Ethereum flips Bitcoin’s node count

Ethereum flips Bitcoin’s node count

A surge of validators awaiting Eth2 staking has pushed Ethereum’s node count to 11,259 — surpassing Bitcoin by more than 100.

Ethereum 2.0 genesis stakers have pushed the total number of Ethereum nodes past the number of Bitcoin nodes for the second time this year.

According to, 11,259 Ethereum nodes are currently active, giving it a roughly 1% lead over Bitcoin’s 11,136. Ethereum’s node count last surpassed Bitcoin’s in early September.

The number of Ethereum nodes has increased by more than 50% in the past two weeks or so, spiking from 8,086 on Nov. 15 — 11 days after the Eth2 deposit contract went live. Ethereum’s node count overtook Bitcoin’s on Nov. 30.

Ethereum historic node count:

According to Blockchain Center’s “Flippening” index — which seeks to track the strength of Ethereum’s network relative to Bitcoin — the surge in node counts has seen the index gain from 50.5% to 62.4% over the course of November.

The Flippening Index: Blockchain Center

According to the index, node count is the third major on-chain metric on which Ethereum has currently “flipped” Bitcoin, alongside transaction count and transaction fees.

Etherscan estimates that Ethereum processed nearly 1.2 million transactions in the past 24 hours, compared to Bitcoin’s 300,000. Ethereum also processed $3.6 million worth of transaction fees in the last 24 hours, while Bitcoin fees were worth close to $1.4 million.

The Flippening Index estimates that Ethereum posted a two-year high of 67.68% for strength relative to Bitcoin in early September due to the third-quarter DeFi boom.

Eth2's beacon chain genesis kicks off in just a few hours from now. The launch of the deposit contract allowed ETH holders to designate their Ethereum for staking, with the 524,288 Ether required to initiate the launch of the beacon chain being surpassed just hours before its deadline on Nov. 24.

According to, 878,808 Ether have now been sent to the deposit contract. The beacon chain’s genesis will lay the groundwork for sharding and proof-of-stake.

Bitmex parent 100x appoints German stock exchange exec as new CEO

Bitmex parent 100x appoints German stock exchange exec as new CEO

Amid ongoing legal action from U.S. authorities, the company behind Bitmex — 100x — has announced a new CEO.

100x — the holding group for Bitmex’s parent company — has announced the appointment of a permanent new CEO in the wake of charges filed in Octob against the exchange’s co-founders, including former CEO of both 100x and Bitmex, Arthur Hayes.

On Dec. 1, 100x announced that the former chief executive officer of German stock exchange Borse Stuttgart GmbH, Alexander Hoptner, will take over as CEO during January 2021. Hoptner will also join 100x’s board of directors, and will report directly to the group’s chairman, David Wong. 100x’s new CEO stated:

“I am proud to join 100x Group because I share the global ambition and audacity of its founders and employees to create an ecosystem of cryptocurrency technology that will improve lives. The future of this industry will increasingly belong to those who provide a regulated trading environment that is innovative, liquid, and fair for institutional and retail investors alike.”

Hoptner takes over from 100x’s current interim-CEO, Vivien Khoo — who was promoted from COO on Oct. 8 as an emergency replacement for Hayes. 

The Oct.1 charges from the U.S. Department of Justice and Commodity Futures Trading Commission accuse BitMEX’s founders Arthur Hayes, Ben Delo, Samuel Reed, and Gregory Dwyer of violating U.S. money laundering laws and offering illegal derivatives products to American customers. The accused all stood down from their executive responsibilities with 100x on Oct. 8

Samuel Reed was arrested on Oct. 1 before being released the following week after posting a $5 million bond. None of the remaining accused have been apprehended by U.S. authorities. Hayes is expected to remain in Hong Kong. The territory suspended its extradition treaty with the United States in August.

Authorities shut off electricity to Bitcoin miners in China’s Yunnan province

Authorities shut off electricity to Bitcoin miners in China’s Yunnan province

Local media reports indicate electricity producers in Yunnan, China’s fourth-largest province by Bitcoin hash rate, have been ordered not to provide power to crypto mines.

Local sources report that authorities from the city of Baoshan in the Chinese province of Yunnan are escalating efforts to crack down on Bitcoin miners, ordering electricity producers to cease supplying power to the city’s miners.

On Nov. 30, Chinese crypto reporter Colin Wu tweeted that several miners had informed him of the ban, sharing what appear to be scanned copies of official documents issued to power producers:

However, Wu added that the ban was probably informed by localized “economic interests,” and probably is not indicative of a desire to quash crypto mining on the part of Beijing: 

“There is no need to overestimate the impact of this incident. The attitude of China local power companies towards crypto mining is often changing. It is more a demand for economic interests than political pressure.”

The ban appears to have coincided with a 24-hour drop in global hash rate of roughly 10% from 140 exahashes per second to 125 EX/s, though correlation is far from causation.

According to Cambridge University’s Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index, or BECI, Yunnan was China’s fourth-largest region by mining hash rate, behind Xinjian, Sichuan, and Inner Mongolia as of April 2020. Yunnan then represented 5.42% of global hash rate — ranking it above all countries except for China, the United States, Russia, and Kazakhstan.

In June, Wu reported that Yunnan’s government had ordered 64 unauthorized mining operations to shut down, including seven that were still under construction. The government cited tax evasion and security risks including how the mines were wired to local hydropower stations.

During that same month, a local Bitcoin mine caught on fire, resulting in the incineration of thousands of units.

The mid-year crackdown also followed a May 29 explosion at a hydropower station in Yunnan that killed six people and injured five. The explosion was believed to have prompted greater enforcement of safety standards concerning hydropower plants in the region.

In April, Yunnan’s state grid also issued a document warning electricity producers against the unauthorized diversion of power to Bitcoin mines.

4 key indicators reflect extreme optimism from pro Bitcoin traders

4 key indicators reflect extreme optimism from pro Bitcoin traders

Key derivatives indicators show pro traders remain strongly bullish even as Bitcoin price continues to reject at $19,800.

Most investors that follow Bitcoin will have recently heard about the growing impact Bitcoin (BTC) futures and options markets have on Bitcoin price. The same can be said for the price swings caused by liquidations at OKEx and Huobi exchanges.

Considering that derivatives markets are now playing a much bigger role in Bitcoin price fluctuations, it is becoming increasingly necessary to review some of the key metrics professional traders use to gauge activity in the markets.

While reviewing futures and options contracts can be quite complicated, the average retail trader can still benefit from knowing how to properly interpret the futures premium, funding rate, options skew and put-call ratio.

Futures remium

The futures premium measures how expensive longer-term futures contracts are to the current spot at traditional markets. It can be thought of as a relative reflection of investor optimism, and fixed-calendar futures tend to trade at a slight premium to regular spot exchanges.

The 2-month futures should trade with a 0.8% to 2.3% premium in healthy markets, and any number above this range denotes extreme optimism. Meanwhile, the lack of a futures premium indicates bearishness.

BTC 2-month future contracts premium. Source: Digital Assets Data

The past week was a roller coaster and the indicator reached 2% on Nov. 24 while Bitcoin price peaked at $19,434.

Even though the premium currently sits at 1.1%, what is more significant is that despite a 14% price drop, the indicator held above 0.8%. Generally, investors view this level as bullish, and today we can see that Bitcoin price secured a new high above $19,900.

Perpetual futures funding rate

Perpetual contracts, also known as inverse swaps, have an embedded rate usually charged every eight hours. Funding rates ensure there are no exchange risk imbalances. Even though both buyers and sellers open interest is matched at all times, leverage can vary.

When buyers (longs) are the ones demanding more leverage, the funding rate goes positive. Therefore, those buyers will be the ones paying up the fees. This issue holds especially true under bull run periods, when usually there's more demand for longs.

Sustainable rates above 2% per week translate to extreme optimism. This level is acceptable during market rallies but problematic if BTC price is sideways or in a downtrend.

In situations like these, high leverage from buyers presents the potential of large liquidations during surprise price drops.

BTC perpetual futures funding rates. Source: Digital Assets Data

Take notice how, despite the recent bull run, the weekly funding rate has managed to remain below 2%. This data indicates that although traders feel optimistic, buyers were not overleveraged. Similarly, during the $1,400 price drop on Nov. 26, the indicator held a healthy neutral level.

Options skew

Unlike futures contracts, options are divided into two segments. Call (buy) options allow the buyer to acquire BTC at a fixed price on the expiry date. On the other hand, the seller of the instrument will be obliged to make the BTC sale.

The 25% delta skew compares side-by-side equivalent call (buy) and put (sell) options. If the protection for price upswings using call options is more costlier, the skew indicator shifts to the negative range. The opposite holds when investors are bearish, causing put options to trade at a premium, causing skew indicators to shift positively.

Oscillations between -15% (slightly bullish) to +15% (somewhat bearish) are typical and expected. It's very unusual for any market to remain flat or near zero most of the time.

Thus, traders should monitor more extreme situations as they may indicate that market makers are unwilling to take risks on either side.

BTC 3-month options 25% delta skew. Source:

The above chart shows that since Nov. 5, option traders are unwilling to take positions exposing themselves against an upside. Therefore, traders will deem this a very bullish situation.

Options put-call ratio

By measuring whether more activity is going through call (buy) options or put (sell) options, one can gauge the overall market sentiment. Generally speaking, call options are used for bullish strategies, whereas put options for bearish ones.

A 0.70 put-to-call ratio indicates that put options open interest lag the more bullish calls by 30% and is therefore bullish.

In contrast, a 1.20 indicator favors put options by 20%, which can be deemed bearish. One thing to note is that the indicator aggregates the entire BTC options market, including all calendar months.

BTC options put-to-call ratio. Source:

In situations such as the one currently seen in the market, it’s only natural for investors to seek downside protection as BTC surpasses $19,000 even though the put/call ratio has been way below its 6-month average of 0.90. The current 0.64 level shows that there is a lack of pessimism from professional traders.

Overall these four key indicators have held steady, especially considering the market just suffered a somewhat traumatic pullback as BTC price dropped to retest $16,200.

With the price back above $19,500 again, nearly every investor wants to know if Bitcoin has enough strength to break its all-time high this week.

From a derivatives trading perspective, nothing is holding it back.

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.

Eth2 dev talks about challenges and lessons learned ahead of mainnet launch

Eth2 dev talks about challenges and lessons learned ahead of mainnet launch

Despite some “unanticipated consequences,” the testnets were instrumental in stress-testing Eth2.

After years of delays and changes in plans, Ethereum 2.0 is finally approaching release on Dec. 1.

Ethereum 2.0 Phase 0 is introducing the long-awaited mechanism of staking to the smart contract platform, in addition to launching the skeleton of a future Eth2 blockchain, the Beacon Chain.

Progress in 2020 steadily picked up pace as more and more testnets were introduced and iterated on. While they were successful in aggregate, they were not exempt from problems related to synchronization and block production.

Part of those issues came from the challenge of keeping the same pace between seven different clients, or Ethereum 2.0 node software, working with different programming languages and technology stacks.

Cointelegraph spoke with Zahary Karadjov, research developer at Nimbus — one of those clients — to learn more about both the road Ethereum 2.0 has traveled so far and the next legs of the journey.

The interview has been lightly edited for length and context.

Cointelegraph: Nimbus seems to have had a few more issues catching up to the shared Ethereum 2.0 specifications. Why do you think that is?

Zahary Karadjov: We were very busy preparing Nimbus for mainnet. It’s fair to say that it has been a little bit more challenging for us because it took us a while to develop some of the components that the other teams already had available — more specifically, the Libp2p networking layer.

This is something that we had to build from scratch, and it took us quite a lot of time to stabilize it. There were a few months where we were struggling with performance. It was only recently that we published our initial stable release. But right now, we feel confident for mainnet: We are working on the last of the small issues, and our audit has also been completed.

CT: Prysm and Lighthouse — which similar to existing Ethereum 1.0 clients were built in Go and Rust, respectively — seem to have been ahead of the others so far. Is that because they were able to build on the work done for Ethereum 1.0?

ZK: My explanation will be a simplification, as there are many factors involved. But I would say that developing Libp2p has been the most significant source of delays for us. And the logic is easy to see here: Teku, which is developed in Java, also didn’t have a Libp2p implementation, and it also became ready at a slightly later stage.

The Prysm team had the luxury of having Libp2p developed a very long time ago, as it was originally developed in Go, while Lighthouse was able to take advantage of the implementation created, again, quite some time ago by the Parity team for its work on Polkadot.

Libp2p is the networking layer of Ethereum 2.0 — you can say it’s a completely different technology from the one that’s used in Ethereum 1.0. In very practical terms, it’s a publish-subscribe technology called Gossipsub, which is an optimized way to broadcast information in the network.

CT: Let’s talk about the Medalla testnet. What lessons did Nimbus and the Eth2 community learn, especially considering the periods where the blockchain wasn’t providing block finality guarantees?

ZK: Well, the struggles with finality started with a technical issue. There’s the famous Cloudflare Roughtime incident, which demonstrated exactly what we were discussing in our previous conversation. If everybody on the network is using the same client, a technical issue in this particular client could put a lot of validators offline, which may immediately render the network into a non-finalizing state.

We had this issue with the Prysm client, and it also taught an important lesson in the importance of communication. The Prysm team was able to provide a fix for this issue in a very short amount of time — just a couple of hours. But it took quite a while for the community to realize there was a problem and to deploy the fix.

This was the initial incident that created a long period of non-finalization for Medalla. But this was actually very helpful for the clients because when the network is not finalizing, the clients have to consider many different possible forks and alternative histories, and this puts a lot of stress on the clients. So, these long periods of non-finalization allowed us to see and to optimize the clients for these stressful moments in the network where everything is not running as expected.

CT: During the testnet and the non-finality period, some users complained that their stake was reduced even if they were online. Is that a bug or a feature of the system?

ZK: You could describe it as an unanticipated consequence. Basically, the problem is that the client gets rewarded for the attestations broadcast on the network. But these attestations are supposed to be included in blocks. If there is nobody to produce blocks, your attestations don’t end up on the chain. So, it looks like you’re not active.

I think this issue is well recognized and acknowledged by the implementation team and the research team. It should be addressed in the future of Ethereum — in Phase 1, or even Phase 0.5, one of the very first upgrades of the network. But we should not forget that it would be quite unexpected if we see low participation rates on the mainnet, as when there’s real stake involved, the incentives for validators to be online are much stronger.

CT: Do you think these complexities and the requirement of being constantly online could turn people away from staking with their own devices?

ZK: Well, this is a very common misconception that I think we should do a much better job at communicating. Actually, the risks of not being online all the time are not that great. You will make a profit if you are online more than 50% of the time. Think about it: You can be offline for half of the year, and you’ll still be at zero. You won’t be making any money, but you also won’t be losing any money. The protocol is quite forgiving in this regard.

CT: What comes after the mainnet launch of Phase 0? Is sharding the next upgrade on the list or do you expect more work required for this initial Beacon Chain?

ZK: There will certainly be upgrades coming with the integration of Phase 1, and it would require breaking changes — or let’s just call it a hard fork — where the client teams will release new software as more functionality is brought online. We expect the rollout of the finality gadget at some point, which will finalize the Ethereum 1.0 chain through the consensus mechanism of Ethereum 2.0. All of these ongoing releases are going to happen in parallel. They’re a little bit independent from each other and are part of the Ethereum roadmap for the next few years.

Venezuelan army starts mining Bitcoin to make ends meet

Venezuelan army starts mining Bitcoin to make ends meet

The Venezuelan army turns to crypto mining as the country's economy collapses.

The regime of Nicolás Maduro continues to lean on crypto to keep economically solvent.

Via Instagram, an engineering brigade of the Venezuelan army inaugurated the new "Digital Assets Production Center of the Bolivarian Army of Venezuela." As the video shows, the center houses various ASIC mining equipment used to crack proof-of-work algorithms.

General Lenin Herrera presented the new mining operation. The stated goal of the mining operation is "strengthening and self-sustainability of our units of the Bolivarian Army," adding later that these mining centers would be generating "unblockable sources of income" and an alternative to the "trust system blocked and controlled by colonialist interests," referring to the United States, a country that has leveled sanctions against many associates of the Maduro regime.

With oil prices crashing and political turmoil taking its toll even before COVID-19, Venezuela has seen historic inflation in recent months. 

As Cointelegraph reported in September, Maduro proposed an "Anti-Blocks Law," a legal body that proposes using cryptocurrencies to evade sanctions and access financing from international allies.

These intentions are not new. The Maduro administration has gone so far as to launch and promote its own cryptocurrency, the Petro, which has seen limited success.

On the flip side, the U.S. military is also closely observing Venezuela's crypto activities. Recently, Admiral Craig Stephen Faller referred to Maduro’s use of crypto and went so far as to link its use to drug trafficking and terrorism, adding that the armed forces were keeping an eye on all such operations.

Ethereum 2.0 staking is coming to Coinbase

Ethereum 2.0 staking is coming to Coinbase

The U.S. exchange plans to roll out support in early 2021.

U.S. digital currency exchange Coinbase has outlined plans for supporting Ethereum (ETH) 2.0 staking rewards — possibly setting the stage for even wider adoption of the smart contract platform. 

In an official blog post, Coinbase said it plans to roll out Eth2 staking, trading, and conversion services starting in early 2021. Once Eth2 is supported, existing Coinbase customers will be able to convert their ETH tokens to ETH2 and earn staking rewards.

The company said:

While staked ETH2 tokens remain locked on the beacon chain, Coinbase will also enable trading between ETH2, ETH, and all other supported currencies providing liquidity for our customers.

The news comes on the eve of the highly-anticipated Ethereum Beacon Chain launch, which kicks off a multi-year upgrade of the blockchain network. The upgrade will transition Ethereum away from existing proof-of-work consensus to a proof-of-stake network. Ethereum’s development team claims that proof-of-stake reduces centralization risks and allows for a stronger defense against 51% attacks.

This story is still in development. 

Biden should integrate Bitcoin into US financial system, says Niall Ferguson

Biden should integrate Bitcoin into US financial system, says Niall Ferguson

The economic historian said that President-elect Biden’s administration should consider Bitcoin as an alternative to a “Chinese-style digital dollar.”

British economic and financial historian Niall Ferguson said the United States needs to find its own path in adopting cryptocurrencies, rather than “building [its] own versions of China’s electronic payments systems.”

In a Bloomberg opinion piece, Ferguson said Sunday that the current pandemic has generally been good for cryptocurrency adoption, accelerating a “monetary revolution” around the world. However, the historian noted that China has been “advancing rapidly” in the rollout of its digital yuan and increasing use of mobile payments. Apps like Alipay and WeChat Pay reportedly handle roughly $40 trillion in transactions annually.

The historian believes that these measures by China are serving as a template for other countries developing cross-border payment systems and remittance payments. However, he advised against the U.S. doing so:

“Even governments that are resisting Chinese financial penetration, such as India, are essentially building their own versions of China’s electronic payments systems,” said Ferguson. “Rather than seeking to create a Chinese-style digital dollar, Joe Biden’s nascent administration should recognize the benefits of integrating Bitcoin into the U.S. financial system.”

Ferguson added that authorities in the U.S. already have methods in place to deal with enforcement surrounding Bitcoin (BTC). The Internal Revenue Service now requires individuals to make a declaration related to their crypto holdings on their returns and may be going after Coinbase users who do not comply with tax and reporting requirements. In addition, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has had its eyes on cases of money laundering using crypto.

“The point is simply that the financial data of law-abiding individuals is better protected by Bitcoin than by Alipay,” said the historian.

The president-elect’s personal views on crypto, central bank digital currencies and Bitcoin are not well known, but there are indications that people in his administration could potentially help guide crypto into a friendlier regulatory framework in the United States. For instance, Biden may be tapping former chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission Gary Gensler to be his deputy treasury secretary.

Russia's Sberbank plans release of its own crypto token, the 'Sbercoin'

Russia's Sberbank plans release of its own crypto token, the 'Sbercoin'

With new legislation on digital assets coming into effect in a month, Russian financial institutions are looking to act.

With a new law coming into effect in Russian, the country's largest bank is planning a new blockchain platform for trading, as well as a native token.

According to a Monday report from Russian business news outlet RBC, Sberbank is planning to jump into crypto come 2021 when a new law "On Digital Financial Assets," or DFA, is set to come into effect. 

The news came from Herman Gref, the CEO and chairman of Sberbank. With over 96 million clients, the state-owned bank is the largest bank in Russia.

There was speculation several months ago that Sberbank was looking into issuing its own stablecoin. The DFA law bans a number of crypto activities, but notably, it does not seem to take issue with stablecoins backed by the ruble — which may have something to do with the nation's central bank looking to digitize its currency as well. 

This Bitcoin mining company’s stock is in free fall following Q3 loss

This Bitcoin mining company’s stock is in free fall following Q3 loss

The third quarter was tough for mining rig manufacturers as the impact of COVID-19 continued to weigh heavily on the space.

The stock of one of China’s "Big Three" mining firms is in free fall Monday after reporting another quarterly loss, underscoring the operating challenges imposed by COVID-19.

Canaan Creative, which manufactures mining rigs, released its third-quarter financial results Monday. The company posted a net loss of $12.7 million, or 54 cents per share, on revenues of $24 million. Although quarterly revenues grew 5%, the company’s net losses more than quadrupled.

Quanfu Hong, Canaan’s chief financial officer, poured cold water on the negative earnings release by claiming that demand for mining equipment rebounded during the quarter — a trend expected to continue in the final stretch of 2020. He said:

“We have received a large number of pre-sale orders which are scheduled for delivery starting in the fourth quarter of 2020.”

Canaan’s share price, a consistent underperformer since debuting on Nov. 19, plunged more than 10% Monday. The stock was last seen nursing losses of around 9.5%.

Canaan stock by Yahoo Finance

Canaan crashed in lockstep with the broader financial markets in February. After a brief recovery, the stock resumed its plunge through the spring. It would eventually stabilize below $3.00 before catching a strong bid in early November, possibly due to a correlation with Bitcoin (BTC).

Along with Bitmain, Ebang and Microbt, Canaan dominates the global market for SHA-256 miners. Due to broad industry consolidation, it’s possible that only “2 or 3 players will survive into the longer term,” according to research from crypto derivatives exchange Bitmex.

The Chinese mining industry may have suffered the most due to COVID-19-related supply challenges, according to crypto analytics company Tokeninsight. Beyond the immediate impact of the pandemic, the segment appears to be in growth mode, especially in the manufacturing sector, where “New players are eager to enter the field.”

Gold and Bitcoin eye inflation-adjusted all-time highs... but it's taken gold 40 years

Gold and Bitcoin eye inflation-adjusted all-time highs... but it's taken gold 40 years

Taking U.S. dollar devaluation into account, Gold has still not reached the all-time price high it set in 1980.

Gold bug and Bitcoin (BTC) skeptic Peter Schiff was just 17 years old when the yellow metal set its true all-time price high. Meanwhile, Bitcoin, a much younger asset, sits close to its inflation-adjusted all-time high, or ATH, after just three years of downward pressure.

Adjusted for inflation, gold reached a price of $678 U.S. dollars in 1980, according to a breakdown from Visual Capitalist. Accounting for inflation, based on calculations from Officialdata .org, $678 in 1980 held the same buying power as approximately $2,142 in 2020.

The precious metal technically broke its U.S. dollar all-time high this year, hitting $2,075 according to TradingView data. Its 1980 record purchasing power level remains unbroken, however. Since its push to $2,075 in August, gold has retraced in price, sitting near $1,778 per ounce at time of publication. 

Bitcoin hit its last all-time price high in 2017, tagging $19,891.99 according to Coinbase’s price index. Accounting for inflation, Bitcoin’s record high stands at $21,131.02 in terms of value, Officialdata .org indicates.

Gold has stood the test of time as a store of value for thousands of years, undergoing price discovery in each era as people determined the metal’s worth through buying and selling. The game has potentially changed with BTC though, which is similar to a digital representation of gold — a commodity with scarce supply used for value storage. Bitcoin touts lower barriers for storage and transaction, also holding a defined limited supply.

Economist Peter Schiff has pitted gold against BTC many times, often discounting Bitcoin’s worth. While gold moves slowly in price compared to Bitcoin, Schiff likes gold for its wealth-maintenance role.

Bitcoin has ridden a dramatic price rally in recent weeks, reaching within $100 of its Coinbase all-time price high. Raoul Pal, a macro investor, recently indicated his intention to sell his gold stack and buy more BTC.

“I have a sell order in tomorrow to sell all my gold and to scale in to buy BTC and ETH (80/20),” he tweeted on Nov. 29. “I dont own anything else (except some bond calls and some $'s),” he said, adding: “98% of my liquid net worth. See, you can't categorize me except #irresponsiblylong.”

Amid Bitcoin’s upward surge, people are reportedly exiting gold in droves, as seen in recent record outflow numbers.

Tyler Winklevoss tells CNBC that ‘Cash is trash’

Tyler Winklevoss tells CNBC that ‘Cash is trash’

He believes that investors will eventually send Bitcoin’s price over $500,000.

Not one to mince words, Tyler Winklevoss reportedly told the business network CNBC that “Cash is trash.” In his view, it’s only a matter of time before investors dump the dollar and other fiat currencies for BTC:

“At some point, it is hard to look at those data points and say that Bitcoin isn’t an incredible store of value.”

His twin brother Cameron Winklevoss also said that Bitcoin (BTC) “just needs to be better than gold” to see its value rise to remarkable levels.

The twins, who run the United States-based cryptocurrency exchange Gemini, believe BTC will eventually hit $500,000 — mirroring a recent forecast from Catherine Wood, CEO of ARK Investment Management.

Crypto enthusiasts believe Bitcoin’s recent run-up is different from previous market cycles because of the influx of institutional investors into the space. Bitcoin’s maturation leap also suggests that the digital currency is carving out a permanent place in the financial system.

As Tyler Winklevoss implied, Bitcoin’s adoption curve is accelerating amid fears of a historic debasement in national currencies like the U.S. dollar. These debasement fears were at the heart of a June forecast from Goldman Sachs, which called for higher gold prices.

Unlike Bitcoin, the price of gold has languished in recent months, with the spot price now trading 14% below its August all-time high.

The bullion market has seen significant outflows in recent weeks, while holders of Bitcoin have accumulated even larger positions. Raoul Paul, CEO of Real Vision Group, recently told his Twitter followers that he will liquidate his entire gold portfolio for Bitcoin and Ether (ETH). 

Video: Bitcoin Hardware And Security With Cobo’s Lixin Liu

Video: Bitcoin Hardware And Security With Cobo’s Lixin Liu

YouTube Video

Listen To This Episode:

This episode of Bitcoin Magazine’s Bitcoin In Asia featured Lixin Liu, the head of hardware at Cobo and the creator of the Cobo Vault, out of Shanghai.

Lixin’s background in hardware and international product development, most recently in robotics with Hover Camera, made him the preferred choice of F2Pool and Cobo Founder Discus Fish when he decided to get into the Bitcoin hardware and security game.

Lixin and I discussed building out Bitcoin hardware from the ground up and why it is valuable to the Bitcoin network to have increasing competition in the hardware product space, the difference between what Chinese miners and Western retail users want in hardware products, trends he is seeing in institutional custody interest in Asia and more. 

The post Video: Bitcoin Hardware And Security With Cobo’s Lixin Liu appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

'Classic top setup'? Bitcoin price flash crashes on Kraken after all-time high

'Classic top setup'? Bitcoin price flash crashes on Kraken after all-time high

A likely "stop-loss run" triggers a one-minute candle to more than $3,000 lower than Bitcoin spot price before a rebound in extreme volatility.

Bitcoin (BTC) reached a new all-time high on various exchanges on Nov. 30, but one record, in particular, hit the headlines for a different reason.

Data from cryptocurrency exchange Kraken shows BTC/USD hit its highest ever price on its order book — then diving to $16,600 in seconds.

Kraken BTC price dumps $3,000

The reason for the crash, which will have liquidated a large number of positions and caused considerable pain for many a speculator, was likely what is known as a "stop-loss run."

Stop-loss runs involve large-volume traders who intentionally place large sell orders at a specific price point, then target where they think a large number of stop-loss positions reside. In this case, the target was around $16,600, near the location of last week's local bottom.

The result is a cascade of selling pressure that delivers the result, if successfully estimated, very quickly, only for the market to subsequently rebound once the process is over.

Kraken XBT/USD 1-minute chart showing crash. Source: TradingView

Liquidity risk is always a given factor in exchange trading, and Kraken's one-minute wick down by $3,000 aptly demonstrates why traders should exercise caution around significant price points.

Another explanation, or possibly one which contributed to the event, was investors choosing to exit at near $20,000 in order to avoid the costs of a sudden reversal at resistance.

Bollinger cautions over "classic top formation"

"OK, time to pay attention, $BTCUSD. That is a classic top setup," John Bollinger, creator of the Bollinger Bands volatility indicator, warned.

"No confirmation yet and the setup could easily be overrun, but wise traders should wash their glasses."

When asked by a Twitter user if this is a local top or whether Bitcoin's price will go down from here, he responded that "For now, a potential local top..."

Beyond Kraken, meanwhile, Bitstamp also reached its own all-time high at $19,869, with BTC/USD then falling towards $19,000, a level which the pair reclaimed just hours ago.

"For those who are feeling bullish about #Bitcoin, today is the day you’ve been waiting for," exchange Binance meanwhile summarized.

Justice Department extradites alleged BTC mining Ponzi operator from Panama

Justice Department extradites alleged BTC mining Ponzi operator from Panama

AirBit Club's leadership has been gathered in New York City and will face charges for stealing "membership dues" to finance massive marketing events and lavish personal lifestyles.

Per a Monday announcement, the United States Department of Justice and the Southern District of New York have extradited from Panama a leader of alleged Ponzi scheme AirBit Club. 

Gutemberg Dos Santos is one of six operators of AirBit Club indicted, and the last to come into the U.S. to face trial before the SDNY. Dos Santos is a dual citizen of Brazil and the United States. Authorities initially apprehended five of the six back in August, with a sixth avoiding authorities until October. 

The DoJ alleges that AirBit Club sold "memberships" that promised guaranteed returns. The six operators marketed their returns as being the product of the club's mining operations and trading strategies. Per the DoJ, those operations didn't exist. Instead, membership dues went to funding further marketing all around the world, including massive events to recruit new members and jet-set lifestyles for themselves.

Some of these events are viewable on AirBit Club's still-active website, with the most recent taking place in Sao Paulo, Brazil, last year.

One of the six indicted was Scott Hughes, a California attorney who, the DoJ alleges, aided AirBit Club's leadership "by, among other things, helping to remove negative information about AirBit Club and Vizinova from the internet" — possibly by threatening libel suits to shut down dissent. 

Hughes also stands accused of helping the operation launder income via various client accounts. 

One of the most famous Ponzi schemes in crypto is PlusToken, which recently saw over $4 billion worth of crypto assets confiscated by the Chinese government. 

Can DeFi indices finally make crypto-based passive investing worthwhile?

Can DeFi indices finally make crypto-based passive investing worthwhile?

The concept of a DeFi ETF sounds promising, but it’s not without pitfalls.

Index investing in the stock market has become extremely popular thanks to the proliferation of exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, which often track popular market indices like the S&P 500 or the Nasdaq-100.

Investing in the entire market can be a simple but effective strategy. Instead of spending energy and time in trying to beat it — often unsuccessfully — investors are guaranteed average returns, which in the past 10 years have been more than respectable both in stocks and in crypto.

The rise of decentralized finance in the summer of 2020 seems to have reinvigorated the concept of passive investment in crypto. In addition to creating a new well-defined category of crypto assets, it has boosted the infrastructure required to create something analogous to a crypto-native ETF.

Several projects and platforms launched their own DeFi indices in 2020. Some, such as the FTX DeFi perpetual contract or Synthetix’s sDEFI, are derivative products based on synthetic contracts. They simply track the price of a basket of assets, without owning the underlying tokens.

But DeFi grants the possibility of creating something much closer to an ETF. These types of funds always own the underlying basket of assets that they are supposed to track. At the end of each trading day, some large institutions have the privilege of creating or redeeming shares of the ETF for its net asset value. They create new shares and sell them if the ETF is more expensive than the assets it holds, and they redeem existing shares if it’s worth less.

A DeFi-based index allows for the same exact type of arbitrage mechanism, but it doesn’t need to be limited to a privileged set of maintainers.

Currently, there are three major ETF-like DeFi products: the DeFi Pulse Index, two different indices by PieDAO, and Power Index by PowerPool.

The indices differ primarily by the assets they consist of and how each token is weighted. DeFi Pulse and PieDAO use market-capitalization weighting, while PowerPool has a fixed quota for each token. The PieDAO and PowerPool indices can be changed by governance voting with Dough and CVP, respectively.

While DeFi Pulse and PieDAO closely emulate the features of a traditional ETF, PowerPool’s index construction highlights that DeFi indices may eventually grow beyond the possibilities offered by stock markets.

The index allows holders to vote in governance proposals for the underlying protocols without exiting from the index. This is part of the team’s vision of smart indices that maintain the utility offered by direct ownership of the underlying tokens. While this is likely dictated by the project’s strong focus on meta-governance, it suggests that the possibilities offered by DeFi composability are yet to be fully explored.

The DeFi Pulse index is currently the most popular, with a market capitalization of $36 million. The combined value of PieDAO’s two indices is valued at $3.7 million, while the Power Index maxed out its current cap of $500,000 in value.

While still small, these indices were launched relatively recently and are likely to be in the early stages of their growth cycle. However, some experts see strong limits to their maximum size.

A crypto product for crypto enthusiasts

Meltem Demirors, the chief strategy officer of CoinShares, believes that using the term “ETF” for these redeemable index funds is not entirely correct. The concept of ETF is specific to traditional markets. She told Cointelegraph:

“An ETF is an investment product that combines the benefits of diversification with the ease of trading a single stock via a single ticker. Like many financial products, they rely on a manager, administrator, and a number of intermediaries, and have management costs, commission fees, restrictions on trading, and how easily you can buy or sell them, and differing grades of quality.”

While crypto indices capture many benefits of ETFs, they also “face the same challenges as buyers of traditional ETFs, without the benefit of regulatory oversight or standard documentation,” she added. “I’d call these types of products something very different in order to disambiguate what it is people are buying.”

The differences are crucial in determining crypto index adoption, in her view. “These products will initially attract crypto enthusiasts and proficient crypto users,” Demirors said, mentioning the difficulty of using DeFi interfaces for non-crypto users.

Demand for DeFi indices is likely to come from retail and crypto power users for now, while institutional investors will continue using the security and familiarity of their preferred brokerage accounts, Demirors concluded.

Joey Krug, a co-founder of Augur and co-chief investment officer at Pantera Capital, shared the overall outlook. Though he is more positive about tokenized indices as “what a crypto native ETF would look like,” he said that “retail [will lead] in the beginning, although long term, I could see demand from institutional traders as well.”

Diversification has been problematic

The attractiveness of market index ETFs comes from the broad exposure they provide to holders. While single stocks may rise and fall due to specific and unforeseeable factors, a basket of them can smoothen these individual aberrations to provide a general picture of the market.

In crypto, diversification has been largely ineffective so far. “Historically, most crypto assets have traded with a beta of one to Bitcoin,” Demirors explained. “Beta” is a financial measurement defining how closely an asset tracks another — a beta of one indicates price movements that are correlated both in direction and in magnitude.

This has been a major issue for previous crypto index projects, which often suffered from excessive market capitalization-based allocations to Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) that compounded the lack of diversification, Demirors noted.

Liquidity in the underlying assets is the limiting factor for any index fund, as when their holdings become too large, “the tail begins to wag the dog,” she said. Market participants may start to trade against rebalances and overall flows into the fund, potentially distorting the prices of the underlying assets.

These market limitations pose severe restrictions on the viability of index funds, with Demirors noting that “it would be difficult to see crypto indices growing beyond the natural limits of these markets.”

DeFi or governance-centric funds may nevertheless help with diversification issues. Krug highlighted that DeFi tokens have recently moved independently or against BTC, suggesting that “correlations are coming off a bit.” Over the long term, the presence of protocol revenue and cash flows may further help to break the correlation, he added.

Overall, thematic index funds like the DeFi baskets offered today are useful for certain niches of traders, both Demirors and Krug agreed. For example, they can be used to construct complex hedging strategies, Krug said.

But the prospects of mass adoption are somewhat cloudy, as these types of products will need to mature in lock-step with the wider crypto and DeFi markets to remain useful.

Bitcoin theft is likely to surge in meager post-COVID economy: report

Bitcoin theft is likely to surge in meager post-COVID economy: report

Cybercriminals may favor a different cryptocurrency in the coming months, however.

Cryptocurrency-related fraud and theft are likely to grow in the post-COVID-19 world, according to a new report by cybersecurity and anti-virus provider, Kaspersky Lab.

Securelist, Kaspersky’s cyberthreat research arm, published a report on cyberthreats to financial organizations, forecasting some specific types of financial attacks that are likely to surge in 2021.

Securelist has predicted that a wave of poverty fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic will inevitably lead to “more people resorting to crime including cybercrime.” That could also mean a rise in crimes related to Bitcoin (BTC).

According to Kaspersky’s research arm, Bitcoin is likely to be the most attractive asset for cybercrime because it is the most popular digital asset. The report reads:

“We might see certain economies crashing and local currencies plummeting, which would make Bitcoin theft a lot more attractive. We should expect more fraud, targeting mostly BTC, due to this cryptocurrency being the most popular one.”

Securelist’s researchers also suggested that online perpetrators could switch to more privacy-focused digital assets like Monero (XMR). According to the company, this switch would happen due to increasing “technical capabilities of monitoring, deanonymization and seizing of BTC.” Securelist’s post reads:

“ [...] We should expect cybercriminals to switch to transit cryptocurrencies for charging victims. There is a reason to believe they might switch to other privacy-enhanced currencies, such as Monero, to use these first as a transition currency and then convert the funds to any other cryptocurrency of choice including BTC.”

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, crypto-related crimes slowed significantly in 2020, though some crypto sectors (like DeFi) have become new hotbeds for criminal activity. According to a report by VPN firm Atlas VPN, crypto and blockchain-related hacks are likely to continue declining in 2021.

XRP price now eyeing $1.00 after key support level holds, BTC price soars

XRP price now eyeing $1.00 after key support level holds, BTC price soars

XRP price must break a key resistance level before $1.00 becomes a real possibility.

While Bitcoin (BTC) is facing a potential new all-time high, other coins are showing strength as well. One of those coins is XRP, which has been going vertical in the previous weeks. 

XRP’s price surged from $0.22 to a high of $0.78 during the month of November, which immediately ended up in a massive correction towards $0.45.

Let's take a look at the XRP price charts to determine whether this was an entry opportunity before the next leg up.

The crucial zone around $0.45 holds as support

XRP/USDT 1-day chart. Source: TradingView

The daily chart of XRP is showing clear support and resistance zones. Within such a heavy pump, the levels to watch can be derived from the daily timeframe.

In this case, the first massive support zone is around the $0.45 barrier. XRP corrected toward this zone as the price of Bitcoin dropped to $16,200 on Thanksgiving day

The chart shows a clear support bounce as the price gained by more than 40% since.

If $0.45 failed to sustain support, the next support zone was around the $0.30 area, which is the previous resistance zone that was likely to be flipping support.

What are the new resistances if XRP rally continues?

The next resistance zone now to break is the $0.69 area, which is crucial before $1.00 can come into play.

XRP/USD 1-day chart. Source: TradingView

There are a few useful tools to determine the potential resistance zones on the XRP chart. One of them is the Fibonacci extension tool.

The recent top is the "1" number on the Fibonacci extension tool and the bottom around $0.20 as the "0".

Therefore, the next likely resistance zone can be measured around the 1.618 Fibonacci level at $1.13. Similarly, the second zone is the zone around $1.70, which is the 2.618 Fibonacci level.

However, the first resistance zone between $1.08-1.18 is an important resistance zone, as it has also been acting as resistance throughout the 2017 cycle, as the chart shows. One can argue that a run toward $1.08-1.18 is likely once the area at $0.70 breaks.

The key level to watch for BTC/XRP

XRP/BTC 1-day chart. Source: TradingView

Once a price breaks above resistance, the next thing one would like to see is the previous resistance becoming support, if you're a bull that is.

The BTC/XRP chart is showing such a critical level (highlighted in green) that can flip to support. During the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020, this area served as the range low and support for a substantial period.

However, it failed to sustain that support, leading to a drop to 0.00001500 thereafter.

With the recent breakout to 0.00004000 sats, the bulls will want to see a support/resistance flip of the 0.00002400 sats area. If that holds, XRP is likely to continue running towards the $1.00 barrier.

Lower timeframe levels to watch on the XRP chart

XRP/USD 1-hour chart. Source: TradingView

The XRP/USD chart is showing an apparent breakout above $0.65. As long as that area sustains support and confirms the breakout, continuation towards $0.74 is on the table.

However, failing to break the $0.65 area means that a drop toward $0.55 will become the likely scenario.

The higher timeframes give a clearer indication of where XRP is located in the market cycle. A multi-year downtrend was broken to the upside, meaning that dips will likely be considered as entry opportunities for traders.

With this in mind, if XRP holds $0.45 as support, continuation toward $1.00 is likely, particularly if Bitcoin price hits a new all-time high. 

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.

European central bankers predict that the digital euro is at least five years away

European central bankers predict that the digital euro is at least five years away

Nobody seems to be in a rush to digitize the euro, but that could change given increasing global competition.

Several experts from various European banks agreed that even a proof of concept for a digital euro is four or five years away.

In a panel on Monday called "Upgrading Money to the Digital Age: Introducing Digital Euro," participants agreed that the current task was primarily one of getting everyone onboard with the specifics of a digital euro, putting any real implementation well into the future. 

Central bank digital currencies, or CBDCs, have been an extremely popular topic of debate in recent years, but especially since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Austėja Šostakaitė of the European Central Bank said that the ECB wouldn't even be making a decision on whether to pursue a digital euro in earnest until the middle of 2021, which contradicts an estimate of January that the ECB's president made earlier this month. For now, Šostakaitė said, the question was “How do we introduce euro into the ecosystem and how does it collaborate with commercial bank money?”

Source: Austėja Šostakaitė's presentation for Upgrading Money to the Digital Age

An advisor to the Swedish Riksbank, Carl Andreas Claussen said that the central bank was finishing a proof-of-concept for its e-krona in February, but likewise estimated that a true launch was "four or five years away." Claussen said:

“There are some legal questions and this is such a big issue that we cannot decide on this. We need some political backing. We suggested to the parliament that they should have an expert committee looking at this.”

Sweden is part of the European Union but not the Eurozone, meaning that it retains its own currency. Internally, cash usage in Sweden is among the lowest in the world, meaning that the country has something of a jump on digitizing currency. Interesting to note is that Claussen also alluded to ambitions for cross-border applications, very few of which happen in the krona given the relative utility of the euro or dollar. 

Regarding the euro itself, Šostakaitė suggested that outside competition may speed up the existing timeline for development. “If we see foreign CBDCs, or maybe Facebook coming into the Eurozone, that may accelerate things,” she said.

Facebook's Libra, for its part, seems on track to launch as a dollar-pegged stablecoin in January.

Yearn teams up with Akropolis to boost institutional outreach

Yearn teams up with Akropolis to boost institutional outreach

Akropolis says calling it a merger “is a bit of a misnomer.” announced on Monday yet another merger, this time with Akropolis, a multiproduct decentralized finance protocol featuring yield optimization and undercollateralized loans.

Like the Cream Finance merger announced last week, the two ecosystems will remain largely independent in terms of their tokens and overall product lines, a shared announcement clarifies. However, like with Pickle Finance, Akropolis will now integrate Yearn vault technology and will publish its yield farming strategies on its Vault V2 platform.

The two development teams will combine and benefit from each others’ expertise. Akropolis developers will be able to build their strategies using tools from the expanding Yearn ecosystem, including Cream’s lending platform.

For the Yearn protocol, Akropolis will offer its business development expertise and institutional contacts, the announcement says. Akropolis will also deprecate AkropolisOS and Sparta, its two other products unrelated to yield generation. These will be moved into open source development mode. Development will then be concentrated on an institutional front end that would let professional traders access the combined Yearn–Akropolis ecosystem.

Akropolis will also introduce an IOU token to track losses from its recent hack. Platform profits will be redirected into this token’s fund to eventually repay all those who lost money from the hack. The team said it will streamline integration with insurance protocols to let more users benefit from coverage in the future. The Yearn ecosystem now also includes Cover protocol, a DeFi insurance provider.

Akropolis said that calling it a merger “is a bit of a misnomer,” despite using the same word to describe the cooperation in its announcement. Many of the integrations rely on the permissionless nature of DeFi, meaning that Akropolis could have unilaterally decided to integrate itself in the Yearn ecosystem at any previous point.

However, the cooperation between development teams is expected to be very tight and seems to be relying on very specific strengths of each team — Akropolis will seemingly make use of Yearn’s development experience in exchange for facilitating institutional onboarding.

Cointelegraph reached out to Andre Cronje and Akropolis, who both declined to comment.

Bitcoin Price Hits All-Time High

Bitcoin Price Hits All-Time High

Bitcoin has hit a new all-time highest price relative to USD as listed on Bitstamp, eclipsing its previous high of $19,666.00 set on the exchange on December 13, 2017.

The specific price of BTC relative to fiat currency at any given time depends on the rate set by specific exchanges, and the listed all-time high price or price at any given time depends on the particular data set referenced. Though Bitstamp does not list the highest all-time bitcoin price of any exchange (Bitfinex, for instance, listed bitcoin at $19,891 on December 11, 2017), its data stream represents one of the longest-operating bitcoin exchanges in history.

The all-time high mark set today represents a major milestone in a bitcoin bull market that started in early March 2020, when the price rallied from a low in the $3,000 range. Since then, it has reached more than six times its value in less than nine months. Bitcoin set an all-time market capitalization high on November 17, 2020.

Though bitcoin is a monetary system in and of itself, that is not reliant on value relative to USD or any other fiat system, the USD price of 1 BTC is a popular metric for signalling the growing acceptance of Bitcoin. By many measures, bitcoin has been the single-best performing financial asset in the world since it was introduced by Satoshi Nakamoto in January 2009.

The post Bitcoin Price Hits All-Time High appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Bitcoin price hits $19K as bulls show no fear of record futures gap

Bitcoin price hits $19K as bulls show no fear of record futures gap

Despite 15% gains coming during a weekend, Monday simply delivers more of the same upside for Bitcoin prior to the Wall Street opening.

Bitcoin (BTC) returned to $19,000 on Nov. 30 as a weekend surge continued to produce fresh gains for investors and hodlers.

BTC price up 18% against weekly lows

Data from Cointelegraph Markets and TradingView showed BTC/USD retaking another key psychological level during Monday trading.

The weekend had already produced major upside for the pair, which late last week dived to $16,300. By the start of Monday, $18,600 had appeared, with Bitcoin going on to deliver returns of at least 17% versus those lows.

As Cointelegraph reported, a giant $1,300 CME futures gap threatens to take the market lower, but buyers so far remain unfazed. At press time, highs above $19,200 were in progress with around half an hour to go before the start of trading on Wall Street.

BTC/USD 1-day hourly chart. Source: TradingView

"Leveling up. The crucial area around $17,800 held," Cointelegraph Markets analyst Michaël van de Poppe summarized just prior to the $19,000 move.

"Now the crucial area is $18,200 and the final breaker before ATH is the resistance around $18,600-18,900."

Should Bitcoin manage to flip that zone to support, the door remains open for another attempt at challenging $20,000. Last week, however, $19,500 provided firm resistance.

Former digital head at luxury brand group LVMH takes role at Ledger

Former digital head at luxury brand group LVMH takes role at Ledger

Ian Rogers, newly appointed as a chief experience officer at Ledger, says digital assets are moving from “science fiction” to the mainstream.

The revolving door between traditional finance and the crypto space is well established. Now, executives from the luxury goods sector appear to be following in their steps.

Ian Rogers, formerly the chief digital officer at LMVH, is taking on a new role as “chief experience officer” at Ledger, the well-known French crypto hardware and software maker. LMVH was formed in 1987 from the merger of high fashion house Louis Vuitton and Moët Hennessy, which itself formed from a merger of champagne maker Moët & Chandon and cognac producer Hennessey, back in 1971.

The newly-created role of chief experience officer involves taking charge of business-to-consumer operations and “reinventing the user experience” of Ledger's products.

In an official statement Rogers gave an insight into how he plans to approach this new role:

“I remember when you couldn’t simply say ‘go to my website' [...] You had to first explain the concept of the internet [...] I love those moments when technology moves from science fiction to mainstream. Digital assets are standing on the verge of this move."

Rogers further referred to the “inevitable transformation” from marginal, geek technology to mass product, and to the cryptocurrency "revolution" when speaking of Ledger and the nascent digital assets industry.

At LMVH, where he worked from 2015 onwards, Rogers's work involved overhauling the e-commerce strategy at luxury brands and implementing new technologies, such as big data and AI, to help with this goal. Prior to his time at LMVH, he worked at Apple Music, Yahoo Music and Beats music, having begun his career as a website developer for the American band The Beastie Boys.

Cryptocurrencies have often been described as a finance “counterculture,” both in academic papers and the mainstream press, due to their origins in libertarian and cypherpunk movements. Now that their appeal has broadened, and their relationship to mainstream finance has become ever more intertwined, Ledger's move to onboard luxury brand executives is, perhaps, not as surprising as it would have been in the industry's earlier, more offbeat days.

Record gold outflow 'isn't going into ripples' — only Bitcoin, says fund manager

Record gold outflow 'isn't going into ripples' — only Bitcoin, says fund manager

Gold outflows are rising as Bitcoin rallies due to heightened buyer demand from institutional investors.

The ongoing Bitcoin (BTC) rally has primarily been driven by institutions, analysts say, with metrics such as CME’s open interest and Grayscale’s assets under management (AUM), supporting this narrative. 

At the same time, the gold market has seen large outflows in recent weeks. On Nov. 24, independent financial researcher Jan Nieuwenhuijs reported that gold saw its largest weekly outflow in history.

The timing of the heightened level of outflows from the gold market is noteworthy because it comes after the entrance of major institutional investors into the Bitcoin market.

Cointelegraph reported that Guggenheim Partners, which manages $275 billion in assets, is the latest institution to show interest in Bitcoin.

What does this mean for Bitcoin?

In the medium to long term, the inflow of institutional capital into Bitcoin could lead to two key trends.

First, Bitcoin could see a more sustained uptrend that has emerged since September. Institutions, especially those gaining exposure to BTC through the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust, are likely accumulating BTC with a long-term strategy.

Some long-time Bitcoin investors, who had gold positions for prolonged periods, have also started to allocate their capital fully into BTC. Raoul Pal, the CEO of Real Vision Group, said:

“Ok, last bomb - I have a sell order in tomorrow to sell all my gold and to scale in to buy BTC and ETH (80/20). I dont own anything else (except some bond calls and some $'s). 98% of my liquid net worth. See, you can't categorize me except #irresponsiblylong Good night all.”

Second, fund managers say that this could make Bitcoin even more dominant in the cryptocurrency market. Currently, the market cap of Bitcoin accounts for 63.83% of the global cryptocurrency market’s valuation.

Bitcoin dominance index. Source: Coinmarketcap

Kyle Davies, the co-founder at Three Arrows Capital, one of the largest funds in the cryptocurrency sector, said:

“No one goes gold -> $BTC -> alts This year has seen big high net worth inflows from USD or gold to BTC. This is not retail. These guys aren't going into ripples.”

The near-term trend of BTC remains uncertain

Bitcoin has seen strong momentum throughout the past three months, barely seeing major corrections.

During previous bull cycles, it's not uncommon for BTC to see 30% pullbacks, and the recent run is yet to post a major downturn. But, in the near term, on-chain analysts say that BTC could be braced for a deeper drop.

Bitcoin All Exchanges Outflow Mean. Source: CryptoQuant

Ki Young Ju, the CEO of CryptoQuant, said that whales are keeping more BTC on exchanges than in the past few months. This could indicate that whales could sell more BTC in the foreseeable future. He said:

“The fact that whales don't withdraw means that $BTC is available for selling. If whales think the price will go up, they'll withdraw $BTC a lot. I don't know when it'll start, but if the price drops, whales will react to the price and make high volatility.”

Whether the buyer demand from institutions and their Time-weighted Average Price (TWAP) algorithms would counter the selling pressure from whales would likely dictate the short-term price cycle of BTC.

‘Black Friday' BTC sale officially over? 5 things to watch in Bitcoin this week

‘Black Friday' BTC sale officially over? 5 things to watch in Bitcoin this week

Bitcoin recovers above $18,500 over the weekend, but the giant BTC futures gap that has now emerged may trigger yet another pullback.

Bitcoin (BTC) is back this week as a rebound takes the largest cryptocurrency ever closer to new all-time highs — what’s in store?

Cointelegraph takes a look what could move Bitcoin markets in the coming days as buyers emerge and $16,000 gets left behind — at least for now.

Bitcoin cancels Black Friday discounts

The main story among Bitcoiners on Monday is its performance over the weekend.

After plumbing depths of $16,300 last week and failing to get much higher than $17,000 in the days following, Bitcoin surprised on Saturday, beginning a climb that has reached $18,600 on Nov. 30.

The timing led to comparisons to Black Friday, as BTC/USD fell in time for the infamous discount day and rose back up afterward.

“Guess the Black Friday bitcoin sale is officially over. Hope you stocked up,” Barry Silbert, CEO of asset management giant Grayscale summarized.

At press-time levels of $18,550, Bitcoin is now up almost 14% versus the lows, recouping the majority of its losses from when it fell from $19,500. This will be a familiar sight for traders, who will now be eyeing the potential for Bitcoin to avoid the psychological selling pressure which so clearly set in near the all-time highs of $20,000.

“Crucial level to hold is the $17,700-17,850 breaker. If that is lost, I think we'll see the 16's again,” Cointelegraph Markets analyst Michaël van de Poppe said in his latest analysis on Sunday.

Van de Poppe likewise highlighted the area around $18,500 and $18,700 as the crucial breakout point to fuel further bullishness. Bitcoin subsequently hit the midpoint of that range, but has so far failed to turn it into a launchpad for reclaiming any higher levels.

Nonetheless, should current levels hold, Bitcoin will easily see its highest ever monthly close at the end of Monday.

BTC/USD 1-week hourly chart. Source: TradingView

$1,300 Bitcoin futures gap opens lower

One major argument for Bitcoin reversing downwards for its next move comes in the form of a classic “gap” setup on futures markets.

Thanks to the weekend’s volatility, Monday has begun with a noticeable “gap” on the charts at CME Bitcoin Futures, this one lying $1,500 lower than the current spot price.

Gaps refer to the empty space left between the end of Friday trading and the start of Monday trading for futures, and the latest one to open is $1,300 in size — one of the largest ever.

Historically, Bitcoin has opted to rise or fall to “fill” such gaps once they appear, and this has tended to occur quickly, meaning that the chance is there for a fresh dip to as low as $16,990 — the beginning of the gap.

A further albeit much smaller gap remains “unfilled” from previous trading at around $19,000.

CME Group Bitcoin futures chart showing gaps. Source: TradingView

“It all depends on how harshly we reject in this range and how we are going to react around the support at $17,000, which is also the weekly close on the CME futures,” Van de Poppe commented.

He also noted that one weekend’s upside is no good as a starting point for being bullish. Entering Bitcoin is a wise move only when support is reached on higher timeframe support levels, meaning that the CME gap should be resolved by the time that the real state of the market becomes more obvious.

An accompanying survey meanwhile showed a fairly even split between 6,000 respondents regarding whether BTC/USD would hit $14,000 or $22,000 first.

Stocks drop after record month

Outside Bitcoin, the macro picture is mixed as the month ends. November saw 13% for equities worldwide, a record month as expectations of a Coronavirus vaccine ran high.

On Monday, however, progress began to retreat, with China leading a turnaround from gains to losses and European futures following suit.

The U.S. dollar, already under pressure, is expected to dip to its lowest levels since April 2018, Bloomberg reported on the day. As noted by Cointelegraph, the U.S. dollar currency index (DXY) has been steadily falling over the past weeks, erasing some previous gains.

Bitcoin typically reacts favorably to DXY weakness, and while its relationship to macro assets more broadly is waning, abrupt movements in the index remain apt to dictate short-term market direction.

At press time, DXY stood at 91.72, having broken the 92 support level, which was preserved even in August when Bitcoin hit $12,000 for the first time this year.

U.S. dollar currency index 1-week hourly chart. Source: TradingView

Virus-induced headaches meanwhile continue across the Western world. The United Kingdom’s economy, according to estimates from Bloomberg shared by market commentator Holger Zschaepitz, will contract by the most in over 300 years.

Market-specific issues, such as Tesla debuting on the S&P 500, are also on the radar.

"Extreme greed" characterizes macro

“Extreme greed” is what is characterizing investor sentiment in both cryptocurrency and traditional markets, according to classic indicator the Fear & Greed Index.

A popular sentiment gauge for crypto in paritcualr, the Index uses a basket of factors to assess how overbought or oversold the market is based on investor behavior. A normalized score out of 100, the higher the reading, the more likely the market is due for a correction.

Cointelegraph has frequently reported on the Crypto Fear & Greed Index in recent times as it heads towards all-time highs of 95/100. A recent peak of 94 came just prior to BTC/USD shedding $3,000 in a day.

On Monday, the Index stood at 88 — lower than before but still firmly in the “extreme greed” category.

Crypto Fear & Greed Index one-year chart. Source:

For Zschaepitz, however, the identical “extreme greed” rating for traditional markets is being distorted thanks to the interventions by central banks as part of Coronavirus measures.

“Just to put things into perspective: CNN‘s Fear & Greed Index has risen to 92 as investors have become extreme greedy,” he wrote on Sunday.

“But maybe that greed is mainly driven by CenBank liquidity so this is no longer an reliable indicator for an imminent correction!”
Traditional markets Fear & Greed Index. Source: CNN

Central banks have bought up a huge range of bad assets in order to give the illusion of competition on the market since March this year, a move which has garnered considerable criticism from Bitcoin circles.

Leave it to the pro buyers?

As quant analyst PlanB acknowledged in a timely reminder on Sunday, a new week means a new round of Bitcoin buying by a group of familiar faces: Grayscale, Square and PayPal.

As last week, the corporate giants will need to satisfy client demand by buying up the diminishing number of coins available at current prices.

This new status quo, formed when PayPal released its cryptocurrency features, has led to estimates showing that there is simply not enough Bitcoin to go around. The three companies’ needs are more than miners can produce, and still compete with demand from elsewhere.

The only logical outcome, should demand increase or stay the same, is for the price of Bitcoin in other assets to rise — a simple equation of supply and demand.

In an interview with CNBC last week, Dan Schulman, PayPal’s CEO, said that the company was betting on Bitcoin becoming more widely used as a currency.