Zář 21

‘BTC’ Is More Popular Than ‘Bitcoin’ On Google

Baidu search trends in 2019 show Chinese bitcoin interest being driven largely by price action news. Meanwhile, ‘BTC’ has become a more popular search term than ‘bitcoin’ according to data from Google Trends.

Chinese Bitcoin Interest is News Driven

Tweeting on Friday trader and analyst Alex Krüger revealed spikes in Chinese bitcoin interest as shown by Baidu searches coincided with significant price action and news events.

The chart below from Krüger shows massive spikes during the April Fool’s breakout, late June price rally to $13,800, and the VanEck ‘pseudo-ETF’ news to name a few.

On average, Chinese interest in bitcoin for 2019 has been on the rise. Back in June, Bitcoinist reported that there was a growing BTC interest in China amid tighter capital controls and the trade war with the United States.

On the global level, data from Google Trends shows a continued decrease in bitcoin interest since hitting its 2019 peak in the last week of June 2019.

Coincidentally, this period was also when the top-ranked cryptocurrency pulled off its rise to the current 2019 all-time high (ATH).

Chinese bitcoin interest

Compared side-by-side, Baidu and Google search trends for bitcoin paint a somewhat similar picture. The Google Trends chart also shows significant peaks in early April, mid-May, and late-June — periods that coincide with massive price rallies.

In the last few weeks, bitcoin’s price action has remained flat with successive retracements below $10,000 followed by an immediate climb towards the $10,300 resistance level.

BTC 7 Times More Popular than Bitcoin

In a related development, BTC is now a more popular search term than bitcoin on Google. Comparing both on Google Trends shows that sometime after early August, there was a huge spike in interest in BTC over bitcoin.

bitcoin and BTC interest

Despite a significant decline since the start of September, BTC popularity as a search term on Google Trends still outpaces bitcoin by more than 86%.

Why does this matter? — well, being the general trading name for bitcoin, it is possible that some traders are trying to manipulate the market by propping up interest in BTC.

Trading bots set up to enter into positions and execute trades based on algorithms data mining patterns between BTC searches and price trends could be gamed into thinking there is a spike in bitcoin interest.

Trijo News, a Swedish crypto media outlet first reported on the inorganic trend revealing that it began in Romania.

Do you think some traders are trying to game the system using inorganic BTC searches? Let us know in the comments below.

Images via Bitcoinist Image Library

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Zář 20

Why Bitfinex No Longer Rules Over Bitcoin (BTC)

Trading volumes for Bitcoin (BTC) on the Bitfinex exchange seem to vanish into thin air. Analysts noted that about a year ago, Bitfinex served as the primary exchange for BTC price discovery – but that situation changed, and now the market carries only about 3% of its former volumes.

Fallen From Power

On Bitfinex, BTC volumes are just around $57 million, a small fraction of the total $17 billion daily volumes. The exchange, once a powerhouse of activity, seems to have dwindled to the size of a small-scale market. Total volumes are now around $137 million in 24 hours. The drop in volumes is also surprising since Bitfinex is one of the exchanges considered to have realistic volumes compared to the number of user visits.

Bitfinex is now ranked 54th by volumes on CoinMarketCap. Curiously, this shift in activity happened while the exchange carried out multiple incentive programs to attract more traders. In the past, Bitfinex only accepted a minimum of $10,000 in deposits.

Later, the constraint was removed, and Bitfinex now offers mid-range verified accounts some perks that were only available to “whales”. But the fish are not biting, not even with the more recent incentive to trade UNUS SED LEO (LEO), a new native exchange token minted by Bitfinex.

No Tether, No Volume

One of the reasons for the lowered volumes is that Bitfinex has stopped a rather apparent practice of regularly unleashing bots to boost the BTC market price. Additionally, the platform no longer carries the bulk of Tether (USDT), and the Tether treasury is careful not to send coins on the exchange.

In the past, an easy link could be noted between newly minted coins that ended up on the Bitfinex wallet. Following that event, a BTC rally would follow.

Now, Bitfinex is warier. The exchange was hit with a heavy loss, after having $850 million locked up with Crypto Capital – a global payment service that was caught with shady banking practices. On top of that, there is the ongoing court case with the New York Attorney General, still going through the practices of iFinex and Tether to determine any illegal activity.

The decline in Bitfinex volumes also follows stricter policies for US-based exchanges. The exchange had to delist multiple assets and block the accounts of unverified users. During that time, new exchanges expanded, taking over the market share. Binance took the lead and also became one of the biggest holders of USDT.

What do you make of Bitfinex’s decline? Add your thoughts below!

Images via Shutterstock, Twitter @Prestonjbyrne

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Zář 19

Explosive Mining Growth Indicates High Confidence in Bitcoin (BTC)

Bitcoin miners are not giving up, showing immense confidence and working against significant network difficulty. The last difficulty hike from September 13 made it 10.38% less likely for miners to discover a block. But in the meantime, mining pools have been compensated with even more power.

Competition Pushes Bitcoin Hashrate Skyward

It’s expected that another double-digit growth in difficulty will take place during the Bitcoin mining re-evaluation next week if  mining keeps up the current pace. Data reveals, however, that mining has grown exponentially, while difficulty growth tracks flatter.

According to social media personality @Hodlonaut, a prominent Bitcoin supporter, the relentless race for more mining is a sign of confidence.

Miners are currently producing 1,800 new BTC each day, a number that will be slashed in half sometime in early 2020. The halving of the reward may even arrive earlier, as block times go down to less than 10 minutes, and possibly even lower than 9 minutes.

The growth in mining has led to a peak of 100 quintillion hashing operations – a unique growth for any industry. Given that mining started with computer CPUs and moved to multiple generations of specialized machines, it’s difficult to imagine what the future of Bitcoin mining will look like as we approach the final block.

Pool Balance of Power Shifts

Bitcoin is also the network with the highest daily transaction fees, or at least was until recently, when Ethereum took over due to network overload and rampant fee increase.

The competition between miners shows that a more diverse selection of pools are discovering the blocks of late. BTC.com still keeps the leading position, but Poolin, a newly arrived pool, has gained speed in the past months, challenging the primacy of BTC.com.

The growth in mining points to the launch of an estimated half a million mining rigs. Bitmain has pledged transparency on Antminer shipments, but it is still difficult to estimate the number of new mining facilities. There are reports that Bitmain is building a significant fleet of miners, in addition to supplying other pools.

Miners also point their machines to the Bitcoin Cash network, where mining has grown by roughly 30% since the beginning of September to 2.68 EH/s, about 40 times lower than that of Bitcoin. The hashrate for the other competitor, Bitcoin SV, remains largely unchanged, as the coin is mined only by a handful of staunch supporters.

Despite the price drop of BTC to below $10,000 on September 19, mining is still viable. Bitcoin mining retreated to 93 EH/s, still capable of breaking records.

What do you think about the record mining activity? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Images via Shutterstock

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Zář 18

ING Survey: Europe Still a Patchy Landscape of Crypto Adoption

European countries present a patchy landscape of cryptocurrency acceptance. Most consumers remain skeptical, but there is an emerging class of true believers, shows the latest ING survey, “From cash to crypto: a money revolution.”

True Believers and Enthusiasts Boost Adoption

The insurance giant went through another annual analysis of attitudes to cryptocurrencies. The research found out that outside of a small group of true believers and enthusiasts, Europeans are cautious about the promises of crypto coins. ING queried respondents in 15 countries, with close to 1,000 respondents in each country.

“The crypto type”, as ING names this group of respondents, is the most positive about the future of cryptocurrencies. But extreme enthusiasts are not the most knowledgeable about crypto assets. The researchers discovered that knowledge and understanding of crypto coins do not correlate with a positive attitude or expectations.

Respondents comfortable with crypto assets are already used to various forms of cashless payments. This is especially true of male respondents with relatively high incomes, ING discovered. But the general European consumer still prefers traditional modes of payment, including physical cash.

Turkey, Romania, and Poland hold the lead when it comes to positive attitudes about digital assets. In the case of Turkey, the country has shown strong adoption of multiple crypto schemes, as locals attempt to mitigate the crash of the lira exchange rate. In Turkey, 62% of respondents had a positive attitude to crypto assets.

Most Europeans Cautious About Cryptocurrencies

One of the curious discoveries was that Europeans were very cautious about sending money via social media. When queried about Facebook’s use as a platform for payments, as much as 60% of Europeans responded negatively. Even in crypto-friendly Turkey, the usage of Facebook or other social media for payments was viewed with relatively low approval rates, with 43% against.

Europeans get informed about digital coins mostly from online media, ING discovered. But there are multiple regional differences, as some countries have stronger online communities or news portals.

Given that Europe is one of the hotspots when it comes to crypto exchanges, the ING survey shows that the general population is still largely unaware of crypto assets, and still far from quick or mass adoption. The UK, which is the leading country for crypto exchanges, was not included in the survey.

The survey also excludes the notoriously crypto-friendly Baltic countries, where adoption and startups are relatively higher.

What do you think about cryptocurrency adoption in Europe? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Image via Shutterstock

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Zář 17

Bitcoin Price to Surge After Crossing $10,700: Analyst

Bitcoin price inched lower on Tuesday as investors waited for the outcome of the Federal Reserve’s two-day meeting on monetary policy.

The benchmark cryptocurrency slipped by $44.70, or 0.44 percent, to $10,217.84 as of 13:09 UTC. The downside price action occurred on the sidelines of better-performing alternative cryptocurrencies. While the second-most valuable blockchain Ethereum climbed 2.18 percent against bitcoin, XRP became the second-largest gainer against the king cryptocurrency after rising 5.97 percent. Other altcoins, including Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, and EOS, also registered impressive gains.

bitcoin, bitcoin price

Bitcoin slips as altcoins surge higher this Tuesday | Image credits: TradingView.com

There is a notion that bitcoin didn’t live up to its “safe-haven asset” status in the face of an adversary. Recent drone attacks on two Saudi Arabia’s crude oil production facilities ended up messing an already worsening global economic outlook. The US’ S&P 500, China’s CSI, and Europe’s Stoxx 600 each dwindled as investors digested the long-term prospects of the Saudi attack. Analysts believe the incident would halt the global oil supply for months, the effect of which will start reflecting on the health of the international markets. 

“While the ultimate impact will depend on a combination of the extent of damage, the US and Saudi response, and whether further attacks occur, the current production decline will exacerbate the tightening in the oil market that was already underway and could add a more lasting geopolitical risk premium to prices,” Greg Sharenow, a portfolio manager at Pimco, told FT.

Almost all the haven assets responded positively to the Saudi attacks. Gold and Treasuries rose as investors looked at them as hedging assets. Unfortunately, bitcoin didn’t live up to the expectations.

The Fed Meeting

All eyes are now on the Federal Reserve meeting that commences today. Markets expect the US central bank to cut interest rate by a 25 basis-point, as the Fed chair Jerome Powell continues to face political pressure from President Donald Trump. Powell’s office will update its dot plot, a visual representation of the direction of the interest rates, while the chairman himself will address the attendees tomorrow with a final decision.

Changes to the dot plot could see influence from the ongoing US-China trade war and Saudi attacks. It would also consider Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s September fund manager poll that found that 38 percent of investors expect a recession over the next 12 months.

Bitcoin Bulls At It

Speculators in the cryptocurrency market see rate cuts as bullish for bitcoin. Coupled with the launch of Bakkt’s most-awaited physically-settled bitcoin futures, traders predict at least a $10,700 bitcoin by the end of this week. But to this date, Bitcoin has least reacted to any of such updates, as visible in the cryptocurrency’s dismissive performance after the European Central Bank (ECB) announced fresh rate cuts and quantitative easing rounds last week.

Dan Tapeiro, the founder of New York-based DTAP Capital, meanwhile brings in a technical perspective. The analyst on Monday said bitcoin could accelerate higher if it manages to “strongly close over $10,700.” The level roughly matches shoulders with a descending trendline.

He, meanwhile, added:

“Everyone “knows” that fact already. In traditional markets, when everyone knows the fact it is considered “priced in.” In Bitcoin, you never know what’s priced in. But it doesn’t matter because Bitcoin doesn’t care about your opinion.”

To sum up, bitcoin can go up, but it can go down also.

Do you think Fed rate cuts will push bitcoin price past $10,700 this week? Let us know in the comments below.

Images via Bitcoinist Image Library, BTC/USD charts by TradingView, Twitter: @thehill, @DTAPCAP

The Rundown

Zář 16

Bitcoin(dot)com Crypto Exchange Posts Dishonest Volumes

The Bitcoin(dot)com crypto exchange seems to be fibbing its real volumes. The market operator uses the Multiexchange.com service, thus sharing order books with several major markets.

In a tweet, Dan Hedl mentioned that Bitcoin(dot)com merged its orders with Bequant and HitBTC, thus presenting relatively high activity.

Order Books Merged Data from Other Exchanges

The merged order books are one of the ways that exchanges fail to report real-world trading activity. In the past year, new exchanges showed up with immense trading volumes, which were most probably generated by bots. Previous research has shown that faked activity is significant in some markets, making up as much as 90% of all trading. CoinMarketCap has therefore set out on a mission to make exchanges report realistic volumes and reveal order books.

The Bitcoin(dot)com exchange is a new arrival on the crypto scene, launching less than a week ago. The market completes the profile of the Bitcoin(dot)com brand, which also hosts a mining pool and a crypto wallet.

The exchange is also planning to launch a futures market and has opened a procedure with the US Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

Bitcoin.com Pushes Bitcoin Cash Forward

The Bitcoin.com brand has received something of a bad rap within the crypto space. The site and its wallets were launched by crypto evangelist Roger Ver. Known as the “Bitcoin Jesus”, Roger Ver then switched teams and started supporting BCH. He was accused of misleading behavior, for securing the Bitcoin.com brand and subtly switching the places of assets within the wallet.

The Bitcoin.com mining pool mines on both the BTC and BCH blockchains. But on the BTC network, the pool only discovers 0.69% of blocks. On the BCH network, the firm discovers between 6 and 8% of all blocks.

At this point, it’s unknown what effect trading on the newly launched exchange will have. It is not yet listed among other markets, and there are no clear statistics. With time, volumes may pick up.

The launch of the Bitcoin.com exchange, for now, fails to lift the market price of BCH. The coin performs with relative stability, trading at around $306.92. BCH is still unable to recover the $400 level from before November 2018, when the asset split and produced Bitcoin SV, another competing network.

What do you think about the Bitcoin.com exchange? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Images via Bitcoinist Image Library, Twitter: @danhedl, @BitcoinComExch

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Zář 15

Tim Draper Says $250,000 Bitcoin Price Prediction is Conservative

Billionaire venture capitalist Tim Draper says his bitcoin price forecast of $250,000 by 2022 understates the power of BTC.

Inflation and Government Distrust Will Boost Bitcoin Price

Speaking to BlockTV, Draper described his famous $250,000 bitcoin price forecast as being conservative. According to Draper:

$250,000 means that bitcoin would then have about a 5% market share of the currency world and I think that may be understating the power of bitcoin.

The billionaire investor has consistently maintained his popular bitcoin price prediction calling it “absolutely solid” back in 2018.

The stock-to-flow (S2F) model puts bitcoin’s price post-halving at $50,000. Based on the current number of BTC in circulation, the bitcoin market capitalization at just under $1 trillion.

Thus, Draper’s forecast places bitcoin firmly in the league of assets like gold with market caps in the trillions of dollars range.

As previously reported by Bitcoinist, BTCC founder Bobby Lee believes the bitcoin price could reach $200,000 “in a very short time.”

According to Lee, bitcoin hitting $20,000 again will be the trigger for an even greater parabolic advance that would see the BTC all-time high (ATH) price entering a new order of magnitude.

For Draper, bitcoin provides a viable alternative to fiat currency as currency and government distrust will drive more people into cryptocurrency.

During the interview, founder of Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ) Venture Capital highlighted the situation in Argentina as an example of how people will make the pivot from fiat to BTC.

Back in March 2019, Draper made a wager with Argentina’s President over the price of bitcoin.

Bitcoin Needs to be Easy to Use

During the interview, Draper declared that there was still work needed to be done to make bitcoin easier to use.

The DFJ chief who is himself a bitcoin owner says ease of use will draw more people into adopting cryptocurrencies.

Back in February 2019, Draper predicted that people will be using bitcoin to pay for coffee by 2021. He was even part of $1.25 million investment round for OpenNode — a bitcoin payment processor startup, in late 2018.

Fellow billionaire and bitcoin Jack Dorsey earlier in September noted that why bitcoin appears primed to become the native currency of the internet, it is still some way off from achieving such heights.

What do you think the bitcoin price will be by the end of 2023? Let us know in the comments below.

Images via Shutterstock, Twitter @BLOCKTVnews.

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Zář 14

German Gov’t Approves ‘Bundes-Chain’ to Combat Libra Cryptocurrency

The German government will approve its proposed blockchain strategy this September which reportedly blocks projects like Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency.

Germany Readies Anti-Libra Response

According to Spiegel, Germany’s federal cabinet will approve its blockchain strategy announced back in June 2019.

While the move signals the country’s intent to be a part of the emerging global economy, the government-run ‘Bundes-chain’ might sound the latest death knell for Libra in Europe.

Thomas Heilmann of the center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) says Germany’s legislative coalition already has a standing agreement to prevent the operation of any “market-relevant private stablecoin.”

Commenting on the matter, Heilmann declared:

Up to now, the economy has done a great job in countering crises and inflation with measures taken by central banks. Once a digital currency provider dominates the market, it will be quite difficult for competitors.

Rather than Libra capturing the market in Germany, authorities appear to be in favor of creating a state-backed digital currency which will run on the Bundes-chain.

Part of Germany’s proposed blockchain strategy involves creating a framework for crypto startups in the country. As previously reported by Bitcoinist, Bitbond in May 2019, launched the first-ever regulated security token offering (STO) in Germany.

According to Heilmann, authorities in Germany are hoping that the blockchain strategy will help local crypto startups enjoy competitive advantages over their foreign counterparts.

There is, however, little information as to how a government-run Bundes-chain will incentivize private participants.

Europe Wants Nothing to do with Facebook’s Cryptocurrency

For crypto analyst, Alex Krüger, other countries may soon begin to copy Germany’s approach to the emerging cryptocurrency and blockchain technology industry.

Germany is one of a growing list of nations making efforts to block Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency.

On Friday (September 13, 2019), French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire declared that the country will work towards blocking Libra in Europe.

Echoing sentiments similar to those espoused by Heilmann, Le Maire surmised that Libra constitutes a threat to the economic sovereignty of Europe.

In China, the central bank is accelerating efforts to launch the country’s digital yuan project. This move is also part of China’s plan to block Libra.

Meanwhile, the Libra Association is moving forward with its plans to launch the crypto project. The Association recently applied for a payment license with Swiss regulators.

How will a government-run Bundes-chain provide economically viable incentives for private participants? Let us know in the comments below.

Images via Shutterstock, Twitter @krugermacro

The Rundown

Zář 13

The US and UK Are Losing the Cryptocurrency Race

As Britain follows the U.S. in its Trumpism style of politics, it seems as if the two countries are hellbent on losing the cryptocurrency race as well.

Countries Leading the Cryptocurrency Race

Institutional investment continues to pour into the cryptocurrency space. With names like the New York Stock Exchange and Microsoft getting on board and legitimizing Bitcoin like never before.

Major corporations around the world like MasterCard and Allianz are investing in blockchain initiatives. The search for talented blockchain developers continues to grow, and many countries around the world are ramping up their efforts in the cryptocurrency race as well.

Portugal, for example, recently announced that it will eliminate tax on all earnings in cryptocurrency. The country’s tax authority further declared that payments and trading cryptocurrency in Portugal are now 100% tax-free.

France has also taken steps toward a friendlier approach to cryptocurrencies. French economy minister Bruno Le Maire recently declared that crypto-to-crypto trades will be tax-exempt. The French authorities will collect tax only when cryptocurrency is converted into fiat.

China, thus far, is the clear leader in the cryptocurrency race. It not only holds 72% of the mining power for Bitcoin, but the astute Asian country also invests the most in blockchain technology.

China is even busy building its own cryptocurrency, taking inspiration from the Marshall Islands.

As well-known legal expert in the space Jake Chervinsky tweeted out, even Iran has eliminated tax on cryptocurrency mining.

So what are the U.S. and UK doing? Dragging their heels. Demanding letters from ICOs, proposing moves to ban crypto derivative products, and dithering over Bitcoin ETFs.

This is a competition, and we’re losing

U.S. and UK Are Actively Halting Crypto Growth

Even worse than their inaction on fostering cryptocurrency innovation, is the negative steps taken so far. Many an innovative startup in the U.S. has been stubbed out by the IRS or SEC.

The UK’s FCA is determined to ban retail crypto derivatives products. The U.S. doesn’t allow its citizens to use them.

Rather than give cryptocurrency entrepreneurs incentives in the form of lower tax, the UK authorities are actively seeking to penalize crypto earners. Last month, British authorities sought data from exchanges like Coinbase and eToro in a bid to find tax evaders.

Trump has made it clear where he stands on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

The UK Prime Minister, it seems, is too busy fudging his way through Brexit to comment.

However, as long as he continues to cause uncertainty, doubt, and political turmoil in the UK, he may inadvertently be giving Bitcoin a boost as the pound tumbles against the dollar and euro.

While the giants are sleeping, other countries are getting ahead. The cryptocurrency race is on in earnest and the U.S. and UK don’t seem to care.

What do you make of the UK and US’s crypto position? Add your thoughts in the comment section below!

Images via Shutterstock, Twitter @realdonaldtrump, @ jchervinsky, @rhythmtrader

The Rundown

Zář 12

‘Ripple One’ Discord Channel Opened To Discuss XRP Fork

A Discord chat has been opened for those that want to re-create the Ripple network, essentially forking XRP. But so far, only a handful of posters have replied, and the general attitude is skeptical.

Ripple Keeps XRP Price Low?

The community of XRP owners has shown displeasure with the practice of Ripple to sell some of its 55 billion stash of coins each month. Some believe that XRP would command a higher price if the founding company abstained from selling. The talks of a hard fork started a few days ago, after Ripple unlocked one billion XRP, and awarded 100 million XRP additionally to Jed McCaleb, one of the co-founders of the protocol.

Finally, Twitter personality @Crypto_Bitlord made the call for a hard fork, to create a mirror asset to XRP.

In theory, the hard fork would re-create the Ripple network and its 100 billion coins. For now, the proposed Discord channel invites nothing more than derision on the idea. Commenters suggest that a hard fork of Ripple would be nothing more than a bad version of Stellar.

Ripple Still Has the Upper Hand with Reputation and Products

Ripple is actually one of the few coins that has not forked. Stellar, while using a similar protocol, is not a hard fork in the classical sense. The project started its blockchain from block zero.

On the other hand, a hard fork that also holds the history of the distributed Ripple ledger would mean someone still has control of the majority of coins. Ripple has established for itself a fund of 55 billion coins, which was locked for a predetermined period to limit the XRP in circulation. The Ripple One fork, however, will remove the pre-mined coins and also start from scratch.

Ripple also has the advantage of a longer presence in the crypto space. The company is also known for its high-level publicity. Almost constantly, Ripple promotes itself to banks and gives away coins for testing.

Ripple One will have to convince all partners and supporters that its proposition is better. But the project may have a hard time competing with the Ripple social media community, as well as investors that already hold XRP.

It is also unknown if Ripple One would be able to re-create the XRapid protocol or other products developed by the Ripple team.

Ripple One should not be mistaken for XRP1, another asset based on the DigiByte protocol.

What do you think about a Ripple (XRP) hard fork? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Images via Bitcoinist Image Library, Twitter: @Crypto_Bitlord, @XatoshiXakamoto

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