Bitcoin price formed a support base near $3,370 and recovered higher above $3,450 against the US Dollar.There was a break above a major contracting triangle with resistance at $3,440 on the 4-hours chart of the BTC/USD pair (data feed from Kraken).The pair seems to be approaching a couple of important resistances near $3,500 and $3,510.Bitcoin price is slowly moving higher with positive signs against the US Dollar. However, BTC/USD is now approaching a significant hurdle near the $3,500 resistance zone.Bitcoin Price AnalysisThis past week, bitcoin price remained in a bearish zone below the $3,500 resistance against the US Dollar. The BTC/USD pair tested the $3,375 support area on the couple of occasions and later bounced back. The pair moved above the $3,400 and $3,420 resistance levels to start a decent recovery. The price also traded above the 23.6% Fib retracement level of the last decline from the $3,673 high to $3,346 low. There was a positive price action developed above the $3,440 resistance level.Moreover, there was a break above a major contracting triangle with resistance at $3,440 on the 4-hours chart of the BTC/USD pair. The price spiked above the $3,475 resistance level, but it remained well below the 100 simple moving average (4-hours). Besides, there was no test of the 50% Fib retracement level of the last decline from the $3,673 high to $3,346 low. Buyers failed to clear the $3,500 resistance area, which ignited bearish moves. At the outset, the price is trading near the $3,440 level, with supports near $3,420 and $3,400. If there is a downside break below $3,400, the price is likely to test the $3,350 and $3,320 levels.Looking at the chart, BTC price is clearly facing a solid resistance near the $3,500 level and the 100 SMA. As long as the price is trading below $3,500, there is a risk of a downside break in the near term.Technical indicators4-hours MACD – The MACD for BTC/USD is slightly placed in the bullish zone.4-hours RSI (Relative Strength Index) – The RSI for BTC/USD is currently well above the 50 level.Major Support Level – $3,400Major Resistance Level – $3,500
Archives for February 2, 2019
ETH price recovered a few points, but it is facing a lot of hurdles near $114 against the US Dollar.There was a break above a major bearish trend line with resistance at $107 on the 4-hours chart of ETH/USD (data feed via Kraken).The pair is likely to accelerate higher if it succeeds in surpassing the $114 and $115 resistance levels.Ethereum price is showing a few positive signs versus the US Dollar and Bitcoin. ETH/USD must break the $114 resistance to stay in the positive zone in the near term.Ethereum Price AnalysisRecently, we saw a couple of swing moves in ETH price above the $102 and $104 levels against the US Dollar. Later, the ETH/USD pair formed a decent support above $104 and started an upward move. The pair gained momentum above the $104 and $107 resistance levels. Moreover, there was a break above the 23.6% Fib retracement level of the last decline from the $117 high to $101 swing low. The price traded with a positive bias above the $105 pivot zone.Moreover, there was a break above a major bearish trend line with resistance at $107 on the 4-hours chart of ETH/USD. The pair tested the $109-110 resistance area where sellers emerged. Moreover, the price also failed near the 50% Fib retracement level of the last decline from the $117 high to $101 swing low. At the moment, the price action is positive above $107, but ETH is facing a lot of hurdles near the $109 and $112 resistance levels. More importantly, the 100 hourly simple moving average is also near the $112 level to act as a solid hurdle. Finally, the 61.8% Fib retracement level of the last decline from the $117 high to $101 swing low is at $112. Therefore, the price must break the $112-114 resistance area for an upside acceleration.The above chart indicates that ETH price made a nice upward move above the $107 resistance. However, a proper close above $114 is needed for more gains in the near term.Technical Indicators4-hours MACD – The MACD for ETH/USD is slowly gaining pace in the bullish zone.4-hours RSI – The RSI for ETH/USD is currently placed nicely above the 50 level.Major Support Level – $107Major Resistance Level – $114
Within a decade since its launch in 2009, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s fintech company Square has transformed into a $29 billion digital payments giant and the go-to platform for users to send and receive money and buy Bitcoin.
On February 3, Dorsey revealed that Square Cash (also known as Cash App), one of the most widely utilized mobile payment applications in the U.S. market, became the 2nd most popular free mobile application on the Apple App Store.
How Did Square Grow so Quickly?
Like any fast-growing startup, it targeted a niche market in merchants without access to point-of-sale (PoS) terminals and credit card payments.
Previously, it was reportedly illegal for non-registered merchants to accept credit card payments and it was difficult for small businesses to obtain access to financial services.
After its successful start as a merchant-focused payment processor, the company expanded to peer-to-peer mobile payments, releasing Square Cash.
Although some analysts claim that the Bitcoin integration of Square Cash has been overplayed by the media, it has played a vital role in attracting new generation and millennial users.
In November 2017, when Square Cash initially enabled users to buy Bitcoin on the mobile app, the company was valued at $16 billion.
Fast forward 13 months, even after the correction of the U.S. market in late 2018, the firm is valued at $29 billion, $13 billion higher than in 2017.
Square Cash’s core business model relies on its mobile payment application that allows users to send and receive payments instantly with low costs.
But, the integration of Bitcoin by the company strengthened the image of the platform as a forward-looking and innovative mobile application.
Earlier this week, on the Joe Rogan Podcast, Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey said that while he does not know whether Bitcoin will definitively become the currency of the internet, he believes it could be Bitcoin given its performance to date.
“I believe the Internet will have a native currency and I don’t know if it’s Bitcoin. I think it will be [Bitcoin] given all the tests it has been through and the principles behind it, how it was created. It was something that was born on the Internet, was developed on the Internet, was tested on the Internet, [and] it is of the Internet.”
In previous interviews, Jack Dorsey stated that Bitcoin has the potential to become the world’s single currency in ten years, projecting optimism towards its long-term growth.
Can Bitcoin-Friendly Square Sustain its Growth Rate?
— jack (@jack) February 2, 2019
Wall Street analysts foresee Square performing strongly throughout the years to come with the company’s focus on innovation.
Its most recent product, the Square Card, a Mastercard for merchants, has been described as “genius” as it allows merchants to withdraw or use funds as soon as they arrive through the app.
In consideration of the reception of the new product, Citigroup analyst Peter Christiansen told Barron’s that new products would continue to help the company move forward and experience rapid growth.
“[New products]such as Debit Card for Business and Installments, as well as continued cash app/card growth and overall ecosystem expansion help to mitigate the anticipated deceleration in mid-2019,” Christiansen said.
On January 3, the digital payments giant hired Amrita Ahuja as the company’s new chief financial officer, a former CFO of Blizzard Entertainment, to assist the company in building and scaling.
“Amrita brings the ability to consider and balance opportunities across our entire business, and she will help strengthen our discipline as we invest, build, and scale,” Dorsey said at the time.
As the company strengthens its dominance in the merchant and mobile payments sector, analysts expect the firm to continue seeing growth in multiple areas of the business, including its Bitcoin venture and the newly released debit card.
Jack Dorsey Image from REUTERS / Anushree Fadnavis / File Photo
The crypto downturn may have continued to ravage this industry’s startups, with an exchange even deciding to shutter all operations, but one facet of this nascent sector has continued to swell. For those who missed the memo, this facet is the Lightning Network, an off-chain system that facilitates instant, low-cost, scalable Bitcoin transactions.Related Reading: Bitcoin Lightning Network Booms Amid “Crypto Winter”Lightning Network Capacity Surmounts 600 BTCPer data gathered by 1ML, the Lightning Network has surmounted a capacity of 600 BTC, just weeks after it breached the 500 BTC milestone. As of the time of writing, the scaling system can facilitate upwards of 628 BTC, $2.18 million, at maximum capacity.While some skeptics, like Ethereum’s Eric Conner, took to Twitter to critique the seemingly low levels of Lighting adoption, many say that the lackluster capacity figures are for good reason. Moreover, seeing that Lightning has worked (and quite well at that), some see skepticism towards the Bitcoin protocol as warrantless.In response to Conner’s quip about Lightning, in which he stated that 2,000,000 Ether (~$200 million) is locked in decentralized finance protocols, Elizabeth Stark of Lightning Labs noted that the scaling system is still in beta, adding that certain channels are intentionally-limited to facilitate a low sum of BTC. Udi Wertheimer, a leading cryptocurrency programmer, explained that the anti-Lightning comment is “idiotic,” noting that Conner’s use of “stupid metrics” is unjustified.Bitcoin Trust Chain Sparks Positive Community ResponseThe Lightning Network’s swelling capacity hasn’t been the only industry occurrence that has Bitcoin’s biggest fans buzzing.One week back, Hodlonaut, a Lighting Network crusader and self-proclaimed “HODLer,” took to his Twitter page to start an interesting community-run initiative. In a tweet that has since garnered traction, the Bitcoin enthusiast noted that he wanted Lighting-friendly users to start a chain, whereas participants would send marginally more BTC with each so-called “hop” on the scaling solution.While the initiative wasn’t originally named, it became known as the Trust Chain as some of the crypto space’s most prominent influencers threw their hat in on the matter. Participants included Anthony “Pomp” Pompliano, the founder of Morgan Creek Digital Assets, Klaus Lovgreen, and John Carvalho of Bitrefill.Marty Bent, a long-time Bitcoin-centric content creator, recently commented on the Lightning Network’s potential in a recent tweet. Speaking on his participation in the Trust Chain event, which has now facilitated 1.6 BTC in transactions from 122 participants, Bent remarked that he was sent $90 in cryptocurrency “instantly, with basically no-fee, no intermediary, and no chance of being censored.Crazy to think that someone from Singapore just sent me $90 (2.6M sats) instantly, with basically no-fee, no intermediary, and no chance of being censored.Bitcoin is inevitable. Most of the world doesn’t realize this. You have an edge if you do. https://t.co/fyp4jz5bQv— Marty Bent (@MartyBent) February 2, 2019And with this in mind, Bent briefly touched on Bitcoin’s long-term potential, noting that the network’s rise to power, as it were, is inevitable. The recent Trust Chain torch holder’s comment comes just weeks after Travis Kling, the head of Ikigai, also remarked that there is an inevitability to Bitcoin. The Trust Chain seems to still be running hot, but who will take the helm next?Bitfury Group, a leading industry upstart, recently unveiled products and ventures that could bolster Lightning’s adoption in the weeks to come. In an announcement covered by NewsBTC, Bitfury revealed that it will begin pushing an open-source LN wallet, a hardware terminal, an e-commerce integration for merchants, and a suite of developer tools to build on the scaling system.Featured Image from Shutterstock
In a Thursday interview on CNBC show Mad Money with Jim Kramer, Sen. Elizabeth Warren came out swinging against billionaires, saying:
“You know that top one-tenth of 1 percent this year, taxes all in, they’re gonna pay about 3.2 percent of their total worth in taxes to help keep everything running around here. You know what the 99 percent is gonna pay this year? They’re gonna pay about 7.2 percent of their wealth. That’s more than twice as much.”
But Elizabeth Warren’s numbers are very misleading.
According to the available IRS tax data, the very richest people in America–– the top 0.001 percent–– have consistently paid an average federal tax rate of 23.93% over the last ten years. And all Americans making $2 million or more in annual income pay an average effective tax rate of 27%. So what Sen. Warren said simply isn’t true.
Why the smaller percentage for the very richest Americans?
Because more of their income is dividends from capital gains, which is taxed at 20 percent. Warren might argue that it’s unfair for billionaires to pay a lower tax on their capital gains than high-income earners pay on their salaries, but the income from capital gains is money that was already taxed once at the corporate level.
Elizabeth Warren: Billionaires Are Freeloaders
“I want these billionaires to stop being freeloaders. I want them to pick up their fair share. That’s how we make a system that works not just for the rich and the powerful but works for all of us.”
This characterization that Elizabeth Warren made of billionaires as freeloaders is wrong too. Billionaires are far from freeloaders. They made all of us wealthier on their way to earning three commas in their net worth, by being the creative force behind the ideas and commercial enterprises that create massive amounts of wealth.
Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, the late Steve Jobs, Warren Buffett, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, the late Sam Walton– none of these great men ever got a single dollar in their pocket that someone didn’t willingly give to them in exchange for something of greater value, according to each individual payor’s own judgment, something that made them richer than keeping the money in their own pocket.
“Look, all I’m asking for is a little slice from the tippy-tippy-top. A slice that would raise—and this is the shocking part—about $2.75 trillion over the next 10 years. That’s money we need so that every kid in this country has a decent childcare opportunity, has an opportunity for pre-K, has an opportunity for a decent school.”
Look, all I’m asking for is the United States federal government to comply with its own charter document, the U.S. Constitution, and stop unconstitutionally (i.e., illegally) starting education businesses using tax dollars taken from people’s earnings.
There’s nothing in Article I Section 8 about Congress appropriating money for daycare centers, so Amendment X to the Bill of Rights guarantees that is not a prerogative within the scope of the government’s powers.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Calls Billionaires Immoral
Sen. Warren’s Mad Money interview was a pile on after Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stated a week ago that any system which allows billionaires to exist while anyone lives in poverty is immoral.
But her statement is more like the cartoon character off the Monopoly board game box than a serious analysis of the role billionaires play in America’s society and economy.
It’s not their fault that anyone is poor, and poverty doesn’t exist because there are billionaires. We are all most certainly more wealthy because of the engines of economic productivity created by people who profited massively from them.
Howard Schultz Heckled For Being A Billionaire
Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz was very rudely heckled by a narcissistic attention seeker at Schultz’s first talk after announcing he would run for president of the United States as a moderate independent in 2020:
“Go back to Davos with the other billionaire elite who think they know how to run the world! That’s not what Democracy needs!”
Not what Democracy needs?
I’ll take a billionaire businessman who made a billion dollars selling people coffee over a millionaire law professor who goes on national television as a U.S. senator and quotes blatantly misleading tax statistics while stirring up Marxist class envy. Or a millionaire cop who made a million dollars locking people up for selling weed.
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.
Elizabeth Warren Image from Joseph Prezioso/AFP
The crypto markets have started the weekend off with a mixed trading session as Bitcoin continues to trade sideways at its current price level of $3,475. Although the markets have remained stable around their current price levels, some major cryptos, including Litecoin and Ethereum, may soon see upwards price surges.Although these cryptocurrencies may be showing some signs of bullishness, it is important to note that Bitcoin will likely have to maintain above $3,400, or surge above its resistance level at $3,500, in order for the markets to see a price surge of any significance.Ethereum May Soon Surge Based on Historical Price MovementsAnalysts have incredibly mixed feelings regarding Bitcoin’s current price action, with some analysts expecting BTC to drop back to its 2018 lows around $3,200, and other expecting it to build some upwards momentum in the near future.Because Bitcoin has been stable over the past few days, however, analysts are looking closely at how some major cryptocurrencies will trade in the near future, and many analysts expect Ethereum to possibly see some bullish momentum over short time frames.At the time of writing, Ethereum is trading up 1% at its current price of $107. Despite experiencing increased volatility this week, Ethereum has been able to hold above $100, which appears to be a strong level of support.Nik Patel, a popular cryptocurrency analyst on Twitter, recently pointed out that Ethereum typically surges when its price nears its 200-day moving average.“Just a little $ETH hopium: Notice how price has historically reacted around the Daily 200MA. A Daily close above both the MA and the trendline resistance is likely when we’ll get our long-term reversal,” he explained.Just a little $ETH hopium:Notice how price has historically reacted around the Daily 200MA.A Daily close above both the MA and the trendline resistance is likely when we’ll get our long-term reversal. pic.twitter.com/7HEqY2gUXf— Nik Patel (@cointradernik) February 2, 2019Analysts Also Cautiously Bullish on Litecoin Litecoin may also be showing some signs of bullishness in the near term, but it is pushing up against its resistance level which is leading many analysts to be cautious of their assessment of it.Analysts are cautiously bullish on Litecoin (LTC).At the time of writing, Litecoin is trading up over 1% at its current price of $33.14. Earlier this week, Litecoin bounced after touching $30, possibly establishing the price as a level of support.Trading Room, a popular cryptocurrency trading group on Twitter, noted in a recent tweet that Litecoin is moving up strongly Bitcoin and Ethereum recently, but it needs another upwards price surge in order to validate a bullish trend.“Litecoin is trending up strongly against $BTC & $ETH & will outperform both in short term… I am waiting for one impulse up move before jumping in #LTCUSD… That trend is still weak & needs a local area breakout,” they explained.#Litecoin is trending up strongly against $BTC & $ETH & will outperform both in short termI am waiting for one impulse up move before jumping in #LTCUSDThat trend is still weak & needs a local area breakout$LTC #BitcoinCheck Price Action Scanner: https://t.co/1ar2JOR1a8 pic.twitter.com/7dr9OOtE5c— Trading Room (@tradingroomapp) February 1, 2019Assuming that the crypto markets see increased levels of volatility as the weekend continues on, it is likely that analysts and traders alike will have a better idea of whether or not Ethereum and Litecoin could validate their potentially bullish setups over the coming week.Featured images from Shutterstock.
One of the most striking things about the cryptocurrency industry is people’s willingness to talk about it. As the CEO of Ledger, perhaps the most secure hardware wallet in the world, you might think that Eric Larchevêque would send a spokesperson on his behalf. Yet the professional, poised, and, above all, humble Larchevêque is always willing to talk–especially if it helps the advancement of the bitcoin industry.
The first time I spoke to him at a conference, I was still fairly new to the bitcoin industry and wet around the ears. As I trembled with my notes terrified of asking a stupid question, he smiled encouragingly, responding to everything I had to ask with no signs of impatience, irritation, or checking his watch–even if he had repeated himself constantly to other journalists throughout the day.
This time around, just after the unveiling of the Ledger Nano X at CES during the worst bitcoin bear market in the history of cryptocurrency, he was just as candid as ever.
Let’s Talk About Cryptocurrency Security
With the Cryptopia hack, security has been thrust into the limelight again. In fact, CCN reported this week that $1.7 billion of cryptocurrencies were stolen in 2018, with almost $1 billion of that from exchange hacks. After so many hacks, how is it possible that cryptocurrency users are still not properly protecting their funds?
“It has a lot to do with education,” Larchevêque admits, “not knowing what the best way is of protecting their funds. If you spend a lot of time on Reddit or reading blogs and educating yourself, then you know you need to use 2FA or get a hardware wallet and that you should not store funds on an exchange. But there are many users who do not take the time to educate themselves.
“When we have greater adoption, more people will take the time to learn about basic security principles. But for sure for the time being, hacks are going to continue and in the years to come the story will unfortunately repeat.”
“At our level, we are trying to do what we can to explain best practices but education is the biggest challenge that we are confronted with.”
Are Bitcoin Hardware Wallets Just Too Much Hassle?
Let’s assume that most cryptocurrency users have the necessary technical savvy to set up 2FA on their accounts. However, activating a hardware wallet like Ledger can be a cumbersome process. Is it just too much hassle?
“It’s a fair question. As a hardware wallet, we aim to be as simple as we can. But when you are your own bank you have a lot of steps to take, a lot of responsibilities. You have to make sure that all users take the time to understand what they are doing.”
“The notion of being your own bank is complex. Even with the easiest hardware wallet in the world, as long as the user has to take care of their own 24 words, it will always be challenging.”
“We are making a lot of progress with the hardware wallet interface and ease of use, but when it comes to the back up we are still in the stone age!”
“You still need to secure your 24 words, write them on a piece of paper or place them in a safe. So far, we didn’t find any easier use case for that. So I think it will always be a challenge for users because if they don’t understand the notion back up and the fact that it is critical to not share the 24 words with anyone, we will continue to have issues.”
“One of the easiest hacks is always social engineering. You have an issue with your hardware wallet, you want to find support, you look on Google, you find fake Ledger support, they ask you your 24 words to help you. And people give the 24 words! So it’s not just a question of being easy to use, it always comes back to education.”
Let’s Talk About the Ledger Nano X
The Ledger Nano X that caused quite a stir at CES in Las Vegas is available for pre-order. Unlike the Nano S, this hardware wallet is designed for users on the go, with added features like Bluetooth and a mobile app. So what was behind the features that the company added and what are their main goals with the Nano X?
“We want our users to be able to securely access cryptocurrencies wherever they are. Right now, with the Nano S if you want to make a payment in a store for instance, or if you are on the go and you want to exchange some funds with some friends you have to take out your laptop you have to connect.”
“So so we really wanted to have a hardware wallet that you can use on the go. That you can use with your iPhone or your Android phone.”
“That was a feature that our users had been asking for for a long time. So for us, it was clear that we had to bring a new generation of hardware wallet. The biggest feature of it is obviously Bluetooth, but the second is more memory.”
“One of the biggest drawbacks of the Nano S is that you cannot have more than 6 or 10 apps, but the Nano X has much more memory so we can bring a better experience and can help encourage wider adoption.”
The Pace of Cryptocurrency Adoption in France
On the subject of adoption, then, the last time we spoke, you mentioned that France did not have a really “big push” on crypto yet. Would you say that has changed at all with the recent protests and the Yellow Vests?
“Not really,” he replies in brutal honesty. “I think that this call to take the money out of the banks and the protester with the ‘Buy Bitcoin’ sign is something that’s been exaggerated a lot by the media.”
“The yellow vests do not really know about Bitcoin and they do not really think that cryptocurrency will solve their problems.”
“They only have a lot of issues with the money they get, with jobs, with social conditions, so it’s quite complex and wide. I am not sure that these protests have changed anything regarding the popularity of cryptocurrencies.”
“France is still not at the forefront of adoption regarding cryptocurrency. What is moving in the right direction is the stance from the government which beginning to regulate in a light manner.”
“For instance, for people who want to do ICOs, they put some regulation, but it’s an optional regulation. This is not something that you see in other jurisdictions. So it shows they are ready to innovate and to bring an intelligent approach so that projects can exist and scale in the right environment.”
Where you involved in that at all?
“Yes! In France, Ledger is seen as quite a big successful company in technology and in blockchain. So, of course, we spend time and resources in making sure that regulators understand what they are trying to regulate.”
“So again, it’s education and we are putting some kind of lobbying to make sure that the regulation and legislation makes sense and couldn’t negatively affect the business of Ledger.”
“We are very attentive to everything around regulation and cryptocurrency.”
— Mounir Mahjoubi (@mounir) October 9, 2018
Let’s Talk About the Bitcoin Bear Market and How That Impacts Demand
Bitcoin and cryptocurrency prices have a direct impact on demand for Ledger wallets, and any other hardware for that matter. At the start of 2018, Ledger raised $75 million in Series B funding and the company was getting ready to scale up. So, how are things looking now? How is Ledger weathering the crypto winter?
“For sure, it has an impact because when the price is down the presence in the mass media is much smaller. There is less traffic and fewer sales. So what we do is only good governance of the company.”
“We think we could have 12-24 more months of a bear market. Or some kind of nuclear winter in crypto. So we are just adapting the growth of the company to make sure we can withstand two years of bear market.”
“There is not much that we can do, we cannot impact the market, we cannot change the situation by ourselves. We are convinced that we are in a cycle, which means that sometime it will be a bullish market again. But at the same time, we feel that it may take some time.”
OK, so it’s just a case of growing sensibly?
“Yes exactly, it’s adapting the growth and investments of the company to make sure that we take into account a bear market.”
Ledger’s Solutions for Institutional Investors
OK, so how about the Ledger Vault? It was already ready last summer and you had a handful of customers. Are there more developments on that front?
“Yes, we launched [it last] summer into what we call ‘early access’ with 20 customers who worked with us to deploy the Ledger Vault. Now we have launched the Vault into production. We have released new versions and are moving forward with dozens and dozens of new customers.”
“Now it’s really about commercially deploying the solution globally. That’s why we opened Hong Kong and New York recently so we can have all the sales force to deploy and expose the Ledger Vault to all of our customers.”
Read more about the opening of the Hong Kong office here: https://t.co/c2kCPanaOh
— Ledger (@LedgerHQ) October 31, 2018
What types of customers are they?
“We have purely crypto hedge funds, of course, but there are also some financial institutions, some investment banks, some family offices, who really want to have a cryptocurrency back office.”
“Not only do they believe in crypto as some kind of investment vehicle but they also believe in the future of tokenization. That we will have some kind of bonds, stocks, securities or fiat money with tokens. And they want to prepare themselves by having the back office ready first.”
“That’s why despite the bear market, we continue to see a sustained interest from these institutions because they want to learn about cryptocurrency. Having a solution in their own back office is really the first step.”
So are you still confident of 2019 being the year of institutional investment? Are we still on the right track?
“Yes, because if, on the hardware wallet front, we are not going to see growth this year compared to last year, the level of institutions will be much much higher. So this year will be much more about institutions, at least from our point of view.”
What Lessons Has Ledger Taken Out of the 2018 Bitcoin Bear Market?
OK then, so to wind it down, what would you say are the most important lessons you’ve taken out of last year?
“Well,” he laughs, “the most important lesson would be that this is a business where it is impossible to forecast anything!”
“It’s quite difficult, especially when you are in a hardware business because you need to take some orders at the factories sometimes 40 weeks in advance. So the lessons that we took is that we have to be very careful and to always try to see the next cycle in advance.”
“In six months the situation can change completely. In 2017, we have seen the situation change completely upwards and in 2018 it was the same, but downward. So, to pilot a company in these conditions is like hell!”
“You cannot adjust all your investments, all your pipeline, and production lines accordingly. So the biggest lessons we’ve learned is that it’s a crazy market and we have to be very careful when we try to forecast.”
Eric Larchevêque Isn’t Pessimistic, More Like Pragmatic
In fact, his PR representative has to interrupt, reminding him to mention that despite the bear market, Black Friday sales of the Nano S in November 2018 were almost on a par with 2017. To which he replies:
“That’s right, I don’t want to paint a gloomy situation. The situation is still quite good. It’s just that we don’t have the crazy growth that we had before. But there is still a need for a new generation of hardware wallet and consumers are still ready to invest and buy new products. The market is still here.”
Featured Image from Shutterstock
Jack Dorsey, the chief executive of both Twitter and Square, two of Silicon Valley’s darlings, has recently become a fan of Bitcoin. He overtly pledged his allegiance to the cryptocurrency in early-2018, when his fintech-centric company, Square, launched Bitcoin capabilities on its so-called “Cash App.”In interviews, Dorsey chalked up this sudden shift in business strategy to the fact that he personally believes that BTC will become the Internet’s “single currency.” Dorsey doubled down on this investment thesis recently, as the tech industry star took to the podcast of Joe Rogan, which sports over four million subscribers on Youtube, to touch on his opinions on the subject matter.Related Reading: BTC Beats Twitter, Jack Dorsey’s Square Market Cap Reaches $30 BillionTwitter CEO Talks Bitcoin In Front Of Hundreds Of ThousandsIn the interview released Friday, Rogan, who has brought on Andreas Antonopoulos among other pro-crypto guests previously, suddenly brought up Cash App’s crypto integration, questioning the Twitter founder about the matter. When asked about whether Cash would be adding alternative cryptocurrencies, Dorsey was quick to respond with skepticism.Dorsey simply noted that the “Internet will have a [single] native currency,” subsequently adding that from his point of view, it is most likely going to be Bitcoin. He explained that the cryptocurrency is the most battle-tested, and has the strongest principles and value propositions. Elaborating on his thought process, Dorsey stated:“It is something that was born on the internet, that was developed on the internet, that was tested on the internet. It is of the internet. The reason why we enabled the purchasing of Bitcoin in the Cash App is that we wanted to learn about the technology, and put ourselves out there and take some risks.”He added that the Internet needs a currency, as it will bolster many operations worldwide, especially financial transactions and processes. Dorsey even went on to lambast the speculative nature of cryptocurrency markets, noting that Cash actually curbs day traders, while disallowing purely speculative transactions made via credit.His cardinal point was that he wishes to see cryptocurrencies reach global adoption not as an asset, but as a tool for the betterment of society.Crypto Community Pleased With Dorsey’s CommentWhile Dorsey’s comments regarding cryptocurrencies likely made decentralists smile, this most recent installment of Rogan’s podcast wasn’t without controversy. Regardless, much of the crypto community was pleased with Dorsey’s confidence to preach the good word of Bitcoin, as it were.Couple more reasons I like @jack. Pushing native internet currency (crypto). And he doesn’t accept credit cards yet, haha… https://t.co/t7Jn1wFiyO— CZ Binance (@cz_binance) February 2, 2019Changpeng “CZ” Zhao of Binance noted that a primary reason why he likes Jack is his pushing of cryptocurrencies, along with the fact that “he doesn’t accept credit cards yet.” Gabor Gurbacs, VanEck’s crypto head, echoed CZ’s extolling of the Twitter chief, noting that Square’s team is “doing awesome work.” NewsBTC’s very own Joseph Young noted that while Square’s monumental growth over 2018 wasn’t primarily catalyzed by the integration of Bitcoin, but noted that the company is “prioritizing innovation,” with Dorsey at the helm.It isn’t clear what steps the Silicon Valley bigwig is going to take next to bolster Bitcoin’s rankings on the global financial system, but, as reported by NewsBTC in the past, he has made it abundantly clear that he is willing to push adoption of BTC with a fiery passion.Featured Image from Shutterstock
When Apple delivered its quarterly earnings report this week, all eyes were on how severely lagging iPhone sales would eat into the tech giant’s revenue. However, Apple also disclosed that it has a staggering $245 billion in cash on hand, up almost $8 billion from the previous quarter.
That statistic got us wondering, what should Apple buy with all that money? Here are seven ideas for a Tim Cook-led spending spree.
1. 245 Million iPhones
When Apple slashed guidance targets ahead of its quarterly earnings report, CEO Tim Cook explained that iPhone sales had been much lower than expected. Apple could solve that problem by engaging in a little retail wash-trading.
With a retail price of $999, Apple could purchase approximately 245 million iPhone Xs devices.
This strategy wouldn’t do much for Apple’s bottom line — or share price — but it would certainly boot sales figures. “Apple Sacks Tim Cook after iPhone Sales Shatter Estimates” would make a memorable headline, anyway.
2. A Chinese Smartphone Manufacturer
A better solution to its flailing iPhone sales would be to purchase an established Chinese smartphone manufacturer that better understands the consumer market in Greater China.
Sluggish sales in China were the primary driver of Apple’s guidance cut, and the tech giant faces a tough decision if it hopes to build market share there moving forward.
Producing a lower-cost iPhone for the Chinese market would likely boost sales figures, but analysts worry it would tarnish the brand cachet that founder Steve Jobs so carefully built for the firm — and its flagship mobile product.
Purchasing a local manufacturer would allow Apple to continue to build inroads into Greater China’s mobile market without having to cut corners on iPhone product quality.
3. 3.2 Million Tesla Model S Vehicles
US automaker Tesla recently cut the cost of its cars by $2,000 to help buyers offset the impact of a reduced federal credit on electric vehicle purchases. According to the Tesla store, that brings the cost of the base Model S to around $76,000 after savings.
At that price, Apple could afford to pre-order 3.2 million Teslas, more than enough to gift one to every single person in Silicon Valley.
Sure, Apple could use its $245 billion to max out Tesla’s delivery queue for the foreseeable future, but why not think bigger?
Apple has long desired to break into the autonomous vehicle market, and it has devoted significant resources to a closely-guarded initiative called Project Titan to make that vision a reality.
But Project Titans seems to have run into some roadblocks. Just last week, CNBC reported that Apple had laid off 200 Project Titan employees. Moreover, Apple seems to have lowered its once-lofty ambitions of producing a fully-autonomous vehicle, instead focusing its efforts on developing software for this market.
If Tim Cook still wanted to make the Apple Car a reality, he could make a mammoth offer to purchase the $53 billion Tesla company outright and use its technology and production infrastructure as the basis for its new fleet of self-driving iCars.
5. Every Cryptocurrency in Existence [Twice]
At one point in late 2017, there was a real debate about whether the cryptocurrency market cap or Apple would be the first to reach a $1 trillion valuation.
With the crypto market cap currently worth an estimated $113 billion, Apple could afford to buy every single unit of the more than 2,100 cryptocurrencies in existence — twice — and still have close to $20 billion left over to corner the market on Facebook’s rumored cryptocurrency project whenever it reaches production.
6. The LeBron James Treatment for Every Apple Employee
Maintaining one’s status as the greatest basketball player on earth after 16 seasons isn’t easy, which is why Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James spends approximately $1.5 million every year to keep his body in tip-top shape.
Apple could afford to offer its full-time employees that same level of care, at least for one year. Providing its 132,000-member strong workforce with the LeBron James treatment would only cost the firm $198 billion, leaving it with $47 billion in cash on hand.
7. Every Major Professional Sports Team in the United States
Apple could treat every employee like Lebron James for a year, but once again: Why not think bigger?
With $245 billion, the company could purchase every professional sports team in the United States and Canada at a fair market price. According to Forbes’ 2018 estimates, buying every team in the NFL ($82.24 billion), NBA ($49.5 billion), MLB ($49.35 billion), and NHL ($19.5 billion) would cost a combined $201 billion.
After all, who wouldn’t pay top dollar for a ticket to Super Bowl LX to watch the Arizona iClouds™ face off against the Jacksonville Jobses?
Featured Image from Shutterstock
The 2020 US presidential election is still nearly two years away, but campaign season is already in full swing. Before long, voters will know which Democrats support the Green New Deal and what mantra will replace Trump rally staple “Lock her up!” (assuming Hillary Clinton doesn’t run again, that is). Less prominent, though, are the candidates’ thoughts on bitcoin, positions which do not always sort out along party lines.
Will the 2020 US presidential election bring us the first crypto-investor-in-chief, or will the voters elect someone with no qualms about using the long arm of the executive branch to impose burdensome regulations on the nascent asset class? Read below to find out.
Note: While this list is not exhaustive — more than two dozen Democrats have either formally begun their campaigns or are considering running — it includes every major candidate, as well as others who have taken notable stances on bitcoin or blockchain technology. We will regularly update this list as candidates enter the race and/or update their opinions on cryptocurrency.
- Claim to Fame: Sitting Senator (New Jersey)
- Campaign Status: Running
- Crypto Stance: ???
Cory Booker sits on the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Communications Technology, Innovation, and the Internet, but the junior senator from New Jersey has not revealed his thoughts on at least one innovative internet-native communications technology: bitcoin.
- Claim to Fame: Sitting Representative (Hawaii)
- Campaign Status: Running
- Crypto Stance: Invested
While Tulsi Gabbard has not revealed her formal stance on cryptocurrency, her public financial disclosures show that the representative from Hawaii invested in litecoin (LTC) and ethereum (ETC) toward the height of the crypto bubble. It is not clear whether she continues to hold these funds.
- Claim to Fame: Sitting Senator (New York)
- Campaign Status: Running
- Crypto Stance: ???
Kirsten Gillibrand has not taken a public stance on bitcoin, not that it would necessarily matter much. Once a representative from a conservative New York district, her views have — to put it nicely — “evolved” since her 2009 appointment to the Senate and subsequent development of a national profile.
- Claim to Fame: Sitting Senator (California)
- Campaign Status: Running
- Crypto Stance: ???
If Senator Kamala Harris has a strong position on cryptocurrency, she has yet to share it with the public.
- Claim to Fame: Sitting Senator (Massachusetts)
- Campaign Status: Running
- Crypto Stance: Critical
Senator Warren has been sharply critical of the state of the cryptocurrency industry, reiterating in several congressional hearings that she believes US regulators need to do more to oversee the nascent asset class and the harm it could do to retail investors.
She has been particularly skeptical of initial coin offerings, which she said are often used to scam ordinary investors. “The challenge is how to nurture productive aspects of crypto with protecting consumers,” she said last October.
- Claim to Fame: Entrepreneur
- Campaign Status: Running
- Crypto Stance: Bullish
Andrew Yang’s presidential campaign is a longshot, but it’s one that’s of particular interest to cryptocurrency fanatics since he announced that he would accept campaign donations denominated in bitcoin and ethereum (as well as ethereum-based ERC-20 tokens).
- Claim to Fame: Former reality TV star, sitting US President
- Campaign Status: Running
- Crypto Stance: ???
President Trump has not shared his thoughts on cryptocurrency. However, his administration includes several current and former senior members who are pro-bitcoin.
Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House Chief of Staff, praised bitcoin in 2016. Stating that the cryptocurrency was “not manipulatable by any government,” he compared it favorably to the US dollar, which he said had been “effectively devalued” by the Federal Reserve.
Former White House adviser Steve Bannon is also a crypto bull, revealing last year that he owned bitcoin and wanted to launch one or more utility tokens. “I’m working on some tokens now, utility tokens — potentially — for the populist movement on a worldwide basis,” he said, “but they’ve got to be quality.”
Peter Thiel, the billionaire venture capitalist who served on the Trump transition team, has repeatedly stated that he believes bitcoin is “digital gold” and has invested in several other blockchain projects, including EOS creator Block.one.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had less praise for bitcoin when he discussed the matter last January, though he didn’t go so far as to state that the government needed to impose more regulations on the industry. He said that the Treasury is “very focused” on cryptocurrency and wants to ensure that the technology does not become the new “Swiss bank account.” Similarly, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders stated in 2017 that the cryptocurrency industry is “being monitored” by the executive branch and that advisers had discussed it with Trump during an Oval Office meeting.
Notably, Donald Trump was also the first US president to sign an executive order explicitly mentioning cryptocurrency. That March 2018 order banned US citizens from buying the state-sponsored petro cryptocurrency created by Venezuela.
Republican Primary Challengers
As of this article’s latest update, no Republicans had announced their intention to challenge Donald Trump for the GOP’s 2020 presidential nomination. Nevertheless, Trump will likely face a primary challenge, however ill-fated.
- Claim to Fame: Software engineer, ICO promoter
- Campaign Status: Running (both for president and from the law)
- Crypto Stance: High as a Kite
John McAfee is so bullish on cryptocurrency that he makes Fundstrat’s Tom Lee look like a bear. The septuagenarian has found a second career as an initial coin offering (ICO) promoter, and he has stated that he will “eat [his] d*ck on national television” if the bitcoin price does not reach $1 million by 2020.
- Claim to Fame: Former CEO of Starbucks
- Campaign Status: ‘Exploring’ a Run
- Crypto Stance: Pro-blockchain, anti-bitcoin
The former Starbucks CEO believes blockchain is an important technology and that digital currency could represent the future of payments. However, he does not think that bitcoin or any other decentralized cryptocurrency has value.
“I don’t believe that bitcoin is going to be a currency today or in the future,” Schultz said in a January 2018 earnings call. “I’m talking about … the possibility of what could happen — not in the near term, but in a few years from now — with a consumer application in which there’s trust and legitimacy with regard to a digital currency.”
Last updated Feb. 2, 2019
Featured Image from AFP