotes “Tiny Coin”. My friends own hearty sounding coins, or adorable coins like “Doge”. I could cop out of course and say “BTC” but then that’s three syllables and would demonstrate my ignorance.
— John McAfee (@officialmcafee) May 15, 2019
If we analyze this extremely complex methodology, certain truths arise. Buterin is certainly a slender man and as it turns out on occasion fits the profile of dressing oddly.
Aha!!!! Mimicking the God of Ethereum. That explains it.
— John McAfee (@officialmcafee) May 15, 2019
Crypto Community Adores John McAfee Wisdom
I’m not sure we need much more proof than that photo to understand John McAfee’s concerns. It is refreshing to see the tech provocateur giving us some meaningful insight like this. After the Satoshi Nakamoto storyline fizzled out, things had been a little dull on planet McAfee.
Ethereum Price Buoyant Despite Investors Strange Clothing/Buterin’s Weight
Despite John’s concerns, the price of Ethereum has been going wild. Currently trading around $265, ETH/USD has been riding on bitcoin’s coattails to significant effect. News that a little more than 350 individuals control 1/3 of the supply of ETH has done little to dissuade investors from piling into BTC’s more volatile offspring. There are evidently plenty of strangely dressed individuals to keep the price well supported.
McAfee’s Hearty Sounding Coins Are Elusive
We can only speculate on which “hearty sounding coins” McAfee’s friends use. Certainly, Nano is out. Nothing about Litecoin sounds meaty. Anything with “bit” in it fails the test, so the bitcoin spinoffs are gone. Digibyte sounds microscopic. Meticulous research brings us to No. 19 on CoinMarketCap, as it is evident that John McAfee must be talking about Cosmos. What could be heartier than a name meaning “the universe seen as a well-ordered whole”? But alas, on closer inspection, Cosmos’ symbol is the sub-microscopic ATOM.
If anyone can compile a list of the meatiest coin names, it could be a great investment aid. Unfortunately, unless McAfee helps us out all we can do is “hodl” Doge and hope for another tip. Can you imagine how much John must like Fat Doge?
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.
Polinex announced that it will prevent US buyers from purchasing nine crypto assets. Polinex said that the assets – ARDR, BCN, DCR, GAME, GAS, LSK, NXT, OMNI, and REP – are dangerously close to being securities under US law. Non-US buyers will still have access to the tokens.
“It is not possible to be certain whether US regulators will consider these assets to be securities,” they wrote in a Medium post.
US customers holding balances in ARDR, BCN, DCR, GAME, GAS, LSK, NXT, OMNI, and REP on Poloniex must finalize all trades and close any positions in these assets prior to May 29th. Once delisted, customers will be able to withdraw these assets from their wallet for as long as we support the asset globally.
US fintech company Circle acquired Polinex in February 2018. It appears the the new owners looked to clean how’s and found tokens like Game.com’s GAME and Lisk.io’s LISK are insufficiently covered by regulatory documentation to continue sales in the US.
Image via Polinex
Since the start of April, the price of the leading cryptocurrency by market cap has been parabolic, breaking key resistance level after another with relative ease, and inciting FOMO in the crypto market once again. Bitcoin has even stayed resilient in the face of some of the worst Tether FUD to hit the market and a hack of the most popular cryptocurrency exchange, Binance.
It raised $35 million in less than a minute in 2017, but Brave is now seeking more funding.
The privacy-centric internet browser is raising a Series A equity round, three sources with knowledge of the situation tell CoinDesk. Brave is looking to raise $30–$50 million at a valuation of roughly $133 million, the sources say.
The company first gained attention with its ad-blocking browser in 2016, after raising a $4.5 million seed round from the likes of Pantera Capital, Founders Fund and Digital Currency Group. Despite successes along the way, Brave showed signs early that its 2017 ICO might not be enough to fuel growth.
A Brave spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.
Zack Seward contributed reporting.
Brave image via Twitter
By CCN: Bitcoin’s breathtaking rally has dominated the headlines in recent weeks, but today it’s the second-largest cryptocurrency’s turn to enjoy the spotlight. The ethereum price surged as high as $281.77 on Thursday, launching ETH to an eight-month high.
Ethereum Price Finally Joins the Crypto Party
The cryptocurrency asset witnessed massive capital influx into its market when its frontrunner bitcoin began to correct from its overbought territory. The inverse correlation signified that bitcoin investors were hedging into the ether market, a theory further validated by ETH’s 16% appreciation against bitcoin in the last 24 hours, as shown in the chart below.
The bitcoin price, as CCN reported, doubled during a breakneck 45-day bull run, bringing its gains for 2019 to an impressive 119.26%. The move allowed the cryptocurrency to break above several crucial resistance targets, the last being $8,000, to reclaim a nine-month high of $8,391 on Bitstamp.
The ethereum price, meanwhile, held relatively flat. The cryptocurrency failed to catalyze a massive rally like bitcoin did – at least until May 11 when it suddenly popped more than 20%. The surprise upside movement matured into a full-fledged interim bull run, and ETH ultimately soared 63.59% in just six days.
Against $BTC: Very very bullish movements and broke the important 0.03 level. Needs to find support.
— Crypto Michaël (@CryptoMichNL) May 16, 2019
Notably, the bitcoin price corrected lower today, plunging more than 7.5% to an intraday low at $7,746. As of the time of writing, BTC/USD stood at $7,941 for a daily loss of around 2%.
Hardly Any New Money is Entering Ethereum
Ethereum’s sudden boom prompted many in the crypto media establishment to give credit the cryptocurrency’s improving fundamentals. The blockchain project received boosts from both Microsoft and JPMorgan, each of whom has interfaced with ethereum to various degrees. However, the majority of new money that entered the ETH markets came from other cryptocurrencies – not fiat.
The volume report of the past 24 hours showed that ETH/USD markets accounted for just 5.5% of all ethereum trading. Similarly, euro markets recorded just 1.13% of overall ETH volume.
More than 50% of all ethereum trading volume came from BTC and tether (USDT) markets, suggesting that traders were merely cashing in on arbitrage opportunities between bitcoin, ethereum, and various altcoins rather than bringing new money into the cryptocurrency market.
Disclosure: The author holds bitcoin, bitcoin cash, ethereum, litecoin, XLM, and BNB in his portfolio.
In an impeccable sign of the times, sources tell The Block that Coinbase may soon acquire Xapo, one of the first and most well-regarded Bitcoin custodians. This news has been divulged as data indicates that institutions are looking to siphon capital into the crypto asset space, thereby making custodians a necessity.Related Reading: Prominent Analyst: Trouble for Bitcoin if Price Corrects Below $7,500Coinbase & Fidelity Duke It Out Over XapoReported by The Block on Thursday morning, the San Francisco-based cryptocurrency giant Coinbase is “in advanced talks” to purchase Xapo, a Zurich-headquartered custodian that purportedly owns at least 5% of all BTC in circulation, worth billions of dollars. In fact, Xapo has been reported to store the Bitcoin in Grayscale’s Trust (over 1% in circulation) in military vaults in Switzerland, sequestered away in mountain ranges.Xapo, headed by “Patient Zero” Wences Casares, who adopted Bitcoin after he was slammed by multiple hyperinflations of the Argentinian Peso, is one of the earliest startups in the space, and has secured funding from Digital Currency Group, Winklevoss Capital, and Blockchain Capital.Sources, who are “people familiar with the matter”, tell the outlet that Coinbase has an offer of $50 million and added contingent “earn-outs” on the table, but that Xapo has yet to shake on the proposed deal. They add that Coinbase and Fidelity’s resident crypto division, Digital Assets, have been duking it out over this deal, which is massive in and of itself. So far, as hinted at, Coinbase has the lead and was quicker on the draw, as the budding startup looks to bolster its embryonic custody business in a renewed drive to appeal to institutional players.Related Reading: Here’s Why the Bitcoin Price May Not See a Big Correction At AllThis news comes after Coinbase has revealed that it really intends to delve into custody, citing growing interest from its institutional clients and contacts. Speaking at Consensus, Brian Armstrong, the technologist-turned-chief executive of Coinbase, revealed that his firm’s custodian crossed $1 billion worth of assets under management (AUM) this week, which was sourced from 70 institutions. Armstrong adds that this sum continues to grow by $150 million, signaling immense interest from the non-retail audience.And in a Q&A session held on Wednesday night, the entrepreneur noted that Coinbase Pro’s volume is now 60% institutional, furthering the narrative that his company should continue to focus on the needs of big names, which many believe will mature the cryptocurrency market.
Institutions Flood Into Bitcoin
This comes as data has revealed that institutional players are also jumping headfirst into cryptocurrency, downing a red pill if you will. On Monday, for instance, the CME’s Bitcoin futures vehicle saw 168,385 BTC worth of volume on Monday, up from February record of 91,690 BTC. In a similar fashion, the Digital Currency Group’s subsidiary Grayscale was revealed Monday to have seen its flagship product, its Bitcoin Trust, post $141 million in volume today on markets.
And Fidelity Investments revealed that institutions are widely amicable towards the digital asset class. Out of the “more than 400 U.S. institutional investors” polled, 47% agreed that cryptocurrencies should have a place in their portfolios.
But this begs the question, will improved custody solutions spark widespread “FOMO” from some of the bigger names in the institutional side of markets?
Featured Image from Shutterstock