3 Reasons Bitcon’s Price Suddenly Surged Back Above $5K

3 Reasons Bitcon’s Price Suddenly Surged Back Above $5K

The cryptocurrency market sprang back to life with bitcoin’s surge to 4.5-month highs yesterday. But why? The leading cryptocurrency by market value jumped nearly $1,000 to $5,080 in a sixty-minute window early on Tuesday, confirming a transition from a bear market to a bull market. While the bullish breakout is a welcome development following a year-long bear market, many traders are still unsure of what suddenly drove prices higher. However, a big move was overdue, as bitcoin’s average daily trading range had slipped to two-year lows in March. An extended period of low volatility often ends up with a violent move on either side. That low volatility period ended with a strong bullish breakout, possibly due to the following three reasons: 1. Mining reward halving Bitcoin is set to undergo a mining reward halving in August 2020 and historical data indicates the process tends to put a bid under the cryptocurrency at least a year in advance. Markets first took note of this possibility in December 2018 after the sell-off ran out of steam near $3,100. The particular price pattern was reminiscent of how the previous bear market had ended at lows near $150 in early January 2015 – 17 months before a reward halving in August 2016. The narrative that BTC is set to repeat history by breaking into a bull market at least a year ahead of the next mining reward halving (due August 2020) has only strengthened over the last three months, possibly leading to the bull breakout yesterday. 2. Technicals were foreshadowing the bullish move Several longer duration indicators, like the weekly money flow index and the moving average convergence divergence (MACD), had signaled a bearish-to-bullish trend change in February. Further, lagging indicators like the bearish crossovers of the long-term moving averages (MA) were flashing seller exhaustion. These technical developments likely reinforced expectations of stronger rally ahead of the incoming halving. 3. Market activity Reuters reported yesterday that a single algorithmically managed order worth $100 million spread across several major exchanges – Coinbase and Kraken and Bitstamp – triggered the sudden rally to multi-month highs. Meanwhile, Bitfinex data indicates that the unwinding of bearish bets created upward pressure on prices. BTC/USD short positions plunged from 20,654 BTC to 17,103 BTC between 04:00…

‘This Is Not an ICO, Just Barter’ – How Issuers Attempt to Evade Regulatory Scrutiny

‘This Is Not an ICO, Just Barter’ – How Issuers Attempt to Evade Regulatory Scrutiny

Some issuers of initial coin offerings have started to change the terminology they use to refer to their token sale in a bid to evade the attention of regulators – the hawkish U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in particular. With research finding that fewer than half of ICO projects make it past the first few months of their token sale, regulators have become increasingly concerned about ICOs, many of which have turned out to be elaborate scams. Also read: Why Africa Continues to Lag Behind in Cryptocurrency Adoption Bartering an ICO In 2017, Tokenpay fancied itself as an initial coin offering, targeting to raise $41 million by selling a part of the total 25 million of its Tpay tokens to the public. Today, the company, which was attempting to build a ”secure blockchain payments platform,” denies having floated an ICO at all, to the point of claiming its token was valueless. “We never conducted an ICO,” Tokenpay stated in a fire-fighting tweet, to an unconvinced audience. “We bartered our unique blockchain coins called $Tpay for one called $BTC,” it retorted, adding: “Nowhere will you find any suggestion of an implied investment or offering of any sort. In fact, every single page on the whitepaper and website states that the coin has no value.” This may be the most complex definition of an initial coin offering yet. Even users of Tpay found this difficult to believe. “I didn’t walk to the park. I carried my body to the park with the willful assistance of my legs,” snorted @woolsim. Ari Paul commented: “There are probably some interesting nuances where this makes a difference, but for most regulatory purposes pretty sure it’s a “sale” if you receive something of value for something you are giving away.” Tokenpay stood its ground, declaring its “barter” was closed to U.S. citizens, therefore the SEC couldn’t touch it. However, U.S. attorney @stephendpalley proved the company wrong, creating an account inside the U.S. within 15 seconds while “eating refried beans” at a cafe. “To be clear, we have never sold, bartered or negotiated any coins with U.S. persons. Nor do we make our products, including wallets and DEX, available to U.S. persons. We are not a U.S. company,” Tokenpay charged. But it…

Liquid.com Closes Funding Round Valuing Crypto Firm at ‘Over $1 Billion’

Liquid.com Closes Funding Round Valuing Crypto Firm at ‘Over $1 Billion’

Crypto trading platform Liquid.com has been backed by Bitmain and IDG Capital in a funding round that, it says, makes it the latest crypto unicorn. The firm, which is owned by Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Quoine, announced Wednesday that, with the closing of the Series C round, its “over $1 billion” valuation makes it “one of only two tech unicorns in Japan’s startup space.” Liquid.com, however, did not disclose the amount invested by IDG Capital and Bitmain, the former of which led the round. The funds will be put toward global expansion and product development, as well as to support a move into the security token market, it said. “Our vision is to make financial services accessible to all, which means bringing more people into the digital asset space so that anyone can be a part of it,” according to Liquid.com CEO Mike Kayamori. Quoine launched the Liquid.com platform back in September to provide users with access to a “worldwide network of cryptocurrency exchanges.” Liquid said it has previously raised more than $20 million from venture capital firms, including JAFCO, SBI, B Dash Ventures and ULS Group. While in 2017, it said it raised more than $100 million in a “pre-discounted” and “regulated” initial coin offering (ICO). Bitmain co-founder Jihan Wu said: “Japan is one of the leading nations in putting crypto industry under proper regulations, and Liquid Group has proven itself to be the exemplary player within such compliant rules.” IDG Capital is notably an investor in Coinbase, Circle and Ripple, as well as other crypto startups including KuCoin and imToken. Bitmain has also invested in Circle, while other portfolio firms include derivatives and digital asset trading platform ErisX and EOS developer Block.One. Unicorn image via Shutterstock

Indian Supreme Court Confirms New Date for Crypto Case

Indian Supreme Court Confirms New Date for Crypto Case

The Supreme Court of India has set a new date to hear the crypto case. News.Bitcoin.com has learned what happened in the latest hearing when the government was expected to deliver crypto regulation and why the case was adjourned within minutes. Also read: Indian Supreme Court Postpones Crypto Case at Government’s Request Crypto Case Update During the hearing on Friday, India’s supreme court was expected to hear about the country’s crypto regulation from the government as well as address the petitions against the banking restriction by the central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). However, the court adjourned without much progress on either matter. News.Bitcoin.com talked to lawyer Jaideep Reddy on Tuesday who was at the hearing about what actually happened. He represents the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), on behalf of Nishith Desai Associates, in its writ petition against the RBI ban. “The matter started with a counsel for the respondents asking for a passover of the matter (i.e., for the matter to be heard at the end of the list for the day). However, the Bench stated that the matter should be heard and that a passover would not be entertained,” Reddy explained. “The respondents are both the government and the RBI, among others,” he clarified. Regarding the banking restriction, he detailed: Mr. Gopal Subramanium, Senior Advocate for IAMAI, stated to the Bench that this is a matter of high importance and should be heard at length. The counsel for the respondents then asked for the matter to be heard on a non-miscellaneous day … The Bench accepted this request and has now ordered that the matter be heard on July 23, which is after the court’s summer vacation. Reddy also noted that “Mondays and Fridays are ‘miscellaneous’ days of the supreme court and the present matter is considered to be of a ‘non-miscellaneous’ nature.” The recently released court order from Friday’s hearing confirms the new date. “Upon hearing the counsel the court made the following order … List the matter on 23rd July, 2019,” the order shows. No Crypto Regulation but RBI Ban Continues During the February hearing, the Indian supreme court gave the government four weeks to come up with crypto regulation. However, Reddy shared with news.Bitcoin.com Tuesday:…

Nimiq Acquires 9.9% Stake in Germany’s WEG AG to Become Bank’s Third Crypto Firm Owner

Nimiq Acquires 9.9% Stake in Germany’s WEG AG to Become Bank’s Third Crypto Firm Owner

Browser-based blockchain payments system Nimiq has acquired a 9.9 percent stake in Germany’s WEG Bank AG, according to an official announcement published on April 3. The stake acquisition comes as part of Nimiq’s new strategic partnership with WEG Bank AG and Swiss-Maltese decentralized cryptocurrency exchange (DEX) Agora.Trade. The three partners are working to create a crypto-to-fiat bridge that would allow for the seamless exchange of value between crypto and traditional banking systems, the announcement states. As today’s post notes, their approach — using a decentralized exchange such as Agora.Trade as a vital component — focuses on crypto-fiat value transfers that do not rely on a single, centralized intermediary (such as a centralized crypto exchange or payment processor), and eliminate the need to entrust crypto asset owners’ private keys to a third party. The evolving project, dubbed Nimiq Oasis, will aim to connect different cryptocurrency markets via the non-custodial exchange Agora.Trade to WEG’s system, which notably has access to the Europe-wide SEPA Instant Banking Network. SEPA support could prospectively enable the project to roll out its crypto-fiat services with access to a network of over 2,000 banks across 20 European countries, Nimiq notes, proposing a targeted rollout time of before the end of 2019. The partners’ aim to enable the exchange of value between the crypto and fiat systems includes a focus on making fiat deposits at WEG blockchain compatible. While today’s announcement only alludes to this in principle, an earlier post from Nimiq clarified that the project aims to: “Establish the Euro itself as the programmable counterparty to a non-custodial cross-chain transaction. In simple terms, it means that in a transaction to buy or sell Crypto, the counterparty could now be a Euro account holder.” Notably, both the Litecoin (LTC) Foundation and crypto-fiat payments firm TokenPay each own a 9.9 percent stake in WEG AG Bank — a fact that Nimiq today notes could open up the possibility of further collaborations between the bank and the crypto firms. All three stakeholders’ shares are capped at 9.9 percent, as under German banking law, no entity can own more than 9.9% of a bank without additional regulatory approval. Securing fiat liquidity for non-custodial, decentralized exchanges has to date been slower than for their centralized counterparts. Major American…

A16z, Polychain Invest $25 Million in Crypto Payments Startup Celo

A16z, Polychain Invest $25 Million in Crypto Payments Startup Celo

Andreessen Horowitz’s cryptocurrency fund A16z Crypto and venture capital firm Polychain Capital have invested $25 million in cryptocurrency payments startup Celo. Celo announced Tuesday that the two investors have purchased $15 million and $10 million in the project’s Celo Gold tokens, respectively. The token-based funding effort also saw participation from “several other leading institutions” from across the world, Celo said, with the amounts not being disclosed. Celo’s protocol is designed to be mobile-friendly and “ultralight,” allowing funds to be sent to cellphone numbers. The Celo Gold token it describes as a “deflationary” cryptocurrency that cuts down on price volatility. The startup also offers another token, the Celo Dollar, which is a stablecoin pegged to the U.S. dollar. On the business level, it aims to enable easier remittances, cash-transfer programs and micropayments through its open-source platform, taking an initial focus on helping unbanked or underbanked people. The firm said: “We strongly believe that anyone, regardless of their location or socio-economic status, should have access to basic financial tools for storing and transmitting currency.” Celo has recently run pilots of the “easy-to-use wallet app” in Argentina and Tanzania enabling “verified” users and merchants to send and receive small payments. It is planning to release a public testnet of its platform this summer, according to the announcement. It’s also been attracting some notable talent recently. Chuck Kimble, former head of financial institution partnerships at Circle, joined Celo in February as head of strategic partnership. And, in September, former Ripple general counsel Brynly Llyr took on the same role at Celo. In Tuesday’s announcement, the firm added that it now has over 40 contributors to the project internationally, drawing expertise from the World Bank Group and the UN; tech firms like Google, Microsoft and Apple; and financial companies such as PayPal and Morgan Stanley. Academia is involved too, and individuals at MIT, Stanford, Harvard and Berkeley are also assisting. Featured image courtesy of Celo 

Japan: Crypto Trading Platform Liquid Hits Unicorn Status With Over $1 Billion Valuation

Japan: Crypto Trading Platform Liquid Hits Unicorn Status With Over $1 Billion Valuation

Japanese crypto trading platform Liquid has hit unicorn status with the first close of an ongoing Series C funding that puts the company valuation at over $1 billion. The news was reported by Cointelegraph Japan on April 3. Liquid’s parent company is Quoine, a global fintech company licensed by Japan’s Financial Services Agency. As Cointelegraph Japan reports, the fresh funding and new valuation makes Liquid the country’s second unicorn in the tech startup space — the other being artificial intelligence firm Preferred Networks, which is backed by Toyota, Fanuc, Hitachi and others. The first close of Liquid’s Series C has reportedly been led by American investment firm IDG Capital, with participation from major Chinese crypto mining manufacturer Bitmain Technologies. IDG has previously invested in other major crypto industry players such as Coinbase, Ripple, Kakao’s crypto unit and Bitmain itself. Bitmain’s participation reportedly marks its second backing of a regulated digital assets trading platform — following its contribution to a Series B round for crypto and derivatives exchange ErisX in December 2018. Katsuya Konno — representative director & head of Quoine’s CEO office — told Cointelegraph that the new funding will be used to fuel global expansion, product development of the core trading exchange business and entrance into the security token market. Cointelegraph Japan notes that notwithstanding Liquid’s unicorn valuation, the funding sealed in the Series C thus far is relatively small, amounting to $1 billion yen (~$9 million). Liquid had previously raised over $20 million from venture funding, which included major Japanese investment firms JAFCO, SBI, B Dash Ventures, Mistletoe and ULS Group. In 2017, Liquid had raised over $100 million in an FSA-regulated, pre-discounted initial coin offering (ICO) raise. As previously reported, major American crypto exchange Coinbase became the industry’s first unicorn after it raised $100 million in August 2017, implying an enterprise valuation of $1.6 billion. More recent reports have suggested the platform could have surged to a valuation of as high as $8 billion in its fall 2018 funding negotiations with Tiger Global and others.

How a Large Cash for Bitcoin Deal Goes Down

How a Large Cash for Bitcoin Deal Goes Down

AJ is a British bitcoin miner who loves privacy and hates KYC. When he needs cash to pay his bills, he meets bitcoin buyers in person. EZ is a full-time bitcoin trader who spends his days driving from city to city buying and selling BTC. This week, the two strangers met to conduct a $20K trade. News.Bitcoin.com watched the deal go down, noting the steps each party took to protect their assets. Also read: What It Takes to Air a TV News Channel Devoted to Crypto Assets The Anatomy of Swapping Bitcoin for Cash With a Stranger “Is there any way you can do 6-7%,” messaged EZ over Telegram. It was the day of the deal, April 2, an event that had been in the making since the previous Friday. For EZ, it was just another deal. He’d be driving for five hours to meet the seller, and 5 BTC was the minimum he was willing to travel for. For AJ, it would be the largest cash deal he’d ever done by a considerable margin, and he was understandably anxious that it should pass without a hitch. They’d agreed to a rate of 5 percent below Coinbase price at the time of the transaction. Now, EZ was pushing for an extra two points on the deal, but AJ demurred. “Even at 5 under I’m taking more of a hit than I’m accustomed to,” he messaged. EZ backed down. The plan was for AJ to catch the train from London to meet the buyer in a public location to conduct the deal. I would ride along, for the purposes of reporting the story (the names and locations in which have been changed) and for solidarity – or rather, for backup. The Plan There was no reason to doubt EZ’s integrity – his Localbitcoins feedback checked out, and AJ had spoken to him on the phone twice in the days prior. Nevertheless, establishing trust is essential when handling large amounts of cash and crypto. AJ’s preparations for the meet included sending the 5 BTC to two freshly created wallets, and backing them up in case the deal went sour and his phone was stolen or damaged. He also intended to purchase a UV detector pen to check…

5-Star Swiss Hotel Set to Accept Bitcoin Payments

5-Star Swiss Hotel Set to Accept Bitcoin Payments

The Dolder Grand, a five-star hotel based in Switzerland, will begin accepting bitcoin payments starting next month. The news was announced Tuesday by the hotel’s tech partner, Inacta AG, which said that the payment option would be made available on May 1. Once the new payment method goes live, guests can pay for accommodation, food and beverages or spa treatments using bitcoin. Inacta AG’s mobile app Inapay will then convert bitcoin payments into Swiss franc or euro “as soon as the payment has been completed,” according to the statement, meaning that the hotel itself won’t handle cryptocurrency. The Dolder Grand’s director of finance André Meier said in a statement: “Many of the improvements in our service in recent years were made possible by advances in technology. As we believe Bitcoin is here to stay, it only seems natural to offer more choices in the payment process.” The bitcoin payment option was featured earlier as part of a pilot project with Inacta AG. Hotels across the world have been accepting cryptocurrency payments since as early as 2014. U.S.-based travel agency CheapAir started service to allow bitcoin users to book hotel stays with the cryptocurrency back in February 2014. In July of that year, Canada-based Sandman Hotel Group started accepting bitcoin as a form of payment for room reservations. More recently, Spain-based Casual Hoteles started accepting bitcoin payments on a pilot basis in February 2019. Featured image courtesy of The Dolder Grand

Andreessen Horowitz Restructures, Registering Entire Staff as Financial Advisors

Andreessen Horowitz Restructures, Registering Entire Staff as Financial Advisors

American venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz is restructuring by registering all of its employees as qualified financial advisors, Forbes reported on April 2. Andreessen Horowitz — a Silicon Valley company specializing in investing mostly in technology and financial services startups, having raised $1.7 billion across seven funds — told Forbes that it is registering their all 150 employees as financial advisors, which renounces the company’s status as a venture capital firm entirely. The restructuring will purportedly enable Andreessen Horowitz to take riskier bets on certain business areas, including digital currencies. “If the firm wants to put $1 billion into cryptocurrency or tokens, or buy unlimited shares in public companies or from other investors, it can. And in doing so, the thinking goes, it’ll again make other firms feel like they have one hand tied behind their back,” it further explains. This spring, Andreessen Horowitz reportedly gave up its venture capital exemptions and registered as a financial advisor. The move required a ban on its investors speaking plainly about their portfolios or funds performance in public, among other things like auditing each employee. At the same time, the company’s partners can now openly share deals in cases like a blockchain startup for home buying wherein a real estate expert tag-teams a deal with a cryptocurrency expert. Last September, Andreessen Horowitz invested $15 million in blockchain startup MakerDAO (MKR). Andreessen Horowitz via its investment fund a16z acquired 6 percent of the total MKR token supply. The purchase was set to allow a16z to manage MKR and the Dai Credit System as it reportedly becomes “the first” decentralized autonomous stablecoin organization. In June of last year, Andreessen Horowitz hired Katie Haun as its first female general investing partner to run the company’s newly formed $300 million cryptocurrency fund. The firm’s crypto fund is designed to invest in a range of companies from blockchain projects to initial coin offerings.