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Blockchain Expert Panel: Is There Really a Way to Predict Bitcoin Price?

In a panel debate at Blockchain Live 2018 in London Wednesday, experts came to head over whether there is, in fact, any way of accurately predicting Bitcoin price and that of other cryptocurrencies.

Speaking on the panel was Jemima Kelly, Alphaville reporter at the Financial Times, Jane Lippencott, business development at CoinFi and Origin X Capital, and Lisa Cheng, founder of the Vanbex Group.

A “fool’s game” vs the “FUD is real”

Kelly stated outright that she believes 100 per cent of Bitcoin price predictions fail, and the only way they succeed can only be attributed to luck. ”Everyone knows predicting future prices is a fool’s game,” she said, pointing out that the vast majority of the time, predictors have incentives themselves whether they are betting long or short on the value.

She also described her interpretation of a mismatch between the value and usability of cryptocurrencies, saying that one does not have any relation to the other. There are also problems with the mentality of Bitcoin investors as Kelly sees it: ”Why are you hodling if you can use it? You don’t want the value to fluctuate loads.”

Lippencott corrected her by saying that hodling is no different than holding cash or storing it in your bank account, only that “it’s just a cooler term”. In terms of Bitcoin price, the business development expert thinks that negative speculations have a lot to do with bear markets: ”FUD is real and it influences the price.”

Cheng, on the other hand, thinks that the lack of crypto fundamentals ultimately leads to unsophisticated analyzers who are responsible for bad predictions. She made note that the early Bitcoin investors account for a large share of the market and they do have incentives to swing the price by publicizing forecasts.

”Education is necessary before investment,” Lippencott agreed.

Mass adoption – are we there yet?

One of the topics that caused most contention between the panel was when the question was raised regarding the timeframe for Bitcoin mass adoption. Kelly, for one, thinks that this already happened, peaking at the top of the bull market in December last year. Lippencott refuted, saying “mass adoption is blockchain”, adding that once blockchain becomes part of peoples daily lives, which she sees as inevitable, Bitcoin will finally reach its full potential.

Cheng also sees the present as far from peak adoption levels and believes right now we are in a trough. While she agrees that speculative interest may have fallen now, the approval of an ETF will make an impact and she expects Bitcoin to reach USD 9,000 by December.

”Why not say 20K or 100K? We don’t know, we can only speculate,” challenged Lippencott.

Another area that Cheng sees as important to wide-scale cryptocurrency usage is the release of the first state-backed version, though she does not believe Venezuela’s Petro counts: ”When a country creates their own cryptocurrency we will see mass adoption. The Petro is extremely problematic and cannot be used as a case study. ”

 

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Image Courtesy: Amelia Trapp/ Blockchain Live 2018

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Winklevoss Twins and Gemini Glimpse Crypto Horizon in UK

Gemini and the Winklevoss twins are looking ahead to the UK as their next lucrative cryptocurrency landscape.

The entrepreneurial crypto brothers, having recently been knocked back by the SEC after their own ETF submission was turned down, have at least have received some recent success in getting a rubber stamp from the NY regulators for the company’s new stablecoin. Two firms, Gemini Trust Company, and the Paxos Trust Company are the first stablecoin providers to receive the go-ahead to list on exchanges in New York State.

Now it appears that the brothers are “crossing the pond” with their latest venture. Those close to the company have reported that Gemini has already taken the step to hire consultants to advise on an approach to move into the UK. London is currently the European financial epicenter, although many companies are now awaiting the final outcome of Brexit talks, and some have even already moved from London to Germany and France in anticipation of a negative result in which no deal between the UK and Brussels is reached.

This has clearly done little to dissuade Gemini as it plans to file an application with the UK’s equivalent of the SEC, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), according to the Financial Times.

If a move does materialize, Gemini’s made competitor will become San Francisco-based exchange giant Coinbase who are now well established in the UK as the main provider of crypto-related services to UK residents. Coinbase has recently expanded the offerings on its UK platform, enabling easier withdrawals from UK Coinbase sterling accounts to English banks and forming a partnership with major English bank, Barclays, to simplify its platform for users.

The UK market is still being monitored by the FCA but there have been recent calls for tighter regulatory measures called for by MPs. The FCA has recently asserted that it would not “rule out roles for crypto-assets themselves”, an approach far from calling for a ban or restriction on trading operations. However, the situation is ongoing without any real decisions taken as yet by the Crypto-Assets Task Force set up earlier this year in May.

The most recent noises out of Westminster concerning cryptocurrencies is that MPs want the FCA to look at digital currencies “as a matter of urgency”, suggesting that no new asset class is structured around the technology but that EU AML laws are enforced along with KYC checks.

The Gemini move may offer challenges in a vibrant and lucrative UK market, but the benefits may be worth the risks. The UK experiment has certainly worked for Coinbase who now plan to move into Ireland. Gemini is currently 61st in global rankings.

 

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Hong Kong Stock Exchange Looks to Blockchain and Fintech Acquisitions

Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX) has announced that it is considering investments in blockchain and other fintech companies through acquisitions next year.

If this materializes, it will represent a change in direction for the exchange which has close relationships with China. Hong Kong, being an autonomous territory of China, has a political system independent from the rest of the country, affecting both the economy and its commercial system. Many Chinese businesses have moved their operations to Hong Kong after China’s crackdown on ICOs and cryptocurrency in general. These included the world’s largest exchange, Binance, which moved from Beijing to Hong Kong and other locations around the globe to escape punitive legislation.

The territory is now laying claim to becoming a major hub for cryptocurrency and blockchain in the region, even creating a recent “talent list” to employ more industry professionals to support its DLT focus in the years to come through a new employment program. A fintech lead at InvestHK reflected on Hong Kong’s push towards blockchain:

“Blockchain is a very high priority for us. There is hype, and there is the fast grab of money with ICOs in some cases. But what we are looking at building here in Hong Kong is an infrastructure for new businesses and existing businesses, to make sure the technology and innovations remain a key enabler for financial sector growth.”

Unconfirmed sources suggest that Charles Li, CEO of HKEX, is now looking at blockchain and has had meetings with both potential start-ups and established companies. Concern remains about the current poor relationship between China and the US, and how this might affect businesses in Hong Kong. This is a possible reason why the exchange is considering adopting its own venture capital model similar to that of Nasdaq.

Earlier this month, HKEX senior managers had discussed possible acquisitions and more, the results of which will be revealed next year. Banny Lam, head of research at CEB International Investment, told Bloomberg, “The strategy is in the right direction but it is not easy to achieve the targets. HKEX needs to maintain a momentum of growth by exploring new businesses.”

In March, Financial Times reported that HKEX was collaborating with the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) to implement blockchain. Perhaps, this is an indication of the direction the exchange is willing to take when it reveals its plans next year. Blockchain company acquisitions may be on the table.

 

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Could Wall Street Banks Become Crypto Custody Specialists?

Wall Street banks are slowly beginning to consider crypto custody as another mainstream service.

This, despite the occasional dig at crypto from the big players on Wall Street such as Goldman Sachs recent “cryptocurrency mania” comment last week citing it as one of the top risks for the market, even though the very same bank is dipping into Bitcoin derivatives on behalf of its fund manager clients.

The above service offered by Goldman Sachs may well be client-driven but behind the usual anti-crypto spin, a different picture can be detected after a bit of surface scratching. The Financial Times suggests that “trendy young crypto-types” are the new kids on the Wall Street financial block, although what crypto-related products will come from these young brains is still to be revealed. However, the trend is very much toward research and crypto is the name on the tip of everyone’s tongues.

Analysts are suggesting that the new frontier on Wall Street could well be cryptocurrency assets custody; looking after customer’s cryptocurrency funds. At the back of this are fees, another way the bank can make money out of cryptocurrency without dabbling themselves. In this way, billions of dollars held in custody by the banks can be another payday for the big names on Wall Street.

Recent Bitcoin News reports have illustrated some of the problems of safe storage of cryptocurrency assets, which vary in degrees of complexity from multiple vaults with random back up keys to Swiss Bunkers carved into the sides of mountains. Thus, there is clearly scope for bank intervention on behalf of clients.

Reportedly, forerunners in this new race are New York City-based ItBit, Gemini and more lately Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan now lining up to offer their services. Others are Japanese broker Nomara and notably the Swiss Stock Exchange part-owned by the 130-bank SIX group conglomerate.

Sam Mcingvale, San Francisco-based head of Coinbase Custody suggest that his company is joining the custody fray with plans to cold-store USD 5 billion of institutional crypto assets by the end 2018. Customers need these services, he argues:

“People were saying: “Hey, we’re already holding Bitcoin with you, we trust you, but we need more; we need a regulatory component, we need monthly statements, we need a different type of insurance.”

 

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Latest Data Shows Bitcoin Hodlers v Short Term Traders Now Near Parity

Recent data from Chainalysis — a blockchain research company, as published in Financial Times shows that the amount of Bitcoin owned by long-term investors is now almost equaled by speculators, reports Cointelegraph.

Day trading has increased since the end of last year and the amount held by this group is thought to have risen to 5.1 mln BTC according to the report compared to 6mln BTC held by investors hanging on in for the long-term, that is over a period of one year.

It appears, according to the Financial Times, that Bitcoin volumes have fallen in tandem to prices, from $4 bln daily in December to $1 bln today. It’s thought this may be a feature in Bitcoins decline in price, Chainalysis chief economist Philip Gradwell suggests. He estimates that longer-term holders sold at least $30 billion worth of bitcoin to new speculators over the December to April period, with half of this movement taking place in December alone.

Another feature of the current situation shown by the data is the imbalance of wealth distribution of the digital currency, that is small numbers of investors holding a vast amount of the cryptocurrency. Of the roughly 17 mln Bitcoin available, the data show that, as of April 2018, around 1,600 Bitcoin wallets hold at least 1,000 bitcoins each, equalling almost 5 mln BTC and accounting for almost a third of all Bitcoin in circulation.

Six months after its peak, bitcoin remains the most popular cryptocurrency, though its price has fallen to about $7,650 at the time of publication. It follows that for each of the bitcoin millionaires there are numerous casualties that came into cryptocurrency too late, unlike those who established themselves early and reaped the benefits.

One of these is a 39-year-old who has made enough money from trading digital currencies over 5 years to pay off his mortgage, buy a Mercedes and now swap office life for managing his remaining crypto investments full-time, writes The Irish Times.

“It was very euphoric…It’s been life-changing for me at this point,” says the California-based father of two, who has a cult-like Twitter following under the pen name ‘bitcoin Dad’.

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Mysterious Death of Everest Sherpa On ICO Stunt Climb

An ICO publicity stunt staged at Nepal’s Mount Everest led to the death of one person last week, the Financial Times’ Alphaville reported recently.

The stunt, organized by Ukranian global social networking site ASKfm, was staged in order to promote the company’s initial coin offering by placing a ledger wallet holding the new tokens at the summit. YouTube’s promotional video had linked Everest with what they called. “literally the highest token” in their scripted piece asking anyone “brave enough” to come and get it. The wallet tokens were reported to have been worth USD$50,000 at launch.

Three crypto enthusiasts, Taras Pozdnii, Roman Gorodechnii and Dmitrii Semenko were sponsored to do the dangerous climb to position the two wallets, the second containing an equal amount of coins, as part of the promo event.

The accident occurred on the crews’ descent from the world’s highest peak, according to Everest blogger Alan Arnette’s confirmed report on the FT, as one of the crews accompanying Sherpas, Lam Babu, died after the filming. Russian media site 4Sport.ua reported that Lam Babu Sherpa had died, either due to snow blindness or physical exhaustion.

Nepal’s Ministry of Tourism later confirmed the reports, suggesting that the Sherpa had indeed died due to snow blindness on the descent. A later 4Ssport report released by the Ukrainian team describe the accident:

“In a second – animal fear, and I shout to Dima – let’s get out of here, or these will be the last pictures we’ll ever take. At this time there were three of our sherpa at the top, we saw Dima’s sherpa and as it turned out, he did not return to the camp.”

One of the climbers descending with the Sherpa wrote an untranslatable report, and Arnette suggests on his blog page that there is still an element of mystery about the exact events:

“I confirmed the events the day of the death with Gyanendra Shrestha, the Ministry’s representative at EBC who said he had snow blindness, went “missing” and the rescue team stationed at Camp 2 was unaware of the incident as it was happening. I find it hard to understand how the 45-year-old Sherpa developed snow blindness, was reported to be staggering and no one was able to help him. I look forward to obtaining more details on this sad event”

Max Tsaryk, CEO of ASKfm, told the FT that, “we have become aware that a Sherpa who successfully assisted one of our sponsored climbers on a part of their journey, prior to assisting other non-related groups of climbers, later became missing:”

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Putin Claims Russia Won’t Be Late in Blockchain Race

Russian president Vladimir Putin’s economic advisor, Sergei Glazev has stated that cryptocurrency could be useful to carry out “sensitive” state activities, according to a report in UK daily, the Financial Times.

At a recent meeting of Russian government officials, Glazev suggested that the adoption of digital currency by the Russian government may be a way of avoiding sanctions imposed by foreign governments and private companies.

“We can settle accounts with our counterparties all over the world with no regard for sanctions,” Glazev reportedly said.

Putin has previously led the charge against the adoption of digital currency in Russia, calling for closure of websites selling digital currencies, saying that Bitcoin and its rivals were risky and used for crime. Also last month, Sergei Shvetsov, Central Bank deputy, suggested that cryptocurrencies were “dubious instruments for retail”, according to Reuters.

These news announcements mark a massive turnaround by a previously anti-cryptocurrency regime, although it has been reported recently that Putin had instructed Kremlin regulators to look into blockchain technology as the basis for a future “cryptorouble”.

Putin has begun to show clear signs that he sees Russia as a major world player in bringing blockchain into mainstream usage, stating recently that he has no intention of allowing the country to be “late in the race” and even meeting Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum.

Russia is not the first country to be considering its own cryptocurrency. Sweden’s Riksbank has looked into an electronic Krona and Venezuela’s government said last week that it was close to launching its own oil-backed currency.

Perhaps the most relevant asset that Russia can attain by using blockchain technology, apart from it enabling the country to evade sanctions, is the country’s ability to keep up with, or even get ahead of, other nations in its pursuit. Gilbert Verdia, head of the British delegation at a recent ISO blockchain meeting in Tokyo, spoke of the “the future that is coming”. He suggested, “To get behind it and back it now is going to put people at an advantage, either politically or economically.”

photo source: https://pixabay.com/en/putin-the-president-of-the-camera-889784/  – klimkin

 

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