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Top-Tier Crypto Exchanges Beat Riskier Platforms as Crypto Trading Volumes Recover

Top-Tier Crypto Exchanges Beat Riskier Platforms as Crypto Trading Volumes Recover

 Top cryptocurrency exchanges have seen their trading volumes surge throughout July, so much so these now represent 60% of the crypto space’s total spot volume.

According toCryptoCompare’s July 2020 Exchange Review, Top-Tier cryptocurrency trading platforms, those graded AA-B according to the firm’sExchange Benchmark, have seen their spot volumes increased by 42.1% to $334 billion last month, which helped them surpass lower quality exchanges. Lower-Tier exchanges, according to the report, saw their volumes decrease 38.1% to $224 billion in July. The volume is dwindling on riskier cryptoasset trading platforms as investors likely moved toward safer cryptocurrency exchanges when the crypto market started rising, after bitcoin’s price surpassed $10,000.

As CryptoGlobe reported,Top-Tier cryptocurrency exchanges have been gaining market share over the last few months against those graded C-E on the Exchange Benchmark. In Q4 2019, Top-Tier platforms accounted for 32% of global volumes, while in the first quarter of this year they accounted for 36%. In Q2 2020, these trading platforms saw their share grow to 40% of the total spot trading volumes, while in June the volume was already 46%. Lower-Tier exchanges, over the same period, saw their volumes drop from 68% to 54%. In July, cryptocurrency trading volumes picked up near the end of the month, after BTC finally broke out of its two-month-long range between $9,000 and $10,000.  The move up saw the global trading volume hit $45.3 billion on July 27, making it one of the days with the largest recorded volumes in the crypto space.

The highest spot volumes ever were seen on March 13, as the cryptocurrency market crash that month, which occurred when top U.S. indexes entered bear market territory and the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic, saw tradersexchange a total of $75.9 billion in a single day. In July, exchanges using the traditional taker-fee model represented 82% of total exchange volumes, while those implementing the controversial trans-fee mining (TFM) model represented less than 18% of the trading volume. Fee-charging exchanges, CryptoCompare’s report adds, traded a total of $456 billion last month, up 0.5% from June, while those that implemented TFM models traded $95 billion, down 32% from the month before.

Article Produced By
Francisco Memoria

Francisco is a cryptocurrency writer who's in love with technology and focuses on helping people see the value digital currencies have. His work has been published in numerous reputable industry publications. Francisco holds various cryptocurrencies

https://www.cryptoglobe.com/latest/2020/08/top-tier-crypto-exchanges-beat-riskier-platforms-as-crypto-trading-volumes-recover/

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Grandmas On Lightning

Grandmas On Lightning

Is Bitcoin truly inevitable? Or too confusing to ever gain mass adoption? One day, the Lightning Network might provide an answer.

Is Bitcoin Too Hard To Understand?

I’ve spent a huge part of the last three years explaining Bitcoin to general audiences and the most common form of resistance I encounter is: “Bitcoin is too complicated. The masses will never understand it.” It’s a fair argument. Bitcoin is complicated and if you want to reach a competent understanding of the big picture then, at a minimum, you’d better get ready to learn about peer-to-peer networks, cryptography and the history of money.

It’s for this reason that I find it bizarre when I hear from friends in the space that Bitcoin is “inevitable.” There’s a belief that one day the masses will suddenly realize the merits of Bitcoin and adopt it on their own. This is certainly not what happened with me. To get to an understanding of Bitcoin I was comfortable with, I had to spend hours with articles, books, podcasts, videos and debating the concepts online. This content had to be produced by other people. Maybe if Andreas Antonopolous didn’t upload 500 videos or Nathaniel Popper didn’t write Digital Gold, then I might still have been in the crowd saying: “lol scam.”There’s a counter-belief as well, and it’s that Bitcoin is simply too complicated for mere mortals to understand, and that mass adoption will only happen when Bitcoin and the Lightning Network are so simple that grandmas can use it. In The Gates of Bitcoin, John Carvalho calls this the “Grandma’s Razor Fallacy”: the elitist belief that new tech is too complicated and we need to protect people from it for their own good. He also points out:

We’ve seen this play out over and over in Bitcoin’s 11-year story. In 2011, Wikileaks learned how to use Bitcoin very quickly after Visa, MasterCard, PayPal and Western Union cut it off because of threats from the U.S. Senate. Despite Satoshi Nakamoto himself gatekeeping and telling Wikileaks NOT to use Bitcoin to circumvent the U.S. government, Wikileaks did it anyway and it’s estimated it received some 4,000 BTC in donations. Not only did this keep it alive despite a coordinated effort to kill it financially, it gave it a treasure chest that allows it to persist until today.

Another example, and my favorite, is from 2014. The Women’s Annex Foundation (WAF) in Afghanistan used bitcoin to pay their members for their work in writing, software development and video editing. This was under Taliban rule, where women were not allowed to own bank accounts, earn a living or even go to school. Incentives are a powerful thing. When it’s a matter of life and death, people suddenly discover it’s not that hard to download a mobile app and copy-paste an address. Bitcoin suddenly becomes not all that complicated. I want to break down the idea of Bitcoin’s complexity a little further. There are layers to it. Bitcoin is certainly hard to understand, but that doesn’t mean that it’s hard to use. Most people can drive a car or send an e-mail without understanding the internal combustion engine or Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP). And certainly both of these were considered “too complicated” for the masses. The very idea of “difficulty” can be unpacked further. For now, I’ll break it down into two concepts: Technical Difficulty and Perceived Difficulty.

Technical Difficulty is the skill required to execute something. Like downloading an app, or driving a car or playing the violin. You have to learn to use the tool. Designers can (partially) lower the skill required by creating user-friendly tools. But they cannot eliminate it. Yet when we look at the number of people who can drive cars and use social media, we see that millions of people, including grandmas, are willing to learn complex operations if you can offer them the opportunity to drive to the mall or fight with anonymous people on Twitter.

Perceived Difficulty is the psychological hurdle, i.e., the belief that something is difficult. It’s when someone says: “I don’t understand calculus, it’s too hard.” Then you ask them how long they’ve studied it and they say: “Well I haven’t tried, because it’s too hard.” Perceived difficulty shows up all the time. People will claim that going on a diet or studying for a test are “too hard” when, from a Technical Difficulty perspective, these things are easy. Don’t eat the cake, go to your room and study. The problem really is incentives. People don’t want to study. They do want to eat the cake. Getting them to change behavior has nothing to do with Technical Difficulty and everything to do with addressing why they do or don’t want to do these things in the first place. I’ve encountered Perceived Difficulty many times in Bitcoin. The most glaring times are the repeated examples where people would message me to say that they bought a large sum of bitcoin but kept it on an exchange. Every single time, I would explain that this is a bad idea, and every time I would hear back: “it’s too complicated.” This prompted me to write not one, but two articles. First, on why keeping bitcoin on an exchange is a bad idea, and second, on how to set up a wallet, both as short and simple as possible. I sent both articles to one of those people. Finally, he relented. He downloaded a wallet, backed up his seed phrase and took his bitcoin off the exchange. “Ok fine,” he told me in the end, “that wasn’t so hard.”

With Lightning, we might eventually be able to take the Technical Difficulty of using Bitcoin all the way down. On the Lightning Network you don’t need to think about blocks, confirmations or fees. As the network matures, you may not even have to worry about channels or capacity either. And with products like Strike, you may not even have to know that you’re using Lightning at all. The dream of Lightning is to eventually provide a dead-simple user experience that still gives people the freedom and autonomy Bitcoin is known for. But even if that experience became available tomorrow, the Perceived Difficulty would remain. The good news is that Perceived Difficulty is ultimately a culture. When I was a kid, using a computer was considered so abstruse you needed a “computer course” to be considered competent enough to use one. Today, you are considered functionally illiterate if you cannot use a computer by age ten. But that culture doesn’t change on its own. We need to change it if we want Bitcoin to be all that it can be for those who need it. We need to alter the perception and align the incentives. And then, one day, we’ll have more grandmas in Bitcoin. If you want to see what that looks like, read up about Hodlonaut’s #LNTrustChain. John Carvalho was there (#115), I was there (#171), Bitcoin Magazine was there (#235) and a lot of people who said Bitcoin is too complicated weren’t there.

Article Produced By
Imran Lorgat

Imran is an Actuary in the reinsurance sector who’s worked in South Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. He loves writing about Bitcoin, personal finance, and travel. You can read more of Imran’s writings on imranlorgat.com All views expressed are Imran’s own and neither reflect nor are influenced by the views of affiliated companies.

https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/grandmas-on-lightning

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OKCoin Awards Latest Developer Grant To Marco Falke

OKCoin Awards Latest Developer Grant To Marco Falke

Cryptocurrency exchange OKCoin announced today that the latest contribution from its Open-Source Developer Grant is going to Marco Falke,

who has served as a Bitcoin Core maintainer since 2016 and is one of the most active contributors to Bitcoin’s code. “Marco’s work … focuses on making development more efficient,” Elaine Song, a member of OKCoin’s business operations team who is involved with the grant program, told Bitcoin Magazine. “He is the most active contributor to the Bitcoin code since 2017. He is presently dedicated to the improvement of Bitcoin’s test infrastructure, which ensures the reliability and security of the decentralized network.”

This marks the fourth grant the exchange has made since its program was launched eight months ago. Donations have also been awarded to developers Fabian Jahr and Amiti Uttarwar, as well as open-source bitcoin payment processor BTCPay Server. More than $396,000 has been awarded so far. OKCoin would not disclose the dollar value of this latest grant, but said that this was its largest single donation to date. “As a crypto exchange, we aim to make crypto investing and trading accessible to anyone, anywhere,” Song said. “That objective is made possible by the work of our grant recipients who contribute to the sustainable and responsible development of cryptocurrency infrastructure. Without developers, there is no technical breakthrough. Without a breakthrough, there is no disruption.”

The last few months have seen a notable surge in similar donations, from OKCoin as well as BitMEX operator 100x, the Human Rights Foundation, Kraken and others. It’s difficult to pinpoint a reason for this wave of charitable giving at the moment, but it appears that organizations that rely on Bitcoin are starting to see these grants as critical to the technology’s continued growth. “We don’t see these grants as ‘donations’ or altruistic,” Song explained. “We see them as investments to the technology that powers the entire crypto industry… We at OKCoin and others are finding the right incentivization to attract talented developers to open-source Bitcoin development, and keep the best ones like Marco, Amiti, Fabian and the team at BTCPay focused on Bitcoin development.”

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Brad Garlinghouse: The Tech Maverick Rippling Through Finance

Brad Garlinghouse: The Tech Maverick Rippling Through Finance

As the cryptocurrency world entered the year 2020, Cointelegraph takes a look at the top 10 influencers in the cryptocurrency space.

Earlier this year, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse responded to controversy surrounding XRP movements by saying that

Ripple cannot control the price of its associated token any more than Bitcoin (BTC) whales control the price of the seminal cryptocurrency. Regarding Ripple’s relationship with XRP, he said, “In the XRP community, Ripple is the largest owner, and the point I have made is we’re the most interested party in the success of the XRP ecosystem.” He added that Ripple would never dump its XRP holdings into the market, as doing so is not in the firm’s best interests. Since taking the helm of the payments-focused fintech company in 2015, Garlinghouse has overseen its rapid expansion into new markets, the launch of new subsidiaries and affiliates, and defended Ripple in public controversies. 

Yahoo and a loathing for peanut butter 

Before joining Ripple in 2015, Garlinghouse held a number of prominent positions in the tech and fintech space. After receiving his bachelor’s degree from the University of Kansas and a master’s in business administration from Harvard Business School, Garlinghouse held positions at Yahoo, AOL and file-sharing site Hightail.  At Yahoo, Garlinghouse occupied several senior management positions, including the role of senior vice president, and in 2006, he authored the “Peanut Butter Manifesto,” which was subsequently published in the Wall Street Journal. In the manifesto, Garlinghouse called for a radical reorganization of Yahoo’s structure, likening small investments across myriad projects and departments to a layer of peanut butter spread thinly across a piece of bread. Garglinghouse wrote, “I hate peanut butter. We all should.”

After criticizing the lack of clarity and decisiveness at Yahoo, he called for a shakeup that would streamline and decentralize various aspects of the firm. In 2012, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer gave a nod to the manifesto with the “PB&J program,” which sought to eliminate needless bureaucracy within the firm, such as mandatory staff orientation at the gym.  Garlinghouse then moved to AOL, which he reportedly left because — like Yahoo — the firm spread its resources too thin across multiple projects. At Hightail, he served as CEO but stepped down in 2014, reportedly due to differences in opinion with the board of directors regarding several buyout offers that the company had received. His distaste for organizational cruft and preference for laser-focused mission would transfer and serve him well at Ripple. 

Expanding Ripple’s network and clientele 

In November 2016, Chris Larsen, then CEO of Ripple, stepped down from the role to be replaced by Garlinghouse. At the time, the new CEO stated that Ripple could stake its place in the world by making financial services more

accessible worldwide:

“I think there are a lot of interesting companies, but there aren’t that many companies that can take their little dent in the universe. […] I think what Ripple is doing is not just, hey, how do we enable banks — it’s a broader effort in how can you enable an Internet of Things and connected devices that are economic actors to pass a couple pennies. Today we fundamentally can’t do that in an efficient way unless I’m handing you 2 pennies. Whether you talk about Africa, or underbanked communities, these are all examples where Ripple can change the way society works.”

Under Garlinghouse’s leadership, Ripple has expanded rapidly, signing on a number of partners worldwide. As of October 2019, Ripple had a reported 168 customers comprised of 118 banks, 16 remittance/money transfer firms, seven foreign exchange companies, two cryptocurrency exchanges, 11 payments providers, six software and technology firms, and eight others, including international auditing and professional services giant Deloitte. Ripple entered into a number of important partnerships with major financial service firms in 2019 alone. In June, Ripple announced that it signed a strategic partnership with money transmission network MoneyGram, wherein MoneyGram would be able to draw up to $50 million dollars from Ripple in exchange for equity.

MoneyGram then said that it would use Ripple’s xRapid product, which allows money to be sent in one currency and instantly settled in another, using XRP tokens as a vehicle for quicker cross-border transfers. In October, the third-largest financial services technology firm in the world, Finastra, partnered with Ripple in order to give its customers — which include 48 of the top 50 banks worldwide — access to the RippleNet blockchain network. PNC Treasury Management, the eighth-largest bank in the United States, started using RippleNet in August 2019 for cross-border payments. 

Defending Ripple from controversy 

While Ripple has expanded rapidly under Garlinghouse’s leadership, the firm has also become a target for some in the cryptocurrency community, who claim that it is not sufficiently decentralized and misrepresents its relationship with the XRP token. In October 2019, some commentators in the cryptocurrency space pointed out an apparent contradiction regarding some of Garlinghouse’s comments on Ripple’s relationship to the XRP token.

The CEO had said:

“One really important distinction is, the XRP ledger existed before Ripple the company. Certainly we are an interested party in the success of the XRP ledger, for sure — we own a lot of XRP. But it’s a little bit like saying, Exxon owns a lot of oil. That doesn’t make oil a security.”

However, Coinmetrics.io co-founder and Castle Island Ventures partner Nic Carter said that this view contradicted claims from a fall 2018 article by attorney Preston Byrne, which Carter considers the authoritative source regarding the nature of XRP. Byrne argued that XRP was created after Ripple formed in 2012,

stating that:

“No ‘Official Ledger’ containing XRP or any transactions on the ledger which is today used as ‘XRP’ existed before Ripple Labs, Inc. (initially named Newcoin Inc.) was incorporated on 19 September 2012.”

Garlinghouse, for his part, said that the firm’s transparency had “opened us up for attack.” In an October interview with Morgan Creek Digital Assets co-founder Anthony Pompliano, the CEO dismissed allegations that Ripple would dump its XRP holdings onto the market in order to drop the price. Garlinghouse repeated the refrain that Ripple is the most interested party in the success of the token, stating that XRP is the “only example of crypto and blockchain being used at scale, period.” Despite criticisms that Ripple controls and could manipulate the XRP price, Garlinghouse has positioned the firm as the major token holder going forward. Indeed, he noted that Ripple would not respond well to other large investors owning significant proportions of the XRP supply. In an interview on CNN last week,

the CEO said:

“There are times when we work with institutional investors or might say, ‘Hey, we want to buy $10 million of XRP,’ and we would have lock-ups to prevent them from dumping on the market.”

Garlinghouse did note that the proposed mechanism was strictly hypothetical and would be based on existing volumes on the market.

Bullish on Bitcoin and XRP, bearish on bullshit

In the summer of 2019, Garlinghouse — like many in the cryptocurrency space — likened Bitcoin to a digital version of gold insofar as it can be used as a store of value in uncertain economic climates. He further stated that Bitcoin and XRP are not competing digital currencies, but that XRP was a “bridge currency” that allows efficient fiat-to-fiat transfers. While noting that it was cheaper and faster to transact with XRP, Garlinghouse said that he did not think that meant Bitcoin would fail,

adding:

“I own Bitcoin, I’m long on Bitcoin. I think Bitcoin is a store of value and people hold it.”

While the exec remains positive regarding Bitcoin and XRP, he has derided other projects within the space in 2019, stating that there is “a lot of bullshit in blockchain and crypto market” that makes it difficult to discern truly good projects. In November of last year, Garlinghouse predicted that the value of 99% of digital assets would eventually sink to zero. During an interview with Bloomberg, he said that there are currently too many cryptocurrency projects and added that only 1% will likely remain in the market. Indeed, according to data from Coin360, there are currently thousands of different digital assets in the world, the number of which — per Garlinghouse — is growing because of the hype surrounding the cryptocurrency space. He further argued that very few of these tokens can actually meet real customer needs,

adding:

“Anytime there is a new market, there are a lot of people that run into that market and try to show that they can solve a problem, they can deliver a customer need.”

Garlinghouse has also expressed doubts regarding cryptocurrency projects from non-crypto businesses like American financial giant JPMorgan and Facebook.  In February 2019, Garlinghouse said that JPMorgan’s JPM Coin project misses

the point of cryptocurrency:

“Introducing a closed network today is like launching AOL after Netscape’s IPO. Two years later, and bank coins still aren’t the answer.”

Regarding Facebook’s proposed Libra stablecoin, Garlinghouse said that he does not think regulators will give the project the green light anytime in the near future, stating in October, “I would bet that Libra… let’s say, by the end of 2022, I think Libra will not have launched.” Garlinghouse further hinted that Facebook’s reputation with regulators may have given lawmakers a poor impression of the project, saying, “I think maybe it would have been better received if Facebook had not been the point of the arrow.”

Looking ahead

As Ripple moves into the future, Garlinghouse appears to remain confident that blockchain technology and firms like Ripple will change the payments landscape to make finance more accessible, faster and cheaper for users. He also noted that these groundbreaking technologies will be considered a threat by many in the traditional finance space, especially by firms that rely on the trust-building intermediary elements of the payment infrastructure to make profits. At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Garlinghouse said that Citibank makes $8 billion a year in profits from various gatekeeping activities within financial transactions,

adding:

“It’s going to come down to truly an internet — we have an internet of information — to an internet of value that allows value to move the way that information moves today. Why can’t I use email-like transactions to enable a penny to transact? That’s where we’re going and I think this internet of value will change a lot of different industries.”

Article Produced By
Aaron Wood

Aaron Wood is an editor at Cointelegraph, with a background in energy and economics. He keeps an eye on Blockchain's applications in building smarter and more equitable energy access globally.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/brad-garlinghouse-the-tech-maverick-rippling-through-finance

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Five Years of Ethereum: From a Teenage Dream to a $38B Blockchain

Five Years of Ethereum: From a Teenage Dream to a $38B Blockchain

How far has the Ethereum blockchain come in the five years since its inception? We explore key developments, changes and challenges.

It would seem that five years is a relatively short time for an information technology company,

but Ethereum has made colossal progress during this time, growing from its own initial coin offering project to the largest blockchain platform, running about 2,000 decentralized applications. Today, the market capitalization of its native cryptocurrency, Ether (ETH), is worth $38 billion — larger than Ford Motor Company and the popular app Snapchat. Not only that, but the value of Ether has seen a 121-fold increase over the period of the network’s existence. While the whole team is preparing for the transition to the proof-of-stake consensus algorithm ahead of the upcoming Berlin upgrade, Cointelegraph recalls the striking changes that have occurred to the platform over the five years since its launch, and the failures that have only toughened its resolve.

2013/2014: An idea to an $18 million crowdsale 

Ethereum was invented by Vitalik Buterin, a Canadian programmer of Russian descent. It was 2013, and Buterin was just an 18-year-old teenager, but his idea found a lively response in the global blockchain community. Later, Gavin Wood, a British computer programmer, proved the possibility of creating the system invented by Buterin and described the basic principles of its operation in the Ethereum “Yellow Paper.” Together with the first members of the Ethereum team, they launched a crowdsale and raised $18 million for the project’s development.

2015: Network launch and exchange listing

The first version of the Ethereum cryptocurrency protocol, called Frontier, was launched on July 30, 2015. But the security level the system boasted back then was far from what Ethereum is today. The launch of Frontier marked an important milestone in the history of the network, after which the developers immediately started working with smart contracts and creating DApps on the real blockchain. The first existing historical record of Ether’s price is from Aug. 7, 2015, when ETH was added to the Kraken crypto exchange at $2.77 per coin. Over its first three days of trading, its price dropped to a demeaning $0.68, most likely under the influence of rapid sales by early investors. In the second half of the year, droves of crypto enthusiasts rushed to learn what they could about Ethereum. A particularly significant contribution to its popularization was made by the DEVCON-1 developer conference, which was held from Nov. 9 to 13. The event sparked intense discussions on the development of Ethereum, with the participation of representatives from IBM, Microsoft and UBS.

2016: The DAO, hackers and Ethereum split

At the beginning of 2016, the price of Ether rose rapidly, fueled by news of the upcoming launch of a network protocol with a more stable version: Homestead. As a result, ETH reached its first serious high of $15 per coin on March 13, with the platform’s market cap exceeding the boastful $1 billion mark. On March 14, Homestead went live, which made its blockchain officially secure through new protocols and network changes (EIP-2, EIP-7 and EIP-8), making future updates possible. More specifically, the network protection became based on mining, which was planned only for the initial stage of development with subsequent transition to PoS with a hybrid model at an intermediate stage. At the same time, exuberant requirements for video memory acted as protection against the use of ASIC miners. The next event, which brought the price of Ether to its highest value that year — $21 — was the widespread media coverage of the dizzying success of The DAO project, which raised more than 12 million ETH ($150 million at the time ) in May. The DAO — an acronym for decentralized autonomous organization — was one of the pioneers of the upcoming ICO era and chose Ethereum as its launchpad to raise investments.

However, on June 16, using a vulnerability in The DAO’s code, unknown hackers stole about $60 million in ETH from the project. News of the attack sliced the price of ETH in half to $11. Buterin offered to return the stolen funds by conducting a hard fork to restore the network to its pre-attack state. Following a controversial hard fork held on July 20, the network split into two: Ethereum and Ethereum Classic. On Sept. 22, Ethereum suffered another blow: The network was subjected to a distributed denial-of-service attack, significantly slowing its operations. The news became an impetus for the beginning of a local downtrend in the curbed price, which began consolidating in the $7–$9 range by the end of the year. Two unplanned hard forks were then carried out to improve the resilience of the network and rectify the consequences of the DDoS attack.

2017: ICO boom 

Ether’s price experienced a meteoric rise at the start of 2017 as the cryptocurrency was added to the eToro platform on Feb. 23. Around the same time, the number of unconfirmed transactions on the Bitcoin network had reached 200,000, causing an increasing number of crypto investors and miners to opt for Ether as an alternative investment. On May 6, the price of ETH set a new bar of $95 per coin. The popularity of Ethereum grew rapidly in the crypto community and among DApp developers. The initial coin offering hype also contributed to the increased demand for Ether, as thousands of projects opted to fundraise in ETH. By Sept. 1, the price of Ethereum had almost reached a whopping $400, but news of China banning ICOs and crypto trading quickly slashed it to nearly $220. The price gradually recovered by mid-October after the release of the Byzantium network upgrade, which took place on Sept. 18. Along with the growth of the ICO bubble, in which Ether was still the main means of payment, ETH reached nearly $800 by the end of the year.

2018: Ethereum at $1,400 and a bearish trend

The beginning of 2018 turned out to be even more successful for Ethereum than the previous one. On Jan. 13, the price of Ether reached its all-time high of around $1,400. But the ICO rush, which had triggered the rapid growth of Ethereum’s price in 2017, came to an end. Throughout 2018, its echoes played a cruel joke on Ether as thousands of ICO projects sold their savings, meaning that ETH dropped even faster than the rest of the market. In early September, news of the Constantinople hard fork — expected in November — slowed the drop in the price and injected positive sentiment into the community. However, the network upgrade was delayed. Influenced by inter-bearish sentiments on the crypto market and pending updates, the price fell to $85, dropping from the second-largest to the third-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization behind XRP.

2019: Technical works, update delays and popularity of DAOs

Many aspects spiraled out of the control of developers over the year as they were actively engaged in conducting technical work on the network. Meanwhile, the community lost count of the number of upgrades carried out. In January, the technical roadmap gained clarity as difficult engineering problems were solved and the Ethereum development community continued to grow. DeFi became the largest sector within Ethereum, and the market saw early signs of growth in gaming and decentralized autonomous organizations. At the beginning of 2019, the only DeFi protocol with significant funds was MakerDAO, which had a total of 1.86 million ETH ($260.4 million at the time). The playing field became much more diverse by the end of the year when new participants rushed into the industry.

On Feb. 28, the Constantinople hard fork took place on the Ethereum network, which prepared it for the transition to the Casper PoS protocol and the abolition of the previous mining model. However, the eighth upgrade, called Istanbul — which initially had been scheduled for Dec. 4 — was delayed and activated on the Ethereum mainnet on Dec. 8.  Among the main objectives of Istanbul were ensuring the compatibility of the Ethereum blockchain with the anonymous Zcash (ZEC) cryptocurrency and increasing the scalability of the network through SNARKs and STARKs zero-knowledge-proof protocols. In addition, the update made it difficult to carry out denial-of-service attacks on the network due to the change in the cost of gas needed for launching operating codes.

The progress of Ethereum 2.0 laid the foundation for the world’s largest corporations to start using the Ethereum blockchain. In July, Samsung released a software kit for Ethereum developers, six months after it was revealed that the development of its new phone included a built-in Ethereum wallet. Another large partnership involved internet browser Opera, which had launched an Ethereum-supported Android wallet at the end of 2018 and announced a built-in Ethereum wallet for iOS users in early 2019. Meanwhile, Microsoft continued its involvement with the Ethereum ecosystem. In May, the company released the Azure Blockchain Development Kit to support Ethereum development. In October, it backed a tokenized incentive system from the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance for use within enterprise consortiums. And in November, it launched Azure Blockchain Tokens, a service that lets enterprises issue their own tokens on Ethereum.

2020: The DeFi boom and PoS 

In the first half of 2020, Ethereum — famous for its numerous conferences and meetups — was forced to postpone all activity due to the coronavirus pandemic. Nevertheless, the team managed to make significant progress in solving the scalability issue, with the launch of the final Ethereum 2.0 testnet scheduled for Aug. 4. The developers hope that once the upgrade is complete, the Ethereum network will become faster, cheaper and more scalable without compromising decentralization and network flexibility. Meanwhile, the blockchain network continues to grow, as activity in the decentralized finance market has increased significantly. According to Dapp.com, the daily volume of value transferred via DeFi applications reached an all-time high of $1.8 billion on July 2. During the second quarter, a record $4.9 billion was moved through DeFi applications — a 67% growth when compared with the previous quarter — while the number of active users of Ethereum applications reached 1,258,527, an increase of 97%.

Article Produced By
Julia Magas

Julia is a researcher/journalist who covers the latest trends in finance and technology. Since 2013, she has been researching the cryptocurrency market and coordinating international conferences. Julia’s works are featured by popular fintech magazines, including Investing, SeekingAlpha and Bitcoinist, where she interviewed representatives from MIT, Indeed, Ethereum and more. She's trading some stocks and digital currencies for experimental purposes and hunting for the most interesting, cutting-edge technologies' use cases in investing and finance.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/five-years-of-ethereum-from-a-teenage-dream-to-a-38b-blockchain

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Trump urged US Treasury Secretary to “hunt” Bitcoin

Trump urged US Treasury Secretary to “hunt” Bitcoin

At the time, according to John Bolton’s memoir, Donald Trump asked Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to restrict the trading and sale of the Bitcoin internet currency.

Mnuchin should not be demoted to a “trading negotiator” of the cryptocurrency, the US President is said to have told him. Rather, he should “track” Bitcoin for fraud. The Trump administration, to which Bolton belonged at the time, has always been skeptical about cryptocurrencies. New guidelines for trading and selling digital currencies were issued earlier this year. Steven Mnuchin said in February 2020 that they want to make sure that technology continues to advance in his country. On the other hand, the coins should not be used like Swiss secret number bank accounts.

Article Produced By
 Bitcoin News source since 2012

Virtual currency is not legal tender, is not backed by the government, and accounts and value balances are not subject to consumer protections. TheBitcoinNews.com holds several Cryptocurrencies, and this information does NOT constitute investment advice or an offer to invest. Everything on this website can be seen as Advertisment and most comes from Press Releases, TheBitcoinNews.com is is not responsible for any of the content of or from external sites and feeds. Sponsored posts are always flagged as this, guest posts, guest articles and PRs are most time but NOT always flagged as this. Expert opinions and Price predictions are not supported by us and comes up from 3th part websites.

https://thebitcoinnews.com/trump-urged-us-treasury-secretary-to-hunt-bitcoin/

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Biggest Crypto Hedge Funds and What They Tell About the Market

Biggest Crypto Hedge Funds and What They Tell About the Market

Who are the biggest hedge funds operating in crypto today and how much do they have invested in crypto and blockchain firm

Biggest Crypto Hedge Funds and What They Tell About the Market

The total market cap for all cryptocurrencies stands at $293 billion, and while much of this value has been generated by individual traders buying and selling their own private stashes of crypto,

it's also largely the result of big investment funds. These are companies that have crypto assets under management worth as much as $1 billion or upward, with most of them qualifying as the whales the cryptocurrency community often talks about after every market movement. Yet, aside from simply trading Bitcoin, Ether or many other cryptocurrencies, funds also often invest venture capital (VC) in blockchain — and crypto-related startups. This makes them doubly important for the growth of the cryptocurrency industry, given that they support not only the currencies of the future, but also the platforms and companies that will harness these currencies to build entirely new financial ecosystems. That said, most of funds have been backed by traditional venture capital, such as Andreessen Horowitz and Sequoia Capital. So, even though they are supporting the emergence of the new crypto economy, it will be one that will have strong, foundational links with the financial system — something many in the community think crypto will replace.

The top five

Obtaining reliable, standardized data on the assets under management of each major crypto fund is very difficult, if not impossible. Accordingly, this top five doesn't claim to be completely authoritative, given that it gleans available data from a variety of sources published at a variety of times. Nonetheless, it provides a fairly robust account of the five firms that are most likely the biggest funds operating in crypto today, in terms of digital assets under management and investments in crypto-related startups.

Digital Currency Group/Grayscale Investments

Digital Currency Group was founded in 2015 by Barry Silbert, who had previously invested in such early cryptocurrency companies as Coinbase, Ripple and BitPay. It already has invested in nearly 130 crypto-related projects, with the average size of seed rounds it was involved in between 2016 and 2018 being $3.24 million. Given that it has more investments than pretty much every other fund in the industry, it will be no surprise to hear that it has backed some of the most well-known crypto projects and companies, including Circle, Chainalysis, Blockchain, Shapeshift, Parity, Ledger, Luno, Kraken, Korbit and eToro.

One of its investments is Grayscale, a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group that invests directly in cryptocurrencies and digital assets. Grayscale announced in its Q2 2019 financial report that it had assets under management (AUM) worth $2.7 billion. As an indication of just how volatile the AUM figure can be, it also revealed that this number had tripled since the first quarter of 2019, with its dedicated Bitcoin Trust having increased 300% compared to the same time last year. More revealingly, Grayscale's latest report also detailed how most demand for crypto investment comes from institutional investors — who have represented 84% of its client base since July 2018. As such, it's clear that, far from being a grassroots-based, decentralized ecosystem, crypto is already driven very much by big business and big money.

Polychain Capital

Founded in 2016 by cryptocurrency investor Olaf Carlson-Wee, Polychain Capital is another crypto-focused hedge fund that nonetheless has backing from noncrypto venture capitalists. Back at the end of 2014, it was reported that its AUM totalled $591.5 million, having plunged from a high at the end of 2017 of around $1 billion. However, data from Crypto Fund Research states that, as of June 2019, it has $967 million of cryptocurrency under management. As with most other major funds, it also invests in blockchain- and crypto-related startups, with its tally of investments coming to 37 (according to Crunchbase). These include Coinbase, Kik, Celo and dYdX, which Polychain has been able to invest in thanks largely to the raising of around $175 million for its venture capital fund at the end of 2018. One thing that's worth noting about Polychain Capital is that it has received significant backing for its venture capital and crypto funds from major VC firms. In 2017, it closed a $200 million funding round in which Sequoia Capital, Andreessen Horowitz and Union Square Ventures all participated. It is, therefore, as much a product of traditional finance as it is of the new cryptocurrency ecosystem.

Pantera Capital

Initially founded in 2003 and based in San Francisco, Pantera Capital was once a traditional investment fund, although it shifted its focus in 2013 to cryptocurrencies and blockchain projects. According to a range of estimates, it has assets under management worth anything from $335 million to $724 million, although this may have fluctuated in recent months. It has also invested a considerable sum in 72 crypto-related startups and projects, with it having raised at least $200 million in total from outside venture capital in order to fund such investments ($13 million in 2016, $25 million in 2017, and $175 million in 2018-2019).

Pantera Capital has backers from outside the cryptocurrency industry, which is significant insofar as it indicates not only mainstream interest in crypto but also the possibility that it may feel some kind of indirect pressure to invest in projects that would be more pleasing to its financial backers. As for Pantera Capital's general outlook, it may come as no surprise to hear that the fund is very bullish on the future of cryptocurrency and blockchain. In July, its CEO and founder, Dan Morehead, predicted that Bitcoin may hit $42,000 by the end of year and that it could climb as high as $356,000 in a couple of years. Despite this confidence, Pantera Capital is no stranger to setbacks. For instance, it admitted in December 2018 that it could be forced to pay refunds and fines for around 25% of its initial coin offering portfolio, given that roughly this proportion of the portfolio is likely in violating American securities laws. Similarly, during the 2018 bear market, its digital asset fund (i.e., its cryptocurrency fund) lost around 77% over the first 10 months of that year.

Galaxy Digital

Launched in New York City in 2018 by former Goldman Sachs partner Michael Novogratz, Galaxy Digital is another hundred-million-dollar crypto hedge fund. As of the end of June 2019, its total assets under management is $393.3 million, having dipped from May's total of $421.6 million. During 2018, the fund posted a net loss on its balance sheet of $272.7 million, largely because of the bear market and crumbling crypto prices. In addition to investments in cryptocurrency, Galaxy Digital has also invested in around 20 crypto-related projects, including Bakkt, BlockFi, Ripple, Block.one, BitFury, BitGo and Bitstamp. As with the other funds on this list, such ventures have been made possible by investments from noncrypto backers. That's because when Galaxy Digital launched in January 2018, it had not only $400 million of Novogratz's own capital but also raised a further $200 million by floating the company on Canada's TSX exchange.

Andreessen Horowitz

While it's focused mostly on companies operating outside of the cryptocurrency sector, Andreessen Horowitz established its own crypto investment fund, called a16z. As of writing, a16z claims that its fund is worth $350 million, while back in June 2018, when it was launched, the total came to $300 million. This is a big figure in the context of the crypto industry, but compared to the $7 billion in assets that Andreessen Horowitz manages in total, it seems a little more modest. However, it's likely that the value of a16z has increased since May. More importantly, however, is the fact that a massive investment fund with $7 billion in AUM is also interested in crypto, which is a significant vote of confidence for the industry.

This vote of confidence doesn't derive only from direct investment in cryptocurrencies, however. Andreesseen Horowitz and a16z have also thrown venture capital at a range of cryptocurrency startups, spanning Coinbase, Maker, Filecoin, dYdX and CryptoKitties. For example, in August 2018, the fund, together with Polychain Capital, invested $105 million in blockchain-based cloud startup Dfinity, having already contributed a combined $61 million in a previous round in February of that year. Even forgetting a16z, Andreesseen Horowitz is therefore heavily invested in the cryptocurrency industry and is one of the biggest funds operating in the space today. More encouragingly, recent events indicate that it wants to involve itself even more heavily in the sector — as in April of this year, it announced plans to restructure its entire business and register its employees as financial advisors. The reason? This would provide it with the legal basis to engage more in riskier ventures, such as cryptocurrencies.

The rest

Of course, these aren't the only big investment funds operating in crypto to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. Others include:

  • Union Square Ventures, which has around $256 million of cryptocurrency assets under management, according to Crypto Fund Research.

  • Blockchain Capital, which launched in 2018 and raised $150 million for its new fund in March 2018, bringing its total AUM to $250 million.

  • IDG Capital, which launched in China in 1992 and invests in noncrypto as well as crypto assets, and has $210 million digital assets under management.

  • BlockTower Capital, which launched in 2017 and has around $130 million in AUM (as of December 2018).

  • Boost VC, a California-based fund that launched in 2014, which has $95 million in AUM.

  • Fenbushi Capital, a China-based crypto fund that had $50 million in assets under management in early 2018.

These aren't the only significant funds working in the crypto industry. However, in a rigorous study published in May 2019, PwC and investment firm Elwood concluded that the vast majority of cryptocurrency investment funds are in fact pretty small.

For instance, the survey found that more than 60% of 150 active crypto hedge funds have less than $10 million in AUM, with only 10% of these funds managing more than $150 million. It also found that the average crypto fund’s AUM is only $21.9 million, indicating that, despite a few big fish, much of the sector is populated by smaller firms trying to capitalize on the cryptocurrency market. More disconcertingly is that the report also notes a lack of independent governance in the average fund, given that only 25% have boards with independent directors, something that may be risky in cases of emergency, when clear, cautious decisions are needed. Similarly, over 90% of crypto hedge funds don't use third-party research, suggesting that they suffer from a deficit of external, objective input.

Still, while this might indicate that the crypto hedge fund sector is immature and vulnerable, there was a pronounced increase in crypto hedge funds and the assets under their management in 2018, according to Morgan Stanley research. In 2014, for instance, there were only 31 such funds, while there were 220 by November 2018. More impressively, these funds had $7.1 billion in assets under management in July 2018, driven largely by demand and involvement from institutional investors. It is for this reason that it would be unwise to predict that the importance and presence of crypto funds won’t grow even further in 2019 and the years to come. As the foregoing overview has shown, they function as an indispensable medium between big institutional investors and the nascent cryptocurrency industry. This means that the more they grow,

Article Produced By
Simon Chandler

Simon Chandler is a journalist based in Hove, UK. He writes mostly about technology, with his specialties including cryptocurrencies, AI, VR, and social media. He also occasionally writes about politics, culture and music, and has contributed to the likes of Wired, the Daily Dot, the Verge, Computer Weekly, Techcrunch, Bandcamp Daily, the New Internationalist, the Kenyon Review, and Tiny Mix Tapes

https://cointelegraph.com/news/biggest-crypto-hedge-funds-and-what-they-tell-about-the-market

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UK Accused of Allowing Billions in Crypto Fraud in its Indian Ocean Colony

UK Accused of Allowing Billions in Crypto Fraud in its Indian Ocean Colony

Chagos Islanders Seek Restitution of Popular .IO Domain

British Indian Ocean Territory is best known for the secretive US naval base on Diego Garcia Island but is also home to the top level domain .IO that is popular with crypto asset and technology companies. The United Nations General Assembly, African Union, and International Court of Justice have found that Britain’s deportation of the Chagos Islanders a generation ago and continued occupation of the Chagos Archipelago (British Indian Ocean Territory) is unlawful and a serious violation of international law. According to the Complaint the British have stubbornly refused to vacate the Chagos Archipelago not only due to the presence of the US naval base but because billions of dollars in covert financial transactions are at stake.

In 1997 a secret agreement with the British Crown resulted in the creation of the top level domain country code .IO (ccTLD .IO). .IO was a relatively low key alternative domain until about 2016 when its popularity exploded in connection with the rise of cryptocurrency. In 2017, the company administering .IO was sold for $70 million to internet giant Afilias Ltd. which is the world’s second largest Internet domain name registry. The Chagos Islanders are now seeking restitution and return of .IO which has made the Chagos Archipelago one of the world’s least known but largest offshore financial centers by daily dollar volume. A complaint has been filed with the African Commission of Human & Peoples’ Rights (the Banjul Court) which has jurisdiction over the Chagos Islands and the issues of recovery and restitution.

According to Dr. Jonathan Levy, the international lawyer representing the Chagos islanders, while .IO is utilized by legitimate companies, it is also remarkable for crypto asset based criminal operations: Ponzi and pyramid schemes, High Yield Investment Platforms, and fraudulent Initial Coin and Token offerings. Dr. Levy explains: “The criminals know there is zero law enforcement in the British Indian Ocean Territory, they use only cryptocurrency, they need no address besides a .IO domain and crypto wallet to commit crimes like fraud, money laundering and extortion.” Dr. Levy estimates tens of billions of dollars a day in unregulated crypto asset transactions take place in .IO involving hacking, tax evasion, money laundering, fraudulent investment schemes, gambling, terrorism and organized crime financing including the well-known crypto scams OneCoin and USITech.

Article Produced By
Dr. Jon Levy

Dr. Jon Levy is a solicitor who specialises in transnational law and private international law. He has represented the former president of the Republic of China, Chen Shuibian, the former Deputy Prime Minister of Yugoslavia, and numerous African entities and political figures. He has been engaged by clients against the US Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC), CIA, US Army, and UK Cabinet. As a litigator he specialises in transnational asset recovery and has taken up cases against the Vatican Bank, UBS AG, the Swiss National Bank, Emaar Corporation, and many others.

https://thebitcoinnews.com/uk-accused-of-allowing-billions-in-crypto-fraud-in-its-indian-ocean-colony/

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Bitcoin Hater Peter Schiff Says Dollar Approaching ‘Wile E. Coyote Moment’G

Bitcoin Hater Peter Schiff Says Dollar Approaching ‘Wile E. Coyote Moment’G

Today the price of gold hit a new record-high at $2,008 and the asset is now in the price discovery phase. 

The precious metal appears to be rallying due to the declining U.S. dollar and this could also positively affect Bitcoin (BTC) in the medium-term due to the correlation between the two assets. In trading, the term price discovery refers to when an asset’s price surpasses its previous all-time high. Given that gold is now seeking a new peak, and its momentum remains strong, traders expect that the asset will continue to appreciate until a clear resistance level is established.

A weak dollar is good for gold, and possibly Bitcoin

According to Peter Schiff, the chairman of SchiffGold and a well-known gold advocate, the weakening dollar has pushed gold upwards. Sc

hiff said:

“The price of #gold is now above $2,000 per ounce for the first time ever. For now, the significance of the dollar's record low is lost on the vast majority of investors. But as thousand-dollar milestones fall like dominoes the gravity of the problem will be more widely apparent.”

In recent months, the value of the U.S. dollar has fallen substantially in comparison to other top reserve currencies. Consequently,this boosted alternative and safe-haven assets, including gold.s Cointelegraph reported, industry executives believe a weakening dollar could also strengthen the price trend of Bitcoin. OKEx CEO Jay Hao, trader Scott Melker, and researcher Mark Wilcox said the drop of the dollar benefited Bitcoin. Pinpointing the inverse correlation between the US dollar and Bitcoin,

Melker said:

“Bitcoin is the blue line. The dollar is the grey line. See the inverse action?”

Over time, Schiff emphasized that gold could continue to see an explosive rally as the dollar’s decline rattles investors.

Schiff added:

“No one seems worried about the falling dollar. That's likely to remain the case until the fall becomes a crash, which I don't think will begin until the Dollar Index breaks 80. At its current rate of decline that level could be breached before year end, perhaps by election day.”

Similar factors are seemingly buoying investor sentiment around gold and Bitcoin. In the near-term, due to rising virus cases and investor uncertainty, analysts are bracing for a gloomy trend for the dollar. The confluence of the recent correlation with Bitcoin and gold, and the falling dollar could benefit BTC heading into 2021.

Is Bitcoin really digital gold?

Researchers at Cryptowat.ch, a market data provider, recently explained that gold matches many of the features exhibited by Bitcoin, except BTC has additional unique characteristics like portability and transactability.

The researchers said:

“In terms of traits as money, gold matches Bitcoin in the categories of fungibility and costliness to forge.”

Since Bitcoin price reached its peak in 2017, the perception of the digital asset as a store of value continues to improve. As gold surges to new highs, Bitcoin is receiving more interest from institutions and continuously being associated with gold. These are all factors that could positively impact BTC price in the medium-term, especially considering BTC’s 24% rally in the past month.

Article Produced By
Joseph Young

Joseph is a web developer and designer, writer and a passionate musician who loves to travel often. He's worked as a researcher for a number of venture capital firms and as a freelancer designer for resorts and corporations in Korea and the Philippines.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/bitcoin-hater-peter-schiff-says-dollar-approaching-wile-e-coyote-moment

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Bitcoin can blow past $12,000 – if it follows gold’s lead

Bitcoin can blow past $12,000 – if it follows gold’s lead

Bitcoin’s Sunday surprise was a blow-off, and if similar moves by other asset classes are to go by, it was a positive move.

On 2 August, between 0400 and 0500 UTC, Bitcoin’s price dropped by 8 percent in an hour, with many expecting its breakout, which began on 23 July, to have come to an end. However, all signs point to the opposite.  Minutes after the cryptocurrency breached the $12,000 mark for the first time since July 2019, a massive surge in sell orders pulled down the price below $11,000. On some spot exchanges, the price dropped to four digits while on Binance Futures, Bitcoin hit $100,000. Given the fact that Bitcoin, in the past two weeks, has jumped from $9,000 to $12,000 and was trading at around $11,200 at press time, the 2 August move was minor, but important nonetheless. 

Such a rapid drop is seen in all markets and is referred to as “blow-off tops” in technical terms. However, such ‘blow-off tops’ are preceded by a rapid rise in price and succeeded by a rapid decrease. Looking at the Bitcoin charts over the past two weeks, it can be observed that the rise was not rapid, but gradual. Between 23 June and 26 June, the price rose from $9,000 to $9,800 before breaking out. Only a full week after Bitcoin had consolidated over $10,000 did the move to $11,500 and over manifest. However, according to yesterday’s turn of events, it was too soon. Economist and cryptocurrency analyst Alex Kruger estimates that based on this signal, Bitcoin is in store for “Higher highs” in 2020. 

After observing yesterday’s move, drop, and recovery, it’s likely that traders placed triggers around the $12,000 mark, which when breached, resulted in sell orders, pulling the price down to $11,000 and below. Further, since the price comfortably held over $10,000 and even managed to rise above $11,000 later, stop-losses were likely placed below. The need to liquidate assets for cash is not as pressing as it was in March 2020, and most markets are, because of central bank printing, recovering. Hence, technical factors and overarching favorable macroeconomic conditions would explain why Bitcoin didn’t drop below $10,000, and why it was able to push over $11,000 in quick time. 

A comparison with gold showed a similar movement. Since central banks began employing loose monetary and fiscal policies, gold has been skyrocketing and now, XAUUSD is trading at its ATH. On 28 July, between 0100 and 0700 UTC, gold’s price dropped from $1,970 to $1,912, a 3.13 percent drop, which in the gold markets is substantial [for context, gold had one of its best trading years in 2019, rising a full 21.7 percent]. D espite the drop, trading continued and by 31 July, it regained its lost value, while on 2 August it rose over $1,980. Given Bitcoin mimicking a safe-haven asset since the March 2020 drop and its Q2 recovery, there’s reason to believe this ‘blow-off’ could push the cryptocurrency’s price higher, much as it did for gold.   

Article Produced By
Aakash Athawasya

Aakash is a full-time cryptocurrency journalist at AMBCrypto covering primarily the US market. A graduate in Finance and Economics, his writing is centered around regulation and institutional investment within the cryptocurrency space. He is also an aspiring triathlete.
 

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