Bitcoin jolted by regulation worries, falls 7 percent on extended selloff

Bitcoin jolted by regulation worries, falls 7 percent on extended selloff

TOKYO/SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Bitcoin extended its sharp tumble of the past 24 hours, skidding more than seven percent on Wednesday in a rapid downturn in fortunes as investors were spooked by fears regulators might clamp down on an asset whose value has skyrocketed in the past year.

The price of the world’s biggest and best-known cryptocurrency fell to as low as $10,567 on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange, not far from its six-week nadir of $10,162 touched the previous day. The session’s high was $11,794.07.

It led the fall in cryptocurrencies, although others such as Ethereum and Ripple, have also slid sharply this week after reports South Korea and China could ban trading, sparking worries of a wider regulatory crackdown.

 

“Cryptocurrencies could be capped in the current quarter ahead of G20 meeting in March, where policymakers could discuss tighter regulations,” said Shuhei Fujise, chief analyst at Alt Design.

 

At its lows on Tuesday, Bitcoin had fallen 25 percent in the session, its biggest daily decline in four months. It was a far cry from its peak close to $20,000 in December, when the virtual currency had risen nearly 2000 percent over the year.

 

Tuesday’s decline followed reports that South Korea’s finance minister had said banning trading in cryptocurrencies was still an option and that the government plans a set of measures to clamp down on the “irrational” cryptocurrency investment craze.
 

Separately, a senior Chinese central banker said authorities should ban centralised trading of virtual currencies as well as individuals and businesses that provide related services.

 

“Bitcoin is deciding whether this is the moment to crash and burn,” said Steven Englander, head of strategy at New York-based Rafiki Capital.

 

“My conjecture is that cryptocurrency holders are trying to decide whether to abandon Bitcoin because its limitations mean it will be superseded by better products or bet that it can thrive despite them.”

Bitcoin futures maturing on Wednesday on the Cboe Global Markets Inc’s Cboe Futures Exchange were at $10,740, with 1,586 contracts traded, after having opened at $10,850. The open interest was 2,895 contracts. The Cboe 14 March 2018 contract was quoted at $11,130.

The futures are cash-settled contracts based on the auction price of bitcoin in U.S. dollars on the Gemini Exchange, which is owned and operated by virtual currency entrepreneurs Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss.

The MVIS CryptoCompare Ripple Index, which covers the performance of a digital assets portfolio which invests in Ripple (XRP), a cryptocurrency developed by Ripple Labs, dropped 15 percent to $7,298 on Wednesday.

That equity index has seen a 66 percent slide in its value since the start of the year. Ripple itself was quoted at $1.15 on website CoinMarketCap, down from a high of $3.81 on Jan 4.

“The run-up in Bitcoin created a mystique of one-way trading which is being shaken but the pricing requires faith that there will always be demand,” Englander wrote.

“This is far from guaranteed given the existence of alternatives with better characteristics.”

 

Reporting by Hideyuki Sano in TOKYO; Writing by Vidya Ranganathan; Editing by Shri Navaratnam

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

 

Posted By David Ogden Entrepreneur
David Ogden Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur

Five predictions for digital currencies in 2018 — including stomach-churning drops, bitcoin-related IPO

 

  • More institutions will get into cryptocurrencies this year, analysts say.
  • They expect more regulation and bitcoin's price to drop, before recovering.
  • Stock investors may also get a chance to invest in a digital currency-related IPO.
  • After the bitcoin craze rose to a near-fever pitch in the last several weeks of 2017, several investors and analysts in the space see more growing pains for cryptocurrencies this year.

Here are five predictions for digital currencies, based on those interviews:

1. More institutions will get into cryptocurrencies.
"Our institutional investor base is very interested in learning more and getting exposure," said Michael Graham, a Canaccord Genuity analyst who has published several reports on digital currencies. "One of our major themes is that as we roll out through 2018, it's the year of institutions getting exposure to the space."
The number of institutional-level investment products related to bitcoin is increasing.
In addition to the CME and Cboe bitcoin futures that launched in December, Cantor Fitzgerald and Nasdaq are planning their own derivatives products. Analysts also expect regulators will approve a bitcoin exchange-traded fund in the second half of this year, or in early 2019.
"With the regulated futures markets going live in 2017, the stage is set for ETFs to gain approval in 2018," Nolan Bauerle, director of research at CoinDesk, said in an email. "In fact, the Cboe filed for 6 cryptocurrency ETFs at the end of 2017 which could go live in 2018. This would dramatically increase how institutional investors can get exposure."
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission declined to comment.

2. There will be more regulation and bitcoin's price will drop.
However, in the meantime, regulators will likely try to limit speculation in cryptocurrencies.
In the last several months, the SEC has become increasingly vocal in warning investors about the risks of cryptocurrencies. The commission also has suspended trading in some companies due to concerns about their claims regarding their token-related announcements.
"One of the things we'll see [is] enforcement here from the regulators," Canaccord's Graham said. He expects that greater regulation will cause a "major price dislocation event for the whole sector."
Bitcoin has soared more than 1,500 percent to near $16,200 over the last 12 months. But it is still down about 18 percent from its all-time high above $19,800 hit in mid-December. Meanwhile, smaller cryptocurrencies have surged hundreds of percent in the last several weeks, bringing the total market value of all digital coins to above $770 billion, according to CoinMarketCap.
Action by regulators could halt those gains. Bitcoin fell more than $2,000 in September when China cracked down on digital currencies.
Spencer Bogart, managing director and head of research at venture capital firm Blockchain Capital, expects that many cryptofunds will not be prepared to handle a monthly decline of 25 percent.
"I think we could easily purge 60-75% of crypto hedge funds in this type of market," Bogart said in an email. "In this environment, funds that can call capital and deploy it counter-cyclically stand to benefit significantly."
More than 120 such funds opened in 2017 for a total of 175 funds, according to financial research firm Autonomous Next.
In contrast to Bogart, Autonomous' global director of fintech strategy, Lex Sokolin, predicts the total number of cryptofunds will nearly triple to 500 this year. But he said the focus will be less on the number of funds and more on assets under management, which he expects to reach $20 billion.

3. It will be a wild, volatile ride. 

The contrasting views on the future of cryptofunds come as some analysts expect bitcoin to ride an even wilder wave this year.
Ari Paul, chief investment officer of cryptocurrency investment firm BlockTower Capital, predicts that bitcoin will trade at both $4,000 and $30,000 at some point in 2018.
One reason some analysts say bitcoin will ultimately rise further is that investors will bet on a payout from more splits in the digital currency. When some bitcoin developers decide to implement their own upgrade of the bitcoin network, bitcoin investors at the time of the split receive equal amounts of the split-off coin.
Aug. 1's split of bitcoin into bitcoin and bitcoin cash was "a change in the trend," said Ramon Quesada, a vocal member of Spain's cryptocurrency community. Developers "are using the brand bitcoin and they are splitting the main chain. They are making a fork. You create a new chain and you give a new name to this chain."
Bitcoin trades near $16,200, while bitcoin cash trades around $2,600.
"We think we're going to have more forks in 2018 than 2017," Canaccord's Graham said. "Ultimately we think those forks are going to be a short-term tail wind to bitcoin's value and a long-term headwind"
Bitcoin still faces many challenges, such as improving transaction fees and speed.

4. Bitcoin will prevail, while other cryptocurrencies grow. 
While bitcoin's price has stagnated in the last two weeks, smaller digital currencies such as ripple, stellar and tron have surged into the ranks of the largest cryptocurrencies by market capitalization.
Erik Voorhees, CEO of digital asset exchange ShapeShift, said that in contrast to bitcoin's dominance on the platform a year ago, about half of transactions on the platform now don't involve the popular digital currency at all.
However, bitcoin should still benefit from the increased interest in the "alt-coins." Analysts also point out that since bitcoin is the most established digital currency, it is often the way new investors access the cryptocurrency space.
"Bitcoin has such magnificent network effects that I don't see another alt-coin that's a little better at payments" or some other function right now, Autonomous' Sokolin said. "One of the top 10 will collapse."

5. Stock investors may get a chance to invest in a digital currency-related IPO.
As interest in digital currencies has grown, the companies involved with the business have become billion-dollar entities. Leading U.S. cryptocurrency marketplace Coinbase, valued at $1.6 billion, has indicated it could pursue an initial public offering.
"I do think the public is going to see some crypto-owned IPOs this year and more broadly blockchain IPOs," Canaccord's Graham said. He said cryptocurrency-related companies that want to give U.S. regulators a better impression are likely "going to rely on old-fashioned equity."
Coinbase declined to comment.
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But just as greater regulation in the U.S. has encouraged more blockchain development outside the country, the first crypto-related public offering may not happen in America either.
"IPOs are going to happen outside the U.S. first," said Ryan Gilbert, partner at Propel VC, which focuses on financial technology and has a $250 million fund. Propel is indirectly a minority investor in Coinbase, Gilbert said.
Regardless, investors will need to be extremely cautious about companies making announcements related to cryptocurrencies and adding "blockchain" to their name. Some tiny stocks have soared on such changes, prompting regulators to issue warnings about potential scams.
The market moves mirror the tech bubble, when many stocks saw a dramatic price surge after adding "dot-com" to their names.
A paper published in 2000 through Purdue University found the dot-com name changes began around June 1998 and picked up in the first five months of 1999, at an average rate of seven name changes a month. Most of the companies were traded over the counter, and regardless of their level of involvement with the internet, the name change resulted in returns of about 74 percent for the 10 days surrounding the announcement day, the paper said.
"What the dot-com paper shows is that reasoning goes away when you're looking at a hot industry," co-author Raghavendra Rau told CNBC in a phone interview this week. He is now a professor of finance at the University of Cambridge.
If he had to guess, Rau said it may take at least two or three years for the blockchain stock mania to subside. "My personal sense is the technology is good, but like every new technology I don't think the broad pattern [of] history changes very much. There will be manias."

Author: Evelyn Cheng

Posted by David Ogden Entrepreneur

Bitcoin slump sees trades suspended on certain exchanges

Bitcoin slump sees trades suspended on certain exchanges

Bitcoin plunged on Friday, extending a fall that saw the crypto-currency lose almost a third of its value from a record of nearly $20,000 (£15,000).

The crypto-currency's price dipped below $11,000 on Friday, according to the Coindesk exchange website, before recovering to above $13,000.

Amid the swings, three Bitcoin-related exchanges suspended certain trades.

Bitcoin has had a blistering trip over the past 12 months. Its price at the start of the year was about $1,000.

It has skyrocketed since – more than doubling in value since November – drawing interest from major firms as well as private investors.

But since Sunday Bitcoin has been on a losing streak, falling back to where it was at the start of December.

Analysts said investors should be prepared for such rapid changes, which have characterised the asset from its start.

"This is exactly how this asset trades and has done since the beginning," said Nick Colas, co-founder of New York-based DataTrek Research. "It has a lot of volatility and it will for the foreseeable future."

What happened on Friday?

This week's plunge led to a flood of trades that swamped one of Bitcoin's major exchanges, Coinbase, on Friday. A technical slowdown prompted the firm to halt buying and selling twice.

The CME and CBOE exchanges in the US also temporarily suspended trading of certain Bitcoin futures contracts, which allow investors to bet on where they expect the price of Bitcoin to be at certain points in the future.

The exchanges have automatic brakes that apply once a commodity or asset has moved by a certain amount – as happened in this case.

What sparked the slump?

The market remains driven by sentiment, according to Charles Hayter, founder and chief executive of industry website Cryptocompare.

"A manic upward swing led by the herd will be followed by a downturn as the emotional sentiment changes," he said.

Some traders would have been cashing in on the spectacular gains made over the year, he added.

Concerns about the infrastructure behind crypto-assets may also be spooking investors, said Nick Colas, himself a Bitcoin trader.

In recent weeks, markets have been rattled by hacks and allegations of insider trading.

He attributes some of this week's slump to the launch of a new crypto-asset that came earlier than planned. The surprise temporary shutdown of Coinbase on Friday was the kind of thing that could erode investor confidence, he argued.

"It is not OK to just take trading offline randomly through the day," he said. "The robustness of that system is just as important to their confidence… as the price of crypto-currencies themselves."

A spokesman for Coinbase said the firm was working around the clock to ensure smooth trading. Friday's suspensions lasted for about two hours in total.

"We're doing everything within our power," the spokesman said.

What exactly is Bitcoin?

A digital asset, Bitcoin is not backed by any governments. It is created through a complex process known as "mining", and then monitored by a network of computers across the world.

There is a steady stream of about 3,600 new Bitcoins a day, with more than 16.5 million now in circulation. Supply is expected to peak at about 21 million.

Every single transaction is recorded in a public list called the blockchain.

This makes it possible to trace the history of Bitcoins to stop people from spending coins they do not own, making copies or undoing transactions.

What are authorities saying about Bitcoin?

Regulators around the world have stepped up their warnings about its provenance as an investment.

One of this week's most striking comments came from Denmark's central bank governor, who called it a "deadly" gamble.

Earlier this month, the head of one of the UK's leading financial regulators warned people to be ready to "lose all their money" if they invested in Bitcoin.

Andrew Bailey, head of the Financial Conduct Authority, told the BBC that neither central banks nor the government stood behind the "currency" and therefore it was not a secure investment.

Despite the risk to individuals, US authorities have said they do not think it is a big enough part of financial markets to be a threat to broader economic stability.

 

Source BBC News

Posted by David Ogden Entrepreneur
David Ogden Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur

Bitcoin Bulls Face 'Alt' Competition in Push to $20k

Bitcoin Bulls Face 'Alt' Competition in Push to $20

Bitcoin may still be in the hunt for $20,000, but the bulls need progress soon else a minor pullback could be in the offing.

As per CoinDesk's Bitcoin Price Index (BPI), the cryptocurrency is trading at $17,539, having appreciated 4.48 percent in the last 24 hours to a new all-time high.

But while that's a modest, even impressive gain, it's worth noting that alternative currencies like litecoin and ether have strengthened by even more impressive rallies.

On the day's trading, the cryptocurrencies, the second and fourth by market volume, have seen 71.8 percent and 30 percent gains, respectively. Coinbase's GDAX exchange and South Korea's Bithumb have emerged as the primary drivers.

All told, though the stellar performance of litecoin and ether could be indicative of their availability and appeal to new buyers. Hence, a minor correction in bitcoin (BTC) cannot be ruled out as other assets garner attention.

1-hour chart

Bitcoin Bulls Face 'Alt' Competition in Push to $20k

The above chart shows:

  • Bull flag breakout followed by a nice rising lows pattern as represented by the ascending trend line.
  • The relative strength index is above 50.00 (in the bullish territory) and is trending.
  • The 1-hour 50-MA is curled up in favor of the bulls.

View

 

BTC could cut through the resistance at $17,500 and make a move towards the $18,300-$18,500 level over the next 12-24 hours.

Overall, the cryptocurrency looks set to test the major psychological level of $20,000. As noted earlier today, only two end-of-day closes below the $14,000 would abort the bullish view on the charts.

Author: Omkar Godbole

 

Posted by David Ogden Entrepreneur
David Ogden Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur