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Bitcoin Price Drops to $6.5K as Traders Eye CME ‘Gap’ Bounce

Bitcoin (BTC) dropped to within $15 of $6,500 on Nov. 25 after another day of significant losses obliterated previous support levels.

Cryptocurrency market daily overview

Cryptocurrency market daily overview. Source: Coin360

Bitcoin comes within an inch of $6,500

Data from Coin360 shows BTC/USD bouncing off the significant $6,500 barrier, having fallen 7% in the past 24 hours. 

The cryptocurrency’s weekly downturn currently stands at more than 20% versus the same point last week, while monthly, investors have taken a 30% hit on holdings.

Bitcoin seven-day price chart

Bitcoin seven-day price chart. Source: Coin360

As Cointelegraph reported, current moves are essential in deciding whether bulls have a chance of preserving influence. If not, little remains in the way of Bitcoin dropping as low as $2,500. 

Commentators will be keenly eyeing $6,500 in particular, as this figure represents the assumed cut-off point for miner profitability. Previously, analysts had claimed miners would defend that price should Bitcoin fall within its range. 

At press time, that theory appeared to hold, with an upwards reversal taking Bitcoin to $6,700.

As an indicator of sentiment among professional traders, regular Cointelegraph contributor Michaël van de Poppe said that longer-term, Bitcoin still remained a firm best choice.

“Whatever movements there are now (whether we go back to $7,800 prior to any further downwards movements), I do believe that the asset $BTC is one of the few bullish assets macro wise for the coming years,” he said in his latest Twitter update late on Sunday.

Van de Poppe added he would remain satisfied if markets bottomed in the low $6,000 range.

Elsewhere, theories explaining Bitcoin’s loss of momentum ranged from the commonplace China exchange crackdown to one involving the United States. As Adamant Capital founder Tuur Demeester noted, U.S. investors could be deliberately forcing the market lower in order to record negative performance for their end-of-year tax obligations.

Short-term performance could also improve thanks to a “gap” in CME Group’s Bitcoin futures. As noted, when futures begin trading at a different price to that at which they closed their previous session, Bitcoin tends to “fill in” the resulting vacuum later. That blank spot currently sits at around $7,300.

Altcoins see red with 10% fall

Altcoin markets predictably suffered as a result of Bitcoin’s weakness. As the week began, most cryptocurrencies in the top twenty by market cap shed almost 10%.

Ether (ETH), the largest altcoin, fell 9.8% to hit $136, its lowest price since Apr. 1 this year. 

Ether seven-day price chart

Ether seven-day price chart. Source: Coin360

Others, such as Litecoin (LTC), managed to stave off the worst of the bearish sentiment to deliver more moderate losses of around 5%.

The overall cryptocurrency market cap also erased a significant chunk of its value, falling to just $183 billion at press time with Bitcoin’s share at 66.2%.

Keep track of top crypto markets in real time here

2019: A Berlin Odyssey — 7 Days of Crypto-Living on Monolith’s ETH Debit Card

“YOU’VE TRANSCENDED. You are here because you’ve opened your eyes to a new type of society; one powered by a decentralised economy and full of shimmering new possibilities.” 

This is not the calling card for a new religion. This is what new Monolith customers are met with when opening up the box for the first time. Narrative is a central part of cryptocurrency, whether people like it or not. Monolith has taken that narrative and made it central to its branding. 

When I fished the Monolith crypto debit card out of my letterbox in South Berlin one morning, I was no longer an ordinary man. I became a man on a mission. A mission to live on crypto in Germany’s capital city.  

Although the wall separating East from West in Berlin may have come down 40 years ago, I would take a virtual sledgehammer to financial divisions within this city of sin and ambition. For 7 days, I became a one-man disruption machine. 

Out of this world

After opening up the sleek black package, a smaller box slides out. It depicts a post-apocalyptic landscape, somewhere halfway between the Earth and the other side of the Oort cloud. It’s equal parts Planet of the Apes and Interstellar. 

Picture 1

From the matte black of the outer-space background, the card glows green like an alien lifeform. The unboxing may expose customers of a weaker disposition to lethal levels of nerdiness. The dramatic branding and transformative message is labored, but it doesn’t make me like it any less. 

Picture 2

The app setup is quick and relatively painless. Loading screens are punctuated with painfully sappy messages about “kitties clogging the network,” but thankfully I am not met with much waiting time. The total time to set up the wallet was around 10 minutes, several of which were taken up as the wallet is “deployed.”

The sci-fi branding is consistent throughout Monolith. It’s the gamification of finance — you’re not just buying a pint with crypto, you’re also a space invader and Neil Armstrong all at the same time. 

The whole user experience is geared toward convincing you that you are on a journey. They even use it to disguise when you need to cough up the cash for fees. Since the Ethereum network has branded these charges as “gas,” the Monolith card has a “gas tank” that you need to top up in order to pay for your transactions.

Berlin: A cardholder’s nemesis

If I truly had to live for a week with this card — from the moment I ordered it to the moment my money ran out — I would have died. I’d have starved to death in the time it takes for the card to arrive. “10 business days” is a sweet nothing that Monolith whispers into the consumer’s ear. Morning, noon and night I checked my postbox for that card like a forlorn child in small-town America looking for his ticket to the big city. But when it did arrive, boy did I forget about the life-threatening hunger. 

I checked my account balance. The figures shimmered back at me from the slick mobile application. “Spend it all in the pub. All of it,” a voice whispered in my brain. It appealed to my deepest primal urge as a British man. 

My liver whimpered in anticipation. I could bathe in Rioja like the Elizabeth Bathory of the crypto world. I put the thought to the back of my mind. Monolith had placed its faith in me to eke out a livable existence powered by the Ethereum blockchain. I would not let the technology down.

Picture 3

Withdrawing money from an ATM

Germans love cash. Newcomers to Berlin are usually astounded that you can rarely pay for anything with credit or debit cards. In any restaurant or bar, it is only a matter of time before you hear a disillusioned tourist loudly wail, “What do you mean you don’t take card?” Visitors will soon find themselves pounding the streets in search of somewhere to withdraw some cash. 

Luckily, Berlin is well served by a number of banks and card machine providers. It’s said in life that there are two unavoidable things: death and taxes. But that quick-witted soul has clearly never been to Germany. 

Any visitor to the city will know there is a third constant with exorbitant cost: ATM fees. In the United Kingdom, you can pop to a cash point and idly withdraw a 5 pound note, free of charge. In Berlin, you can routinely expect to pay between 4 euros and 7.5 euros for every withdrawal. 

And that’s before your local bank charges you for using its card abroad. For this reason, Berliners visit cash machines as rarely as possible — and when they do, they take out enough to last them weeks at a time. 

Related: Crypto Hold’Em 2019 – What are cryptocurrency debit cards?

Not all cash machines are made equal in Berlin. But, having been stung by a 6 euro charge when in desperate need of a kebab one time too many, I’ve learned there are ways to avoid having your credit card savaged with each all-important withdrawal. 

Sparkasse, a semi-state-owned bank, does not charge fees for withdrawing cash. It is high time for the creaking titans of state finance to meet a new financial force. I thrust the Monolith card into the glowing ATM slot. The machine swallows up the alien technology. At this stage, crypto has infiltrated the mainstream financial network. I am inside. 

The Monolith card is a crypto-Agent Smith, hell-bent on transforming the financial matrix from the inside out. The process is as smooth as a silken slide. The machine whirrs and clanks as it gives up guardianship of the euro notes. I check my balance in the app. No charges. It was as easy as that. 

Ease of use: 5/5

Charges/fees: 0 euros

Picture 4

Paying for food

Even for the most hardened crypto enthusiasts, hunched over a screen, pale from months of furious hodling, hunger comes at least once a day. Bearing my luminous green Monolith card, I venture out onto the mean streets of Berlin to sate my growling stomach. Of all the things people like to buy with money, food is almost universally acknowledged as the most important. But Berlin’s cash culture also spits on card users. It is almost impossible to find a decent bar or restaurant that will accept card payments. I try several places that have people with beards typing on laptops outside them. I witness a sprawling morass of avocado, but no one willing to take a card payment. Tired of staggering from one artisan cafe to the next, I turn a corner and see the golden arches of McDonald’s glimmer through the November gloom. 

Has anyone eaten in a McDonald’s in the last 10 years? I don’t think they have. Certainly, no one has done it without a head injury or imminent threat of violence. I was about to buck that trend. It starts badly. I can’t remember the German word for chips. I just say potato and mime lacerating it into small strips. 

Monolith’s contactless chip fails, as it is worryingly prone to do. The woman behind the counter looks at me the way a naive child would look at a wounded puppy. She gives me a sad, pitying smile and asks me to pop the card in, if I can remember the pin. She gently coaxes me through the rest of the process. 

Monolith might have stumbled at the first hurdle, but when it comes to the crunch, it did not let me down. It was a seamless, instant transaction. In only a matter of seconds, I am the proud owner of a succulent McDonald’s meal. I look down at the tray full of salty, disgusting food. All mine. I eat it all, knowing that I am doing this for the purpose of meaningful journalism. 

In paying for this food, surrounded by builders and railway workers in uniforms, many of whom have clearly not washed their hands, I am furthering the adoption of cryptocurrency. I am a one-man force of fintech power; the titans of finance quiver before me. I think about Jamie Dimon as I force down mouthful after mouthful of horrible chips. I’d show him. 

Monolith’s card service bursts with ambition, but Berlin’s cash culture means the ATM should be the first point of call for hungry hodlers.

Contactless: 0/5

Pin payment: 5/5

Transaction speed: 5/5

Charge/Fees: 0 euros

Paying for transport 

From the labyrinthine tunnels of London’s underground to Moscow’s palatial metro system, capital cities of the world are shifting to contactless payments. Despite having great public transport, Berlin is trailing behind the rest of Europe (surprise). 

After a weekend of traveling on public transport in London, my bank account looks like a squirrel after an unfortunate encounter with a 10-ton truck. Fortunately for many of Berlin’s employees, companies here often provide year-long public transport tickets. But for those that don’t, the office beckons, and it’s down to you to foot the bill. With that, Monolith’s crypto card just found its next use case. 

Picture 5

It is painfully early in the morning. I stand on the platform of Hermanstrasse station in South Berlin, channeling my inner office worker. If ever there should be a time for the card to fail me, I pray for it to be now. But the Monolith card steadfastly refuses to buckle under pressure. 

I can both link the card to the city’s BVG travel app to buy a variety of tickets on the move and use the machine at the station. The show must go on. And I must get on that train. It was not long ago that I forced myself from the comfort of my bed, and, what seems only seconds later, I am pressed into the sweaty embrace of a full commuter train. 

Nose to armpit contact before 9 a.m., facilitated by crypto. Like lambs to the slaughter, we make our way into the center of Berlin, backs bent before the cracking whip of the corporate world. The smell persists, but our journey continues unimpeded. Nonetheless, my breakfast is in serious danger of making a reappearance. Cautious consumers can take comfort in the knowledge that, out of the many factors that could make you late for work, paying with the Monolith card will sadly not be one of them.

As you might imagine in a city like Berlin, people who live here are often conscious of the environment. So, if using gas-guzzling public transport turns your stomach, plait your hair into pigtails, do your best Greta Thunberg impression and hop on one of the city’s myriad bike-sharing services. These are all done on mobile-based applications, and after linking the card up, you’re good to go. 

I wondered if Monolith’s card would help me answer the oldest question in crypto. A question that hovers on the tongue of any investor worth their salt: When Lambo? 

I looked into it. Rental prices in Berlin start from $850 per day. The answer to that timeless question? Not today.

Ease of use: 5/5

Speed: 5/5

Charges/fees: 0 euros

Ordering online

For many dedicated crypto customers, time is money. Glued to charts, stacking sats and checking stats, cryptocurrency can be a lonely road. For when you can’t leave the computer, or the luxurious charm of your apartment proves all too alluring on a cold winter’s night, ordering online is never far from your mind. 

Lieferando, Germany’s largest delivery service, accepts Bitcoin. Unfortunately, ETH is not yet an option. Nonetheless, Monolith’s crypto card will not stand in the way of an empty stomach and a generous helping of pizza. My mind scarred by the frightening proliferation of currywurst in this peculiar country, I navigate the site, content only with the best. 

I choose Nini e Pettirosso, purveyors of apparently the best pizza in Berlin. Only a short while later, my spent crypto manifested itself to me in the form of a delicious mound of mozzarella, salami and garlic.

Picture 6

The card worked seamlessly for other online payments. I bought tickets to a show in Berlin’s iconic Comedy Club, nestled away on one of Neukolln’s backstreets. The payment was as efficient as any using a fiat-backed card. 

But it was crypto that had bought me entrance to a bar with some top-drawer comedy. To my enormous surprise, the comedy club bar accepted card payments. From then on, the only thing that the Monolith card would further contribute to decentralizing that night would be my balance. 

Ease of use: 5/5

Speed: 5/5

Charges/fees: 0 euros

5/5

My seven days in the skin of an invincible crypto cyberpunk left me feeling empowered and mysterious. I have cultivated the air of a ‘60s Bond villain, short of a volcano lair. The Monolith card allowed me to skip around the city like a kid in a candy shop. If anything, I am saddened that my personal rampage has come to a close. The card holds up pretty well. 

For a company that flirts with the notion of alien contact in its branding, it might want to sort out the contactless issues. Nonetheless, charges are mostly nonexistent, and when they do surface, they are low. For now, the Monolith service is not tied to an actual bank account, which means wire transfers are currently out of the question. For those looking for an all-in-one account, this might be a dealbreaker. 

There are other card providers out there that do this. Wirex and Revolut both offer a seriously competitive service that both come with British pound or euro accounts for a seamless banking experience. For hardened crypto users, or people based in Europe that want an instant and reliable way to spend their crypto, this could be exactly what you need. 

I’ll probably still use the card. I have had a taste of the cypherpunk philosophy, and one hit is not enough. The card might not replace the others in my wallet, but it will lie dormant, ready for the next time I feel Big Banking gets too big for its boots. One day soon, the banks will once again quiver before my wrath. The Monolith card might not turn water into wine, but it does turn ETH into Pinot Noir. That’s good enough for me.

‘No Capitulation’ — Bitcoin Miners Completely Unfazed by Price Drop

Bitcoin (BTC) is not seeing capitulation among miners despite its price dipping over 15% in the past week, new data suggests.

According to estimates of Bitcoin’s hash rate from monitoring resource Coin Dance, participation remains as strong now as before the price drop. Hash rate refers to the amount of computing power dedicated to maintaining the Bitcoin network.

Hash rate sees 2nd all-time high

According to some measures, the hash rate on Nov. 23, in fact, nearly matched its previous all-time high. At 134 quintillion hashes per second, Saturday’s reading was almost identical to that from Oct. 10, Coin Dance statistics suggest.

BTC/USD traded at around $7,200 on that day, compared to $8,600 in October. 

Bitcoin network hash rate (in orange)

Bitcoin network hash rate (in orange). Source: Coin Dance

Previously, Cointelegraph reported on the rising consensus that Bitcoin miners were exiting their positions as losses mounted. According to statistician Willy Woo, that process had already almost completed as of this week. 

Taking an opposing position based on the fresh data, entrepreneur Alistair Milne suggested miners were in fact little concerned with current price action. 

“There is NO miner capitulation,” he summarized in a tweet on Sunday. He continued: 

“They are acutely aware of the upcoming halving and are apparently unphased by the recent dip.”

Difficulty reverses upwards

Milne also linked to the rising difficulty in mining Bitcoin, an indicator which until recently had been in decline. 

The difficulty is a measure of the effort required to solve Bitcoin block equations and regularly adjusts to suit current miner sentiment. Earlier this month, difficulty saw its biggest drop of the year, falling 7%. Since then, a roughly 2% uptick likewise contradicts the idea that miners are staying away, according to Blockchain figures. 

Bitcoin mining difficulty

Bitcoin mining difficulty. Source: Blockchain

For analyst PlanB, creator of the highly-popular Stock-to-Flow Bitcoin price model, difficulty trends also point to continued faith in mining profitability.

“+2% difficulty adjustment: no miner capitulation,” he wrote on Friday, adding the historical precedent called for a price rise after such behavior.

According to Crypto This’ real-time difficulty generator, the next adjustment on Dec. 5 could be almost 5% higher than current levels.

Unlike difficulty, the hash rate is difficult to estimate beyond a limited degree of accuracy, and should not be taken as a definitive guide to miner involvement.

US Congress Wrestles With Financial Technologies and Data Privacy

On Nov. 21, the United States Congressional Task Force on Financial Technologies held a hearing on the role of big data in financial services. 

The last major legislation focused on the subject was the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999, which formalized a financial service firm’s obligations to clients — specifically, how they share client information. Given the field’s expansion over the past 20 years, the Fintech Task Force’s posture on Thursday was that of an early exploration of options and opportunities for new and major legislation. 

The current conundrum

Obviously, the scene has changed remarkably since 1999. Financial services are more accessible than ever. Smartphones and powerful free apps have put financial capabilities previously reserved for industry professionals literally into the hands of everyday consumers. The flip side, as the task force seemed to acknowledge, is that many of those financial opportunities approach consumer data predatorily. The old axiom “if you are not paying for the product, the product is you” seemed to frame the conversation.

While the public eye was largely directed at the ongoing Trump impeachment hearings the same day, the members of the Fintech Task Force — led by chairman Stephen Lynch (D-MA) and ranking member Tom Emmer (R-MN) — questioned five expert witnesses who testified as to the state of the industry and appropriate measures to rein in big tech.

The five testifying

The witnesses espoused a range of views reflective of highly distinct professional backgrounds. Lauren Saunders, an associate director at the National Consumer Law Center, focused on minimizing firms’ legal right to use consumer data in ways beyond those that users would reasonably expect. She also expressed concern about the ways that machine learning was amplifying discriminatory financial practices in ways that would be harder to correct than in traditional systems. 

An associate professor of computer science at Brown University and chief scientist at Aroki Systems, Dr. Seny Kamara also believed that firms were running rampant over consumer rights. A cryptographer, Kamara showed a unique insight into ways that technology itself could limit financial service providers’ access to consumer data. He cautioned, however, against excess hope in the field, saying “It is easy to get carried away on a wave of technological optimism.”

Like Saunders, Dr. Christopher Gillard, an English professor at Macomb Community College and an advisor to the Digital Pedagogy Lab, was extremely concerned about the role of new technologies in reinforcing old discrimination. He referred to “opaque systems that offer consumers little power of redress” in the form of practices hidden from consumers under the auspices of proprietary code. Gillard further affirmed that “We must reject the notion that regulations stifle innovation.”

More optimistic in tone, Don Cardinal, managing director of the Financial Data Exchange (FDX), pointed to industry moves away from data practices like screen-scraping, in which customer login information is accessible to aggregators. He saw the industry as addressing the problems preemptively.

Similarly, Duane Pozza, a partner at law firm Wiley Rein, sought to define the concept of big data and emphasize its role in expanding financial services. He was particularly interested in cash-flow data, which Saunders had called out as a potential major overstep when it allows loan providers to access data on merchants and specific purchases rather than vaguer information on overall balances and transfers. Saunders said that such data enabled profiling and discrimination on a major and distopian scale. Pozza saw cash-flow data as a means of freeing credit seekers from the traditional gatekeepers of credit scores. 

Curiously bi-partisan issue

Though traditional party lines did come into play, with Republicans making slightly more mention of consumer choice and Democrats more frequently bringing up consumer protection, the assembled congresspeople all seemed to be in alignment that consumers had little choice and were unprotected. 

Chairman Lynch described the contracts users must agree to in order to access services: “Framed as privacy agreements, they’re actually lack-of-privacy agreements.” Lynch specifically called out the agreements of Mint, Venmo and Qapital, which according to him were, respectively 30, 40 and 10 pages long and filled with language that Lynch, an attorney, described as dense legalese. The consensus was that such problems are inescapable, with Rep. Ben McAdams (D-UT) opining that, as a consumer, he has no idea how many firms are using his data right now.

The shared atmosphere in the room was that consumers were being failed. It was a rare moment of consensus, with the major exception of witness Don Cardinal, who was frequently quick to point out how much progress the field has seen in recent years, as well as how much financial access has expanded to new demographics thanks to innovative companies. 

New laws for today’s data challenges

As always, solutions are trickier. Many members leaned into the prospect of more comprehensive legislation, along the lines of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, or laws passed in recent years in California and New York — traditionally, the tech and finance capitals of the U.S., respectively. Instances of massive financial data breaches including Equifax and Capital One loomed large over the proceedings. The bulk of the hearing presumed the need to enact legislation in response to the clear failure of financial institutions to meet due diligence in protecting these treasure troves of customer information of the most sensitive nature

New York’s regulation 23 NYCRR 500 placed new burdens on cybersecurity for companies handling client financial data. It took effect on March 1, 2017, but has less to do with limiting the amount of customer data that a firm can access than with establishing requirements for the cybersecurity surrounding that data. On March 1, 2019, what is perhaps the most ambitious element of the regulation was the last to come into play. This final requirement obliges financial services companies to examine and issue reports on the cybersecurity effectiveness of third-party services that also have access to the data collected by the primary firms.

Passed in September 2018, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) will come into effect at the beginning of 2020. Given the portion of U.S. tech firms that are registered in the state, California’s status as the most-populous of the United States, as well as the law’s broad prescriptions for any action in any jurisdiction taken by firms operating in California, the CCPA will likely serve as either Congress’s template or cautionary tale for legislation on data privacy for years to come. Expect all eyes to be on its impacts on firms and its effectiveness at protecting consumers once the new year comes. 

The tech cure

It was, however, clear throughout the proceedings that many of the legislators involved lacked technical expertise. Ranking Member Emmer commented on this after the hearing, telling Cointelegraph that there was clearly a “steep learning curve that a lot of people in Congress have when it comes to this type of technology.” He continued: 

“This body tends to look like the people that you saw up here today as opposed to young people who are writing code, on the edge and always pushing into this new universe.”

As Dr. Kamara pointed out during questioning, “Services can be provided without having to give up data.” He continued: “We can minimize the amount of data collected down to 0 if we invest in the right technology.” 

Cointelegraph got the chance to follow up with Kamara on the subject after the hearing, during which time he highlighted the availability of technology “that allows us to process data without ever seeing it. So you can hold your data, you don’t ever have to release it to anybody, but I can still compute on your data and get some kind of signal from it.” When Cointelegraph asked him about zero-knowledge proofs as an example, Kamara responded that “you can do similar things for computation as well. So not just proving identity, or proving knowledge of something, but computing as well.” 

It was, however, clear throughout the hearing that Dr. Kamara was not suggesting that financial services providers be left to enact such technological practices out of the goodness of their hearts. In response to a question from Chairman Lynch as to why consumers were still vulnerable, Kamara answered: “Because companies never had any incentive to improve their privacy practices, they have never been invested in.”

Among other promising technological advances that received mention during the hearing were new application programming interfaces, or APIs. Don Cardinal, in particular, saw these mechanisms as providing built-in filtration, restricting the information available to companies to what is relevant to their particular line of work. 

Cardinal, whose work at Financial Data Exchange involves implementing FDX’s API, showed a particularly rosey outlook on the industry’s willingness to change its own practices internally. FDX’s press release on the event of the hearing featured the tagline “Industry Proves Quick to Adopt Secure Data Sharing Standard – Over Five Million U.S. Consumers on FDX API.”

Takeaways

Thursday’s hearing left little doubt that major federal legislation governing data usage is coming in the United States. Democrat outrage over new financial data practices targeting vulnerable groups through predatory lending and discriminatory algorithms met with Republican frustration with the obvious inability of even the most savvy of consumers to cope with the ways that their data are being manipulated beyond their control. Unless some improbably ambitious initiatives from both the private sector and existing regulators — especially the Federal Trade Commission — come into play to prune the overgrowth of customer data in the possession of fintech firms in advance, that legislation will be sweeping.

However, do not expect legislation yet. Congress is going to wait until they can assess the new California law as a case study, and then larger committees are going to need to get up to speed with the work of Fintech Task Force, which is still a young and small wing of the Financial Services Committee. Meanwhile, stay tuned.

Bakkt Bitcoin Futures Set New Daily Record Trading Over $20M

Bitcoin (BTC) futures daily volumes on digital asset platform Bakkt have hit a new all-time high, according to data from Intercontinental Exchange (ICE). More than $20.3 million was traded in Bitcoin — or 2728 futures contracts — on Nov. 22. 

30% higher than the previous daily volume record

The new volume record represents a 66% increase over the previous day and is roughly 30% higher than the previous all-time high on Nov. 8. 

Bakkt daily volume & open interest chart

Bakkt daily volume & open interest chart | Source: BakktVolumeBot

Major price moves coincide with big volume

Additionally, yesterday’s open interest is currently $1.75 million, a 29% increase over the previous trading day. Despite a slow start upon launch in September, the volumes of Bakkt’s physically settled BTC futures have been gradually increasing.

The new record volume also coincides with a significant drop in Bitcoin price, which fell below $7,000 on Friday. Previous upticks in volumes have also aligned with major BTC price moves as seen around Oct. 25 and Nov. 8. 

According to ICE — the operator of 23 leading global exchanges, including the New York Stock Exchange — the last reported Bakkt contract trading price on Friday was $7,240.

As Cointelegraph reported, Bakkt is expanding its line of Bitcoin-related products as institutional interest appears to be growing. 

The digital asset platform confirmed earlier this week that cash-settled Bitcoin futures contracts will be offered on ICE Futures Singapore as of Dec. 9. The first regulated options contract for Bitcoin is also expected to launch on the same date.

After Testing $7K — Is Bitcoin Price Finally Close to the Bottom?

Bitcoin (BTC) opened the day at $7,600 and began a sharp decline to find lows of $6,800 — a loss of just over 10%. Price has since been pushed back across $7,000 with buyers showing interest in prices below the $7K handle.

The loss in Bitcoin valuation has dragged the entire market down with notable loser being Ether (ETH), which has lost support at $150 and printed lows of almost -15% at $137.

Bitcoin dominance is up for the week at 69%, meaning that BTC has outperformed the remainder of the cryptocurrency market during the continued decline this week. 

Cryptocurrency market daily view

Cryptocurrency market daily view. Source: Coin360

Weekly chart

BTC USD weekly chart

BTC USD weekly chart. Source: TradingView

Bitcoin is down around 16% from the weekly open of $8,500. As price fell towards previous support at $7,600 and the 100-week moving average (MA), Bitcoin found no support and sold off beyond the 61.8% retracement and down to the 65% retracement of the 2019 bull run where it has found some intermediate support. 

The gap between the Fibonacci retracement level of 61.8% and 65% is sometimes referred to as the “golden pocket” where traders look to profit from shorts or take on long positions. So this may explain some of the reasons why we have found some support here. The 50-week MA is also acting to support the price.

Typically the 50-100 week moving average cross has been indicative of a bull market and this is due to occur in about two weeks. However, when Bitcoin has closed below the 100-week moving average historically, this has been followed by capitulation. The 100-week MA now lies at the previous weekly support at $7,600.

It will, therefore, be key to see if the 100-week moving average and the $7,600 level now turn to resistance, which would be problematic for a bullish scenario.

The bulls, therefore, need to look to close the weekly candle above $7,600 which looks to be a tall order. Key Fibonacci levels and weekly moving average support are now down in the $5K levels and this would typically be the bull’s absolute last line of defense. 

Daily Chart

BTC USD daily chart

BTC USD daily chart. Source: TradingView

At first glance, the daily chart looks particularly bearish. BTC price failed to find support at $7,600 and fell straight through the previous support at 7,400, which was the launchpad for the move to $10,000. There was very little price support in history for trades at prices below the point of control at $8,200

Volume has been steadily increasing through the down move with today’s volume being a new recent high. The Moving Average Convergence Divergence indicator — or MACD — has also printed new lows illustrating the increase in bearish momentum.

How close is Bitcoin to a local bottom?

BTC USD Daily chart

BTC USD Daily chart. Source: TradingView

Looking at the daily chart from afar, it is clear that Bitcoin has hit the bottom of the downward channel in which it has been trading since July. 

Typically, this has proven to be an area in which the balance has favored a bullish reversal, often taking some time at the bottom of the channel before making a U-turn to the top of the channel.

BTC USD daily chart

BTC USD daily chart. Source: TradingView

Having broken down from the descending triangle at $9,550, the technical target on the following down move is just above $6,000.

This is also an area where there was a reasonable area of interest, particularly at $6,500, where a bounce in price happened earlier in the year following a large selloff on spot exchange Bitstamp — this is visible at the large volume node on the VPVR or Volume Profile Visible Range.

Based on technicals and trends alone, it seems as though there is a good argument for Bitcoin finding some buying interest in the $6,000 price range.

Market sentiment

BTC USD daily chart

BTC USD daily chart. Source: TradingView

Looking across the different markets, however, some interesting differences have emerged. Regarding volume, the selling volume is noticeably lower than the drop from $10,000 implying that selling pressure may be close to subsiding.

The spot exchanges are showing signs of bullish divergence on the OBV, which shows the decreasing selling pressure relatively. The OTC market in GBTC is showing a higher low, meaning the premium with the spot market has increased, which is sometimes considered a bullish indicator. 

The premium on the futures market has been eliminated and is now in backwardation, meaning spot price is above the futures price. This is indicative of bearish sentiment, which can often also be an early sign that the decline in price may be close to subsiding. 

4-hour chart

BTC USD 4-hour chart

BTC USD 4-hour chart. Source: TradingView

The 4-hour chart shows that Bitcoin has experienced a parabolic decline on low timeframes as it broke the weekly support. The RSI is now heavily oversold and there’s also been negative funding where shorts pay longs to be short, which has typically been indicative of a bottoming price due to the overly bearish sentiment in the market.

The bounce in price from the lows is emphasized on the 4-hour chart and the eyes will be on this level for support. A close on the daily below it would be a bad sign for the bulls.

Fear & Greed Index

Fear & Greed Index. Source: alternative.me

Finally, the Cryptocurrency Fear and Greed index highlights that the market is now in extreme fear having declined from being neutral during October.

Again, Bitcoin price typically has an inverse relationship with this index and could highlight a temporary bottom may be nearing, although the index has seen lows as far as 5 on the scale. 

BTC bottoming signs emerging

Bitcoin bulls have clearly lost key support at the 100-week moving average, which has spelled trouble in the past and this accelerated today’s price drop. However, other indicators being in volume, sentiment, trend and pattern analysis all seem to point to there being signs of a nearing bottom. 

The price point of $7,600 will be a key level for the bulls to reclaim but this will be a challenge, especially in the short term. Probability would suggest BTC/USD will need to spend a little more time testing below $7,000 before there is a significant bullish reversal.

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.

China: Shenzhen Identifies 39 Crypto Exchanges Defying Trading Ban

Cryptocurrency exchanges operating illegally in one city in China will face the wrath of a joint government effort to oust them, reports claim.

On Nov. 22, authorities in Shenzhen have identified a total of 39 exchanges falling foul of China’s cryptocurrency trading ban, according to local news outlet Sanyan Finance

PBoC highlights Bitcoin and Ethereum in probe

The operation reportedly included participation from China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), the Economic Investigation Bureau of the Municipal Public Security Bureau and the Municipal Communications Administration. 

It remains unknown what consequences the exchanges will face, with Sanyan highlighting a desire to crack down on liquidity.

A rough translation states the measures involve a three-pronged approach:

“It is reported that the action will focus on three activities: first, providing virtual currency trading services or opening virtual currency trading places in China; second, providing service channels for overseas virtual currency trading places, including services such as drainage and agency trading; Sell ​​tokens in various names, raise funds for investors or virtual currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.”

Cointelegraph previously noted the existence of the Shenzhen plans, which also target entities beyond the exchange sector.

No police raids took place, says Binance

As Cointelegraph reported, China continues to present a varied stance on cryptocurrency. After publicly voicing support for blockchain technology last month, Chinese media issued warnings not to confuse the policy for endorsement of phenomena such as Bitcoin. 

This week, meanwhile, cryptocurrency exchange Binance denied rumors police had raided its office in Shanghai. Shortly afterward, fellow exchange Bithumb similarly rejected the idea it planned to close its Shanghai outpost, while Huobi stated likewise.

“We have heard of this from some media reports. However, we have not received any specific instructions at this point,” a Huobi representative said.

Commenting on the Shenzhen move, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhang praised what he saw as an effort to remove bad actors.

“This is actually a very good thing to happen, cleaning up the industry of scammers and fraudsters,” he wrote in response to PrimitiveCrypto’s founding partner, Dovey Wan.

Wan had claimed that the targets of the shutdown were “most likely are ponzi and crypto frauds as Shenzhen is known for being the hub of those.”

Markets Crash After Reports That Binance’s Shanghai Office Closed in Crypto Crackdown

Chinese authorities have reportedly raided and shut down the Shanghai offices of leading cryptocurrency exchange Binance. 

Citing unnamed local sources, The Block says that local police have shut down Binance’s offices after raiding the premises. Between 50–100 of the exchange’s employees reportedly worked out of the Shanghai location.

Binance has not responded to Cointelegraph’s requests for comment as of press time. 

Closure follows crackdown 

The purported raid follows a crackdown on cryptocurrency-related businesses and activities in the country. 

Recently, financial authorities in China issued a notice to the public, directing individuals to report businesses engaged in virtual asset trading to the Shanghai headquarters of the People’s Bank of China — the country’s central bank. Activities that must be reported include:

“Virtual currency transactions in the territory; the other is to issue ‘xx coins’ and ‘xx’ in the form of ‘blockchain application scenarios.’  Currency, fundraising or bitcoin, virtual currency such as Ethereum; third, providing services such as publicity, diversion, agency trading, etc. for registered ICO projects, virtual currency trading platforms, etc.” 

Notice from authorities on cryptocurrency-related activities. Source: Chain News

However, Binance told Cointelegraph that the company had not received this notice. Similarly, Beijing-founded Huobi told Cointelegraph that the company was familiar with the notice, but had not received it.

Offices are an outdated concept?

In a move of regulatory arbitrage, Binance opened offices in Malta in 2018 as the island nation ramped up its cryptocurrency-friendly regulatory projects.

Last month, rumors abounded that the exchange was opening offices in the Chinese capital of Beijing, despite the country’s decidedly anti-cryptocurrency stance. 

However, according to the firm’s CEO Changpeng Zhao, offices themselves are an antiquated concept. In a tweet on Nov. 19, Zhao said, “Office and HQ are old concepts like SMS and MMS. Time is moving on…” 

Markets react with major coins seeing red

Cryptocurrency markets have reacted to the news, with most major coins seeing significant losses on the day.

Cryptocurrency market visualization. Source: Coin360

Bitcoin (BTC) is seeing losses over 6% while leading altcoin Ether (ETH) has lost over 8% in the last 24 hours. Altcoins like Litecoin (LTC) and EOS are taking a beating with over 9% losses, while Binance’s own coin, Binance Coin (BNB), is down 10% at press time to trade at $16.58.

Bitcoin Miner Canaan’s IPO Nets Just $90M After Losing Banking Partner

Bitcoin (BTC) mining giant Canaan Creative has raised $90 million in its initial public offering (IPO) — over 75% less than expected. 

According to Bloomberg, which quoted filings from United States regulator the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Nov. 20, Canaan sold 10,000,000 shares for $9 each.

From $400M to $90M

Previously, the company looked to raise considerably more. Having failed to secure an IPO in Hong Kong last year, Canaan looked to the U.S., with a funding figure of $400 million circulating prior to the event.

A setback came when Canaan lost its biggest bank, Credit Suisse, just last week. As a result, the size of the IPO was dramatically reduced: documents submitted at the time contained a projected $100 million goal and did not mention Credit Suisse.

According to Bloomberg citing “people familiar with the matter,” Credit Suisse “was concerned whether the offering could secure sufficient orders.”

Canaan inks first-mover advantage

The successful completion nonetheless makes Canaan the first Bitcoin mining giant to navigate an IPO, beating major competitor Bitmain, which plans to do the same. 

As Cointelegraph reported, a filing at the end of October revealed an IPO sponsored by embattled German lender, Deutsche Bank. At the same time, infighting among senior management threatens to ice the proceedings.

Like Canaan, Bitmain failed to secure permission to conduct the IPO in Hong Kong in 2018. 

Cryptocurrency Forensics Firm Elliptic Ties $400M in XRP to Illicit Activities

Cryptocurrency forensics and analysis firm Elliptic has tied about $400 million worth XRP tokens to illegal transactions.

In a press release published on Nov. 20, the firm indicated that “the $400m of illicit activity identified by Elliptic represents less than 0.2% of total XRP transactions, demonstrating that the vast majority of activity is legitimate.”

Tracing XRP’s relation to illicit activities

Elliptic began analyzing XRP over a year ago and has identified that several hundred XRP accounts are related to illegal activity — from thefts to the sale of stolen credit cards, the release further reads. Commenting on the findings, Tom Robinson, chief scientist and co-founder of Elliptic, said:

“As criminal use of crypto-assets such as XRP evolves, we are committed to shining a light on this illicit activity, giving financial institutions the confidence they need to engage with the crypto ecosystem. XRP is gaining increasing traction in the APAC region among financial institutions and banks.”

The firm revealed its findings as part of the introduction of the beta version of transaction monitoring support for XRP that enables clients to check if a transaction is linked to criminal activities or sanctioned entities. In its analysis, Elliptic conducts ongoing dark web research, identification of money laundering patterns, and collects data that links XRP accounts to known entities.

Fighting illicit use of cryptocurrencies

Recently, blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis launched alerts for suspicious transactions across 15 major cryptocurrencies. The tool is meant to help cryptocurrency exchanges and other financial institutions mitigate their regulatory and reputational risks.

Although crypto companies generally try to incentivize network integrity by setting up bounty programs that reward so-called white-hack hackers for exposing vulnerabilities, some industry members like John McAfee argue that authorities should not require cryptocurrency companies and trading platforms to help them control digital currency use in illicit activities.

HashCash to Trace Mineral Supply Chain From Congo For Car Manufacturers

Blockchain company HashCash Consultants has announced a partnership with a group of international car, mining and battery manufacturers to develop a blockchain-based supply chain network to track minerals.

As Business Insider reported on Nov. 18, the parties are planning to build a blockchain-based supply chain system to trace ethical sourcing of minerals used in car and battery production such as cobalt, tungsten and lithium. By doing this, the companies aim to address child labor for mining operations.

Addressing child labor in minerals mining

The planned network is set to bring more transparency to the entire supply chain of minerals specifically mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In 2017, the United Nations estimated that 168 million children were in exploitative working conditions globally, with around 40,000 children in cobalt mines in the DRC.

With the establishment of the blockchain-based supply chain network, HashCash and partnering companies intend to track the authentication of the provenance and ethical sourcing of minerals, ensuring that each participant — from the mine to the automobile manufacturers — acts in compliance with corresponding regulations.

Blockchain initiatives aimed at tracking minerals’ provenance 

Previously, automaker Volvo joined a project to monitor cobalt from DRC overseen by responsible-sourcing group RCS Global, with the aim to prove that their electric vehicles do not rely on conflict minerals or child labor. Automaker Ford, technology giant IBM, South Korean cathode maker LG Chem and Chinese cobalt supplier Huayou Cobalt also participate in the initiative.

Tradewind Markets also launched a system on its platform to track the provenance of its physical gold and other precious metals. The product allows customers to buy and sell physical gold and other precious metals based on individual sourcing preferences, such as mine, artisanal, recycled sources, and the name and geography of the mine where the metal was sourced.

Grayscale Files Form to Become First Bitcoin Fund to Report to SEC

Publicly traded Bitcoin (BTC) fund Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) filed Form 10 with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to become the first crypto fund to report to regulator.

Grayscale announced in a blog post published on Nov. 19 that, if the filing will be deemed effective by the SEC, several aspects of the fund’s operations could change. 

In the event of approval

The firm notes that, if the regulator deems the filing effective, the structure of the trust will remain the same and it will not be added to a national securities exchange. However, there will be some changes to Grayscale’s scope and operations.

Should the SEC accept Grayscale’s filing, it would designate the fund as an SEC reporting company and obligate it to register its shares under the Exchange Act. Furthermore, as many institutions block investors from considering trusts based on SEC-approval, Grayscale’s eligible investor audience could widen. The SEC’s auditing standards would also be applied to Grayscale.

The firm also noted that accredited investors will benefit if the filing is approved:

“Accredited investors who have previously purchased shares in the Trust’s private placement would have an earlier liquidity opportunity, as the statutory holding period of their private placement shares would be reduced from 12 to 6 months.”

Grayscale is not the only fund seeking to give investors easy exposure to Bitcoin. As Cointelegraph reported in September, investment management firm VanEck also launched its own Bitcoin trust, and issued just four Bitcoins during the first week of operation.

Grayscale sees record inflow

Grayscale’s regulatory foray follows a record year for the trust, which saw inflows of $254 million in total investment into its products in the third quarter of 2019. Q3 2019 marked the highest demand for the company’s offerings since its establishment, making a threefold quarter-on-quarter increase from $84.8 million in Q2 2019.