Category Archives: Technical Analysis

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Russian Bear Poised to Pounce at Fintech Crossroads

Recent statistics published by the Russian Association of Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain (RACIB) shows that Russian investors appear to be at a crossroads in the fintech space.

The future of Russian cryptocurrency adoption is very much dependent on what lies ahead, particularly with regard to the Kremlin’s past stance which has never been favorable towards allowing the public to become active participants, despite government murmurings suggesting the adoption of CBDC or ‘cryptoruble’.

RACIB statistics indicate the degree to which the cryptocurrency space has been affected by scandals and corruption and a lack of clear government leadership. The resulting status quo sees half of the ICO funds raised in 2017, which amounted to USD 300 million, going to pyramid schemes, according to Bitcoin News.

While the West is predominantly concerned with finding the right balance as it discusses cryptocurrency regulation on an almost daily basis, the major eastern powers such as China and Russia look towards prohibition, over-regulation or limiting digital currencies for government use only, despite blockchain’s rise and rise in commercial enterprises.

In the US, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) continue to debate the securities versus utility issue in order make final decisions over adoption, whereas in blockchain-friendly Europe, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has become a point of focus as more companies line up for conducting business using everything that fintech may have to offer.

As Bitcoin News reportedly recently, Russia is in no way short of fintech expertise and blockchain technical know-how with a major CEO presence now working in Moscow, but the cryptocurrency industry been apprehensive due to the government’s lack of direction regarding digital currency.

This could change if the Russian State Duma’s Committee for Legislative Work supports the first reading of an initiative that will add the basic norms of digital economy to the Russian Federation Civil Code. Such a move though would not automatically allow digital currency to become a legitimate means of payment, as this would require a separate law, although the initiative plans examine smart contract application.

A change in direction may be on the way after President Vladimir Putin’s recent push for blockchain technology to be part of his new “digital economy” program, saying that the country can’t be “late in the race” for blockchain dominance.

A recent Moscow cryptocurrency summit was attended by 200 speakers and over 3,000 participants, showing that the impetus for change is there in the new technology race. It remains to be seen how the Kremlin progresses and contributes towards Russia ’s technological advancement.

 

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UN Partners with IOTA for ‘Tangle’ Tech to Boost Field Efficiency

The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) has announced a collaboration with the IOTA Foundation to examine the feasibility of DLT streamlining its operations, according to Coindesk.

The new partnership announced on Tuesday stated that the two organizations plan to utilize IOTA’s tangle technology which is easily compatible with Internet of Things devices, due to its minimal computing requirements.

IOTA uses a different blockchain system from that of Bitcoin and Ethereum networks, which is one reason that the UN division has chosen to work with the foundation. UNOPS special advisor on blockchain tech, Yoshiyuki Yamamoto claims that the ledger “can be operated on battery power or alternative connectivity networks” in areas with “sporadic access to high-speed internet connections or even electricity”, essential for UN field operations.

Yamamoto points out that an important factor of the collaborative project is that UN will able to apply the technology to real-world use cases. The UN is increasingly using blockchain in numerous projects around the world. Thomson Reuters Foundation reports that the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) is launching a crypto-funded university solar energy project this year in Moldova in partnership with the South African solar power marketplace Sun Exchange, and many such projects are either underway or planned for the future.

UN aid efforts have a historic problem of fraud, mismanagement, and bureaucratic red tape, but with the ability to circumnavigate governments and banking institutions, transferring aid via blockchain can be far more efficient.

“We don’t do blockchain for blockchain’s sake. We have limited resources and personnel, so we have to focus our efforts on solving real-world challenges. Our priorities stem from our mission as an organization, not from the fads of the crypto space,” Yamamoto concluded.

Yamamoto could not predict how long it might take to move from a pilot phase to fully implementing IOTA’s technology due to the current educational nature of the collaboration.

 

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Bitcoin Price Analysis, 23rd May 2018: BTC/USD Dips Below $7,500 in Wake of Bearish Breakout

Bitcoin markets are under a bearish market sentiment with prices undergoing strong selling pressure.  Today’s trading session had traders experience major breaches in Bitcoin’s price, with prices continuing to be following a downward spiral.

The day’s signals

  1. Bitcoin markets continue experiencing breach after breach with no sign of support being present.
  2. BTC/USD levels now reach USD 7,300 price levels only a day after USD 8,000 price levels were breached.
  3. Markets aren’t appearing to take much consideration for positive price movements. Resistance appears to be bringing selling pressure even after price falls.

bitcoin gdax-btcusd-May-24-2018-13-50-18

GDAX BTC/USD charts are showcasing the disdain traders have towards any and all positive movements. The market’s sentiment has worsened considerably, and traders don’t seem to think twice when giving in to selling pressure. Large sell offs have dominated the day’s course, making up a significant portion of the day’s trading volumes in spite of the largest spikes happening momentarily. It’s no wonder that periods through which the most selling pressure was expressed accounted for the bigger chunk of the day’s trading volumes.

bitcoin okcoin-btcusd-weekly-futures-May-24-2018-13-50-25

OKEX BTC/USD weekly futures charts are showcasing how futures markets are pricing in for Bitcoin at lower prices than spot trades. This is a trend that was kept up throughout the day. Larger downward spikes continue being reflected with accuracy on futures markets. All that while futures markets appear to show hesitation when it comes to following. It is clear that the shift in the market’s sentiment has also lead to an overturn of the mood in futures markets.

Overall, a very sharp shift in the market’s sentiment is now being embraced by traders. Bitcoin markets are struggling to maintain any level of support that could prove viable with each bearish breakout followed by another. Markets are not looking good with traders drifting away from the potential of a recovery.

For an improvement in the market’s outlook, a lot of liquidity would have to come in the form of support. The need for such moves becomes apparent in trading sessions like the more recent one. Lower trading volumes are known to  leave markets susceptible to further breaches.

 

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Developers Rake in Million-Dollar Sweeteners Despite Slump

Despite slumping bitcoin prices in 2018, the cryptocurrency space has continued to see a huge development in a market lacking top-level expertise, according to an interview in the Wall Street Journal.

Ripple chief cryptographer David Schwartz pointed out that one developer on his team had recently received two USD 1 million signing bonus offers, one from a crypto startup and the other from a blockchain tech company headhunting for blockchain expertise, according to Business Insider.

According to Finder.au, 4,500 job openings with the terms “blockchain”, “bitcoin” or “cryptocurrency” in the title have been posted on LinkedIn this year, an increase up to May of this year of 151%  over 2017. This compared to 2016 when only 645 openings were posted.

The eye-watering signing bonuses for crypto and blockchain developers with just a few years of experience is unusual in any tech company, despite bonus schemes being the norm with top tech companies, according to recent TeamBlind figures. Its survey revealed that 67% of tech companies questioned received a bonus but only 11% received an amount over USD 100,000.

One of the reasons for the spike in bonuses was due to a surge in demand in December 2017, prompting exchanges to scale up their operations in order to meet customer demand, particularly as the funds were readily available to do so.

Cryptopia, a relatively small New Zealand exchange, started in 2017 with two staff members and finished with about 100, with plans to hire many more. Coinbase aims to double its headcount in 2018 with top talent, while Kraken plans to quintuple it from 200 to 1,000.

Juha Mikkola, co-founder of Wyncode Academy, a coding school, told Business Insider he knows of developers being paid double the going rate for their blockchain experience, claiming, “It’s not just tech companies that need this talent, it’s real-estate, non-profits, and banks.”

There is a shortage of talent and it’s more of a headache than Bitcoin’s volatility, according to Miha Grcar, the head of business development for Bitstamp: “Globally, the pool of talent – people with experience in blockchain and distributed-ledger technology – is somewhat limited… This is a big challenge.”

Ripple’s David Schwartz had the last word: “The hiring packages have gotten insane.”

 

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Nigeria Can Be Empowered By Bitcoin Says Foundation CEO

Lady Victoria Walker, CEO of the United Digital Currency Reserve Foundation, has recently stressed that the understanding and deployment of bitcoin can kickstart the financial growth in Nigeria and Africa as a whole, reports Niger247News

In a recent presentation Lady Walker, who is also a blockchain and cryptocurrency speaker, as well as Principal Consultant at Cryptoria Investment Research, maintains that for Nigerian banks to deal with blockchain technologies, it first needs to understand cryptocurrencies:

“Many banks and regulators are confused and do not fully understand how Bitcoin and blockchain technology work, but I think once the Central Bank of Nigeria and other key figures get to understand the true nature of blockchain technology and what it can bring economically, I believe they may embrace the technology with open arms.”

The UK based fintech entrepreneur feels that new technologies such as blockchain and cryptocurrency are essential factors in empowering African leaders to inject growth and financial inclusivity into their economies, she argues:

“Britain imposes a ‘super tax’ on remittances sent to African countries, causing a loss of £1.8bn a year from money sent home by workers. Think about it, £1.8bn is taken away from the people sending money to support their families in Nigeria.  Imagine what £1.8bn a year could do in the pockets of families depending on money sent to them from abroad? This is where blockchain technology comes in. It solves a problem like this by making it easier and cheaper to transfer and remit payments internationally.”

Nigeria has had a difficult cryptocurrency history. Early last year it was reported that the Central Bank of Nigeria was considering implementing its own cryptocurrency, but later the same year, it was advising banks to distance themselves from virtual currency, warning them, “not to use, hold or transact in any way with the technology.”

The remarks came at a time when Nigeria’s interest in cryptocurrencies was flourishing. According to data from Coindance, weekly trading volume on Localbitcoins in Nigeria surged 500 percent in 2017.  Nigeria then, was among top countries using Google to search for ‘bitcoin’, alongside South Africa, Slovenia, Holland, and Austria. Although, it was reported at this time that a Ponzi scheme may have been partly responsible for the clicking figures. The scheme reportedly cost investors UD$50 million in early March of that year.

In a press release issued in March of this year, the CBN is now reiterating its warnings of last year, suggesting that due to crypto investments being unprotected, investors will be at risk. Lady Walker maintains that it is lack of knowledge which holds back the tide of progress in the African crypto space, which in turn creates institutional and public skepticism such as the CBN’s.

“People are skeptical because that is human nature. We are natural cynics and skeptics and rarely trust what we don’t understand. This is why I urge people to truly understand the nature of the industry, asset and also yourself”

Lady Walker believes that there will come a time when all Nigerian banks will have to adopt cryptocurrencies of their own, but due to the current volatility of the crypto market, it remains a future goal of those who see cryptocurrency as the financial future. She maintains:

“Bitcoin is a reality. We have all major world governments scrambling to make sense of it and world leaders sharing their views on the currency. For the past 700 years, our world has relied on the European legacy banking system for means of payments and transactions. Bitcoin is definitely challenging the traditional way when it comes to transfer of value. Just like the internet changed how we shop, bank, date and find information.”

About 40% of Nigeria’s population is unbanked, which blocks nearly half of the population from the financial economy. To this, the fintech CEO argues “All you require is a smartphone and internet to start sending and receiving payments. No I.D required, filling out paperwork, etc… Do you know how much this could change things for the people of Nigeria?”

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Researchers Claim That Recent Cost of Crypto Mining Figures “Pulled out of the Air”

Earlier this week, a study published by Dutch researcher Alex de Vries concluded that Bitcoin mining uses almost as much electricity as the entire Republic of Ireland, but Standford lecturer Johnathan Koomey says his figures are wrong, reports NBC news.

The recent claims that cryptocurrency is draining nation’s power supplies have been compared to concerns in the 1990s when some experts predicted that half of the US electrical grid would be needed to power the then-burgeoning internet, which was later proved to be highly exaggerated.

Koomey’s Berkley Lab proved these calculations wrong at the time, and then again in another study in August 2011 concluding that the data centers used less than 2 percent of the nation’s electricity.

Dutch researcher, Alex de Vries who made the new claims last week, seems to have ignited yet another argument over exactly how much power is being used in excess as a result of the adoption of new technologies.

Koomey asserts, “For two decades, people have been eager to overestimate electricity use by computing…My concern is that we simply don’t have adequate data to come to the strong conclusions that he’s coming to.”

The rise in popularity of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has sparked numerous concerns regarding the energy required by thousands of computing systems that power virtual currencies, and De Vries is certainly not the first to comment on it.

De Vries estimates that the Bitcoin network consumes “at least 2.55 gigawatts of electricity currently, and potentially 7.67 gigawatts in the future.” He also writes that figures will gravitate towards a figure of 8.2 gigawatts by as early as the end of 2018, as energy supplies are further called on to mine cryptocurrencies.

It is these figures that De Vries and other experts in the field contest, suggesting the numbers were simply “picked out of the air.” Koomey argues:

“There may be some basis for them, but it’s a very unreliable way to do these kinds of calculations, and nobody who does this for a living would do it like that. It’s odd that someone would.”

Christian Catalini, an assistant professor at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, who researches cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, pointed out much of the problem with these kinds of assertions is that data is not actually taken from miners. The very nature of the process often demands that those mining value their privacy, making energy consumption data hard obtain, and therefore to calculate, plus the equipment miners use is varied:

“The main challenge is that this gear is scattered across the globe and faces different prices. This debate keeps popping up, but it would be great if someone did some data sharing with the miners and got some good estimates.”

Bitcoin mining, whether individually or through a mining pool. is often set up in order to keep costs to a minimum, and frequently mining is conducted in such places as caves, energy-rich areas or low-cost countries, in order to reduce costs and maximize user profit. These variables make it hard to ascertain how much global energy is actually being used.

De Vries has responded to counterclaims to those made in the PwC report by his critics, suggesting that, “Right now, the information available is pretty poor quality overall, so I’m hoping that people will use this paper as a foundation for more research.”

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Bitcoin Price Analysis, 18th May 2018: BTC/USD Recovers From Sub $8,000 Slump

The day’s trading session was followed by notable volatility with bitcoin price falling to a low of 7,950 levels. However, the breach below USD 8,000 did not last long as prices recovered briefly. In the more recent hours, markets keep trading around USD 8,200 levels following a recovery.

The Day’s Signals

  1. A major selloff caused prices to go from USD 8,200 levels to hovering above USD 8,000.
  2. The followup to the downward spike included yet another selloff that this time caused a breach below 8,000.
  3. Interestingly enough, the breach appears to have kickstarted a wave of buying pressure. Such trend is not yet showing any signs of longevity though.

bitcoin gdax-btcusd-May-19-2018-6-21-20

GDAX BTC/USD charts are indicating that support for USD 8,000 might be underlying. The fact that a breach was observed today wouldn’t normally bring confidence, but the market’s reaction begs otherwise. Traders shouldn’t be too quick to judge of course, as the day’s trading volumes have gone down in comparison to the last few days. Big orders causing price spikes appear to be a driving force in today’s trading session. The market’s response to the spike that pushed prices to a breach certainly does showcase some support though. The market taking consideration on the recovered USD 8,200 brings on a more positive outlook in the following of a breach.

bitcoin okcoin-btcusd-biweekly-futures-May-19-2018-6-27-23

OKEX BTC/USD weekly futures showcase a tendency of futures traders to exaggerate selling pressure to an extent, which becomes more apparent at the time of the day when greater selling pressure was observed. Futures markets did, however, break out of this sentiment with prices moving up again. The difference in futures prices and markets rates grew to a bigger difference with futures maintaining higher prices.

In summary, today’s response to the sizable downward spike that was experienced was notably positive. It’s worth pointing out that markets appear to be on an overall downtrend over the span of this week. With that in mind, support for a recovery after a breach might showcase that underlying support could be holding up for USD 8,000 levels. Of course, a day with decreased volumes would not set a sentiment of support in stone. For that reason, the sustainability of the recovery remains to be seen.

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Bitcoin Price Analysis, 16th May 2018: Bitcoin Markets Stagnant Above $8,000

Bitcoin markets appear to have a hard time finding sustainable support above USD 8,500 levels. Even after the bullish breakout experienced only a couple of days ago, markets are again experiencing a dip, this time reaching low levels of USD 8,100.

The day’s signals

  1. Large sell0ffs crashed Bitcoin prices down from USD 8,500 levels where BTC/USD was at in the earlier hours of the trading session.
  2. The crash appears to be a continuation of the downward trend. This trend appeared following Bitcoin markets reaching a top above USD 8,800.
  3. Volatility still appears to be in play but this time around, leaning towards overall bearish sentiment.

bitcoin gdax-btcusd-May-17-2018-6-37-45

GDAX BTC/USD charts are showcasing the market’s mood through a couple of interesting patterns. The first is an apparent market disdain when it comes to following up on positive price movements. The major crash for the day caused prices to drop from USD 8,500 levels down to USD 8,100 levels. With markets taking consideration for a few hours, traders achieved a recovery reaching slightly below USD 8,400 levels. Some brief consideration ensued and then yet another dip, this time with prices reaching a low at USD 8,200 price levels. From there on, prices have been pressured against reaching USD 8,400 levels again.

bitcoin okcoin-btcusd-quarterly-futures-May-17-2018-6-37-48

OKEX BTC/USD weekly futures still appear to be maintaining some positivity. Futures traders are keeping up the positive difference between futures rates and live market prices. That’s in continuation to the recently reached peak. A breach in the now sideways trailing prices could potentially limit that positive difference substantially. The recent hours where volumes have gone down leave markets especially vulnerable to another breakout that could end up being negative.

All in all, traders are certainly more cautious after the day’s volatility proved support hasn’t come on to back prices above USD 8,500.  Interestingly enough though, while volumes have gone down, prices are now managing to rise under this setting. However, support for even the current levels proved to be unreliable throughout the day. The way Bitcoin markets are playing out, there’s no wonder traders appear skeptical in this moment.

 

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Healthcare Companies on Board for Blockchain Data Sharing

Two leading firms in intelligence and blockchain technology for healthcare are developing a platform for the storage and exchange of genomic data, reports Cointelegraph.

The companies will develop a platform to automate data acquisition, utilizing smart contracts, allowing data providers to store, manage, exchange, and profit from genomic and other types of clinical data. It hopes to cater to individuals and large data providers such as biobanks, allowing them to maintain ownership of genomic data and profit from it.

Longenesis targets lab tests results as one of its main areas of focus, developing a blockchain to store and exchange  important longitudinal health data. The company foresees that its work will establish two new fields of clinical study.

Earlier in March, Nasdaq reported that one of its listed companies, Genetic Technologies Limited, had partnered with a blockchain tech firm Shivom to build a “mass genomic data analysis” platform, purporting to allow users to “donate” their DNA for clinical research in a bid to accelerate cancer detection.

Healthcare and clinical research is an expanding area as doctors and hospitals increasingly need secure access to a patient’s entire health history. This new, rapidly evolving field provides fertile ground for experimentation, investment, and proof-of-concept testing.

New platforms are emerging almost daily such as a diagnostic blockchain infrastructure aimed to host, train and use artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare, and a blockchain-powered platform designed to track and protect pharmaceutical data.

In April, US healthcare giant United Health Group announced a blockchain deployment to keep records up to date, examining “how sharing data across healthcare organizations on blockchain technology can improve data accuracy, streamline administration and improve access to care”.

 

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AI Platform to Identify Health Issues Without Human Error

The Skychain platform, self-described as a blockchain infrastructure aimed to host, train and use artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare, has announced its to launch its diagnostic system within weeks.

The company believes that the new alpha version of its infrastructure can identify conditions in patients and prescribe appropriate treatments in milliseconds, substantially reducing the risk of human error during the crucial diagnosis stage, Cointelegraph reports.

The beta version, Skychain estimates, will be released in December with an official launch by summer of 2019, although the company claim that early participants, including hospitals, medical AI developers, and healthcare data providers will have access to a “fully built” ecosystem by June.

Skychain’s aim is to eliminate human medical errors, claiming that this is now the third most common cause of death in the US. The company suggests that are numerous cases of misdiagnosis due to X-ray analysis, citing a study which has recorded that human error causes 250,00 premature deaths each year. According to the company, when doctors analyze X-ray lung images, they fail to diagnose early lung cancer in as much as 69% of cases.

Cointelegraph reveals Skychain assertions that the technology is more effective at diagnosing skin, lung and cardiovascular diseases than some highly experienced doctors. The company claims that its system identifies conditions in an average of 0.1 seconds, compared to the 20-30 seconds that doctors need to make their conclusion.

Skychain spoke of the effect of fatigue on medical practitioners; one of the problems the AI system is designed to combat:

“In real life, medical professionals may get tired or be in low spirits; they may also lack the necessary experience, specialize in a different area, or be biased… Each of these factors can have a negative impact on the accuracy of a diagnosis. Moreover, a machine learning system can easily analyze a poorly structured medical history or wade through large amounts of data.”

Figures published by Healthcare Financial Management Association estimate that in 2016 alone, misdiagnosis cost the US economy a massive USD 20.8 billion. Skychain’s mission is to save 10 million patients from premature death due to medical errors within 10 years.

 

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