Category Archives: Cryptocurrency

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Crypto Hedge Funds Had the Most Profitable January on Record This Year

  • The Eurekahedge index of crypto hedge funds is up 18.62% in January, the highest on record

Crypto hedge funds have seen record January gains according to the Eurekahedge index of crypto hedge funds, which is an equally weighted index of 25 constituent crypto hedge funds that has been tracking the crypto market since 2013. This January the index is up 18.62%, far surpassing the previous record of 10.86% in 2014.

Another interesting comparison is that in 2017, the same year that Bitcoin rallied to its all-time high of USD 20,000, the index was only up 4.85%. Therefore 2020 is off to a far more profitable start than 2017, which further increases speculation that a major crypto bull run may be developing.

It is also notable that the index is up 9,671% since it launched in July 2013, which is much stronger gains than any classical hedge fund. That being said, Bitcoin is up 14,300% since July 2013, which suggests that more money could be made by simply holding Bitcoin rather than investing in a crypto hedge fund. Indeed, Bitcoin is by far more the most profitable asset class of the past decade.

 

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Trending Bitcoin News and Market Sentiment February 16th, 2020: Privacy in Crypto Isn’t a Bad Thing at All, Complete Transparency Not a World to Live In Either

Bitcoin

  • Bitcoin trades around USD 10,000 on Sunday trading
  • Blockchain forensics firm Chainalysis insists that privacy isn’t a bad thing for crypto, and complete transparency shouldn’t be the case, even taking into account the needs from regulators and law enforcement

 

Bitcoin markets have not changed much in situation on Sunday trading, after enjoying a huge week with time spent above USD 10,000. Yesterday’s dip did threaten but recovery seems imminent with prices back above USD 10,000 (CoinDesk). Bullish sentiment is clearly still on the cards, whatever the outcome from the past two days of market action and many analysts will look to the week ahead to get a sense of what is to come for the remainder of February.

Looking at crypto markets, it is clear that there is a lot of demand and strength in that demand, and many repeatedly point to Bitcoin fundamentals — particularly its strength of security in cryptography, as well as its aspects of transparency that makes it a highly trackable cryptocurrency, while being able to maintain some form of privacy.

Privacy and transparency associated with cryptocurrency, however, have been unfairly blamed as the reasons that Bitcoin is used for criminal purposes. And mainstream headlines continue to pour on the stereotype that Bitcoin is a favorite of cyber criminals, even though it is consistently proven that less than 1% of Bitcoin transactions are of an illicit nature.

And a new report from blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis now says that privacy in crypto markets is not even necessarily bad.

The firm has been famous in the past for having been responsible for digging up primary sources of crypto transaction data for use of federal agencies like the Internal Revenue Service and the FBI, leading to arrests and criminal trials.

CSO and co-founder Jonathan Levin, however, says this doesn’t mean that Chainalysis is against privacy or decentralization of cryptocurrencies, saying, that “complete transparency is not necessarily an ideal place”. Speaking to Cointelegraph, Levin said that there was a responsibility to help regulators and businesses to monitor illegal activity relating to virtual currency, even if this can seem at odds with the basic human rights to privacy. He stated:

“There will be the invention of privacy-enhancing technology. Complete transparency is not necessarily an ideal place to be either, but ultimately there needs to be the ability for regulators and businesses with the appropriate levels of legal authority and oversight to tackle the illicit activity that abuses the systems.”

He insisted earlier that there were two opposing extremes on the issue of privacy and transparency extremes:

“The two extremes of total anonymity and complete transparency are bad. Complete anonymity opens the door to illicit activity that, by definition, cannot be investigated. That’s not a world you want to live in. On the other hand, complete transparency means no privacy at all. That’s also not a world you want to live in.”

Levin is adamant that he supports some form of crypto privacy, even if his firm still hasn’t found a way to completely trace all privacy-centric cryptocurrencies like Monero. He did say that success wasn’t impossible, however, noting:

“We may not necessarily be able to track all of the funds in privacy coins but we still perform research on what they are used for. We sometimes find ways to be able to trace some of that.”

There was no comment in the interview, however, regarding a claim by an alleged whistleblower who said that he was a rogue employee from the firm last year, who actually accused Chainalysis that the company’s forensic methods of being unable to crack simple anonymizing Bitcoin wallets like Samourai or Wasabi.

In his Ask Me Anything (AMA) on Reddit, the ex-employee said that the firm was guilty of overstating the capabilities of its software, when in fact the tools could easily be thwarted by simple obfuscation measures like CoinJoin.

Nevertheless, Chainalysis and others continue to be sought by experts and regulators and are still a highly trusted source of analysis for worldwide crypto-based illicit activity such as money laundering and operations on darknet markets.

But as we always advise, do your own research and come to your own conclusions.

 

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Coinbase Ranks Third Among Crypto Exchanges, itBit Tops

Coinbase Ranks Third Among Crypto Exchanges, itBit Tops

  • CryptoCompare releases report ranking various exchanges topped by itBit
  • Coinbase ranks third with negative marking in customer satisfaction and highest markings in security

A report released by CryptoCompare ranking cryptocurrency exchanges for the fourth quarter of 2019. The rankings were based on various variables such as their legal aspect, their security, market quality and so on. Gemini who ranked first in the third quarter dropped a place 77.5 points while itBit took the first place for the first time taking everyone for a surprise with 76.8 points. Coinbase retained third place with 75.6 points while also receiving a negative marking of five points for ‘negative reports’. All three received AA ratings.

Coinbase scored the highest in terms of security with 19.9 points but its negative marking resulted in it getting third place. According to Trustpilot, Coinbase has a mere 1.8 rating out of 5. The average public REST API response time and the average public rate limit of the AA rates exchanges was much less when compared to others.

Poloniex dropped 9 places to the 17th position. Bitfinex, possibly due to the number of lawsuits filed against them last year did not fare well in legal compliance. What’s also surprising is the fact that 84th ranked OpenLedger had the best market quality.

Of the 159 exchanges ranked, 48 of them got a grade B or above. About 27% of the volume of exchange was attributed to these exchanges dropping from 33% from the previous quarter while the Grade C exchanges accounted for a whopping 53% of exchanges. This could be attributed to the incentives offered in trade by these exchanges.

 

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Total Money Being Used on DeFi Platforms Exceeds $1 Billion for the First Time

DeFi

  • The DeFi sector is booming, with the total value locked in related platforms increasing from USD 670 million to USD 1 billion this year so far

The decentralized finance (DeFi) sector, which is comprised of blockchain-based financial institutions, has seen dramatic growth since New Years Day. The total value locked into these platforms has reached USD 1 billion for the first time, following a 50% increase in roughly 1.5 months.

Further, The Block’s Open Finance Index, which is apparently a more comprehensive method for measuring the sector’s activity, is up 218% in the past 12 months, as compared to a rise of 297% in the total value locked.

Essentially, the industry is rapidly growing, which makes sense considering the economic utility of related services. One common service is crypto saving accounts, where users can earn interest simply by holding crypto. Another primary service is loans collateralized with crypto. Typically, a user will put their cryptocurrency up as collateral and receive a stablecoin loan in return. This allows users to access the value of their crypto while still having the option of buying the crypto back.

Indeed, well over 80% of the industry is comprised of lending platforms according to DeFi Pulse, with MakerDAO being the most dominant platform by far with a 60% market share. That being said, there are crypto derivatives exchanges in the sector as well, such as Synthetix which is in 2nd place with a market share of 13%, in addition to decentralized exchanges (DEX) and payment services.

 

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Trending Bitcoin News and Market Sentiment February 11th, 2020: $100,000 BTC Still Right on Plan, Ukraine Opts Against Regulating Crypto Mining

Bitcoin

  • Bitcoin looks for support at USD 9,700 as it relinquishes USD 10,000
  • Crypto analyst PlanB confirms that USD 100,000 is still well on track using the stock-to-flow model, even if it could dip as low as USD 8,200 before May this year
  • Ukraine has decided against regulating crypto mining activities, throwing its support instead behind decentralized and open global networks

 

Bitcoin continues to lose some of its gains of the past week, trading right now around USD 9,800 after an earlier low of USD 9,711 (CoinDesk). It has been over 24 hours since the last USD 10,000 price mark too, so the bears will be feeling they have a chance to sell some more and pressure Bitcoin into old territory, though support is particularly strong at USD 9,700.

Nevertheless, the bulls should not give up now, as the statistics on markets along with fundamentals are still strong even after this pullback. The most hardcore will point to the fact that price has still yet to go down below the 200-day moving average, but one analyst says we could see it going below the 200-week moving average price, although he says also that it will not go lower than USD 8,200. PlanB, who is credited with creating the now-famous stock-to-flow Bitcoin price forecasting tool, also shoots out a prediction that BTC/USD would touch “above $10,000” by May 2020 — the same month the Bitcoin block rewards will be reduced by 50% in a much-anticipated halving event many believe will trigger a bull run that will be behind the next parabolic run for Bitcoin price to USD 100,000 before December 2021.

It is not S2F related, and also not WMA200 related. It is a new not yet disclosed indicator that is the result from chain analytics. So if it would drop below $8200 (what I do not expect), then I will drop that indicator.

— PlanB (@100trillionUSD) February 10, 2020

PlanB released the predictions on Twitter, following up his claims that Bitcoin would actually remain above the 200-week moving average, which was 3% in growth last December and 4% in growth this year so far.

His stock-to-flow model in fact, leaves some room for further retracement, since price forecasting using that model should equate to a price today of around USD 8,400. This model primarily predicts Bitcoin’s price trajectory by looking at the supply available (Stock) versus the amount of new supply added to circulation (Flow), and in Bitcoin’s case, this puts the digital asset firmly in the territory of hard money assets like gold, with a supply that is near-impossible to manipulate, unlike national fiat currency. In summary? USD 100,000 could come between 2021 and 2024.

If you’re in Ukraine, then you’ll be happy to wait for that outcome, especially with the latest news suggesting that the government there will not monitor crypto mining as a regulated activity. Its most recent manifest, which we brought up on BitcoinNews.com, underlines how virtual assets mining will not be required to be state-regulated, since the protocol itself and its network members already regulate this. This according to the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine.

In its official statement, it said that the state aimed to contribute to the further development and market introduction of blockchain technologies based on decentralized and open global networks. It added[translated]:

“We remain loyal to mining activities that form part of open decentralized networks. Mining does not require regulatory activity from governmental oversight bodies or other third-party regulations, this activity is regulated by the protocol itself and network members.

We support any innovation using these digital technologies, even if they are partially unregulated and / or not defined by national law. We will create sandboxes for their evaluation and implementation, market need testing and risk management.”

The agency also pledged to establish legal regulation that might arise in crypto market, promoting interaction between the financial market and virtual assets, global best practices on their taxation. It also promised to work towards establishing abuse prevention and fraud from business and law enforcement.

This may not have come as a surprise to most people, since Ukraine has made no secret of its desire to pursue digital currencies and blockchain. Just last month, the Ukrainian Finance Minister named the State Financial Monitoring Service of Ukraine (SFMS) as the responsible authority in identifying the source of origins for any funds on the crypto wallets of its citizens, as well as detecting how those funds have been spent.

A month previous, the state approved the final version of a money laundering law relating to digital and virtual asset service providers, aligning with FATF guidelines.

 

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Litecoin Holders Can Now Earn Up to 10% Interest With Cred

Cred Litecoin

  • The Litecoin Foundation has teamed up with DeFi platform Cred to offer users 10% annual interest for simply holding Litecoins

Popular decentralized finance (DeFi) platform cred, which offers both crypto loans and crypto savings accounts, has teamed up with the Litecoin Foundation and is now offering up to 10% annual interest for users who deposit Litecoin. Users will have to commit to hold their coins for six months to be eligible, and will receive interest payments in crypto or fiat once a month.

DeFi platforms like Cred are becoming increasingly popular in the crypto space, since users can earn passive crypto income via a crypto savings account. This can be particularly lucrative if a user had been receiving compound interest paid in crypto and then the crypto market rallies significantly. Further, the up to 10% interest rates offered on DeFi platforms like Cred are much higher than the interest offered at banks, with bank saving rates around 0.5% to 1.5% in the United States.

The caveat is there is no guarantee that the crypto market will go up during a certain period of time, and it is quite possible for crypto prices to decline, causing the value of the Litecoin in the savings account to decrease even when including the interest payments. However, in general, crypto prices have been rising significantly long term, and the rule of thumb so far in history is that if someone holds crypto long enough it will profit.

 

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Bitcoin Mining Doesn’t Need Oversight: Ukrainian Regulator

Bitcoin mining

  • A Ukraine regulator says Bitcoin mining industry doesn’t require government interference or regulation

Ukrainian regulator has gone on to give a progressive statement regarding Bitcoin mining by declaring in a manifest that the process doesn’t need government oversight at all. It also ruled out any intervention from other third party organizations or government agencies for this purpose, thus signaling a strong pro-crypto stance.

Published on February 7, Ukraine’s ministry for Digital Transformation believes that cryptocurrency mining doesn’t require third party mediation and regulation as it was itself regulated by robust Bitcoin network’s intricacies and protocol. The progressive agency also laid down future plans to invest and expand the decentralized ledger technology including the opening of blockchain-related sandbox initiatives. The agency is also looking at progressive ways to tax the whole crypto industry without having any negative overall effects on it in the process.

But, despite appearing progressive, Ukraine has some international commitments that might slow the process down. Last year, Ukraine promised to enforce Financial Action Task Force (FATF) guidelines to govern the cryptocurrency sector. It remains to be seen how the outright removal of regulations will affect the government’s stance on this.

 

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Algorand Integrates USDT, Increasing Tether Dominance Even Further

  • Tether is now available on the Algorand blockchain, increasing Tether’s dominance in the stablecoin sector

Algorand, which is an increasingly popular proof of stake cryptocurrency with a market cap approaching USD 190 million, has added Tether, which is a stablecoin pegged to the US dollar. This opens the door for Tether to increase its circulating supply while further diversifying the number of blockchains it is available on, and simultaneously this partnership could bring more economic activity to the Algorand blockchain.

Essentially, this partnership between Algorand and Tether increases the dominance of Tether even further. Indeed, Tether has a circulating supply of USD 4.65 billion, which is well beyond the circulating supply of the next most popular stablecoin, which is USD Coin with a circulating supply of USD 430 million.

Part of the reason for Tether’s dominance is that it is available on several major blockchains, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, EOS, Tron, and now Algorand. This makes Tether a top choice for Dapps, since most Dapps are built on Ethereum, EOS, and Tron, and Tether is interoperable between those blockchains. Beyond Dapps, Tether is also a top stablecoin choice for practically all major cryptocurrency exchanges.

 

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Ripple Outperforms Bitcoin and Other Crypto

Ripple Outperforms Bitcoin and Other Crypto

  • Ripple overtakes other cryptocurrencies in terms of dollar investments in Q4 2019

Ripple’s effort in promoting its product has had distinctive results with it managing to outperform other fintechs in Q4 of 2019 in terms of dollar investments. Ripple’s CEO Brad Garlinghouse has said that so far in 2020, XRP has managed to outperform Bitcoin.

According to CB insights, the amount of private investments in Bitcoin and other crypto startups has decreased by a whopping 30% (USD 4.3 billion) in 2019. Ripple, on the other hand, had a Series C funding round of USD 200 million. Garlinghouse has said that the funding will help in making their cross border payment dream a reality. Garlinghouse said:

“We are in a strong financial position to execute against our vision. As others in the blockchain space have slowed their growth or even shut down, we have accelerated our momentum and industry leadership throughout 2019.”

Ripple has said that the fresh capital will be used to hire new talent and increasing their geographical territories by adding more offices to meet demand. As was previously reported by BitcoinNews.com, Garlinghouse had hinted at the launch of an IPO previously this year. More recently, Ripple acquired another partner Intermex as part of its goal to achieve faster and cheaper cross-border remittances.

 

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FTX Now Offers a President Trump Re-Election Futures Contract

Trump Futures FTX

  • FTX has launched futures contracts where users can bet on Trump being re-elected or not

FTX, which is a popular crypto derivatives exchange, has announced the launch of the TRUMP-2020 futures contract. The contract will expire at USD 1 if President Trump is re-elected during the general elections in early November, and if President Trump loses then the contract will expire at USD 0.

If an FTX user wants to bet on Trump winning they simply go long, i.e. hold the contract, and they can even leverage their bet over 100X via paying for a margin loan. If an FTX user want to bet on Trump losing, they can then short the contract via taking out a margin loan of TRUMP-2020 and then immediately selling it for USD, and if President Trump loses they will not have to pay the contracts back since they will be worth nothing.

Further, the market itself will fluctuate based on President Trump’s re-election odds at any given time.

Thus, this is an excellent example of how crypto derivatives exchanges can be used as prediction markets for the Presidential election, and for any future event in general.

 

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