Bitcoin Price Backs Off 12 Month Highs, But Bias Remains Bullish

Bitcoin Price Backs Off 12 Month Highs, But Bias Remains Bullish

View Bitcoin has retraced slightly from the one-year high of $8,940 reached earlier today. Any pullbacks could be short-lived, however, as buying pressure is currently the strongest in over five months, according to a weekly chart indicator. A pennant breakout on the daily chart indicates scope for a rally to $10,000 in the near-term. On the way higher, BTC may encounter resistance at the key Fibonacci level of $9,442. The bullish case would weaken if prices fall back below $8,000 in the next day or two. Bitcoin (BTC) has pulled back from 12-month highs hit earlier today. However, the bulls are still firmly in control, with the price holding well above key support at $8,390. The cryptocurrency market leader jumped to $8,940 on Bitstamp at 01:00 UTC today, the highest level since May 11, 2018. The rally since then has faded somewhat, with the cryptocurrency currently trading at $8,750, representing a 9 percent gain on a 24-hour basis. The $200 drop from intraday highs seen over the last nine hours is likely nothing more than a bull breather, often seen following a notable price gain. After all, BTC rose by 8.29 percent on Sunday – the fourth biggest single-day gain of May. More importantly, the bulls finally managed to force a convincing break above $8,300, having failed at least three times in the preceding 11 days to hold on to gains above that psychological level. Prices also found acceptance above the July 2018 high of $8,500 yesterday. So, the rally from lows below $6,000 looks to have resumed and only a quick fall back below $8,000 would weaken the bullish case. Daily chart BTC closed well above the May 16 high of $8,390 on Sunday, confirming a pennant breakout – a continuation pattern that usually accelerates the preceding bullish move. This type of breakout is often followed by a move upwards of roughly the length of the pennant’s “pole” (the height of the preceding bull move) – in this case from $5,562 to $8,390). BTC, therefore, has scope to rally at least to $10,000 (psychological resistance) in the near-term. Supporting the bullish case is the Chaikin money flow index of 0.24 – the highest reading since April 10 – meaning that buying pressure is its…

SBI Virtual Currencies: The Bank-Backed Japanese Exchange With Big Plans

SBI Virtual Currencies: The Bank-Backed Japanese Exchange With Big Plans

Japan has been a land of firsts when it comes to crypto, even if “Satoshi Nakamoto” isn’t really Japanese. It’s the country where Mt. Gox — the first major crypto exchange — was based, as well as the first nation to accept bitcoin as legal tender. And last July, it became the first country to host a bank-owned cryptocurrency exchange, when financial services giant SBI Holdings launched the SBI Virtual Currencies (SBIVC) platform. At the time of its launch, SBIVC — called VCTRADE at the time — enabled trades in only XRP, bitcoin (BTC) and bitcoin cash (BCH). Yet, as limited as it may have been, its attachment to the SBI stable meant that it benefited from access to resources and technology other exchanges in Japan could only envy. And as SBI’s latest financials revealed in April, the exchange has grown rapidly, recording pretax earnings of almost 360 million Japanese yen (approximately $3.2 million) for the fiscal year up until March 31, 2019. But while it may still remain something of a minnow in a sea of BitFlyers and Coinchecks, it told Cointelegraph that it has plans to expand in the near and more distant future. Aside from widening its range of tradable cryptocurrencies, it also wants to branch out to institutional investors, as well as take advantages of potential “synergies” with its current businesses to provide one of the most secure and convenient exchanges in Japan. SBI history lesson Given that SBI had previously partnered with Ripple in 2017 to launch the first commercially available remittance service using XRP, it was perhaps unsurprising that on July 11, 2018, it announced the opening of its VCTRADE cryptocurrency exchange, which first offered only XRP for trading, adding bitcoin and bitcoin cash soon after launch. However, beyond a crypto exchange arguably being a logical extension of a Ripple-based remittance service, SBI told Cointelegraph that it ultimately launched SBIVC because it believes in the innovative promise shown by cryptocurrencies. “The SBI Group believe that innovative technologies, including blockchain and crypto-assets have large potential for changing the financial industry.” On top of this, the SBI spokesperson added that SBI wants to create an ecosystem of interconnected services and platforms, which will create efficiencies for SBI and extra value for customers: “As the group’s basic…

Cryptopia Liquidator Files for User Data Protection at US Court as Process Continues

Cryptopia Liquidator Files for User Data Protection at US Court as Process Continues

Liquidators of defunct New Zealand cryptocurrency exchange Cryptopia have applied to secure user data stored in the United States as part of refund proceedings, a statement confirmed on May 27. Cryptopia, which suffered a hack in January, has spent months cooperating with law enforcement worldwide in an effort to control stolen funds worth around $16 million. The exchange appointed Grant Thornton to lead the liquidation, which confirmed it had applied for urgent interim relief at the Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York on May 24. The filing further requests the U.S. recognize the New Zealand liquidation process. “We took these steps to preserve the Cryptopia information that is stored and hosted on servers with an Arizona based business,” the statement reads. It continues: “The interim order preserves the Cryptopia data, which includes a SQL database containing all account holders’ individual holdings of cryptocurrencies and the account holder contact details. Without this information, reconciling individual holdings with the currencies held by Cryptopia will be impossible.” As Cointelegraph reported, Grant Thornton had previously warned that users awaiting to be reunited with their funds would need to wait months rather than weeks, a position the statement repeated. “We expect that the process of recovering data and determining how to make distributions to account holders will take some months at least,” the company added. It noted: “We understand that this delay will be frustrating for account holders. For that reason, we are working to resolve these issues as soon as reasonably practicable.” In the meantime, observers have been tracing the stolen ether (ETH) as hackers moved it between addresses last week.

Hacked Crypto Exchange Cryptopia Files for US Bankruptcy Protection

Hacked Crypto Exchange Cryptopia Files for US Bankruptcy Protection

Hacked cryptocurrency exchange Cryptopia, which went into liquidation earlier this month, has now filed for bankruptcy protection in the U.S. Cryptopia’s assigned liquidator, professional services firm Grant Thornton New Zealand, announced Monday that it has taken the step to preserve Cryptopia data stored and hosted on servers with an Arizona-based firm. The bankruptcy court in the Southern District of New York issued an order to Cryptopia on Friday, granting an emergency motion for provisional relief till June 7. Grant Thornton said: “The interim order preserves the Cryptopia data, which includes a SQL database containing all account holders’ individual holdings of cryptocurrencies and the account holder contact details. Without this information, reconciling individual holdings with the currencies held by Cryptopia will be impossible.” The process of recovering the data and determining how to make distributions to account holders will take “some months at least,” the liquidator said. According to a report from Bloomberg, the Arizona firm is terminating services with Cryptopia and is seeking $2 million in compensation. If that money is not forthcoming, the report suggests, the exchange’s liquidators fear the vital user data could be lost irretrievably. Cryptopia was hit by a major hack in mid-January resulting in “significant losses.”  Later, it restarted trading services amid banking issues, and finally went into liquidation and suspended trading operations earlier this month. A blockchain data analytics firm estimated after the hack that as much as $16 million in ether and ERC-20 tokens could have lost. Grant Thornton was expected to file an initial report on the case last week on the New Zealand Companies Office website. But the New Zealand Court granted a 10 working day extension and the report is now due on June 4, Cryptopia said last week. Cryptopia image via Shutterstock 

Public Perceptions of the Bitcoin Spot Market Are Wrong, Says Bitwise

Public Perceptions of the Bitcoin Spot Market Are Wrong, Says Bitwise

Today’s bitcoin spot market is “significantly smaller and significantly more efficient” than is generally perceived, argues Bitwise Asset Management. In a white paper presented as comment to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Friday, Bitwise said the quality of the bitcoin spot market and the strength of arbitrage in that market has “improved dramatically” since the start of 2018. The average deviation of bitcoin’s price on the 10 “real” bitcoin exchanges, as measured against the consolidated price, shows a downward trend, indicating increasingly efficient arbitrage between the various exchanges, the firm said. “This comes despite high volatility and (at times) declining overall trading volume, and is driven by a large number of factors that reflect the growing maturity of the space,” it added. The CME bitcoin futures market has also been steadily growing, Bitwise said. Further, reiterating the major point of its previous report, the firm said that roughly 95 percent of all reported bitcoin trading volume is either fake volume or wash-trading. The volume numbers reported by CoinMarketCap and other data aggregators are “wrong” and “wildly inflated,” the firm argued. It did, however, concede that CoinMarketCap has “embarked on a serious initiative to improve transparency, disclosure and accuracy.” On the other hand, the “real” bitcoin market is “extremely efficient,” Bitwise said: “After you remove the fake volume and fake data from the equation, you are left with an extremely efficient and orderly market, and one that is backstopped by a regulated derivatives market of significant size.” It continued: “Public perception, however, holds nearly the opposite point-of-view, believing the bitcoin market to be uniquely disorderly and inefficient.” According to the paper, Binance, Bitfinex, Coinbase, Kraken, Bitstamp, BitFlyer, Gemini, itBit, Bittrex, and Poloniex are the only 10 exchanges with real trading volumes, with numbers that align more easily with related real-world statistics, including gross domestic product, wealth, web traffic and blockchain-related venture investments. In its conclusion, the firm said: “In times of rapid change, people’s perceptions often anchor in the past. People who read about bitcoin today still think about Mt. Gox, when they should be thinking about Fidelity; they think about Silk Road, when they should be thinking about Whole Foods. This vestigial anchoring is made worse by the poor quality of data that permeates large parts…

China Releases New Crypto Rankings

China Releases New Crypto Rankings

China’s Center for Information and Industry Development has released its latest rankings of 35 crypto projects that were evaluated over the past two months. While several top positions remain unchanged, Bitcoin has climbed up the overall ranking. Also read: Indian Supreme Court Postpones Crypto Case at Government’s Request New Rankings From China The Center for Information and Industry Development (CCID), under China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, released the 12th update of its crypto project rankings Thursday. The number of projects evaluated was unchanged from the previous rankings published in March. The center also announced that starting this month the rankings will be adjusted every two months instead of monthly. In addition to the overall ranking, the CCID published three others based on basic technology, applicability, and creativity sub-categories. EOS tops the list overall, followed by Tron, and Ethereum. The center started ranking Tron in February, debuting at number two overall and has remained at that position ever since. BTC now ranks 12th, up three places from the 15th place in the previous ranking. BCH has also improved, currently occupying the 29th spot overall, up from the 31st place previously. “The results show that the world’s three major Dapp platforms — EOS, Tron, and Ethereum — remain ranked in the top three, [and] the scores are 148.5, 144.1 and 136.6,” the CCID wrote. The center describes itself as “a first-class scientific research institution directly under the administration of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China.” The first crypto ranking was released in May last year. The assessment is carried out by the CCID (Qingdao) blockchain research institute, an entity established by the CCID, in collaboration with multiple organizations such as the CCID think tank and the China Software Evaluation Center. “The result of this assessment will allow the CCID group to provide better technical consulting services for government agencies, business enterprises, research institutes, and technology developers,” the center previously explained. Sub-Rankings The overall ranking is based on the total index scores of 35 crypto projects. The total index of each crypto project is the weighted average of its three sub-indices: the basic technology index, the applicability index, and the creativity index. The basic technology sub-index accounts for 64% of the total index,…

The Cat-and-Mouse Game of Crypto Regulation Enters a New Phase

The Cat-and-Mouse Game of Crypto Regulation Enters a New Phase

Michael J. Casey is the chairman of CoinDesk’s advisory board and a senior advisor for blockchain research at MIT’s Digital Currency Initiative. In the relentless cat-and-mouse game between regulators and cryptocurrency developers, the cats are about to add some serious firepower – this time in the form of a global alliance. But if you think the intergovernmental Financial Action Task Force’s forthcoming know-your-customer (KYC) compliance standards spell the end for the mice, think again. If anything, the FATF’s move, expected to be released next month, will drive developers to accelerate work on non-custodial exchanges and other tools that will make it easier for end-users to transact directly outside of regulated intermediaries. As CoinDesk managing editor Marc Hochstein explained last week , the new rules are likely to require exchanges and other custodial entities that take custody of their customers’ cryptocurrency to obtain identifying information about both parties before allowing a transaction over their platforms. Functioning much like the FATF’s “travel rule” for correspondent banks, the new regulatory approach would be backed by the task force member institutions’ unique powers to “graylist”– and ultimately blacklist – entire countries if they are judged to be non-compliant. When combined with the European Union’s forthcoming AMLD5 anti-money laundering rules for cryptocurrencies, the new framework conjures up the image of an all-encompassing global system for cryptocurrency transactions in which no one user is unaccounted for. ‘Satoshi’s vision’ destroyed? Libertarian-minded cryptocurrency believers will view this as an abominable surveillance system that contravenes the censorship-resistant principles upon which bitcoin was built. From a practical perspective, the new rules are going to be a burdensome imposition on custody-handling exchanges. It may well spur industry consolidation as smaller players may find the compliance costs too high. Blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis, which counts regulatory agencies among its clients, argued in a submission to the FATF that the new rules are impractical and would drive more activity in cryptocurrencies into services that make it much harder for authorities to track illicit activity. The rules could also, sadly, add to the “de-risking” problem that excludes billions of under-identified people in developing countries from the global financial system. But all is not lost. In most countries, there is nothing illegal about holding cryptocurrency itself under your own custody.…

How Crypto-Based Microfinance Benefits Small Businesses

How Crypto-Based Microfinance Benefits Small Businesses

Starting your own business isn’t easy given the reluctance of banks to grant credit. Gone are the days when a compelling business plan would be enough to have the branch manager shaking your hand and bankrolling your venture. For entrepreneurs in developing nations, where even obtaining a bank account can prove challenging, getting their idea off the ground often calls for non-traditional funding. Crypto-based microfinance is one such solution. Also read: Bitcoin Cash Privacy Has Improved in Leaps and Bounds Unbanked Businesses Are More Common Than You Think The unbanked are synonymous with Africa, where over 400 million adults lack access to the financial system, but can be found in their droves on every continent. In the U.S., for example, 8.5 million adults lack access to the financial system. Cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin have long been touted as a salvation for the unbanked, granting them a means of saving and exchanging value, but the benefit decentralized assets bring to small businesses is less documented. SMEs, both banked and unbanked, face financial pressure from day one, paying proportionately more for goods, import taxes, legal and administrative expenses, and compliance costs than larger enterprises. As a result, many small businesses fold long before they’ve even had a chance to challenge the incumbents. Google and Facebook’s dominance of the advertising market, for example, is steadily increasing, with the introduction of regulations such as GDPR credited with disadvantaging smaller competitors. Although most easily observed on a macro scale, it is on a micro level that this trend bites the deepest. Assetstream is a microfinance platform that assists SMEs that have been excluded by the traditional financial system. Its founder Thanin Piromward told news.Bitcoin.com: “When we hear the term ‘unbanked’ we tend to think of citizens of developing nations, but this is a problem which equally affects small businesses in these countries. They are denied access to services such as loans and other types of credit which are vital in ensuring early stage growth.” He continued: Crypto assets and the rise of social credit can remedy this lack of access through exposing SMEs to a community of lenders who are willing to assess each business on its merits, and assign capital accordingly. If Banks Won’t Lend, the People Will Traditional…

Bitcoin Cash Privacy Has Improved in Leaps and Bounds

Bitcoin Cash Privacy Has Improved in Leaps and Bounds

Over the last few years, privacy has become of great importance to digital asset enthusiasts as law enforcement has cracked down on money transmitters, seized coin shuffling services, and blockchain analysis has increased significantly. To thwart this, some bitcoiners have turned to mixing applications that utilize the Coinjoin protocol and other methods of obfuscation. However, the crypto community was dealt a blow on May 22 when Europol shut down one of the largest cryptocurrency transaction mixing sites, Bestmixer.io. Also read: Bitcoin.com Launches Free Bitcoin Cash Register Platform for iOS Devices Dutch Law Enforcement and Europol Shut Down Bestmixer Governments and law enforcement have always been interested in prying into people’s wallets, and the over the last decade the world has seen a significant increase in cronyism combined with surveillance capitalism. Blockchain analysis firms have sprung up and government agents have arrested people for things like illegal money transmission and laundering. As the invasion of crypto privacy has increased, cryptocurrency users have turned to coin mixing software. However, last Wednesday Europol and the Dutch Fiscal Information and Investigation Service (FIOD) revealed they had seized one of the largest crypto mixing websites Bestmixer.io. Bestmixer worked with a variety of digital assets including BTC, BCH, LTC, and ETH, letting pools of people tumble funds together to mask their origin. Dutch authorities accuse Bestmixer of mixing $200 million or 27,000 BTC. Moreover, the law enforcement task force detailed that they have gathered IP addresses, transaction details, bitcoin addresses and chat messages that they plan to analyze. The FIOD stated: This information will now be analyzed by the FIOD in cooperation with Europol and intelligence packages will be shared with other countries. BTC and BCH Supporters Mixed a Lot of Coins Over the Last Year As the cat and mouse game continues, privacy advocates within the cryptoconomy have been flocking toward shuffling software. For instance, BTC users have been using tumblers more often with software like the Wasabi wallet, Samourai, and Joinmarket. A recent study published by Longhash on April 29 estimates that 4% of BTC transactions use the Coinjoin protocol. The Coinjoin concept allows pools of people to mix coins while at the same time letting users keep control over their private keys throughout the process. Wasabi wallet, Samourai,…

Bitcoin Hits New 2019 High Above $8,900

Bitcoin Hits New 2019 High Above $8,900

Bitcoin’s price has once again set a new high for 2019 after breaking out from a bullish pattern on the daily chart, reaching as high as $8,905 before retracing slightly. At 19:00 UTC on May 26, the world’s largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization broke from an ascending triangle pattern on the daily chart, courtesy of being held beneath $8,250 for an extended period of time. The move to fresh 2019 highs has come at a time when prices were beginning to creep to the downside, touching as low as $6,600 on May 17 before a large amount of buying pressure pushed prices back above $7,300 within the same day. Since then prices have once again jumped by 22 percent, first rising above $8,500 on Sunday night in bullish fashion, then reaching over $8,700 within half an hour. It’s currently changing hands at $8,890 per CoinDesk’s price data.  Notably, the price rally was also accompanied by a large uptick in the 24-hour trading volume, an increase of $10.3 billion was added overall, according to data from CoinMarketCap. However, its “Real 10” volume – a metric that takes into account trading volume from exchanges reporting honest volume figures as identified in a report by Bitwise Asset Management – currently stands at $3.1 billion, according to Messari.io. Meanwhile, other highly ranked cryptocurrencies like EOS, Ether (ETH), XRP, and litecoin (LTC) have gained between 5.3 to 5.8 percent each on a 24-hour basis, according to CoinMarketCap. What’s more, the total market capitalization has risen to a high of $268.1 billion its highest point since August 3, 2018 while the market capitalization for altcoins is up $6 billion, a sign of continued funding and investment for cryptocurrencies overall. Eyes are now firmly set on bitcoin’s new target along $9,650 resistance, last seen 13 months ago on April 30, 2018, signaling a very strong upward move beyond the $10,000 psychological price tag. Disclosure: The author holds no cryptocurrency at the time of writing. Bitcoin image via Shutterstock