Cryptocurrencies See Mild Gains as Jan Van Eck says Bitcoin Investors See Gold as a Better Store of Value
Bitcoin has managed to remain slightly above $3,600 on a day when the majority of the top 20 digital assets registered slight gains.
The top 6 digital assets – BTC, XRP, ETH, BCH, EOS, and USDT – registered less than 1 percent gains while Tron is leading the pack with 8.2 percent gain to trade at $0.028. Binance is another top gainer with a 4 percent spike.
Bitcoin is trading at $3,605, a noticeable decrease after it was exchanging hands for around $3,740 at the beginning of the week, according to CoinMarketCap data.
In overall, the market lost more than $4 billion after the market cap fell from $124.4 billion a week ago to $120.3 billion at the time of writing.
U.S SEC resumes operations
The chairman of the U.S Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) Jay Clayton announced on Jan. 26 that the regulatory agency has resumed normal staffing levels and operations are back to normal.
After 35 days of partial government shutdown, U.S president Donald Trump has backed a new deal to temporarily keep the government working at full capacity for three weeks.
While this is a political matter, it has affected the crypto sphere just as much as it has affected other industries too.
CBOE exchange withdrew its application for a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) supported by Van Eck and SolidX, possibly in fear of automatic rejection.
At the same time, Bakkt’s much-anticipated Bitcoin futures contract which was expected to be launched by the end of January pending approval from the Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has been delayed again due to the government shutdown.
As the government resumes normal operations, at least the crypto market can move forward, irrespective of whether the crypto applications are approved or not.
Nishant Jacob, Senior Product Manager at BitBounce says that uncertainty hurts the industry as it is difficult to plan the future.
“A lack of regulations can, unfortunately, create uncertainty which makes it hard to plan towards longer-term goals,” said Jacob.
However, Jacob believes that the shutdown could work in favor of cryptocurrencies as people would lose trust in federal trust and turn to cryptocurrencies. “We’ve seen a fall in the general trust in institutions ever since the financial crisis which is in part what has helped fuel the interest and growth around cryptocurrencies,” he said.
Ripple set to revolutionize the cross-border payments industry
Ripple’s xRapid received another vote of confidence after a report from a Malaysia and Singapore-based business outlet Edge Markets published a report stating that Ripple is on its way to revolutionizing the cross-border industry.
The report suggests that xRapid has the potential to outperform global networking giant SWIFT by targeting emerging where financial transactions are slow and expensive. xRapid was designed for payment providers and plays a crucial role in minimizing liquidity costs and improving customer experience.
“From the perspective of big financial institutions, better liquidity is a key advantage. Payments, especially to parties in emerging markets, often require pre-funded local currency accounts around the world, resulting in high liquidity costs. With xRapid, payment providers and financial institutions are able to dramatically lower the capital requirements for liquidity, as it uses the XRP token to provide on-demand liquidity,” read part of the report.
Cory Johnson, the chief marketing strategist at Ripple said xRapid’s speed and reliability are only part of the story. “A single transaction on xRapid takes only a few seconds to complete, regardless of the origin or designation of the fund. Transaction fees are significantly lower as well,” said Johnson.
Cryptocurrency exchange Bitstamp partners with Swiss crypto-friendly bank Dukascopy
Luxembourg-based Bitcoin exchange Bitstamp has partnered with one of Switzerland’s leading and cryptocurrency-friendly bank Dukascopy to facilitate crypto funding on the online bank’s platform.
Dukascopy – a forex bank and broker – now allows its clients to convert their Bitcoins into USD in the same way that they would exchange any other currencies available on the bank’s platform. The exchange also announced that Dukascopy users can also turn their fiat currency into Bitcoins.
The exchange said that the new partnership marks another key step in bridging the gap between traditional finance and cryptocurrencies.
“This partnership represents another step towards our goal of bridging the gap between crypto and traditional finance. It is further proof that our efforts in compliance and regulation continue to deliver results at a time of rapid maturation for the cryptocurrency industry,” the exchange said in a press statement on Jan. 25.
Both parties have been making great strides in the crypto sector.
Dukascopy has taken steps to be more involved in cryptocurrencies after it allowed its customers to deposit and withdraw funds in digital assets. The bank recently announced its own cryptocurrency known as Dukascoin. The online bank has also allowed crypto-focused business to open business accounts.
Bitstamp is currently the only Bitcoin exchange to be granted a license by the European Union (EU).
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak got rid of his Bitcoins at the peak of the bubble
Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are so technical that in the early days, it was only tech-savvy people who had an interest in them. However, it turns out that even computer programmers still do not want anything to do with Bitcoin, at least from an investment perspective.
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak says that he developed an interest in both blockchain and cryptocurrencies some time ago. He has admitted that the cryptocurrency market was in a bubble when Bitcoin’s price reached $20,000 in late 2017. Despite this, he still thinks that Bitcoin is a good store of value and has a great future ahead.
Wozniak first encountered Bitcoin when its price was around $700 and his impression was that its concept of decentralization would catch fire and lead to mass adoption. He says he bought Bitcoins as an experiment.
“My goal was to travel to a place like Stockholm, and go to restaurants and hotels that only accept bitcoin, and only use bitcoin when I travel,” Wozniak said when he recently appeared at a Nordic Business Forum Q & A session.
The co-founder of Apple Steve Wozniak claims that he got rid of all his Bitcoins because he has no interest in investing and does not want to regularly check the price of the digital asset.
“When it shot up high, I said I don’t want to be one of those people who watches and watches it and cares about the number. I don’t want that kind of care in my life. Part of my happiness is not to have worries, so I sold it all and just got rid of it,” said Wozniak.
The wild ride of 2017 got Wozniak – the co-founder of one of the most valuable tech company in the world – out of the game.
By selling the digital asset at its peak price, Wozniak is one of the people who got the most out of the meteoric rise in 2017.
Mt. Gox Trustee wants to extend a hand to delayed claims
There are only a few people in the crypto scene who haven’t heard of Mt. Gox and its infamous 2014 hack. Those who joined the bandwagon early on may have fallen victim to the hack that was worth over $400 million at the time.
After the hack, the matter was taken to court which resulted in a trustee being appointed to handle claims for refunds.
After several years of legal battles, the victims of the hack were given until Oct. 22 to claim refunds for the lost investments. In a press statement, the trustee wants to give a grace period to victims who did not file their refund claims in time.
“If filings are delayed for reasons not attributable to creditors, proofs of rehabilitation claims filed after the deadline may be acceptable. Whether proofs of rehabilitation claims filed after the deadline will be accepted is determined by the court,” said the trustee.
The trustee has previously tried to extend the deadline date to Dec. 26 so that everyone affected by the hack has enough time to have their lost money returned.
The trustee sold nearly $400 million in Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash in March last year to generate money to pay the creditors. The massive sale negatively impacted the crypto market and traders were not happy about it all.
Bitcoin mining is no longer worth it, says JP Morgan
JP Morgan has proven to be a thorn in the flesh of Bitcoin and the crypto market at large. After predicting that Bitcoin’s price could fall to below $1,260, the investment bank says that mining Bitcoins is no longer profitable.
A classic case of “the squeeze is not worth the juice.”
Per JP Morgan Chase analysts, the cost to mine one Bitcoin averaged out at $4,060 globally in Q4 2018. Bitcoin is currently trading around $3,600 and clearly, this is not a good deal for miners. However, there is a big spread around the average, meaning that the cost to produce one Bitcoin varies significantly. In short, there are clear winners and losers.
The JP Morgan report notes that Chinese miners are able to pay as less as $2,400 to mine one Bitcoin because they can get cheaper electricity.
“The drop in Bitcoin prices from around $6,500 throughout much of October to below $4,000 now has increasingly pushed margins further and further negative for just about every region except low-cost Chinese miners,” said the analysts.
The report says that miners who are running at a loss are forced to exit the space and cause the hashrate to drop. This is conducive for the remain players as less energy will be required to mine Bitcoins.
Dr. Doom strikes again: Blockchain is no better than an Excel spreadsheet
Bitcoin’s notorious critic Professor Nouriel Roubini was at his best at a blockchain panel hosted by LaToken crypto exchange on Jan. 25, stating that blockchain is “no better than Excel spreadsheet.”
He said blockchain “is the most overhyped technology ever” and noted that Bitcoin and its ilk are the mothers of all bubbles. Roubini further stated that blockchain technology has nothing to do with fintech and distributed ledger technology (DLT).
He went as far as saying that private DLT is nothing more than a fancy database because it is neither trustless nor decentralized.
With regards to central bank digital currencies (CBDC), the Professor said that they don’t have anything in common with blockchain or crypto. He believes that CBDCs will be bigger than cryptocurrencies and changing banking altogether. Roubini further stated that no government in the world will allow the use of privacy-focused coins such as Monero or Zcash.
Roubini’s claims are a familiar tale told many times at different events. The Professor is well-known for predicting the 2008 financial crisis which earned him the nickname Dr. Doom.
Jan Van Eck: Bitcoin investors are running to gold
Bitcoin’s bull run of 2017 is long gone, and it may be a while before the world sees another one. The cryptocurrency market has been struggling for some time and has failed to breach the $4,000 level for some time.
Jan Van Eck, the CEO of Van Eck Associates said that there are signs that Bitcoin investors are moving towards more traditional commodities such as gold to invest in.
Speaking to CNBC’s ETF Edger, Van Eck said, “I do think that Bitcoin pulled a little bit of demand away from gold last year, in 2017. Interestingly, we just polled 4,000 bitcoin investors and their number one investment for 2019 is actually gold. So, gold lost to bitcoin and now it’s going the other way.”
In the 12 months prior to Bitcoin’s all-time high in December 2017, its price increased 25 times while gold rallied 4 percent during the same period. More than a year after the peak, Bitcoin is 82 percent down in value while gold has grown 2.5 percent.
The founder and chief investment officer of Seymour Asset Management – Tim Seymour – said Bitcoin is a better store of value.
“Not only have we lost all liquidity on the underlying [commodity] but truly outside of the existential blockchain argument, it’s been very difficult to argue store of value which is really what we started hearing about. Gold is a store of value and there’s no disputing that,” said Seymour on EFT Edge.