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Tom Lee Explains Why His Post Consensus Bitcoin Prediction Went South

Fundstrat Global’s outspoken co-founder and cryptoanalyst Tom Lee, has explained to CNBC why he feels that his predictions of Bitcoin getting an injection from the last week’s New York Consensus Conference, didn’t actually come to fruition.

Although Tom Lee stands by his prediction of $25K by end of 2018 position, he suggests that the reasons the market, not only didn’t receive the suggested boost but in fact, lost value, was mainly due to the current lack of clarity in regulation and custodial announcements at the conference. Firstly, he explained why the bitcoin price should have gained from the Blockchain week of events in NYC:

“Given conferences like Consensus are chances for the community to gather in a centralized place and meet constituents new to the community (growth in attendance), it seems natural that the combination of ‘sanity check’ (all is OK and progress is happening) plus ‘new interest’ (incremental attendance) should strengthen the crypto-community’s conviction… And coupled with growth in incremental constituents, should have aided crypto-currency prices.”

Lee clearly wasn’t alone in expecting a bitcoin rally after the conference. Many were expecting a surge due to the popularity of the event and the number of attendees, particularly after months of uncertainty in the cryptocurrency market, and bitcoin’s recent signs of slow recovery. The total crypto market cap actually sank by $40 billion during the conference and bitcoin price declined by 3 percent.

Lee maintains that it wasn’t all negative, suggesting, “I think Consensus was a huge success. It is a great conference to bring a lot of people together from around the world. The quality of the people that were there was amazing.” He added:

“Bitcoin doesn’t have to go up every day to move from $8,000 to $25,000. The ten best days account for all the return of bitcoin in a year. If you didn’t own bitcoin for ten days each year, you lost 25 percent each year.”

The Fundstrat analyst suggested that crypto enthusiasts expect that regulation needs further careful clarification and discussion, and was disappointed at the lack of a current nuanced approach by regulators in this regard.

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BitGo Offers New Crypto Custodial Products for Financial Firms

BitGo has released a new suite of cryptocurrency custodial products aimed at Wall Street financial firms. It is claimed that 15% of Bitcoin transactions occur through BitGo’s wallet services, with BitGo software processing over USD 10 billion of cryptocurrency transactions per month. BitGo is seeking to attract USD 20 billion that it expects institutional investors to commit to cryptocurrency.

Institutional clients like hedge funds and stock brokerage firms require a custodian service that follows all of the laws and is properly regulated before they are willing to invest money. This is why BitGo acquired the Kingdom Trust Company as well as Kingdom Services earlier this year.

Kingdom Trust is a licensed qualified custodian regulated by the South Dakota Division of Banking which has over 100,000 clients with over USD 12 billion of assets. Using Kingdom Trust’s infrastructure, BitGo will offer legal and trustworthy custodianship of cryptocurrency assets, giving big investors and firms peace of mind when deciding to add cryptocurrency to their portfolio. The acquisition of Kingdom Trust still has to be approved by government regulators, but that hasn’t stopped BitGo from launching services managed by Kingdom Trust.

Having a trustworthy custodian makes cryptocurrency investment easier for investors, since they don’t have to deal with any of the technical details. They simply send their money to BitGo with an order for which cryptocurrencies they want, and BitGo takes care of buying the cryptocurrency on an exchange and securely storing it in a wallet.

Currently, BitGo supports 20 different cryptocurrencies and is looking to add even more so that it eventually provides custodial services for every cryptocurrency it deems worth investing in. BitGo offers three tiers of service: qualified custody where cryptocurrency is stored and secured with Kingdom Trust, institutional custody where clients manage BitGo wallets, and completely self-managed custody. This range of services provides solutions from consumer to institutional needs.

The value of all cryptocurrencies combined is worth just over USD 400 billion as of this writing, and has been growing by orders of magnitudes the past several years. BitGo’s custodial services open up cryptocurrency to big investors like never before and will provide a conduit for money to pour into the cryptocurrency market from Wall Street. Trillions of dollars are invested in the stock market, and BitGo’s services will facilitate some of that money to be diverted into cryptocurrency.

 

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Iranians Look to Bitcoin After Trump Decision

Iranians have sent more than USD 2.5 billion out of the country for the purchase of cryptocurrencies. The revelation was made by Mohammad Reza Pourebrahimi, Iran’s Chairman of the Economic Commission of the Parliament, moments after US president Trump announced America’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal yesterday, according to Nasdaq.

As Forbes reported, this demonstrates how, when nations are confronted with issues which could drastically impact the future of the economy, some of the population look for financial refuge overseas. On this occasion, Bitcoin appears to be the haven of choice.

Iran had already anticipated the effect of Trump taking the US out of the deal which is shared by P5+1, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council — China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States — plus Germany.

In 2017, Iran began developing a local cryptocurrency which was launched earlier in May, although many are skeptical about its success. Venezuela and more recently, Russia, have expressed the merits of state-owned cryptocurrency as a possible sanction breaker. It is one reason for Iran’s original interest although, with the latest developments, the government plan could regain real momentum.

An Iranian living in the US spoke anonymously to Forbes, saying that his parents had tried to send him Bitcoin. It has been banned under current Iranian legislation since April — although it still possible to purchase cryptocurrencies using discrete methods.

“With exchange offices closed, sanctions and the [Iranian] rial dropping like crazy it seems like a good idea to use Bitcoin. I know that there are a few people selling and buying Bitcoin in Iran with LocalBitcoins. For now, it seems like Bitcoin is literally the only way to get money out of the country, so I’m sure more people will be inclined to use it, but with the rampant inflation of the Iranian rial a lot of people won’t be able to afford it,” said Forbes’s source.

Nasdaq suggests that with recent developments and the potential emergence of a national cryptocurrency, as well as with Iranians trading abroad, cryptocurrency could become prominent in Iran. Bitcoin’s overnight bounce after Trump’s announcement yesterday demonstrates that alternative currency markets can have a profound impact in times of economic threat and could become a veritable safe haven.

 

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kamshots/464193132/ – Kamyar Adl

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Barclays UK New Ventures Unit to Explore “Disruptive” Themes

British bank Barclays appears to be the latest to enter the blockchain arena, with Barclays UK announcing a new ventures unit to study “disruptive technology”.

The announcement appeared to dance closely around the blockchain topic without directly pointing to cryptocurrency, explaining its mission to innovate in pursuit of “disruptive” themes within the newly created Barclays UK Ventures unit.

According to the announcement, the unit would “accelerate the growth of new business lines… working independently of traditional units” and “develop new customer propositions around major areas of disruptive technology”.

“We intend to drive this initiative by building a strong team of technologists, developers and entrepreneurs within BUKV, mandated to operate independently of, but in partnership with, our core operations,” explained Ben Davey,  CEO of Barclays UK Ventures.

Notably missing from the announcement were key terms connected to cryptocurrency, although a sheepish reference to startup operations was unsurprising. It could have been a cautious move, given that it was only two years ago when legal charges were brought against the bank after failing to deliver on hefty claims on a separate venture.

Allegations that the Barclays company had rigged the stock market, committed market manipulation and price tampering, were silenced with a USD 70 million settlement paid by Barclays to the state of New York and to the Securities Exchange Commission.

Even with the existing controversy surrounding the technology, banks will be keen to get a foot in the door in the cryptocurrency space, especially when financial leaders like Mastercard recently began a blockchain exploration initiative.

 

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Mastercard Joins the Blockchain Bandwagon

Mastercard is looking to expand its offices based in Dublin, Ireland, with 175 new technology developers recruited for roles such as blockchain experts, software engineers and information security specialists.

Mastercard is confident that blockchain technology is the future in regards to security and integrity within financial systems. This is displayed by the array of blockchain-related patents that they have acquired in an effort to make the best of payment innovations.

Back in 2016, Mastercard released some preliminary APIs, Blockchain Core API, Smart Contracts API and Fast Pay Network API. The implementation of blockchain technology is set to change the way in which consumers pay for goods and services.

Mastercard, like Santander with its blockchain phone app, will be working alongside San Fransisco-based technology Ripple to realize its blockchain future.

Mastercard’s view for blockchain purchases

It has been estimated that up to USD 1.4 trillion worth of fraudulent goods are circulating globally. This affects companies and individuals financially and could pose health and safety risks.

The Mastercard Blockchain and Authorization Network sets out to provide proof of provenance for goods. It plans to track anything from vehicle parts, pharmaceuticals, art, electrical items and luxury goods as they are created, transferred, purchased and re-sold, to prevent fraud.

Blockchains privacy will allow vehicle owners and registered dealers to share vehicle information with each other privately. Service history can be encoded into a smart contract, containing details such as the mileage, service type and stored irrefutably on the blockchain. Pre-purchase vehicle checks will be simpler: after gaining permissions to view private data, buyers can access service history, previous owner details and car details.

The person-to-person global market – worth over USD 16 trillion – could use blockchain for faster, more secure payments with the ability to set release parameters for balances and generate custom reports on transactions.

The blockchain future is coming

Ireland is among 21 other European Union countries pushing for a wider adoption of blockchain technology in the region.

In 2016, Justin Pinkham, blockchain lead at MasterCard, said, “We believe that there is a role of blockchain in the future of commerce. This future needs to be developed in partnership with banks, merchants, and industry participants.”

Mastercard believes Dublin is a key technology hub and that future development isn’t only limited to payments, having tested pay-as-you-go solar energy provision in Africa.

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Robinhood Phone App Introduces Secure Streamlined Bitcoin Trading

Popular mobile phone app Robinhood is looking to offer the ability to trade cryptocurrencies in addition to stocks on US exchanges. The app initially set out to bring investments in public limited companies to a wider demographic without the limitation of fees and minimum balances. The app uniquely collects interest on balances similar to a bank instead of taking a commission on trades. It offers a variety of features, a few of which are security measures and real-time market data.

Robinhood Crypto

Robinhood Crypto was launched in February, supporting real-time market data for 16 cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin and Ethereum are the only two currently trading on the application, with a view to support more. A spokesman did say to “keep in mind that supporting market data for individual cryptocurrencies does not necessarily mean we plan to add buying and selling”.

Access is limited to customers in Montana, California, Missouri, Massachusetts and New Hampshire with more states available later. The company hopes to release the application globally, with plans initially for Australia. By bringing all investments together in one application which is more accessible, this could encourage integrity in the cryptocurrency market. Having a familiar application could make the transition to larger exchanges less daunting and also providing a streamlined solution for round the clock trades for those with experience.

Robinhood Crypto will not support ICOs at this time, which could contribute to safer investments for newer traders, mitigating the need for thorough research.

Features and security

Buy or sell orders can start at any amount above 0.00001 BTC and 0.001 ETH. Traders have several order options with additional functionality. Market orders can be protected from price moves with order collars (up to 1% for buys, 5% for sells). Limit orders can be placed in USD or fractional amounts.

Coins traded on the platform will be stored in a combination of cold or hot (offline or online) storage to provide enhanced security. As of now, Robinhood does not support withdrawing or depositing crypto to external wallets as a preventive measure against illegal activities. There is a view to allowing withdrawals in the near future.

Various steps have been taken by the company to provide enhanced security. Rotation of security staff, restricted access, and regular third-party security tests will look to ensure user investments stay safe.

Security is a growing concern in the crypto market with the limited availability of qualified staff. In recent months, the industry has seen some large-scale hacks to exchanges, such as the recent ones of Coincheck and Coinsecure. Exchanges’ inabilities to store clients investments securely could have a detrimental effect on the market.

 

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Ethereum Rebounds Past $500

Following the recent market appreciation of Bitcoin, Ethereum has experienced a rebound in value surpassing USD 500.

There is one word that describes the movements of cryptocurrency right now: bullish. Ethereum has experienced a 22.24% gain in just the past 24 hours, moving from USD 450 to USD 500 in quick succession. This means that Ethereum has currently gained 3.42% over Bitcoin.

The current 24-hour trading volume stands at USD 2.843 bn, clearly showing there is still an ardent demand for the currency. When examining Bitfinex, the top exchange platform right now, two fiat currencies hold the top trading spots, indicating new capital entering the market. This will potentially benefit the value of cryptocurrencies further.

Ethereum’s journey to recovery

While the value of Ethereum in late 2017 remained around USD 1,300, this year has already seen the value fall below USD 400.

One of the most significant reasons behind the decline in value can be attributed to Ethereum ASIC miners, set to reach the market by this July. The mining chips destabilized the market through the threat of significantly increasing the efficiency of mining the currency. Priced at USD 800 per unit, the technology threatens to centralize hash power to the producers of the miners, Bitmain.

Some have also speculated that the tax season played a significant role in the downtrend, adding to the bearish momentum it has suffered in the past few months.

It is likely as well that profit-taking from this recent price rebound will kick in fairly soon, as many are still wary of the stability of its value, particularly in light of the ASIC miners.

Often when currencies see a quick escalation in price such as this, it takes a short period for the market to correct itself in portraying the accurate value.

For now, though, it appears the value of Ethereum is seeing a generally positive trend, even if returning to its previous high is still far from reach. This could well be an indication of more positive movements in the market over the weekend.

 

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Crypto Asset Manager Says Bear Market Coming to an End

Managing director of Crypto Asset Management, Timothy Enneking, said Monday that he believed the poor trading conditions in the cryptocurrency market were largely over.

He cited several reasons behind his prediction. Firstly, he theorized that many investors benefitting from the massive gains in the market last year, notably Bitcoin, chose to consolidate their profits and sold off their cryptocurrency assets. A significant number of traders doing this could viably create the recent market slump.

As well as this, Enneking noted that regulatory concerns were discouraging investors. Although he did not refer to any specific circumstance, India recently prohibited banks from handling cryptocurrency transactions, while the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) subpoenaed multiple startups holding initial coin offerings (ICOs). The SEC confirmed dozens of investigations were being carried out.

Enneking also mentioned that to a lesser extent, the massive liquidation by an exchange platform user under the handle ‘Mt. Gox’ encouraged the market decline. He believed that startups selling off assets to cover salaries and expenses could also have been a contributing factor.

Market rebound

While these components have mostly been priced into the market already, Enneking commented on Bitcoin’s overall falling market share. He sees this contraction of Bitcoin dominance as directly related to the decline in correlation between Bitcoin and other currencies, as alternatives are beginning to have their value determined more by their own quality and popularity.

Despite the recent trough, Enneking’s report acknowledges that the cryptocurrency market is still up by over 600% in the last 15 months. The nature of recent contributing factors to the slump, combined with the larger scope of growth, are indicators for Enneking that the market will soon be rebounding.

Enneking’s firm, Crypto Asset Management, was founded last year and is responsible for managing approximately USD 20 million in assets. From its high in January, the company’s CAMCrypto30 index experienced a fall of 69%.

 

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Winklevoss’s Gemini Integrates Block Trading for Crypto Whales

Trading platform Gemini, founded by the Winklevoss twins, announced Monday the introduction of block trading, with the goal of facilitating trades for those looking to exchange large sums of cryptocurrency.

As more institutional traders enter the market, publicly-open trading exchanges are not equipped to facilitate their substantial currency transactions and are extremely sensitive to high-value trades that take place.

The Winklevoss twins are looking to cater to the growing number of investors and hedge fund managers utilizing the cryptocurrency market while proving that block trading can potentially be conducted without destabilizing the market.

Block trading

Most exchanges maintain a central limit order book that keeps all transactions under a certain size, restricting trades to reflect the demand for the particular currency at the time. These limitations are there to prevent retail traders reacting to false signals of market movements that larger trades would create.

Block trading is utilized to overcome these restrictions, with larger trades that exceed the limitations being settled privately between the involved parties. A post on the Gemini blog lays out the conditions necessary for block trades to take place on the platform: “Any customer can place a block order that specifies: (i) buy or sell, (ii) quantity, (iii) minimum required fill quantity, and (iv) a price limit (the “Indication of Interest”)”.

The block trading orders will take place outside of Gemini’s continuous order books, with the pending transaction only successful if “a market maker agrees to “make a market” that satisfies the Indication of Interest”. There is a minimum investment of 10 BTC or 100 ETH to participate in block trades.

Gemini’s block trading service will go live on 12 April at 9.30am (EST). The exchange platform aims to publish confirmed trade information on its data feed within 10 minutes of being finalized. Block trading has the potential to reduce market volatility caused by cryptocurrency “whales” (the term given to large-volume traders) selling off large portions of their assets.

A recent substantial sell-off by a trader using the handle Mt. Gox, is reported to have influenced Bitcoin’s recent crash that reached nearly USD 6,000. Other platforms have already adopted block trading, most notably gaining popularity in Asian-based exchanges. Circle Trade is one such platform already utilizing block trading, with its website citing it is currently moving USD 2 billion a month.

Block trading companies have recently gained massive popularity in Asian trading hubs such as Hong Kong and also in Australia. With significant financial players including the Rothschilds, the Rockefellers and George Soros entering the cryptocurrency market, block trading is going to be a necessary adoption for all platforms looking to cater to these investors.

 

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Bitcoin at over $100,000 Says Wall St Veteran Max Keiser

In a conversation with Bitcoinist, Max Keiser, American broadcaster, filmmaker and Wall Street Veteran, has said that he envisages that the crypto giant Bitcoin “will top USD 100,000”.

Timothy Maxwell ‘Max’ Keiser currently hosts the Keiser Report on Russian state media channel RT. Until 2012, Keiser anchored the news analysis program On the Edge on Iran’s Press TV. Elsewhere, he has hosted business analysis programmes for BBC Radio 5 and BBC World News and produced the TV series, People and Power, for Al-Jazeera.

Keiser was quick to point out in the interview that his show was the first to cover Bitcoin back in 2011, arguing that it “fulfills Aristotle’s 4 conditions of money nicely”.  It must be durable, portable, divisible (have fungibility) and it must have intrinsic value.

Keiser maintains that with extremely low interest rates prevailing around the world, there is absolutely no incentive to save. Thus, due to poor investment practices and a “horrendous capital allocation trend”, an unsustainable bubble has been created: “an economy of artificially inflated stocks, bonds, property, and art”. He maintains that Bitcoin, along with gold, remain outside this bubble, although he sees altcoin Bitcoin Cash as “dodgy”, riding on the back of Bitcoin’s success.

Recent developments and comments surrounding investor and magnate George Soros and The Rockefellers were seen by Keiser as evidence that futures contracts could be used to build much bigger positions. He sees George Soros attempting to “corner” the bitcoin market, borrowing at 0% and accumulating “a huge position”.

In this scenario with the added financial impetus offered by big players, Keiser says Bitcoin can only go “a lot higher”, predicting a long-term target for the virtual currency of USD 100,000, based on “a Soros dump”.

Apart from Keiser’s appearances he has appeared as a financial pundit on a number of news networks. He was the creator, founder and CEO of HSX Holdings/Hollywood Stock Exchange and co-invented the Virtual Specialist platform on which the Hollywood stock exchange operates. The technology allowed traders to exchange virtual securities such as the Hollywood Dollar.

 

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