Russian Minister: Cryptocurrencies Need Not Be Clearly Defined Under Current Regulations

Alexander Konovalov, a prominent lawyer and Russia’s Minister of Justice, has confirmed that
the Russian Federation’s constitution and laws regulating the nation’s traditional financial system “categorically prohibit the use of the cryptocurrency as a means of payment.” Konovalov’s remarks came during the government hour which is a meeting regularly held in the country’s Federation Council. According to local news outlet Tass, a proper regulatory
framework for digital assets may not be introduced anytime soon.
Source: Crypto Globe

Ethereum (ETH) Likely To Break To The Upside Following Bullish MA Crossover

Ethereum (ETH) is still trading within a large bull flag that is expected to break strongly to the upside now that the moving average cross over on the 4H chart for ETH/BTC has formed a golden cross. This is often a very bullish development that results in the price rising sharply to the upside. We have seen this happen before in the case of Ethereum (ETH) when the price had bottomed out against Bitcoin (BTC) in December, 2018. Soon afterwards, the price rose above the 50 MA which was later followed by a golden cross that resulted in the price rising to its January, 2019 high. This cross over is expected to result in a similar break to the upside which will lead to Ethereum (ETH) finally forming higher highs and higher lows.
The price is still way below its previous all-time high and there is plenty of room for growth to the upside. However, market conditions still remain uncertain and Ethereum (ETH) is unlikely to make a move on its own without the blessing of Bitcoin (BTC). That being said, soon as the market recovers, we will be ready for the next altcoin season which will see Ethereum (ETH) leading altcoins towards aggressive gains against Bitcoin (BTC) just like we have seen in the past. We have already seen that Ethereum (ETH) has regained its second place (in terms of market cap) just before the beginning of the next altcoin rally. The number of new ICOs is still on the rise and a lot of startups are waiting to hold their ICOs soon as the market recovers.

As new projects hold their ICOs in the months ahead, we will see demand for Ethereum (ETH) rise again as most investors in these ICOs will have to first buy Ethereum (ETH) in order to invest in those ICOs. This had a strong impact on the price of ETH/USD during the previous bull market and we believe it will have the same effect now. Ethereum (ETH) might not be able to rise as much in terms of percent gains but a five digit price is still quite reasonable. Investors should see 2019 as the best time to invest in Ethereum (ETH) but it does not mean they should expect to see significant returns on their investments this year. In fact, the four year cycles that we have seen before will likely follow again unless something extraordinary happens in the stock market.
The reason we believe the four year cycles will keep on following as before is because the strongest force in this market that influences price the most is supply and demand. After every halvening, we see an aggressive running up that leads to most cryptocurrencies reaching their new all-time highs. We expect the same to happen this time. There are plenty of confusions regarding the Fed’s next move and the state of the stock market. Those factors affect the price of cryptocurrencies in a big way because this is still a very risky market and when things go bad, investors are eager to get rid of their risky investments first. However, we believe that this confusion will continue throughout 2019 and the stock market will continue to look for help and the Fed will ultimately have no choice but to provide it.
Source: Crypto Daily

Did Bitcoin Miners Shoot Themselves In The Foot By Advocating For Bigger Blocks?

Throughout the history of Bitcoin’s block size limit controversy, one part of the ecosystem that always seemed in favor of a larger block size limit was miners. Whether it was a proposal for an uncapped block size limit or SegWit2x, miners showed their support for a variety of hard-forking increases to the block size limit over the years.
Various mining-related companies such as Bitmain and ViaBTC are also huge supporters of the Bitcoin Cash altcoin, which was created out of the scaling wars.
Unfortunately for miners, they don’t control Bitcoin, so the protocol has yet to receive a block size increase via a hard fork, although a soft-forking increase was included as part of the Segregated Witness (SegWit) upgrade.
On a recent episode of Magical Crypto Friends, the idea that miners may have shot themselves in their collective feet due to the advocacy for bigger blocks was brought up during a discussion around whether blocks are too big today.
Miners Made More Money with Smaller Blocks
When talking about whether blocks are too big today, Blockstream CSO Samson Mow stated:
“If you’re actually a miner, you would not have wanted SegWit — not because of the FUD about SegWit — but just because you would have bigger blocks. And if you’re a smart miner, you also would not have wanted blocks to get bigger too because then you’re making less money off of the fees. So, I honestly can’t figure out why the miners and Bitmain and everyone were advocating for bigger blocks because now they’re making so much less money off of fees than they could have been making.”
“It makes no sense to me either. They were making so much money when the blocks were small and fees were high,” added Litecoin creator Charlie Lee.
To Mow and Lee’s point, miners were collecting more bitcoin-denominated transaction fees in 2016 and 2017 (when the 1 MB block size limit still existed) than they are today, according to Quandl. However, some of this data (especially the second half of 2017) is likely useless as the entire crypto asset market was in a gigantic bubble at the time.

To play devil’s advocate, it’s possible the bitcoin price could be higher if a hard-forking increase to the block size limit had been implemented, which would increase miner revenue through the block subsidy rather than transaction fees. However, as the failure of the hard fork related to the New York Agreement showed, there simply was not consensus for this kind of change.
Lately, Bitcoin Core contributor and Bitcoin Knots maintainer Luke Dashjr has been advocating for a decline in the block weight limit (today’s version of the block size limit). However, such a change seems unlikely to happen on the network at this time.
Source: Crypto Daily

Traders, Projects Or Exchanges – Who Wins Most From Crypto Trading Competitions?

Image source: Pixabay
For a long time now, the airdrop has been the marketing tool of choice for projects wanting to generate some hype around their tokens. After all, everyone loves a freebie. In exchange for a retweet, joining a Telegram group or signing up for an email list, you can get a nice little package of new tokens delivered to your cryptocurrency wallet.
Although this works to increase visibility, airdrops also have some drawbacks. Many users HODLing onto their free coins doesn’t help market cap by itself. To influence the price of the coin, some trading activity needs to happen.
Therefore, for a blockchain project launching a new coin or token, the ideal promotion would be one that helps the project become visible to an active user base in the same way as an airdrop. At the same time, if a promotion can also help users recognize the value of holding the coin, and even better, provide an endorsement from a third party, then this promotion would be extremely valuable to any project.
Enter the Trading Competition
Trading competitions can be another effective way for a project to get some visibility around their new token. How it typically works is that a project and an exchange will team up to offer the project token as prizes in a trading competition. For the time that the competition is open, traders compete in trading the token to see who can get the best returns. The prizes are distributed to those who trade the most.
Binance has already been running these kinds of trading contests for some time. They can be found in the announcement section of the website, detailing the contest dates and the rules. Several projects have participated over the last year or so, including Decentraland (MANA), Insolar (INS) and Paxos (PAX.)
But do trading contests really have any sustainable impact on the value of a token? Taking INS as an example, it jumped the day before the Binance trading contest opened. However, by the time the competition closed, the value was lower than it had been before the initial jump.
This is consistent with analysis performed by a blogger at Astral Crypto, who found the same pattern in many other tokens which had been involved in Binance trading contests.
Pure token value aside, there are some fewer tangible benefits for a project participating in a trading contest, such as generating publicity and the endorsement value of a “partnership” with an exchange like Binance. However, the exchange may be gaining more benefit from trading competitions than the token.
How Exchanges Benefit from Contests
Exchanges are also in competition with one another for traders, because more trading activity means increased liquidity on the exchange and generates more exchange fees. So, a trading competition could help boost a coin up in the rankings, at the same time as helping an exchange also move to a higher-ranking position.
Therefore, while many exchanges run trading competitions for newly listed coins, some exchanges also run competitions purely for the benefit of boosting trades. There are few statistics available that quantify the benefit to the exchanges. However, the value of the prizes on offer gives an indication of whether or not the contest is extending a worthy lure to traders.
Where Traders Can Win Big
This month, Trade.io is opening up a Valentines-themed contest called Love Trade, with some generous BTC prizes on offer for the winning traders. The top prize is 1.5 BTC – worth more than $5,000 at current trading value and worth significantly more if BTC recovers to its previous all-time high.
Unlike some contests which only reward the very top traders, the Trade.io contest is distributing its prize kitty to the top fifty traders, with the lowest level of winners receiving 0.1 BTC. A wider prize distribution may provide a better incentive to draw in more traders as it offers a bigger probability of winning something.
Binance, Bitfinex and Kucoin also runs regular competitions where traders can compete to win coins with some generous prizes.
With prizes like these on offer, we can assume that the exchanges believe that trading contests are a worthwhile investment. With the prospect of winning crypto or tokens worth thousands of dollars, it’s likely that plenty of traders will agree.
Source: Crypto Daily

Why Ripple (XRP) Did Not Fall After JPM Coin Announcement

A lot of cryptocurrency enthusiasts expected Ripple (XRP) to decline significantly after JP Morgan CEO, Jamie Dimon announced their new JPM coin. As this coin will be used to settle institutional transactions same as XRP, many believed that this would deal a severe blow to the price of XRP/USD. A lot of Bitcoin (BTC) maximalists started attacking Ripple (XRP) on social media forums all of a sudden and rumors that some developers have left Ripple began to surface. This may have happened to Ripple (XRP) for the first time but this kind of fear mongering is not new. In fact, we saw it when ETC Dev announced shutdown and then Ethereum Classic (ETC) had the 51% attack. After that when Ethereum (ETH) delayed its Constantinople hard fork due to some security concerns, a lot of people started saying it was game over for Ethereum (ETH).
The takeaway from this whole discourse is that such developments towards the end of the bear market are just orchestrated ploys to suck more blood out of the market. If you are expecting something big to happen short term after the JPM announcement, please know that we have seen such developments in the past with no significant impact on the price whatsoever. The Van Eck ETF Rejection was a far bigger event than some JPM coin. Yet it failed to pull the price of Bitcoin (BTC) like the market makers wanted to. The thing is, the big boys know exactly what is up. So, if one of them dumps to create fear in the market, one of their fellows is going to scoop it up. The end result of this is quite obvious. So, what they are looking for here is for the retail traders to panic not the professionals.

JP Morgan is no doubt a large financial institution but in terms of technology, Ripple (XRP) is still far ahead. Besides, Ripple (XRP) is not a bank; it is a company that provides services to banks. So, a lot of banks would be open to using XRP instead of their nostro/vostro accounts. As for JP Morgan, its coin will only be used for inter-bank transfers. Another important thing to point out is that a lot of people do not trust the banks anyway. Moreover, they might find it difficult to make big changes on a large scale compared to Ripple (XRP).
If you look at the charts for XRP/USD, it is obvious to see that fear is being infused into the market at a point when Ripple (XRP) is prepared for a breakout. If everybody is so concerned all of a sudden why are they not selling? That is because the people you see bashing XRP on Twitter or Reddit had no XRP in the first place. If they had any, they would have sold them now and the price would have tanked. All such statements like, “This is the end of XRP” or “JPM is the new XRP killer” should be given no more thought than statements like, “XRP is going to $500 per coin”. 
Source: Crypto Daily

Finnish Exchange Claim XRP Isn’t A Real Cryptocurrency

A cryptocurrency exchange based in Finland has recently claimed that XRP is not a cryptocurrency and that it is heavily centralised by its parent company Ripple. This news surfaced a day after the crypto exchange-listed XRP on its platform.
The Coinmotion exchange recently posted a blog post, just a few hours after listing the digital asset on its trading platform, with the title ‘XRP is a Centralised Virtual Currency’.
The post goes into detail on the opinion of the exchange operators that XRP isn’t a typical cryptocurrency and isn’t backed up by a traditional blockchain. It also says that it is massively centralised in the hands of a parent company, Ripple Labs.

“What one needs to know about XRP is that it is not cryptocurrency in the strict meaning of the word… What differentiates XRP from cryptocurrencies is that it is not based on blockchain, it is not mined and it is heavily centralized. Ripple network is a suite of different applications by Ripple Labs. XRP, is the currency of Ripple network, which the apps use.”

This is one opinion but it is shared by many people in the crypto community. Every few months there is another enthusiast or popular investor who attempts to reveal the ‘shady truth’ that XRP is a centralised asset rather than a decentralised one.
But as reported by CCN, the difference this time is that these allegations are coming from something that has something they could potentially lose.
The Finnish exchange doesn’t have anything to gain by spreading FUD about Ripple’s native token and the fact that they released this blog post contrasts with its listing of XRP, despite getting waves of demand from their customers in Finland. This only demonstrates how worried and concerned they must be.
Taking Control
At its core, Ripple is a payment network with the cryptocurrency XRP used in the said network which is operated by Ripple Labs. At the current time of writing, XRP is the third biggest cryptocurrency in space but we have seen the digital asset make some impressive surges in the past and was the second largest crypto in the space for a significant amount of time over the past few months but now it has sunk back to be the third biggest instead. Nevertheless, this is still an impressive feat for a ‘centralsied’ cryptocurrency.
There are claims that Ripple doesn’t use a blockchain to make secure transactions and instead uses a method known as HashTree which is actually patented by Ripple Labs.
As it says in the blog post:

“In HashTree all the transactions and balances are combined to a single number, which servers compare to each other to reach consensus. This kind of system is faster than blockchain, but far more centralized.”

The Finnish based exchange goes on to state the specifics for XRP’s supply data saying:

“XRP isn’t mined like typical cryptocurrencies. All 100 billion ripple coins have already been created. Ripple plans to release about half of them on to the markets while keeping the other half. Currently there are about 39% of ripple in the open markets, while 61% are kept by Ripple Labs.”

In addition to this, the control of XRP in the hands of a single firm amounts to a monopoly, one of which is antithetical to the standard principles of a cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin.

“Ripple Labs has also the control on how and when to release new ripple on the markets. This is strackly (sic) in contrast to how decentralized cryptocurrencies work: with Bitcoin everybody knows and agrees on how new bitcoin are minted. With Ripple it is the monopoly of Ripple Labs to make the decisions.”

How Ripple Could Fight Back
At the end of the blog post by Coinmotion, they finish by indicating that XRP could still succeed despite everything they previously said. Even if they don’t consider XRP to be a proper cryptocurrency or blockchain solution, it still qualifies as a modern fintech solution.

“As a centralized system it could also be easier to jump on than decentralized blockchain systems. Grand institutions such as large scale companies and banks are often quite conservative in adapting new systems. Centralized system might seem less intimidating than a decentralized one.”

By January this year, Ripple Labs announced the addition of thirteen more financial institutions to its RippleNet which takes the overall total to more than 200. During this time, the former chief technical officer of Ripple Jed McCaleb found the time to take a few digs at some of the competition by calling TRON “just garbage”.
Final words
In the last sentence of the article, Coinmotion simply put:

“Nonetheless since You, our dear customer, have asked for it, we have offered you the possibility to buy and sell XRP on Coinmotion.”

Sounds a bit dramatic to me but for all you investors in Finland, XRP is now available via Coinmotion.
Source: Crypto Daily