Nearly 80 Percent of Investors Still Have Faith in Bitcoin, Ethereum’s Upcoming Constantinople Hard Fork Upgrade Gets Support from Several Exchanges
The crypto winter that characterized the whole of 2018 has not prompted investors to lose faith in Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. After a failed upgrade in 2017, it is likely that Ethereum’s much-anticipated Constantinople hard fork upgrade has the blessings of several exchanges including Houbi Global, OKEx, and Binance. Ripple is planning to expand to Shanghai, China and has already advertised the position of a country manager in that territory.
The first Saturday of 2019 has been a good day for the crypto sector as the market is mostly green across the board. Bitcoin moved closer to $3,900 as it trades at $3,868 – a 1.87 percent surge in the last 24 hours. Bitcoin’s price reached $3,899 early during the day. Ether is trading at $157.97 at press time, up 5.55 percent in the last 24 hours, according to data from CoinMarketCap. Ether’s price reached a high of $159.7 during the day, its highest since Nov. 19, 2018.
All the top 10 assets are in the green with Litecoin leading the surge at 11.46 percent to trade at $35.50. Tron, the tenth largest cryptocurrency by market cap is up 10.20 percent to trade at $0.022961.
The entire market cap is currently worth $132.8 billion, up from the weekly low of $125 billion.
In the top 100 list, the majority of the digital assets registered mild gains with REPO and Crypto.com spiking 28.21 percent and 14.06 percent respectively.
80 Percent of investors are still investing in Bitcoin
The brutality of 2018 has not deterred investors from investing in cryptocurrencies. The crypto market lost more than $700 billion last year but the interest in Bitcoin is growing, according to a research report published by DailyFX on Jan. 2.
In the research report, Fan Xu, a research analyst at DailyFX wrote, “Bitcoin: Retail trader data shows 77.5% of traders are net long with the ratio of traders long to short at 3.44 to 1. The number of traders net long is 0.4% lower than yesterday and 6.2% higher from last week, while the number of traders net short is 2.7% lower than yesterday and 6.4% lower from last week.”
Xu says that the growing interest does not translate to a price increase in the short term. The analyst takes a contrarian view of the situation and claims that the prices of the world’s largest cryptocurrency may continue to decline.
“We typically take a contrarian view to crowd sentiment, and the fact traders are net-long suggests Bitcoin prices may continue to fall. Traders are further net-long than yesterday and last week, and the combination of current sentiment and recent changes gives us a stronger Bitcoin-bearish contrarian trading bias,” wrote Xu.
Japan’s self-regulatory association adds five more exchanges
The Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association (JVCEA) announced on Jan. 4 that it has welcomed on board five more exchanges as type II members.
The JVCEA was is a self-regulatory body established in April by 16 licensed cryptocurrency exchanges that want to develop safety standards for investors and all those legally involved in Japan’s crypto space. The JVCEA was granted its self-regulatory status in October by the country’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) – a financial regulator – to oversee the crypto space.
The self-regulatory body was formed partly as a direct response to the infamous Coincheck hack in January last year that resulted in the loss of almost $530 million in NEM currency. The body drafted regulatory guidelines for the sector that include the banning and prohibition of nefarious activities such as insider trading and the trading of privacy-coins such as Monero.
The new members are Coincheck, Everyone’s Bitcoin, LVC Corporation, Last Roots Inc., and Coinage Corporation. According to Cointelegraph Japan, the type II classification indicates that the members are still in the process of applying for virtual currency trader registration.
Japan is a major market for cryptocurrency trading – something that was compromised by the hack of the defunct Mt. Gox hack in 2014 and a host of other hacks. However, a positive stance from authorities is allowing the young sector to flourish in the country while doing the best to protect investors and stakeholders from criminal actors.
Huobi and OKEx cryptocurrency exchanges ready to support Ethereum’s Constantinople hard fork
Singapore-based Huobi Global and Hong-Kong-based OKEx cryptocurrency exchanges are prepared to support Ethereum’s Constantinople hard fork upgrade expected to go live in mid-January.
Ethereum’s development team has previously stated that the Constantinople upgrade is expected to go live between Jan.14 and Jan. 18 at block height 7,080,000. The hard fork upgrade consists of five different Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs) and will reduce the rewards for miners from 3 ETH to 2 ETH and other changes to the network’s codebase aimed at improving the efficiency of the blockchain network.
OKEx cryptocurrency exchange is going to take a snapshot of all its account at block height 7,080,000 – the point at which Ethereum developers will launch the upgrade. The exchange has asked its users to deposit their ETH tokens on the trading platform and the exchange will take care of the rest.
Huobi has also taken OKEx’s similar stance of managing users’ ETH. Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume also stated on its website that it will support the hard fork upgrade.
“Binance would like to confirm support for the upcoming Ethereum Constantinople Hard Fork. Please leave sufficient time for deposits to be processed in full prior to the block height shown below. We will handle all technical requirements involved for all users holding Ether in their Binance accounts,” said Binance in a blog post.
Once activated, the upgrades will change the Ethereum network and will prevent backward compatibility. Ethereum nodes will have to update synchronically with the entire system or will have to run as separate blockchain entities.
The core developers of Ethereum want to implement a new consensus algorithm known as Programmatic Proof of Work (ProgPoW) which is expected to improve the efficiency of GPU-based mining on the Ethereum network.
The new upgrade wants to prevent ETH miners from using specialized equipment such as ASICs. This will level the playing field for mining blocks.
Ripple expanding to Shanghai, China
Ripple, the company behind the XRP token is taking its first steps towards penetrating the Shanghai markets. The company announced via blog post that it is on a mission to find a country manager.
“Ripple is sharpening its focus on the dynamic payments landscape in China! We are looking for our first set of feet on the ground in Shanghai to launch and operationalize our brand-new Shanghai office. While you won’t be charged with doing this on your own, this role requires an extremely high level of autonomy, entrepreneurial energy, and business savvy in order to smoothly bring a new international office online,” said the exchange in the blog post.
The country manager’s important tasks include executing a strategy to build Ripple China and integrate it into the growing Ripple ecosystem, fostering relationships with banks, partners, and regulators in China, and hiring and managing a competent team.
Bitfinex moves nearly 1 million ETH ahead of scheduled downtime
According to Etherscan.io, an analytics platform for Ethereum, the controversial Bitfinex cryptocurrency exchange moved 900 ETH from one of its wallets (Wallet 5) to the other (Wallet 4) in preparation of the seven-hour downtime scheduled for Jan. 7. During the downtime, all services – deposits, spot trading, shorts, longs, and more will be suspended.
The downtime marks the first time that an exchange has blacked out its services for such a long time since the downtime of Mt. Gox. It is still unclear how the downtime will affect the markets.
The exchange announced a week ago that it will be migrating its data from Amazon Web Services (AWS) to a Swiss data center located in the heart of Crypto Valley.
“Both Bitfinex and Ethfinex will be down for up to 7 hours to complete the migration. Account holders will not be able to access their wallets, and all features across both platforms will be offline for the duration of the upgrade,” said the exchange in a blog post. “Bitfinex will be switching from AWS cloud to a self-designed infrastructure hosted in a Swiss data center in the heart of Crypto Valley in a move designed to significantly enhance platform performance, speed and security.”
The exchange has assured its customers that all their funds will remain safe and secure during the planned downtime.
Blockchain has yet to become a game changer, says consulting firm McKinsey
One of the world’s largest financial consulting firms McKinsey published an official post on Jan. 4 claiming that blockchain technology is yet to prove itself as a game changer it claims to be. The firm also says that there is little evidence of practical uses for the emerging technology.
McKinsey is a well-respected company with over 27,000 employees globally and reported revenue of more than $10 billion in 2018.
The report was jointly written by three McKinsey partners – Matt Higginson, Marie-Claude Nadeau, and Kausik Rajgopal.
“A particular concern, given the amount of money and time spent, is that little of substance has been achieved. Of the many use cases, a large number are still at the idea stage, while others are in development but with no output. The bottom line is that despite billions of dollars of investment, and nearly as many headlines, evidence for practical scalable use for blockchain is thin on the ground,” said the partners in the report.
The three analysts consider the “infant” technology to be relatively unstable, expensive, and complex. One reason that has hindered the progress of blockchain technology is the emergence of competing technologies.
The report goes on to say that there is emerging doubt as “some financial institutions have begun to recalibrate their blockchain strategies.”