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Bitpay: Bitcoin the “Under Pound Gorilla” Will Eclipse Many Other Currencies

Global Bitcoin payment service provider Bitpay is making some upbeat predictions for 2019 which certainly paint a different picture to the digital currency’s rocky ride as 2018 comes to a close.

The Atlanta-based company’s Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) Sonny Singh predicts that 2019 promises to be an “exciting” year which will push Bitcoin’s value up to between USD 15,000 and USD 20,000 by next December.

He believes that with the entry of Fidelity and Intercontinental Exchange into the market and ETFs getting the green light, 2019 will take on a whole new look when it comes down to investment opportunities. He commented it would be Bitcoin that would eclipse many other digital currencies whose fortunes were less easy to foresee, suggesting, “I don’t know what’s going to happen to them.”

He said, “There’s a night and day difference between Bitcoin and everything else. Bitcoin is the under pound gorilla, it’s the one that has the mass network effect… [the one] the traditional financial incumbents are building products around.”

In terms the durability of his gorilla, Sing argues that “Bitcoin survives first”, even in a poor market, despite its fluctuating fortunes. Blockstream CEO Bobby Lee, brother of Litecoin founder Charlie, agrees, suggesting that despite flashes of green in the last 24 hrs, Bitcoin could still threaten USD 3,000 but long-term, he feels it will overtake gold.

In this bear market for #Bitcoin, it’s worth reminding everyone that $BTC is still only one-hundredth of the value of #Gold: $80 billion vs $8 trillion.
Gold is worth 100 times more than Bitcoin today!
What will the ratio be in 10-20 years?
Will it flip, with Bitcoin worth more? pic.twitter.com/VIpzIDKfo0

— Bobby Lee (@bobbyclee) November 20, 2018

Currently, there is a consensus among certain cryptocurrency experts that with Bitcoin’s growing convenience as a payment method, illustrated by the march of ATMs worldwide, along with the digital currency becoming an internationally recognized household name, past hype could surrender to real value. A deflation of Bitcoin could “clean out weak hands”, according to the views of many investors. Serious players in the market would then be left to establish Bitcoin’s real value. EToro analyst Mati Greenspan says the ship isn’t sinking, but simply readjusting to its load:

“What we’re seeing now are the after-effects of the unprecedented rise of Bitcoin and other crypto assets in 2017. This year is simply a retracement of that… These cycles can sometimes be accentuated in the crypto market due to the riskier nature of this nascent industry. In the same way, previous cycles have not signaled the end for broader markets, these price movements don’t signal the end for crypto assets.”

For now, Singh’s gorilla is still in the mist, waiting for its moment to escape.

 

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Reddit Founder Claims Crypto Market Needs a Crash Before Take Off

Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian has remarked in an interview with CNBC that he believes that a crash in the cryptocurrency market as seen over the past few days is needed in order for the market to stabilize and mature over time.

The Reddit entrepreneur feels that focus on software development and infrastructure within the cryptocurrency industry are important factors in building a stable future. He also suggested that the falls in cryptocurrency prices would have the effect of sifting out the undesirables in the industry from the genuine contributors, and those in for making quick money.

The Reddit founder feels that innovations being created now will have longevity and although blockchain pitches he has received may be fewer in number, Ohanian claims that they have more potential than those he was receiving in 2017.

Over the last few days, Bitcoin has suffered its biggest losses in over eight months. Although, after falling to USD 5,202 on 15 November, after a little price correction, trading picked up today at $5552.17 (time of writing). The newly hard forked BCH has fallen by 15% and is trading at $387.41. Brian Kelly, the founder, and chief executive officer of BKCM, has blamed the hard fork for the crypto market crash. Mati Greenspan from eToro says he saw it coming:

“The movement we saw today seemed to be the run-of-the-mill volatility surrounding Bitcoin and a breakout that’s been weeks coming….It’s difficult to say where it ends. No one can really predict.”

Forbes contributor Clem Chambers noted a correlation to the spike in the bond market:

“The obvious culprit causing this dump is Bitcoin Cash, the ‘wannabe’ Bitcoin usurper, which forked from Bitcoin last year. It is forking again and there are competing forks and all sorts of conniptions are expected. It sounds plausible this is causing the move but the fact the bond market spiked at the same time suggests something else is going on to me.”

Stephen Innes who heads up trading at Asia Pacific of Oanda Corporation suggested that the crash was an even worse scenario than he had anticipated and that pre-BCH online chat had the effect of creating doubt and uncertainty among investors.

Ohanian sticks with his view that the crash is necessary, arguing that during hard times people start to focus on the essentials.

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UK Crypto to Flourish Despite Brexit Fears, Say Experts

Experts in the UK have indicated that Brexit augurs well for cryptocurrency regardless of concerns about the direction of Britain’s economy after March 2019.

UK Chancellor Philip Hammond’s August forecast that the UK could see an 87.7 percent hit to GDP and a £80 billion black hole in public finances in a no-deal scenario holds no concern for many cryptocurrency experts.

Mike Romanov, chief executive of Digital Securities Exchange (DSX) sees Brexit as a further way of the UK establishing its own rules for cryptocurrency trading which will push the sector forward, arguing that, “Britain is already looking at how it can maintain its dominance in financial services post Brexit, even as some major players abandon ship ahead of March next year.”

This is not only a positive outcome for conventional financial markets according to Romanov, but the UK taking back rulemaking could have a significant impact on the trading of digital currency. He suggests:

“As such, crypto could present a big opportunity. While the EU looks to apply regulation at an EU level, taking it out of the control of member states, Britain could be free to apply its own rules and shape itself to become a well-regulated and crypto friendly market that looks to nurture the future of this financial movement rather than eye it with an air of suspicion and cynicism.”

Cryptology’s chief commercial officer Herbert Sim also feels that bureaucracy will take a dent when Britain pulls out and that this has to be a good thing for crypto movement in the financial environment. He suggests that “…leaving the EU will give the UK decision-making capabilities on areas that the EU’s bureaucratic processes can be desperately slow to decide on.” The opening of foreign crypto markets outside of Europe will positively impact the status quo, Sim suggests. Another CEO, Iqbal Gandham from eToro, claims that any volatility from Brexit will be short-lived:

“We are already seeing crypto assets used as an alternative in less stable economies, and Brexit could spark a new wave of investment from people looking to diversify their portfolios and hedge against geopolitical risk.”

However, all these positivity comes with a warning according to Romanov who comments that Britain needs to maintain its competitive edge, “What can’t happen is for Britain to become scared of its own financial shadow and water down the investment it’s made into new technologies, all in a bid to placate the traditional financial services world.”

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Next Step in English Premier League: Player Transfers For Bitcoin

The massive transfer fees associated with signings in the English Premier League, the top flight of world soccer, could be paid using Bitcoin in the not too distant future, say commentators on the game.

Clubs worldwide endorsing blockchain related technology is becoming a far more common sight, with at least three teams in the Premier League endorsing blockchain products this season. Also, individual players such as Messi, Ronaldhino and Michael Owen have put their names behind crypto related enterprises in recent months with endorsements now becoming a regular feature of the game as cryptocurrency grows in popularity.

The first actual player signing using cryptocurrency was in January of this year when Turkish amateur club Harunustaspor signed its first Bitcoin player, paying a modest 0.0524 BTC for the transfer. However, pundits think that crypto transfers are on their way to the multibillion-pound Premier League in the near future, some reports indicating that it could be in as little as a few months.

Major global investment platform eToro which uses blockchain and enables users to invest in crypto sees Bitcoin transfers in England’s top flight as inevitable. The company has already launched a number of Premier League partnerships this season including, Brighton, Cardiff, Crystal Palace, Leicester, Newcastle, Southampton, and Tottenham. Each club has been paid an unrevealed amount in Bitcoin for helping to promote the eToro platform.

Iqbal V. Gandham, UK managing director at eToro, says that he is really optimistic at the level of interest that top clubs have taken in blockchain technology commenting, “I do feel that within about six to twelve months we will see a player transfer in the Premier League completed using bitcoin.”

Gandham cites numerous advantages of blockchain based management and payment schemes particularly in the area of transfers, which are usually significant sums in the Premier League, suggesting that deadlines can be far more easily met with instantaneous payments, cutting out last minute delays, and transfers can be made far more transparent due to the nature of blockchain which can reveal every aspect of each transaction. International transfers would also be simplified by the use of one common currency, Gandham maintains.

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Cryptocurrency Market Decline Caused by Strengthening Dollar

A senior market analyst at eToro, Mati Greenspan, recently produced a commentary on cryptocurrency market. He argued that the recent market decline is a product of the strengthening US dollar.
 
As the dollar continued to perform well in recent weeks, fuelled by policies tightening the economy with the intention of preventing high inflation, the economies of emerging markets struggled to maintain the strength of their own currencies. Greenspan believes this has affected cryptocurrencies in the same way.
 
In the commentary that was shared with CCN, Greenspan compared the movements in the crypto market with those of local fiat currencies in emerging markets, noting that they mirror one another. While investors in these markets are choosing to invest in cryptocurrencies when their local currency is on the decline, Greenspan said that the US dollar is still the most popular reserve currency of choice.
 
His analysis suggests that many smaller economies rely on a stable exchange rate with the dollar, something threatened by its current appreciation. Additionally, because of its movements, there is less incentive for investors to move their capital into the digital currency market.
 
The value of cryptocurrencies is often regarded as unassociated with the movements of traditional commodities such as gold and oil. But in this case, they have been fluctuating in the same ways, in reaction to the surging dollar. It is common for these commodities to lose value in the face of the increasing dollar value. The digital currency market has followed suit this time.
 
As the past several days have seen the movement of the dollar slow down, currencies such as the lira, rand, and peso have begun to recover. As Greenspan’s analysis would suggest, so has the cryptocurrency market. Market capitalization hit USD 216 billion Friday from a Monday total of USD 190 billion.
 
An alternative analysis of the decline from Arthur Hayes, CEO of cryptocurrency derivatives exchange BitMEX, suggested that ICO-funded startups were cashing out capital before losing any more in another market dip.
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Digital US Dollar Launched by Goldman Sachs-Backed Startup

A new cryptocurrency by fintech startup Circle, a company backed by Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs, is aiming to be a digital version of the US dollar, writes the Independent.

Circle has announced that the new USD Coin will be free from volatility issues due to it being pegged to US dollar, offering it a stable value in order for it to be used as a working currency, rather than just an investment tool, the company says. Circle also claim it will be a faster and more secure version of the US dollar.

The underlying technology behind the proposed USD Coin will not be decentralized peer to peer, as it’s backed by fiat currency and released by a major financial institution, although it will be an electronic cash system, according to the company.  People will also not be able to mine the USD Coin in the same way other cryptocurrencies can be generated, as the only way to acquire them is to buy them.

It is the second cryptocurrency-related announcement from Goldman Sachs in the space of a month, following news that the bank had plans to open its own crypto trading desk on behalf of its clients. The startup clearly views the backing of Sachs as a huge driver of the project, commenting on its blog post:

“Existing fiat-backed approaches have lacked financial and operational transparency, have operated in unregulated jurisdictions with unknown banking and audit partners, and have been built as closed-loop ecosystems and closed proprietary technologies.”

Matthew Newton, analyst at crypto retailer eToro, sees the move as inevitable, suggesting that this has been coming:

“This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise to anyone who has been paying attention to cryptocurrencies over the last 18 months. Any forward-looking financial institution needs to understand this technology and accept its enormous potential.”

Newton goes on to argue that big banks have been investing in research and development of blockchain and cryptocurrency for some time. The trading platform will be the first of any major Wall Street institution and is expected to add further legitimacy, particularly following so close after Goldman Sach’s Bitcoin futures announcement last month.

There is a suggestion that the company may announce cryptocurrencies tied to other traditional currencies in the future, such as the pound and the euro.

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Bitcoin Price Set to Overtake All Time High Says Senior Analyst

A senior analyst at leading social trading network eToro has announced that he sees Bitcoin overtaking its all-time high of $20,000 with “absolute certainty”

Mati Greenspan, who is also a well-known bitcoin expert, told the UK’s Sunday Express that bitcoin’s January retracement was “a temporary swerve” and feels certain the trend will now be upward for the digital currency. Although he describes himself as, “not a fortune teller or anything like that,” Greenspan  suggested that “Whenever the price moves and jumps into a new order of magnitude, we need to see some sort of retracement on that.”

According to CNN, this is not the first time that analysts have compared the recent slump to the drop in 2014 when bitcoin dropped by 80% in value and then failed to recover for over a year. The market is now considerably different from its position over three years ago with a daily global trading volume of $30 million.

Greenspan is not alone in his views regarding the figure, providing that bitcoin can continue its trading volume, but some investors and analysts see the 20k target happening sooner. Billionaire investor Mike Novogratz, and Pantera Capital CEO Dan Morehead, along with other investors, see bitcoin surpassing its all-time high by the end of 2018.

The market may have benefited recently from the frequent announcements made by well-known investors about to embrace cryptocurrency trading. Also, banks beginning to express a more favorable interest in the market, such as Goldman Sachs announcement to offer bitcoin futures trading on behalf of its customers, does have an impact as well.

Goldman Sachs has said that it has no plans to initially buy and sell Bitcoin itself, but a team is looking into the possibility, provided it can gain regulatory approval and then work out a plan for eliminating risk.

In the last few days, Bitcoin Foundation founder Charlie Shrem has tweeted that May 2018 will be the “last time” bitcoin costs less than $10,000.

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Analyst Mati Greenspan Remains Bullish on Bitcoin as Wall St Builds Blockchain “Bridge”

In a recent Bloomberg broadcast, Mati Greenspan, eToro senior market analyst, saw positive signs for cryptocurrency, saying that the market was about to receive a new flow of liquidity from Wall Street.

Among many issues faced, volatility may not be one that Wall Street giants are used to but Greenspan says it has been in a consistent state of play since the very beginning.

He said,”The dip we’re talking about is actually nothing new for Bitcoin, as far as percentage terms go. If we look at it historically we’ve seen these type of pullbacks before, and definitely Wall Street is getting involved and they are building the bridges as we speak. Whether they go full on Bull or full on Bear, we don’t know, and they are ready to inject new liquidity into the market.”

Greenspan went on to explain that Wall Street missed the boat when it came to last year’s all-time high, with Chicago exchanges CBOE and CME launching Bitcoin futures right at the precipice in the Bitcoin high.

He reflected that the future of Bitcoin in the financial ecosystem would remain unknown, pointing out that the cryptocurrency operates as an individual entity, not part of the central banking monopoly.

Lightning Network

In December and January, the Bitcoin network experienced congestion due to the newfound popularity of the currency, inevitably causing some concern for the future of the coin.

Compared to two years ago when fees were next to nothing, the reporter commented that “it takes forever to get it through the system” during congested periods.

“Since then the price has come down, the interest has come down and right now if you were to send a transaction it would be instant, comparable to many years ago, this is why we need more liquidity in the market,” came the reply.

A new scaling proposal is currently being rolled out for Bitcoin in the shape of the newly-developed Lightning network protocol. It effectively creates a layer on top of the blockchain, enabling fast and cheap transactions which can settle payments off the blockchain.

 

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