Cryptocurrency sell-off continues as bitcoin, ethereum sink

Bitcoin fell below $10,000 for the first time since November, as a sell-off in cryptocurrencies continued for a second day.

Meanwhile, ethereum and ripple — the second and third-biggest digital assets respectively — continued to move lower. According to CoinMarketCap data, ethereum was trading almost 29 percent lower at $791.97 a coin. Ripple on the other hand fell 34 percent to about 91 cents.

“The action we’re seeing may seem dramatic but is really quite normal for this market,” Mati Greenspan, senior market analyst at eToro, told CNBC via email. “All in all, this drop has brought us back to the prices that were traded about a month ago for most coins.”

Greenspan said Tuesday that South Korean and Japanese investors often pay a premium of “20 percent or more per coin,” but on Wednesday said they appeared to be falling.

“The premiums that were being paid by Japanese and South Korean crypto traders is also coming down, so that’s a good sign as well,” he said.

‘No other justification than fear’

China was also reportedly looking to deepen its crackdown on the cryptocurrency market this week. On Monday, Bloomberg reported that authorities in China were planning to block domestic access to Chinese and offshore cryptocurrency platforms that allow centralized trading. Regulators will also target people and companies that provide market-making, settlement and clearing services for centralized trading, the publication said, citing unnamed sources.

Charles Hayter, chief executive of CryptoCompare, said that many expected the cryptocurrency market to decline.

“The market was very overheated and had significantly dislocated from trend. A large percentage of investors were expecting this correction and reversion to mean.”

Hayter said that panic was “leading the herd to sell with no other justification than fear,” but added that it was “difficult to say” where the market would be headed next.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are extremely volatile assets. Many experts believe that the introduction of futures contracts for bitcoin from the likes of CME and Cboe would tame the digital currency somewhat and bring in more institutional money.

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Fortnite Merchandise Store Starts ’Exclusively’ Accepting Monero as Payment Method

Retail Row, the merchandise store for the online video game Fortnite, has started “exclusively” accepting Monero (XMR) as a cryptocurrency payment option, Monero tweeted Jan. 1.

Fortnite is an online video game released in July 2017 and developed by Epic Games, which reportedly accounts for more than 125 million players worldwide. In October 2018, Epic Games was valued at over $15 billion in its latest funding round.

Retail Row supports crypto payments service GloBee, which allows retailers to accept cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin (BTC), Litecoin (LTC) and Ripple (XRP), while XMR is the only digital currency supported by the store. Customers can also make payments with a range of conventional methods including credit cards and PayPal.

As Cointelegraph reported in October, cybersecurity firm Malwarebytes found that scammers were using malware targeting the Bitcoin (BTC) wallet addresses of Fortnite gamers. “Con artists” were purportedly sneaking malicious data theft code into downloads that apparently promised “free” season six Fortnite Android versions, among other “bogus cheats, wallhacks and aimbots.”

Free V-Bucks (an in-game currency) also concealed malicious packages of code, according to the investigation. Malwarebytes discovered that deceptive links were promoted via scammers’ YouTube channels, which redirected users to downloads that conceal the malware.

In June, network and enterprise security company Palo Alto Networks found that around 5 percent of all XMR in circulation was mined maliciously via cryptojacking. Monero reportedly had an “incredible monopoly” on the cryptocurrencies targeted by malware, with a total of $175 million mined maliciously.

The report also notes that the data does not include web-based Monero miners or other miners they could not access, meaning that the 5 percent is most likely too low of a calculation.

XMR is up 3.27 percent on the day and is trading at $47.46 at press time, according to CoinMarketCap.

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People have spent over $1M buying virtual cats on the Ethereum blockchain

Launched a few days ago, CryptoKitties is essentially like an digital version of Pokemon cards but based on the Ethereum blockchain. And like most viral sensations that catch on in the tech world, it’s blowing up fast.

Built by Vancouver and San Francisco-based design studio AxiomZen, the game is the latest fad in the world of cryptocurrency and probably soon tech in general.

People are spending a crazy amount of real money on the game. So far about $1.3M has been transacted, with multiple kittens selling for ~50 ETH (around $23,000) and the “genesis” kitten being sold for a record ~246 ETH (around $113,000). This third party site tracks the largest purchases made to date on the game. And like any good viral sensation prices are rising and fluctuating fast. Right now it will cost you about .03 ETH, or $12 to buy the least expensive kitten in the game. e

So now we have people using Ether, an asset with arguably little tangible utility – to purchase an asset with unarguably zero tangible utility. Welcome to the internet in 2017.

In all seriousness, it’s a little bit reminiscent of the beanie baby trend where people were paying insane amounts of money for stuffed animals. But if the popularity continues to increase these people may be able to make a return by reselling or breeding their rare kittens, or they’ll be stuck holding the virtual cryptographic keys to a virtual rare kitten when the market crashes in a few day, like eventually happened with beanie babies.

There are a few cool things about the game though, and putting aside the valuation absurdity it’s actually a cool way for beginners to interact with the Ethereum blockchain.

First off, it’s important to understand that since it’s played on the Ethereum blockchain there’s no central entity managing the game. This means users literally own their kittens. Unlike playing Neopets where everything was stored on a central database and your pet was deleted when the company shut down, CryptoKitties is decentralized and will live forever on the Ethereum blockchain.

The game is run via a set of 5 Ethereum smart contracts written by AxiomZen, and users interact with it via their own Ethereum address. Right now the easiest way to do that is by using the Chrome extension MetaMask which gives you the ability to send and receive Ethereum directly in your browser. You then would navigate to the CryptoKitties site which is essentially an interface to interact with their smart contracts so you can buy sell and breed kittens.

Right now about 15% of all Ethereum network traffic is dedicated to the game, making it the most popular smart contract on the network. For reference, number two with about 8% of network transactions is EtherDelta, the popular decentralized token exchange.

This traffic is making it hard to play CryptoKitties, and a lot of transactions (like buying and selling cats) are taking longer than usual to process and needing multiple attempts.

Not only is this making it hard to play the game, but this scaling issue is a real concern for the Ethereum network in general. If one viral game that hasn’t even spread beyond the tech world can slow down the network, what happens when the blockchain expands to real world applications?

Anyways, back to the game. Still confused? Us too. Here’s an explanation of how it works:

How to Play

The game was seeded with 100 “Founder Kitties”. There’s also one new “Gen 0” cat released ever 15 minutes, which are listed for the average price of the last five sold, plus 50% – but the sale price declines over 24 hours until someone eventually buys it.

And anyone can sell their kittens via an auction, where they pick a starting price and an ending price and the price declines over time until someone buys it. So for example I could put a kitten up for sale for a one day auction for 1 ETH starting price and 0 ETH ending price, and if someone buys it 12 hours after the auctions starts they’d be paying me .5 ETH.

Kittens can also be created by breeding them, which the game calls Siring. You can put your own kitten up for sire for a specified amount of ether and someone can breed with it, and they get the offspring and you get the ether. Or, you can pay to breed your cat with someone else’s and you keep the offspring and they keep the ether.

It can take anywhere from an hour to a week in “cooldown time” to breed a new kitten. The shorter the time the better, since you can sell the offspring sooner and breed again. This means kittens with shorter cooldown time usually sell for more.

Each kitten has a 256-bit genome that holds the genetic sequence to all the different combinations kittens can have. These include things like background color, cooldown time, whiskers, beards, stripes and so on. Some of these genes can be recessive, meaning a kitten without stripes could still breed one with stripes.

It’s important to note that there’s no “rare scale” established by the game that assigns rarity values to these genetic sequences. That means the community is independently deciding what traits are rare by paying a premium for them. For example, kittens with a gold background have been selling more than kittens with other colors.

Users can only self-customize the name of their kitten, and often use this space to advertise rare attributes like color or generation.

Right now there’s no way to see the actual genetic sequence for a kitten on CryptoKitties’ site, but since it’s all open-source code within an Ethereum contract it’s only a matter of time before someone figures out how to “read” your cat’s genetic sequence and make breeding recommendations based on it. There’s also some randomness built in, which keeps it fun by giving someone with a less rare kitten the chance to breed a rare one.

Each time a cat breeds the generation increases one. So the offspring of a Gen 0 kitten would be a Gen 1, and so on. Earlier generation kittens seem to be selling for more money, both for the intangible rareness factor and the tangible fact that earlier generation kittens usually have shorter cool down times.

Axiom make money by keeping the ether collected from selling the initial 100 kitties, plus the newly generated kitties sold each 25 minutes. They also take a 3.75% fee of all auctions or siring transactions. If you sell a kitten by interacting directly with the smart contract (and not going through CryptoKitties’ website) you wouldn’t have to pay the 3.75% fee.

What’s Next?

Unlike some viral projects, the team behind CryptoKitties was set on building out this product regardless of this hype. Mack Flavelle, the project lead for the game explained to me that the team has at least a year’s worth of product improvements in the pipeline, the most immediate of which is improving the UI on the web platform.

They also want to work to make the on-boarding process easier, because at the end of the day it’s still not easy for the average person to setup MetaMask and figure out how to buy ether and use it to transact on the network.

The project has a white paper here which explains a bit more about the game’s future plans. 

This content was originally published here.

Blockchain Stocks Continue to Struggle

Penny Stocks

Blockchain penny stocks are down this morning, making it not a good start to the week for this sector. However, most of the top cryptocurrencies are currently seeing gains on the crypto market.

Most times, when the cryptocurrency market is down, blockchain stocks fall with it. Today, however, this doesn’t seem to be the case, as blockchain penny stocks seem to be down despite a bear crypto market. 

Let’s take a closer look at two blockchain penny stocks down today and their latest updates.

HIVE Blockchain Technologies Ltd. (TSXV:HIVE)

Based out of Vancouver, Canada, HIVE Blockchain operates as a cryptocurruency mining firm. 

Last week, HIVE blockchain announced its First Quarter Financial Results.

“Our financial position has advanced despite challenging market conditions which have seen major cryptocurrencies come under pressure this year. We remain well capitalized and well positioned to achieve our goals of profitable deployment of capital to maintain our leadership position in the blockchain infrastructure industry,” said Harry Pokrandt, CEO and director of HIVE.

HIVE generated $10,660,664 in income in the quarter with a gross mining margin of $6,441,181 from mining digital currencies. The penny stocks company mined 17,555 newly minted Ethereum coins during the period that ended on June 30th, 2018. This is nearly double what it was the previous quarter, making it a 179% increase for the new quarter.

Despite a positive earnings report the penny stock is down today.

According to Yahoo Finance, HIVE is currently trading at $0.80 a share, down -$0.02 (-2.44%). Surprisingly, the stock saw a sharp drop after its earnings report was released. Usually, if a positive earnings report is released the company’s share prices do the opposite.

Global Blockchain Technologies Corp. (CSE:BLOC)

Also based out of Vancouver, Canada, Global Blockchain acts as a blockchain investment company. This penny stocks company has not had any recent big news in about three weeks.

>> Tresorit—Secures €11.5 Million in Series B Funding

On August 21st, the company announced two major developments in its exchange division. Since then, the company’s stock has been all over the place.

Today, Global Blockchain’s stock is trading in the red. According to Yahoo Finance, BLOC is currently trading at $0.185 a share, down -$0.015 (-7.50%).

Featured Image: Depositphotos/© Wavebreakmedia

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Bakkt to Lead Bitcoin Recovery, Feb 2019 ETF Denial Crashes BTC: Analyst

Alex Krüger, a well-recognized cryptocurrency trader and technical analyst, has said Bakkt will lead the recovery of Bitcoin throughout 2018 and the first quarter of 2019.

But, Krüger explained that the rejection of the Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) filing of VanEck, SolidX, and Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) will lead to the crash of Bitcoin, possibly back down to the $6,000 support level and in worst case scenario, to the $4,000 region.

“Possible outlook for BTC: First, bull run on BAAKT & renewed ETF approval narrative early 2019. Second, ETF denied Feb/27, massive crash, goodbye 6k, hello 4k, cleanse all weak hands Lastly, halvening 2020 narrative and re-adjustments lead to sustained bull run for the rest of 2019 & 2020.”

Optimism Towards Bakkt and Faith of the VanEck-SolidX ETF

Bakkt, a strictly regulated cryptocurrency trading platform developed by ICE, the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), is currently in the process of establishing an ecosystem that enables both retail traders and institutional investors to invest in the cryptocurrency market with sufficient investor protection and through products that are compliant with local regulations in the US.

In December, Bakkt is expected to launch a cryptocurrency futures market, further increasing the liquidity of Bitcoin. Previously, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rejected nine Bitcoin ETFs on the premise that the Bitcoin futures market is not of sufficient size to handle an ETF.

The entrance of Bakkt into the cryptocurrency exchange market, the involvement of Bitcoin futures market operator CBOE in the VanEck ETF, and the track record of VanEck in filing over 200 successful ETFs with the SEC have led to an increase in anticipation towards the VanEck-SolidX ETF.

Throughout the next two to three months, technical analyst Alex Krüger emphasized that renewed enthusiasm towards the market initiated by Bakkt and the VanEck ETF will allow the price of Bitcoin to climb back to major resistance levels.

Since August, Bitcoin has failed to breakout of the $6,000 region due to its low daily trading volume and relatively low trading activity in the global cryptocurrency exchange market.

Hence, as of now, the market needs a major catalyst to engage a proper short-term rally and upside movement, and the two financial institutions could be a major factor that may trigger the price of Bitcoin to increase.

However, speaking to CCN, Krüger firmly stated that the probability of the VanEck-SolidX Bitcoin ETF being approved remains extremely low given the concerns of the SEC towards the state of the cryptocurrency exchange market.

If Bakkt can begin to demonstrate a level of volume that comfortably trump the volume of cryptocurrency exchanges that offer derivatives or margin trading such as Bitmex and Bitfinex, the SEC could consider approving an ETF. The issue with that is, the probability of Bakkt surpassing the volume of existing cryptocurrency exchanges within a two-month span is fairly low.

Is it Possible ETF Rejection Doesn’t Hurt Bitcoin Price?

The launch of Bakkt, the introduction of Goldman Sachs Bitcoin futures trading platform, and the release of Fidelity Digital Assets have not had any impact on the price of the dominant cryptocurrency in the past few months.

The possibility that the rejection of the ETF does not hugely affect the price of BTC still exists. But, that depends on the narrative that is set by investors and the media in the upcoming months and the anticipation towards the ETF.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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Bitcoin Seals Further Gains in a Mostly Green Market as Ethereum Fails to Break $300

Tuesday, September 4: crypto markets are largely green today, with Bitcoin (BTC) inching upwards yet further, and several large-market-cap alts seeing solid gains, as Coin360 data shows.

Market visualization from Coin360

Bitcoin (BTC) is trading at around $7,374 at press time, up over 1 percent on the day as it continues boost its newly won gains, according to Cointelegraph’s Bitcoin Price Index.

Having reclaimed the $7,000 price point August 31, Bitcoin has seen a solid upwards trend and is now pushing $7,400. The top coin is trading an impressive $550 higher than its low on its weekly chart, with its 7-day rolling gains at almost 7 percent. On the month, Bitcoin is up a fraction of a percent.

Bitcoin’s 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Ethereum (ETH) is trading around $288 at press time, seeing virtually no value percentage change on the day. Following upon an intra-week high of about $298, Ethereum has failed to sustain upwards momentum, remaining range bound around $290.

On its weekly chart, Ethereum is more or less even at a fractional 0.1 percent gain, with monthly losses remaining around 31 percent.

Ethereum’s 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

The top ten coins listed on CoinMarketCap are mostly seeing modest gains of within a 1-2 percent range. A notable exception is Litecoin (LTC), up around 5.7 percent on the day to trade around $69. Litecoin saw a strong push upwards at the start of September, followed by a couple of days trading sideways before today’s second flush of strong green.

Litecoin’s 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Another strong top ten performer is Monero (XMR), up almost 5 percent to trade around $139 at press time. Monero is now trading at around $40 above its value of $97 on August 30.  

Stellar (XLM) has seemingly not yet absorbed any positive momentum from that IBM has brought its Blockchain World Wire (BWW) payment network out of beta this week, aiming to ultimately facilitate international settlements between banks in “near real-time.” The asset is up around 2.8 percent on the day to trade around $0.23, a slight push upwards after a couple of days of lackluster momentum.

Stellar’s 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Among the top twenty coins, gains are stronger on average: NEM (XEM) and Vechain (VET) are both up almost 8 percent on the day, with IOTA (MIOTA), Zcash (ZEC) and Dash seeing 3-4 percent growth on their 24-hour charts. NEO has today soared 8.8 percent and is trading at $25 at press time, capping a week of strong, if jagged, growth.

Total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies is around $240 billion at press time, up almost $12 billion on its weekly chart.

7-day chart of the total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies
7-day chart of the total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies from CoinMarketCap

Today has seen bullish news for the space, with South Korea’s Internet and Security Agency (KISA) — a sub-organization of the country’s Ministry of Science and ICT — announcing plans to more than double its budget for public blockchain pilot projects this coming year.

Germany’s joint stock company Deutsche Boerse has also announced the formation of a dedicated unit for blockchain and crypto assets, aiming to harness the technology’s potential to disrupt the capital markets infrastructure.

And in China, the country’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), has officially launched the testing phase of a major blockchain trade finance platform ahead of schedule.

This content was originally published here.

Thailand’s Kasikornbank to Pilot Visa’s Blockchain Cross-Border Payments Platform

The biggest bank by market capitalization in Thailand, Kasikornbank, has become the first financial institution in the Southeast Asian country to get on board the Visa B2B Connect platform. Designed to enable fast and secure cross-border payments between businesses using blockchain technology, the platform relies on a permissioned private blockchain architecture which is operated by global financial services firm, Visa Inc.

According to Visa Thailand’s country manager, Suripong Tantiyanon, the B2B Connect platform makes extensive use of the core capabilities of the global financial services company in governance, security and distributed ledger technology, per The Nation.

“Building on the enterprise blockchain technology, Visa B2B Connect is a new transaction platform designed for the exchange of high-value international payments between participating banks on behalf of their corporate clients,” said Suripong.

Enhanced Transparency

Besides speed and security, Visa B2B Connect platform will also offer increased visibility in the transaction process for Thailand’s fourth-largest bank in terms of assets, loans and deposits.

“With our technological capability and network, we are pleased to partner with Kasikornbank to create a more efficient, transparent way for business-to-business payments to be made across the world,” added Suripong.

Announced in October 2016, the Visa B2B Connect platform was developed in partnership with Chain Inc, a cryptographic ledger company based in San Francisco, California, using an enterprise blockchain infrastructure known as Chain Core. As revealed by Visa and Chain at the time, the predictability and transparency of the platform is aided by the fact that banks, as well as their corporate clients, are provided with near real-time notification on the status of transactions.

The first bank-to-bank test transactions on the Visa B2B Connect platform were conducted last year in November with some of the earliest banks to join the program being United States’ Commerce Bank, South Korea’s Shinhan Bank, Singapore’s United Overseas Bank and the Philippines’ Union Bank.

.@Visa launches first phase of Blockchain-based business-to-business payments service, B2B Connect, designed to give financial institutions a secure, yet transparent way to process payments between enterprises.

— VisaNews (@VisaNews) November 17, 2017

No need for USD

As previously reported by CCN, this is not the first time that Kasikornbank is piloting a blockchain platform for making cross-border payments. In late 2016, for instance, Kasikornbank partnered with International Business Settlement, a Chinese fintech firm, to develop a blockchain platform focused on making cross-country payments between China and Thailand in the native fiat currencies of the two countries. This blockchain platform obviated the need for the conversion of the Chinese yuan or Thai baht to the dollar at any point in the transactions.

“IBS has the technology and network to facilitate international settlements that is not based just on the U.S. dollar, at a time when the yuan’s international presence is increasing,” the chairman of Kasikornbank, Banthoon Lamsam, said at the time.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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Bitcoin Is In Freefall, Dragging Ethereum And Ripple With It — Here’s Why

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