Is Monero holding strong through the bear market? A retrospective

While 2018 has brutalized several pre-eminent cryptocurrencies, Monero has been fortunate to grace headlines in a variety of ways; whether for the fact that – for better or worse – cryptojacking software has reportedly mined some $175 million USD worth of XMR, or the launch of Tari – a merge-mined sidechain for digital assets.

At the start of the year, Monero entered proceedings as the thirteenth most valuable cryptocurrency by market cap on January 7th, and traded at $476.33 USD. At the time, the cryptocurrency bore a total market cap of $7,417,611,689 USD.

Fast forward to August, and time seems to have taken its toll on all things in interesting ways. Now the tenth most valuable cryptocurrency, Monero trades for $89.38 USD, and bears a total market cap of $1,453,909,220 USD.

In relative terms, Monero has lost some 81% of its trading value over the past eight months, while its market cap has similarly diminished by approximately 80%.

Transaction volume

At its height on the 9th of January, the Monero network saw some 8.2k XMR transacted daily – down from a record of 10.8k XRM on the 6th of December in 2017.

The network’s lowest point saw only 1.1k XMR transacted on the 7th of March, while the network’s next high point of 7.53k XMR shifted hands on the 1st of May.

Development changes

While the Monero protocol itself is under constant development, the cryptocurrency network drew attention earlier this year when it adopted an emergency hard fork to mitigate the impact of ASIC mining.

The move specifically targeted Bitmain’s Antminer X3 – which was designed to mine Monero in the first instance – and instead increased the presence of consumer-grade laptops and other entry-level hardware – all of which can mine Monero through the cryptocurrency’s Cryptonight script.

In a declaration on GitHub, core developer Riccardo Spagni decried that “I will do everything in my power to help the community prevent the proliferation of centralization-inducing ASICs on the Monero network”.

The decision had relatively little impact on Monero’s trading price, which shuffled from $182.11 USD on the 3rd of April to $165.95 on the date of the fork on the 6th of the month. Monero regained its strength shortly thereafter, and traded for $184.15 USD on April 12th.

Adoption

While Monero’s trading price may have diminished along with a majority of the cryptocurrencies present in digital currency markets, Monero has seen notable adoption cases.

Perhaps most significantly, Tari – a new project spearheaded by Riccardo ‘FluffyPony’ Spagni, Naveen Jain, and Dan Teree – aims to cut out ‘middleman’ ticket and asset vendors, and instead empower the original the original owners of digital assets such as artists, sports teams, or even event promoters. Tari will be built as a merge-mined sidechain which will function in concert with Monero itself.

Elsewhere, Monero further found inroads into charity – earlier this year, Change.org has jumped on the crypto bandwagon with a new, downloadable screensaver that mines (and donates) Monero.

Simply called ‘The Mining Screensaver’, the utility functions similarly to a standard screensaver save for the fact that it leverages idle processing power to mine Monero.

Finally, in perhaps one of its most significant moves, Circle Invest proceeded to list ZCash and Monero amongst its existing inclusions of Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, and Litecoin earlier this year.

Into the future

While cryptocurrency markets shudder and shake under the pressure of roaming bears, Monero continues to generate robust transaction volumes and, with Tari, has found a new utility in digital asset management.

The cryptocurrency may yet be well placed to thrive in the future – as Bitcoin was years ago, Europol has noted that that Monero has quickly become the flavor of choice for cybercriminals and online black markets given its privacy mechanics, and has notably played a role in the rise of cryptojacking.

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Technical Analysis โ€“ Buy when there is blood in the streets

After a strong rally peaking at $8500 during the month of July, Bitcoin fell over 30% to a low of $6250 on Tuesday this week. As brutal as this sell-off was for Bitcoin, major altcoins were punished even more severely over the same period.

Approximate return from 24 Jul – 14 Aug for major Alts:

Bitcoin

Ethereum

Bitcoin Cash

XRP

Bitcoin’s relative resilience in this latest crypto market bloodbath has shown without a doubt that Bitcoin is still the boss! Whilst all major alts have broken below their previous low points for the year, the Bitcoin support level at $5825 has held firm. Furthermore, for the first time this year Bitcoin market dominance is back over 50% (i.e. the value of Bitcoin is greater than the value of all the altcoins combined).

Looking forward, it is critical that the support zone (orange area) between $6020 and $5750 holds. If there is a clean break of this level then it is likely that Bitcoin will suffer the same fate as the rest of the altcoins. There is a support trendline (blue line) which may offer some respite on the way down, but on the back up the recovery will likely be halted by the previous support zone (orange area) which will now act as resistance. This is the bearish scenario (red arrows).



Crypto Bloodbath – Buy When There Is blood In The Streets by tennant.graeme on TradingView.com

The bullish scenario (green arrows) would see the price hold above the support zone and form a reversal pattern of some kind. It is possible we may see an inverse head-and-shoulders forming as indicated on the chart. Should it develop further it could signal the beginning of some sort of recovery. I will be waiting for confirmation of either a break below support (bearish scenario) or a reversal pattern above support (bullish scenario) before placing any trades.

Whilst it is tempting to apply the adage “Buy when there is blood in the streets” and load up on Bitcoin and some unloved Alts, I feel it is prudent to wait until there is reason to believe that the bleeding has stopped before jumping back into the market.

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Amazon Web Services add Qtumโ€™s DApp platform to its ranks

Earlier this week, Qtum, a blockchain project from Singapore geared towards businesses, announced that it has now been launched on Amazon Web Services (AWS).

This means that users of the first UTXO-based smart contract system will have access to create and deploy their own smart contracts from the 64-bit Amazon Machine Image (AMI) which will be connected to the network’s core and the Qmix Integrated Development Environment (IDE).

Patrick Dai, Qtum’s co-founder, announced that:

Qtum is one of the most decentralized entities on the internet and AWS is one of the largest cloud providers in the world. It is a perfect combination for users and the enterprise. We look forward to continue making Qtum’s smart contract and Dapp technology available for what is arguably its most in-demand market, the enterprise.”

To use the Qtum AMI image, Customers will incur no fees and for those registered with AWS, it will be free to deploy a Qtum instance. Currently, Qtum tokens do not need to be purchased in order to use the blockchain.  On the platform, there will be a calculator on the platform which predicts what fees developers might have to pay for infrastructure development.

According to the blockchain service, the newly launched AMI on AWS will be available for use by anyone who is interested in getting started on the blockchain, who wants to run a Qtum computing node or is looking to release a Qtum-installed server.

The announcement also states that the AMI on AWS includes:

  • Qtum and the solidity compiler with the official repository for easy updates
  • Development libraries and tools to allow anyone to build smart contracts and work on the desktop QT wallet
  • A Qmix development IDE that launches by default on boot”

Currently, there are 27 decentralized apps which are running off Qtum’s Ignition network, such as SpaceChain and Pundi X and the network sees the use of 6757 global nodes with the majority (4220) existing in China.

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Stellar partners with TransferTo to drive mobile payments in emerging markets

In a new release, the Stellar Foundation has confirmed a new partnership with cross-border payments processor TransferTo that will see both entities collaborate to drive mobile payments in emerging markets.

TransferTo boasts some 200 operational partners based in 70 cities around the globe, and is estimated to have processed some 100 million transactions since 2005.

In a press release, a TransferTo spokesperson elaborated that “by partnering with Stellar our goal is to trial the blockchain technology and scale our cross-border payment service to better serve our partners and reduce costs. This can enable our partners to better serve both the migrant workers sending money home and their families receiving it.”

Presiding over the news, Lisa Nestor –Director of Partnerships at Stellar – added that “TransferTo is a leader and innovator in the remittance space, and has extensive experience and reach in emerging markets. We’re thrilled to be partnering with TransferTo to offer an expanded network for our current and future partners, as well as continue to drive greater financial inclusion for the underbanked.”

The two entities will proceed to jointly explore their combined network coverage in a bid that might well reach more than 70 countries. The partnership will pair Stellar’s distributed ledger platform with TransferTo’s cross-border mobile payments network.

Both parties have highlighted the synergy of the partnership, where both operations have targeted “real-time, secure, and low-cost transfers.”

The news is the second high-profile announcement for the Stellar network this month. Earlier in July, Stellar became the first protocol leveraging digital ledger technology to obtain a Shari’a certification for both payments and asset tokenization.

That development, coupled with a partnership with TransferTo, might well open new doors for the Stellar network in emerging markets.

At press time, Stellar trades at $0.30 USD, and is down by -10.56% over the past twenty-four hours.

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Bitwise proposes a new ETF for the top ten cryptocurrencies by market cap

Bitwise may be more recognizable for its HOLD 10 Cryptocurrency Index Fund, though the startup has now confirmed that it is seeking regulatory permission to launch an Exchange Traded Fund catering the top ten cryptocurrencies by market cap.

The company has proposed that its ETF offering would track the returns based on its HOLD 10 Index, which “captures approximately 80 [percent] of the total market capitalization of the cryptocurrency market”.

As such, the aptly named Bitwise HOLD 10 Cryptocurrency Index Fund ETF would use “a 5-year-diluted market cap and other eligibility criteria meant to address challenges of the crypto space such as continuously changing supply, liquidity, trade volume concentration, and custody limitations.”

The company has publicly revealed that a registration statement has now been filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), though the registration has not yet been declared effective.

Presiding over the news, Bitwise Global Head of Exchange-Traded Products John Hyland elaborated that “We are aware that other investment firms have filed for cryptocurrency ETFs under the Securities Act of 1933, and that there continues to be interest in filing under the Investment Company Act of 1940. As best we know, all of these funds plan to offer exposure to a single coin such as bitcoin or ether. That is fine, but our proposed offering is obviously different”.

Hyland went on to elaborate that “We know that the current crypto ETF filings have generated a great deal of discussion and analysis within the SEC about this emerging asset class, and the SEC and its staff, to their credit, have asked for public comment on a wide range of issues relating to these products. We expect the staff of the SEC has had ongoing discussions with the investment firms making the crypto filings to date, and we look forward to having our own discussions with the SEC about the nature of our proposed offering.”

More recently, the SEC announced its bid to postpone its verdict on several Direxion-proposed ETFs until September this year.

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Death markets arrive on Augur as communities debate morality and censorship

Earlier this year, Augur – the decentralized platform designed to facilitate bets on real-world predictions – officially launched its mainnet blockchain and REP digital asset.

Augur, as a predictions market, enables users to bet on the outcome of real-world events. Previously, users have employed the service to gamble on the outcome of events such as the 2018 FIFA World Cup final – at shortly after its debut, Augur achieved 543 active prediction markets, with more than $1.4 million USD staked on various bets.

Now, as the platform rounds out its first (official) few months in existence, cryptocurrency communities have been left to debate the role of ethics, morality, and censorship resistance as controversial ‘assassination’ markets have appeared on the platform.

As their name might imply, assassination markets gamble on predictions that certain public figures may be murdered within a set duration of time. A common candidate, for example, is US President Donald Trump – with several polls offering predictions as to whether the incumbent US leader might see out his term of office in 2018.

Censorship resistance

Given Augur’s role as a decentralized platform, there isn’t much avenue to remove markets which participants might find distasteful – leaving controversial markets, such as those that might bet on Donald Trump’s wellbeing, at play.

So-called ‘death markets’ can, however, be omitted from display in certain dApp browsers – leaving circles to debate as to whether ‘front-end’ censorship should be tolerated on an open and decentralized network.

The argument runs close to the core beliefs espoused by libertarian advocates of blockchain networks – that blockchain technology itself empowers a new generation of peer-to-peer trade that is open, free, and can prevent censorship or intervention by a third party.

While peer to peer trade can at least function pseudonymously in the sense that only stringent investigation or chain analysis might determine interactions between parties, Augur’s prediction markets have quickly become a dividing line wherein parties have on the one hand advocated for the suspension of ‘illegal’ markets, while on the other communities have advocated against introducing censorship to the network.

The wisdom of the crowd

In closer context, the presence of death markets creates a legal conundrum for Augur developers. Should a participant place a bet on a potential assassination and then commit murder to ensure its probability with the goal of a payout, legal ramifications could quickly impact the maintenance and development of Augur itself.

No easy solution exists. While Augur did employ an ‘escape hatch’ which would allow developers to ‘lockup’ (or pause) contracts on its network in the event of a critical bug, the mechanism itself has been ‘burned’ (deprecated) – meaning that, essentially, Augur now exists as a decentralized network with no central point – or threat – of authority.

The role of filtering death markets, or other unsavory vehicles, thus falls to Augur’s Reporters – community members to verify the outcome of events of the platform. While Reporters can indicate a market is unethical and prevent predictions and bets from taking place, the network relies on crowd-driven attention to such issues – and individual reporters attempting to flag unsavory markets might be financially penalized should their view diverge from popular opinion.

It remains to be seen how Augur will proceed to handle the emergence of death markets. Ultimately, the platform will be forced to achieve its own consensus as to what markets are open to bettors – regardless of what legal or moral conundrum that might create.

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Tron officially acquires, prepares to absorb BitTorrent

Earlier this year, Tron Founder and CEO made good on plans to purchase file-sharing service BitTorrent – and today the acquisition has officially been confirmed in a move that will see both companies merge their operations.

Founded 2001, BitTorrent functions as a peer-to-peer file transfer protocol for sharing data over the internet, in which each part of a file downloaded by a user is transferred to other users.

Sun has previously heralded BitTorrent as the “genesis of the decentralization movement,” and publicly regards the platform as the “first decentralized Internet protocol with large-scale global application, [which] retains its status as the world’s largest decentralized protocol, once transmitting 40% of daily Internet traffic.”

News of the potential acquisition first spread in May this year, where it was revealed that Sun had sued BitTorrent Inc for apparently violating a “no shop” clause after he had signed a letter of intent to acquire the platform earlier in January.

Sun has confirmed that BitTorrent and Tron will merge into one company. It remains unclear as to whether the eventual conglomerate of both firms will elect to proceed with a mutual roadmap, or how each platform will continue to develop.

In a medium post, the project Founder elaborated that “I am proud to officially announce that TRON has successfully acquired BitTorrent and all BitTorrent products. From this day on, BitTorrent, whose software has been installed on billions of user devices, will become part of the TRON ecosystem, making TRON the largest decentralized Internet ecosystem in the world.”

Sun went on to elaborate that “with the integration of BitTorrent, TRON aims to liberate the Internet from the stranglehold of large corporations, give data rights back to the individual, and reignite the early 21st century vision of a free, transparent, decentralized network to connect the world, because the internet belongs to the people.”

Tron is presently up by 7.74%, and trades at $0.037514 USD.

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Mike Novogratz explains why he thinks that EOS holds strength

Mike Novogratz, a former Goldman Sachs partner, expressed his thoughts at Korea’s Blockchain Week, saying that he thinks the cryptocurrency market will soon see a flood of investors.

The Street reported that Novogratz, the CEO of Galaxy Digital, claimed that cryptocurrency will soon be hit by a “herd of institutional investors”. Following the keynote speech by Novogratz, The Street interviewed the prominent Bitcoin advocate regarding a number of crypto-topics, such as institutional investors and initial coin offerings (ICOs).

When questioned why he thinks that, without a doubt, institutional investors will invest in coin offerings, Novogratz suggested that venture capitals will be a critical initial point, saying that the “first way of participating is going to be through venture-capital funds. Many of them are already participating because they’ve invested in Sequoia or Polychain or Benchmark or many of the other VC funds that invest in this area.”

He continued to say that from there, they “will be buying the coins and/or the ICOs themselves, but many of them are participating in the ICOs already through their venture investments.”

It is known that the cryptocurrency mogul is a major participant on the EOS network and he gave a reason why he thinks the EOS platform is a strong one in which to invest:

EOS is the first blockchain where commercial applications can be built and experimented with. Lots of people find that very appealing. EOS’s critics say it’s not decentralized enough and that’s a very fair debate, back and forth, that you can participate in. I believe that there will be markets for many different blockchains. We’ll see over the next three, perhaps four to five, years which blockchains that other projects want to build on and which ones consumers value and place their trust in.”

Currently, EOS has spiked by 6.76% day-on-day trading is currently sitting at $8.485 USD.

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Binance and Neufund collaborate to build a decentralized stock exchange

Decentralized cryptocurrency exchanges themselves might have some way to go in garnering both sufficient liquidity and popularity, but that hasn’t stopped the likes of Binance and Neufund from collaborating with the view of producing a decentralized stock exchange.

In what’s tipped to be the first “regulated and decentralized, global stock exchange for listing and trading tokenized securities alongside crypto-assets”, Binance, Neufund, and MSX (a subsidiary of the Malta Stock Exchange) will work to launch a pilot decentralized exchange by the close of the year.

According to early reports, Binance will endeavor to build the platform’s underlying architecture.

In a statement on Neufund’s blog, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao offered that “We are glad to partner with Neufund over the pioneering idea to create a complete ecosystem for issuing and trading securities on Blockchain. Today’s announcement marks a new chapter for Binance’s development, with the goal to tokenize traditional financial assets.”

A Neufund spokesperson similarly quipped that “We are thrilled to announce the partnerships with Malta Stock Exchange and Binance, that will ensure high liquidity to equity tokens issued on Neufund. It is the first time in history, that security tokens can be offered and traded in a legally binding way.”

Neufund has set the self-goal of becoming the ‘first end-to-end primary issuance platform for security tokens’, and aims to offer secondary trading of equity tokens. The view may one day enable firms around the world to raise funds through blockchain technology.

According to the release, seven companies have thus far decided to conduct an Equity Token Offering with Neufund, including Founders Bank, Brille24, Uniti, MySwooop, Next Big Thing, Blockstate and Emflux Motors.

Speaking more broadly, the move is not the only decentralized exchange Binance plans to flirt with. Earlier this year, Binance announced a new pivot that will see the launch of a decentralized cryptocurrency exchange dubbed Binance Chain.

Explaining the move as part of a wider bid to transition its services from ‘a company to a community’, the firm has now announced that Binance Chain would be used to transfer different blockchain assets and would re-appropriate the company’s Binance Coin token to its own native blockchain, rather than leverage Ethereum’s ERC20 standard.

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Bitcoin Diamond surges after HitBTC listing, traders decry โ€˜pump and dumpโ€™ activity

Traders keeping an eagle eye on Bitcoin Diamond might have noticed a rollercoaster ride of epic proportions this week, as the Bitcoin fork rallied, collapsed, and rallied again to over 50% of its value.

Bitcoin Diamond debuted as a Bitcoin hard fork on November 24th of 2017, and landed with “sophisticated” privacy protection measures, as well as the aim of deliveirng lower transaction fees and faster transaction times.

Bitcoin Diamond achieved an early high of $91.14 USD in November 25th of 2017, but has since collapsed to levels in and around just $2 USD.

Today it would seem that the cryptocurrency endures as little more than a vehicle for speculative trading; data from CoinMarketCap reveals that Bitcoin Diamond has thus far enjoyed a three distinct moves this month; the first, which occurred on Saturday the 7th of July, saw the cryptocurrency rise from $2.04 to $4.10 USD and subsequently collapse to $2.09 USD on Monday the 9th of July.

bitcoin diamond price

Bitcoin Diamond later surged from as little as $2.21 USD to $3.85 USD in the period of one hour, from Wednesday July 18th at 17:09 (UTC) to 18:09.

Following news that Bitcoin Diamond had successfully listed on HitBTC, the cryptocurrency then further rose to $4.39 USD at 05:54 on Thursday July 19th, whereafter the fork plummeted to $2.27 USD two hours later at 06:09.

While that short expression of gravity might resemble an anomaly, new momentum once again saw Bitcoin Diamond surge from $2.27 USD to $4.65 on July 21st.

Not everyone is pleased, however –  community members have noted the likelihood of a pump and dump operation, with several noting similarities to the roaring heights seen in late 2017’s bear market.

At press time, the cryptocurrency has retained its lead, and presently trades at $4.64 USD, and is up by 34.51% day-on-day. It remains to be seen whether traders will solidify price movements and cause another price drop, or whether middling volume will leave the cryptocurrency to stagnate once again.

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Augur surges by 28% after successful launch, prediction payouts

If you’d placed your bets on Augur’s REP tokens, you’d be in for a successful payout today – as the decentralized predictions marketplace has soared by some 28% after a successful launch and round of payouts.

Augur – the decentralized platform designed to facilitate bets on real-world predictions – officially launched earlier this month as open-source software available for download.

Augur was first released in beta on Ethereum – and the platform endured a token-swap to convert ERC20-based REP tokens to ‘mainnet’ REP tokens earlier this year.

Augur enables users to create predictions on the outcome of any event, whereafter users can create betting markets and stake funds on the probabilities involved.

Users have, for example, created prediction markets based on question such as “Will the bitcoin price reach $50,000 by the end of 2018?” , all the way to “Will the Toronto Maple Leafs Win the Stanley Cup next year?”

On Wednesday last week, the project hit another milestone with the news that it had successfully resolved its first prediction markets, with payments of $20,000 USD worth of Ether distributed to network participants.

The platform presently has some 543 active prediction markets, with more than $1.4 million USD staked on various bets.

Augur’s development team has released several new updates, having cycled through v1.0.3 and v1.0.4 while an update to the platform’s present version – v1.0.5 – is apparently imminent.

At press time, Augur has risen by 27.15% USD day-on-day, and presently trades at $37.50 USD. The news has seen the project overtake several other cryptocurrencies weighted by their market cap, and the initiative has now surpassed the likes of Verge, Basic Attention Token, and Golem.

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