For the first time in a blue moon, the crypto market underwent a notable rally. Since Ethereum (ETH) bulls began to show signs of life on Sunday, with the cryptocurrency rallying past $130, Bitcoin (BTC) and other digital assets have followed close behind.As of the time of writing, BTC has found itself at $3,920, approaching the ever-important level of technical and psychological resistance at $4,000. Ether has neared its $150 mark, as ETHDenver and the upcoming Constantinople hard fork have seemingly given the asset a slight boost. A majority of other cryptocurrencies have also posted notable gains, which comes after a ten-day lull in this budding market.Gains across the board, which were backed by a staggering $34 billion in daily nominal volume, have allowed the aggregate value of all cryptocurrencies to swell from $120 billion on Sunday morning to $133 billion currently — a gain of a jaw-dropping 10% in under 36 hours.Related Reading: Bitcoin Surges Nearly 10%, Analyst Claims BTC Likely to Target Mid-$4,100 Region NextWhile some optimists have called further short-term highs from here, analysts have remained cautious, predicting short-term pullbacks.Analysts Expect Bitcoin PullbackFinancial Survivalism, a full-time crypto trader that recently called for BTC to bottom at $1,165, noted that the cryptocurrency peaking just shy of $4,000 was likely the end of yesterday’s run. The self-proclaimed “financial revolution prepper” explained that the four 15-minute and nine 15-minute exponential moving averages (EMAs) recently underwent a “bearish crossover,” leaving BTC below it.That might have been the end of today’s run. 4 & 9 EMA’s recently made bearish crossover with price below. $BTC is +8% in the last 24 hours. For the most part 8% – 10% is the most it likes to move in one day. I’m expecting pullback to $3,750 before retesting $4,100 – $4,200. pic.twitter.com/NhheoSu6XB— Financial Survivalism (@Sawcruhteez) February 18, 2019Considering Bitcoin’s propensity to undergo a 10% rally or drop in a day’s time, rather than anything more, coupled with the status of short-term EMAs, Survivalism concluded that a pullback to $3,750 could be a possibility to precede a rally past $4,100.David Puell, a lesser-known, yet well-respected trader, also remained skeptical in the very short-term. Puell noted that as it stands, BTC is currently trading in a bull trap pattern, and could be eventually pushed down by a declining trendline, along with the 30-week moving average.$BTC: If we get there, beware the bull trap, lads. Lots of work yet to be done. pic.twitter.com/R9jpiGMK02— David Puell (@kenoshaking) February 19, 2019Puell also noted that the fact that weekly volumes are in a downtrend should have investors worried, as this could indicate that there is little propping up the crypto market as is.Does This Crypto Rally Have Legs?While the aforementioned analysts seem to be convinced that a short-term pullback would be in order, some argue that Bitcoin still has legs to run on. The team at Bitcoin Bravado, a leading crypto-centric technical analysis outfit, recently divulged that due to the influx of volume seen Sunday and Monday, along with the fact BTC surpassed its 50-day EMA, this move could see further upside.After failing to retake the 50-day EMA for over 3 months, $BTC has blasted through with nearly double the daily volume of any other day in 2019.Based off the influx of volume, we think this move has a lot more legs. pic.twitter.com/kpAKtVnHMk— Bravado® (@BitcoinBravado) February 18, 2019Mati Greenspan, eToro’s in-house crypto researcher, echoed the idea that the notable levels of volume should have investors enthused. In a recent Twitter thread, Greenspan noted that a “very healthy sign” is that the recent market price action was catalyzed by “strong volume,” adding that this means this move is likely “more meaningful” than the sporadic pumps seen historically.Although some would claim that it’s too early to be bullish from a medium-term (or longer) standpoint, Monday’s move has already convinced some that bears are preparing for hibernation. Trader Mayne, a long-time cryptocurrency trader, noted that as there have been notable bullish moves over recent weeks, it wouldn’t be nonsensical to claim that the bear market could be over. He added that those stuck with bearish lenses, like Murad Mahmudov, Tone Vays, along with other short-term skeptics, could miss out.Some may be calling for an end to the bear market, but there remains a notable level that Bitcoin needs to breach confidently to confirm a longer-term bull trend. For those who missed the memo, this level is around $4,800, which Greenspan, Survivalism, and the Bravado team pointed out in recent tweets. In their eyes, the 200-day EMA, currently situated around the aforementioned price point, will continue to be an important level of resistance, as this measure supported Bitcoin throughout multiple times its 2017 rally.As traders say, old levels of support become new levels of resistance (or vice-versa).Featured Image from Shutterstock
It isn’t a secret that millions, if not billions of dollars fled the crypto asset markets in 2018. Blockchain projects liquidated hundreds of millions worth of Ethereum (ETH) from the initial coin offerings, while common Joes and Jills, many of who caught FOMO in late-2018, liquidated their Bitcoin (BTC) holdings in search for greener pastures for investing.Simultaneously, many have anecdotally said that little to no fiat has entered this space, creating an environment where solely sell-offs are the market’s M.O. But, one investor argues that while buying pressure has evidently eased, there remain billions worth of fiat waiting to enter positions in Bitcoin, contrary to popular belief and community sentiment.There’s $6 Billion Ready To Get Siphoned Into BitcoinBitcoin bull Su Zhu, the chief executive officer of the Singapore-based Three Arrows Capital, recently took to Twitter to remark why investors should be more optimistic when looking at the state of the cryptocurrency market.He stated that while there are billions of dollars sequestered away on the sidelines, such funds are poised to rush into the cryptocurrency space once the time is right. In fact, citing data from his sources, Su noted that crypto hedge funds and holding companies likely have $2 billion in fiat on-hand. If Tether is truly backed by U.S. dollar deposits, it, alongside its more centralized counterparts (regulated stablecoins), would be valued at $2.5 billion.Theres an estimated $2B in cash sitting at crypto funds/holdcos. Theres another $2B+ sitting in stablecoins, and another $2B sitting at exchanges/silvergate/signature.This is $6B fiat already onboarded to crypto to buy your bags. Imagine thinking we need new money to hit $10k.— Su Zhu (@zhusu) February 18, 2019Lastly, the industry researcher noted that outstanding exchange and crypto bank balances amount to yet another $2 billion, meaning that there is more than $6 billion in fiat that is “already onboarded.” Thus, Su determined:“This is $6B fiat already onboarded to crypto to buy your bags. Imagine thinking we need new money to hit $10k.”Su didn’t make an explicit forecast as to when such money could find its way to physical cryptocurrencies, but his message was underscored with tacitly bullish tones.Related Reading: Tim Draper Paid $18 Million For His First Bitcoin Batch, What’s it Worth Now?Fiat To Crypto AmplifiersWhile some would argue that the math doesn’t add up, considering that the cryptocurrency market capitalization is hundreds of billions of dollars off its peak, many forget to take fiat amplifiers into account. As hinted at in a previous NewsBTC report, due to the shallow order books (low liquidity) that are a byproduct of nascent markets, U.S. dollars that enter this market have often had an amplified effect on the value of digital assets.Although this ecosystem has matured in recent months, with the growth in on-ramps, liquidity aggregators/providers, and other offerings, many argue that fiat amplifiers still play a large role in the cryptosphere.Per analysis compiled by Alex Kruger, a leading markets researcher, JP Morgan claims that for the crypto assets at large, a fiat amplifier of 117.5 is present, as a purported $2 billion in net inflow pushed Bitcoin’s market capitalization from $15 billion to $250 billion But, this isn’t the whole story. Citigroup purportedly estimated an amplifier of 50, while Chris Burniske of Placeholder Ventures calculated the figure out to somewhere between two and 25.And it would be near-impossibility to get an accurate reading of this figure, most analysts have come to a consensus that each dollar that gets siphoned into this space affects cryptocurrencies disproportionately to their nominal value.Thus, considering a low-end amplifier of 10 times, the ~$6.5 odd billion that Su speculates is sitting on the sidelines could propel the aggregate value of all BTC up by $65 billion, pushing the cryptocurrency to just shy of $8,000. This may be short of the Three Arrow Capital’s $10,000 pseudo-target, but the irrationality of markets may get to work where amplifiers slacked and fell short.Copious Upside PotentialBitcoin surmounting the $10,000 price point will evidently be a breath of fresh air for a majority of crypto investors, as 2018’s downturn put a sour taste in the mouth of many. Yet, some remain convinced that this is far from the end of Bitcoin’s story.Per a survey conducted by Bitwise Asset Management, 55% of investment advisors surveyed believed that BTC would appreciate in value in the next five years, with predictions averaging out to $17,570. Tom Lee, the head of research at Fundstrat Global Advisors, has also been optimistic, divulging to Fox Business that he believes $25,000 for Bitcoin is “fair.”But some have gone above and beyond the quintuple-digit range. Tim Draper, a prominent billionaire Bitcoin enthusiast, told TheStreet in September that he still believes that BTC will breach $250,000 a pop by 2022. Filb Filb, a leading crypto researcher, echoed the sentiment that copious upside is possible, using regression analysis, historical indicators, and hard numbers to explain that $333,000 for each BTC isn’t out of the realm of possibility.Long-term price predictions are evidently all across the map, but many have argued that Bitcoin’s upside potential easily outweighs how far it could fall. Morgan Creek’s Anthony Pompliano and Mark Yusko have even explained that cryptocurrencies are the epitome of an investment opportunity with an “asymmetric risk/return profile.”Featured Image from Shutterstock
Since the QuadrigaCX story has crossed paths with the world’s largest business and crypto news outlets, seemingly little attention has been given to this debacle’s victims. Outlets, such as Bloomberg, CNN Business, among others, refer to the creditors as a “they,” making it tough to remember that there are crypto investors behind each lost dollar.But, the fact of the matter is that there are thousands, if not tens of thousands of victims, who are wallowing and sulking, as many lost thousands in fiat and Bitcoin holdings. Yet, some have done their utmost to push the envelope, clamoring to get their stories pushed to press in a bid to spark some much-needed action in Canadian courts.Tong Zou, a Canadian-born Silicon Valley engineer that recently upped and left for Vancouver, took to Youtube recently to issue a heartfelt tell-all about how he got caught up in this whole imbroglio.How Tong Zou Lost $422,000 Trading Bitcoin On QuadrigaAs reported by NewsBTC, Tong gave a brief synopsis of his harrowing story to Bloomberg in an exclusive phone interview. Long story short, when the engineer chose to repatriate to Canada, Tong decided to move his funds from his American to his Canadian bank account through QuadrigaCX, rather than traditional means. But when he deposited his $422,000 worth of Bitcoin on the exchange to issue a Canadian dollar denominated withdrawal,But according to a recent Youtube tell-all, his comments to Bloomberg were just the tip of the iceberg.
He explained that in late-2017, his Silicon Valley peers were cashing in on the crypto craze, as he sat on the sidelines. But as the market peaked, he FOMOed in, taking out three self-described “stupid” loans from the bank to invest into cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP, Cardano, among other popular assets.
Tong accentuated the fact that he “lost a lot of money,” but did his utmost to amend his loan situation by allocating half of his paycheck to slowly satisfy his debts. Eventually, the developer decided that to pay his loan in full, he should liquidate his entire position in a Bay Area apartment. And that he did, leaving him with approximately $400,000 and no outstanding debts.
As he already had plans to move to Vancouver, where QuadrigaCX is purportedly located, Tong started to look into ways to move his capital into Canadian banks quickly, so he could take advantage of what he thought were good exchange rates. Eventually, he decided on QuadrigaCX, as the exchange not only had a 10% risk premium (red flag), but the ability for Tong to make investments that could make his savings appreciate too.
Emotionally, the former BitTorrent developer thrust his money onto the exchange, which he now acknowledges as a “Ponzi scheme,” in hopes of making money due to QuadrigaCX’s premium.
Yet, months later, we now know that Tong never got his withdrawal. But interestingly, the Ontario-born Canadian claimed that he “deserved to lose the money,” explaining that he was reckless, greedy, and impatient with this whole situation. He even explained that in his eyes, money isn’t the key to happiness. But, this didn’t discount the fact that QuadrigaCX’s sudden closure lost him his life savings, putting him between a rock and a hard place.
What’s Next For The QuadrigaCX Victims?
Tong’s statements were ones made by someone with no hope. But, some believe that creditors still have a chance, albeit slim, at recuperating their millions in losses, or at least a portion of them.
While ~$150 million in assets were reportedly lost to the ether, there’s a chance that the owed sum — QuadrigaCX’s crypto asset debts — are much lower than that jaw-dropping figure. And with Jennifer Robertson, Cotten’s wife, looking to liquidate much of her estate’s assets, there’s a fleeting chance that payments, whether in crypto or fiat, may start to come the way of victims.
Per a copy of Cotten’s most recently will, which was signed a mere two weeks prior to his Crohn’s disease-induced death in India, primary beneficiary Robertson was left with a copious amount of assets.
In fact, the will stipulate that should he pass, his wife was to be left with a Jeanneau 51 sailboat, purportedly sold for $500,000 Canadian, vehicles, an aircraft, along with a handful of pieces of real estate scattered across Canada. These assets are likely worth well in excess of $10 million Canadian.
But even if the court rules that the fiat received from the sale of Robertson’s assets should be fully allocated to the victims’ pockets, which could be unlikely, this process could take upwards of one year. That’s the M.O. of the legacy court system anyway.
Yet, the victims of this fracas are still grasping the ring they were thrown. Only time will tell whether they will sink or stay afloat.
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Bitcoin (BTC) may be struggling price-wise, but an array of analysts claim that from a fundamental perspective, the cryptocurrency is stronger than ever. And while headlines have focused on impending institutional involvement, whether it be through Bakkt, Fidelity, ErisX, or otherwise, little attention has been drawn to Bitcoin’s network statistics.Interestingly, however, the latter set of fundamentals is where the meat is, so to speak.Bitcoin Mining EcosystemLeading crypto trader Thrillmex, who also goes by Rampage, recently took to Twitter to issue a breakdown of Bitcoin’s pertinent network statistics, and what they indicate.The analyst noted that per Blockchain.com data, miners’ aggregate revenues, determined through the dollar cost per Bitcoin transaction (currently at $18), are reaching two-year lows. Moreover, the transaction fee facet of mining revenues has reached a five-year low, with Thrillmex even dubbing this chart “brutal.”Bitcoin miners revenue is hitting a near 2 year low.This also means that it’s becoming super cheap to transact on the network again.Anyone remember the ridiculous fee’s and long wait times to transact in late 2017?Thread 👇/1 pic.twitter.com/XzKhex5kHq— 𝓡𝓪𝓶𝓹𝓪𝓰𝓮 🦍 (@Thrillmex) February 17, 2019In spite of this, however, the average daily transaction count on Bitcoin is nearing December 2017’s all-time highs, when BTC entered a “full-on parabola” stage. The number of Bitcoin wallets made on Blockchain.com has also swelled, with there now being 33 million verified users.Hashrate, arguably the most important statistic, save for transaction count, has also grown drastically. Since bottoming in December at 31 million terahashes per second, this figure has begun to steadily climb to 47 million terahashes, with Thrillmex claiming this indicates that “previous miners are holding strong, as new hash power is entering the market.”The dichotomy between waning miner revenues and the near-consistent growth in hashrate led Thrillmex to deduce that money is still getting siphoned into this space. And as such, he determined that the underlying Bitcoin blockchain is likely stronger than ever, in spite of the tumult that BTC has undergone. From a more anecdotal perspective, Thrillmex explained that as miners have the “most skin in the game,” no one wants to see Bitcoin succeed more than they do. Therefore, said entities will do everything in their power to maintain profitability.But Thrillmex made sure to remain cautiously optimistic. Ending his thread, the analyst noted that capital continues to pour into this space to build out infrastructure, but “without a corresponding user base.” Yet, he added that this only accentuates that Bitcoin holds a great risk, but monumental upside potential — an “asymmetric risk/return profile” as Anthony Pompliano of Morgan Creek Digital would put it.Related Reading: Crypto Investor Urges Consumers to Accumulate Bitcoin Before Halving, Rally Expected?But, Filb Filb begged to differ. The analyst noted that the use of the aggregate value of transaction fees in this context is moot, as 99% of a miner’s revenue comes from block rewards, rather than the transaction market. Anyhow, the fact remains that the Bitcoin Network’s hashrate is trending higher, even as BTC continues to trade in a tight range under $4,000.Don’t Fret, Fundamentals Are HereThrillmex’s recent comments come after Dan Held, a former product manager at Blockchain.com, remarked that in terms of bullish catalysts, Bitcoin is “as strong as ever,”Held, who founded Interchange, drew attention to the fact that despite the so-called “crypto winter,” Bitcoin is still seeing upwards of $1 billion in nominal transaction value each and every day. The long-time industry proponent added that the development of Bitcoin-centric scaling, privacy, and programmability protocols, like the Lightning Network, Taproot, and Rootstock, should have investors enthused.From a business-focused perspective, Held also noted that Bitcoin has garnered a stamp of approval from the Intercontinental Exchange, in the form of Bakkt, Fidelity Investments, among an array of other Wall Street mainstays.Lastly, he claimed that the fact government debts are continually establishing all-time highs day-over-day should have Bitcoin investors over the moon. For some context, MarketWatch recently reported that U.S. public debt surpassed $22 trillion. In response to this swelling statistic, the Peterson Foundation, an American financial services group that is focused on amending the nation’s economic issues, claimed that the fiscal situation is “not only unsustainable but accelerating.”While this isn’t an explicitly bullish catalyst for decentralized, digital money, some pundits have argued that Bitcoin provides an easy-to-use way out of the incumbent financial ecosystem.Travis Kling, the chief investment officer of Ikigai, recently quipped that Bitcoin is a perfect hedge against “fiscal and monetary policy irresponsibility.” He stated that the monumental rise of employed quantitative easing (QE) strategies, along with the growth of debt, is “how you would write the script” for the adoption of cryptocurrencies, especially ones that aren’t tied to the legacy world.Featured Image from Shutterstock
Years ago, when Bitcoin was just a wee lad, a crypto user going by Laszlo made the world’s first real-world transaction with BTC. In what became a historic event in this nascent community, the BitcoinTalk user purchase pizza for 10,000 BTC, then valued at less than $40.Since that date using crypto to purchase pizza, or other articles of food at all for that matter, has faded to the back of this industry’s collective mind. But, this changed with a recent application/integration launched on the Lightning Network.You Can Purchase Domino’s For BitcoinFold, a crypto payment upstart founded by Matt Luongo, recently released a fun portal based on the Lightning Network, Bitcoin’s foremost scaling solution. For those who missed the memo, the application has been fittingly dubbed Lightning Pizza, as it allows consumers to purchase Domino’s with Lightning transactions, which are near-instant, effectively free, and (eventually) secured on-chain. Fold’s product lead, Will Reeves, told CoinDesk the following about his company’s newest venture:“We’re trying to make bitcoin fun again and illustrate that lightning is at a point where it is mainstream-ready.”While the application is currently centered around pizza, the Fold team intends to integrate Lightning transactions into Starbucks, Whole Foods, Dunkin Donuts, Target, and Uber payments over the next few months.It is important to note, however, that these aren’t official integrations with the aforementioned outlets. Fold accomplishes this through a third-party crypto-to-fiat system, which places orders on the behalf of users and converts the BTC transacted through Lightning channels into U.S. dollars.Related Reading: deVere CEO: ETF, Lightning, and Halving Drive Recent Bitcoin RallyCrypto Community Catches OnWithin hours, if not minutes, the product caught on. Some of the biggest names in the Lightning Network and Bitcoin development space quickly took to Twitter to divulge that they had indulged in Fold’s application.Hodlonaut, the community member behind the Trust Chain initiative, which saw participation from Jack Dorsey, Andreas Antonopoulos, Anthony Pompliano, Changpeng Zhao, among other industry insiders, lauded the offering, writing:A new dawn of Bitcoin pizza transactions is upon us. Behold the LN pizza! ⚡️⚡️🍕 https://t.co/R7m7w16vR1— hodlonaut🌮⚡🔑 (@hodlonaut) February 13, 2019Others actually used the smile-inducing integration to purchase some Domino’s. Dan, a research analyst at The Block, noted that while he doesn’t buy Domino’s, he does when there’s a Lightning integration.Bart Stephens, a venture capitalist at Blockchain Capital, also took to Twitter to express his excitement, snapping a picture of one of his coworkers, a Casa node, and a piece of company-branded merchandise.Lightning 🌩 pizza 🍕 achievement unlocked today @blockchaincap 🙌🏼 cc: @CasaHODL @lightning @radar_ion pic.twitter.com/nMHU6ti719— Bart Stephens (@pbartstephens) February 15, 2019This news comes just days after Jack Dorsey, the chief executive of Twitter, revealed that his fintech upstart, Square, will eventually integrate the Lightning Network in some capacity. A storm is coming, but where will lightning strike next?Featured Image from Shutterstock
Ever since Bitcoin (BTC) suddenly ran on February 8th, posting a jaw-dropping performance that came straight out of left field, the broader crypto market has entered a lull. While there have been a few notable movers, like Binance Coin (BNB), the broader digital asset class has all but stopped moving. Price action has effectively come to a standstill.This has left many asking, what’s next for the cryptocurrency market? While one analyst couldn’t give a definitive answer on whether BTC will move higher or lower, he argues that a breakout is festering, and is inbound.Related Reading: Bitcoin Price Weekly Analysis: BTC Signaling Bullish Continuation, $4K Incoming?Analyst Hints At Bitcoin BreakoutJosh Rager, an advisor to TokenBacon and Blackwave, recently took to Twitter to convey some analysis regarding Bitcoin’s chart. While Josh didn’t have any explicit predictions, due to the non-volatility in BTC’s value, he did note that as the cryptocurrency has yet to break under its “weekly historical support level,” it is likely building its “next strong move.”$BTC ChartHaven’t posted many charts recently with the low volatility of Bitcoin & busy building other projectsSince the 8th of Feb – BTC has been moving slowly sideways as the next strong move buildsGood if you’re trading alts – unless you’re buying the one going to $0 😉 pic.twitter.com/nxF9vOI2z2— Josh Rager 📈 (@Josh_Rager) February 16, 2019As aforementioned, he didn’t definitively or tacitly mention what which Bitcoin could head after its ends this lull, but considering theories regarding the “Bart Formation,” some believers claim that BTC could plummet just as fast as it rallied on February 8th.Josh’s recent comment comes after he took to his Twitter soapbox to make an astute comment. Per previous reports from this outlet, the popular industry personality remarked that after 2019, potentially only a few in the “general population” will be able to afford an entire BTC. He added that while global income per household figures could swell, due to inflation, solid economic conditions, and other factors, after 2021, BTC’s “speculative value could be out of reach for most.”Crypto Could Fall FurtherInterestingly, for once in a blue moon, few commentators are sure where the crypto market is headed in the short-term. But as reported by NewsBTC previously, the few analysts that have issued forecasts in these mundane market conditions expect losses in the near future.Hsaka, a well-followed crypto trader, recently explained that while the chart indicates a “stalemate” between the bulls and the bears, BTC may be leaning towards more downside. Haska’s peer, TraderArjun, echoed the sentiment that downside is in Bitcoin’s cards. Arjun wrote that ever since BTC entered the 3,000s, he’s been wary that a continuation of the sell-off is likely, if not inbound.Featured Image from Shutterstock
While the value of Bitcoin screams crypto winter, industry upstarts have continued to put one foot in front of the other, making notable developmental strides. One of Canada’s leading crypto platforms (no it’s not QuadrigaCX), Coinsquare, made a promising acquisition, as the Toronto-based company continues to bolster its offerings at an unmatched pace.StellarX Acquired Amid Crypto WinterAccording to a recent blog post from StellarX, the “first full-featured trading app for Stellar,” it has been fully acquired by Coinsquare. Instead of fully integrating StellarX’s offering into its own platform, Coinsquare has opted to provide the crypto upstart, purportedly backed by Kickstarter alumni, with the resources it has at its disposal for their original roadmap, nothing else.StellarX has a new home! Read more:https://t.co/Ag1kLbLnWX— StellarX (@stellarxhq) February 14, 2019StellarX’s team, who announced their platform in July of 2018, explained that a “dedicated team” at Coinsquare, which consists of developers and designers, will help the Stellar Lumens-centric decentralized marketplace “operate and grow under its own brand.”On the matter of why this deal went through, the StellarX team noted that while they saw success independently, becoming a top-three decentralized exchange near-immediately, they a new home with “regulatory experience” and fleshed out operations.Thus, the team determined that Coinsquare is a “perfect fit,” as it has close relationships in the U.S., Europe, and in Canada, and was hellbent on expanding its operations. Also, the Canadian company has experience with using the Stellar blockchain, as made apparent by their acquisition of BlockEQ, a Stellar-centric wallet slated to see a rebrand, just a few months prior.This acquisition will see Megha Bambra, the co-founder of BlockEQ, lead StellarX, along with her Toronto development team. In a comment issued via press release, chief executive of CoinSquare, Cole Diamond, expressed excitement:“Stellar is the fastest payment network in the world and we see enormous potential to create industry-leading services on StellarX to further broader adoption.”Coinsquare and StellarX did not divulge the financial details of this deal.Coinsquare Drops StaffersStellarX’s acquisition comes after Canadian fintech media outlet Betakit reported that Coinsquare laid off a good portion of its staffers weeks ago. Citing sources with familiarity with the unfortunate debacle, the company purged 40 employees across the board, bringing its cumulative headcount down to ~150. This represents a 27% reduction in total staffers.It was also revealed that even key C-suite members, including COO Robert Mueller and CFO Ken Tsang, were shown the door. In a statement, CoinSquare chief executive Cole Diamond remarked that the current market conditions are the “most volatile that you or I have ever seen,” thus mandating tough choices, such as laying off staffers. The Canadian entrepreneur explained that Coinsquare needs to be “prudent” in the way it uses its capital, as it needs to stay afloat to fulfill its long-term ambition of creating an organization that “has a real chance at changing the world.”Featured Image from Shutterstock
Since NewsBTC’s last updates on the QuadrigaCX situation, little knowledge has been garnered about the current whereabouts or legitimacy of the exchange’s supposed Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and other digital asset holdings. But, this hasn’t stopped astute industry participants from scouring the web for clues, as victims continue to clamor for their hard-earned funds.Bitcoin Private Key DangersIn what can only be described as a jaw-dropping find. Doug Alexander, a Bloomberg journalist focused on Canadian markets, recently claimed that Gerry Cotten of QuadrigaCX was well aware of private key management. Per Alexander, in a February 2014 installment of the so-called “True Bromance Podcast,” the then Vancouver-based Cotten warned of the importance of keeping Bitcoin keys under lock and key.
Speaking to the show’s hosts, he remarked that losing keys is like “burning cash in a way,” adding that even if the world’s most endowed supercomputers were to try cracking Bitcoin, they wouldn’t be able to. In other words, “it’s impossible to retrieve [private keys].”
This, of course, is an odd comment, especially coming from the now-deceased founder of a crypto platform that purportedly lost over $150 million in assorted crypto assets.
But, this is where Cotten’s podcast appearance turns from odd (in retrospect) to confusing. The QuadrigaCX chief executive and founder, who died in India due to Crohn’s disease, made mention of Bitcoin paper wallets. He even remarked that at the time, his firm was holding his customers’ funds in offline paper wallets, situated in “our bank’s vault in a safety deposit box.” Giving some rationale to this move, the Canadian entrepreneur stated that this was the “best way to keep the coins secure.”
It is unlikely that QuadrigaCX’s remaining funds are left in safety deposit boxes scattered across Canada, but such a comment have made some think and ponder the details of this debacle.
QuadrigaCX Loses Additional Funds In Mishap
This story comes as Ernst and Young (EY), a “Big Four” firm actively overseeing this case, told Canadian officials that someone at the embattled exchange sent $500,000 Canadian worth of hot wallet funds into the purportedly unaccessible cold wallets. The sum purportedly amounted to approximately 103 Bitcoin. No other crypto assets were sent from QuadrigaCX’s hot wallets, now under the control of EY.
It is unclear what the financial incumbent will do with the 51 Bitcoin, 800 Litecoin, 950 Ethereum, among a smattering of other assets left in the hot wallets. While the sudden move of hundreds of thousands to locked wallets could have been an innocuous but expensive fat-fingered mistake, some have begged to differ.
Researchers are hard at work doing their utmost to determine if the disgraced platform ever held the sum Cotten’s widow reported in the original affidavit.
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Over the past year, crypto has struggled from a price standpoint. Thus, many investors that are looking to “HODL” have sought the light at the end of the tunnel that is institutional participation. But, one Wall Streeter, who has expressed some semblance of support for Bitcoin, recently claimed that this facet of the ecosystem just isn’t there yet.CME CEO “Not Sure” Bitcoin BottomSince Bitcoin fell off the public’s radar in mid-2018, most incumbents of the legacy world have shut their trap, so to speak, regarding the subject matter. But, Terry Duffy’s interview on Bloomberg TV took a turn for crypto on Thursday.
In response to an inquiry from a Bloomberg host regarding if the value of the flagship cryptocurrency has established a bottom, the CME Group chief executive noted that he’s “not quite sure,” likely accentuating that he doesn’t keep up-to-date with this whole ecosystem.
Duffy’s hesitant response on this matter comes as a number of analysts claim that Bitcoin has further to fall.
As reported by NewsBTC previously, Murad Mahmudov, a partner at Adaptive Capital, recently claimed that Bitcoin could find “steady support” at an MA300 of around ~$2,400. However, the prominent analyst made it clear that Bitcoin could “wick down” to as low as MA350~400 in the $1,700 range, “due to past patterns and how particularly overstretched the 2017 bubble was.”
Other made similar remarks. One crypto commentator recently noted that if history rhymes, BTC could fall to as low as $750 by mid-year, citing fractals and technical analysis.
Then again, some have been more optimistic. Leading researcher Filb Filb recently explained that there are “staggering pre-halvening similarities [between] 2015 [and] 2019.” More specifically, he noted that if the price action seen in 2015’s bubble plays out today, BTC will bottom in the coming weeks, before embarking on a strong rally heading into 2020’s halving event.
Crypto Needs Governments To Succeed
On the matter of his futures product, Duffy stated that from the perspective of the CME, it just wanted to list Bitcoin in a controlled manner to appeal to regulators. That led him to his next point about institutional involvement. The investor noted that the “bottom line” is that until global governments start to accept cryptocurrencies, whether it be Bitcoin, XRP, Ethereum, or even JP Morgan’s own digital asset, it will be “very difficult for the major commercials to come into this space” in a gung-ho fashion.
Thus he determined that for cryptocurrencies, or any other nascent market for that matter, to succeed, the ecosystem surrounding them will need to gain approval from governments.
While strides are being made, such as through statements of support from the U.S. SEC’s Hester Pierce or other pro-crypto moves, this is more than likely an uphill battle.
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After last week’s price action, the crypto market quieted down. Bitcoin entered a lull, while altcoins followed close behind. Yet, the wheels of the crypto train have continued to spin.Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey revealed that his fintech upstart would eventually integrate Bitcoin’s Lightning Network, JP Morgan launched its own digital asset on a private Ethereum-based chain, a Filipino banking giant launched crypto ATMs, and Chainalysis secured millions amid this market rut.Crypto TidbitsReality Shares Files Semi Bitcoin ETF, SEC Requests Application Withdrawal: Reality Shares, a California-based crypto-centric investment services provider, filed a peculiar application to the SEC, America’s leading financial regulator. This proposal outlined an ETF that was composed of both allocations in CME’s and CBOE’s Bitcoin futures and monetary instruments, like sovereign debt products denominated in the British Pound, Japanese Yen, Swiss Francs, among other government-issued currencies. But, in an odd turn of events, the governmental agency politely requested for Reality Shares to pull its innocuous application. Spokespeople told CoinDesk that the SEC enlisted such a move due to the fact that it wasn’t “appropriate to file a registered 40 Act fund with cryptocurrency exposure at this time.”ICE CEO: Bakkt Is Our Moonshot Bet On Crypto: In the Intercontinental Exchange’s Q4 earnings call, chief executive Jeff Sprecher touched on crypto upstart Bakkt and its prospects in 2019. Sprecher, who is wed to the founder of Bakkt, explained that the company is “unique,” especially due to its independence and intentions. Yet, he explained that ICE has been able to apply its infrastructure — “settlement capabilities, warehouse and custody management capabilities, large treasury operations, and banking connectivity” — to the cryptocurrency venture. And thus, this “star power” has attracted “a lot of very very interesting companies,” such as Microsoft and Starbucks, giving Bakkt the potential to become a “very, very valuable company.” With all this in mind, the finance heavyweight concluded that if you boil Bakkt down, it could be classified as his firm’s very own “moonshot bet [on crypto].”Chainalysis Secures $30M From Silicon Valley Venture Group: Earlier this week, Chainalysis, leading blockchain research and analytics boutique, revealed that it had scored over $30 million in funding for its Series B round, led by Accel, a Palo Alto-based venture group that also has investments in Circle. Accel’s deal with Chainalysis will also see the Bay Area investment group’s Philippe Botteri and Amit Kumar join the blockchain upstart’s board. Per Business Insider, the duo will aid Chainalysis in bolstering its presence, in the European region, along with its overall research efforts. The company explained that this influx of funding will help it double-down on its raison d’etre to make blockchain data easy to digest, useful, and accessible for governments, institutions, and native cryptocurrency firms.Jack Dorsey Hints At Eventual Bitcoin Lightning Integration For Square: Just days after appearing on the Joe Rogan Experience to laud Bitcoin and releasing dozens of crypto-related tweets, Jack Dorsey, the chief executive of both Square and Twitter, took to Stephan Livera’s podcast to confirm that the integration of the Lightning Network onto Square is a matter of “when,” not “if.” Speaking on the rationale of eventually making such a move, Dorsey explained that his firm’s raison d’etre is to serve customers best, with Lightning only accentuating this goal. The Silicon Valley legend added that Square sees Bitcoin’s underlying nature as a currency, rather than solely a speculative asset. And as it stands, the widespread adoption of the Lightning Network is the most promising means to get to that ambitious end.Philippines Banking Giant Has Launched Two-Way Crypto ATMs: According to reports from Filipino media, Union Bank of the Philippines, a banking giant that is the seventh largest in the country, is launching crypto asset automated teller machines (ATM). Per the statement, the company launched its first two-way cryptocurrency ATM earlier this week, allowing customers to purchase and sell assets like Bitcoin for pesos. Union Bank has purportedly collaborated with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the nation’s central bank, to ensure that this newfangled offering is compliant.JP Morgan Launches Ethereum-like Chain For In-House Crypto Asset: In a move that was straight out of left field, JP Morgan Chase, the world’s sixth largest bank, took to CNBC divulging that it would be launching an in-house crypto asset, fittingly named “JPM Coin.”According to a comment from Umar Farooq, the Wall Street institution’s blockchain division lead, the asset will be backed by physical U.S. dollars and will first be based on Quorum, JP Morgan’s private Ethereum-based chain. Eventually, the asset will go multi-chain, with interoperability solutions allowing for JPM Coin to be transacted in different ecosystems. Farooq remarked that his team intends the venture to eventually be a multi-purpose asset for the bank’s operations, whereas “anything, where you have a distributed ledger, [that] involves corporations and institutions” will use the stablecoin. For now, however, the JP Morgan executive made it clear that the newfangled offering is intended to bolster the company’s internal, yet international corporate transactions.Featured Image from Shutterstock