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Bitcoin Nears $7.5K: Why a Bull Market Is Closer Than You May Think

Bitcoin price (BTC) is currently resting just shy of $7,500 after an impressive rally from around $6,850 on Friday, Jan. 3. Does this mean the bulls have taken control? Or is this a final relief rally before Bitcoin drops to fresh lows? 

Daily crypto market performance

Daily crypto market performance. Source: Coin360.com

Did exchanges manipulate price action?

In last week’s analysis, I highlighted that the CME gap is becoming a regular trading event each week, and less than 12 hours after the analysis was printed, the gap filled to the exact price of $7,265, before the current trend resumed.  

In this case, the price continued a five-day bear trend until it reached a bottom around $6,850 on the 11th birthday of the Bitcoin genesis block.  

What happened next was a 7% pump that many speculated was largely due to the U.S. drone attacks that killed a top Iranian general. This was quite possibly the most idiotic thing I have ever heard. If my country was being bombed, the last thing on my mind would be to buy Bitcoin. 

However, something else occurred on Jan. 3 that could have been responsible for both the decline prior to this date and the sudden price increase afterward, and that is “proof of keys.” 

The yearly tradition was started by long-term Bitcoin advocate Trace Mayer, who has been urging users to reclaim their monetary sovereignty by removing all of their Bitcoin from exchanges and controlling their own private keys. 

BTC USD 1-hour chart

BTC USD 1-hour chart. Source: TradingView

Now, this may be put into the tin-foil hat category, but the volume for Bitcoin was significantly lower in the days approaching Jan. 3 than afterward. It’s no secret that exchanges rely on volume to remain profitable, and what better way is there to entice people to send their Bitcoin back to exchanges than the price pumping by nearly 10%.

Furthermore, since exchanges are technically the biggest whales out there, it wouldn’t take much to move the price up, especially during a period when the volume is low, which can be seen clearly on the hourly chart for Bitcoin. 

So with this event behind us, will we see Bitcoin resume its bear trend, or are the bulls back in control?

The RSI remains neutral 

BTC USD RSI daily chart

BTC USD RSI daily chart. Source: TradingView

Taking a look at the Relative Strength Index (RSI) indicator on the daily, it shows we are still in very neutral ground. Also, any speculation that the Jan. 3 pump was purely technical has no merit as far as this particular indicator is concerned.  

This is further echoed on the weekly chart, with a reading of 41.40. So there’s nothing to see here folks, move along. This indicator tells us what we already know — that we’re currently in a tight range where sellers are pretty much matched with buyers.  

BTC USD RSI weekly chart

BTC USD RSI weekly chart. Source: TradingView

What we need to see first on the RSI is some cast iron signal that we’re either overbought or oversold for any action to happen. But are there any other key indicators that can shed any light on the next possible move? 

The MACD is becoming more bullish by the week

BTC USD MACD Weekly chart

BTC USD MACD Weekly chart. Source: TradingView

The Moving Average Divergence Convergence (MACD) indicator on the weekly is continuing to display signs that bullish momentum is returning. 

I feel I must continue to remind people that if you were to buy and sell Bitcoin purely based on the weekly MACD you would be stacking stats like a boss, as it showed a bearish cross at the beginning of the bear market, and a bullish cross at the bottom of the bear market.  

As such, crosses on the weekly MACD have been incredibly reliable and telling of what one can expect from BTC/USD in the medium term. However, to gauge where we can go, another of my favorite straight out of the box tools is the Bollinger Bands (BB) indicator. 

The Bollinger Bands 

BTC USD BB weekly chart

BTC USD BB weekly chart. Source: TradingView

The reason I use both the MACD and Bollinger Bands (BB) indicator together is that history shows us that 4-5 weeks after a MACD cross, the price changes from being at the bottom or top of the bands.  

After a flat first quarter in 2019, when Bitcoin bottomed, we saw the MACD cross bullish on Feb. 11. A few weeks later, on March 25, we saw the price flip from trading below the BB moving average to above the moving average, and onwards to the year high in June.  

We then saw some relatively flat price action between July and September, coupled with a bearish MACD cross on Aug. 26, which led to Bitcoin trading below the moving average again, which is where we are now.  

To me, it seems that Bitcoin is halfway through another period of relatively flat price action, and should the next four to five weeks bring us another bullish MACD cross, then history shows us that four weeks after that, we could expect to be trading above the BB MA again, which would put Bitcoin at over $8,500 and again on the path to $10K and beyond.  

The question now is: are we out of the bear trend? 

The CME gap

BTC CME Futures weekly chart

BTC CME Futures weekly chart. Source: TradingView

An indication as to whether the bulls have taken control or not would be to observe what happens with Bitcoin’s price direction should the CME gap at $7,385 be filled this week. 

Bearish scenario

If the price continues to fall below $7,385 then it would suggest that we are still in a bear trend, with support being found around the BB MA of $7,220 on the daily chart. Should this level fail to hold, the next key level of support would be around $6,850 followed by the support level on the weekly, which is $6,300.  

However, should this scenario play out, the knock-on effect would be that the MACD would blow open and set a bullish cross back several weeks on the weekly chart, meaning more pain ahead. 

And if all three support levels fail to hold, this opens up $5,000 Bitcoin as a likely reality in the short-term, possibly even lower in the medium-term.    

Bullish scenario

Should the price bounce back after the CME gap fills, it could mean that the bottom is behind us. I’m personally doubtful whether this is the case. However, the key resistance to break would be $7,600. 

If Bitcoin can both break $7,600 and flip this into support, then the next point of resistance will be around $8,500. Should Bitcoin soar past $8,500, then $10K Bitcoin is then in play. However, it would be equally bullish if the price remains in the high $7K, low 8K region for two to three weeks, as the weekly MACD would then cross bullish. 

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of @officiallykeith 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.

Here’s What Must Happen for $9K Bitcoin Price in the Coming Months

Bitcoin (BTC) made a sudden jump of 8% yesterday and is currently hovering at around $7,300. As the price bounced from $6,900, a higher low is presenting itself on the chart, but does this mean that the bottom is there? 

Crypto market daily performance

Crypto market daily performance. Source: Coin360

Bitcoin still stuck in sideways range and downtrend

BTC USD 1-day chart

BTC USD 1-day chart. Source: TradingView

The price of Bitcoin is still moving inside this downwards channel since last year’s high of $13,900. Remarkably, the price corrected towards the “Golden Pocket” Fibonacci area (0.618-0.65 level) and is currently showing a potential higher low. 

The green area is also a significant area from 2018, as that was the zone the price of Bitcoin bounced on for 6-months. 

Given that the price bounced from $6,900 to $7,400, there’s buying pressure shown from this area, indicating that the price might be bottoming inside this range. 

Linear chart showing potential wedge structure

BTC USD 1-day linear chart

BTC USD 1-day linear chart. Source: TradingView

The linear chart shows similarities with the log scale chart. However, there’s more of a falling wedge construction rather than a channel. Meaning that the price is gathering strength for a breakout through the coming weeks, marking this level as a bottom area. 

The chart is also showing a bullish divergence, which marked the temporary low at $6,500. Generally, bullish divergences mark a trend reversal (also seen in the December 20118 low at $3,100). 

If price maintains this red box as new support and a higher low is established, then Bitcoin could face a rally towards $9,000 over the coming months.

Total market capitalization hovering at support

Total market capitalization 1-day chart

Total market capitalization 1-day chart. Source: TradingView

Similar signs show the total market capitalization chart, which has retraced to April 2019 levels. A test was confirmed by a sharp bounce upwards, followed by a potential higher low construction as we speak. Aside from these signals, a substantial bullish divergence potentially marked the bottom of this retracement. 

This retracement is currently hovering around the 0.618-0.65 Fibonacci level as well (similar to Bitcoin). If market capitalization can maintain this higher low and consolidate on this level, a breakout to the upside of this falling wedge looks more likely than further downside momentum. 

Crypto fear & greed index

Crypto fear & greed index. Source: Alternative.me

Usually, when an asset is marking a temporary top, the sentiment is euphoric and greed becomes palpable. The opposite effect is the case around bottoms. People are usually scared and depressed as they are expecting further downwards momentum. The Fear & Greed Index has been showing fear for the last weeks, indicating that the overall market sentiment doesn’t expect a breakout to the upside.

Is such a sentiment warranted?

The price is still moving south, which means that some fear is warranted in the market. However, as the price is trying to bottom here, it would be interesting to look at potential upside momentum rather than further downwards. The same can be spotted on altcoins, for example, Ethereum (ETH).

ETH USD 1-day chart

ETH USD 1-day chart. Source: TradingView

The ETH chart is showing a similar wedge formation as the Bitcoin and total market capitalization charts, meaning that a breakout to the upside is likely to occur in the next month. Aside from that, the price bounced from a support area here and is potentially making a bottom formation. 

ETH BTC 2-day chart

ETH BTC 2-day chart. Source: TradingView

On the BTC chart, many altcoins are facing a long term downtrend. Ether, for example, is in the midst of a 2-year old downtrend that it must break out of. Interestingly, the months of January/February have historically seen Ether price significantly increase and/or breakout of downtrends. 

During 2016, a similar breakout was shown, after which 2017 repeats the same move. First, a bottom formation includes a bullish divergence. After this, a higher low is marked, followed by a breakout to the upside.

In 2018 and 2019, a significant move to the upside was seen in the ETH/BTC pair as well, though no breakout of the general downtrend occurred. This time it’s possible, however, as Ethereum Classic (ETC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) are already breaking their downtrends that have been in place for two years.

The bullish scenario for Bitcoin

So what must Bitcoin price do now to generate such a breakout to the upside?

BTC USD bullish scenario

BTC USD bullish scenario. Source: TradingView

As discussed previously in the article, the price needs to maintain the blue area as a higher low and not drop below it. As long as that level is sustained as support, a breakout to the upside is likely to occur. This would cause the 6-month old downtrend to break to the upside, which potentially means the end of the downward momentum.

The targets based on previous support/resistance and Fibonacci levels first include $8,000. If that’s broken, the price is ready to aim for $9,100-9,500, which would typically shift the sentiment from fear to neutral.

The bearish scenario for Bitcoin

BTC USD 1-day bearish scenario

BTC USD 1-day bearish scenario. Source: TradingView

A bearish scenario can be warranted through the opposite of the bullish scenario and is pretty basic. If the price of Bitcoin is not able to hold the blue area as support, the bullish divergence is not confirmed, and the price is ready to continue downwards. 

In that regard, a potential retest of the $6,900 level would grant an excellent short opportunity, and then the next support zones can be found in the $6,200-6,500 area. 

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.

Burger King Venezuela Starts Bitcoin Payments in First of 40 Stores

Bitcoin (BTC) has come to Burger King in Venezuela as a new partnership opens up cryptocurrency payments at the fast-food chain.

Confirmed in a tweet on Dec. 30, a single Burger King branch in the Sambil area of Caracas now accepts Bitcoin, along with altcoins Ether (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Binance Coin (BNB) and Dash (DASH), as well as stablecoin Tether (USDT).

Altcoins, Tether join BTC foray

A total of 40 locations will follow suit in 2020, according to a blog post from Dash executives about the move. 

Cryptobuyer is a Panama-based cryptocurrency merchant gateway startup that also runs a fleet of Bitcoin ATMs. It offers conversion of cryptocurrency funds for businesses, which it then pays out in fiat currency. 

“We are pleased to announce our commercial alliance with @BurgerKingVE,” part of the company’s tweet reads.

Venezuela continues to suffer from major economic turmoil, giving rise to efforts to boost cryptocurrency usage. The government has shunned borderless payment methods, imposing heavy restrictions on foreign currency access.

Instead, Petro, the highly controversial state-backed cryptocurrency, is the official weapon of choice for combating the crisis. As Cointelegraph reported, Petro is now the only currency accepted for some essential services, such as passports.

Real adoption or dog’s dinner?

Burger King Venezuela meanwhile stopped short of publicly acknowledging its crypto foray. In recent years, the idea that Venezuelans are turning to coins such as Dash has further come under scrutiny. 

As various commentators have noted, despite claims by ex-Dash Core Group CEO Ryan Taylor that the altcoin is the country’s most popular, overall cryptocurrency traction among merchants, in fact, remains low. 

Similarly, while P2P trading volumes for Bitcoin regularly hit new highs when denominated in Venezuela’s ailing Sovereign Bolivar, the data speaks more to the fiat currency’s weakness than Bitcoin adoption. 

Burger King’s experiments with Bitcoin have meanwhile fallen flat in the past. Various initiatives in Russia and Europe appeared to be short-lived, with acceptance disappearing soon after launch. The company’s Russian presence also began a dedicated loyalty scheme dubbed “Whoppercoin,” which earned it attention from the country’s prosecutor.

Bitcoin Selling for $24,000 per BTC in Iran as US Tensions Escalate

Iran-based sellers on peer-to-peer trading platform LocalBitcoins are currently asking for around 1 billion Iranian rials or over $24,000 per Bitcoin (BTC) — well over its 2017 all-time high — as tensions reach a boiling point between Washington and Tehran.

LocalBitcoins lowest offers per BTC. Source: LocalBitcoins

LocalBitcoins lowest offers per BTC. Source: LocalBitcoins

Bitcoin price soars in Iranian rials

The staggering premium in Iran relative to current global market price — around $7,350 — comes in the wake of an airstrike at Baghdad’s airport ordered by United States President Donald Trump that killed the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ elite Quds Force, General Qasem Soleimani.

As Cointelegraph reported earlier today, this has led to a surge in global oil prices as well as Bitcoin rebounding from yesterday’s lows of around $6,850.

Founder of crypto analytics outlet Messari Ryan Selkis explains that the premium may be due to Iranians looking to exit Iran’s depreciating national currency, particularly amid the rising prospect of war with the U.S. He notes:

“Bitcoin is trading at nearly $24,000 in the USD equivalent of Iranian Rials on LocalBitcoins today. It’s unlikely those purchases are paying for the Iranian military’s response. Instead, it might be innocent (and desperate) Iranians looking for a way out of the coming chaos.”

Iran restricts access to the Internet, Bitcoin trading

On the other hand, reported trading volumes on LocalBitcoins have hit rock bottom in recent months. This is likely due to Iran’s government restricting internet access across the country since November amid nationwide protests in response to rising fuel prices.

LocalBitcoins weekly trading volume, Iran. Source: Coin.dance

LocalBitcoins weekly trading volume, Iran. Source: Coin.dance

Meanwhile, Iran vowed to seek revenge on the U.S. on Friday following the killing of Soleimani, NBC News reported.

Last month, Cointelegraph reported that Iran was proposing a Muslim cryptocurrency as one of a number of means to confront the economic dominance of the United States.

“The Muslim world should be designing measures to save themselves from the domination of the United States dollar and the American financial regime,” said Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Nevertheless, Iran holds an unfavorable position on Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general as authorities have offered a bounty to anyone who exposes unauthorized mining operations in the country.

Bitcoin Back Above $7K as a Higher Low Can Spark an Explosive Move

Bitcoin (BTC) bounced back from an early morning sell-off, reaching highs for the day of $7,375, a swing of 7.5% from the lows of $6,854.

Other major cryptocurrencies also made similar moves in price, with Ether (ETH) regaining $130 having traded as low as $125.50 and XRP reclaiming $0.19 having previously traded at $0.185.

Bitcoin dominance remains above 68% and looks like it’s on its way to grab 70% of the market share of the total cryptocurrency market capitalization.

Cryptocurrency market 24-hour view. Source: Coin360

Cryptocurrency market 24-hour view. Source: Coin360

Bitcoin Dominance Chart. Source: Coin Market Cap

Bitcoin Dominance Chart. Source: Coin Market Cap

4-hour chart

The 4-hour chart shows Bitcoin having had a large bounce from $6,850, completely engulfing the previous day’s bearish price action sending Bitcoin below $7,000. The move higher meant reclaiming the point of control, which has been acting as an area of support and resistance.

Bitcoin price action remains with a diagonal resistance on lower time frames, which has led to the testing of the $6,000s. So far, this area has been one of demand and is showing signs of showing a higher low, which would imply that buyers remain interested in this area for now, although volume continues to subside suggesting that a bigger move is in the works.

BTC USD 4-hour chart. Source: TradingView

BTC USD 4-hour chart. Source: TradingView

For the bulls, the diagonal resistance currently in the $7,400s must not only be overcome but also close above this level. Weekly resistance remains overhead at $7,555 and has not closed above it since the beginning of November.

These two levels of resistance are key for the bulls to surpass and it seems likely that a higher low from the upper $6,800 could be a catalyst for an explosive move.

1-day chart

Bitcoin’s day candle shows as bearish engulfing with a clear higher low, which is an encouragingly bullish sign. It is worth noting that despite the apparent higher low, Bitcoin has failed to close a higher high at these prices. So again, $7,400 is an important level.

The majority of price action has taken place between the point of control and weekly resistance with low volume dips in price below being bought up.

BTC USD 1-day Chart. Source: TradingView

BTC USD 1-day Chart. Source: TradingView

The moving average convergence divergence indicator, or MACD, is printing a higher high on the histogram while it is also crossed bullish with its signal line, highlighting the increase in bullish momentum off the back of this move.

However, the MACD line remains below zero for now meaning the underlying 12 and 26 exponential moving averages are currently yet to cross bullish.

The RSI continues to trend up above 50 having built on a bullish divergence, which is a bullish sign in this period of consolidation.

BTC USD 1-day chart. Source: TradingView

BTC USD 1-day chart. Source: TradingView

Bullish targets

If Bitcoin were to build upon the bullish price action and break diagonal resistance, the decreasing volume gives support for a bullish argument for an inverted head and shoulders pattern forming that would suggest a move up to around $8,700, which could occur relatively quickly if there is a short squeeze.

BTC USD 4-hour chart. Source: TradingView

BTC USD 4-hour chart. Source: TradingView

Downside risk

Price action on the weekly candle clearly shows price action squeezing up against resistance. The bearish argument is that this is a retest of previous support, which is once again being rejected. This, combined with the overall downtrend heeds a warning to overzealous bulls.

If demand dries up in the $6,000s, the next level of support is likely to be the ascending 200-week moving average in the low $5,000s.

BTC USD Weekly chart. Source: TradingView

BTC USD Weekly chart. Source: TradingView

The spot exchange volume continues to drop off and is now as low as it was in early 2019. The weekly MACD also show an unconfirmed bullish divergence with a higher high in the histogram and a lower low in price, but still awaits confirmation on a bullish cross with its signal line. The RSI is also below 50, which is bearish.

Therefore, the low timeframe bullish scenario could arguably be only a pause on the way to $5,000s until the weekly resistance is broken and momentum shifts to the upside.

BTC USD Weekly chart. Source: TradingView

BTC USD Weekly chart. Source: TradingView

CME futures

The CME futures chart highlights the point of control at $6,400 being of significant importance, which is also bringing in a notable level of weekly buying volume since July.

Below this level, the next high volume node is the low $5,000s, which is also the 200-week moving average as mentioned earlier.

The CME futures have risen to highs of $290 over spot back in June and the premium has been compressing ever since. It appears to be breaking out of that trend at the moment, which is a sign that there is a shift in sentiment over the future price of Bitcoin.

BTC CME futures weekly chart. Source: TradingView

BTC CME futures weekly chart. Source: TradingView

Looking forward

It is evident that Bitcoin bulls are in control of the $6,000 level at present, but there is a continued level of supply at $7,500.

The outcome of the diagonal resistance is likely to play a pivotal role. Break it and BTC price is likely to move into the $8,000s. But if the bulls run out of demand in the mid $6,000s, a swift collapse in price to the low $5,000s and the 200-week moving average would most likely follow.

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

Bitcoin Price Falls Below $7K But Bears Yet to Break Key Support Level

Today, Bitcoin (BTC) price abruptly dropped below the $7,100 support, declining 3.35% to rest near $6,900. 

For the past few days, Bitcoin price traded between $7,300 and $7,100, testing the $7,100 and $7,050 support multiple times. Therefore, for many traders, it was no surprise when the price fell below $7,100 as frequent retests of support weaken it.

BTC USD 6-hour chart. Source: TradingView

BTC USD 6-hour chart. Source: TradingView

It’s likely that traders anticipate a bounce at $6,800 and many will watch to see if the $7,100 support flips to a point of resistance. On the 6-hour chart, the relative strength index (RSI) has dropped into oversold territory at 30 and the Stochastic RSI has already begun to cross above 0 so it seems an oversold bounce is already in the making.

If the price is able to reverse course, traders will look for the price to pare today’s losses, possibly extending to the Bollinger Band moving average at 7,200. This $7,200 zone is also aligned with the 61.8% Fibonacci retracement level so, volume permitting, a short-term trend reversal to $7,445 (at the upper Bollinger Band arm) could occur.

Cryptocurrency market daily overview. Source: Coin360

Cryptocurrency market daily overview. Source: Coin360

Bitcoin eyes $6.5K and below if the $6.8K support fails

BTC USD daily chart. Source: TradingView

BTC USD daily chart. Source: TradingView

As shown by the volume profile daily range, the price is supported at $6,800. But if this level fails to hold Bitcoin could revisit $6,550, $6,400 and possibly $6,160, which lines up with the lower trendline of the long term descending channel.

Bounces off the descending channel trendline have been a frequent occurrence since the downtrend began on June 23, 2019. As mentioned in previous market updates, below $6,160, $5,800 and $5,350 are the next levels where Bitcoin could appeal to buyers.

At the time of writing the moving average divergence convergence (MACD) is on the verge of a bear cross on the daily time frame and the RSI is dropping towards oversold territory. This makes $6,800 an important level to watch and risk-averse traders will wait for the candle close to determine whether the pullback is over.

Bitcoin 1-day price chart. Source: Coin360Bitcoin 1-day price chart. Source: Coin360

The overall cryptocurrency market cap was $186.7 billion at press time with most altcoins faring worse and Bitcoin’s share inching higher to 68.2% as a result.

Keep track of top crypto markets in real time here

Ethereum Could Soon Pump 100% To $260, According to Analysts

A trio of analysts have predicted big gains for the number two cryptocurrency by market cap, Ethereum, in the next few months. One even suggested a replay of his 100% surge prediction from early last year, in a tweet on Jan. 01.

Falling wedges break upside 68% of the time

Last week, analyst Manu Naik pointed out that the ETH/USD 1-day chart was in a falling wedge. These break upside 68% of the time, he said, and $128 is at the lower limit.

The falling wedge is still in play, and we are still at the lower limit. Which means that Naik’s prediction of a potential upwards breakout to $240 by mid-January could still be on the cards.

ETH looks better than BTC at the moment

The Wolf of All Streets, analyst Scott Melker, tweeted on New Year’s Eve, that he believes Ether looks better than Bitcoin at the moment.

He followed that up on Jan. 01, with a ETH/BTC chart, highlighting the range that ETH has traded in against BTC since July. The current situation sees ETH rebounding upwards off significant support, putting it in a great position to go higher.

Bounce big-time in the next 3-6 months

Finally, popular analyst, DonAlt, posted on Dec. 31, that he was:

“pretty sure we’re gonna bounce big time in the next 3-6 months.”

He followed this up on Dec. 01, referring to a post last February when he had bought in at just over $100, with a target of $200. “How about we do it again?” he suggested.

As Cointelegraph reported Dec. 31, if Ether does start to move upwards, it could finally kick off the expected alt-season that never really materialized in 2019.

Bitcoin: 4 Big Competitive Advantages Over Altcoins in 2020

Bitcoin (BTC) easily succeeds over other cryptocurrencies in multiple key areas, which all but guarantee its future as the standard, noted academic Konrad S. Graf has concluded.

In the second installment of a two-part interview with Eurasia Review published Jan. 1, Graf highlighted a plethora of “competitive advantages” inherent to Bitcoin. 

Graf has sought to gain exposure for Bitcoin through academic essays, which expand beyond its mechanism of action to situate it within the broader economic system.

Scarcity 

Bitcoin wins out over other forms of money — including other cryptocurrencies — largely due to its fixed supply. 

“Bitcoin’s top competitive advantage… is its ability (to) restrict new issuance, the relative reliability of its methods for controlling unit production,” Graf summarizes.

Specifically, Bitcoin’s supply cannot be manipulated, nor can its maximum issuance — 21 million units — ever change to dilute it. 

No entity, no matter how powerful in terms of computing power active on the network, can diminish the value of the existing BTC held by savers by increasing the supply. This is in direct contrast to cryptocurrencies with a mutable supply, such as Ethereum (ETH) and XRP, as well as all fiat currencies.

Apolitical value transfer

The above characteristic thus makes Bitcoin particularly useful for settlements from anyone to anyone, as a financial protocol immune to the trappings of fiat.

Here, Graf touches on Saifedean Ammous’ popular book, “The Bitcoin Standard,” which extensively examines Bitcoin’s advantages over fiat. Ammous likewise devotes space to how Bitcoin could function as a settlement currency without the need for middlemen.

“Ammous argues that it is in the — for most people quite arcane — field of settlements that Bitcoin could find some of its most competitive applications. It could become not only an in-common non-political money unit, but also a direct competitor to the SWIFT system and any other existing or emerging rivals to it,” Graf explains.

He continues: 

“In a world where conventional systems are also politicized, Bitcoin has an advantage of being “neutral” in the sense that it is controlled by none of the competing power blocks, which means that any and all could potentially participate.”

Technical prowess

Against major altcoins, Bitcoin’s technical prowess means its position as a market leader has been obvious for years, says Graf.

As Cointelegraph has also frequently reported, hash rate alone has achieved an order of magnitude better progress than Ethereum or similar market incumbents.

“BTC currently has 97 exahashes protecting its network to BCH’s 2.5 exahashes, giving BTC a hash rate 39 times higher than that of even its next closest digital-cash competitor,” he continues.

Bitcoin network hash rate vs. Bitcoin Cash

Bitcoin network hash rate vs. Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin SV. Source: Coin.dance

That attribute also differentiates Bitcoin from imitators with very similar characteristics — the principle may be the same, but hash rate distribution, or centralization, and activity on those other networks pale by comparison. 

It’s not an entity

On the topic of centralization, a final advantage Bitcoin has over “corporate” blockchains is its lack of weak points political actors can target. 

That benefit has become all the more apparent in 2019, the year in which Facebook unveiled and subsequently faced a global backlash over its digital currency protocol, Libra

CEO Mark Zuckerberg appeared before U.S. lawmakers alone several times, amid criticisms Facebook was attempting to remove government monopolies over the proposed stablecoin currency.

“There is no CEO to summon to Washington for interrogation,” Graf concludes about Bitcoin.

Bitcoin Must Gain 13,800% in 2020 to Stop John McAfee Eating His Words

Bitcoin (BTC) traded broadly sideways on the first day of the 2020s as consensus swirled ever stronger around a Q1 breakout. 

Cryptocurrency market daily overview. Source: Coin360

BTC in line for uninspiring January

Data from Coin360 and Cointelegraph Markets showed Bitcoin making a decisively calm start to its third decade, with volatility staying away from markets into Wednesday.

At press time, BTC/USD traded at just under $7,200, cementing a week in a narrow corridor between $7,090 and $7,495.

Bitcoin 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360

The slow yet choppy conditions follow a sudden breakdown in the third week of December, which saw the pair dip to its lowest levels in over seven months — around $6,460. 

Since then, Bitcoin has broadly coalesced around the $7,200 mark, with brief trips higher quickly reversing.

The status quo is likely to continue, analysts say, with the short-term prognosis for BTC/USD showing little signs of starting a new trend.

For regular Cointelegraph contributor Michaël van de Poppe, a turning point could come in February or slightly later.

“Still stuck within this range and I think we’ll stay here for the next month as well,” he summarized in his last Twitter update for 2019.

Van de Poppe continued: 

“Probably see a scenario something like this in which we first make a fake-out to either way to trap the market, before the decisive move occurs.”

For fellow contributor filbfilb, however, Bitcoin’s failure to crack resistance at $7,600 suggests a dip back into the $6,000 range. That event, he added in analysis for Cointelegraph on Dec. 30, should nonetheless not involve a lower bottom than that seen in December.

A more uplifting statistic meanwhile focuses on Bitcoin’s previous gains. In the ten years from 2010 to 2020, the largest cryptocurrency delivered 9,000,000% returns to investors. 

The impressive statistic came to light during an ongoing Twitter debate among commentators as to whether entrepreneur John McAfee will have to honor his pledge to consume his own penis if BTC/USD fails to reach $1 million by 2021. 

For reference, the gap between the current price and the seven-digit target is a comparatively doable 13,800%. 

A dedicated countdown tool, candidly titled “Dickening,” is keeping track of the odds.

Altcoins follow static sentiment

In line with Bitcoin, altcoins saw little change as the new year began, moving up or down by a maximum of around 2%.

Ether (ETH), the largest altcoin by market cap, traded down 1.5% to circle $130. 

Ethereum Classic 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360

Others made modest gains — XRP appreciated 1.1% and Bitcoin SV (BSV) 2.5%.

The overall cryptocurrency market cap was $191.2 billion at press time, with Bitcoin’s share at 68.2%.

Keep track of top crypto markets in real time here

XRP Price Lost 66% Against BTC in 2019 — Will the Pain End in 2020?

Bitcoin (BTC) price has seen a significant increase in 2019 (by more than 100%), while altcoins are actually down significantly from the beginning of the year. 

Moreover, most altcoin/BTC pairs have been hitting new lows, and many of the coins are still trending downwards, looking for potential support.

Crypto market daily performance

Crypto market daily performance. Source: Coin360

One of these coins is XRP (XRP), which has seen a decrease of 50% over the year, going from $0.39 to $0.195. Will 2020 be a similar year for XRP and altcoins, or can we see a switch in momentum? A new analysis is warranted. 

XRP hitting new lows in USD value

It was a bad year for the XRP investor, with the price hitting new lows over and over again. 

XRP USD 1-day chart

XRP USD 1-day chart. Source: TradingView

Price held the $0.30 support throughout the beginning of the year. However, XRP wasn’t able to provide a higher high and continued making lower highs. These lower highs confirmed the downtrend and eventually, the breakdown of the $0.30 support level. 

Later in the year, the $0.30 level was tested for resistance and confirmed, as can be seen with the rejection earlier in November. This rejection started a new downwards trend, which temporarily ended with the latest low at $0.176. The last time this price level was seen was in November 2017, before a huge rally occurred for XRP.

BTC pair resting on the crucial support

XRP BTC 4-day chart

XRP BTC 4-day chart. Source: TradingView

The XRP/BTC pair is also continuing to trend down. This can be seen in the chart above, which shows that XRP started the year around 0.000096 and is currently near 0.000026.  In other words, XRP has lost roughly two-thirds of its value against Bitcoin in 2019. 

However, some exciting signals are given from the chart. First of all, there’s a substantial bullish divergence still being applied. Similar divergences were found during the lows in November 2015 and at the beginning of January of 2017. This divergence marked a trend reversal before XRP made a 5,500% move. 

Crucial for the XRP/BTC pair, however, is holding the green zone as support. A retest of the lows of September 2019 is not a bad sign. However, a higher low needs to construct to sustain the validity of the bullish divergence.

Similar to other altcoins, XRP is facing a significant downtrend. This red diagonal line has been a trend entrenched for more than a year. Breaking that line to the upside would potentially stage a big move to the upside. 

What will 2020 bring in general?

2019 was not the best year for the average investor in altcoins. Many of them have seen a red year with double-digit losses, despite some select altcoins seeing massive growth. 

Chainlink (LINK) surged 1,500%, Binance Coin (BNB) rallied 650%, and even Matic Network (MATIC) has seen a rise of 1,360%. However, the big caps didn’t see these numbers, so the question arises: what will 2020 bring?

Altcoin dominance chart

Altcoin dominance chart. Source; CoinTrader.Pro

By analyzing historical charts, the first quarter of the year tends to be the best period to trade altcoins. The altcoin dominance broke out to the upside in January 2016, causing Ethereum (ETH) to rally 1,900%. 

Similarly, January 2017 led a significant breakout as well, identical to the movements of January 2018, which made Ethereum hit its high of $1,440. 

Is the market cycle comparable to January 2016?

Looking closely at market cycles is something that every analyst tries to do. Particularly, people like to compare the last top of Bitcoin with the high of Bitcoin in December 2017. 

However, the market saw a similar parabolic move in December ‘15, but with a big difference. The market had hysterical euphoria during the bull-run of December 2017, while nobody was interested in Bitcoin during a similar parabolic move in 2015.

Through that, it’s more natural to compare the current market with the beginning of the last cycle, as there’s about as much euphoria right now as at a funeral. 

XRP looking similar to December 2015

XRP USD 2-day chart

XRP USD 2-day chart. Source: TradingView

If we analyze XRP against USD again, then the market is showing similarities with the period in December 2015. Similar to then, price broke below the support of a range and reached the next support level (blue horizontal line in both cases).

Additionally, the price is showing a significant downtrend. Breaking this downtrend would potentially lead to a substantial move to the upside, which could push XRP to $0.48, leaving bears in disbelief.

Ethereum facing a similar downtrend 

ETH BTC 2-day chart

ETH BTC 2-day chart. Source: TradingView

Not only is XRP facing a significant downtrend, but Ether has also had a pretty lackluster year overall. 

ETH price is a prime example of an excellent first quarter of the year. In fact, since Ethereum’s launch, ETH has always provided a bullish Q1. During 2016 and 2017, massive downtrends were broken to the upside, while 2018 saw its peak value in USD. 

There was even a 60% gain during the bear market at the beginning of 2019. But Ether is nevertheless in a two-year downtrend. 

Concluding, Ether, and other big caps have to start making moves soon, given that they are facing these downtrends. And the overall rule is; when big caps begin to move, the rest will follow. Therefore, if ETH starts to move up (it may or may not be due to Ethereum 2.0), most of the ERC-20 tokens will likely follow suit and possibly kickstart the so-called “altseason” that never quite happened in 2019. 

Happy New Year! 

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.

Ethereum Network Overcame Intentional Attack Affecting Parity Nodes

The Ethereum (ETH) network was apparently the target of a coordinated attack, according to several analysts.

Following reports that some Parity Ethereum nodes lost sync with the network, on Dec. 31, core blockchain infrastructure company Parity Technology said it believed there was an attack underway and subsequently released network upgrades to protect against it. 

According to cryptocurrency security consultant Sergio Demian Lerner, the attack was implemented in a simple way, wherein “you send to a Parity node a block with invalid transactions, but valid header (borrowed from another block). The node will mark the block header as invalid and ban this block header forever but the header is still valid.”

Software developer Liam Aharon analyzed the attack, concluding that it was close to taking down the entire network and that Ethereum could become much more vulnerable to similar attacks in the upcoming year.

Per Aharon, the attack did not manage to bring down the entire network because it has a client dubbed Geth, which is immune to the attack. However, taking into account Parity’s intention to transition Parity Ethereum to a DAO ownership and maintainer model, Geth could become the only well-maintained client in 2020, he said.

“If this scenario came true, attacks similar to today’s would devastate the network, instead of just being inconvenient,’ Aharon further wrote.

Efforts to fix vulnerabilities in the Ethereum network

During the past year, Parity has released multiple updates geared to fixing node vulnerability. In March, Parity CEO Jutta Steiner said that the new controversial Create2 Ethereum function would have prevented the Parity multisig freeze, following an incident when a user “accidentally killed” the Parity multisig library by activating a vulnerability to become the owner of the library, and then self-destructing it.

In May, global hacking research collective SRLabs claimed that only two-thirds of the Ethereum client software that ran on Ethereum nodes had been patched against a critical security flaw discovered earlier this year. The data reportedly indicated that unpatched Parity nodes comprised 15% of all scanned nodes — implying that 15% of all Ethereum nodes were vulnerable to a potential 51% attack.

Other recent attacks

On Dec. 29, holders of IOTA were unable to confirm transactions for 24 hours due to a mainnet incident caused by an unusual set of transactions that may have been constructed as an attack. The Iota Foundation emphasized that the incident had not been caused by software changes or any other components of the network, but rather occurred due to the “absence of transaction processing logic for an unusual set of transactions.”

Earlier this month, major cryptocurrency payment service provider BitPay confirmed that its service had a temporary outage of Bitcoin (BTC) payments.

$1M Bond to Keep Alleged North Korea Sanctions Violater Griffith in Alabama for Now

After having been denied bail on Dec. 26, Ethereum foundation researcher Virgil Griffith has now been released on a $1 million bond on the condition that he stay out of California.

On Dec. 30, the Inner City Press reported that the 36-year-old Griffith has been released after a bail appeal hearing earlier today. The hearing took place in front of United States District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Vernon S. Broderick, who granted a $1 million bail and ordered Griffith released, on the condition that he stay with his parents in Alabama for “moral suasion.”

Despite the fact that Griffith attempted to procure a St. Kitts passport, the bail conditions allow for Griffith to use his passport card to travel to countries such as Canada, Mexico and certain regions of the Carribean including St. Kitts and Nevis. He will also be able to use email to stay in touch with his lawyers. The $1 million bond is reportedly secured by relatives’ homes. 

Arrested for educating North Korea on crypto and blockchain

Griffith was first arrested on Nov. 28 for reportedly traveling to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to deliver a presentation on how to dodge sanctions via cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. 

Griffith was charged with conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), which carries a maximum term of 20 years in prison. U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said at the time:

“As alleged, Virgil Griffith provided highly technical information to North Korea, knowing that this information could be used to help North Korea launder money and evade sanctions. In allegedly doing so, Griffith jeopardized the sanctions that both Congress and the president have enacted to place maximum pressure on North Korea’s dangerous regime.”

Denied bail at first

On Dec. 27, a public information officer for the SDNY told Cointelegraph that Griffith was denied bail and ordered detained.

Griffith also allegedly disowned his status as an American national via text messages to family members, according to texts quoted by the U.S. Attorney’s office. Griffith’s texts also allegedly included intent to facilitate money laundering activities in North Korea.