Hedge Fund Pantera CEO Says BTC ‘Highly Likely’ To Go Past $20K High Within A Year
Apr19

Hedge Fund Pantera CEO Says BTC ‘Highly Likely’ To Go Past $20K High Within A Year


Crypto hedge fund CEO Dan Morehead says $6.5k is as low BTC’s bear market will go, adding the coin is “highly likely” to exceed $20k within a year.

Dan Morehead, CEO of Blockchain-focused hedge fund Pantera Capital, named Bitcoin’s (BTC) bottom price and predicted BTC would go past its record high within a year in an interview on CNBC’s Fast Money Wednesday, April 18.

Morehead, whose company returned 25,000 percent in 2017 when Bitcoin hit $20,000, said that $6,500 was the low for the recent bear market, and presented it as an investment opportunity, if anything:

"Something that's growing that fast hardly ever gets below its 200-day moving average. When it does, it's a very good time to buy […] you don't get that opportunity very often.”

Earlier this week, Morehead published a letter on Pantera’s official blog in which he added that Bitcoin is “highly likely to have exceeded $20,000 within a year […] a wall of institutional money will drive the markets much higher.”

In his blog, Morehead cited U.S. federal income tax returns being due this week as one reason for recent momentum to sell off BTC, keeping markets down, an explanation that directly echoes that made by Fundstrat’s Tom Lee earlier this month.

However, he also noted that markets didn’t react negatively to news recently of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) busting two high profile scam ICOs – he names one of the ICOs as that backed by Floyd Mayweather. Morehead writes:

“When the markets go up on bad news, that’s a great sign, because it basically means you’ve reached peak negativity, where you’ve reached at least a midterm bottom. Provided that nothing drastically changes over the course of the next few months on the regulation side, I think that we’ve seen the brunt of the market’s negative reaction to it.”

Morehead’s bullish predictions align him with other investment tycoons such as Lee, who often provides bullish predictions of Bitcoin’s price, most recently forecasting that Bitcoin is likely to hit $25,000 by year’s end. Last week, venture capitalist and Bitcoin bull Tim Draper said in a speech that he sees Bitcoin hitting a whopping $250,000 by 2022.

Cointelegraph recently published an overview and analysis of Bitcoin price predictions from major investors and economists, ranging from $100 to $100,000.

According to CNBC, Pantera currently has about $800 million in assets under management. Bitcoin is currently trading around $8,270 at press time, up 1.7 percent on the day.



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World’s 4th Largest Crypto Exchange Huobi Expands To London As ‘Entry Point’ To EU Market
Apr19

World’s 4th Largest Crypto Exchange Huobi Expands To London As ‘Entry Point’ To EU Market


World’s 4th largest exchange Huobi has announced plans to open an office in London.

Beijing-born crypto exchange Huobi has announced that it is planning to open an office in London, as it continues its expansion overseas, Finance Magnates reported April 18.

Explaining he vice president of Huobi Group, Peng Hu, told reporters:

“Not Malta, not Switzerland. Absolutely London, more precisely Britain, is the entry point for the European market for us. Soon we will have an office here.”

Financial Magnates further reports that Chern Chung, Huobi’s senior business development manager for Europe, explained that the exchange “wants to have a presence” in the city because “our statistics show that London is the most active trading scene across all of Europe.”

The choice of London sends a clear message, according to Chung, that the exchange wants to “go mainstream” by being compliant with relevant regulations. He told reporters, “[w]e are not afraid of regulation nor are we escaping regulation.”

Huobi is currently the world’s fourth largest crypto-exchange by trade volume, according to data from CoinMarketCap, trading about $1.2 billion in the past 24 hours to press time. Huobi group launched its Huobi Pro Global exchange, headquartered in Singapore, after the Chinese government banned ICOs and domestic crypto-fiat exchanges in September 2017.

Arguably, a robust and transparent regulatory climate that has crypto-particular guidelines – rather than shirking regulation altogether – is what the major international crypto-exchanges are now after. In late March, Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume, announced it was opening its headquarters in Malta, which has been proactive in providing legal and regulatory frameworks for Blockchain and virtual currencies.  

Huobi Pro opened a South Korean subsidiary on on March 30, and unveiled plans earlier this year to open an office in San Francisco.



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The Sharing Economy, Explained
Apr19

The Sharing Economy, Explained


The sharing economy is still in its infancy and fragmented, but Blockchain may have the potential to fuel its growing popularity.

What is the sharing economy?

Put simply, this is where individuals share items or services, usually on the internet.

Even if you haven’t heard the term, you’ll know about the phenomenon.

Through countless apps and websites, it’s possible to rent things by the day or the week – even by the hour. Occasionally it’s free, but usually there’s a fee.

For those doing the borrowing, it can bring considerable savings when compared to buying a brand-new item that might only need to be used once.

Meanwhile, for individuals who are willing to share their stuff, the concept can help them make a decent side income – boosting their usual earnings.

As well as traditional rental firms, several tech-savvy companies have launched platforms to facilitate sharing between individuals.

Given the sharing economy is still in its infancy, most of us have little awareness about the plethora of companies already in this industry. The accommodation app Airbnb and ride-hailing service Uber are two of the biggest and best-known players, and both are now mainstays in cities worldwide.

What can be shared?

The sharing economy’s potential extends far beyond cars and spare rooms.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of platforms have launched in recent years. If there’s something you want to borrow or lease, the odds are there’s a way of doing it.

You can share someone’s garden if you live in a bustling city, strike up job shares, team up with other travelers to share a tour, swap books, and even take someone’s dog out for the day. Social dining and borrowing DIY tools is also possible.

It seems that current businesses have barely scratched the surface of what’s achievable, too, as new ideas are emerging all the time.

So I can borrow a car… or a dog. What are the advantages?

For starters, it could prove more environmentally friendly.

Think about it: instead of 10 people owning a car that they only need to use occasionally, they can share someone else’s whenever required. Certain concepts such as car sharing, where colleagues hitch a ride together, can dramatically reduce CO2 emissions.

The shift in emphasis from ownership can also make life more affordable. Instead of splashing out on expensive possessions, you can use a fraction of this cash to borrow someone else’s and put the rest towards experiences.

It can also bring communities together – especially in the dog-sharing example we mentioned earlier. If you love pets but can’t have one yourself, striking up a relationship with a dog owner and their furry friend can help you meet new people. Better still, you can enjoy occasional walks in the park without the responsibilities of looking after a pet full time.

Aren’t there downsides to letting someone borrow your dog?

For people with assets to share, trust can be an issue.

Allowing someone to borrow your car or the beloved family dog can be a stretch if you’ve only just met them.

The sharing economy is addressing this by using rating systems which show the experiences borrowers and lenders have had in the past – providing peace of mind. Disputes can also be raised if an item is returned broken, or not returned at all. However, encouraging a culture of sharing might take a little time yet.

One frustration for customers at the moment is the fragmentation of the sharing economy, which means you need to register and generate a login for every service you want to use.

Meanwhile, those hiring out their spare rooms, cars and other assets can be charged high transaction fees by the platforms that make these transactions possible.

How big is the sharing economy?

The statistics are staggering.

According to Statista, 44.8 mln adults in the US used the sharing economy in 2016. This is set to almost double to 86.5 mln by 2021.

Research by Conde Nast Traveler shows Airbnb had racked up 200 mln bookings by 2016. Uber says it has 75 mln customers and 3 mln drivers worldwide – and together, they completed 4 bln trips in 2017 alone. And these numbers cover just two well-known companies.

PricewaterhouseCoopers says the sharing economy has grown at “breakneck speed,” with its research concluding that this growth is sustainable. By 2025, it estimates transactions across just five sectors of this sprawling industry will be worth almost €570 bln in Europe alone (that’s about $705 bln.)

Let me guess… Blockchain could shake up the sharing economy?

That’s right. Some entrepreneurs believe this technology could eliminate the problems which are holding back the sharing economy.

This is because a Blockchain ledger could make transactions more secure and difficult to tamper with – enabling in-depth details about assets, and who is using them, to be stored on a universal database.

Smart contracts could also eliminate the need for sharing economy platforms that serve as middlemen, driving down commission fees.

Blockchain start-ups such as ShareRing want to reduce fragmentation in the sharing economy by making it possible to rent and lease virtually any asset on one platform – with customers being able to borrow anything through a single account and pay someone instantly through a dedicated cryptocurrency. The company also wants to remove borders, meaning it would be effortless to use whether you were in Hong Kong or Havana, London or Louisiana.



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Bitcoin Holds $8,000 Price Point Amid Warnings Fast Growth Could See Lows Return
Apr19

Bitcoin Holds $8,000 Price Point Amid Warnings Fast Growth Could See Lows Return


Bitcoin’s growth should be slow and steady, analysis says as prices retain the $8,000 threshold.

Bitcoin prices are holding steady today, April 19, one week after a surprise surge took the cryptocurrency up $1,000 to reach above $8,000 in the space of 30 minutes.

Capping a week of more moderate fluctuations around the $8,000 mark, commentators note support appears firm around $7,900, paving the way for further upside in the coming weeks.

At press time, BTC/USD was trading around $8,250, up just over 1 percent in the past 24 hours.

BTC Value & Volume

Commenting on the current movements, Trading Bitcoin host Tone Vays nonetheless advised caution concerning optimism:

“If we can get into an area of $8,600, it’s very possible that the price would be exhausted,” he told viewers on the latest edition of his podcast April 18.

Just weeks ago, Bitcoin was trading below $7,000 and a return to that zone could well occur in the event prices escalated too quickly towards $9,000, Vays said.

Nonetheless, Bitcoin retaking and holding $8,000 has coincided with fresh bullish remarks from multiple industry experts.

Calling time on the period of downward trends since December were venture capitalist Tim Draper and CNBC economist Brian Kelly last week, while this week a quarterly outlook from Saxobank continued the positive crypto market sentiment for 2018.

In altcoin markets meanwhile, progress has been broadly in line with Bitcoin’s behavior.

COIN360

Two exceptions to the rule have come in the form of Basic Attention Token (BAT), which gained almost 50 percent on the day following a partnership announcement between the coin’s Brave platform and the Dow Jones Media Group. BAT is currently trading around $0.36, up about 22 percent on the day to press time.

The other exception is altcoin Verge (XVG), which delivered similar performance, but in the opposite direction, its value dropping 35 percent in the 24 hours after a much-hyped announcement of its new partnership with major adult entertainment website Pornhub. XVG has since seen slight gains on the day to press time, up 0.65 percent to trade around $0.07.



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Bitcoin Headed For $100,000 Or $100? CEOs, Big Investors And Harvard Economist Predictions
Apr19

Bitcoin Headed For $100,000 Or $100? CEOs, Big Investors And Harvard Economist Predictions


Analysis of recent Bitcoin price predictions: influence of institutional investors’ money, futures launch, regulations

This article does not contain investment advice or recommendations. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

Many predictions have been made regarding Bitcoin’s price which, after jumping from around $1,000 to $20,000 in 2017, decreased to lows of around $6,000 before climbing back to $8,000.

This huge volatility makes it very challenging to predict the price in the short-term. Nonetheless, a fundamental analysis of the evolution of Bitcoin’s price in the longer term could be more reliable. Several predictions are analyzed and discussed below to estimate the most likely direction of Bitcoin’s price in the medium to long-term.

Prediction 1: institutional investors’ money will increase Bitcoin’s price

The CEO of American Express-backed startup Abra has predicted that big investors will make “all hell break loose” in a recent interview with Business Insider. He mentioned that there is currently little large-scale institutional money in cryptocurrencies and when this changes the impact on Bitcoin’s price will be very positive.

So, what is preventing this institutional money to flow into Bitcoin and cryptocurrency markets in general? The current technological limitations of Blockchain could be a key reason, especially those related to scaling. However, right now there are scientists and software developers building trailblazing innovations that could take Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) to the next level, as pointed out by Don Tapscott, author of the book ‘Blockchain Revolution’.

Decentralization, scalability and security are the trilemma in DLT meaning that if you were to improve scalability then security would be compromised, and so on. However, this trilemma, which has been the limiting factor for the technology, is about to be overcome.

Sharding, interoperability and formal verification

Ethereum and Zilliqa are working on a process called “sharding” which could greatly improve their throughput and their number of transactions per second – matching or surpassing those of Visa or Mastercard.

Other projects are creating the ‘Internet of Blockchains’ by allowing interoperability among  Blockchains, both public and private. They would also offer shared security and instant finality meaning that it will not be necessary to wait for several confirmations to validate a transaction.

Furthermore, hacking attacks such as the one that affected the DAO and triggered the Ethereum hard fork could become a thing of the past once formal verification of smart contracts, such as the ones Tezos or Zen Protocol projects are using, will ensure that there are absolutely no errors in the code and therefore no way to attack it. Formal verification is already used in airplanes, medical equipment and nuclear reactors, all places where there is little scope for errors.

Xinshu Dong, CEO of Zilliqa, among the first Blockchain to use the technology of sharding with a public testnet launched on March 31, recognizes also the importance of formal verification of smart contracts:

"One of the key issues that needs to be addressed is the security of smart contract applications running on public Blockchains. For any company to run any part of their business on a public Blockchain there needs to be infrastructure in place that prevents incidents like those with the DAO. Once the security issue is solved we may see more major companies start to publicly embrace Blockchain, which in turn may act as a catalyst towards more institutional investment."

All these technological breakthroughs could arrive soon, potentially fixing the ‘Achilles’ heel’ of Blockchain, which is the above mentioned ‘trilemma’ of decentralization, scalability and security. However, since all these innovations are still not ready, the great majority of institutional investors, corporations and banks are waiting for these breakthroughs to really jump in, now they are just ‘dipping their toes’.

Once all the above mentioned trailblazing innovations are finalized and ready, and more countries follow pioneers in terms of DLT regulation such as Malta or Switzerland, institutional money could start pouring in. This could rise the price of Bitcoin and decrease its volatility.

Jan Brzezek, CEO & Co-Founder at Crypto Finance AG, a regulated cryptocurrency fund, prime broker and storage, who previously held various positions at UBS Asset Management shared with Cointelegraph his thoughts about the rise of Bitcoin’s price in 2017:

“It was clearly a hype and FOMO [fear of missing out] was everywhere. But not from rational institutional investors, but retail investors chasing the quick money. There is no free lunch, so this correction was obvious for me. I even expected it earlier. Those investors burnt their fingers and are now too afraid to go back in this exciting new asset class and the expected institutional money has not flown in yet.”

Prediction 2: A decade from now Bitcoin is more likely to be worth $100 than $100,000

Kenneth Rogoff, a Harvard economist has predicted that due to the volatility of Bitcoin’s price and the small number of use cases such money laundering and tax evasion mainly in his opinion, Bitcoin is more likely to be worth $100 in a decade than $100,000.

Rogoff also points out that the regulation of Bitcoin is also a big factor in his prediction, although he clarifies that only a global coordinated regulation could be effective. However, given that countries such as Malta are becoming pioneers in DLT regulation, it seems very unlikely that there will be in the future a global regulation unfriendly to Bitcoin.

Regarding the problem of Bitcoin’s price volatility mentioned by Rogoff, there are currently many projects trying to solve this issue. Cointelegraph talked with Alex Gordon-Brander, CEO of ConsenSys' Omega One and previously at Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund, about what could help decrease the high volatility in crypto markets.

Alex wants his platform to become “regulated crypto agency broker” in order to “provide high-quality liquidity, enabling large sizes to be traded without moving the market, saving millions of dollars”, as well as to “offer regulatory compliance”.

“In the US, we're probably at least a few months away from getting full regulatory clarity on the trading of digital assets, but the landscape is a lot clearer than it was.”

Therefore, since the underlying problems of Bitcoin mentioned by Rogoff – high volatility and unfriendly global regulation – are being addressed currently, this prediction could be proved wrong in the near future.

Prediction 3: Bitcoin’s price will follow a downward trend after the CME futures launch in December 2017

A popular cryptocurrency blogger predicted in a recent article that Bitcoin’s price will follow a downward trend based on the assumption that gold and silver prices have been suppressed for the last seven years, similar to other commodities after the futures market launch.

The following graphs show the prices of Bitcoin, silver, gold, and uranium, and developments for the starting date of the futures market for each.

Bitcoin’s price and CME futures market launch (Dec. 17)

Bitcoin Charts

Image source: Coinmarketcap

Silver’s price and futures market launch (Mid-2011)

Chart

Image source: Indexmundi.com

Gold’s price and futures market launch (Mid-2011)

Chart

Image source: Indexmundi.com

Uranium’s price and futures market launch (May-2007)

Chart

Image source: Indexmundi.com

The author compares this with similar trends observed in the prices of silver, uranium or gold. Because the supply of Bitcoin is limited like other commodities such as oil, those in control of the supply can have a considerable effect in the prices, such as OPEC in the case of the oil markets. For example, a big buy or sell order in the current cryptocurrency markets can move Bitcoin’s price by a large percentage. The author believes that in this downward trend there will be short-term increases in the price, but overall Bitcoin’s price will continue to decrease.

He is optimistic nonetheless in the long term and mentions that, after reaching a very low price, the market will eventually turn, and he thinks Bitcoin’s price may reach $100,000. A big difference however from Bitcoin and the other altcoins compared to traditional commodities is that gold for example can be used as a store of value or to make jewellery, but Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency projects can potentially disrupt every single industry and institution.

Trying to control the prices of gold or oil and their supply seems a lot easier than doing the same for Bitcoin or other altcoins because innovation in cryptocurrency happens really fast, and there will be decentralized exchanges and many use cases that would bring a lot of interest and money.

Bitcoin's price in a decade $100,000 much more likely than $100

The Bitcoin bull market last year, especially in the fourth quarter, was mainly triggered by irrational retail investors according to some experts, as mentioned above.

A lot of predictions about the price of Bitcoin in the short-term are not very optimistic by now, mainly because professional investors can now short Bitcoin for the first time after the futures market launch by CME and CBOE last December as was pointed out in prediction 3.

However, institutional investors and big corporations could be interested in the underlying technology and would be ready to start investing once the scaling, interoperability and other technological limitations of Bitcoin and DLT are solved.

A better legal framework and trading infrastructure could also become a motivational factor for the investors with more mature markets, lower volatility and improved liquidity.

In summary, while it may seem that “Bitcoin bears” have been winning since December, the coming regulations, innovations, better liquidity and lower volatility could favour the bulls probably starting at the end of Q2 or beginning of Q3 2018.





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IBM And Major Banks Blockchain Partnership Reports First Live Pilot Transactions
Apr19

IBM And Major Banks Blockchain Partnership Reports First Live Pilot Transactions


A Blockchain trade finance platform developed by IBM and other international banks has reported its first live pilot transactions

IBM’s partnership with international banks to develop a Blockchain trade finance platform called Batavia has resulted in the platform’s first live pilot transactions, according to a press release published today, April 19.

IBM, the Bank of Montreal (BMO), CaixaBank, Commerzbank, Erste Group, and the United Bank of Switzerland (UBS) began work on the initiative last fall. Batavia works by tracking events in a product’s supply chain, while key events can prompt the execution of smart contracts that close trade agreements.

According to the announcement, the initial transactions involved sending cars from Germany to Spain and furniture production textiles from Austria to Spain.

Niko Giesber of Commerzbank said that the “joint successful live transaction demonstrates the potential of such a platform”:

“Trade data and smart payment, which is automatically triggered by the transport data, form an important basis for risk management and financing instruments and add value to every supply chain.”

Giesber adds that Batavia may look to partner with other fintech and financial institutions as they move forward with “building out of a product-ready solution.”

Earlier this week, India’s ICICI Bank put more than 250 corporate customers on its Blockchain platform, designed for domestic and international trade finance transactions.



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