Cryptocurrency markets and news round-up 28 September 2018
Bitcoin, which had spent most of the day defending that $6,400/$6,500 area shot up a couple hundred dollars in a matter of minutes to break through $6,700. All that activity ahead of the quarterly bitcoin futures expiring on OKex, BitMEX and CME.
Bitcoin volatility is also at an all time low. And CoinDesk is reporting that hodling is actually at an all time low, and you might have expected those two to operate in tandem.
CoinDesk quoted a report by Chainalysis, which says that 32% of bitcoin’s supply (minus lost coins) was held in active personal wallets at the end of last month. This is up from 26% at the end of last year when markets peaked. This means that there is a lot more liquidity in the market from non-institutional users.
Speaking with CoinDesk, Chainalysis believes that this is because people are at last ready to spend their bitcoin – should markets improve and the price is right. Things like lower fees and the Lightning Network, which wasn't operational this time last year, have allowed for this shift.
Chainalysis says, "They are ready – if things were to change, [if] the opportunity to spend it were to arise – to actually spend it. We've kind of overcome the first hurdle of adoption, getting bitcoin into people's hands."
And they added that less volatility was a good thing. "This is a sign of a maturing market with less volatility."
Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
Bitcoin Cash is continuing to enjoy a very strong rally. It's up by about 7% today and 31% higher than it was this time last week.
As you can see there's also been an enormous spike in trading volume, nearly quadrupling between Wednesday and today. Over $2 billion has been added to the Bitcoin Cash market cap since this time last week.
There is no clear reason why Bitcoin Cash is rallying so hard, although the price rose in time with the news that Bitmain has finally filed an application to go public on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
Bitmain is known to have substantial holdings in Bitcoin Cash, due to a leaked investor deck that showed they had about half a billion dollars in the cryptocurrency. Jihan Wu, the CEO of Bitmain, has been a historic supporter of Bitcoin Cash.
Some quick facts on Ether for you, courtesy of Huobi Blockchain Big Data Weekly Insights:
- The number of active addresses in Ethereum has decreased by 18% from 1.28 to 1.05 million this week.
- Trading volume has decreased by 15%.
- The number of transactions (including smart contract calls) has drastically decreased by 80% to 5.28 million.
That's wild stuff. It really shows that now that a lot of other platforms are coming online or maturing – like EOS, WAVES, NEO, VeChain, etc – we really might see Ethereum lose its market share as other platforms are able to offer the same features, if not more.
Although some of those other platforms were experiencing similar downturns this week. EOS' number of transactions decreased by 80% since last week, the same as Ethereum, even as its total number of addresses marginally increased by 5%. NEO similarly saw across the board drops with 56% fewer active addresses and 39% fewer transactions. It might be difficult to draw solid conclusions without knowing exactly why volumes are declining.
Ether is currently trading for $230 with a margin of about $2 billion of the market cap separating it from XRP.
Almost no other coin inspires such conspiracy theories from its community. XRP speculation can get pretty crazy at times. Although this time, the speculators may be on to something. For months there's been a lot of talk around the Ripple and XRP "Convergence".
What is it? What does it mean?
The popular theory is that Ripple's software products – xCurrent, xVia and xRapid (which uses the XRP token) – could merge into one simple solution – aka, the “Convergence” (dun, dun, dun!).
Ripple's Director of Talent Acquisition mentioned something to this effect in a since-deleted tweet back in August, which read: "Hi all – for clarity – we have 3 products – xCurrent (in production) and 2 more on the way - xVia & xRapid. They will be on a 'convergence' release soon. There isn't a software actually called 'convergence'" – Tweet from Jim Kelly, 18 August 2018.
And it appears it was more than just a tweet. The same Director of Talent Acquisition made reference to the Convergence product while in the process of hiring new talent for Ripple. Again it has since been deleted, but it appeared on the hiring platform Interview Now and read thus:
"Earlier in the year, a big part of what my team was focused on was hiring a lot of engineering. This was probably our biggest push because we are building a software called Convergence that syncs together all of our 3 major products into one seamless format.
For example, if American Express (one of our clients) wants to send $500 to a bank in Thailand, there is an immediate quote of what that exchange is and the money goes through. This is something that brings together all of our products to further enhance RippleNet which is very exciting."
So that gives us a bit more detail on what the convergence might actually be. It sounds like they really do want to bring all three products into the fold to offer a single consumer-facing solution.
So the speculation and hype is mounting again ahead of next week's big Ripple Swell conference in San Francisco, Ripple's recent xRapid announcement and XRP's gains.
And last of all: apparently Ripple has just updated its main website, and mentions of xCurrent, xRapid and xVia are all gone. Everything now seems to be branded RippleNet. Could it get any juicier?
So is RippleNet the convergence of XRP and Ripple?
Well, the new website also has a new infographic that now places XRP at the centre of on-demand liquidity, so it's a plausible theory that everything will be rolled into one and the individual products will cease to exist – but you know what? It took us two seconds to find this page on Ripple.com.
And xRapid, xCurrent and xVia are all there as though nothing has happened, or will happen.
So I guess nothing is set in stone – yet. Ripple's annual conference, Swell, starts on Monday. We'll keep you posted.
Cardano, which manages to sit at the ninth position by market cap, despite still being very much in development, has finally received wallet support on mobile for its native ADA cryptocurrency.
The Infinito wallet, which supports multiple cryptocurrencies, says it's the first to support ADA on mobile, allowing users to send transactions and check their balance and history, as well as receive payments directly via a unique QR code.
So if you're an ADA holder, you can go ahead and download that on both iOS and Android today.
Cardano is currently sitting around $0.087 following a steady week which sees it up about 8% so far.
The AUD gets its first stablecoin
Big news for traders in Australia this week.
Yesterday finder published an exclusive announcement that OnRamp is releasing Australia's first ever AUD-pegged stable coin.
OnRamp Technologies has gone live with the world's first fully operational and fully compliant fiat-backed AUD stablecoin, which runs on the Ethereum blockchain as an ERC20 token.
AUDR got the stamp of approval from Australian regulators on 8 June, making it one of the first projects to achieve that level of legal compliance. They've been testing AUDR since then and have gone live this week.
OnRamp also has another product, which is the slightly mind-bending ERC20 bitcoin-pegged BTCR, which is, in a sense, putting bitcoin on the Ethereum blockchain. Interesting approach.
OnRamp is also working with the people at Hut34, who were the first to create a Google-powered Ethereum wallet. A Google-based wallet makes it a lot easier to onboard new users to cryptocurrency, which is no doubt part of what this project is about. From there users have access to AUDR and all their favourite ERC20 tokens.
But wait, there's more! Next week OnRamp will be here live in the Crypto Finder TV studio to answer all of our questions about this exciting new project.
Another stablecoin – Circle USD
And we couldn't let you go without a quick update on another stablecoin. This one looks like it will be big in the US market.
Circle Internet Financial, which owns the Circle cryptocurrency investment app as well as the Poloniex exchange, has announced that it is entering the stablecoin market with an ERC20 USD-pegged coin.
It will reportedly be available on 20 exchanges, including heavy hitters such as Coinbase, Huobi, KuCoin and of course Poloniex.
The news comes just days after the Winklevoss twins announced their USD stablecoin the Gemini dollar, and after Digifinex, a top 20 exchange by volume, announced that it is delisting the Tether USDT due to issues of trust.
The race is certainly on to capture the stablecoin market.
Binance announces Binance Info 2.0
So Binance has launched a new service, which compiles the rating reports of cryptocurrencies from various sources and lists them in an easy-to-use library. The service should be a handy tool for those who want to extend their research on particular cryptocurrencies.
The platform gives a star rating for each coin as well as the rating that the original agency gave it. However, this has received criticism because the ratings used by various agencies are not consistent, which can make it a bit more difficult for users who are not so discerning.
There is also a question of whether or not there any bias is creeping in by the report publishers themselves. So while it’s a handy tool for research, users will need to keep their wits about them.
Exclusive interview with Freya Hunter from Beam
Freya Hunter is the Head of Community, Partnerships and Events for Beam, which is a global payments platform and digital wallet with built-in support for smart contracts.
Beam already has over 750,000 users and has processed over 4.3 million transactions. Beam’s throughput exceeds US$250 million, all of which occurs on the Ethereum blockchain. It is also the leading mobile wallet in the United Arab Emirates.
We sat down with her to learn about more about Beam, as well as its plans for the future and upcoming ICO.
Q: I understand that Beam uses smart contracts to reward customers – can you tell us a bit about how that works?
FH: Beam is a demand generation platform which currently uses its own smart contracts protocol to help businesses engage their customers in a more meaningful way. We're an existing business with over 3/4 million users and we're looking to utilise blockchain technology to scale the business. So putting our current smart contracts protocol onto the blockchain is one way we will be doing this.
Q: So Beam is huge in the UAE? How did that come about?
FH: Yes, Beam is the leading mobile wallet app in that region. We were the first app to allow customers to pay for their fuel from their car using an app. We have a very strong local partner in the UAE called Majid Al Futtaim (the Westfield of the UAE) who launched Beam in the region with us.
Q: Beam is holding an ICO to launch the Beam token – how will that change the way the platform operates?
FH: One of the main reasons why we are creating a Beam token is because it will enable us to decentralise our revenue model so we can incentivise and reward those players in the retail value chain who are adding value. Currently Beam plays the role of the issuer and acquirer and local partner. However using a token economy specifically built for retail, we want to distribute these roles to other players and the revenue which comes with these responsibilities to make the retail ecosystem more efficient.
Q: Can you tell us a bit more about how Beam plans to enable users to take ownership of their data?
FH: Currently players in the market like MasterCard, Visa, Amazon, Facebook and Google, etc, all own a piece of the puzzle when it comes to understanding their customers, but these companies aren't willing to work together to understand the full picture. Plus, they are monetising our data and not paying us for the value we create for them. It's crazy that this happens.
At Beam we want to build a new global acceptance platform for the retail ecosystem that will challenge the incumbents in the payments and marketing space but most importantly compensate customers for using their data. For example, consumers currently earn rewards for every transaction they do on the Beam platform which they can spend across the entire network.
Data sovereignty is a hot topic at the moment and we want to enable customers on the Beam platform to own their data and share it with retailers based on the compensation they see fit. We are looking to partner with suppliers that are building blockchain based ID management solutions.
For example consumers will be able to nominate their preferred data sovereignty platform – ocean protocol, datafund.io, unification.com – to connect with Beam so they can share their data at their own discretion. We anticipate these protocols to be permissioned based and this customer information will help stakeholders of the retail value chain make better decisions.
Q: So can users of Beam pay with other cryptocurrencies, or just Beam token? Fiat too?
FH: The way in which Beam customers will pay won't change from how we currently operate and that is in fiat by connecting your credit/debit card. However for our local partners, issuers and acquirers who are helping us to grow the network, their revenue will be paid in Beam tokens.
We're tinkering with ways to integrate crypto for the customer but that's still a work in progress. Watch this space.
Q: I see your website describes it as a reverse ICO... Can you explain how that works?
FH: Sure, a reverse ICO is essentially an existing business. So take Beam for example, we're live across 4 cities, we have over 750,000 users and have processed over 4.3 million transactions on the Beam network. We're established and have been in the space since 2012. We have real world customers and are solving real world problems. Unlike ICOs who are raising money to launch a business idea, we're currently raising funds to help scale our existing business.
Q: What trends are you seeing in the market right now?
FH: I just came back from a trip to Asia and a part of that trip was spent in China with Austrade on their blockchain mission. Interoperability came up a lot – that is the ability for blockchain networks to interact and integrate with each other. During this trip we attended the Global Blockchain summit in Shanghai and this topic came up a lot.
The other trend we're seeing at the moment is the bearish market. It's tough. I think a lot of Aussie companies on this mission had high hopes about opening up channels of investment from Chinese funds, but everyone at the moment really has their wallets closed. Not too many are leading and investing.
The other interesting thing is just the size of the Chinese market and the rate at which they are innovaitng with Blockchain. It's absolutely crazy. Innovation in China is top-down, unlike Australia's which is bottom up. We went to Ant Financial (AliPay) to understand the projects they were working on and it's just so far beyond what the market is doing here and that's because they have the money and the user base to do it.
Q: And predictions for what we'll see in 2019?
FH: 2019 will be interesting. I think we'll see the SEC hand down some significant regulaton in the next 3 months which will set up 2019 to be an interesting year. Hopefully it really ignites some investing in the market and give it a kicker. However, I really do not think we've seen the last of the down turn just yet.
Q: When the clock strikes 12 at midnight on New Years Eve, what will the price of bitcoin be?
Q: Any favourite coins or projects at the moment?
I'm really liking the way blockchain is being applied to land rights and ownership issues. Initiatives like Bitland are using blockchain to help people in parts of rural Africa to keep track of land titles. Often land titles are stripped from local people when the government want to develop certain areas and these people aren't rightfully compensated. So I like that it's addressing such an important issue.
Q: What is your 5/10/20 year forecast for cryptocurrency?
5 years – EDUCATION + real-time cross border remittance.
10 years – Bitcoin reaches $100K + consumers own their own data is the NORM.
20 years - Blockchain + AI will be doing all kinds of crazy things and hopefully crypto will be that easy to use we'll see mass adoption. Yes Mum, you will know how to use crypto too.
Q: If Stellar and Ripple got into a fight who would win?
Mainstream crypto awareness
Sometimes you find mainstream crypto awarness in the most unlikely of places.
- Bitcoin featured on Who Wants To Be A Millionare Australia.
- Merriam-Webster has just added bitcoin to its official Scrabble dictionary (along with 300 other words). It'll be worth at least 9 points.
- More major sports teams continue to team up with crypto companies and in some cases are creating fan coins. Ant pool (owned by Bitmain) will be sponsoring the Houston Rockets NBA team next year. In Soccer, Paris Saint Germain (PSG) and Juventus are exploring creating their own crypto tokens. And, in the UK, at least seven Premiere League clubs have signed partnership deals with online social crypto platform, eToro.
- Still in the UK, Forbes is reporting that crypto is also getting mainstream exposure in the form of... wait for it... long running UK soap... Coronation Street.
According to Forbes, one character, who is a problem gambler, tells his friend that he invested £50 in whipcoin some years ago.
“The pair do some research and find that his original investment is now worth some £250 million. However, Ryan — of course — cannot remember the password to his whipcoin account, a story that is fast becoming cliche in pop cryptocurrency writing. Eventually, they track down the password, but their previous research was apparently massively out of date — the coins are now near worthless — suggesting Coronation Street's writers have been following the altcoin price scene surprisingly closely.”