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This German Fintech Startup Will Let You Hold Bitcoin in Your Bank Account

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German blockchain banking service Bitwala is set to launch the first-ever platform that will enable the management of both euro deposits and bitcoin funds within the same bank account.

This system is planned to kick off by November with an estimated 30,000 customers who have already signed up for the service. The biggest initial investor for the service is Earlybird Venture Capital, who is providing funds to the tune of €4 million.

Bitwala was founded in 2015 as a financial services company focused on enhancing value exchange between customers in an efficient and cost-effective system. By launching its regulated blockchain service, the company fulfills one of its original goals, which involves bringing a smooth transition between the cryptocurrency and legacy financial systems.

The crypto-fiat service available through Bitwala is designed to provide users with the benefit of accessing the services of a German bank account, provided with Bitwala’s banking partner, which offers SEPA debit and credit transactions, easy management of recurring payments, and a debit card.

Customers under this system will be able to use their Bitwala account for various settlement purposes, such as to receive salary payments and pay their rent. Beyond the fiat-related services, the “bitcoin bank accounts” will offer users the opportunity and instant access to liquidity in trading digital assets directly.

“The cryptocurrency community is eagerly awaiting the launch of our new service. I’m very proud that with our new product we will close the gap between crypto and traditional banking and solve one of the biggest hurdles on the road to mainstream adoption,” said Jörg von Minckwitz, president of Bitwala GmbH.

Prior to the suspension of its transaction services in late 2017 due the sudden licence removal of their card issuing partner, Bitwala processed almost €100 million in volume for its 80,000 customers. This was carried out in a robust system that positioned it as an effective global money transfer platform using blockchain technology.

This recent development will mark another milestone achievement for blockchain industry as a whole in terms of achieving mainstream recognition and adoption. Deposits in current accounts in this system will be protected up to €100,000 under the German deposit protection scheme and supervised by Germany’s banking supervisors BaFin and Bundesbank.

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https://www.ccn.com/this-german-fintech-startup-will-let-you-hold-bitcoin-in-your-bank-account/

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Crypto Giant Circle Lists EOS, Stellar, 0x and Qtum

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Circle has announced the addition of four new digital assets to the Circle Invest platform, bringing the total number of listed cryptocurrencies on the platform to 11.

Announcing the news in a blog post, Circle revealed the new additions to be EOS, Stellar, 0x and Qtum. Circle further revealed that the four assets can be purchased through the Circle Invest platform either individually or as part of a basket using the “Buy the Market” retail portfolio investment feature.

New Feature and Listing Rationale

According to Circle’s blog post, the four crypto assets were chosen for listing based on their suitability, which was determined by the Circle Asset Framework. CCN reported in June that under the Circle Asset Framework, each asset to be evaluated on its own strengths, and under no circumstances are any fees paid to aid listing. This helps to ensure the integrity of the process and gives customers the confidence that only the best assets are listed on Circle platforms.

In order to help customers fully appreciate the value of every asset on Circle Invest, the company also announced the introduction of a new feature called “Explore.” This feature will help users gain insight into crypto investment with contextual and relevant information on the various aspects of crypto. Circle hopes that this simplification tool alongside the user-friendly interface of Circle Invest will help it in its mission to take crypto trading tot he mass market.

On the subject of why the four currencies specifically were chosen for listing, the blog post mentions that EOS promises to improve upon the Ethereum framework, especially regarding the number of transactions per second that can be held. Where the Ethereum blockchain can handle only 15 transactions per second, EOS has a proven capacity of several thousand transactions per second.

Stellar on its part, offers a low cost, high-speed cross-border payments solution, disrupting the current paradigm of international fiat payments which sometimes take weeks and charge up to 10 percent commissions. A typical Stellar cross-border transaction is completed in five seconds and costs less than a penny.

0x creates a framework for peer-to-peer crypto trading directly over the Ethereum blockchain through the use of “Relayers” that serve as exchanges built atop the 0x protocol. Finally, Qtum offers users the best of both bitcoin and ethereum, having been built as a hybrid of both assets.

Since releasing Circle Invest in March, the platform has aggressively courted increased market share, listing Zcash and Monero in May.

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https://www.ccn.com/crypto-giant-circle-lists-eos-stellar-0x-and-qtum/

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Household Name: New Scrabble Dictionary Includes ‘Bitcoin’ as Playable Word

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The newly-published sixth edition of Merriam-Webster’s Scrabble Dictionary released Monday includes ”bitcoin” as a playable word for the first time.

Bitcoin Finds Its Way into Scrabble Lexicon

While bitcoin was added to Merriam-Webster’s unabridged dictionary in 2016, the Scrabble dictionary is updated less often and includes fewer words. The last update released four years ago, in contrast to the annual updates in standard dictionaries. So it is fitting to finally include the nearly universally understood bitcoin to the popular game’s “Official Scrabble Players Dictionary.”

The other words added are much less universally understood, such as “shizzle”and “cakehole,” among the over 300 new additions. Such millennial-speak has crept into the lexicon more and more, which Merriam-Webster is quick to pick up on. Over its long history, the Merriam-Webster dictionary has drawn criticism for being too prescriptivist, meaning they are too quick to add new words that appear in everyday language. Even the most recent words added to the Scrabble Dictionary attest to this allegation.

And if you thought there wasn’t any oversight into how these words were added to the rule book for the most die-hard Scrabble Players, don’t worry — the dictionary sought counsel from the North American Scrabble Players Association. Yes, there is an actual association for Scrabble players, according to the Associated Press.

However, bitcoin has perhaps been one of the least controversial additions to the dictionary.

Additional Crypto Buzzwords Added

In addition to bitcoin’s debut in the Scrabble dictionary, the latest release of the Merriam-Webster dictionary — the kind you had to use in high school — includes additional cryptocurrency-related words. “Fintech,” for example, is one of the “new technological terms [that] are more focused on the future than the present.”

As Merriam-Webster’s blog post explains:

“It’s important to remember that new words are added to the dictionary only when they have already been used by many people—often initially by specialists or subcultures. Then, gradually, a word’s use spreads to the rest of us. Every word moves at its own pace; there is no average speed for a word’s acceptance into the language, the culture, and the dictionary. The dictionary’s job is to report that usage as it enters the general vocabulary.”

Interestingly, it is possible to track how cryptocurrency’s adoption and growth propels more of the “insider” lexicon into official English.

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https://www.ccn.com/household-name-new-scrabble-dictionary-includes-bitcoin-as-playable-word/

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Game-Changer? Coinbase Overhauls Cryptocurrency Listing Process

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Coinbase has announced a new procedure for listing assets with the sole purpose of speeding up the process of listing digital assets that meet the exchange’s standards, per a company blog post. The San Francisco-based company, which currently supports bitcoin and popular altcoins such as bitcoin cash, ethereum classic, and litecoin, says it’s getting tougher to list all the asset types they want in a “secure and compliant way” for digital assets that meet the company’s current listing standards.

The solution, according to the post, is to list assets complaint with local law, in a “jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction manner” — which means some assets might be available in some regions and absent in others.

Issuers will go through a simple process for evaluation of their assets before they are listed on the cryptocurrency exchange. It starts with a signup form for issuers to complete, which contains details of the assets, which the company will then evaluate against its digital asset framework. The framework is, however, not set in stone. Coinbase says it will be updated regularly and the form will always convey the version of the framework that the company is using for evaluation at the time.

The new listing process is free for issuers, but things could change in the near future. Coinbase says the volume of submissions will determine whether it imposes an application fee in the future to “defray the legal and operational costs associated with evaluating and listing new assets.”

The firm continued:

“At our discretion, we may choose to list some assets on the basis of our own evaluation, even in the absence of an application. In other cases, we will attempt to give quick, specific reasons for the approval or rejection of particular assets.”

Coinbase expects to list more digital assets — faster — with the change in the listing process. The company has also altered how it will conduct listing announcements, and it says new assets will now be announced at or near the time of public launch across Coinbase’s products.

Earlier this year, Coinbase added support for ethereum classic. The digital asset platform also raisedthe daily buy limits for users to $25,000 and eliminated the sell limit. The exchange also began permitting users to begin trading on the platform immediately following a purchase. Previously, users had to wait for the bank transfer to settle before receiving their funds, a process that could take up to five business days.

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https://www.ccn.com/game-changer-coinbase-overhauls-cryptocurrency-listing-process/

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Newsflash: Ripple Price (XRP) Pumps after Coinbase Hints at Listing More Coins

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Bolstered by a hopeful announcement from cryptocurrency exchange giant Coinbase, the ripple price (XRP) broke out of its recent bearish trend.

Ripple Price Breaks out of Early-Week Slump

Ripple had traded deeply in the red for most of the day, shedding much of its phenomenal gain from the previous week. That changed on Tuesday evening when the third-largest cryptocurrency surged on a wave of bullish sentiment. As of 22:09 UTC, the ripple price was trading at $0.478, up from an intraday low of $0.436.

XRP/USD | Bitstamp

The ‘Coinbase Effect’

The sudden XRP bump came in the immediate aftermath of Coinbase’s announcement that it was overhauling its cryptocurrency listing process, replacing what had largely been a cautious, ad-hoc approach to one that more closely mirrors the processes through which other exchanges approve coins for listing.

Importantly, the announcement seems to indicate that Coinbase — heretofore one of the most exclusive major exchanges — will list a cavalcade of new assets, which the firm identified as one of its customers’ chief requests.

“Today we’re announcing a new process that will allow us to rapidly list most digital assets that are compliant with local law, by satisfying listing requests in a jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction manner,” the firm said in the announcement. “With this shift in process, our customers can expect us to list most assets over time that meet our standards.”

XRP investors have long grumbled that Coinbase had declined to list the token, even as it listed other cryptocurrencies with smaller market caps. While today’s announcement does not guarantee that the firm will list XRP — there’s still the allegation in some circles that it should be regulated as a security  — most other large exchanges in the U.S. and abroad have opened ripple markets.

Consequently, it seems fair to speculate that ripple fans may soon have an answer to that oft-repeated question, “When XRP?”

Stay tuned for a full-report on Coinbase’s new digital asset listing framework.

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https://www.ccn.com/newsflash-ripple-price-xrp-pumps-after-coinbase-hints-at-listing-more-coins/

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Google Unbans Crypto Ads, Will Work With Regulated Firms in US and Japan

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Google, the $828 billion search engine behemoth, has unbanned crypto-related ads, allowing regulated companies to utilize its platform to advertise their products.

In March, Google executive Scott Spencer stated that cryptocurrency investments have potential to cause harm in financial markets, leading the search giant to ban crypto ads. He stated:

“We don’t have a crystal ball to know where the future is going to go with cryptocurrencies, but we’ve seen enough consumer harm or potential for consumer harm that it’s an area that we want to approach with extreme caution.”

The reverse ban of crypto-related ads by Google has demonstrated the willingness of the conglomerate to work with legitimate projects and companies in the cryptocurrency sector.

Motivation Behind the Reverse Ban

In June, CCN reported that experts in the finance sector including Manchester-based investment firm Blackmore Group CEO Philip Nunn heavily criticized Google for banning the entire industry of crypto.

Nunn stated that both Facebook and Google showed interest toward crypto and blockchain technology and yet decided to prematurely ban the entire market on their platforms.

“I understand that Facebook and Google are under a lot of pressure to regulate what their users are reading, but they are still advertising gambling websites and other unethical practices,” he said.

At the time, multi-billion dollar fintech corporation Revolut Head of Mobile Ed Cooper expressed his concerns over the imposition of a blanket ban, which unfairly punished legitimate companies working to build robust platforms and services for investors in the market.

Although the intent of Google and Facebook was to ban out ponzi schemes and crypto-related scams, well-established companies like Coinbase and Binance were also prohibited from acquiring ads on the platform.

Nunn stated:

“Unfortunately, the fact that this ban is a blanket ban will mean that legitimate cryptocurrency businesses which provide valuable services to users will be unfairly caught in the crossfire.”

As Ethereum co-creator Vitalik Buterin previously explained, cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology have achieved a high level of awareness amongst consumers in the mainstream. But, as an industry in its early phase, development of robust infrastructure is necessary to allow cryptocurrencies and digital assets to evolve into a major asset class.

A blanket ban on the entire sector of crypto prevented recognized and prominent companies in the space from expanding their services, reach, and user base. The reverse ban of Google will allow institutions and individual investors in the market to build confidence in the market of crypto.

International Reverse Ban

Starting October, only verified companies in the crypto sector of US and Japan will be able to purchase ads on Google. But, companies will be permitted to file applications with Google to publish ads in other countries as well, which over time is expected to evolve into an international reverse ban on crypto ads.

For the sake of investor protection, the move of Google to manually approve ads from blockchain projects and cryptocurrency-related businesses is positive, as it will filter out illegitimate services and scams that could impact both Google and the cryptocurrency industry negatively.

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https://www.ccn.com/google-unbans-crypto-ads-will-work-with-regulated-firms-in-us-and-japan/

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Cryptocurrency Derivatives Platform LedgerX Will Launch Ether Options: Report

Institutional bitcoin derivatives platform LedgerX is reportedly preparing to expand its cryptocurrency product line to include ether, the native asset of Ethereum.

 

The U.S. firm, which was the first trading platform to receive approval from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to list bitcoin derivatives, has developed a line of ether options and is ready to roll them out once it gets the go-ahead from regulators, industry publication The Block reports.

 

 

 

While LedgerX has not confirmed the news publicly, the report cites a source familiar with the company who says that the rollout could follow a CFTC meeting on Oct. 5, if regulators at the agency are sufficiently comfortable with the product.

 

LedgerX began offering bitcoin derivatives in Oct. 2017, two months before CBOE and CME launched their bitcoin futures contracts. At present, the firm offers next-day swaps, which are essentially one-day futures contracts settled in “physical” bitcoin, and options, which allow traders to purchase the right to buy or sell an asset at a particular price at an agreed-upon point in the future. Now, it wants to make these products available for ether, too.

 

Importantly, these options would allow traders to short the ethereum price, creating what’s known as a two-sided market for the second-largest cryptocurrency. While the creation of ethereum derivatives may lead to short-term price decreases — some research has connected this year’s cryptocurrency market decline to the launch of the first regulated bitcoin futures — they arguably contribute to more efficient price discovery, which could aid in making institutions more comfortable with cryptocurrency as an asset class and ether as an individual token.

 

 

 

Professional investors and cryptocurrency miners can also use options trading to hedge profits and reduce risk associated with price volatility.

 

If LedgerX does bring an ether product to market, it likely will not be long before CBOE — which is on record expressing its desire to add more cryptocurrency products — lists an ethereum futures contract as well. CME, as CCN reported, has released an ether price index but has been more guarded on its future plans for the cryptocurrency.

https://www.ccn.com/cryptocurrency-derivatives-platform-ledgerx-will-launch-ether-options-report/

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Monero Devs Patch Bug Allowing Attackers to ‘Burn’ Cryptocurrency Exchange Deposits.

The developers of privacy-centric cryptocurrency monero have patched a bug that would have allowed an attacker to cause significant damage to cryptocurrency exchanges and XMR-friendly merchants.

 

Now-Patched Monero Bug Put Cryptocurrency Exchanges, Merchants at Risk

Addressed through a software patch privately distributed to exchanges and merchant and later publicly disclosed through a post-mortem on the project’s website, the bug would have allowed a user to deliberately “burn” XMR by sending multiple payments to the same stealth address. While the recipient would have been able to spend one output (the wallet automatically uses the largest output first), funds sent through subsequent transactions would have been rendered unspendable since these transactions would have resulted in duplicate key images that would would have been rejected by the network as suspected double spend attacks.

 

A determined attacker could have exploited this bug by sending a series of payments to a single stealth address belonging to a cryptocurrency exchange or merchant. Specifically, the bug was found in the monero wallet software, which did not screen for this particular abnormality. Consequently, the receiving wallet would not have flagged these transactions as problematic and would have credited the deposit or marked the invoice as paid.

 

 

 

 

 

In the case of an exploit executed against an exchange, the attacker would have been able to trade the full deposit for other cryptocurrencies and withdraw them to an external wallet. However, when the exchange operator attempted to include the deposited funds in a future transaction they would only have been able to spend the largest output. And though the attacker would not have received a direct material benefit, they could have — for the price of network transactions fees — been able to cause the exchange, and by extension traders holding funds on the platform, to lose a massive amount of funds.

 

 

 

If deployed on a large enough scale, the exploit could have indirectly benefited the attacker by reducing the effective monero supply, i.e. the amount of spendable XMR, thereby theoretically increasing the value of each spendable coin relative to the cryptocurrency’s market cap.

 

Notably, the basic structure of the exploit had been known for quite some time. However, it was only recently that, spurred by a discussion on the XMR subreddit, developers identified that the bug could be meaningfully exploited to the detriment of cryptocurrency exchanges, merchants, and other organizations.

 

Disclosure of the bug has not had a noticeable effect on the monero price. Currently trading at $114, XMR is down 3 percent for the day while most other large-cap altcoins are down at least 5 percent.

 

More Code Review Needed in Cryptocurrency Ecosystem

 

Reflecting on the process used to disclose the bug and privately circulate the patch to vulnerable organizations, community moderator dEBRUYNE acknowledged that the methods used were less than ideal but noted that the community has not yet implemented a better vulnerability reporting protocol.

 

From the post:

 

“I (and others) privately notified as many exchanges, services, and merchants as possible with the (private) patch that had to be applied on top of the v0.12.3.0 release branch. To reiterate (from the previous post mortem blog), this is clearly not the preferred method, as it (i) invariably excludes organizations that I (and others) personally do not have contact with, but are an essential part of the Monero ecosystem and (ii) may invoke a view of preferential treatment. However, there had only been limited time to improve the vulnerability report process.”

 

Later in the post, dEBRUYNE called for more developers to participate in XMR code review to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future, adding that “this event is again an effective reminder that cryptocurrency and the corresponding software are still in its infancy and thus quite prone to (critical) bugs.”

 

Indeed, not even bitcoin is immune from such incidents. As CCN reported, BTC developers recently patched a vulnerability that, if exploited, would have allowed miners to effectively print new coins, artificially inflating the cryptocurrency’s supply.

https://www.ccn.com/monero-devs-patch-bug-allowing-attackers-to-burn-cryptocurrency-exchange-deposits/

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Did the Mt. Gox Trustee Bitcoin Sell-Off Cause the Crypto Market to Crash?

On September 25, the Mt. Gox trustee released a document entitled “Announcement on Measures to Secure Interests of Bankruptcy Creditors,” disclosing the sale of over $230 million worth of crypto including Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash.

While it still remains unsure whether the decline in the price of BTC and the valuation of the crypto market was triggered by the sell-off of Bitcoin and bitcoin Cash by the Mt. Gox trustee, the recent correction of the market coincided with the release of the document.

Since March, within a period of six months, 25.98 billion yen ($230 million) of Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash were sold by the Mt. Gox trustee in the cryptocurrency exchange market.

Impact on the Market

The daily volume of Bitcoin is estimated to be around $4 billion, which increases to mid-$5 billion in rallies and corrections. Tens of millions of dollars worth of Bitcoin can be easily liquidated and absorbed by the cryptocurrency market without demonstrating unexpected price movements.

But, if $250 million worth of Bitcoin is dumped on the cryptocurrency exchange market in several big chunks, it is possible to trigger a domino effect across major trading platforms and cause the price of BTC to drop.

If the BTC price dropped by 3 percent due to the Mt. Gox trustee and its sell-off of $230 million in BTC, then the Mt. Gox either sold a large chunk of its holdings throughout the past week or decided to dump the entire $250 million on exchanges several days before drop in the valuation of the market.

Hence, while it is possible that the Mt. Gox trustee had an impact on the downtrend of Bitcoin, it is not realistic to solely attribute the wipeout of $22 billion from the market to the sell-off of the Mt. Gox trustee.

Rather, as seen in the rapid decline in the price of XRP, the native cryptocurrency of Ripple, which fell by more than 15 percent in a 24-hour period, it is more likely that the sell-off of Ripple led the crypto market to fall, affecting both Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Jed McCaleb, a co-founder of Ripple, who is estimated to have more than $2 billion in XRP, has started to accelerate the sell-off of XRP.

“A founder’s increasing sale of XRP could be a negative for the token’s value, just as it would be if a CEO of a publicly traded company suddenly started dumping shares in the company’s stock,” the WSJ reported.

More to that, if the Mt. Gox trustee caused the valuation of the crypto market to drop, once the document was released, it should have led the market to initiate a short-term recovery. However, the crypto market is still showing no signs of recovery from its fall on September 25.

Market’s Future

The corrective rally of the crypto market in the last seven days demonstrated strong momentum and volume. But, as it is possible for Ripple to record a three-fold increase in price, it is possible for the market to record a 20 percent decline in a 24-hour period.

In the upcoming months, depending on the performance of BTC, the crypto market may initiate a corrective rally after stabilizing in the low $200 billion region.

https://www.ccn.com/did-the-mt-gox-trustee-bitcoin-sell-off-cause-the-crypto-market-to-crash/

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Bitcoin Price Intraday Analysis: BTC/USD in Bear Flagpole Formation.

Bitcoin on Tuesday depreciated more than 3 percent against the US Dollar after reversing from a bear flag top yesterday.

The BTC/USD walked the day carrying the prevailing bearish sentiment on its shoulders. The early Asian trading session opened at 6518-fiat and didn’t wait much before dropping below key support areas around 6500-fiat and 6400-fiat. By the end of the mid-Asian session and the beginning of early European trading hours, BTC/USD had established its intraday low towards 6370-fiat. At the time of the press, the pair is consolidating sideways in near-term, showing minimum bounce back sentiment. Ideally, the price is forming a bear flagpole.

BTC/USD Technical Indicators

We had expected a reversal to initiate a run towards the medium-term range support near 6118-fiat. There is a crucial support zone midway near 6400-fiat as we approach the said range parameter. If BTC/USD doesn’t hold through the interim buying sentiment area, then we could be looking at a short position riot towards 6118-fiat. Fortunately, the area between 6118-fiat and 5785-fiat is also our whale accumulating channel, what we believe could create some potential long opportunities towards the descending trendline. This trendline has been there for almost 9-months, and it is one of the main reasons why we are so bearish in the medium-run.

Indeed, a breakdown scenario, in which the price breaks below the bottom area between 5785-fiat and 5850-fiat, could invoke a free fall towards 4500-fiat. Similarly, a breakout above the falling trendline could mean an extended bull run towards 8348-fiat, the neckline of the inverse head & shoulder, incomplete for now.

The RSI and Stochastic indicate an extended selling action. The RSI is particularly looking to repeat its pullback from the overbought area towards the 30-40 range.

BTC/USD Intraday Analysis

Our intraday strategy is influencing us to keep our positions intrarange between the symmetrical triangle formation. So far, we have squeezed a small profit out of our long position from 6370-fiat to 6450-fiat, and a reversal from the upper trendline is keeping us short towards lower trendline while eyeing 6370-fiat as interim support. A stop loss on short is necessary so we are putting it just two-pips above the upper trendline.

A break below 6370-fiat will be an altogether different scenario to play out. The extent of a bearish action at this point could be huge. So, near-term short positions will yield results anyhow. We will avoid playing a breakdown strategy merely because of its minimal profitability and high risk (in case one becomes too bearish towards the medium-term support near 6118-fiat). Instead, we’ll be waiting for a large green candle to allow us to put a long position on a bounce back, towards the nearest upside target. If a bounce back takes place from 6370-fiat, we’ll go long towards the upper trendline of the symmetric triangle, while keeping our stop loss 3-pips below the entry point.

Trade safely CCNers!

https://www.ccn.com/bitcoin-price-intraday-analysis-btc-usd-in-bear-flagpole-formation/

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The U.S. Government Has Spent Millions Trying to Track Cryptocurrency Users.

If you’ve ever wondered whether Uncle Sam is spying on your cryptocurrency transactions, a new report reveals that, if you reside or do business in the United States, the answer is probably yes.

U.S. Govt. Goes All in on Tracking Cryptocurrency Usage

Citing public records, research firm Diar reports that U.S. government agencies have collectively spent $5.7 million hiring contractors who perform blockchain analysis, which involves linking an individual’s identity with their cryptocurrency funds.

Though there are tools and even individual cryptocurrencies that purport to allow users to send funds anonymously, the vast majority of cryptocurrency users leave enough of a trail that, equipped with the right tools, investigators can determine to whom a particular wallet belongs.

Once a cryptocurrency user exposes their pseudonymous cryptocurrency address to a service or individual who could identify it as belonging to their real-world identity, they run the risk of having their entire wallet (and any other of their wallets with which that wallet has transacted) exposed as belonging to them — once a blockchain forensics expert takes the time to aggregate the data.

Frequently, these privacy lapses occur when a user deposits or withdraws funds at a cryptocurrency exchange that requires users to undergo identity verification, though they may also be the result of posting their cryptocurrency address online under their real name or an identifiable pseudonym, or even transacting with someone else who has been unmasked.

IRS Accounts for 38% of Blockchain Analytics Spending

IRS bitcoin

Source: Shutterstock

Unsurprisingly, the top spender among U.S. government agencies is the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which is responsible for collecting federal income tax. The IRS has signed nine contracts with cryptocurrency forensics providers, together worth just under $2.2 million and representing 38 percent of the government’s total spending on these services.

CCN reported last year that the IRS had contracted with blockchain-tracing firms to help unmask investors who have not been accurately reporting their cryptocurrency investment income on their tax returns, and the agency has subsequently ramped up enforcement of alleged violations related to this asset class, even going so far as to take Coinbase to court in an effort to force it to hand over customer data.

However, the second-largest spender in the U.S. government comes as much more of a surprise. One might expect that either the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), or Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) would be the agency next in line in spending on tracking cryptocurrency use.

Instead, the second-largest blockchain analytics client was Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), who enforces the government’s immigration policies and investigates criminal activities involving foreign nationals living in the United States. ICE had taken out nine contracts amounting to $1.5 million, while the FBI came in third with 12 contracts worth more than $1.1 million.

Meanwhile, the SEC, which polices the securities markets and has filed charges against a variety of cryptocurrency fraudsters and initial coin offering (ICO) operators, has spent less than $185,000 on tracing the flow of funds.

Blockchain-Tracing Spending Soars as Crypto Prices Decline

Cryptocurrency tracing spending

Source: Diar

Notably, spending has ballooned in 2018, even as the cryptocurrency market has declined around 70 percent from its all-time high and interest among retail consumers has waned.

Per the report, Chainalysis is the preferred blockchain analysis contractor of the U.S. government, having received $5.3 million — 93 percent — of the $5.7 million paid out to these firms.

These lucrative government contracts have also made blockchain-tracing firms increasingly attractive to investors. Startups operating exclusively in this field have collectively raised nearly $29 million. The most well-funded firm — once again Chainalysis — has raised more than $17 million by itself.

https://www.ccn.com/the-u-s-government-has-spent-millions-trying-to-track-cryptocurrency-users/

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Cryptocurrency Trading Volume to See 50% Growth in 2019: Research

Despite cryptocurrencies having fallen off their record highs, the sector is expected to experience double-digit growth in trading volumes next year suggesting that trader enthusiasm in the nascent asset class has not waned.

According to research conducted by Satis Group, crypto trading volume will grow by over 50% in 2019. In the United States, the volume of cryptocurrencies traded will overtake the trading volume of corporate debt this year. And even more significantly, the trend shows that crypto trading volume is set to reach 10% of the equity trading volume in the world’s largest economy and home to the globe’s biggest stock market. Currently, the volume of U.S. equities is estimated to be over US$74 trillion while that of crypto trading is US$7.3 trillion.

Bitcoin Dominance

The dominance of bitcoin as a base pair for trading cryptocurrencies is also set to continue, per the report. Currently, bitcoin is the base pair for 33% of all the crypto volume traded across the globe with Tether coming second at 22% while Ethereum is third at 12%.

As for the fiat currencies, the United States dollar enjoys the biggest share of the market as a base pair at 48% while the Japanese yen is second at 27%. The Euro and the South Korean won enjoy single-digit market share at 9% and 7% respectively.

With the expected growth in the crypto trading volume, exchange trading fees will also naturally increase. From a figure of US$2.1 billion estimated to have been generated in exchange trading fees last year, the amount is expected to rise to more than US$3 billion in 2018. This is despite the bearish conditions which have persisted this year.

“Assuming blended fees based on volume of the top 20 exchanges by size, we estimate over $2.1B in trading fees gathered last year across global exchanges. We estimate this number to grow to well over $3B in 2018,” wrote Sherwin Dowlat, the lead researcher of the report.

Biggest Exchanges Making a Killing

Interestingly, the trading fees generated by crypto exchanges last year was almost on par with the US$2.2 billion generated by global equities and US$2.6 billion generated by retail brokers demonstrating how lucrative the cryptocurrency exchange business is. This growth in trading fees generated by cryptocurrency exchanges has been attributed to an increase in the number of institutional investors as well as growing retail adoption.

However, how this growth in trading fees will be shared out amongst the existing exchanges will be skewed heavily in favor of the large established firms. According to the Statis report, more than three-quarters of the total trading volume in the crypto market goes to the leading 20 exchanges.

Among the exchanges ranked in the top 20 category by Statis includes Binance, Bitfinex, Bithumb, Bitmex, Coinbase Pro, HitBTC, Huobi and OKex. With regards to the market share, Binance enjoys roughly 14% of the trading volume while OKex gets 12% while Huobi’s figure is 9%.

https://www.ccn.com/cryptocurrency-trading-volume-to-see-50-growth-in-2019-research/

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$230 Million: Mt. Gox Trustee Confirms Past Bitcoin Sell-Off.

Bitcoin investors who have dutifully monitored cryptocurrency wallets associated with defunct bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox for early warnings of a possible sell-off have been proven justified in their paranoia.

Mt. Gox Trustee Confirms $230 Million Bitcoin Sale

According to a document published on the Mt. Gox website, Nobuaki Kobayashi, the exchange operator’s trustee, sold approximately 24,658 BTC and 25,331 BCH between the last creditor’s meeting on March 7 and the June 22 court ruling allowing the estate to exit bankruptcy and enter civil rehabilitation.

Altogether, the estate garnered just under 26 billion JPY, worth more than $230 million, recouping an average of about $8,100 per bitcoin and $1,190 per bitcoin cash compared to their current values at $6,420 and $438, respectively.

bitcoin price

BTC/USD | Bitfinex

Kobayashi said that the purpose of the sale was to secure the interests of all bankruptcy creditors, which was required before the estate could enter civil rehabilitation.

He wrote:

“Due to the Sale, the bankruptcy trustee has already secured a suitable amount of money to secure the interests that are expected to have obtained by BTC creditors under the Bankruptcy Proceedings in connection with BTC claims to be treated as non-monetary claims under the Civil Rehabilitation Proceedings. Accordingly, the bankruptcy trustee has determined that the interests expected to have already been obtained in the Bankruptcy Proceedings can be secured without taking the profit-securing measures under the Trust Agreement and Guarantee Entrustment and Guarantee Agreement for the BTC claims, and the BTC claims are not included in the subject protected claims under the Trust Agreement and the Guarantee Entrustment and Guarantee Agreement.”

Past Transfers Likely Connected to Sell-Off

Kobayashi had previously disclosed selling more than $400 million worth of bitcoin and bitcoin cash over a six month period that correlated with the cryptocurrency market’s descent from its all-time high.

He incurred significant criticism for the manner in which he conducted those sales. Rather than use an over-the-counter (OTC) broker like most large-scale buyers and sellers, he sold the funds on order-book exchanges, magnifying the impact that the sales would have on the spot bitcoin price.

Following those sales, CCN reported on several transfers out of Mt. Gox wallets, transactions collectively amounting to more than 24,000 BTC and BCH. Based on today’s disclosure, it is now safe to conclude that those transfers were likely made as part of the sale.

According to the MtGox Cold Wallet Monitor, estate-controlled wallets are currently holding 137,891 BTC and BCH, worth $945 million at the present exchange rate. These funds were recovered after the exchange went bust in 2014 following a ~$470 million theft that remained the largest such incident until the Coincheck hack earlier this year.

Traders who held funds on the exchange at the time of its demise must submit claims by Oct. 22 to be considered for compensation from the estate. Now that the estate has entered civil rehabilitation, most creditors are hopeful that they will be paid in cryptocurrency, rather than the fiat proceeds from another massive sell-off. However, compensation will ultimately depend on the rehabilitation plan approved by the court.

When Mt. Gox entered civil rehabilitation, Kobayashi said that there were not currently any more plans to liquidate the estate’s remaining cryptocurrency holdings.

https://www.ccn.com/230-million-mt-gox-trustee-confirms-past-bitcoin-sell-off/

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Weak Volumes: Ripple Tanks 15% as Crypto Market Deletes $13 Billion.

˜XRP, the native currency of Ripple, has plunged by 15 percent as $13 billion was wiped out of the crypto market.

Yesterday, on September 25, CCN reported that the volume of Bitcoin has declined from $5.3 billion to $4.2 billion within a 24 hour period, while the volume of Ripple dropped by more than 60 percent from $2 billion to $800 million.

Even during a massive sell-off, when the volume of major cryptocurrencies often intensify due to sell volume, the volume of both XRP and Bitcoin remain just above September 24 levels.

Low Volume, Where to go Next?

A correction for XRP was expected by most investors, given its three-fold increase in price in the past seven days. It increased by more than 150 percent since September 20, which left XRP vulnerable to a rapid downward movement.

But, the 3 percent drop in the price of Bitcoin was larger than expected, particularly because the dominant cryptocurrency showed stability throughout August and September. The abrupt 3 percent drop in the price of Bitcoin led Ethereum, Stellar, and other cryptocurrencies to drop by 5 to 15 percent in the past 24 hours.

Throughout August and September, the price of BTC has been relatively stable in the $6,000 to $7,000 region. Hence, while tokens and some large market cap cryptocurrencies recorded large gains last week, it was difficult to consider the short-term trend of the market as nothing more than a corrective rally initiated by oversold conditions.

As ShapeShift CEO Erik Voorhees said in late August, the bear market of Bitcoin is not over yet, but it is is a viable period for investors to accumulate. Since late August, the crypto market has remained virtually the same, apart from some major rallies of tokens and several cryptocurrencies like Ripple, Cardano, and Stellar.

“I don’t expect it (bear market) to end soon, although I do think that the rate of collapse has slowed considerably. Generally in these bubbles, after you go through several months of a downtrend you hang out in a range for a while… But I think we are done with a majority of the collapse,” Voorhees said.

Trend of Ripple

Still, even after a 15 percent drop, XRP is still up 28 percent from $0.35, its level prior to its rally. The volume of XRP has not dropped substantially since September 24 and if XRP can hold its losses at the current level, it is possible for XRP to stabilize at the $0.45 mark.

WSJ reported that Ripple co-founder Jed McCaleb has started to sell large chunks of his multi-billion dollar holdings in XRP, which may have intensified the downside movement of XRP.

“Mr. McCaleb’s increased sales of XRP could be another factor that drags on the token, which Ripple has used to fund its growth and is intended to help run its payments-protocol software,” the report read.

Similar to the impact the Mt. Gox trustee had on the price of Bitcoin throughout early 2018, if McCaleb continues to sell large chunks of his holdings on exchanges, it is possible that the price of XRP continues its decline in the upcoming days.

https://www.ccn.com/weak-volumes-ripple-tanks-15-as-crypto-market-deletes-13-billion/

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Supreme Court of India to Listen Final Arguments on Central Bank vs Bitcoin Case-

The Supreme Court of India is set to hear the final arguments on the petition against the Bitcoin banking ban on Tuesday, reported local media.

The ongoing battle between the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Internet and Mobile Association of India (IMAI) has entered its final phase before the country’s apex court. The original hearing was scheduled on September 11, but due to the court’s backlog hearings of other cases and RBI’s delay of filing its response, the session witnessed two consecutive reschedulings. The response from the central bank came finally around September 12. In its affidavit, RBI reserved its views on the cryptocurrency ban, telling the court that no legal system defines cryptocurrencies in its current format.

The RBI had also argued with the Supreme Court over the people’s constitutional rights to interfere with regulatory matters.

“The petitioner cannot seek to exercise the extraordinary jurisdiction of this Honorable Court to avail a right which they do not have,” the Indian central bank wrote in his affidavit. “The impugned circular and the impugned statement have been issued in a manner that is consistent with the powers conferred on the RBI by the law and the same are legal and valid.”

RBI believes IMAI, the petitioner in the ongoing case, didn’t provide any valid arguments against the crypto banking ban, which is why the honorable Supreme Court should reject their pleas. The bank, however, didn’t reveal the nature of those arguments, leaving crypto enthusiasts believing that the financial body fears that the court would reverse its ban.

CCN argued that the Indian apex bank should not interfere with petitioning, a democratic process that allows each individual to be heard before the country’s lawmakers. The existing legal framework doesn’t recognize Bitcoin mainly because it is a new asset class. Several forward-looking nations are already building a blockchain industry by introducing crypto-friendly laws, but India could lag behind as its very own entrepreneurs move abroad to set up their crypto businesses.

At the same time, the RBI ban does not look enforceable enough. Indian crypto markets are either moving underground or are relying on exchange-based p2p trade to circumvent the law. As a result, the Income Tax Department is losing thousands of dollars of taxes despite imposing a capital gain tax on the crypto-asset profits.

 https://blog.cofredcoin.com/2018/09/25/indias-supreme-c…-vs-bitcoin-case/ ‎

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IBM CTO Tells US Congressmen ‘Let's Get Government Ready for Blockchain

IBM and members of the U.S. Congressional Blockchain Caucus discussed the use of blockchain for ID systems, payments, and supply chains during a meeting today, September 24, according to a press call attended by Cointelegraph.

IBM recently published a report entitled “The Impact of Blockchain for Government: Insights on Identity, Payments, and Supply Chain” made in collaboration with the U.S. Congressional Blockchain Caucus.

The report summarizes a series of roundtable discussions between U.S. Representatives Jared Polis (author of “The Cryptocurrency Tax Fairness Act,” which proposes to abolish crypto taxes below $600) and David Schweikert, along with Thomas Hardjono, technical director at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Jerry Cuomo, vice president for blockchain technology and CTO at IBM.

IBM and MIT held three meetings with members of Congress, discussing the need for government funding of blockchain innovation and regulatory sandboxes, in which the state would be able to test different solutions before they are brought to the market.

As Cuomo said during the press-call, experts could study blockchain “the whole day”, but eventually it must be made available to citizens. He stressed that it was “time for the [U.S.] to start acting” on blockchain integration in daily life. “Blockchain is ready for government, let's get government ready for blockchain,” he added.

Rep. Polis, who previously proposed making Colorado a “national hub for blockchain innovation in business and government,” said that the state has only begun to see “the promise of blockchain technology,” which exceeds cryptocurrencies and tokens.

He stressed the importance of creating the best legal  framework for innovation and blockchain implementation, which could significantly improve the quality of life of Americans. Polis also added that blockchain might address “the real lack of trust in centralized institutions.”

Polis further mentioned the importance of relevant crypto taxation. “We want to make sure that people using cryptocurrencies won't pay taxes for buying a cup of coffee or a magazine,” he said. However, when later asked on tax holidays for crypto startups, IBM CTO Cuomo said that was “a really big question” that had not yet moved much beyond “small dollar amounts.”

During the call, Rep. Schweikert — who previously urged the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to clarify crypto taxation — said that medicine and social projects would see the most benefit from blockchain solutions. However, he noted that specific encryption standards should be elaborated to protect data — an aim pursued by the caucus’ partnership with several institutions such as MIT and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

As Cointelegraph reported earlier this week, U.S. Congressman and Blockchain Caucus member Tom Emmer announced that he would introduce three bills to support the development of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, as well as establish a safe harbor for taxpayers with “forked” digital assets.

 https://blog.cofredcoin.com/2018/09/25/ibm-cto-tells-us…y-for-blockchain/ 

 

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Sydney Uni’s Red Belly Blockchain Hits 30,000 Txs/Sec on Amazon Cloud Trial.

The latest trial from the University of Sydney’s Red Belly Blockchain running on Amazon Web Services (AWS) has clocked 30,000 transactions per second with an average transaction delay of 3 secs.

Researchers at the University of Sydney in Australia have concluded new trials of a hybrid blockchain that sits between public blockchains like that of bitcoin and ethereal and consortium blockchains like R3.

Developed exclusively by the university’s School of Information Technology, the academic researchers claim the fork-free Red Belly Blockchain can rapidly scale transactions compared to the likes of the bitcoin blockchain.

“There’s public blockchains like bitcoin and Ethereum that don’t try to solve consensus ahead of time … but then later try to avoid forks … which means the latency is quite large,” University of Sydney’s Dr Vincent Gramoli, who heads up the development group, told the Australian Financial Review.

The bitcoin blockchain can scale seven transactions per second with an average confirmation time of 10 minutes (September 10 figures from blockchain.com). The ethereum network can scale up to 20 transactions per second amid ongoing chatter involving co-creator Vitalik Buterin for a plan to scale up to 500 txs/s.

Dr Gramoli added:

“So far, blockchain had not shown that it could scale and we wanted to demonstrate that a blockchain technology could scale in the number of participating machines and have performance maintained or improved with an increasing number of participants.”

The Red Belly Blockchain is a “community’ ledger whose tech lies somewhere in between the public and the consortium blockchain models, according to the research lead.

“It doesn’t rely on a [consortium leader like R3] because having a leader was a bottleneck to scaling,” he explained…”we discovered that transaction verification was also causing a bottleneck, so we improved consensus and the verification process and we were able to scale the performance.”

While this particular trial ran on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud computing platform, a previous test in a single physical data centre with 300 machines scaled 660,000 transactions per second, over 11 times that of the Visa network which has a maximum throughput of 56,000 transactions per second as one the world’s largest payment rails.

Developed over a span of several years and “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in production costs, the Red Belly Blockchain made headlines in July 2017 with its first publicly-known trial wherein the ledger processed 400,000 txs/second.

https://www.ccn.com/sydney-unis-red-belly-blockchain-hits-30000-txs-sec-on-amazon-cloud-trial/

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Crypto Industry Reps, Lawmakers, Venture Capitalists to Discuss Regulatory Landscape.

Representatives from U.S.-based financial giants and cryptocurrency startups will meet with Washington lawmakers this Tuesday to discuss the regulatory landscape, CNBC reportedSeptember 24.

The roundtable dubbed "Legislating Certainty for Cryptocurrencies" will reportedly be hosted by Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Ohio). The attendees will address the issue of policy-making regarding the new asset class in the run-up to the introduction of a bill in the House of Representatives by Davidson this fall.

In a letter to participants, Davidson reportedly pointed out eight questions for the meeting, saying that “your input is critical to helping us preempt a heavy-handed regulatory approach that could stall innovation and kill the U.S. ICO (Initial Coin Offering) market.” Along with those issues, which include the problem of protecting customers from fraud, regulators plan to cover private funding disclosures and token issuance laws.

Among the invitees, representatives from Fidelity, Andreessen Horowitz, Nasdaq, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, cryptocurrency startups Ripple, Coinbase and Circle have reportedly confirmed attendance. The opening remarks will be given by Reps. Ted Budd, (R-NC), Tom Emmer, (R-MN), French Hill, (R-AK), and Darren Soto (R-FA).

On September 21, Rep. Emmer revealed his intention to introduce three bills to support blockchainand digital currencies, focusing on the development of blockchain technology, as well as establishing a safe harbor for tax payers with “forked” digital assets. According to Emmer, “taxpayers can only comply with the law when the law is clear.”

Also this month, U.S. lawmakers called on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to issue clarified and “comprehensive” crypto taxation guidance. The lawmakers argue that while the IRS has proactively continued to remind taxpayers of the penalties for non-compliance with its guidance, its failure to introduce a more robust taxation framework “severely hinders taxpayers' ability” to meet their obligations.

https://blog.cofredcoin.com/2018/09/25/crypto-industry-…latory-landscape/ ‎

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India’s Supreme Court to Listen Final Arguments on Central Bank vs Bitcoin Case.

The Supreme Court of India is set to hear the final arguments on the petition against the Bitcoin banking ban on Tuesday, reported local media.

The ongoing battle between the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Internet and Mobile Association of India (IMAI) has entered its final phase before the country’s apex court. The original hearing was scheduled on September 11, but due to the court’s backlog hearings of other cases and RBI’s delay of filing its response, the session witnessed two consecutive reschedulings. The response from the central bank came finally around September 12. In its affidavit, RBI reserved its views on the cryptocurrency ban, telling the court that no legal system defines cryptocurrencies in its current format.

The RBI had also argued with the Supreme Court over the people’s constitutional rights to interfere with regulatory matters.

“The petitioner cannot seek to exercise the extraordinary jurisdiction of this Honorable Court to avail a right which they do not have,” the Indian central bank wrote in his affidavit. “The impugned circular and the impugned statement have been issued in a manner that is consistent with the powers conferred on the RBI by the law and the same are legal and valid.”

RBI believes IMAI, the petitioner in the ongoing case, didn’t provide any valid arguments against the crypto banking ban, which is why the honorable Supreme Court should reject their pleas. The bank, however, didn’t reveal the nature of those arguments, leaving crypto enthusiasts believing that the financial body fears that the court would reverse its ban.

CCN argued that the Indian apex bank should not interfere with petitioning, a democratic process that allows each individual to be heard before the country’s lawmakers. The existing legal framework doesn’t recognize Bitcoin mainly because it is a new asset class. Several forward-looking nations are already building a blockchain industry by introducing crypto-friendly laws, but India could lag behind as its very own entrepreneurs move abroad to set up their crypto businesses.

At the same time, the RBI ban does not look enforceable enough. Indian crypto markets are either moving underground or are relying on exchange-based p2p trade to circumvent the law. As a result, the Income Tax Department is losing thousands of dollars of taxes despite imposing a capital gain tax on the crypto-asset profits.

CCN will continue to monitor this story for more updates.

https://www.ccn.com/indias-supreme-court-to-listen-final-arguments-on-central-bank-vs-bitcoin-case/

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Ripple (XRP) Erases Over 40% Gains ($9.5 Billion) as Top Coins Fall; What’s Next?

After displaying a supernormal rally that amounted to more than 60 percent gains within a week, XRP is now doing a complete reversal.

Ripple has lost more than $9.5 billion in market cap since establishing its highest peak since April. The coin reached its high on Friday last week, at around $27.5 billion, but witnesses the execution of massive long positions around the said level. The weekend and the beginning of the week that followed later saw XRP wiping almost 22 percent of its market cap, so as the per unit value. The bearish momentum intensified further during the Tuesday’s Asian trading session, amounting to a 40 percent intraweek loss.

XRP is trading at $0.46 at the time of this writing.

XRP is backed by a Ripple Labs, a blockchain-based payment provider, that over the course of the previous week, signed impressive partnerships with leading banks and promising crypto-services. It also announced the launch of its xRapid, an XRP-denominated payment service, in October.

The fundamentals looked strong at that time, which influenced speculators to go long on their XRP positions against the US Dollar and Bitcoin. As the value picked up violently, without a hint of a pullback, the FOMO sentiment took over and traders started buying at new highs in a lookout for an extended bull run. Eventually, the XRP value against the USD ended up establishing a new peak near $0.79, just marginally below its April high.

The bearish cracks began appearing thereon, as XRP found stability within a range defined by $0.596-resistance and $0.52-support. The absence of bulls intensified the bearish sentiment and traders started executing their long positions on decent weekly profits. Hence, the drop.

XRP/USD Forming Bull Flag?

The Ripple technicalities are left with two possible outcomes: either XRP/USD is heading to form a head and should pattern as it extends its bearish momentum, or it is looking for a pullback from the rising trendline, confirming a bull flag formation. We are already looking at the pair attempting a reversal from the ascending trendline, but we could not tell its validity purely because its too soon. That said, we should divide our predictions between the two scenarios: a breakdown and a pullback.

So, a reversal from ascending trendline creates a decent long-opportunity towards 0.52-fiat in near-term. Putting a stop loss somewhere 2 pips below the entry point will minimize our losses. (1 pip ~ $0.00100)

In the event of a breakdown, the next short target that is there is around 0.424-fiat, which proved to a reliable support during the July price action.

Trade safely!

https://www.ccn.com/ripple-xrp-erases-over-40-gains-9-5-billion-as-top-coins-fall-whats-next/

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