Crypto Week In Review: SEC Delays Bitcoin ETF Ruling, Coinbase Lists Four Altcoins

In a bear market-induced sense of panic, the crypto market at large has stopped responding to industry developments altogether, with the news of the past week coming in one ear, and out the other. Regardless, startups still seem hell-bent on bolstering this industry’s infrastructure. And, frankly, this unrelenting drive for innovation doesn’t come unwarranted.
As once stated by Spencer Bogart of Blockchain Capital, the news of today will become “important building blocks” and the “kindling” for the next cryptocurrency bonfire.
SEC Delays Bitcoin ETF Ruling To February 2019
Since Bitcoin’s earliest blocks, true innovators have discovered value in the crevices of the cryptocurrency world, finding it logical to latch onto this nascent industry in times of despair and euphoria alike. While this zealous faith in this decade-old innovation has taken many forms over the years, in the recent downturn, investors have sought a newfound light at the end of the tunnel — a U.S.-based, fully-regulated Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund (ETF).
However, even after Bitcoin ETF hopefuls consulted with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Economic Risk Analysis branch, the American regulator recently had to delay its ruling on the prospective product. In an SEC-stamped document published Thursday afternoon, the governmental agency claimed that it would be exercising its right to delay a verdict on the application until February 27, 2019.
Although this regulatory judgment was deemed bearish by naive traders, many analysts and industry commentators claimed that the delay was expected, citing the concerns that the underlying crypto market isn’t ready for the advent of such an instrument.
Morgan Creek Digital Bets $1 Million That Crypto Will Outperform The S&P 500 
On Thursday, Morgan Creek Digital, the crypto-centric subsidiary of the similarly-named Morgan Creek Asset Management, announced that it was calling upon a to-be-determined investor to take on a hefty bet.
The wager, which Morgan Creek has dubbed the “Buffet Bet 2.0,” sees the cryptocurrency investment manager laud its in-house crypto index fund, claiming that it will out-perform the Standard and Poor’s 500 equity market index over a 10-year period. In other words, if Morgan Creek’s fund outperforms American markets, it expects a $1 million cheque to fly its way. On the other hand, if traditional stocks manage to outperform the crypto market, Morgan Creek is mandated to fork out $1 million to its opponent. The “Buffet Bet 2.0,” for those who are unaware, is an evident reference to Warren Buffet’s infamous ante, in which the multi-billionaire claimed that an expansive group of hedge funds would outrun the S&P.
Speaking with CNBC on the relevance of this wager, which is more serious than it may seem, Anthony “Pomp” Pompliano, co-founder of the crypto group, noted:
“This [bet] is a combination of our outlook not only for the upside of cryptocurrencies but also the outlook on public equities.”
This short, yet foreboding statement, which paints a dismal picture for the future of equities, underscores Morgan Creek’s imperishable allegiance to cryptocurrencies. Mark Yusko, the founder of the overarching Morgan Creek brand, recently took to CNBC Fast Money to claim that he “loves Bitcoin for the long-term,” adding that the monumental growth in exchange volumes only spotlights the overlooked fact that this industry continues to flourish.
Coinbase Adds Four Altcoins, Looks Into Adding 27 More
On Friday morning, to the chagrin of the so-called “Bitcoin maximalist” investor subset, San Francisco-based Coinbase announced that it would be “exploring” offering support for a list of 31 well-known and bonafide altcoin projects.
Explaining the reasoning behind this sudden move, which caught many investors off-guard and caused a great deal of community backlash, referenced its goal to “rapidly list” regulatory compliant digital assets surprisingly issued in September. The assets Coinbase intends to add include a number of community favorites, namely XRP, Augur (REP), Cardano (ADA), Tezos (XTZ) and Maker (MKR). The full list can be found through Coinbase’s public statement on the matter.
Just hours after the announcement, which came straight out of left field, Coinbase Pro, the startup’s exchange for professional traders, took to Twitter to announce that it would be adding Civic (CVC), district0x (DNT), Loom (LOOM), and Decentraland (MANA), four altcoins that were part of Coinbase’s list.
As it stands, fully-fledged trading hasn’t been activated for the four ERC-20 tokens, but Coinbase Pro expects to launch complete support for the assets within a few day’s time.

Inbound transfers for CVC, DNT, LOOM, and MANA are now available. Order books will be in transfer-only mode for a minimum of 48 hours. During this period, traders can move their funds into Coinbase Pro but cannot yet place or fill orders. https://t.co/7HV3b41hME
— Coinbase Pro (@CoinbasePro) December 7, 2018

As reported by NewsBTC following Coinbase’s decision to add the four altcoins, an unprecedented happenstance, the community erupted into a logical outrage, with a number of analysts lambasting the exchange for its penchant to assist “s*itcoins.” Airswap employee Rob Paone, better known by the handle “Crypto Bobby” to the cryptocurrency community, noted that Coinbase, who was previously hesitant to list a good majority of altcoins, went “YOLO in like six months,” evidently touching on the company’s unexpected shift in business practices.
Binance Sneak Peaks DEX Yet Again
For the umpteenth time in a matter of months, Binance, the world’s foremost crypto asset exchange, sneak peaked its most promising venture yet, the so-called “Binance Chain” and the decentralized exchange (DEX) that is based upon it.
Through the medium of a short video, an unnamed member of the Binance team outlined the latest edition of the Binance DEX demo, which sports a graphical user interface (GUI) that is reminiscent of the startup’s world-renowned centralized exchange.

The video outlined a number of pertinent features seen on any exchange, including issuing trade orders, which were surprisingly quick, account and wallet creation for the Binance Chain, and the in-house block explorer.
Crypto Tidbits

Grayscale Accumulates 1% Of All Circulating Bitcoin (BTC): Since Bitcoin’s earliest years, the Digital Currency Group (DCG), a consortium of world-renowned crypto startups, has been an industry juggernaut. And with a recent report from Diar, a leading crypto-centric research unit, it seems DCG has maintained this hegemony. Per publicly-available data, Grayscale Investments, the investment management arm of DCG, now owns 20,300 BTC for its in-house Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC). This jaw-dropping number of BTC amounts to more than 1% of the circulating supply of Bitcoin, and is valued at approximately $850 million. Seeing that much of Grayscale’s clientele are high-net-worth individuals and institutions, it would be fair to assume that copious amounts of “smart money” continue to flow into this space en-masse.
Ethereum Whales Continue To Buy Up ETH En-Masse: Just as Grayscale has continued to accumulate BTC for its clients, the whales of the Ethereum sea have continued to purchase their asset of choice — ETH. Per data compiled by Diar, the amount of ETH that Ethereum’s top 500 wallets have held has risen by 80%. To put this growth figure into perspective, on January 1st, whales kept 11 million Ether under lock and key, as of November 30th, the same group of users holds 20 million. This jaw-dropping sum amounts to nearly 20% of all Ether currently circulating, and $2.2 billion in U.S. dollar values, clearly indicating that whales are heavily betting on a market reversal.
Ethereum Classic (ETC) Development Team Folds: To say that 2018’s bear market has been rough would, frankly, be putting it lightly. The value of BTC has collapsed by 83%, while altcoins followed suit, posting losses that would make traders cringe and shudder. And sadly, with the market tumult affecting all industry participants, startups and organizations within this nascent ecosystem have suffered as well. The past week saw ETCDEV, a key development consortium rooting for Ethereum Classic (ETC), fold, announcing its closure due to funding constraints stemming from the falling market and in-company conflict. The announcement of ETCDEV’s fate comes just days after Steemit, ConsenSys, and Spankchain purged a number of their employees.
Nasdaq Enthusiastically Confirms Bitcoin Futures Plans: As reported in NewsBTC’s last Week In Review, rumors suggested that Nasdaq, one of the world’s foremost financial markets, was in the midst of development on a Bitcoin (BTC) futures vehicle. While the financial instrument was briefly mentioned by Gabor Gurbacs, digital asset strategist at VanEck, this week, Nasdaq’s head of media relations spoke with a leading U.K. tabloid in the matter. In a statement conveyed to Express U.K., the Nasdaq spokesman, Joseph Christinat, enthusiastically verified the rumors, claiming that his firm’s Bitcoin foray is slated for a launch in Q1/Q2 2019, before adding the vehicle is awaiting approval from the U.S. Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Although skeptics are adamant that the CFTC won’t give its blessing to the proposed vehicle, as made apparent with the introduction of CME’s and CBOE’s Bitcoin futures, this shouldn’t be a valid qualm. Christinat, accentuating Nasdaq’s enamorment with crypto assets, noted that Nasdaq first entered into the blockchain realm in 2013, which was when the now decade-old innovation “first popped up” and “leaned out of the window.” In closing, the company spokesperson explained that as Nasdaq has “put a hell of a lot of money and energy” into the vehicle, it would be remiss to cast aside its efforts due to the bear market.

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What Caused Bitcoin to Drop to a New Yearly Low? Factors and Trends

When optimists thought it couldn’t get any worse, it did. In the past 24 hours, after ranging between $3,800 and $4,200 for a week, Bitcoin (BTC) was suddenly subject to another spell of bear market fever, as the asset fell under $3,700, $3,600, and $3,500 in quick succession. BTC even established a new year-to-date low in the recent sell-off, breaching $3,350 on Coinbase in a bearish spasm.
Upon the re-arrival of selling pressure, which sent retail investors into an unrelenting furor, a myriad of industry participants asked what mustered bears into action — the million dollar question lingering about everyone’s mind.
SEC Delays Bitcoin ETF Ruling… Yet Again
Per previous reports from NewsBTC, a number of representatives from VanEck, SolidX, and CBOE’s Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) team recently rendezvoused with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). This recent event, which is the second of its kind, saw VanEck’s digital asset team, headed by Gabor Gurbacs, consult with the American entity’s Economic Risk Analysis division on the matter of a crypto-backed ETF.
Related Reading: VanEck’s Chief Strategist Eyes Multi-Billion Dollar Investment in Bitcoin ETF
The hopefuls drew attention to a 62-part slide deck, which outlined the vehicle proposed and the rationale behind its potential approval. VanEck’s representative, doing his utmost to calm the SEC’s fears of manipulation, low-liquidity, and bad actors in crypto markets, then told the financial regulator that Bitcoin isn’t only “resilient,” but operates in a “well-functioning capital market” as well.
Aiming to butter up the SEC, VanEck even lauded CBOE’s trading infrastructure, which the instrument will be coupled with, for its speed, security, and ability to stay in compliance with the local financial legislature.
Yet, even after the reportedly successful closed-door meeting, the SEC delayed its decision on the application for the umpteenth time, and in the midst of a crypto bear market no less. In an SEC-stamped document published Thursday afternoon, the governmental agency claimed that it would be exercising its right to delay a verdict on the application until February 27, 2019.
Although the release of this document didn’t directly produce any red candles, such a decision likely instilled some semblance of fear in naive investors. Speaking with Bloomberg on the impact of negative industry developments, Timothy Tam, CEO of CoinFi, stated:
“Sentiment in the [crypto] market is really bad, any negative news has an exponential effect.”
However, some have taken to Twitter to discredit the sentiment that the SEC’s recent ruling had an effect on the market at large. On Twitter, Joseph Young, a NewsBTC editor, noted that the document was “expected” and “common sense,” adding that BTC didn’t stumble under $3,500 as a result of the 81-day delay.

VanEck Bitcoin ETF delay until February was expected and to be frank, it's common sense. Why would the SEC go out of its way to approve or reject an ETF filing prematurely?
And so no, the Bitcoin price didn't fall because of the ETF delayhttps://t.co/9t7Dp49NSQ
— Joseph Young (@iamjosephyoung) December 7, 2018

Still, the multi-year Bitcoin ETF saga, which has stuck with crypto through the thick and thin, will likely remain an industry-wide flavor of the foreseeable future, so to speak.
Analysts Claim That Bottom Isn’t In
While opinions regarding the Bitcoin ETF delay and its effect on the market are a mixed bag, a number of analysts have maintained that BTC hasn’t established its long-term bottom, even after an 83% decline from its all-time high.
Michael Bucella, a partner at industry juggernaut BlockTower Capital, claimed crypto’s near-year-long “distress cycle” is nearing its climax. The former Goldman Sachs executive, referencing BTC’s historical price fluctuations, subsequently pointed out that the last leg of crypto downturns are normally the most volatile, yet short-lived. And while he was reluctant to forecast a bottom, Bucella clearly accentuated his thought process that bears aren’t done with BTC yet.
Vinny Lingham, CEO of Civic, recently issued a similar comment, claiming that he expects for BTC to range between $3,000 and $5,000 for months, before adding that a foray below the former price level isn’t out of the realm of possibility. Lingham, known for incessantly calling for a “Crypto Winter,” claimed that Bitcoin’s underlying narrative has been misconstrued over time, which has allowed up-and-coming blockchains to gain on the crypto industry’s first.
Although commentators haven’t come to a consensus on the point at which BTC will bottom, it is evident that the cries for “lower lows” are still commonplace.
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Bitcoin Can’t Fall To $0 Nor Enter A “Death Spiral” — Mining Rules Deem It So

As BTC capitulated on Thursday evening, falling under a handful of purported key support levels, a number of bearish commentators, including Nouriel “Dr. Doom” Roubini and Bloomberg’s Mike McGlone, doubled down on their sentiment that cryptocurrencies would continue to disintegrate. A number of cynics, who are often berated for their improper insight, pointed to the expected collapse of Bitcoin mining as the primary stimulant for the impending exhaustion of cryptocurrencies.
However, as recently asserted by one of the crypto industry’s finest, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
By Design, Mining Will Keep BTC Alive
Since Bitcoin’s earliest years, Andreas Antonopoulos, a Greek-British blockchain fanatic, has been a zealous Bitcoin crusader, known for brutally debunking critics of a technology they don’t choose to understand. And in this recent market crash, which has led mainstream media to call for the arrival of a crypto “death spiral,” Antonopolus is back to his antics yet again, recently rushing to Bitcoin’s defense via Youtube.

For those who aren’t in the loop, in recent weeks, as BTC has found itself far under $6,000, the supposed break-even cost of mining, hashrate has begun to drop precipitously. Since November 14th, which was when selling pressure began to slam cryptocurrency markets, hashrate has fallen from 58 exahashes to a mere 37, down 36% in a matter of weeks. As reported by NewsBTC previously, Malachi Salcido, CEO of a crypto mining operation, told Bloomberg that miners are being actively “flushed” out, presumably due to dwindling profitability figures.
Salcido wasn’t alone in touting such sentiment, with blockchain research unit Autonomous Research claiming that upwards of 100,000 individuals have thrown in the Bitcoin mining towel.
Keeping the mining industry’s stormy conditions in mind, a number of pundits outside of crypto have claimed that BTC, along with its altcoin brethren, is poised to enter a “death spiral,” whereas miners would fold en-masse, sending BTC into the ether. But as always, these so-called “experts” have picked a bone with the wrong community.
In a recent video Q&A, which specifically addressed the “death spiral” predictions, which were baseless at best, and slanderous at worst, Antonopoulos spoke on why capitulation on the part of miners won’t massacre Bitcoin.
The diehard decentralist, who recently called the traditional financial realm the world’s largest “cartel,” first drew attention to the Bitcoin Network’s intrinsic feature of hashing difficulty, which readjusts every 2,016 blocks (~2 weeks) to reflect the state of mining. This feature, activated on the world’s first blockchain since day one, discredits the theory that a “death spiral” is inbound, while still maintaining that BTC can’t just fall to nil. Antonopoulos elaborated:
“If [miners] wait until the difficulty retargets and the difficulty becomes less, then each miner who waits makes more profit because in the new scheme they have a greater percentage of the mining power than they did before. Let’s say if the mining power drops by 50%, the miners who stick around and wait for the difficulty to retarget are now twice as profitable after the retargeting.”
When taking this simple element into account, which a majority of mainstream journalists skimmed right over, it becomes clear that participants will always keep some skin in the mining game, so to speak. As put by Antonopoulos, “that’s a pretty good incentive to stick around.” And as such, it is near-impossible for BTC to fall to $0, no matter how hard bears try to suppress the asset.
Bitcoin Network’s Fundamentals Booming
According to Anthony “Pomp” Pompliano, the co-founder of Morgan Creek Digital, there are a number of reasons, not only mining, to remain convinced that cryptocurrencies, namely BTC, still have the ability to alter the face of planet Earth. Speaking with MarketWatch, a Facebook and Snapchat team member turned crypto fundamentalist, known for his anti-bank, pro-crypto rhetoric, stated:
“Bitcoin has been through these major declines and bear markets before. It is an anti-fragile asset. The system is designed in a way that allows for course corrections, in both directions, based on market conditions.”
In other words, as put by Pomp himself, “Bitcoin was designed to survive.” And in a recent edition of Off The Chain, a crypto media resource headed by Pomp, he touted similar sentiment. Reminding readers to not get distracted by noise, the forward-thinker noted that while BTC has fallen drastically, Bitcoin has seen a surge in transaction count, cheaper TX fees, and active full nodes — a sign that shouldn’t be discounted.
Speaking to CNBC Squawk Box’s panel, Pompliano even recently claimed that as Bitcoin is the world’s most secure transaction settlement layer, its native asset, BTC, will also hold a semblance of value, no matter how hard bears swing their fists.
Pompliano is so bullish on Bitcoin that his firm, parented by the similarly named Morgan Creek Capital Management, recently issued a $1 million wager for the cause of cryptocurrencies. The American investment group challenged a to-be-determined investor, claiming that it will fork out $1 million if the S&P 500 index outperforms its in-house crypto fund, which covers a majority of crypto’s aggregate value, over the next decade.
Related Reading: Morgan Creek Digital Makes $1 Million “Buffett Bet 2.0” Crypto Wager
And as seen by a number of recent interviews, like the recent one conducted with Quoine’s CEO, Morgan Creek is far from Bitcoin’s only knight, as their remain tens of thousands that are ready to defend Bitcoin at a moment’s notice.
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Report: Crypto Market To Consist Of 66% Bitcoin in 2019

Bitcoin has long been at the forefront of the crypto market, dominating this 10-year old industry with an iron fist and no holds barred. While it maintained its unquestioned hegemony over the cryptosphere for nearly a decade, as 2017 began, it became clear that something was amok. More specifically, in an industry first, altcoins began to drastically gain in terms of market dominance.
By the end of April 2017, altcoins made up 40% of crypto’s entire market capitalization, up from the 12% seen in January. And just eight months later, at the peak of the so-called “Crypto Bubble,” altcoins held 66% dominance over the crypto market, which, in turn, sent Bitcoin’s share to a measly 33%. At this point, some “altcoin maximalists,” known for their use of buzzwords to laud assets, claimed it was all over for Bitcoin, which was chided as an antiquated blockchain with little-to-zero use cases.
Related Reading: Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary Sees Ethereum Beating Bitcoin and Gaining Dominance
However, the original cryptocurrency’s fortunes took a relative turn for the better in early-2018, with altcoins showing signs of weakness after months of non-stop up-and-up. Now, just eleven months after Bitcoin market dominance, the first figure from the right on CoinMarketCap, hit an all-time low at the aforementioned 33%, the figure has stabilized in the 52% to 55% range.
A.T. Kearney Expects Bitcoin To “Reclaim” Two-Thirds Of Crypto Market Cap
Although noise regarding the Bitcoin’s dramatic tumult has recently begun to block out discussion regarding market dominance, a chief fundamental indicator, a recent piece from Forbes indicates the subject remains a hot topic in some circles.
Forbes contributor Panos Mourdoukoutas, whose work NewsBTC has covered in the past, noted that A.T. Kearney, a multinational management consulting firm, expects for Bitcoin market dominance to “nearly” reach two-thirds of the aggregate capitalization of cryptocurrencies. Citing reasons for this ~66% target, which isn’t out of the realm of possibility, the American firm purportedly stated that altcoins have “lost their luster” due to growing risk aversion tactics enlisted by retail investors.
Investors’ growing penchant for liquidating their altcoin positions for Bitcoin can potentially be chalked up to the U.S. SEC’s renewed crackdown on ICO-funded tokens. Just recently, the American financial regulator fined AirFox and Paragon, two lesser-known ICOs, in a precedent-setting case, instilling fear throughout the crypto investor base as a whole. As is common practice, if there aren’t enough rewards to justify the risk, investors won’t allocate capital to the asset class in question. This case with altcoins, a majority of which were parented by ICOs, is undoubtedly no different.
However, A.T. Kearney says this isn’t exactly the case, with the firm drawing attention to the ever-growing complexity of the nascent altcoin subset. Courtney Rickert McCaffrey at A.T. Kearney wrote:
“Our prediction is that Bitcoin will regain its dominance is supported by the ever-growing complexity among altcoins, most recently demonstrated by the ‘hash war’ that occurred in the Bitcoin Cash ecosystem.”
Although this isn’t a well-documented issue, a number of crypto-centric consumers took to Twitter during Bitcoin Cash’s hard fork to express how confusing the whole fracas was. This, of course, only legitimizes the aforementioned firm’s report, albeit only be a smidgen.
A.T. Kearney isn’t alone in touting this train of thought. As reported by NewsBTC in early-August, when Bitcoin market dominance forayed above 50% for the first time in nine months, Tom Lee, head of research of Fundstrat, claimed that investors have decided “Bitcoin is the best house in a tough neighborhood.” He added that with the SEC’s classification of BTC as a commodity, and the focus institutions have placed on Bitcoin in mind, the asset’s return to higher dominance levels is rationalized.
Lee’s comments, issued in August, came just 10 days after Mike Novogratz, CEO of Galaxy Digital, claimed that he didn’t expect for “BTC dominance to pull back any time soon,” also drawing attention to institutional-focused products centered around Bitcoin.

I don’t see $btc dominance pulling back any time soon. Lots of cool institutional projects coming and most will start with bitcoin. Stay long.
— Michael Novogratz (@novogratz) July 31, 2018

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Bloomberg: Bitcoin Price “Fading”, $1,500 Possible

After MarketWatch got lambasted for publishing a questionable op-ed regarding a Bitcoin mining “death spiral,” the financial media continued their bearish cryptocurrency coverage on Wednesday. More specifically, Bloomberg News, which covers the crypto industry round the clock, recently had its in-house analysts tout a $1,500 per BTC prediction — far below what many traders deem “logical.”
Bloomberg Analyst Bearish, Expects Bitcoin To Fall To $1,500
While selling pressure has begun to abate, with 24-hour volumes in the cryptocurrency market falling to $14 billion, BTC continued its seemingly endless downtrend on Wednesday. The asset, which ranged primarily between $3,900 and $4,200 for a week, fell under the former price level in recent hours. During one point on Wednesday, the foremost cryptocurrency suddenly fell to $3,668, nearing its one-year low around $3,500, originally established in November.
Related Reading: November Has Been Bitcoin’s Worst Month for Seven Years
But since its initial sell-off, BTC has found itself amid a veneer of stability, finding a short-term foothold at in the mid-3700s, as bears presumably catch their breath. Yesterday’s move clearly exhibits the sentiment that volatility has likely returned to cryptocurrency markets, after the aforementioned multi-day lull.
And, according to Bloomberg, this bearish volatility is likely to continue into 2019, contradicting sentiment that both the cryptocurrency and equities markets would undergo a “Santa Claus rally.”
The financial market resource recently noted that the Directional Movement Index (DMI) indicates that after BTC fell under $6,600 in July, the asset has been “caught in a strong selling trend.” While a single indicator isn’t enough to signal a downtrend, Bloomberg also drew attention to the Average Directional Index (ADX), which is nearing 50 — a purportedly bearish sign.
In a note relayed through Bloomberg News, coupled with a subsequent interview, Mike McGlone, an analyst at the outlet, has made it clear that the aforementioned indicators point to lower lows for Bitcoin. McGlone, who hasn’t been afraid to tout his doomsday sentiment in the past, explained that BTC could fall another ~60% to $1,500, with altcoins likely falling close behind the cryptocurrency godfather.
Interestingly, while Bitcoin Cash’s hard fork has come and passed, the analyst drew attention to the contentious event, along with year-end tax selling, as purported catalysts for Bitcoin’s move to $1,500. Elaborating, while also touching on market cycles, McGlone noted:
“We’re at a classic psychological stage where the market is reversing the 2017 frenzy… The hard fork was a key trigger that signaled the technology is way too nascent. You had these dicey characters threatening to destroy each other and institutions said ’It might be best if we stay away from this for a while.’”
Crypto Industry Savants Still See Long-Term Potential
Although McGlone painted a dismal picture for crypto’s prospects, which were already beaten and bruised to hell and back, a number of industry insiders have maintained their abiding faith in this revolutionary innovation.
Roger Ver, the infamous chief executive of Bitcoin.com, recently told the aforementioned outlet that the future is brighter than ever for cryptocurrencies. Speaking to Bloomberg on the streets of Tokyo, the zealous decentralist and anti-government crusader drew attention to a number of fundamental factors, including the Japanese FSA’s recent approval of a self-regulating crypto consortium, growing awareness of this innovation, and ramping adoption.
Keeping all this in mind, coupled with the fact that hackers and scammers continue to target the industry, Ver mused that he is still “incredibly bullish on the entire crypto-coin ecosystem.”
Mike Kayamori, chief executive at Quoine, also expressed a similar thought process. Kayamori, who heads the Japanese blockchain-centric startup, noted that while “nobody knows” where Bitcoin will bottom, taking historical trends into account, a reversal may be inbound. The Japanese crypto proponent added that by the end of 2019, he expects for BTC to surpass the all-time high it established in the wee hours of 2017.
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Institutions Still Bullish On Crypto: Grayscale Owns 1% of All Bitcoin

As Bitcoin continues its chaotic price action, ceaselessly falling and ascending through key levels, some paranoid traders have feared that institutional investors have been alienated from the crypto market. Yet, reports indicate that Grayscale’s growing war chest has continued to swell, while institutional players continue to express interest in crypto assets. This, of course, makes it more than palpable that institutions see immense value in cryptocurrencies, and potentially, that a market bottom is inbound.
Grayscale Owns $826 Million in Bitcoin
According to a research report released on December 3rd, from the offices of crypto analytics unit Diar, Grayscale Investments, a self-proclaimed “trusted authority on digital currency investing,” has accumulated thousands of BTC for its in-house Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC).
Since the start of 2018, Grayscale, owned by Barry Silbert brainchild Digital Currency Group (DCG), has seen its Bitcoin coffers swell by 30,600 BTC to 203,000 total, now accounting for more than 1% of the asset’s total circulating supply. 
As seen in the chart above (sourced from LongHash), the wallets pertaining to Grayscale’s GBTC, a vehicle that allows retail and investors to purchase custodied BTC on the U.S. OTC market, has seen month-over-month increases. Diar wrote on the matter:
“Record inflows however have resulted in record Bitcoin equivalent holdings with December notching up a little versus the start of the previous month.”
Although GBTC’s user base also consists of retail investors, the steady rise in BTC holdings indicates that capital continues to flow into this market through trusted third parties (ironically enough), a plausible positive sign.
Institutional Players Continue Crypto Foray
Grayscale isn’t the only DCG subsidiary to see a spike in investment interest. Genesis Trading, also owned by the New York-headquartered conglomerate, recently saw its CEO, Michael Moro, take to CNBC to note that his firm’s lending service has seen an “incredibly strong reception.”  This “incredibly strong reception” has seemingly taken the form of interest originating from “60+ institutional counterparties,” who have requested for cryptocurrency loans across “nearly a dozen digital assets” in the past six months. According to statistics from the firm itself, these loans amounted to a monetary value of $553 million, a jaw-dropping sum to put it lightly.
Moro added that while many of its institutional debtors have already paid their loans in full, there is still $130 million worth of active loans,  a figure that has only grown of the course of the lending service’s seven-month lifetime. This indicates that the crypto market downturn hasn’t deterred these industry participants one bit, contrary to popular belief.
This continual institutional interest hasn’t gone fully unnoticed, with a number of institutions and forward-thinking crypto innovators establishing products, services, and platforms, aimed at high net-worth individuals and Wall Street. Nasdaq, for instance, recently announced that it joined hands with VanEck to work on a Bitcoin and “crypto 2.0” futures contract, aimed at institutional and retail investors alike.
Related Reading: Why Are Novogratz, Fidelity, And Bakkt Banking On Institutional Crypto Investors?
Fidelity Investments, which sports the business of 13,000 institutional clients, even announced its own digital asset-centric subsidiary, slated to offer top-notch cryptocurrency custody and with trade execution.
Even Without Institutional Investment, Crypto Still Valuable
But even if institutional money doesn’t continue to flood in and the aforementioned platforms falter, as skeptics expect, Bitcoin and its altcoin brethren will still have big shoes to fill. As reported by NewsBTC last week, at BlockShow Asia 2018, Tom Lee, head of research at the crypto-friendly Fundstrat Global Advisors, claimed that Bitcoin is “bent, not broken.” The long-time cryptocurrency advocate, somewhat infamous for his irrational price predictions, added that Bitcoin’s $1.3 trillion in on-chain transaction value, reportedly 2.5 times that of PayPal, indicates that this innovation has “staying power.”
He added that there’s still “enviable profitability” in the cryptosphere, with BitMEX alone, who will likely generate $1.2 billion in fiscal 2018, making more than the Hong Kong Stock Exchange’s parent and Nasdaq. This profitability factor alone should entice investors to continue to invest in cryptocurrencies and related projects.
Jackson Palmer, CEO of Dogecoin, echoed the sentiment that cryptocurrencies have and will continue to maintain inherent value, even without support from Wall Street hotshots. In an op-ed posted to Diar, Palmer, a developer at Adobe, noted that the grassroots projects, namely the Lightning Network and Plasma framework, can help “cryptocurrencies fight back” and keep the heart of the decentralized revolution burning.
Related Reading: Dogecoin Creator: Bakkt, Fidelity, and Bitcoin ETF Are Bad for Cryptocurrency
Palmer wasn’t alone in his anti-centralization, pro-crypto statements, with Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, Marc Andreessen, one of the world’s foremost venture capitalists, and even Edward Snowden lauding cryptocurrencies for their ability to transcend traditional entities.
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Report: Whales Accumulate Ethereum (ETH) En-Masse Amid Bear Market

Since Bitcoin (BTC) began to falter in recent weeks, with the asset free-falling below $6,000, investors have whipped out their magnifying glasses, doing their utmost to discern what catalyzed the sell-off. Although many pointed fingers at the contentious Bitcoin Cash debacle, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s renewed crackdown on tokens deemed digital securities, and the lack of development in the Bitcoin ETF launch cycle, a novel theorized catalyst recently arose.
For those who aren’t in the loop, this proposed catalyst is that whales and former “HODLers” have sought to liquidate their cryptocurrency holdings, putting immense selling pressure on assets, such as Ethereum (ETH) and BTC. However, extensive research completed by Diar, a leading crypto-centric data analytics unit, notes that contrary to this popular belief, reports of a whale sell-off couldn’t be further from the truth.
Ethereum Whale Holdings Nearly Double In Bear Market
According to Diar’s most recent installment of its weekly analytics report, whales in the Ethereum waters have continued to accumulate, likely enticed by the bargain deals seen in the cryptocurrency market.

We have published our latest issue for your read:
• $ETH Whales Accumulate Billions, But Growth Remains Stagnant• @coinbase Nears Full @circleinvest with $ZEC Exchange Listing• @GrayscaleInvest Bitcoin Holdings Continue Rise as Prices SlideAnd morehttps://t.co/FfZgOPLGiu
— Diar (@DiarNewsletter) December 3, 2018

According to TokenAnalyst-sourced data routed through Diar, since January 2018, the amount of ETH that Ethereum’s top 500 wallets have held has risen by 80%. To put this growth figure into perspective, on January 1st, whales kept 11 million Ether under lock and key, as of November 30th, the same group of users holds 20 million.
This jaw-dropping sum amounts to nearly 20% of all Ether currently circulating, and $2.2 billion in U.S. dollar values, clearly indicating that whales are heavily betting on a market reversal.
Diar also noted that whales have presumably been bolstering their Ethereum wallets also due to a resurgence in SEC-backed regulatory action, coupled with a change in sentiment regarding ICO-funded projects. In a testament to the aforementioned point, the American governmental agency recently penalized AirFox and Paragon, while also fining the founder of EtherDelta for heading an unlicensed securities platform. These two regulatory actions alone instilled fear in the hearts of “altcoiners,” catalyzing the death of a multitude of small-caps as traders rushed to sell their tokens for ETH.
Regardless of the exact stimulus behind this bout of accumulation, Diar closed off its report by noting that while the fiat value of whales’ holdings has fallen by ~90%, Q4’s ETH balance growth is up 270% over Q3, a bullish sign in the eyes of optimists.
Bitcoin Accumulation Also Occurring, UTXO On The Rise
Not only have whales been accumulating Ether en-masse, but BTC as well, highlighting a trend of accumulation in 2018’s bear market. As reported by NewsBTC previously, crypto analyst FlibFlib astutely drew attention to the Bitcoin Network’s unspent transaction outputs (UTXO) set size as a potential indicator in mid-November. The analyst explained that as UTXO increases, accumulation is occurring, but as the same indicator decreases, investors are presumably selling their BTC in an act of “distribution.”
Keeping this in mind, and considering that UTXO has been on a tear since July, even amid November’s 40% downturn, many believe that bulls continue to scale into long Bitcoin positions. However, the analyst noted that gradual accumulation won’t be enough to propel BTC to the moon, as it were. The analyst claimed that the unspent output indicator will need to see a “significant uptick,” coupled with a slight increase in Bitcoin price, to indicate that the bear market has finally run its course.
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Crypto Bear Market Strikes: Ethereum Classic (ETC) Development Group Folds

While crypto’s unbridled optimists have done their best to keep this market afloat, incessantly imploring Bitcoin investors to “HODL” and “BUIDL,” their cries haven’t stopped a key Ethereum Classic development group from unfortunately capitulating.
Ethereum Classic Ecosystem Loses Key Player Amid Market Tumult
After a multi-month downturn in the cryptocurrency world, which has seen $700 billion evaporate from this industry’s market value, ETCDEV, an essential player in the Ethereum Classic ecosystem, has announced its closure on December 3rd, 2018. For those who aren’t in the loop, ETCDEV is an Ethereum-centric development group launched two and a half years ago, whose creation was catalyzed by the DAO debacle of 2016.
Since the organization came into being, it rapidly became the face of the Ethereum Classic development community, lauded for its penchant for technological revolution and its ability to innovate.  But now, as aforementioned, the organization has had to fold, purportedly due to funding constraints.
Through a tweet, Igor Artamonov, the founder and chief technology officer of ETVDEV, wrote:

Unfortunately ETCDEV cannot continue to work in the current situation and has to announce shutdown of our current activities pic.twitter.com/N6xWnpBNJJ
— ETCDEV (@etcdev) December 3, 2018

Although the ETCDEV executive cited a lack of sustainable financing, this message comes just days after Artamonov released a Medium article lambasting one of his peers for being a “Trojan Horse” for another team. Regardless, the fact of the matter is that Ethereum Classic remains heavily wounded after this occurrence, as the project lost its primary development team.
Since the disheartening announcement from the experienced development consortium, ETC has fallen by 9.40% to $4.61 a pop, under-performing BTC by 5.7%.
Upon the advent of the rapid sell-off, deemed irrational by some, yet backed by $190 million in 24-hour volumes, the official Twitter page of the Ethereum predecessor quickly took to its brainchild’s side. Through a message of support, evidently issued to calm the nerves of perturbed ETC investors, the team made it apparent that ETCDEV isn’t the entire project. Instead, it was noted that Ethereum Classic is a consortium of like-minded innovators and teams, such as IOHK, ETC Co-op, “and a litany of volunteers.”
Aggregating its underlying bullish sentiment into a single statement, the show-runners behind the @eth_classic handle simply wrote, “keep calm, and build on.”
Crypto Bear Market Qualms
This recent announcement comes just days after Steemit, the company behind the (somewhat) decentralized social media platform that shares its name, revealed it was undergoing a business reorganization, purging 70% of its employees.
Related Reading: Steemit Announces Structural Reorganization, Laying off 70% of Employees
Ned Scott, CEO of Steemit, said on the matter:
“While we were building up our team over the last months, we had been relying on projections of basically a higher bottom for the market… Since that’s no longer there we’ve been forced to lay off more than 70% of our organization.”
He explained that as Steemit’s top brass met, amid worsening market conditions, it became logical that a staff restructuring at the private startup was necessary. Interestingly, Scott failed to divulge an exact headcount pre- and post-purge, making it difficult to discern how many were affected.
SpankChain, an adult entertainment platform centered around blockchain, recently saw its CEO take to Reddit to announce that it, as well as Steemit, had downsized drastically. The project head noted that the SpankChain project hired eight individuals, and has reduced its burn rate from $200,000 to $80,000 per month.
However, it isn’t all doom and gloom, as not all crypto-related organizations and startups have been subject to the financial pressure caused by the unpredictable cryptocurrency market.
As reported by BreakerMag, Ethereum pioneer Joseph Lubin, who can be likened to the Sergey Brin (Google co-founder) of the blockchain industry, recently distributed an uplifting note to all employees at ConsenSys, often defined as the Google of this innovative sector. In the letter, authored by the passionate Canadian technology entrepreneur, it was noted that in spite of the market sell-off, ConsenSys remains poised to “succeed wildly,” with a potential to usurp the traditional facets of society. Lubin wrote:
“[Blockchain is] a technology and an ethos that many of us believe will profoundly reshape human society over time… We now find ourselves occupying a very competitive universe, [and have the ability to] succeed wildly. [But,] we must recognize that what got us here will probably not get us there, wherever ‘there’ is.”
In a testament to Lubin’s undying belief in this decade-old technology, ConsenSys itself, primarily consisting of a handful of distributed subsidiaries, has reportedly hired upwards of 550 employees. BreakerMag has divulged that the startup’s rapid expansion can be primarily attributed to Lubin’s Ether coffers, which are reported to hold millions upon millions of ETH. And despite the downturn, it appears his stash isn’t even close to depletion.
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Mike Novogratz Expects Crypto Market Turnaround, Adoption in 2019

Frankly, it would be fair to say that bears have brutalized the crypto market and its constituents in 2018, throwing Bitcoin and its altcoin brethren off metaphorical cliffs.
However, in spite of the widespread carnage, some innovators remain tunnel-visioned, focused on bolstering the nascent crypto and blockchain ecosystem with no holds barred.
Regulatory Fears Remain, but Galaxy Digital Bets on “Big Adaptation”
Speaking on a conference call Friday, presumably to address his firm’s dismal financial report, Mike Novogratz, Galaxy Digital CEO, did his utmost best to maintain an upbeat tone.
As noted by Bloomberg, who received a transcript of the call, Novogratz, a former traditionalist banker-turned-Bitcoin fanatic, couldn’t avoid talk of the bear market, explaining that this year has been “horrible” for tokens. The cryptocurrency advocate added that “there’s plenty of reasons to be depressed,” failing to adequately sugar coat the downturn in cryptocurrency values and the retail interest dry spell.
Touching on the proposed catalysts behind the sell-off, which left Galaxy Digital high and dry with $76 million in Q3 losses, Novogratz pointed to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC’s) renewed crackdown on inital coin offerings (ICOs) and fraudulent crypto-centric startups.
While also discussing his firm’s financial condition, he elaborated:
“And not just was [the SEC] tough on them — [but] they mentioned personal investors can go for reparations in most cases. And people got very nervous… We [at Galaxy Digital,] found that getting the right regulatory structure was just harder than we thought it would be.”
The zealous pundit is likely referencing the SEC’s recent case involving AirFox and ParagonCoin, two lesser-known, yet successful ICO-funded projects that were charged for touting digital securities without proper credentials.
Still, Novogratz’s bullish long-term outlook on cryptocurrencies remained steadfast, claiming that he expects a fundamental shift in the utilization of blockchain technologies during 2019 and 2020. More specifically, the former Goldman Sachs partner drew attention to blockchain-based items, such as e-gaming collectibles, that could single-handedly catalyze the adoption of this literally game-changing innovation.
Putting his money where his mouth is, so to speak, Novogratz added that Galaxy Digital, a Toronto-listed, crypto-centric merchant bank, is “making big investments in that area” specifically.
Novogratz: Institutions to Buy Crypto, Bitcoin En-Masse in Q2 2019
Echoing forecasts issued by other industry insiders, in the aforementioned conference call, the forward-thinker stated outright that Bitcoin will likely undergo a monumental rebound in Q2 2019, subsequently backing his essential dice throw with prospective bullish factors.
The Galaxy chief explained that now that the participants of 2017’s retail mania have capitulated, this market is stuck between a rock and a hard place, and is awaiting the arrival of institutional participants.
Although this statement was nebulous in and of itself, Novogratz added that such adoption could arrive by April, following the launch of Bakkt’s physically-backed Bitcoin futures and Fidelity’s custody and trade-execution products.
Related Reading: Why Are Novogratz, Fidelity, and Bakkt Banking on Institutional Crypto Investors?
These recent claims are essentially a reiteration of his incessant statements regarding the “institutional herd” and the “FOMO” that said group will inevitably experience.
Per previous reports from NewsBTC, in early-November, Novogratz told Financial News that “institutional FOMO” will catapult Bitcoin above $10,000, before a likely retesting of the asset’s all-time highs backed by the deep pockets of institutions.
And with that in mind, it should come as no surprise that Novogratz unequivocally sees a bright future for this industry, which has been battered and bruised since January 2018. Bitcoin, for one, was called dead for the 327th time just last Thursday, by none other than a foreboding Bloomberg video.
But if what Novogratz touts comes to pass, mainstream media outlets and the out-of-touch will find no reason to bash crypto assets any further.
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McAfee Unfazed After SEC Says Promoting ICO Without Disclosing Pay is Fraud

The impassioned crypto community on Twitter, specifically prominent commentators and analysts, took up arms over the weekend, as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)’s indictment of DJ Khaled and Floyd Mayweather became an industry flavor of the month. But why?
SEC Fines DJ Khaled, Floyd Mayweather In ICO Ruling
Per previous reports from NewsBTC, last week, the SEC kicked the initial coin offering (ICO) subset of crypto assets while it was already writhing, name-dropping DJ Khaled and Floyd Mayweather, two hotshot celebrities with jaw-dropping social media followings, in a crypto-related case. The American governmental organization, somewhat infamous for its involvement in the cryptosphere, fined Khaled and Mayweather for promoting blockchain projects, coupled with their subsequent failure to publicly disclose their business relationships, which were predicated on undisclosed promotions.
Initially, the cryptocurrency community at large took the indictment of Khaled and Mayweather in stride, with a multitude of commentators creating jokes surrounding the subject. Others joked that they feared the worst, as they posted doctored screenshots of the SEC direct messaging them on Twitter.
Regardless of the format used to take the SEC’s ruling in jest, the bottom line is that many weren’t taking this situation seriously. However, as indicated by specific guideline nuances in the SEC’s legislature, this recent ruling may be more worrying for crypto influencers and ICO promoters than it originally seemed. As originally spotted by Reuters, on November 1st of 2017, smack dab in the midst of the roaring ICO market, the SEC issued a “specific warning” regarding those who promote token sales. In an announcement on the matter, the financial regulator wrote:
“Any celebrity or other individual who promotes a virtual token or coin that is a security must disclose the nature, scope, and amount of compensation received in exchange for the promotion.”
The above statement, which indicates that even disclosing that it was a paid promotion isn’t enough to calm the SEC’s nerves, quickly instilled fear in former and current ICO promoters. More specifically, a certain brand of influencers, especially those who rely on money received from ICO promotions to sustain themselves, declared that the end was nigh. And seeing that a precedent has been set with Mayweather and Khaled’s fine, the doomsday prognosis unequivocally held its water, so to speak.
Crypto Twitter Fights Back
However, a number of influencers made it clear that they wouldn’t take prospective regulatory action lying down. Cybersecurity pioneer John McAfee, arguably the de-facto king of ICO promotional material, made a scathing comment on the debacle, influenced by a fit of rage that accentuated his distaste for the SEC and what it stands for. McAfee, presumably responding due to a query from the crypto public, wrote:
“Me? Worried about the SEC? I have openly, publicly and in the media ridiculed that corrupt, puss filled, bile dripping abcess on the fabric of America. Come for me SEC. I will, in every media outlet in this country, rip you a new asshole worthy of parking a tractor-trailer in.”
For those not in the loop, McAfee famously shilled altcoins via his now-dead, yet popular series, “Coin of The Day,” lauding projects through the use of buzzwords, price targets, and proposed use cases. Although it wasn’t explicitly made clear that he was paid for the promotional tweets, eventually, the McAfee Crypto Team divulged that he was paid $105,000 per message, a jaw-dropping sum to put it lightly. This fact, of course, likely catalyzed some in the cryptocurrency community to ask McAfee about his relationship with the SEC, hence the answer above.
So it appears that McAfee is ready to take the SEC on with arms swinging, and is poised for any legal threats that fly his way.
Others fought back through other mediums. Crypto-friendly lawyer Jake Chervinsky, staving away from sensationalizing the issue any further, expressed that crypto’s foremost influencers may not be targeted by the SEC. Chervinsky chalked his statement up to the fact that the SEC doesn’t desire, nor has the resources to go after the hundreds, if not thousands of influencers “who shilled ICOs to their subscribers and followers.”

I don't think the SEC has the resources or desire to go after YouTube & Twitter influencers who shilled ICOs to their subscribers & followers.
I absolutely *do* think plaintiffs who bought into ICOs based on those influencers' secret paid promotions will name them in litigation.
— Jake Chervinsky (@jchervinsky) December 2, 2018

Regardless, all this talk comes amid a rough time for token offerings in general. Just recently, the SEC charged AirFox and ParagonCoin, two lesser-known projects, for facilitating the sale of digital securities without proper licenses or a regulatory go-ahead. The American agency even recently fined the founder of EtherDelta, making it abundantly clear that the SEC isn’t too fond of the ICO capital raising model.
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Crypto Week In Review: Bitcoin ETF Talk Mounts, Nasdaq To Launch “Crypto 2.0” Futures

The crypto market at large sustained its turbulent price action this week, with Bitcoin (BTC) jolting up and down between key levels of resistance and support. However, in spite of the dreary price action, this industry’s participants kept their pedal to the metal, announcing a series of developments that piqued the interest of investors worldwide. So, as recently put by Anthony “Pomp” Pompliano, Morgan Creek’s in-house cryptocurrency insider:

“Bear markets get rid of tourists so entrepreneurs can focus on building.”

SEC’s Clayton Isn’t Ready To Green Light A Crypto ETF
Since Bitcoin faltered in early-2018, investors in this nascent asset class have sought to find a light at the end of the tunnel. This light, as it turns out, is a U.S.-based, fully-regulated Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF). But, as recently divulged by a commissioner from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the advent of a crypto-backed ETF might be nothing more than a quixotic dream, or at least for now.
Speaking at Consensus: Invest on Tuesday, SEC incumbent Jay Clayton, who assumed office in May 2017, exclaimed that he isn’t ready to greenlight a Bitcoin ETF. Backing his somewhat inflammatory statement with rationale, Clayton brought up the lack of market surveillance in crypto markets.
Blockchains may be predicated on a semblance of transparency, but in juxtaposition to this nature, the SEC decision-maker noted that there’s an evident lack of bonafide surveillance implementations on crypto platforms at large. Clayton then explained that investors expect that a commodity-backed fund is free from manipulation, alluding to his sentiment that Bitcoin is susceptible to questionable fluctuations on a group’s whim, or through actions executed by bad actors.
Along with his fears regarding proper surveillance measures, the lawyer by trade also noted that while strides have been taken towards impenetrable custody solutions, these services purportedly remain vulnerable to unauthorized access.
VanEck, SolidX’s Bitcoin ETF Team Meet With SEC 
Despite Clayton’s concerns regarding crypto-backed ETFs, the SEC recently released a memorandum that outlined a paramount closed-door meeting attended by representatives from VanEck, SolidX, and CBOE, the three firms behind the foremost Bitcoin ETF application.
This recent event, which is the second of its kind, saw VanEck outline its proposed vehicle through a 62-part slide deck, breaking down the ETF to its core. Aiming to calm the SEC’s qualms with the cryptocurrency market, including fears that it’s rife low-liquidity, the ETF hopefuls touted the fact that the value of Bitcoin is “tightly linked” on spot and futures markets, apparently evidence that cryptocurrency is a “well-functioning capital market.” VanEck representatives went on to draw attention to the “resilience of Bitcoin markets,” claiming that the fixed supply, distributed, and secure nature of Bitcoin would disallow manipulation.
VanEck went on to laud CBOE’s trading system, which the ETF would be based upon, for its speed, security, and ability to stay compliant with financial law, something that the SEC is likely seeking.
No comments from the SEC were issued on VanEck’s slide deck, but many investors are hopeful that the attendees of the forum were pleased with what was presented.
Nasdaq, VanEck To Launch “Crypto 2.0” Futures, Aims For Q1 2019 Launch
On Tuesday morning, the crypto industry at large was rattled, as insiders reportedly claimed that Nasdaq had plans to launch a Bitcoin futures contract. Although the rumor was somewhat cast aside, with some skeptics calling the news “baseless,” at Consensus: Invest, VanEck digital asset strategist Gabor Gurbacs did his best to clear the air. On-stage, in front of a crowd of hundreds, Gurbacs officially revealed that VanEck was, in fact, partnering with New York-based Nasdaq to “bring a regulated crypto 2.0 futures-type contract” to market.
However, like the Bloomberg report that originally broke the news, Gurbacs seemingly didn’t follow up the comment regarding the proposed product’s exact details.
So due to the apparent secrecy, many quickly resorted to speculation, with some questioning if Nasdaq’s instrument would make use of ‘physical’ Bitcoin in custody, unlike CBOE and CME’s futures, but like Bakkt’s vehicle slated to launch in late-January. Then again, it isn’t clear if Nasdaq has plans to implement such a complicated feature, but seeing that the exchange is relatively blockchain- and crypto-friendly, physical backing isn’t out of the realm of possibility.
Bloomberg noted that Nasdaq is planning to launch the proposed instrument in Q1 2019, which lines up with the planned release of Bakkt, Fidelity Digital Asset Services, and ErisX. It is important to note that the launch day is dependent on a green light from the U.S. Commodities Futures Trading Commission.
DJ Khaled, Floyd Mayweather Fined By SEC In ICO Case  
On Thursday morning, after a cloud of legal action loomed over for months, DJ Khaled and Floyd Mayweather, two of the world’s biggest stars, were revealed to have been name-dropped in a recent crypto-related SEC ruling. The case in question, which involved the two influencers, a crypto-backed debit card project Centra, and lesser-known projects, was publicly released on Thursday afternoon to the likely dismay of Mayweather, Khaled, and their legal counsel. As put by media outlet Gizmodo on Twitter, the “SEC has informed DJ Khaled that he has played himself.”
For those who aren’t in the loop, in 2017, amid the now-infamous crypto boom, Mayweather and Khaled began to foray into the cryptosphere, posting seeming promotional material for Centra’s ICO without disclosing that it was pay-to-play. This, of course, was an issue discussed by the SEC, who claimed that the two were in the wrong due to their failure to sufficiently disclose their business relationship with startup.
Per data gathered by the SEC, Mayweather was paid $100,000 for a series of Centra posts and $200,000 for other ICOs, while Khaled saw a $50,000 check fly his way from Centra alone.
The two players have now been mandated to pay hefty sums. Mayweather will give up $300,000 in disgorgement, another 300 grand as a penalty, and a tad extra for interest. Khaled, in comparison to Mayweather, got off scot-free, as the American music entrepreneur has been required to pay ‘only’ $100,000 in penalties and $50,000 in disgorgement. Both Mayweather and Khaled agreed to enter a timed blackout for advertising securities, at three and two years respectively.
Crypto Tidbits

Switzerland’s Amun Crypto ETP Launches: After originally announcing a multi-crypto exchange-traded product (ETP) in September, Amun launched the long-awaited vehicle on Switzerland’s SIX Exchange last week. Many lauded the product, denoted by the “HODL5” ticker, as the sole catalyst that could reverse crypto’s dismal performance in 2018. However, to the chagrin of optimists, HODL5 failed to make a splash on its debut, seeing a mere $400,000 of volume during its inaugural day trading. And in the days that followed, HODL5 didn’t perform much better, in fact, it saw falling volumes day-over-day, while its value collapsed. Although the instrument’s performance has undoubtedly been disheartening, many hold faith, as HODL5 may prove to be an intermediate stepping stone toward a Bitcoin-secured, U.S.-based ETF that will catalyze global adoption.
Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital Burns $76M in Q3 2018: While Mike Novogratz, CEO of Galaxy Digital, is unarguably one of the crypto industry’s foremost players, not even he has been safe in 2018’s chaotic market conditions. In Q3 alone, Galaxy Digital, a crypto-centric merchant bank, has reported a net loss of $76.6 million, with 55% of that figure stemming from losing positions in Bitcoin, Ethereum, and XRP. Interestingly, however, Galaxy still holds $90 million worth of crypto assets, indicating that it isn’t ready to throw in the towel.
Coinbase Secretly Launches OTC Desk After Months Of Rumors: Stowed far away from the prying eyes of the crypto public, Coinbase recently launched an over-the-counter (OTC) trading desk for its institutional clients. Although this wasn’t initially divulged to the industry at large, earlier this week, Christine Sandler, head of coverage at Coinbase, took to fintech media outlet Cheddar to speak on its new offering. Sandler noted that Coinbase recently launched an OTC system behind closed doors to complement its traditional exchange business. She noted that while the launch of Coinbase’s new platform was opportunistic, the startup has been seeing bonafide interest from bigwig players.
Ethereum Co-founder Vitalik Not Sold On Corporate Blockchain: Speaking with Quartz at Devcon4, Vitalik Buterin, a world-renowned co-founder of the Ethereum Project, claimed that he isn’t 100% sold on the idea of corporate-backed blockchain projects, such as those headed by IBM. The Russian-Canadian coder explained that while blockchain technologies have ground-breaking potential in countless systems, many projects today are the byproduct of 2017’s influx of hype, rather than a penchant for true innovation. Still, Buterin maintained his opinion that decentralized ledgers’ killer use case is in payment ecosystems, simply stating that “cryptocurrencies are making international payments easier.”
Coinbase Pro Launches ZCash (ZEC) Trading: On Thursday, Coinbase Pro divulged that it would be listing ZEC, the native digital asset of the privacy-centric ZCash ecosystem. This recent listing comes just weeks after San Francisco-based Coinbase added 0x (ZRX), Basic Attention Token (BAT), and USD Coin (USDC). Users of Coinbase Pro from U.S. (New York State excluded), E.U., United Kingdom, Canada, Singapore, and Australia will now be able to deposit, withdraw, and trade ZEC. More supported jurisdictions may be added at a later date, pending regulatory approval in other locations.

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Prominent Crypto Analyst: Bitcoin over $4,400 May Catalyze 10% Rally

As Bitcoin continues to toss and turn day-to-day, failing to establish a solid footing at a single support level, the crypto market’s preeminent analysts have assumed the mantle of forecasting where prices could head next.
While some commentators are often lambasted for their dubious and baseless predictions, there remain voices of reason, who analyze crypto with caution and finesse, even in the direst of straits.
Bitcoin at $4,900 Could Be Possible, Important Short-Term Level
Since November 14th, the eve of Bitcoin Cash’s contentious network upgrade, the crypto market has been endowed with a renewed sense of panic, catalyzing sell-off after sell-off in recent weeks.
In a matter of two weeks, Bitcoin fell from $6,200, where it held throughout the summer, to a year-to-date low of $3,500, the asset’s lowest value since China clamped down on crypto in September 2017.
Related Reading:Investor: China Has a “Love-Hate” Relationship with Crypto and Blockchain
However, since Bitcoin fell under $4,000 on two recent occasions, which came alongside the aggregate value of crypto assets foraying below $130 billion, bears have scaled back on their apparent crusade. In the past 72 hours alone, Bitcoin has moved from $3,700 to a weekly high of $4,375, an 18% move that didn’t go unnoticed.
Alex Kruger, a well-respected markets analyst, recently took to his expansive Twitter following to divulge his most recent analysis. Kruger noted that if the aforementioned digital asset makes a convincing move above $4,400, $4,800 to $4,900 could be in Bitcoin’s cards.

Looking for 4800-4900 if 4400 gets breached. That's the base of Nov/19 and right above 20EMA. Starting with 4800 interested in shorts. This was initially 4400, changed plan. Below 3700 exit longs. Too soon to short the lows again, would like prior consolidation for that. $BTC pic.twitter.com/hVQ5bGnTIc
— Alex Krüger (@Crypto_Macro) November 29, 2018

Elaborating on the significance of this specific target, Kruger, a New York-based crypto backer, noted that not only is $4,900 slightly above the 20-day exponential moving average (EMA), but also the base of Bitcoin on November 19th.
Although the importance the analyst places on the 2o-day EMA indicator is self-explanatory, Kruger’s use of the November 19th’s base is rather astute, as that day preceded the thirdhand sell-off that sent Bitcoin under $4,800, a supposed key level.
Keeping this data in mind, Kruger then noted that he changed his short position order to $4,800, rather than $4,400. This, of course, indicates that for now, Bitcoin could undergo a hefty 10% move in the coming days.
Not All Crypto Analysts Are Expecting a Reversal Just Yet
Although Kruger, known for his cautious optimism, now holds a bullish-leaning short-term outlook for the cryptocurrency realm, not all of his peers, other industry insiders, are in his boat, so to speak.
As reported by NewsBTC previously, Vinny Lingham, CEO of Civic, recently noted that Bitcoin will likely remain range-bound between $3,000 and $5,000 “for a while.” Giving his claim more specificity, Lingham explained that trading within the aforementioned $2,000-wide range is likely to continue for a minimum of three to six months, a common timeline referenced by crypto bears.
Interestingly, the savant noted that as there are boatloads of buying pressure at $3,000, as it stands, that specific support level has a high possibility of holding its ground successfully. Still, the entrepreneur added that if a convincing breakout isn’t established by the end of Bitcoin’s six-month range, a foray under $3,000 wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility.
Murad Mahmudov, an astute cryptocurrency analyst formerly of Princeton University, issued similar sentiment, drawing attention to an in-depth chart of his creation that highlighted a year-long descending triangle for Bitcoin.

Keeping the trepid chart in mind, Mahmudov claimed that Bitcoin could be poised to bottom in the ~$3,000 range by the turn of the year.
And interestingly, Kruger himself, responding to his short-term analysis, claimed that this is a “static/base game plan” for traders, not for investors. He added that due to the macro landscape, likely referencing the drawdown in traditional equities markets, the long-term bottom for cryptocurrencies may still be a distant speck on the horizon, not a looming obstacle.
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UBS Economist Bashes Bitcoin, Arguments Based on Lacking Information

Another day, another CNBC Fast Money crypto- and Bitcoin-related segment.
Following a three-day streak of bullish-on-Bitcoin guests, CNBC’s somewhat notorious Fast Money panel turned the tables, calling upon an impassioned cryptocurrency critic to make an appearance. However, as is normally the case, this skeptic’s arguments fell short and failed to dent the price of Bitcoin, even in the slightest.

UBS says it's time to bury bitcoin. The man behind the bold call UBS' Paul Donovan makes his case. #bitcoin $BTC pic.twitter.com/8eX8E4fK1A
— CNBC's Fast Money (@CNBCFastMoney) November 29, 2018

UBS’ Bitcoin Basher Takes To CNBC Fast Money
On Wednesday, to the dismay of crypto’s advocates worldwide, Paul Donovan, the global chief economist at UBS, released an anti-crypto note, endowed with the hair-raising title, “I come to bury Bitcoin, not to praise it.” Although Donovan was quickly put on the back foot by crypto’s zealous knights, the UBS executive took to Fast Money to double-down on his scathing comments.
CNBC anchor Mellisa Lee first asked the apparent cynic if the timing of the note’s release was opportunistic, meant to capitalize on crypto’s recent collapse to finally “bury Bitcoin.”
Responding to this inquiry with unbridled assurance, Donovan, the author of the now-infamous piece, exclaimed that “anybody with a higher school education in economics would be a Bitcoin skeptic from the [get-go],” essentially echoing near-identical claims made by Nouriel “Dr. Doom” Roubini.
Trying to referencing his credentials and multiple decades of experience inside the economic realm, Donovan touched on the controversial sentiment that cryptocurrencies aren’t currencies, nor will they be at “any point in the future.” The representative of UBS, a multinational investment and financial services giant, then touted his cynicism further, noting that by late-2017, it was clear that “this (cryptocurrency) was going to end badly.”
Aiming to contradict his remarks, given with little-to-none context, Lee, a crypto-leaning CNBC host, brought up the Wall Street and Silicon Valley “brain drain,” where traditional firms saw executives and employees exit en-masse to foray into crypto. Still, Donovan remained true to his conjectures, noting that this so-called “brain drain” was the result of hype and fears surrounding the legacy financial system.
Missing the point of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies entirely, the economist added that it is irrational to think that the U.S. government’s incessant money printing habits should be a concern, totally skipping over the value proposition of this nascent technology in borderless, decentralized, and censorship-resistant transfers of value and data.
He concluded his comments by trying to disprove the sentiment that Bitcoin is digital gold, the world’s next go-to store of value, by stating that with Bitcoin, supply cannot be controlled, before claiming that he dismantled the gold 2.0 argument entirely.
Again, this couldn’t be further from the truth, as Bitcoin hasn’t only maintained its value over its decade-long history, but outperformed every single other asset class in just a few years.
Not So Fast, Paul Donovan
In a testament to Donovan’s fallacious points, prominent crypto commentators and analysts took to Twitter to contradict the controversial CNBC Fast Money segment. Airswap’s Rob Paone, better known as Crypto Bobby, joked:

Shaking in my space boots, Paul pic.twitter.com/VWRX0DdUtT
— Crypto Bobby (@crypto_bobby) November 30, 2018

Tom Lee, Fundstrat’s head of research and internal crypto proponent/researcher, addressed Donovan’s comments with skepticism by simply stating that “time will tell,” ending his tweet on the matter with a foreboding ellipsis.
Crypto Dog and I am Nomad, two prominent pseudonymous crypto traders, called out UBS, with the former analyst trashing the performance of UBS’ public shares, while the latter drew attention to the financial institution’s kerfuffles regarding money laundering.
Related Reading: Bitcoin is Criminal Money Says the Media While Deutsche Bank Gets Raided for Laundering
The four comments were just the tip of the iceberg, as dozens, if not hundreds of this community’s most devoted participants quickly picked apart Donovan’s claims and unease around this infant subject.
And as such, it has become apparent that this nascent industry’s leading players aren’t ready to bury the hatchet with UBS and its in-house Bitcoin skeptic, as such pieces of criticism are usually wanton and arguably, slanderous. So just like with JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon’s classification of Bitcoin as a “fraud,” many believe it is just a matter of time before Donovan will take to public forums to shamefully retract his baseless qualms with the world’s first cryptocurrency.
Related Reading: No, Jamie Dimon and Warren Buffett Won’t Have the Last Laugh on Bitcoin
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Tom Lee: Crypto Is Bent Not Broken, Plenty of Room to Grow

Whether you like him or not, Tom Lee, Fundstrat Global Advisors’ head of research, has been one of Bitcoin’s foremost advocates in recent memory. In a testament to this, the former JP Morgan managing partner has arguably become crypto’s de-facto figurehead, appearing on mainstream outlets to tout his over-ardent optimism on this budding asset class. And while his short-term outlook on Bitcoin has recently undergone a slight shift, presumably due to this year’s market pitfalls, Lee recently doubled-down on his sentiment that cryptocurrencies will boom in the long haul.
Related Reading: Tom Lee’s Big Bitcoin Price Prediction Dropped to $15,000
Tom Lee On Recent Bitcoin Drawdown
In the past 15 days, crypto investors across the globe have been perplexed by Bitcoin’s latest draw-down, which saw the asset move from $6,200 to a yearly low at $3,400. The short-term bearish, long-term bullish subset of analysts, which includes Tone Vays, noted that such a move was inevitable. But in the eyes of speculators and virgin traders, Bitcoin’s 40% collapse was a demeaning sight, one that seemingly came from the ether, if you will.
However, Lee, who also acts as Fundstrat’s in-house crypto analyst, sought to make crypto’s latest leg lower palpable, taking to BlockShow Asia 2018’s main stage on Tuesday.
Lee, often called one of Bitcoin’s biggest bulls, drew attention to three “temporary disruptions” in the cryptosphere: the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s recent crackdown on ICOs and digital securities markets, the Bitcoin Cash network upgrade debacle, which he dubbed a “fork war,” and the “meltdown” of the macro traditional equities market, which has seen the S&P 500, for example, fall by 9% in two months alone.
Interestingly, Fundstrat’s research head explained that many of his clients, who are experiencing the full brunt of the stormy stock market, have fallen victim to the sentiment that cryptocurrency markets are beyond repair.
But, Lee, who evidently still has some crypto cards on the table, explained that he has to politely disagree with this bearishness, subsequently noting that the Bitcoin crash can actually be deemed “healthy.” Touching on this ludicrous claim, the Bitcoin advocate noted that crypto’s dismal performance has routed industry participants’ attention away from price into building “real, high-return, value-capture products” that better the underlying ecosystem.
Crypto Is Bent, Not Broken, And It Has Room To Grow
So, putting it short and sweet, Lee explained Bitcoin is “bent, not broken,” before adding that this nascent industry has staying power due to Bitcoin’s $1.3 trillion in on-chain transaction value, which is reportedly 2.5 times Paypal’s value throughput and “just a few years away” from that of Visa. More importantly, the Fundstrat representative added that there is still “enviable” profitability in the cryptosphere, estimating that BitMEX is poised to make $1.2 billion in fiscal 2018.
This profit alone would make BitMEX, an infant crypto mercantile platform, more profitable than Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing and Nasdaq, even while Bitcoin is just a decade-old creation. So, stating that the two aforementioned factors are the proof in the pudding, so to speak, Lee noted that crypto is here to stay, without a doubt. And, more notably, has a copious amount of leg room.
Lee then drew attention to the “Silent Generation’s” unbridled enamorment with gold, which catalyzed a 15x bull run for the precious metal, adding that it is likely going to be the same for millennials and crypto assets.
Still, he added that this isn’t going to happen overnight, as he brought up institutions and the importance they place on Bitcoin’s 200-day moving average (MA). He noted:
“We have a price correction taking place, which has caused the price to fall even below its 200-day MA, but if you’ve got time, it will rise. It will not happen within three months, or one year, but in two to three years, but this is the golden time to be in crypto. As soon as Bitcoin crosses its 200-day, we know there will be a flood of money coming.”
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Crypto Investor: Bitcoin Has Yet To Bottom, But $4,200 Is a Steal

On Wednesday, after a multi-week sell-off that saw crypto assets toss and turn non-stop, investors in this market found some much-needed reprieve. In the span of 12 hours, Bitcoin surged past $3,800, establishing a five-day high at $4,375 on the back of an aggressive influx of buying pressure. And with this move, which saw the aggregate value of all crypto assets move towards $140 billion, optimists claim that a bull run, or a recovery at the very least, is in this market’s grasp.
As Bitcoin breached $4,200, a supposed level of resistance, naive investors clamored to figure out if the worst is truly behind the cryptocurrency industry. Aiming to offer his conjectures on the matter, Michael Bucella, a partner at crypto-focused investment firm BlockTower Capital, made a guest appearance on CNBC Fast Money, a segment that has covered cryptocurrencies incessantly in recent weeks.

#Bitcoin back above $4k, but should you trust the bounce? BlackTower Capital's Michael Bucella on whether this rally is for real. pic.twitter.com/uWWSNHKbuo
— CNBC's Fast Money (@CNBCFastMoney) November 28, 2018

Bitcoin Has One Leg Lower To Go
Noting that crypto’s bear cycle isn’t as perilous as it seems, Bucella, a former executive at Goldman Sachs‘ Canada arm, drew attention to his theory regarding the interplay between “strong hands” and “weak hands,” the two overarching brands of cryptocurrency investors. The BlockTower partner noted that while it would be accurate to assume that weak hands, better known as speculators, are liquidating their holdings to diehards, the latter group isn’t rushing to on-ramp fiat.
He explained that crypto’s recent liquidity dry spell, along with market volatility, can be chalked up to the hesitance from strong hands to bulk-buy Bitcoin. Although this statement may seem bearish in and of itself, Bucella added that crypto’s near-year-long “distress cycle” is presumably coming to its culmination, echoing analysts’ cries that the bottom is almost in.
Related Reading: Bitcoin Bounces Off $3,500, Analysts Skeptical That Crypto Bottom Is In
The BlockTower representative, referencing Bitcoin’s historical price action, went on to point out that the last leg of crypto bear markets are normally the most volatile, yet short-lived. And while he was reluctant to forecast the level that Bitcoin will bottom at, Bucella explained that when digital assets bottom, whether it be at $2,000, $3,000, or otherwise, viable buying opportunities will be scant.
The Smartest Money Is Moving Into Crypto
Citing the strategies of investment savants, like traditional equity legend Howard Marks, the cryptocurrency advocate noted that while waiting for Bitcoin’s last bout of capitulation would be wise, $4,200/coin remains a bargain deal from a multi-year investment standpoint. And as such, Bucella stated that the “smartest money is [still] moving in.”
Related Reading: Bitcoin Unspent Transaction Output Accumulation Could Signal Crypto’s Next Bull Run
Expanding on what he meant by “smartest money,” Bucella drew attention to the notable amounts of interest that MIT, Harvard, Stanford, and Yale have endowed onto cryptocurrencies and the firms maintain this ecosystem. While CNBC anchor Mellisa Lee did draw attention to the fact that these investments aren’t directly in crypto assets, the Fast Money guest noted that these plays are bullish nonetheless, as the aforementioned endowments are directly bolstering crypto-centric infrastructure ventures.
Speaking on institutional adoption specifically, the recent industry entrant noted that for global macro funds, many of which are headed by traditionalists, investing in Bitcoin may be a dicey decision, as the world first’s digital asset has only been through one long-term cycle.
Still, while he didn’t seem comfortable admitting that risk-off financial entities aren’t ready to foray into Bitcoin, his comments regarding smart money’s entrance into cryptocurrency markets isn’t a comment that should be ignored. And, as seen by TD Ameritrade’s, Fidelity’s, and the Intercontinental Exchange’s ventures in crypto and blockchain technologies, the smart money is likely preparing for the impending opening of the floodgates.
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