Cathie Wood: Bitcoin ETF Could Soon be Close

CEO of ARK Investment Management, Cathie Wood made some bullish comments about Bitcoin on Bloomberg earlier today. She believes that it’s only a matter of time before an Exchange Traded Fund is approved but we should expect to see closed-end funds much sooner.

I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a closed-end fund before a bitcoin ETF. I don’t think we’ll see an ETF within a year, but maybe within two years and with a lot of education.

Wood cites the lack of knowledge surrounding cryptocurrency as the main barrier to the first Exchange Traded Fund. She also highlights the necessity of regulation within the space. Believing Bitcoin to be a financial security, she holds that the responsibility for legislating will lie with the SEC.

The US Securities Exchange Commission have already knocked back multiple attempts at setting up a strictly crypto ETF. In March this year, two high profile efforts by the Winkelevoss Twins got turned down. The reasoning cited was that the market was too unregulated, and there were insufficient surveillance-sharing agreements between exchanges. It’s expected that once the green-light is finally given for a crypto ETF, a lot of money will pour in. Bloomberg’s Eric Balchunas said the approval of an ETF for something was “getting it ready for prime time” and that it was “good for bitcoin because it’s going to open up a world of new investors.”

In the piece for Bloomberg, Wood also addressed the now infamous comments Jamie Dimon made last month. Responding to the JP Morgan Chase CEO calling Bitcoin a “fraud”, she said:

Jamie is talking about store of value. I actually think this [Bitcoin] has a lot over fiat currencies.

Finally, the ARK exec spoke about the recent interest Goldmach Sachs had expressed in cryptocurrencies. She was optimistic of the legitimacy they’d lend to the space, which would translate into greater liquidity, and a more appealing ecosystem within which a crypto ETF could be launced.

If they start trading in cryptoassets and developing futures and derivatives that is only going to make the ecosystem stronger, which is what the SEC is looking for.

At present, Wood’s ARK Innovation Exchange Traded Fund allows clients some exposure to cryptocurrency. It acquires these through the Bitcoin Investment Trust which are the “first publicly quoted securities solely invested in and deriving value from the price of Bitcoin”. The ARK Innovation ETF focuses primarily on disruptive, and innovative technologies. It’s only natural, therefore, that Bitcoin would have a place within the securities offered there.

 

 

 

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This week, there have been some interesting developments within the crypto/property space. Firstly, Magnum Real Estate Group president, Ben Shaoul spoke to CNBC about his latest project. He’s currently developing several condominiums on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Each will hit the market for between $700,000 and $1.5 million for which he’s willing to accept payment in Bitcoin. Whilst not particularly newsworthy alone, the somewhat aspect of this story is what the he plans to do with payments made using crypto.

Unlike previous Bitcoin real estate transactions, Shaoul has no plan to immediately liquidate his coins. He says he’d rather use them to finance his art purchases, claiming that many of the sellers in that market prefer to be paid in Bitcoin. He goes on to highlight the likelihood of BTC increasing in value over time as justification enough for his decision to hold. When asked about his decision to accept the currency in the first place, he said:

“Our buyer has evolved, they’ve moved from mom and pops to young people who want to pay with various forms of payment. Cryptocurrency is something that has been asked of us — ‘Can you take cryptocurrency? Can we pay that way?’ — and of course when somebody wants to pay you with a different form of payment, you’re going to try to work with them and give them what they want, especially in a very busy real estate market.”

Elsewhere recently, London’s Evening Standard reported a real estate listing in the UK’s capital for which the sellers would only accept Bitcoin. The property on the market is a six-storey apartment building, converted into a single home near Portobello Road. Lev Loginov, of property development group London Wall said:

We want to shift all the perceptions on cryptocurrency. We think in future it is going to eliminate the need for solicitors and property title and is really going to change how real estate transactions are conducted.

The future he speaks of might be closer than he realises, however. Last month, a developer sold a property in Kiev, Ukraine entirely using a smart contract on the Ethereum blockchain. Buyer of the apartment and co-founder of news site TechCrunch, Michael Arrington, later announced on Twitter that he believes this to be the first time that the blockchain had been used to transfer a “real asset other than a crypto currency”. The transaction required little legal arbitration therefore saved the participants time, and costly legal fees.

Propy, a new name in the real estate industry specialising in decentralised title registry helped with the purchase. Their CEO, Natalia Karayaneva, was pleased with how the deal, which was announced just days ago, had been executed:

I’m thrilled to see Propy leading the charge in putting real estate on the blockchain—bringing transparency, efficiency and security to an industry traditionally fraught with red tape and bureaucracy.

 

 

 

 

 “Winners don’t do different things; they do things differently”

That’s how intelligent investors thrive in this new economic age. And, surprisingly, the recipe for success remains the same, even when it comes to cryptocurrencies. Additionally, in this context apart from investment acumen, being an early bird too plays a vital role in generating handsome corpus returns.

Say for example ICOs. Investors who show up early at the party (read the first day of launch), get to buy tokens not just at dirt cheap rates, but with discounts.

Now, the world of ICOs is about to undergo a significant makeover. Upcoming solutions backed by smart contracts will change the way pre-ICOs and ICOs take place.

Enter Confideal, with the platform’s ICO running from 2nd-22nd November 2017, it will leverage smart contracts powered by the Ethereum blockchain to solve inefficiencies plaguing modern contractual processes.

The Confideal ecosystem will help users with contract dispute resolution in case there is any. Using the internal token CDL and the Ethereum cryptocurrency Ether (ETH), users will be able to enter into fully verified contracts in a completely decentralized network.

To let users bypass the complex coding process involved in preparing smart contracts, they will be provided with customizable templates based on the most commonly used contracts within the Ethereum network. Some of them include; cryptocurrency mining equipment deals, real estate rentals, ICOs, freelancing, among others. The ICO contract being the most unique of them all.

Confideal will completely eliminate the need to rush in to invest first in any ICO. With a list ready for all the ICOs worth having a stake in, investors can put their money through smart contracts just in time, to be one among the first to enjoy early bird discounts. Setting the appropriate time is all they need to do, and the platform will take care of the rest.

Find out more here.
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Jimmy Song, a prominent Bitcoin developer and the principal architect behind Paxos, has recently stated that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin demonstrate the real value of developers and developer activity.

Earlier this year, Ivey Business School professor JP Vergne revealed in a study that the best indicator and predictor of the exchange rate of cryptocurrencies is the amount of developer activity around blockchain networks.

“We found that the best predictor of a cryptocurrency’s exchange rate is the amount of developer activity around it,” said Vergne.

His research paper entitled “Buzz Factor or Innovation Potential: What Explains Cryptocurrencies’ Returns?” further read:

“But this observation obfuscates the notion that cryptocurrencies, unlike fiat currencies, are technologies entailing a true innovation potential. By using, for the first time, a unique measure of innovation potential, we find that the latter is in fact the most important factor associated with increases in cryptocurrency returns.”

The importance of developer activity in justifying the market value of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin has been evidently portrayed by Bitcoin Cash in the past month. In September, a group of companies led by ViaBTC executed a hard fork to create Bitcoin Cash, an alternative version of the BItcoin blockchain which is not limited to block size caps. With the support of Bitmain, arguably the most influential and largest Bitcoin mining manufacturer and pool operator in the industry, Bitcoin Cash was expected by the cryptocurrency community to compete with Bitcoin in terms of market cap, hashrate, and user base.

But, within less than two months since its launch, Bitcoin Cash has struggled to demonstrate an increase in its market cap. At the time of reporting, the market cap of Bitcoin Cash remains at around $5 billion, 50 percent less than that of Ripple, the fourth largest cryptocurrency in the market.While network effect has been the major factor that allowed the price and market cap of Bitcoin surge at a rapid rate over the past few months, Bitcoin has sustained the most vibrant and active development community in the global cryptocurrency market. The only cryptocurrency or blockchain network that has neared the Bitcoin blockchain in terms of developer activity has been Ethereum.

Emphasizing the importance of developer activity in cryptocurrencies and blockchain networks, Song wrote:

“Nothing shows the real value of developers like cryptocurrencies. It’s not the whole reason for coin market caps, but a large part of it.”

The analysis of Song and Vergne can be applied to Bitcoin, which has been able to maintain its position as the largest and most valuable cryptocurrency since its introduction in 2009. Over the past eight years, the Bitcoin open-source development community has seen some of the most experienced and talented developers who have contributed to sustain the Bitcoin network and provide innovative infrastructures for businesses and users.

As seen in the Bitcoin Cash hard fork, the value and the market cap of cryptocurrencies do not depend on the hash power of blockchain networks. Instead, it tends to depend on developer activity and the demand from users, investors, and traders.

If SegWit2x hard fork in November occurs without the consensus of developers and users, a similar situation to Bitcoin Cash would likely emerge; instability hashrate and difficulty would result in miners moving back to the legacy chain, inevitably leading SegWit2x to become the minority chain. 

Image Credit: Lindsey Bleda, For commercial use

The end of the European session has arrived and it’s time to take a second look at the action we’ve seen in the bitcoin price throughout the day and, in turn, to get some levels put in place that we can use to hopefully draw a profit from the market moving forward.

Action today has been pretty volatile, with the bitcoin price now trading a little down on the price that we were looking at this morning. Not substantially, but worth noting nonetheless.

So, let’s get a strategy put together for tonight.

As ever, take a quick look at the chart below before we get started so as to get an idea where things stand and where we are looking to jump in and out of the markets as and when things move. It’s a one-minute candlestick chart and it’s got our key range overlaid in green.

As the chart shows, then, the range we are looking at for the session tonight comes in as defined by support to the downside at 5655 and resistance to the upside at 5684. This is a pretty tight range, so we’re going to stick with our breakout strategy for the time being. If things widen out a bit, we’ll think about bringing our intrarange strategy into play, but not yet.

So, if we see price break above resistance, we’ll look for a close above that level to validate an immediate upside entry towards a target of 5710. A stop loss on the trade somewhere in the region of 5675 will ensure we are taken out of the trade for just a small loss if things reverse against us.

Looking the other way, a close below support will signal a short entry towards a downside target of 5610. A stop on this one at 5665 looks good from a risk management perspective.

Charts courtesy of Trading View

NEOUSD TECHNICAL ANALYSIS

That flash buy on Friday pushed NEO prices higher. However, since price movement over the weekend remained muted, the minor resistance trend line drawn from 08.10.2017 and 14.10.2017 highs and the 20 period MA is a lifeline for NEO bulls. Right now, the price is rejecting any price above $30 and continues to trend lower. Anyway, my deduction is simple, there is no buy signal which we expected after that bullish push on Friday and consequent bull volumes are waning. Break below support of $24 means sellers are in charge and USD bulls are in the trade. Conversely, break above $32 resistance triggers NEO bulls. Refer Figure 1 (Above): NEOUSD-Daily Chart-16.10.2017

DASHUSD TECHNICAL ANALYSIS

altcoin, analysis, dash, oct 16
Figure 2: DASHUSD-Daily Chart-16.10.2017

Price is oscillating within a tight $80 range marked by 12.10.2017 doji candlestick. By any standard, bull price rejection happens around $330 to $340 which is a resistance confluence zone marked by the resistance trend line-that between 24.09.2017 and 12.10.2017 highs and the support turned resistance drawn from 14.09.2017 and 05.10.2017 lows. My recommendation is patience until there is a break above $340 for bull entry or if in case that resistance trend line stands and the bear trend continues, sellers should join in below $250 which is a safe entry zone. Either way, there is a buy signal in place but these whipsaws and dojis give mix signals which is not beneficial for trend traders. We remain neutral as we watch stochastics and volume behavior to predict the most probable trend direction.

IOTUSD TECHNICAL ANALYSIS

iota, altcoin, analysis, oct 16,
Figure 3: IOTUSD-Daily Chart-16.10.2017

Buy momentum is sustained as shown by stochastics and on another level, the resistance trend line managed to rebuff any price appreciation above $0.45. On these three days when prices were constricted within a tight $0.10 range defined from 12.10.2017 Hi-Los, volumes remained tepid and on a negative trajectory after recording a record 19M. The 19M surge in bear volumes was the force behind that bear candlestick which closed below $0.45. Following my Saturday’s recommendation, bull trigger happens when there is a break above $0.48 highs of 12.10.2017 and a consequent break above 30.09.2017 and 12.10.2017 resistance trend line. Important bear levels remain at $0.38 which is 04.09.2017, 15.09.2017 and 12.10.2017 support levels.

MONERO-XMRUSD TECHNICAL ANALYSIS

xmr, monero, altcoin, analysis, oct 16
Figure 4: Monero-XMRUSD-Daily Chart-16.10.2017

There was a brief price appreciation on Saturday before a correction on Sunday. For the record, price tested 23.08.2017, 15.09.2017 and 27.09.2017 highs of $102. That level is turning out to be significant for bulls. In the meantime though, correction towards the support trend line or the 20 period moving average around $86 to $95 provides a wonderful opportunity for bulls to buy at a cheap and aim for that resistance level at $122 as long as there is a buy signal and increasing momentum. Also, notice how volumes have been sustained above 25K daily average in the past 3 days. There is obvious supply-demand push and pull at these current price levels.

LSKUSD TECHNICAL ANALYSIS

LSK, lisk, altcoin, analysis, oct 16
Figure 5: LSKUSD-Daily Chart-16.10.2017

Despite across the board bull pressure in most alt-coins, USD bulls are pushing LSK down. On Saturday, we mentioned that as long as prices remain below that resistance trend line then we remain bears until when there is a clear push above. That should be accompanied by a strong bullish engulfing pattern or a two-bar reversal pattern. In this case, though, price action remains within 12.10.2017 Hi-Los and that minor support trend line connecting 09.10.2017 and 14.10.2017 lows still holds. There is a buy signal but bear volumes are still below the daily average trading range and therefore, today’s candlestick can lead to a break above resistance or below minor support for bear trend continuation. We remain neutral for now until a clear trend is defined.

Contributed by Dalmas Ngetich, an expert with 3 years in Forex, Commodity and Cryptocurrency trading. All charts, courtesy of Trading View

Sweden, the Scandinavian nation famous for ABBA, Björn Borg, and Volvo, is leading the way when it comes to becoming the world’s first cashless country – and the technology behind Bitcoin and the cryptocurrencies that have spawned is catalyzing the process.

Two years ago, in October 2015, Niklas Arvidsson, a researcher in industrial economics and management at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, published a study that predicted his country would be the first to introduce a cashless society. He said, “Cash is still an important means of payment in many countries’ markets, but that no longer applies here in Sweden”.

The progressive Swedes are on course to achieving this lofty aim, and other Scandinavian nations are following suit. According to reports, 56.3 percent of the country’s 1,600 bank branches i.e., 900 of 1,600 neither hold cash nor accept cash deposits anymore. Further, circulation of the country’s traditional currency — the Swedish krona has been falling for some time. In 2009 the figure was SEK106 billion whereas last year it was just SEK 60billion. Why is this happening?

According to data obtained from Visa, Swedes use bank cards three times more often than the average European. And a Riksbank report, published in December 2016, showed that 97 percent of the country has access to cards, compared with 85 percent to cash.

There are many additional benefits to living in a society that does not need to use cash – not least when it comes to personal safety. People are less likely to be robbed, and also thieves will not as easily be able to sell their stolen items.

Another key factor is the rise in popularity of Swish, an app owned by six Swedish banks (Danske Bank, Handelsbanken, Länsförsäkringar, Nordea, SEB, and Swedbank). It allows anyone with a smartphone to transfer money from one bank account to another, in real time. All that is required is the sender and receiver’s phone numbers.

Swish was launched in 2012 and by the end of 2015, it had attracted 3.6 million users, which is more than a third of Sweden’s 9.9 million population. Also, that year some $515 million was transferred using the app. Those eye-opening numbers have increased significantly since, and now even churches have started to reveal their telephone numbers at the end of each service to make it easier for parishioners to boost their coffers.

This trend has forced Sweden’s central banks to consider introducing a digital form of government-backed money, and the technology behind Bitcoin, the pioneering cryptocurrency launched eight years ago, is being promoted as a leading option.

A major concern about going cashless in Sweden is that it could exclude the ‘unbankables’ – that is people without a bank account – and those who do not own a smartphone. Bitcoin, however, has the ability to solve those problems through technology. Users do not require a bank account, and they can, in effect, spend their money anonymously.

Bitcoin and other top cryptocurrencies – Ethereum, Ripple, Dash, Litecoin, and Ethereum Classic can be purchased outright, and in a straightforward manner, from investment platform eToro. It has six million members across 140 countries and the company’s motto is “crypto needn’t be cryptic”. Trading on eToro is attractive because it has a fast online verification process, global offices (including in the United Kingdom), and members can use the CopyTrader tool to match the strategies of top-performing traders.

Many in the FinTech space believe the Blockchain, a decentralized ledger which is the backbone of cryptocurrencies, is the real game-changing innovation. In Sweden, and elsewhere, they have already toyed with ways in which it can be used in their public services. And sooner rather than later it could well underpin the world’s first cashless society.

Image: Kurious (License CC0)

The Philippines has been a crucial region for Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies so far. With this new form of money gaining more popularity, things have evolved nicely. Unfortunately, Filipino regulators are taking a rather harsh stance against Bitcoin right now. With the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas releasing new guidelines, the future of cryptocurrencies looks a bit different.

No one can deny regulation can be either good or bad. In most cases, the consequences are far more negative than positive, to say the least. With the number of cryptocurrency transactions in the region growing, such guidelines are to be expected. They don’t have to be bad per se, though, but only time will tell for sure. Fr now, the Filipino government is mainly interested in finding a balance innovation with risks. That is easier said than done when it comes to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, though.

A Positive Stance by Filipino Regulators

When central banks issue these guidelines, they often aim to oppose Bitcoin. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas is not all that different in this regard. Then again, it does not appear the goal is to hinder Bitcoin adoption for the time being. Such a semi-positive stance by Filipino regulators is rather unusual. Security seems to be the main cause of concern right now, which is pretty interesting. Especially when it comes to protecting virtual wallets used to store cryptocurrencies.

Moreover, it seems Filipino regulators consider Bitcoin as any other monetary instrument. That effectively means cryptocurrency is legal tender in the Philippines as of right now. While the government acknowledges the risks, it is something they can manage. Such outspoken support for cryptocurrency in this region sets a big precedent. After all, we see countries opposing Bitcoin and cryptocurrency on a regular basis as well.

It will be interesting to see how the situation plays out moving forward. Filipino regulators are seemingly willing to see Bitcoin succeed. That is a major confidence booster, to say the very least. It is unclear if these are the final guidelines related to cryptocurrency, though. Revisions may still be made moving forward. The future looks bright for Bitcoin in the Philippines, that much is evident.

So we are off on a fresh week of trading in the bitcoin price and it’s already looking as though it’s going to be a pretty interesting one. Price over the weekend continued to make fresh highs and it looks as though the bulls remain firmly in control right now. There is, of course, the chance that things will turn around and that we will see a correction near term but, if we do, it’s likely to be a relatively small one given that – as things stand – there isn’t too much in the way of fundamental catalysts to push things down.

Anyway, let’s get some levels outlined that we can use to go at price today if and when things move during the session.

Before we get started, take a quick look at the chart below. It is a one-minute candlestick chart and it has our key range overlaid in green.

As the chart shows, the range we are using for the session today comes in as defined by support to the downside at 5681 and resistance to the upside at 5722. We are going to stick with our breakout strategy for the time being, simply because the range is a little too tight for us to go at price with an intrarange strategy and it’s looking as though momentum is going to dominate the session, meaning breakout trades are more attractive.

So, if we see price break above resistance, we will watch out for a close above that level to validate an upside entry towards a target of 5750. A stop loss on the trade at 5713 will ensure we are taken out of the position in the event of a bias reversal.

Looking the other way, if price closes below support, we will enter short towards 5645. A stop loss on this one at 5705 looks good.

Chart courtesy of Trading View

Within the past week, the percentage of Segregated Witness (SegWit)-enabled transactions in the Bitcoin network has increased from 9 percent to 14.45 percent, decreasing Bitcoin transaction fees, the size of the Bitcoin mempool, and blocks.

In June, prior to the integration of SegWit, the Bitcoin Core development team’s scaling and transaction malleability solution, the size of the Bitcoin mempool remained at over 150 million bytes. Such high level of blockchain congestion and large amount of unconfirmed transactions led to a significant increase in transaction fees.

Since then, as Bitcoin wallet platforms, exchanges, and users continued to adopt SegWit, the size of the Bitcoin mempool dropped from 150 million to 6 million bytes. The average Bitcoin block size also decreased from 1MB to 0.84.

SegWit is a scaling solution that provides more capacity to the Bitcoin network and blockchain by reducing the size of Bitcoin transactions. Unlike a hard Bitcoin block size cap, SegWit scales the Bitcoin blockchain network through user and business adoption. As the transaction percentage of SegWit-enabled payments increase beyond 50 percent, SegWit will allow the average Bitcoin block size to decrease even further, creating a more flexible and scalable Bitcoin ecosystem.

In the past few days, leading Bitcoin wallet platforms such as Blockchain have been recommending an average fee of $0.06 for median transactions, ot 10 satoshis per byte. In June, Blockchain recommended users to attach 400 satoshis per byte fees. Through that metric alone, it is evident that SegWit has had a significant impact on Bitcoin’s short and mid-term scalability.

In the long-term, SegWit will not be sufficient to completely scale the Bitcoin network. Hence, Bitcoin developers and the open-source development community are exploring innovative solutions, both on-chain and second-layer infrastructures, to provide an efficient network for transaction settlement. Ethereum is also taking a similar approach, developing solutions like Plasma that technically function like SegWit; removing unnecessary information and providing more privacy.

The recent surge in the adoption rate of SegWit can be attributed to the integration of SegWit by ShapeShift, one of the most widely utilized cryptocurrency exchanges that accounts for around 3 percent of Bitcoin transactions. As more platforms such as Blockchain and Coinbase integrate SegWit, the size of Bitcoin transactions will decline and eventually, lead to less fees for users to handle.

In August, leading Bitcoin hardware wallet manufacturer Ledger revealed that SegWit will result in around 35 percent reduction in fees for Bitcoin users, due to its mechanism that enables service providers like Ledger to reduce the transaction signature verification period.

“Segwit introduces the concept of block weight which changes the way the transaction size is computed by splitting the signatures in a different area — you can typically save 35% of the fee paid when sending a transaction immediately. When computing a Segwit signature, the previous transactions do not need to be processed by the device, and each input is only processed once during the signature process, leading up to a 60% time optimization in the signature process.”

It is entirely possible that SegWit could reduce Bitcoin fees above the 35 percent mark, if the adoption rate surpasses 50 percent.

Image Credit: Jonathan Pincas, For commercial use