Crypto Market Recovery Continues, Mining Profits Back on Track, and Investors Still Bullish on Bitcoin

The crypto pendulum surely swings back and forth.

The cryptocurrency market has regained the almost the value it lost yesterday (Mar. 4) after a blood Monday that saw almost $4 billion wiped from the market.

The market is flashing green with the majority of major digital assets registering significant gains, according to data from CoinMarketCap.

Bitcoin has fought back to its $3,800 support levels as it is trading at $3,894 at the time of writing, triggering the possibility of breaking the $3,900 level. Bitcoin, the world’s largest digital asset by market cap has gained 3.35 percent in the last 24 hours.

Other major altcoins have joined in the party. Binance Coin is up 16.85 percent and Litecoin closely follows at 15.92 percent. EOS is up 14.96 percent in the last 24 hours. The market has regained nearly $1 billion in the last 24 hours but has almost regained all the value it lost to yesterday’s sell-off.

BlockFi offers compound interest on crypto deposits

Crypto lending startup BlockFi has announced the launch of crypto deposit account that offers compound interest to users.

Announcing the news on Mar. 4, the firm said it has publicly launched the BlockFi Interest Account (BIA) that allows crypto holders to earn 6 percent compound interest on their holdings.

Users from anywhere in the world can deposit Bitcoin and Ether in their accounts to earn interest from the service. The users can cash out whenever they want to. The program was launched in private beta in January this year and already has more than $10 million in cryptocurrency from a pool of retail, corporate, and institutional crypto investors.

BlockFi CEO Zac Prince said this new service is a big step forward as it presents the firm as one of the leading financial services firms.

“The launch of BIA is another significant step in BlockFi’s goal of becoming the go-to provider of financial services for crypto investors. Lending and borrowing is readily available at the institutional level, and we’re excited to leverage our relationships and capital markets expertise to provide utility and yield on digital assets for all crypto investors,” said Prince.

The assets will be custodied at Gemini Trust Company, LLC. founded by the Winklevoss Twins. The custody provider is regulated by the New York State Department of Financial Services.

BlockFi raised $4 million in December in a funding round led by Akuna with participation from other A-list crypto investors including Galaxy Digital Ventures and Morgan Creek Digital.

The firm has been expanding its team in order to support growth and has welcomed new talent.

“Our focus on delivering value for our clients and operating with robust compliance programs sets us apart from our competition. We’re excited to further diversify our product suite and bring innovative services to the crypto market,” said BlockFi’s Co-Founder and VP of Operations Flori Marquez.


SharesPost Crypto survey: Consumers and investors still bullish on the crypto industry

A recent survey by SharesPost revealed that the bear market is not good enough to deter both consumers and investors from being optimistic about the crypto industry.

The survey showed that investors and consumers are bullish about the long-term prospects of the crypto space that has seen the market lose more than $600 billion since January last year.

Investors have recently become more bullish on near-term cryptocurrency trends as the majority of the respondents said that they are planning to increase the value of their crypto holdings.

SharesPost surveyed more than 1,000 consumers, retail, and institutional investors in the first two months of this year.

More than 30 percent of the respondents said that they hold a minimum of $25,000 in Bitcoins while more than 20 percent claimed the same amount of Ethereum.

“The crypto winter is not over, but the latest survey data indicate there is a thaw in sentiment and growing bullishness about the future of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology,” said SharesPost Research Analyst Alejandro Ortiz.

The survey also found that Bitcoin, Ether, XRP, and Stellar are respectively the most popular crypto holdings.

Some of the surveyed investors want to see an improvement in regulatory clarity and more than 75 percent of them expect more clarity from regulators.

Diar report shows that cryptocurrency mining profits are back on track

Bitcoin mining profits are showing signs of picking up after falling to their lowest levels in almost 18 months, reported blockchain research group Diar on Mar. 4.

Bitcoin and other digital assets have had a poor run since last year. The previous month was another tough period for crypto miners as Bitcoin’s price dropped below $3,200.

Miners recorded profits of $210 million in January before dropping to $190 million in February. Mining profits reached $910 million in 2017 when the price of Bitcoin peaked at nearly $20,000.

The 2018 market crash left miners in a confused and bad state as the majority of them suffered from losses. It was reported that several Chinese miners were selling their equipment. Even big companies such as Bitmain were not shielded from the price drop. The mining giant was forced to close one of its data centers in Israel.

The Diar report claims that mining revenue is beginning to recover.

“To make matters slightly more difficult, miners running optimal equipment and who have secured wholesale electricity prices have seen their gross margins squeezed requiring a massive deployment of hash power in order to stay afloat,” reads part of the report.

QuadrigaCX scandal update: Kraken’s bounty bears minor positive results

The QuadrigaCX scandal is far from over but efforts by cryptocurrency exchange Kraken to help with the investigations seem to be bearing fruits.

Kraken recently offered a $100,000 reward to anyone who comes forward with helpful information that may lead to the recovery of all or a portion of the missing funds.

More than 400 responses have so far been received and they range from useful tidbits to wild and speculative theories.

Kraken CEO Jesse Powell told the crypto publication Decrypt that some of the responses received so far are plain silly.

“There’s a lot of speculation about what happened, people have their own theories. Somebody said the cookie monster did it. There’s some silly stuff in there,” said Powell.

The responses have also proven useful as they revealed conversations between QuadrigaCX’s co-founders the late Gerald Cotten and Michael Patryn. Important phone numbers that can connect people to accounts held on the exchange have also been revealed.

Powell said that they will relay the received information to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Powell added that their investigations into the matter have ended after identifying the wallets on their exchange that belongs to QuadrigaCX.

U.S. cryptocurrency exchange recruits former Wells Fargo executive as head of business development

ErisX, a United States-based cryptocurrency exchange has hired Kyle Unterseher as a business development executive. Unterseher has extensive experience in the financial sector and has been brought onto the exchange’s team to strengthen its management.

He previously worked for Wells Fargo, the fourth-largest U.S. bank by total assets. Unterseher will report directly to the exchange’s chief commercial officer Kelly Brown who is impressed with Unterseher’s vast experience in the financial world.

ErisX is on the offensive after it hired three executives from major companies including Barclays and YouTube.

Commenting on his new position, Unterseher said,

“Eris Exchange has operated a regulated marketplace for over seven years before entering the cryptocurrency space. With their experience, leadership and diverse list of investors; ErisX is well-positioned to enhance the digital asset trading experience and I’m excited to be a part of growing this new exchange environment.”

There has been a massive exodus of mainstream financial executives who are switching to the crypto sector. Some are looking to take up new challenges while others see potential in the nascent market that has seen a fair share of ups and down in the past year.

Coinbase preparing to part way with Neutrino employees who formerly worked at Hacking Team

U.S. cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase claims to be “about the rights of the individual and about the technological protection of civil liberties” and is prepared to prove that by parting ways with Neutrino employees who previously worked at Hacking Team.

Coinbase recently acquired Neutrino, a blockchain analytics company.

Coinbase claimed that it previously worked with outside vendors who did not provide them with blockchain analytics tool they required. This pushed them to acquire Neutrino because it has the best technology in the area.

Coinbase founder and CEO Brian Armstrong said in a blog post that after making certain discoveries, Coinbase and Neutrino agreed to remove from their fold Neutrino employees who formerly worked at Hacking Team even though they currently do not have any affiliation with the organization.

“This was not an easy decision, but their prior work does present a conflict with our mission,” said Armstrong in a blog post explaining the decision.

U.S. supermarket chain ditches Visa due to high fees and may be considering Bitcoin Lightning Network

United States’ major supermarket Kroger announced that it will stop accepting Visa credit cards at its food and drug stores due to high fees. The Cincinnati-based retailer operates 143 food and drug stores in seven states and will stop the use of Visa credit cards on April 3 this year.

Boston 25 News reported that the retailer will explore other options in a bid to cut down on costs. Kroger CFO Mike Schlotman claims that Visa, which is scheduled to increase its processing fees in April, is unnecessarily benefiting from the situation.

“Visa has been misusing its position and charging retailers excessive fees for a long time,” said Schlotman.

Anthony Pompliano, the founder and partner at Morgan Creek Digital offered Kroger an alternative in the form of Bitcoin Lightning Network.

Kroger production manager tweeted back to Pompliano showing an interest in taking the conversation further.

“Hey, Pomp – I’m a Product Manager at Kroger Digital. Can you confirm that you’re the correct person to discuss this with? I would love to set up a conversation,” responded Kroger’s product manager.

It is too early to predict what the outcome will be, but this puts Bitcoin Lightning Network and the entire crypto market on the map.

In the meantime, Visa has promised to relook the matter and sort out the problem.

Anonymous underwriter accuses BitGo of overstating insurance policy scope

The crypto sector never ceases to amaze.

BitGo, a digital asset financial services financial firm announced on Feb. 24 that third-party hacks were covered by a comprehensive $100 million insurance policy. The insurance policy is said to be covered by UK-based insurance behemoth, Lloyd’s.

However, an anonymous underwriter accuses BitGo of using ambiguous language to overstate the scope of the insurance policy.

In an email to CoinDesk, the underwriter said,

“Cover is only provided for ‘storage media’ in secure storage. In other words, there is no cover for any loss of sensitive information (private keys) resulting from the generation, transportation or transaction phases of the private keys’ life cycle.”

BitGo denies any wrongdoing and states that there is in no ambiguity in its press statement.

Binance CEO holds second AMA where he talks about delistings, Binance Launchpad, and more

Binance CEO and co-founder Changpeng Zhao (CZ) held his second Ask-Me-Anything (AMA) session on Periscope.

He talked about the delisting of projects on the cryptocurrency exchange and said that it has to be done. CZ highlighted that new projects have to meet certain standards before they are listed on the exchange and if they drop their guard and allow the standards to fall, then they will be delisted.

He added that the delisting process hurts many parties – Binance, token holders and the projects themselves. The delisted projects try to fight back but Binance doesn’t respond at all.

Regarding Binance Launchpad, he said it is a platform used to help good projects raise money.

He went on to talk about XRP and said that they do not consider it to be a security unless proven otherwise. He further said that they also dragged other exchanges to list XRP. He reiterated that the lawsuit does not imply that Ripple is guilty.

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