Blockchain a Home-Run in the Sports World — Use Cases Climbing in 2020

Blockchain a Home-Run in the Sports World — Use Cases Climbing in 2020

The use of blockchain technology to improve a variety of offerings has become a reality in the world of sports in 2020.

The new decade has kicked off with blockchain technology finally being utilized in real case scenarios in the world of sports. Many blockchain proponents are enthusiastic about the wide variety of potential use cases, but real-life working examples are often hard to come by.

The potential of the technology to underpin a variety of systems within the sports sector has long been discussed, but just two months into the new year, there have already been several prominent use cases where blockchain technology is being used to improve offerings to fans.

From the football-mad continent of Europe to the world of the NFL and Major League Baseball, blockchain-based applications are being used to improve ticketing, merchandising and interactions between audiences and sports teams and organizations.

Tickets to the UEFA EURO on blockchain

Every four years, the best international football teams in Europe battle it out in the UEFA European Championship, more commonly known as the Euros to football fans. The 16th edition of the tournament will be hosted by 12 cities across the continent between June and July. The best 24 teams that progress through the qualifiers will battle it out to be crowned the kings of European football.

Ticketing is one of the most challenging aspects for the tournament’s organizers, with over 28 million ticket requests for the 2020 showpiece across 200 countries.

For the first time ever, UEFA has turned to a blockchain-powered mobile app to provide a contemporary ticketing solution for fans. UEFA aims to supply and deliver 1 million tickets through the Euro 2020 app.

There are some benefits to the app-based ticketing system. Firstly, it will rule out the possibility of replicating tickets. Fans won’t need to visit ticketing offices either, they’ll simply have to turn on WiFi on their smartphones when they arrive at the stadium, which will then activate their ticket QR codes and allow entry. The move also eliminates paper waste.

The primary benefit of an app-based ticketing system is the ease of distribution across the sheer number of countries. Ultimately, UEFA’s move to use blockchain technology to power its ticketing operation is a major boon for the industry. Given that football is the most popular sport in the world, the adoption of the technology could set a trend for other service providers to follow.

Vote on club matters with Socios

Blockchain-powered fan engagement platform Socios seems to be setting the tone for adoption in the sporting world. As previously reported, the Socios platform allows sports organizations and teams to launch their own tokens that can be used for a variety of activities on the platform. Users can participate in votes for club decisions as well as use tokens to access content and memorabilia.

The platform has collaborated with a number of the world’s biggest football clubs over the last few years — such as Barcelona, Juventus, Paris-Saint Germain, Galatasaray, Atletico Madrid and A.S. Roma among others.

Related: Chiliz CEO Alex Dreyfus Explains the Relationship Between Sports and Crypto

Socios welcomed Barcelona to its platform in February 2020, just a week before announcing its move into the American sports market. Chiliz, the fintech platform that created Socios, has also teamed up with marketing agency Lagardere Sports and Entertainment.

The agency has a major foothold in the United States, and Chiliz is hoping to onboard a number of new teams and organizations to the Socios platforms through Lagardere. Teams involved in the NFL and Major League Baseball are obvious targets.

Fantasy football powered by digital trading cards

A number of football teams have also been licensed in the digital collectibles space in a partnership with blockchain platform Sorare, which was announced in February 2020. The platform offers fans blockchain-based player trading cards that are used to play a five-card fantasy football game. The player cards earn points in relation to their actual player’s performance in real-life games.

Cards are tiered, with the rarest cards guaranteed digital scarcity through blockchain technology. Cards can also be transferred to the Ethereum blockchain. According to the platform’s website, over 38 clubs have been officially licensed.

The Sacramento Kings lead the way in blockchain-based offerings

A couple of NBA teams have welcomed the cryptocurrency sector by accepting payments in Bitcoin (BTC) over the past few years.

The Sacramento Kings and the Dallas Mavericks have allowed fans to purchase tickets and merchandise using Bitcoin. The Kings have done so since 2014, while the Mavericks began accepting the cryptocurrency in 2019. 

The Sacramento Kings are likely the most innovative blockchain adopters in the sporting world. The organization claims to be one of the world’s most technologically advanced sporting brands. The Golden 1 Center stadium’s roof is covered in solar panels, boasts ridiculously fast WiFi for fans, and has a cryptocurrency mining operation running in its data center — the proceedings from which are donated to local charities. 

If that is not impressive enough, the Kings also offer fans exclusive memorabilia and other items on a couple of blockchain-based platforms. In 2019, they launched crypto-collectibles powered by the Ethereum-based platform CryptoKaiju.

Following that, the Kings unveiled a new offering in January 2020 in collaboration with Consensys that allows fans to bid for in-game sports gear worn by Kings players during live games through a mobile-based app. 

There’s a massive market for authentic, in-game items, but the authenticity of auctioned items has always been a pitfall. The app provides a solution to this problem by opening an auction marketplace that provides authentic game-worn items in real-time.

Lancashire Cricket Club looks to blockchain for tech-savvy ticketing

Following in the footsteps of UEFA, English county cricket club Lancashire announced that it would begin selling tickets through blockchain-based ticketing platform TIXnGO at the beginning of 2020.

The club will sell tickets to both local and international matches at Old Trafford cricket ground after testing out the platform in 2019. As more supporters have started to buy tickets online, the club is using the blockchain-based platform to combat ticket fraud and improve data on ticket distribution. 

The technology also makes it far easier for people to resell or transfer tickets to other supporters. Lancashire’s move is thought to be a first in the world of cricket and can be counted as another sports organization beginning to harness the advantages of blockchain-powered technology.

Actual use cases speak volumes for adoption

It is encouraging to see a number of organizations actively using blockchain technology to improve their offerings to sports fans. Whether it’s having access to exclusive content and memorabilia or knowing that the purchased tickets are authentically validated, sport enthusiasts are slowly being introduced to blockchain-based solutions even if they are not aware of it.

The BCH Question: How to Recover After $30M Hack and Mining Tax Row?

The BCH Question: How to Recover After $30M Hack and Mining Tax Row?

Due to a proposed tax plan and a multimillion-dollar hack, it’s been a rough couple of weeks for BCH.

Each crypto token commands a small army of fierce supporters. For many, the sole cryptocurrency that is worthy of such staunch support is Bitcoin (BTC). But what truly is Bitcoin, what is its purpose, and how can it be fully optimized?

The division among those trying to answer these questions led to the creation of Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Bitcoin’s most successful offshoot. While for some, BCH has been the answer to crypto’s woes, but the coin has had some significant issues of its own over the past few months. From a multimillion-dollar hack to a new mining tax, BCH is dividing its community like never before.

Bitcoin Cash: Divisive by nature

Bitcoin, in its original form, was invented by a mysterious figure known only as Satoshi Nakamoto. Its creation went from an ambitious project whispered about in libertarian and cypherpunk circles to the global financial industry in its own right. But, while Bitcoin was developing, arguments broke out over the direction in which it was growing, and about the fundamental parameters of the technology.

Scalability is one of the most fundamental issues for any cryptocurrency. Although Bitcoin is the biggest and best-known cryptocurrency, it still struggles with the same scalability issues. Bitcoin’s block size was limited to 1 megabyte, but such a limit creates long delays in transaction processing times, as it reduces the total number of transactions that can be carried out in each block.

Here’s where BCH comes in. Developers changed the block size from 1 MB to 8 MB. They hoped that this would boost the number of transactions per second to rival payment titans like PayPal and Visa. But, inevitably, philosophical differences arose. The crux of the issue was found over what people consider the purpose of Bitcoin to be. For those who believe Bitcoin is a store of value, slower transaction times are not much of an issue. But for those who think Bitcoin is an exchange of value, slashing processing speeds and costs — thereby maximizing practical applicability — is paramount.

Related: Defining Bitcoin: Money, Currency or Store of Value

Consequently, Bitcoin Cash was pioneered in 2017 by Roger Ver. A cursory glance through Crypto Twitter reveals that vehement disagreement between the two Bitcoin camps still runs rife. But the dispute is not limited to the core nature of Bitcoin. New crypto projects face not only new security issues but also the challenges of living up to the ideals of their creators. And, as recent weeks have shown, it’s no different for BCH.

Ver weighs in on the BCH hack

Investing in cryptocurrency is notoriously risky. Although security has been advancing in leaps and bounds, investors are still at significant risk of being hacked. With what feels like a high-profile hack taking place almost every week in the crypto world, not even the most experienced investors are safe from cybercriminals. Earlier this week, BCH was back in the spotlight after an attacker stole $30 million in crypto from one prominent investor in a wallet hack.

While rumors initially swirled about the victim of the multimillion-dollar hack, a now-deleted Reddit post from Feb. 22 revealed that the victim is Josh Jones, founder of web hosting company Dreamhost. The hacker appeared to compromise Jones’s SIM card, but it is not yet known whether this was the result of a so-called “SIM swap.” In the deleted Reddit post, Jones called for help, requesting that BCH miners not validate the transactions:

“It’s only had 3 confirmations. If any miners/the community can help somehow, I’ve got the private keys. Help help help.. Big reward obviously.”

Hacks occur depressingly often in the crypto world. But when such a targeted attack carries off millions of dollars in one of the most prominent cryptocurrencies, it draws attention at the very highest level — though perhaps not for the obvious reasons. In an exclusive interview with Cointelegraph, Ver appeared to see the silver lining in Jones’s poor fortune:

“Here’s someone who’s worth at least $45 million, and he’s choosing to keep the majority of that in Bitcoin Cash, not what everybody is calling Bitcoin today. So, that’s a really, really bullish sign for Bitcoin Cash — that somebody with that much money is keeping it in Bitcoin Cash and not the same amount in Bitcoin, BTC. That’s a really, really big deal.”

In fact, Ver’s enthusiasm extended beyond his support for Jones having kept such a vast amount of BCH. Ver told Cointelegraph that the attack could have positive implications for the cryptocurrency, indicating that despite the tragedy, its intrinsic value is high enough to attract criminal interest:

“The fact that hackers are willing to go and steal Bitcoin Cash means that it’s something worth stealing, that it’s something valuable. If it wasn’t valuable, wasn’t worthwhile, hackers wouldn’t be trying to steal it.”

Ver was not sanguine about Jones’s ability to recover the stolen funds. Ver admitted that he thought the impossibility of recovery was down to the intrinsic nature of cryptocurrencies. Responding to a question from Cointelegraph, Ver conceded that there is nothing that can be done:

“No, and I wish, I wish there was to some extent. But, on the other side, that’s kind of the whole point of cryptocurrencies — that transactions are irreversible.”

While Ver might not have any wise words for the victim of the attack, he inadvertently appeared to give the hacker tips about how to effectively avoid being brought to justice:

“The fact of the matter is there really isn’t anything anybody can do unless the hacker is dumb enough to deposit the coins directly to an exchange without sending them through any sort of, you know, fungibility tool of any sort. Something like, you know, CoinShuffle or CashFusion on Bitcoin Cash. There’s a lot of cool tools on Bitcoin Cash to enable that. In this instance, it’s a little bit sad that those tools will be used to help a hacker.”

Twitter critics discuss the consequences for BCH

Dovey Wan, a founding partner at crypto asset fund Primitive Crypto and vociferous Twitter commentator, was quick on the draw when laying out her views on the multimillion-dollar hack. Jones’s deleted Reddit post did not escape Wan’s eagle-eye for a screenshot opportunity. Wan attached the post in a thread, criticizing him for keeping such a vast amount of crypto in a mobile-accessible wallet.

But the targets of Wan’s pointed criticism were not restricted to Jones alone. Wan postulated that the hacker was likely in the process of splitting up the stolen funds in order to make them easier to sell on exchanges.

Wan, a firm Bitcoin maximalist, also appeared to hint that the hack could have dire consequences for BCH, writing that only a “double-spent can help this poor guy now.” Wan also tweeted that the hack, along with an unspecified dispute between Ver and Bitmain CEO Jihan Wu, could cause a “slow death” for the cryptocurrency.

Is security in crypto up to scratch?

The BCH hack brings the issue of security back to the fore. Wan appeared to criticize the mobile nature of Jones’s wallet, but according to Kaspersky’s security team lead, Pavel Pokrovsky, mobile wallets are not inherently risky — it depends on implementation:

“Normally, wallets developed by larger crypto-companies that have passed security assessments can be considered more trustworthy compared to wallets that are developed by individuals. Quite often, we deal with phishing cases when wallet applications are developed specifically with purpose to steal funds. Targeted attacks also occur, although they are not specifically related to mobile wallets.”

While Pokrovsky doesn’t believe that the mobile nature of the wallet is to blame for the hack, he admitted to Cointelegraph that the BCH hack was unusual, adding: “This situation should be evaluated deeper. For example, this might be a case where funds were stored on an abandoned wallet or were a subject to targeted attack.” Pokrovsky explained to Cointelegraph that Jones may have been targeted by hackers because his SIM card was reportedly compromised:

“In this case, some sources state that SIM swap took place. So, if this is the case, then most likely, the victim was subject to a targeted attack. Someone knew that their wallet was connected to a specific phone number and arranged fraud with SIM swap. Again, if this is true, then it could have been easily prevented by keeping funds on cold storage, e.g. paper wallet.”

Although efforts are being made across the sector to ramp up security, the skills of cybercriminals are continually adapting. Pokrovsky told Cointelegraph that by virtue of their digital nature and as long as cryptocurrencies continue to grow in value, they will face many of the same security issues as the mainstream financial industry. Despite the security challenges across the entire sector, Pokrovsky believes that BCH is not easier to steal than other cryptocurrencies:

“BCH is based on the same principles as BTC. The most vulnerable element is still a human. In this case, if it was indeed a SIM-related fraud, it could have been any cryptocurrency: BTC, ETH, etc.”

The taxman cometh

It’s said that only two things are guaranteed in life: death and taxes. While it's likely that BCH investors will live to see another day, the taxman came knocking earlier than expected. Last month, leading BCH figures, including Jihan Wu and Roger Ver, proposed a 12.5% mining tax on the community.

Posted on Jan. 22, the “infrastructure funding plan” would see a percentage of the mining rewards go to a Hong Kong-based entity. Co-signing entities represented 27% of hash rates. The most controversial aspect of the proposal was its intention to “orphan” noncompliant miners by removing blocks from the chain.

Plans for the tax quickly drew criticism from some high-profile individuals. Brad Mills, a crypto commentator and partner at Xsquared Ventures, appeared to lay the blame at Ver’s feet and accused BCH of a number of flaws — including a lack of decentralization and security — in a Jan. 23 tweet:

“A [couple of months] ago Roger announced a huge BCash fund. I knew there was a catch. Today, Roger put a 12.5% tax on BCH! Roger has become everything & worse than what he accused Blockstream of during 2016/2017. Tax, Checkpoints, EDA, Centralized, 51% attacked. BCash is NOT Bitcoin.”

Only four days later, Ver disassociated himself from the controversial tax initiative in a statement posted on, in which he roundly rejected the proposed tax until fundamental changes are made: “As it stands now, will not go through with supporting any plan unless there is more agreement in the ecosystem such that the risk of a chain split is negligible.”

While acknowledged the visceral reaction from community members, the post went on to hint that, at some point, changes would have to be made: “Developer funding is an important issue to solve and that a proper funding mechanism will help Bitcoin Cash continue to grow as fast, reliable cash for the world.” The post concluded with a call for flexibility about how to come to an effective, permanent conclusion:

“A permanent proposal would be in effect a carte blanche on development and would incentivise ‘development for development’s sake,’ which would defeat the purpose of the fundraising [...] to create fast, reliable, digital cash upon a stable, largely unchanging, economically rational Bitcoin protocol.”

Leaving the red zone?

It has been a tumultuous month for investors in the BCH community. The token is firmly in the red, although this could partly be attributed to the instability currently being witnessed across global markets because of the effects of the coronavirus worldwide.

The community might have claimed a small victory after Ver’s climb down from the mining tax, but reading between the lines, it appears that change will have to come in order to address the issues surrounding ecosystem agreement.

Regardless of whether the $30-million hack was specifically targeting BCH or Jones himself, faith in the token has been somewhat shaken and is likely to have played a role in the 23% price drop the coin saw this week (as of press time). Recent analysis has shown that bulls will attempt to push the token to $360, but whether the bulls can succeed and investors are able to once again put their weight behind the embattled crypto remains to be seen.

Market Analysts Naeem Aslam and Ian Balina Debate Coronavirus and Crypto

Market Analysts Naeem Aslam and Ian Balina Debate Coronavirus and Crypto

Analyst Naeem Aslam and Tokenmetrics CEO Ian Balina battle it out over the impact of coronavirus on crypto, and whether the halving is already priced into the markets.

In today’s crypto market discussion, Cointelegraph is joined by crypto analyst Naeem Aslam, and the CEO of Tokenmetrics Ian Balina to discuss the impact of the coronavirus on the cryptocurrency markets. 

Will the economic impacts of the coronavirus leave people flocking to cryptocurrencies as a safe haven?

Naeem Aslam is skeptical of Bitcoin’s purported ‘safe haven’ status, emphasizing that Bitcoin is a haven from central bank monetary policy, and not infectious diseases:

“I think when we talk about Bitcoin as a safe haven asset, we're really talking about in relation to central banks and their monetary policies. Right now, we don't have that fear in the market right now. The fear in the market is about influence of coronavirus [...] when we have something going wrong with the monetary policy, then, yes, we could see the momentum coming in because obviously Bitcoin the entire fundamentals base against the traditional monetary policy that the central banks are running.”

Ian Balina rejected the suggestion that crypto and coronavirus are correlated, stating: 

“We personally don't invest or trade on specific events [...] the coronavirus has not shown to be correlated analysis with Bitcoin or crypto in general. So because Bitcoin is a global asset class with numerous global events happening in tandem and it's very hard to pinpoint one particular event as being the catalyst, I think perhaps indirectly the equities markets having a huge selloff where over 1.7 trillion dollars was lost in a few days and I think crypto could be really just playing off of that.”

The pair also share their long-term outlooks for the crypto markets, the probable impact of the upcoming halving, and whether Ethereum will surpass Bitcoin by market cap in the next ten years. Don’t miss it!

Coronavirus, Drug Dealers and Buffett’s BTC: Bad Crypto News of the Week

Coronavirus, Drug Dealers and Buffett’s BTC: Bad Crypto News of the Week

Coronavirus keeps marching on the planet, drug dealers lose millions of dollars in BTC, while Tyler Winklevoss experiences his “Bitcoin pizza moment.” Check the bad crypto news of the past week

The experts have had a rough few days. Anthony Pompliano, co-founder and partner at Morgan Digital Creek, spoke to CNN about Warren Buffett’s poor view of Bitcoin. The Sage of Omaha had said that he doesn’t own any BTC and sees no value in digital currencies. Pompliano argued that Buffett might be a whiz when it comes to spotting stocks but he’s not so great when it comes to technology. 

Someone else who turned out not to be so great at technology is an anonymous Chinese crypto whale who is reported to have lost $30 million worth of BCH and $15 million worth of BTC in a sim swap. We’ve seen those before so keeping that kind of money in such a vulnerable spot… well, that’s about as thoughtless as not seeing any value in digital currencies.  

At least that whale can say he was robbed though. Irish drug dealer Clifton Collins has just lost nearly $60 million worth of Bitcoin. The former beekeeper had used his drug money to buy 6,000 Bitcoins in 2011, when the currency cost just $5 each. He stored his private key in the cap of a fishing rod. When he was jailed for possession of cannabis, his landlord cleared out his things, including the rod, which is believed to have been incinerated. If the cryptocoins weren’t lost, the Irish state would have confiscated them.

Collins will miss out on the benefits of 2020’s bull run. One estimate has values rising for 1,000 days, while according to one metric this has been Bitcoin’s best year yet. In fact, the only thing that could stop the rise of BTC would be… oh, maybe an international pandemic. The spread of the coronavirus might be one reason that Bitcoin has fallen from its $10,000-plus high over the last few days. But at least Coinbase is ready. The company has announced a three-phase escalation plan should the virus approach their offices. The first phase will be to clean the offices and restrict visitors, which might be a good idea anyway. In the second phase, the offices will be closed to all visitors and stop serving food. Once “containment has failed,” Coinbase will move into Phase 3. Staff will work from home and the offices will be locked down. It would be good to see what their plans are for a zombie invasion.

In better news, Shopify has joined Libra, a much-needed boost after the departure of Mastercard. And Caitlin Long may be about to give America its first bank for digital assets. That’s something to keep an eye on. On the other hand, New Jersey wants to regulate cryptocurrencies, and a bunch of central bankers think that they can run digital fiat currencies without a blockchain. Way to miss the point, guys. 

And finally, Tyler Winklevoss has said that he paid 312.5 BTC in January 2014 for a flight on Virgin Galactic. That was worth $250,000 back then. It’s now worth more than $3 million. He’s called it his “Bitcoin pizza moment.” Dapper Labs, the company behind CryptoKitties, is teaming up with Ultimate Fighting Championship to create “a new digital experience.” Fighting cryptokitties? Really?

And if you’re still not sure what this cryptocurrency thing is all about, we finally have the ultimate guide. You can find it on The Simpsons. They really are the experts. 

Check the audio version below:

Bitcoin Price Falls $1,400 in One Week — Is the Bear Market Back?

Bitcoin Price Falls $1,400 in One Week — Is the Bear Market Back?

After falling $1.4K in a week Bitcoin’s bullish trend appears extinguished but finding support at the 21-WMA could reopen the path to $10.4K.

This week the equity markets experienced their worst week in 12 years and as this meltdown took place the crypto market also took a hit. 

Bitcoin (BTC) and the cryptocurrency market saw a significant selloff this week and this outcome is relatively reasonable given that people sell their assets out of fear of potential economic instability. Other safe-haven assets like gold and silver also saw a massive selloff on Friday. 

Are the crypto markets going to find support in the coming weeks, or will we see a continued downtrend in momentum? 

Crypto market daily performance

Crypto market daily performance. Source: Coin360

Selloff ensues after Bitcoin lost key support at $9,400

The price of Bitcoin found resistance at the $10,400 level, after which a test of the $9,400 support was heavily needed. The $9,400 level was unable to provide sustainable support and as the price fell through it this caused a significant selloff throughout the crypto market.

BTC USDT daily chart

BTC USDT daily chart. Source: TradingView

The sell-off led to the next support area at $8,200-8,400 and many horizontal levels are lining up here, providing potential temporary support and space for a relief rally. 

However, for the short term, many believe that the upwards momentum is out of the markets as the price of Bitcoin is making a lower low (a key indicator for downwards momentum) on the daily timeframe. 

Does this mean that the entire crypto market will reverse course and enter a bearish trend? Not at all. The price of Bitcoin is still 27% higher as on the 1st of January, which makes Bitcoin one of the best-performing assets of the year. 

Weekly chart brings focus to the 21-Week MA

BTC USD 1-week chart

BTC USD 1-week chart. Source: TradingView

The weekly chart is currently resting on an exciting MA (Moving Average), namely the 21-week MA. The previous bull cycle held this level as support towards the bull peak in December 2017, which makes this an interesting indicator for bulls to hold on to. 

If the price could find support at this level, it could mean a continuation of bullish momentum in the coming period. 

BTC USD 1-week chart

BTC USD 1-week chart. Source: TradingView

The weekly chart also clearly shows the massive selloff of the past week. However, it’s currently resting on potential support. Holding the green zone around $8,400 would line up with the 21-WMA and possibly grant a relief rally. 

For sustained upwards momentum, it’s crucial that a breakthrough of the past high at $10,400 takes place but such a move could take some time. The market must find support before these levels can be targeted. 

If Bitcoin price can’t find support at $8,400, the next level to target is at $7,500-$7,700. 

Total market capitalization searches for support

Total market capitalization cryptocurrency chart

Total market capitalization cryptocurrency chart. Source: TradingView

The total market capitalization for cryptocurrencies was unable to break above $300 billion and also couldn’t find support at $250 billion so further downwards momentum was expected.

Currently, an exciting level is approaching as the 21-WMA is also showing up on this chart. Through the whole bull cycle of 2016-2017, the 21-WMA granted support on the total market capitalization as a whole. Providing support in this area would give bulls arguments for upwards momentum. 

Aside from the 21-WMA, a crucial horizontal level can be seen here. During 2018 and 2019, the market capitalization found support at the $225 billion level several times. Showing support here would grant potential upward continuation, as the total market capitalization had been making higher lows since the bottom in December 2018. 

Are altcoins close to bottoming out? 

Total altcoin cryptocurrency market capitalization chart

Total altcoin cryptocurrency market capitalization chart. Source: TradingView

The altcoin market capitalization shows a similar outlook as the rest of the market. There was a massive rejection at the horizontal level at $115 billion, through which the altcoins are searching for support also. 

The next significant level is found around $73-$75 billion, which is similar to the $225 billion of total market capitalization. Since the bottom in December 2018, altcoins have been consistently made higher lows, warranting a new upwards trend to occur. Finding support around the $73 billion levels would warrant another higher low and potential continuation upwards. 

The bullish scenario for Bitcoin 

If the scenario turned bullish, a relief rally towards $9,200-9,400 would be the first step. To do this, Bitcoin price needs to find support at $8,250-$8,400 in order to sustain some upwards momentum to retest previous support levels for resistance.

BTC USD 12-hour bullish scenario chart

BTC USD 12-hour bullish scenario chart. Source: TradingView

The next important question investors will ask will be: Can Bitcoin price break through the resistance and continue its upward momentum? If the answer is no, a likely retest of the $8,200-$8,400 area is next to occur. 

However, breaking the resistance around $9,200-$9,400 and making it support would open the door for a move to the next levels near the $10,400 highs of two weeks ago. 

And finally, finding support around this area would confirm the 21-WMA to be supported again, which is a massive indicator for bull/bear momentum. 

The bearish scenario for Bitcoin 

BTC USD 4-hour chart.

BTC USD 4-hour chart. Source: TradingView

There’s no clear guideline for a bearish scenario at this point, but the chart is showing several perspectives. What traders should look for are potential bearish retests. If the price of Bitcoin rallies upwards without any volume and rejects at $8,950 or even $9,175, a bearish retest is confirmed, and the price should trend further down. 

If such a bearish retest occurs, the price will likely retest the support around $8,200-$8,400 one more time. 

However, the more support gets tested, the weaker it becomes. Heavy retests of this support would typically induce further continuation downwards to $7,500-$7,700 as the next primary support after this zone. 

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk. You should conduct your own research when making a decision.

Threat Alert: New Trojans Targeting Major Crypto Exchanges Apps Discovered

Threat Alert: New Trojans Targeting Major Crypto Exchanges Apps Discovered

US-based exchange Coinbase is being targeted by a new banking Trojan that steals Google 2FA Codes.

ThreatFabric, an Amsterdam-based cybersecurity firm specializing in threats to the financial industry, has identified the "Cerberus" Trojan that steals 2-Factor Authentication (2FA) codes generated by the Google Authenticator app for internet banking, email accounts, and cryptocurrency exchanges.

US-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase is one of the crypto platforms listed in Cerberus’ exhaustive list of targets — which also includes major financial institutions around the world and social media apps. 

The cybersecurity firm notes that it has not identified any advertisement on the dark beb for Cerberus’ updated features, leading it to believe that the updated version is “still in the test phase but might be released soon.”

Cerberus updated during early 2020

ThreatFabric’s report states that the Remote Access Trojan (RAT) “Cerberus,” was first identified during the end of June, superseding the Anubis Trojan and emerging as a major Malware-as-a-Service product.

The report states that Cerberus was updated in mid-January 2020, with the new version introducing the capability to steal 2FA tokens from Google Authenticator, as well as device screen-lock PIN codes and swipe patterns.

Once installed, Cerberus is able to download a device’s contents, and establish connections providing the malicious actor with full remote access over the device. The RAT can then be used to operate any app on the device, including bank and cryptocurrency exchange apps.

“The feature enabling theft of device’s screen lock credentials (PIN and lock pattern) is powered by a simple overlay that will require the victim to unlock the device. From the implementation of the RAT we can conclude that this screen-lock credential theft was built in order for the actors to be able to remotely unlock the device in order to perform fraud when the victim is not using the device. This once more shows the creativity of criminals to build the right tools to be successful.”

Banking Trojans increasingly target crypto wallet apps

The report also examines two other RATs that rose to prominence after Anubis — “Hydra” and “Gustaff.”

Gustaff targets Australian and Canadian banks, cryptocurrency wallets, and government websites, while Hydra has recently expanded in scope after mostly targeting Turkish banks and blockchain wallets.

Including Cerberus, the three Trojans target at least 26 cryptocurrency exchanges and custody providers. The targets include several leaders in the crypto sector, including Coinbase, Binance, Xapo, Wirex, and Bitpay. 

More than 20 of the targets are wallets providers offering support for leading cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and Bitcoin Cash (BCH)

A potential defense against Cerberus is to use a physical authentication key to prevent remote attacks. These keys require a hacker to have the actual device in their presence, which helps minimize the risk of a successful attack.

New Malta Government Says It Still Wants to Run a ‘Blockchain Island’

New Malta Government Says It Still Wants to Run a ‘Blockchain Island’

Will Malta continue to be a “blockchain island” or has it lost its way to the top of the ledger?

Last week, the financial watchdog of Malta came forward with an unexpected statement. Apparently, Binance, a leading cryptocurrency exchange that had been enjoying a close relationship with local authorities, is not authorized “to operate in the crypto currency sphere,” as the regulator’s press release stressed. 

While the Malta Financial Services Authority has yet to license any cryptocurrency business — and not just Binance — under the country’s widely marketed cryptocurrency framework, the statement signifies a deterioration in relations between the cryptocurrency sector and Maltese officials, who have claimed to run a “blockchain island.” 

While the change of tone could be attributed to the recent resignation of Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and the subsequent arrival of his successor, it seems like the local cryptocurrency industry had started to experience difficulties even before that. Nevertheless, in a comment to Cointelegraph, the new government has reiterated its plans to operate as a blockchain island.

Inside Malta’s grand plan 

In September 2018, then-Prime Minister Muscat ambitiously presented his country as a blockchain island during his speech at the United Nations General Assembly. Indeed, about two months prior to the announcement, the Maltese government had approved three crypto-related bills, aiming to establish a strong and transparent regulatory climate: namely, the Digital Innovation Authority Act, the Innovative Technological Arrangement and Services Act, and the Virtual Financial Asset Act.

Although nations like Canada, Japan and Belarus had already enacted cryptocurrency-specific laws by that time, Malta's transition toward becoming a blockchain island was unprecedentedly rapid. The term itself was coined in April 2018 when Silvio Schembri, the current minister of economy, investment and small business, commented to Cointelegraph on the news about Binance, the world’s top exchange, potentially moving to Malta after facing regulatory difficulties in Japan, where it was previously headquartered.

Binance’s relationship with the Maltese government was indeed close at the time. For instance, soon after the article announcing Binance’s interest in Malta aired on Bloomberg, Prime Minister Muscat personally welcomed the exchange via Twitter, writing: “Welcome to Malta, Binance.” Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao, also known as CZ, soon responded to the prime minister’s tweet, adding that he was optimistic about the overall possibilities for crypto in the country.

Further, at some point in the summer of 2018, the company even had a private event in Malta, which was held at the official residence of the President of Malta. “How many of you have attended a blockchain even at the presidential palace?” CZ asked while giving a speech under the ancient walls, adding, “We got very, very lucky with Malta. Malta came at a time when regulatory clarity was very much needed.”

Other foreign crypto companies looking for a friendlier jurisdiction soon followed suit, namely fellow exchanges OKEx and BitBay, which had been based in Japan and Poland respectively. Malta’s lowest corporate tax rate for international companies in the European Union — set at a modest 5%, compared to the EU average of 22% — appeared to be yet another rationale for relocating.

In October 2018, Malta continued its “pro-blockchain” politics, signing a declaration to promote blockchain usage along with seven other EU countries. Then, on Nov. 1, the three aforementioned blockchain laws came into effect — and that’s when local players started to first experience difficulties. 

Slow regulations don’t go well with a fast market

The most important part of the three Maltese blockchain laws — the VFA act — essentially requires businesses to get licensed by the Malta Financial Services Authority if they conduct initial coin offerings, trade digital assets, or provide electronic wallets and brokerage activities. 

The act also introduces so-called VFA Agents — entities that audit and advocate such firms. According to Christopher P. Buttigieg, the chief officer responsible for strategy, policy and innovation at the MFSA, “The role of the VFA Agent under the VFA Act is primarily that of gatekeeper,” or the first line of defense. The agency registered the first VFA agents in May 2019, six months after the act came into force. Currently, there are 20 authorized VFA agents, according to the MFSA’s financial register.

However, no businesses have been licensed under the VFA framework yet, despite the fact that it’s been more than a year since it was enacted. “This is definitely disappointing for the hundreds of companies which were lured to the country on promises of a friendly, understanding regulatory environment,” Jan Sammut, founder of ICO Launch Malta, told Cointelegraph. He went on to add:

“My impression is that the government at the time prioritised primacy to market ahead of operational readiness. Subsequently, what initially started off as an understandable desire to 'get things right' and not put the country's reputation at risk in the event of a scandal, seems to have devolved into the double whammy of an absolute overkill of a regulatory package, along with a total operational complacency in issuing actual licences.” 

“Crypto startups still struggle to obtain financial services due to regulatory sluggishness,” an OKEx spokesperson confirmed to Cointelegraph, adding that the exchange is still dedicated to operating from Malta, having applied for a license after the transition period ended. The OKEx representative elaborated:

“We would like to reiterate that OKEx would continue to commit resources to Malta and embrace relevant regulation. In 2018, OKEx has received permission to operate and provide its services out of Malta under the transitory provision granted by MFSA for a period of one year until the license is obtained. Recently, OKEx has submitted an application for obtaining a VFA license.”

On top of the MFSA’s apparent procrastination with the licenses, there are other issues — namely, their potential cost-efficiency. As Leon Siegmund, a board member of Malta’s Blockchain Association and founder of Bitcoin Club Malta, told crypto news outlet Decrypt of the VFA license, “It’s too expensive; it doesn’t provide any value. As long as it’s not passportable, it’s a small market, so it’s not really useful.” Reportedly, the MFSA requires a fee of 10,000 euros to handle a preliminary VFA application.

Moreover, the local approach to crypto regulation is not that soft. As Cointelegraph previously reported, on top of Anti-Money Laundering and Know Your Customer policies imposed by the VFA framework, there is also the EU’s AMLD5 directive.

Related: Governments Begin to Roll Out FATF’s Travel Rule Around the Globe

At the time, Daniele Bernardi, CEO of Malta-based financial advisory company Diaman Group, told Cointelegraph that the stringent compliance requirements have scared local banks away, making it difficult for local businesses to find a financial partner, “The banks in Malta don’t open any kind of account for crypto companies, due to their fear of breaking the AML policy.” Wayne Pisani, a partner at Grant Thornton, one of the 20 registered VFA agents, confirmed that sentiment to Cointelegraph:

“It was never the intention to create a soft touch regulatory framework as this would have run counter to internationally accepted principles of regulatory certainty and transparency. Indeed, the framework regulating the financial application of DLT is closely modelled on EU regulatory principles and follow ESMA guidelines.”

Pisani further added that simultaneous to the enactment of the laws, a parallel project was started “to launch bespoke guidelines setting clear procedures to guide stakeholders in their AML and CFT obligations which goes beyond the standards set by the EU 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive.” Similarly, a representative of the VFA Agent Forum, a soon-to-be-launched entity representing most VFA Agents in the country, argued in a letter sent to Cointelegraph:

“In its VFA framework, Malta has shown its commitment towards a high quality regulatory framework that does not create future inconsistencies with other international regulations. This shows that long-term strategy in having Malta establish itself as a high-quality jurisdiction in this space who is more interested in long-term sustainability rather than short-term quick wins.”

This cautious approach makes sense, given that the government of Malta has long been surrounded by corruption allegations. Back in 2016, upon reviewing the Panama Papers, local journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia claimed that a number of Muscat’s close associates, including his wife, had run firms to launder money and illegally sell passports. Eventually, Caruana Galizia’s blog, where she presented that information, became the most-read news source in Malta. In October 2017, Caruana Galizia was assassinated in a car bombing. Numerous mass protests followed, calling for Muscat's resignation, partly for his inability to resolve the bombing, which has attracted the EU’s attention.

On Dec. 1, 2019, Muscat announced he was stepping down due to the political crisis. The prime minister has been replaced with Robert Abela, a fellow Labour Party member and son of former Maltese President George Abela.

MFSA breaks it off with Binance, but the government supposedly remains pro-crypto

On Feb. 21, 2020, amid the uncertainty surrounding the VFA framework, the MFSA released a public statement, declaring that Binance “is not authorized by the MFSA to operate in the crypto currency sphere.” The agency clarified that recent media reports referred to Binance incorrectly as a “Malta-based cryptocurrency firm,” while the exchange “may not fall within the realm of regulatory oversight.”

Soon, CZ took to Twitter to label the statement as “a mix of truth, FUD & misconception.” Addressing news articles stating that Binance is not regulated to operate in Malta, the exchange’s CEO stated that Binance “is not headquartered or operated in Malta.”

According to an investigation conducted by a local anonymous blogger BugM, Binance has registered two companies in Malta, neither of which has reported any activity since their establishment. Notably, CZ has previously reassured that “any country that can attract Binance to open a branch in their location will receive a handsome tax income revenue.” According to Decrypt, Binance has a physical office in Malta but is headquartered in the Cayman Islands and Seychelles.

Sammut told Cointelegraph that this has been brewing for a while, adding that the MFSA was right to issue a clarification on the regulatory status of the exchange, elaborating:

“Bearing in mind that the company is not in fact under their supervision, the MFSA are correct in wanting to distance Malta's reputation from any potential fallout from an incident that they are unable to foresee due to the company not being under their oversight. On the other hand, if the MFSA got around to issuing licences maybe we wouldn't be here now…”

When asked to clarify its relationship with the MFSA, Binance did not reply. The MFSA also declined to comment on this story. 

However, although current-Prime Minister Abela has yet to publicly comment on cryptocurrencies and blockchain, the new government is apparently still interested in carrying on as a blockchain island. Bartolo Clayton — who has been recently appointed by the Abela as the parliamentary secretary responsible for financial services, digital economy and innovation, the position previously held by crypto-friendly Minister Schembri — clarified the official position on Binance in a letter to Cointelegraph:

“Binance has never been in possession of an official license by MFSA. Such statement has been further corroborated by Changpeng Zhao, CEO of Binance, on his personal Twitter account where he also stated that Malta has not changed its position. This, therefore, DOES NOT mean that the Government has in some way or another introduced a harsher or more stringent stance towards cryptos, but merely an authority stating facts.”

Clayton went on to add that the government of Malta is still committed to following the blockchain path and that more information will be revealed soon:

“The Government of Malta is committed to consolidate blockchain together with other niche sectors. It is the Maltese government’s belief that we believe that more synergies between these emerging sectors should be explored and encouraged in order to reap and exploit their benefits. Moreover, the Government of Malta is opting for an overarching and holistic strategy for the Digital, Financial and Innovative services in Malta. More details about the new strategy will be disclosed in the coming months.”

Thereby, the new Maltese government has not officially taken a different course concerning cryptocurrencies. As for now, the regulator continues to consult with industry players on its crypto-related initiatives. Earlier this week, the MFSA published feedback on the definition of security tokens and the challenges such assets face in Maltese markets, and how these “can be tackled in a manner that does not stifle innovation."

Jack Dorsey Should Be Replaced as Twitter CEO, Investor Proposes

Jack Dorsey Should Be Replaced as Twitter CEO, Investor Proposes

Well known activist investor Elliott Management has called for Jack Dorsey to be replaced as CEO of Twitter.

Billionaire investor, Paul Singer, is pushing for the removal of Jack Dorsey as CEO of Twitter. According to a CNBC article dated Feb. 28, the Elliott Management founder and activist investor is concerned about Dorsey’s time being split between two $5 billion-plus companies, and his desire to move to Africa.

Singer questions Dorsey’s focus

The $40.2 billion hedge fund managed by Singer took a major stake in the social media giant recently and has already nominated four replacement directors to Twitter’s board according to reports.

Dorsey has previously faced criticism for his role as CEO of two publicly listed companies; Twitter and Square, both of which have market valuations of over $5 billion. Singer is also concerned about Dorsey’s plan to work up to six months a year in Africa.

Square and Twitter both pro-Bitcoin

Dorsey is a long time supporter of Bitcoin and was instrumental in implementing an easy Bitcoin onramp into his company, Square’s, Cash App. As Cointelegraph reported this week, a full half of Cash App’s revenue now comes from Bitcoin-related revenue.

Square has also invested in Square Crypto, a team funded by Square, tasked with improving the overall Bitcoin ecosystem. Square Crypto made a number of hires in 2019, including its first hire, Steve Lee, who clarified his position in a tweet recently:

“I don't work for Square, I work for Bitcoin. Square pays me so I can spend all my time and energy working on Bitcoin.”

Wilshire Phoenix Slams SEC for Bitcoin ETF Rejection

Wilshire Phoenix Slams SEC for Bitcoin ETF Rejection

New York asset manager Wilshire Phoenix has issued a damning response to the SEC’s rejection of its proposed Bitcoin ETF.

Wilshire Phoenix, a New York-based asset management firm, has responded to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rejecting its proposed Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund (ETF).

The firm states it is “very disappointed” by the SEC’s ruling, emphasizing that it went to great lengths to ensure compliance with the SEC’s expectations:

“We made every effort to get the SEC’s attention on this important issue, including undertaking extensive analysis that was made available to the SEC staff, submitting key data, and offering to provide additional information to facilitate the listing of a much needed regulated bitcoin-related ETP in the United States. Unfortunately, the Order shows that all of these efforts did not receive the SEC’s full attention.”

SEC ruling maintains threats to US investors

Wilshire Phoenix filed its proposed ‘United States Bitcoin and Treasury Investment Trust’ with the SEC during January 2019. The firm described the fund as “provid[ing] investors with exposure to Bitcoin in a manner that is more efficient, convenient and less volatile than purchasing stand-alone Bitcoin.”

Despite the firm making six amendments to its application in 13 months, the SEC rejected Wilshire Phoenix’s application on Feb. 26 citing market manipulation and investor protection concerns.

William Herrmann, Wilshire Phoenix’s managing director, responded by arguing that a regulated Bitcoin ETF would provide retail investors with a safer means to access exposure to Bitcoin, adding that cryptocurrency demand will continue to grow regardless of the SEC’s ruling:

“Many retail investors are already investing in this commodity and investor demand continues to grow each day. Our ETP was created to provide investors with exposure to bitcoin through a regulated and transparent vehicle that also mitigates volatility. In my opinion, the Commission has done a great disservice to the public by rejecting this application.”

SEC “unwilling” to approve products offering exposure to Bitcoin

On Feb. 26, SEC commission Hester Peirce, colloquially known as “Crypto Mom” in the cryptocurrency community, issued a dissenting statement in response to the ruling.

The Commissioner argues that the SEC “applies a unique, heightened standard” to the Exchange Act regarding cryptocurrency-related filings, adding that the order is “the latest in a long string of disapproval orders” issued regarding “Bitcoin-related products.”

As such, Peirce concludes that the SEC is “unwilling” to approve “any product” offering exposure to Bitcoin:

“This line of disapprovals leads me to conclude that this Commission is unwilling to approve the listing of any product that would provide access to the market for bitcoin and that no filing will meet the ever-shifting standards that this Commission insists on applying to bitcoin-related products—and only to bitcoin-related products.”

Herrmann echoed Peirce’s assertion, stating: “The SEC has created a test for Bitcoin-related [exchange-traded products] that is clearly inconsistent with the Exchange Act.”

Peter Thiel-Backed Startup Says Texas Is the Best Place to Mine Bitcoin

Peter Thiel-Backed Startup Says Texas Is the Best Place to Mine Bitcoin

Shortly after commencing mining, the CEO of US-based mining company Layer1 has stated that texas offers bitcoin miners the “cheapest power in the world” at scale.

Alex Liegl, CEO of Layer1 Technologies, a US-based Bitcoin (BTC) mining company that recently announced its intention to repatriate 30% of Bitcoin’s hash power by 2022, has described Texas as offering miners the “cheapest power in the world, at scale.”

Less than two weeks ago, Layer1 commenced mining operations at its facility in western Texas, bringing multiple 2.5-megawatt container rigs online.

Texas is the largest producer of wind power in the United States, outproducing the second, third, and fourth-largest producers combined. If Texas were an independent nation, it would be the world’s fifth-largest generator of wind power worldwide.

Despite the cheap electricity, many miners have avoided the Lone Star state due to its heat — with temperatures regularly exceeding 90 degrees for half of each year. To combat the heat, Layer1’s mining apparatus comprises 20-by-8 shipping containers filled with miners that are suspended in a non-conductive liquid. 

“If they were air-cooled, the processors would burn up," Liegl told Forbes.

Layer1 plans to pause mining during summer

During October 2019, Layer1 raised $50 million for its venture capital investors, led by Peter Thiel alongside Digital Currency Group and Shasta Ventures.

The cash infusion funded Layer1’s acquisition of an electric substation capable of generating 100 megawatts situated on 30 acres in western Texas and rose the company’s value to $200 million.

Layer1 also plans to take advantage of skyrocketing summer electricity prices and selling its power to the grid, with Liegl stating: “We can stabilize the grid by selling capacity for curtailment at the push of a button.”

Northern Bitcoin AG to construct “largest Bitcoin mining facility in the world” in Texas

During January, Whinstone, a subsidiary of Frankfurt-based mining company Northern Bitcoin, announced that it had inked partnerships with Japanese internet provider GMO and financial services company SBI to process transactions at its forthcoming facility in Rockdale, Texas.

Whinstone’s facility is slated to launch with a capacity of 300 megawatts, with the company to expand to 1 gigawatt before 2021.

When constructed, Whinstone’s facility will have three times the capacity as Bitmain’s mining site in Rockdale — which is held to currently comprise the largest mining operation in the world.

‘Digileaker’ Claims to Have Stolen KYC Documents for 8,000 Digitex Users

‘Digileaker’ Claims to Have Stolen KYC Documents for 8,000 Digitex Users

An ex-employee of crypto exchange Digitex has leaked KYC documentation for and claims to have data for over 8,000 users.

An ex-employee of cryptocurrency derivatives exchange Digitex began leaking stolen Know-Your-Customer (KYC) on Telegram. The stolen data reportedly includes passport and driving license scans and other sensitive documentation pertaining to more than 8,000 Digitex customers. 

The Seychelles-based exchange issued Cointelegraph a statement indicating that it is not currently able to comment on the incident and is seeking legal counsel: 

“Digitex Futures is aware of a leak of confidential data. We are not able to comment fully on the incident at this time and are currently seeking legal counsel. However, we can confirm that this was not an external hack but an internal security breach orchestrated by an ex-employee with a conflict of interest against the company. We will be releasing more information on the incident as soon as possible.”

The extent of the Digitex breach is unknown

However, one source who is familiar with the matter told Cointelegraph that the data of 8,000 customers “has not been breached,” adding: 

“Only three ids have been leaked although the perpetrator confirms that he has them all and is starting to post demands so as not to leak the rest.”

On Telegram, the “Digileaker” has claimed to be in possession of “the entire KYC documentation of every single user who has used the Digitex Treasury from its inception date until today.”

In an interview with cryptocurrency scam hunter CryptoVigilante, the Digileaker claimed to have used login information obtained when Digitex registered with its KYC provider Sum and Substance.  

According to the hacker, the login “gives unrestricted access to all the KYC information of 8000+ customers including documents, address, phone numbers and other information like IP address.”

Digitex data breach gains momentum

The Digitex debacle has escalated over recent weeks, starting with the ex-employee hijacking its Facebook account to publicly disclose users’ email addresses. In a Feb. 10 blog post, Digitex stated that the breach was an “internal issue” that had been perpetrated by a “scheming and highly manipulative ex-employee.” 

The company also assured customers that “beyond their email addresses, no other sensitive information was gathered or released.”

Crypto exchanges see several attacks during February

Digitex’s data breach comes amid an increasing number of malicious attacks targeting cryptocurrency exchanges.

On Feb. 27, Okex and Bitfinex suffered simultaneous distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. While Okex’s platform was “largely unaffected,” Bitfinex entered into maintenance mode to quickly execute countermeasures and patch for all similar attacks.

On Feb. 28, the Tim Draper-backed Singaporean crypto exchange Coinhako announced that it has fully reimbursed all customers were affected by a “sophisticated attack” that began targeting the exchange seven days prior. 

The exchange responded by suspending send functionality. Coinhako has since restored send capabilities for Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH), Tether (USDT), TrueUSD (TUSD) and USD Coin (USDC).

‘You OK Boomer?’ Gold Sees Biggest Loss Since 2013 as Bitcoin Steadies

‘You OK Boomer?’ Gold Sees Biggest Loss Since 2013 as Bitcoin Steadies

The precious metal sees its worst day in seven years as the impact of coronavirus finally catches up with markets.

Bitcoin (BTC) saw a difficult week as it hit one-month lows, but on gold markets, traders were nursing the biggest daily falls in over seven years.

According to data tracking XAU/USD on Feb. 29, Friday saw the precious metal’s worst 24-hour drop since 2013.

Gold drops 7% in 5 days after coronavirus sell-off

Over the past five days, gold broadly succumbed to the sell-offs affecting traditional markets due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. Between Feb. 24 and Feb. 29, XAU/USD lost a total of 7.3% before a slight rebound.

The fragile performance puts gold roughly on par with “digital gold,” Bitcoin, the weekly losses for which currently stand at around 9%. 

Gold year-to-date chart

Gold year-to-date chart. Source: TradingView

As Cointelegraph reported, after rebounding from 4-week lows of $8,450, the largest cryptocurrency returned to its forecast average price and has since attempted to reclaim its 200-day moving average near $8,800.

While gold remained steadfast in a plummeting stock market, its proponents had cause for celebration. Gold bug and infamous Bitcoin skeptic, Peter Schiff, took the opportunity to rubbish those who believed BTC could act as a safe haven.

Schiff: gold “not invalidated”

Following the U-turn in its fortunes, Schiff remained convinced in gold’s promise, while acknowledging such drops were “very rare.”

“Today's 4% drop in gold is a very rare move in a single day. But it does happen occasionally,” he wrote in a tweet on Friday. 

“However a 4% drop in @Bitcoin is quite common,  which often posts daily declines much larger. Today's move doesn't invalidate gold's safe haven or long-term store of value status.”

Bitcoin figures, notably Schiff’s sparring partner Morgan Creek Digital co-founder Anthony Pompliano, had wryly suggested that someone should “check on” him as gold’s own health waned.

Stock market misery meanwhile continues after the Dow Jones suffered its own record-breaking daily loss on Wednesday. Traders have since overwhelmingly bet on the United States Federal Reserve cutting its short-term interest rate target significantly in 2020.

Bitcoin Price Shrugs Despite Worst Markets Correction Since 2008

Bitcoin Price Shrugs Despite Worst Markets Correction Since 2008

Bitcoin price has stabilized above the $8.5K support as equities markets continued to implode over investor fears of Coronavirus contagion.

Since the start of the week Bitcoin (BTC) price has dropped more than $38 billion as traditional markets also fell by more than 10%. As reported throughout mainstream media, this week’s collapse of the largest equities markets is the worst correction since the 2008 meltdown and more than $3.8 trillion in value was erased as daily news of the Coronavirus spreading throughout the world dominated headlines.

Investors are now wondering if the rally which propelled Bitcoin price from $6,400 to $10,500 is over and as the end of the month approaches, Bitcoin is on course to record a monthly loss in February for the first time in 6 years. 

On Friday Bitcoin price appeared to be on the second day of finding stability in the $8,500 to $8,750 zone, whereas traditional markets continued to fall. The freefall amongst altcoins also appears to have stopped and Chainlink (LINK), Huobi Token (HT), Tezos (XTZ) being standout performers. 

Crypto market daily price chart

Crypto market daily price chart. Source: Coin360

At the time of writing, Bitcoin price is forming higher lows and trading above the high volume node of the VPVR at $8,750. If the price can sustain above $8,750, traders may begin to feel more confident about a bottom having been reached at $8,432 and as they step in to open long positions the price could quickly rise through the volume gap in the VPVR from $8,870-$9123 where the 20-MA of the Bollinger Band indicator currently resides. 

Next week a high volume breakout driven by improving equities markets or some positive news related to the Coronavirus could see buyers press the price above the $9,100 level to $9,300. 

BTC USDT 6-hour chart

BTC USDT 6-hour chart. Source: TradingView

The shorter time frame also shows the moving average convergence divergence on the verge of pulling above the signal line and as bull volume increases another positive is the MACD histogram bars shortening and drawing closer to 0 on the indicator. The relative strength index (RSI) has also bounced from oversold territory, currently registering 37. 

As mentioned in a previous analysis, trading volume will be the tell on whether a bullish reversal is in the making or if day traders are simply trading support levels and oversold bounces to bag quick profits.  

BTC USDT daily chart

BTC USDT daily chart. Source: TradingView

Over the short-term, it would be encouraging to see the price cross above the Bollinger Band moving average to reclaim $9,100 in order to consolidate in the $9,100 to $9,400 range before having a go at $9,500. 

The $8,500 support also lines up with the 128-day moving average and losing this support would raise some concern as the price history shows Bitcoin price taking a turn for the worse when below the 128-MA. 

If the price were to drop below $8,500 traders might anticipate a bounce at $8,000 where the 61.8% Fibonacci retracement level is, and below this, there is support at $7,400 which is slightly the 78.6% Fibonacci retracement. 

At the moment the market is still soft and while indicators like the MACD and RSI are providing some positive symbols, the state of traditional markets and the situation with Coronavirus could continue to negatively impact crypto prices next week. 

The Crypto Fear and Greed Index, a popular indicator used to gauge investor sentiment in the sector, currently reads ‘Fear’ at 38. 

Crypto Fear & Greed Index

Crypto Fear & Greed Index. Source:

This shows that investors remain bearish about the short-term price action within the crypto market but it’s a well-known fact that many traders countertrade the signal by buying Bitcoin when the indicator is extremely bearish and selling when it is overwhelmingly bullish. 

Obviously, every investor should do their own research before purchasing crypto-assets, especially with the current state of the market, but it also seems likely that investors will soon view Bitcoin prices in the $8,500 to $7,400 as an opportunity to open long positions. More risk-averse traders will probably look to buy a breakout above $9,400-$9,500. 

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk. You should conduct your own research when making a decision.