Don’t Underestimate Samsung Galaxy S10’s Crypto Offering, Millions Will Be Exposed To Bitcoin

It’s official, Samsung, one of the most preeminent powerhouses in the technology sector, has formally delved into the crypto space. While the company, headquartered in Seoul, South Korea, has hinted at its involvement with blockchain historically — backing CryptoKitties, experimenting with ASICs, and trialing blockchain — it has yet to release a cryptocurrency product built for the masses. Until now, that is.
Meet Samsung’s Blockchain Keystore
On Wednesday, at the most important date on the Samsung calendar — Unpacked 2019 — the technology giant unveiled its latest flagship products, the Galaxy S10 lineup. Introduced this year was the S10E, S10, and S10+, which promise to be answers to Apple’s controversial X lineup.
While the announcement was the same old, same old, with a flashy keynote, extremely extensive media coverage, and marginal (yet visible) improvements over last year’s phone, something caught the eye of crypto industry participants across the board. According to a press release issued as Unpacked trended on Twitter, the entire S10 lineup will have a blockchain- and crypto-centric feature. The release reads as follows:
“Galaxy S10 is built with defense-grade Samsung Knox, as well as a secure storage backed by hardware, which houses your private keys for blockchain-enabled mobile services.”
Although the words “crypto” and “wallet” weren’t mentioned, it is believed that this facet of the press release indicates that Samsung likely has a (semblance of a) wallet or private key solution offering ready to ship for S10 users. In fact, according to a South Korean crypto source, a pre-release S10 had a tutorial video outlining a wallet that held Ethereum and Bitcoin.

– Samsung now priming their phones with Blockchain tutorials. The wallet integration on the Galaxy S10 has been confirmed… even after they denied it. Trying to keep Apple on their toes?
— Korean Cryptocurrency & Blockchain News (@BlockchainROK) February 21, 2019

This confirmation that the so-called “Blockchain KeyStore” exists comes after technology news outlet SamMobile revealed that the company filed for crypto-related trademarks in December, and insiders took to Twitter to leak images of a beta version of a cryptocurrency wallet on a pre-release S10.
While this is monumental news in and of itself, what’s interesting is the way in which Samsung may be securing “blockchain-enabled mobile services.” For those who missed the loop, all S10 devices outside of the U.S. proper will utilize the Exynos 9 Series (9820) system-on-chip (SOC). According to information garnered from a company website, the Samsung-built chip will offer “rock-solid security.” How so?
Well, the newfangled Exynos SOC utilizes a technology called “physically unclonable function,” abbreviated to PUF, to safely secure and manage data in “perfect isolation.” It wasn’t explicitly stated whether Samsung KeyStore will enlist the use of PUF. But, more likely than not, the blockchain key storage system activated on the to-be-shipped flagship smartphones will feature PUF and secure elements/secure enclaves, used to keep pertinent information sequestered away from cyber-threats, in some capacity.
NewsBTC’s Joseph Young even noted that this pro-security offering could be “next level,” quipping that “Apple has a lot of work to do now” in this field.

Apple has a lot of work to do now. Some next level stuff by Samsung including crypto private key storage.
— Joseph Young (@iamjosephyoung) February 21, 2019

How Big Could This Crypto Offering Be?
That’s the question that has been on crypto pundits’ minds since this news broke. In the eyes of Lord of Crypto, a lesser-known trader, this could potentially be the “most bullish news of 2019,” explaining that Samsung, the world’s largest smartphone provider with ~20% market share, will spark notable levels of adoption. Lord even claimed that pundits have “underestimated” the magnitude of this announcement.

Potentially most bullish news of 2019 is happening in 10 minutes:
Samsung (top selling phones in the world) unveiling new Galaxy S10 It is said to have a native Crypto Wallet built into it
Underestimated how big this will be for adoption. Other phones will follow suit
— (@Lord_of_Crypto) February 20, 2019

From a cold, hard numbers point of view, this could just be true. Samsung didn’t divulge whether KeyStore or company-branded blockchain offerings of similar caliber would come pre-installed on devices, but millions are still likely to be exposed to the crypto ecosystem in some capacity.
Per statistics gathered by Satoshi Flipper, a real estate developer by trade but Bitcoin lover by night, Samsung shipped 70 million units in Q4 2018 alone. All the devices shipped likely weren’t flagships. But, considering the popularity of Galaxy devices, it wouldn’t be nonsensical to claim that a minimum of 25 million individuals will pick up S10 smartphones over the course of the coming year.

– Twitter has 326 million active monthly users– Samsung shipped 70 million units In Q4 2018 alone and the new Galaxy smartphones will do more for bitcoin adoption than @Bakkt and all the ETF's in the pipeline combined.
— Satoshi, MBA (@SatoshiFlipper) February 20, 2019

Thus, Satoshi Flipper noted that KeyStore & Co., along with a Lightning Network application that NewsBTC reported on previously, could do more for Bitcoin adoption than “Bakkt and all the ETF’s in the pipeline combined.”
Related Reading: Researcher: Bitcoin Lightning On Square Could Be Bigger Than Crypto ETF, Bakkt Combined
Even if this offering isn’t actively used by common Joes and Jills with S10s in their pockets, White Rabbit, a long-time Bitcoin miner, remarked that custody (security) remains one of the largest problems facing this space today. And as such, he determined that the introduction of proper security solutions, like KeyStore, could be “interesting” to watch in the coming months and years.
Alec Ziupsnys, better known as RhythmTrader on Twitter, noted that Samsung’s latest move in the blockchain realm should spark competition from Apple and Google, thus catalyzing adoption even further.
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Drastic Shift in Sentiment in Crypto After Bitcoin Surges: Technical Indicators Point Toward a Rally

Since Bitcoin (BTC) embarked on a bear market rally on Sunday, pushing past $3,600, $3,700, and $3,800 in rapid succession, the waters of the nascent crypto market have quieted. As of the time of writing, Ethereum, EOS, among other leading crypto assets have posted single-digit percentage losses — nothing to write home about.
And while some would say that the lack of continued buy-side pressure could warrant a short-term pullback, notable traders have become convinced that from a fundamental and technical perspective, BTC still has a lot going for it.
Bitcoin Could Push Higher In The Coming Days
DonAlt, a leading analyst, recently claimed on Twitter that he’s bullish until Bitcoin finds itself around $4,400. In his message’s sub-tweets, the trader somewhat jokingly added that it would be even possible for BTC to find itself at $4,700 if this market plays its proverbial cards right.

I'm bullish till $4400 but I like saying this stuff after green candles – not during red ones.Don't overexpose, risk what you can afford to lose, remember to take profits at your target areas and don't get overly hyped.
— DonAlt (@CryptoDonAlt) February 19, 2019

An analyst going by the moniker “Flood” also expressed optimism. Noting that he has a long order open at $3,800 to catch a “sharp bounce,” due to the fact that there likely remain “large players” who missed Bitcoin’s recent spike to the upside, and are thus clamoring to open long positions in a bid to counteract shorts.
Crypto Rand recently broke down why analysts are touting sentiment. The prominent industry commentator claimed that BTC’s recent move allowed it to break out of its short-term falling wedge and bull flag, along with a longer-term “major bear pennant” —  an evidently positive sign. Rand added that from volume readings should also spark some form of optimism, noting that this measure has entered and uptrend, indicating buying pressure and market popularity.

#Bitcoin daily scenario looking better:
– Falling Wedge + Bull Flag success.– Major Bear Pennant breaking upwards.– Volume downtrend ended.– Volume starting an uptrend.– Highest daily volume of 2019 on daily.
— Crypto Rand (@crypto_rand) February 19, 2019

Related Reading: Could Bitcoin ETN’s Large Premium to BTC be a Sign of Institutional Buying?
Even a trader that appeared on CNBC’s “Futures Now” segment remarked that Bitcoin is looking a tad better than it was prior to Monday’s rally. Jeff Kilburg, a trader at the CME, noted that “Bitcoin has the ability to rebound,” adding that the approval of an ETF or another “robust confirmation” that the cryptocurrency will survive should confirm such a bullish move.
Long-Term Crypto Bulls Still Star-Struck
From a longer-term perspective, an array of analysts and researchers have remained bullish too. Bitcoin Jack, an analyst for crypto trading unit Bravado, recently posted a chart that accentuated that in the coming years, BTC could embark on a monumental rebound heading into and past the impending block reward reduction. The chart, which was sourced from crypto investor Brian “The Rational Investor” Beamish, depicted that “we are within the time range for a bottom around the four-year MA cyclic support.”

Shoutout to @CRInvestor for his 1W MACD Cross tweet, it had to be merged with this Bitcoin cycle analysis.
The 2019 accumulation will produce many millionaires.
— Bitcoin Jack (@BTC_JackSparrow) February 19, 2019

PlanB, also known as 100TrillionUSD on Twitter, has also expressed that Bitcoin should swell into the coming years. Citing his stock-to-flow (amount of BTC in existence over issuance rate) analysis, he noted that BTC is fairly valued at $6,250. While this isn’t much higher than the asset’s current valuation, in separate tweets, he has remarked that BTC could reach $10,000 by the next Bitcoin issuance shift, slated to activate in May of next year.
Once the so-called “halvening” goes live, PlanB has claimed that considering the stock-to-flow ratios of other precious metals, like gold, silver, platinum, among others, BTC at $3,500 will be 10 times to 100 times undervalued. So, if PlanB’s thesis is correct, a fair valuation for post-halvening Bitcoin could be between $34,000 and $340,000.

Crypto trader Filb Filb has only touched on the fabled $300,000 range, recently explaining his thesis behind a $333,000 prediction he made in December 2018. Through the use of regression and statistical analysis, taking the swelling worldwide debt sum of $274 trillion and combining it with BTC’s current level of adoption, Filb determined that a fair valuation for Bitcoin is ~$74 billion.  While this indicates that BTC is currently in a logical valuation zone, Filb added that the crypto asset will continue to see its use swell in the years to come. In fact, harnessing data from the Internet industry’s cycles, it was revealed that if all pans out for Bitcoin, $333,000 could just be in the cards.
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In a 30-Minute Video, Victim Lays Out How He Lost $400K in Crypto on QuadrigaCX

Since the QuadrigaCX story has crossed paths with the world’s largest business and crypto news outlets, seemingly little attention has been given to this debacle’s victims. Outlets, such as Bloomberg, CNN Business, among others, refer to the creditors as a “they,” making it tough to remember that there are crypto investors behind each lost dollar.
But, the fact of the matter is that there are thousands, if not tens of thousands of victims, who are wallowing and sulking, as many lost thousands in fiat and Bitcoin holdings. Yet, some have done their utmost to push the envelope, clamoring to get their stories pushed to press in a bid to spark some much-needed action in Canadian courts.
Tong Zou, a Canadian-born Silicon Valley engineer that recently upped and left for Vancouver, took to Youtube recently to issue a heartfelt tell-all about how he got caught up in this whole imbroglio.
How Tong Zou Lost $422,000 Trading Bitcoin On Quadriga
As reported by NewsBTC, Tong gave a brief synopsis of his harrowing story to Bloomberg in an exclusive phone interview. Long story short, when the engineer chose to repatriate to Canada, Tong decided to move his funds from his American to his Canadian bank account through QuadrigaCX, rather than traditional means. But when he deposited his $422,000 worth of Bitcoin on the exchange to issue a Canadian dollar denominated withdrawal,
But according to a recent Youtube tell-all, his comments to Bloomberg were just the tip of the iceberg.

He explained that in late-2017, his Silicon Valley peers were cashing in on the crypto craze, as he sat on the sidelines. But as the market peaked, he FOMOed in, taking out three self-described “stupid” loans from the bank to invest into cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP, Cardano, among other popular assets.
Tong accentuated the fact that he “lost a lot of money,” but did his utmost to amend his loan situation by allocating half of his paycheck to slowly satisfy his debts. Eventually, the developer decided that to pay his loan in full, he should liquidate his entire position in a Bay Area apartment. And that he did, leaving him with approximately $400,000 and no outstanding debts.
As he already had plans to move to Vancouver, where QuadrigaCX is purportedly located, Tong started to look into ways to move his capital into Canadian banks quickly, so he could take advantage of what he thought were good exchange rates. Eventually, he decided on QuadrigaCX, as the exchange not only had a 10% risk premium (red flag), but the ability for Tong to make investments that could make his savings appreciate too.
Emotionally, the former BitTorrent developer thrust his money onto the exchange, which he now acknowledges as a “Ponzi scheme,” in hopes of making money due to QuadrigaCX’s premium.
Yet, months later, we now know that Tong never got his withdrawal. But interestingly, the Ontario-born Canadian claimed that he “deserved to lose the money,” explaining that he was reckless, greedy, and impatient with this whole situation. He even explained that in his eyes, money isn’t the key to happiness. But, this didn’t discount the fact that QuadrigaCX’s sudden closure lost him his life savings, putting him between a rock and a hard place.
What’s Next For The QuadrigaCX Victims?
Tong’s statements were ones made by someone with no hope. But, some believe that creditors still have a chance, albeit slim, at recuperating their millions in losses, or at least a portion of them.
While ~$150 million in assets were reportedly lost to the ether, there’s a chance that the owed sum — QuadrigaCX’s crypto asset debts — are much lower than that jaw-dropping figure. And with Jennifer Robertson, Cotten’s wife, looking to liquidate much of her estate’s assets, there’s a fleeting chance that payments, whether in crypto or fiat, may start to come the way of victims.

Per a copy of Cotten’s most recently will, which was signed a mere two weeks prior to his Crohn’s disease-induced death in India, primary beneficiary Robertson was left with a copious amount of assets.
In fact, the will stipulate that should he pass, his wife was to be left with a Jeanneau 51 sailboat, purportedly sold for $500,000 Canadian, vehicles, an aircraft, along with a handful of pieces of real estate scattered across Canada. These assets are likely worth well in excess of $10 million Canadian.
Related Reading: QuadrigaCX Imbroglio Continues: Cotten Mentioned Bitcoin Key Loss In 2014
But even if the court rules that the fiat received from the sale of Robertson’s assets should be fully allocated to the victims’ pockets, which could be unlikely, this process could take upwards of one year. That’s the M.O. of the legacy court system anyway.
Yet, the victims of this fracas are still grasping the ring they were thrown. Only time will tell whether they will sink or stay afloat.
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Analyst: Bitcoin Holding $3,550 Means “Next Strong Move” is Building

Ever since Bitcoin (BTC) suddenly ran on February 8th, posting a jaw-dropping performance that came straight out of left field, the broader crypto market has entered a lull. While there have been a few notable movers, like Binance Coin (BNB), the broader digital asset class has all but stopped moving. Price action has effectively come to a standstill.
This has left many asking, what’s next for the cryptocurrency market? While one analyst couldn’t give a definitive answer on whether BTC will move higher or lower, he argues that a breakout is festering, and is inbound.
Related Reading: Bitcoin Price Weekly Analysis: BTC Signaling Bullish Continuation, $4K Incoming?
Analyst Hints At Bitcoin Breakout
Josh Rager, an advisor to TokenBacon and Blackwave, recently took to Twitter to convey some analysis regarding Bitcoin’s chart. While Josh didn’t have any explicit predictions, due to the non-volatility in BTC’s value, he did note that as the cryptocurrency has yet to break under its “weekly historical support level,” it is likely building its “next strong move.”

$BTC Chart
Haven't posted many charts recently with the low volatility of Bitcoin & busy building other projects
Since the 8th of Feb – BTC has been moving slowly sideways as the next strong move builds
Good if you're trading alts – unless you're buying the one going to $0
— Josh Rager (@Josh_Rager) February 16, 2019

As aforementioned, he didn’t definitively or tacitly mention what which Bitcoin could head after its ends this lull, but considering theories regarding the “Bart Formation,” some believers claim that BTC could plummet just as fast as it rallied on February 8th.
Josh’s recent comment comes after he took to his Twitter soapbox to make an astute comment. Per previous reports from this outlet, the popular industry personality remarked that after 2019, potentially only a few in the “general population” will be able to afford an entire BTC. He added that while global income per household figures could swell, due to inflation, solid economic conditions, and other factors, after 2021, BTC’s “speculative value could be out of reach for most.”
Crypto Could Fall Further
Interestingly, for once in a blue moon, few commentators are sure where the crypto market is headed in the short-term. But as reported by NewsBTC previously, the few analysts that have issued forecasts in these mundane market conditions expect losses in the near future.

Hsaka, a well-followed crypto trader, recently explained that while the chart indicates a “stalemate” between the bulls and the bears, BTC may be leaning towards more downside. Haska’s peer, TraderArjun, echoed the sentiment that downside is in Bitcoin’s cards. Arjun wrote that ever since BTC entered the 3,000s, he’s been wary that a continuation of the sell-off is likely, if not inbound.
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Canadian Crypto Startup Coinsquare Acquires StellarX After Layoff

While the value of Bitcoin screams crypto winter, industry upstarts have continued to put one foot in front of the other, making notable developmental strides. One of Canada’s leading crypto platforms (no it’s not QuadrigaCX), Coinsquare, made a promising acquisition, as the Toronto-based company continues to bolster its offerings at an unmatched pace.
StellarX Acquired Amid Crypto Winter
According to a recent blog post from StellarX, the “first full-featured trading app for Stellar,” it has been fully acquired by Coinsquare. Instead of fully integrating StellarX’s offering into its own platform, Coinsquare has opted to provide the crypto upstart, purportedly backed by Kickstarter alumni, with the resources it has at its disposal for their original roadmap, nothing else.

StellarX has a new home! Read more:
— StellarX (@stellarxhq) February 14, 2019

StellarX’s team, who announced their platform in July of 2018, explained that a “dedicated team” at Coinsquare, which consists of developers and designers, will help the Stellar Lumens-centric decentralized marketplace “operate and grow under its own brand.”
On the matter of why this deal went through, the StellarX team noted that while they saw success independently, becoming a top-three decentralized exchange near-immediately, they a new home with “regulatory experience” and fleshed out operations.
Thus, the team determined that Coinsquare is a “perfect fit,” as it has close relationships in the U.S., Europe, and in Canada, and was hellbent on expanding its operations. Also, the Canadian company has experience with using the Stellar blockchain, as made apparent by their acquisition of BlockEQ, a Stellar-centric wallet slated to see a rebrand, just a few months prior.
This acquisition will see Megha Bambra, the co-founder of BlockEQ, lead StellarX, along with her Toronto development team. In a comment issued via press release, chief executive of CoinSquare, Cole Diamond, expressed excitement:
“Stellar is the fastest payment network in the world and we see enormous potential to create industry-leading services on StellarX to further broader adoption.”
Coinsquare and StellarX did not divulge the financial details of this deal.
Coinsquare Drops Staffers
StellarX’s acquisition comes after Canadian fintech media outlet Betakit reported that Coinsquare laid off a good portion of its staffers weeks ago. Citing sources with familiarity with the unfortunate debacle, the company purged 40 employees across the board, bringing its cumulative headcount down to ~150. This represents a 27% reduction in total staffers.

It was also revealed that even key C-suite members, including COO Robert Mueller and CFO Ken Tsang, were shown the door. In a statement, CoinSquare chief executive Cole Diamond remarked that the current market conditions are the “most volatile that you or I have ever seen,” thus mandating tough choices, such as laying off staffers. The Canadian entrepreneur explained that Coinsquare needs to be “prudent” in the way it uses its capital, as it needs to stay afloat to fulfill its long-term ambition of creating an organization that “has a real chance at changing the world.”
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QuadrigaCX Imbroglio Continues: Cotten Mentioned Bitcoin Key Loss In 2014

Since NewsBTC’s last updates on the QuadrigaCX situation, little knowledge has been garnered about the current whereabouts or legitimacy of the exchange’s supposed Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and other digital asset holdings. But, this hasn’t stopped astute industry participants from scouring the web for clues, as victims continue to clamor for their hard-earned funds.
Bitcoin Private Key Dangers
In what can only be described as a jaw-dropping find. Doug Alexander, a Bloomberg journalist focused on Canadian markets, recently claimed that Gerry Cotten of QuadrigaCX was well aware of private key management. Per Alexander, in a February 2014 installment of the so-called “True Bromance Podcast,” the then Vancouver-based Cotten warned of the importance of keeping Bitcoin keys under lock and key.

Speaking to the show’s hosts, he remarked that losing keys is like “burning cash in a way,” adding that even if the world’s most endowed supercomputers were to try cracking Bitcoin, they wouldn’t be able to. In other words, “it’s impossible to retrieve [private keys].”
This, of course, is an odd comment, especially coming from the now-deceased founder of a crypto platform that purportedly lost over $150 million in assorted crypto assets.
But, this is where Cotten’s podcast appearance turns from odd (in retrospect) to confusing. The QuadrigaCX chief executive and founder, who died in India due to Crohn’s disease, made mention of Bitcoin paper wallets. He even remarked that at the time, his firm was holding his customers’ funds in offline paper wallets, situated in “our bank’s vault in a safety deposit box.” Giving some rationale to this move, the Canadian entrepreneur stated that this was the “best way to keep the coins secure.”
It is unlikely that QuadrigaCX’s remaining funds are left in safety deposit boxes scattered across Canada, but such a comment have made some think and ponder the details of this debacle.
Related Reading: Controversial Crypto Exchange QuadrigaCX Linked in Binary Options Scam
QuadrigaCX Loses Additional Funds In Mishap
This story comes as Ernst and Young (EY), a “Big Four” firm actively overseeing this case, told Canadian officials that someone at the embattled exchange sent $500,000 Canadian worth of hot wallet funds into the purportedly unaccessible cold wallets. The sum purportedly amounted to approximately 103 Bitcoin. No other crypto assets were sent from QuadrigaCX’s hot wallets, now under the control of EY.

It is unclear what the financial incumbent will do with the 51 Bitcoin, 800 Litecoin, 950 Ethereum, among a smattering of other assets left in the hot wallets. While the sudden move of hundreds of thousands to locked wallets could have been an innocuous but expensive fat-fingered mistake, some have begged to differ.
Researchers are hard at work doing their utmost to determine if the disgraced platform ever held the sum Cotten’s widow reported in the original affidavit.
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CME’s Duffy: Crypto Needs to Brown-Nose Governments to Succeed

Over the past year, crypto has struggled from a price standpoint. Thus, many investors that are looking to “HODL” have sought the light at the end of the tunnel that is institutional participation. But, one Wall Streeter, who has expressed some semblance of support for Bitcoin, recently claimed that this facet of the ecosystem just isn’t there yet.
CME CEO “Not Sure” Bitcoin Bottom
Since Bitcoin fell off the public’s radar in mid-2018, most incumbents of the legacy world have shut their trap, so to speak, regarding the subject matter. But, Terry Duffy’s interview on Bloomberg TV took a turn for crypto on Thursday.

In response to an inquiry from a Bloomberg host regarding if the value of the flagship cryptocurrency has established a bottom, the CME Group chief executive noted that he’s “not quite sure,” likely accentuating that he doesn’t keep up-to-date with this whole ecosystem.
Related Reading: Bitcoin Bottom Doesn’t Matter, Last Time General Population Can Afford Entire BTC
Duffy’s hesitant response on this matter comes as a number of analysts claim that Bitcoin has further to fall.
As reported by NewsBTC previously, Murad Mahmudov, a partner at Adaptive Capital, recently claimed that Bitcoin could find “steady support” at an MA300 of around ~$2,400. However, the prominent analyst made it clear that Bitcoin could “wick down” to as low as MA350~400 in the $1,700 range, “due to past patterns and how particularly overstretched the 2017 bubble was.”
Other made similar remarks. One crypto commentator recently noted that if history rhymes, BTC could fall to as low as $750 by mid-year, citing fractals and technical analysis.
Then again, some have been more optimistic. Leading researcher Filb Filb recently explained that there are  “staggering pre-halvening similarities [between] 2015 [and] 2019.” More specifically, he noted that if the price action seen in 2015’s bubble plays out today, BTC will bottom in the coming weeks, before embarking on a strong rally heading into 2020’s halving event.
Crypto Needs Governments To Succeed
On the matter of his futures product, Duffy stated that from the perspective of the CME, it just wanted to list Bitcoin in a controlled manner to appeal to regulators. That led him to his next point about institutional involvement. The investor noted that the “bottom line” is that until global governments start to accept cryptocurrencies, whether it be Bitcoin, XRP, Ethereum, or even JP Morgan’s own digital asset, it will be “very difficult for the major commercials to come into this space” in a gung-ho fashion.

Thus he determined that for cryptocurrencies, or any other nascent market for that matter, to succeed, the ecosystem surrounding them will need to gain approval from governments.
While strides are being made, such as through statements of support from the U.S. SEC’s Hester Pierce or other pro-crypto moves, this is more than likely an uphill battle.
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Crypto Tidbits: Meet JP Morgan Coin, SEC Drops Bitcoin ETF Application

After last week’s price action, the crypto market quieted down. Bitcoin entered a lull, while altcoins followed close behind. Yet, the wheels of the crypto train have continued to spin.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey revealed that his fintech upstart would eventually integrate Bitcoin’s Lightning Network, JP Morgan launched its own digital asset on a private Ethereum-based chain, a Filipino banking giant launched crypto ATMs, and Chainalysis secured millions amid this market rut.
Crypto Tidbits

Reality Shares Files Semi Bitcoin ETF, SEC Requests Application Withdrawal: Reality Shares, a California-based crypto-centric investment services provider, filed a peculiar application to the SEC, America’s leading financial regulator. This proposal outlined an ETF that was composed of both allocations in CME’s and CBOE’s Bitcoin futures and monetary instruments, like sovereign debt products denominated in the British Pound, Japanese Yen, Swiss Francs, among other government-issued currencies. But, in an odd turn of events, the governmental agency politely requested for Reality Shares to pull its innocuous application. Spokespeople told CoinDesk that the SEC enlisted such a move due to the fact that it wasn’t “appropriate to file a registered 40 Act fund with cryptocurrency exposure at this time.”
ICE CEO: Bakkt Is Our Moonshot Bet On Crypto: In the Intercontinental Exchange’s Q4 earnings call, chief executive Jeff Sprecher touched on crypto upstart Bakkt and its prospects in 2019. Sprecher, who is wed to the founder of Bakkt, explained that the company is “unique,” especially due to its independence and intentions. Yet, he explained that ICE has been able to apply its infrastructure — “settlement capabilities, warehouse and custody management capabilities, large treasury operations, and banking connectivity” — to the cryptocurrency venture. And thus, this “star power” has attracted “a lot of very very interesting companies,” such as Microsoft and Starbucks, giving Bakkt the potential to become a “very, very valuable company.” With all this in mind, the finance heavyweight concluded that if you boil Bakkt down, it could be classified as his firm’s very own “moonshot bet [on crypto].”
Chainalysis Secures $30M From Silicon Valley Venture Group: Earlier this week, Chainalysis, leading blockchain research and analytics boutique, revealed that it had scored over $30 million in funding for its Series B round, led by Accel, a Palo Alto-based venture group that also has investments in Circle. Accel’s deal with Chainalysis will also see the Bay Area investment group’s Philippe Botteri and Amit Kumar join the blockchain upstart’s board. Per Business Insider, the duo will aid Chainalysis in bolstering its presence, in the European region, along with its overall research efforts. The company explained that this influx of funding will help it double-down on its raison d’etre to make blockchain data easy to digest, useful, and accessible for governments, institutions, and native cryptocurrency firms.
Jack Dorsey Hints At Eventual Bitcoin Lightning Integration For Square: Just days after appearing on the Joe Rogan Experience to laud Bitcoin and releasing dozens of crypto-related tweets, Jack Dorsey, the chief executive of both Square and Twitter, took to Stephan Livera’s podcast to confirm that the integration of the Lightning Network onto Square is a matter of “when,” not “if.” Speaking on the rationale of eventually making such a move, Dorsey explained that his firm’s raison d’etre is to serve customers best, with Lightning only accentuating this goal. The Silicon Valley legend added that Square sees Bitcoin’s underlying nature as a currency, rather than solely a speculative asset. And as it stands, the widespread adoption of the Lightning Network is the most promising means to get to that ambitious end.
Philippines Banking Giant Has Launched Two-Way Crypto ATMs: According to reports from Filipino media, Union Bank of the Philippines, a banking giant that is the seventh largest in the country, is launching crypto asset automated teller machines (ATM). Per the statement, the company launched its first two-way cryptocurrency ATM earlier this week, allowing customers to purchase and sell assets like Bitcoin for pesos. Union Bank has purportedly collaborated with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the nation’s central bank, to ensure that this newfangled offering is compliant.
JP Morgan Launches Ethereum-like Chain For In-House Crypto Asset: In a move that was straight out of left field, JP Morgan Chase, the world’s sixth largest bank, took to CNBC divulging that it would be launching an in-house crypto asset, fittingly named “JPM Coin.”According to a comment from Umar Farooq, the Wall Street institution’s blockchain division lead, the asset will be backed by physical U.S. dollars and will first be based on Quorum, JP Morgan’s private Ethereum-based chain. Eventually, the asset will go multi-chain, with interoperability solutions allowing for JPM Coin to be transacted in different ecosystems. Farooq remarked that his team intends the venture to eventually be a multi-purpose asset for the bank’s operations, whereas “anything, where you have a distributed ledger, [that] involves corporations and institutions” will use the stablecoin. For now, however, the JP Morgan executive made it clear that the newfangled offering is intended to bolster the company’s internal, yet international corporate transactions.

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Chainalysis Secures $30M: Despite Bitcoin Crash, Crypto Venture Money Still Flowing

The so-called “crypto winter” has undoubtedly been tough on a majority of this ecosystem’s upstarts, even those with supposedly colossal war chests and copious amounts of talent. Heck, earlier this week, Ripple cut Bloomberg alumni Cory Johnson, the fintech firm’s chief market strategist, due to shifts in the Bitcoin winds.
Bitmain, Huobi, and ShapeShift are also among industry powerhouses that have mandated staff cuts to bolster their bear market bottom lines. Other firms, such as Giga Watt and Liqui, have collapsed entirely.
But interestingly, it seems that the crash in the Bitcoin price hasn’t deterred opportunities. Even in trying times, money from ambitious venture capitalists and visionaries alike have continued to rush into this space, no holds barred.
Blockchain Analytics Group Finishes Series B
Ever since it secured $16 million in its Series A funding round during 2018, Chainalysis has become an integral but little-known mainstay in this space. For those who missed the memo, the company, which has headquarters in New York, is a blockchain research and software provider that has played a role in the back offices of the cryptosphere. While the company’s premise may seem boring for most, investors have become enamored with what the team has accomplished, and what it intends to do.
In fact, in a press release issued Tuesday, Chainalysis divulged that it had scored over $30 million in funding for its Series B round, led by Accel, a Palo Alto-based venture group that also has investments in Circle.

Excited to announce our latest funding round of $30m led by @Accel to support strategic product development of new cryptocurrency use cases and a new office in London! Read more:
— Chainalysis (@chainalysis) February 12, 2019

Accel’s deal with Chainalysis will also see the Bay Area investment group’s Philippe Botteri and Amit Kumar join the blockchain upstart’s board. Per Business Insider, the duo will aid Chainalysis in bolstering its presence, in the European region, along with its overall research efforts.
With this influx of funding, the analytics unit has decided to bolster its team. The company currently has 30 open roles, including stints ranging from the vice president of finance to the team lead for cybercrimes. Although the company has its primary offices in New York, many of the new positions are located in London and Copenhagen, the former of which is where Chainalysis is looking to double its headcount.
This $30 million dollar deal, which also saw participation from other unnamed financiers, isn’t just about acquiring talent though. Chainalysis divulged that it intends to double-down on its raison d’etre to make blockchain data easy to digest, useful, and accessible for governments, institutions, and native cryptocurrency firms. The company wrote:
“We are building a team that is focused on attributing more services associated with criminal activity, including darknet markets, scams, ransomware, terrorist financing, and sanctions evasion.”
The New York-based firm also explained that it intends to begin analyzing an array of other cryptocurrencies, not just assets like Bitcoin and Ethereum, while also bolstering its “compliance and investigation software” to create a fair environment for cryptocurrencies.
Exact specifics regarding Chainalysis’ plans were scant, but considering that the firm has garnered the support of Binance, Barclays, among a series of other fintech firms, its future remains bright, whether Bitcoin continues lower or otherwise.
Related Reading: Chainalysis: Up to 3.79 Million Bitcoins May Be Lost Forever
Crypto Venture Tap Still Has Water
While props to Chainalysis would be in order, this move only accentuates how the crypto venture capital tap still has water, even in spite of the harrowing market conditions. On Tuesday, Morgan Creek Digital, a crypto-centric venture group headed by fervent decentralist Anthony “Pomp” Pompliano, revealed that it had launched a $40 million fund.

The fund, launched weeks, if not months ago, saw investment from two public pension funds that pertain to Virginia, a private institution, a university endowment, and other investors. The fund purportedly already allocated capital towards Bakkt, Coinbase, Harbor, and Blockfi, just to name a few notable crypto upstarts.
Speaking of Bakkt, the Intercontinental Exchange-backed initiative secured over $182.5 million in one of the largest crypto-related deals to date. This round saw Boston Consulting Group, CMT Digital, Horizons Ventures, ICE itself, Microsoft’s venture wing, Pantera Capital, and Galaxy Digital make allocations.
All this and more only goes to show that although BTC has continued to trade in a tight range, with analysts claiming that lower lows are inbound, the smart money is under the impression that eventually, this market will undergo a resurgence.
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XRP Holds Strong After JP Morgan ‘Slaps’ Ripple With Bank-Centric Crypto

Ripple and its go-to crypto asset, XRP, have long been a nuanced topic of discussion in the cryptosphere. Many have argued that the San Francisco-based fintech startup, deemed a company to watch by Forbes, is sleeping in bed with banks, along with other incumbents of the legacy world.
But, this might not exactly be the case, as a Wall Street giant recently revealed plans to issue a digital asset that poses somewhat of a threat to Ripple’s operations but not to Bitcoin’s value.
Ripple Under Threat Due To JPM Coin?
In a move that was straight out of left field, JP Morgan Chase, the world’s sixth largest bank, took to CNBC divulging that it would be launching an in-house crypto asset, fittingly named “JPM Coin.” According to a comment from Umar Farooq, the Wall Street institution’s blockchain division lead, the asset will be backed by physical U.S. dollars and will first be based on Quorum, JP Morgan’s private Ethereum-based chain. Eventually, the asset will go multi-chain, with interoperability solutions allowing for JPM Coin to be transacted in different ecosystems.
Related Reading: JP Morgan: Crypto Value Unproven, Bitcoin (BTC) Could Fall as Low as $1,260 in Near Future
Farooq remarked that his team intends the venture to eventually be a multi-purpose asset for the bank’s operations, whereas “anything, where you have a distributed ledger, [that] involves corporations and institutions” will use the stablecoin.
For now, however, the JP Morgan executive made it clear that the newfangled offering is intended to bolster the company’s internal, yet international corporate transactions. While this project may have an innocuous premise, many crypto commentators quickly took to Twitter to remark that Ripple’s services and the XRP Ledger’s function could come under fire.

“This is a huge slap in the face for Ripple,’’ said @Shaughnessy119. “Ripple’s target market is cross-border payments and remittances and now JPMorgan’s effort is a direct threat.’’
— Frank Chaparro (@fintechfrank) February 15, 2019

Tom Shaughnessy, the principal analyst at Delphi Digital (recently merged with 51Cryptos), told Bloomberg that JPM Coin is a “huge slap in the face for Ripple,” explaining that the fintech group’s cross-border payments and remittance efforts may go kaput. Travis Kling, the chief investment officer at Ikigai, echoed this sentiment to a tee. He told Bloomberg that while Quorum is much like Google Sheets, rather than Bitcoin, JPM Coin is “clearly competing directly” with Ripple Labs.
Both Kling and Shaughnessy then drew attention to what they see as flaws in the nature of XRP. Kling quipped that it’s a “centralized cryptocurrency,” rebutting comments from Ripple’s CEO, as the Delphi Digital researcher remarked that XRP’s volatile nature will be “contentious” for institutions that are looking for cross-border payments.
And interestingly, much of the crypto community was in agreement. Esteemed Bitcoin trader Moon Overlord joked that he’s shocked that JP Morgan created their own coin instead of XRP. Others remarked that JP Morgan “killed the XRP dream,” alongside other quips of similar nature.

Tushar Jain, a managing partner at Multicoin Capital, remarked that banks were never planning to use XRP for settlements, thus concluding that JP Morgan will “wipe the floor with Ripple.”
But, in spite of all these comments, the value of the popular cryptocurrency has held relatively strong.
XRP Stands Its Ground
According to data from Live Coin Watch, the asset has posted a mere 1.1% loss over the past 24 hours, while BTC is up 0.07%. While XRP’s slight underperformance may be a cause for concern for some of its holders, some have effectively concluded that the JP Morgan news had no notable material impact on the value of the asset.
Interestingly, analysts have had mixed reactions about the fact that XRP barely budged when JPM Coin began to trend on Crypto Twitter. Lucid TA, a technical analyst/fund manager, remarked that XRP’s lack of volatility only accentuates that 95%+ of crypto price action is “determined by capital flows and speculation,” rather than fundamentals. He added that from his point of view, the Wall Street bank’s own crypto asset is “extremely bearish” for Ripple.

Here we have yet more evidence that crypto prices are 95%+ determined by capital flows and speculation (and not fundamentals!).
JPM releasing its own crypto is *extremely* bearish for $XRP, yet the chart hasn't moved a cent.
— Lucid TA (@Lucid_TA) February 15, 2019

Crypto Quantamental, another Bitcoin-friendly fund/investment manager, begged to differ, explaining that XRP’s non-action is a “proof of concept” that the asset adds value to the finance ecosystem. While the trader did admit that Ripple isn’t going to challenge SWIFT head-on, it should be able to garner some traction in the business-to-business and small financial institutions space.

I view it opposite. It’s bullish. It’s proof of concept of their value add. Very few other coins even have that!
Ripple is NOT going to get the intranet of huge banks. That should have been known. B2B and intra much small fin institutions is their market
— Crypto Quantamental (@CryptoQF) February 15, 2019
Yet, while XRP has held relatively strong over the past 24 hours, the asset is currently trending lower. And with more news regarding the traction that JPM Coin garners, XRP could lose some of its potency over the long haul.
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Even During Nuclear Winter, the Largest Crypto Asset Manager Controls Nearly $1 Billion

Cryptocurrencies have continued to stumble, but one organization has been making promising strides in the back offices of the Bitcoin space. Grayscale Investments, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the crypto conglomerate that is the New York-based Digital Currency Group, revealed that its products secured millions in investment amid the so-called “crypto winter.”
Crypto Winter Has Been No Match For Grayscale’s Bitcoin Fund
Grayscale, headed by Michael Sonnenshein, recently released its “2018 Digital Asset Investment Report” to outline company performance over the course of yesteryear. And surprisingly, the statistics were arguably not foreboding, but optimistic.

BREAKING: We are excited to share our 2018 Digital Asset Investment Report!
2018 Highlights include:• Total Capital Raised into Grayscale Products: $359.5M • Majority of investment (66%) came from institutional investors
Read the FULL report
— Grayscale (@GrayscaleInvest) February 14, 2019

The company first accentuated that as it stands, it has $825 million worth of assets under management, 43.5% ($359.5 million) of which entered Grayscale’s care in 2018. While this figure was impressive in and of itself, it was later explained that 66% of inflows came from institutional investors, who Grayscale claims are “building core strategic positions in digital assets.” Doing some napkin math, that means that $237 million of investments in Grayscale’s products, which include in-house Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Stellar Lumens funds, came from institutional players.
While $237 million may not seem like a monumental sum, critics of Grayscale’s 2018 figures would be remiss to neglect fiat amplifiers. Alex Kruger, a leading cryptocurrency economist and researcher, recently did some analysis on how nominal fiat inflows affect the aggregate value of all cryptocurrencies.

According to JPM, only 2 billion dollars entered Bitcoin in 2017 => $2 billion propelled bitcoin's market cap from $15 billion in Jan/1/2017 to $250 billion by year end.
— Alex Krüger (@Crypto_Macro) January 3, 2019

Citing a 2018 report from JP Morgan regarding cryptocurrencies, the New York-based trader explained that that Wall Street institution is calculating a fiat amplifier of 117.5 ($1 million in fiat investment turns into $117.5 million in cryptocurrency value). But, this isn’t the whole story. Citi purportedly estimated an amplifier of 50, while Chris Burniske of Placeholder Ventures calculated the figure out to somewhere between two and 25.
Thus, considering a low-end estimate of a ten times fiat multiplier, Grayscale’s institutional clients could have infused $23.7 billion worth of registered market capitalization into this space over 2018.
Regardless, what was made clear is that institutions still are interested in allocating capital to the cryptosphere, as the heads of such groups look to accumulate when the price of Bitcoin remains in a lull.
2019: The Year Of Institutional Investors
These statistics haven’t gone unnoticed. Barry Silbert, the founder of Digital Currency Group, Grayscale’s parent organization, recently took to CNBC to express that the advent of institutional investors will continue to be an industry trend in the coming months. As reported by NewsBTC previously, Silbert commented that products like Bakkt’s futures only accentuate that bigwig firms are poised to make investments in Bitcoin.
Galaxy Digital Holdings founder Mike Novogratz also recently made a similar comment. In an interview with Bloomberg TV, the former Goldman Sachs partner noted that it is only a matter of time before institutional-sourced greenbacks appear on crypto’s marketplaces.
Echoing comments he has made over recent months, the Galaxy Digital chief executive noted that the “architecture” that would entice institutions to make noticeable capital and effort allocations are starting to be put in place.
Case in point, Fidelity Investments, a world-renowned financial institution with over ten thousand clients in its institutional Rolodex, recently revealed that it could launch its crypto custody offering by March. Novogratz explained that this service, along with products of a similar caliber, will pave the way for “smart money” to make a foray.
Related Reading: Novogratz: Institutions Will Drive The Next Crypto and Bitcoin Boom
While industry insiders are talking up a big game, some fear that there actually aren’t that many bigwigs waiting on the crypto sidelines. Case in point, over recent months, both Coinbase and Blockchain, which both have institutional investor-centric divisions that are some of this sector’s most prominent, dropped notable hires from Wall Street.
Representatives from the firms claimed that there has been a noticeable shift in the underlying status of cryptocurrency investment. More specifically, it was explained that “crypto-native firms,” like hedge funds, projects, and venture groups, were the institutions requesting services, rather than Wall Street hotshots.
Yet, some believe that this is just “noise,” which is trying to mask the fact that true financial incumbents are revving their crypto engines. Binance, BitGo, and Coinbase are all notable industry upstarts that launched over-the-counter (OTC) desks over the past months, indicating that some high-ticket clients are requesting for a more efficient trading medium.

On Thursday, The Block exclusively reported that LJ Brock, who hails from Chicago hedge fund giant Citadel’s C-suite, would be joining Coinbase. In a company email obtained by the outlet, Coinbase chief Brian Armstrong remarked that he’s “really excited” to have Brock join the team, especially due to the new hire’s people experience and stints on Wall Street.
While this move is unlikely to affect institutional investors with a growing penchant for crypto directly, this move could underscore that Coinbase and its competitors are still looking to entice non-consumer populations to take the plunge. But will they?
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Analysis: Here’s Why JP Morgan Is Launching Its Own Centralized Crypto Asset

Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of JP Morgan Chase, has long been a skeptic of cryptocurrencies, especially Bitcoin. After calling the flagship crypto asset a “fraud,” remarking that it’s much worse than the tulip bulb bubble of yesteryear, Dimon remarked that he doesn’t give a single sh*t about the project.
But, in a jaw-dropping turn of events, Dimon’s firm revealed that it would be diving head first into the blockchain space on Thursday. While some yelled hypocrite, as Dimon’s comments remain fresh in crypto enthusiasts’ minds, there may be a logical reason for the firm’s seemingly sudden 180°.
(Private) Blockchain Tech Is A Money Saver For Banks
For those who missed the memo, on Thursday morning, JP Morgan revealed to CNBC that it would be launching the so-called “JPM Coin.” This digital asset, which will initially run on top of Quorum, the bank’s private Ethereum-based ecosystem, is slated to become a stablecoin that will solely be transacted with the corporation’s walls.
In a comment to CNBC, Umar Farooq, the head of JP Morgan’s blockchain division, explained that a “tiny fraction” of the institution’s $6 trillion in corporate transactions would be made through JPM Coin. Farooq didn’t explain what the fraction would equate to, but as it stands, it is unlikely that the bank is poised to transact billions on their nascent centralized blockchain.

While many pundits have argued that the use of a centralized blockchain is inefficient, especially considering that tokens based upon such an ecosystem are 100% subject to the whims of fallible entities, the company may have a good reason for not heeding by Dimon’s word.
Long story short, the company, just like a good majority of other Wall Street bigwigs, wants to minimize costs through any means. While JPM Coin hasn’t been proven in the field, projects of similar caliber employed by other banks have seen some success.
HSBC’s Mark Williamson recently told Reuters that it has been saving a copious amount of trading costs due to its up-and-coming company blockchain. The chief operating officer of HSBC’s forex trading arm purportedly explained that blockchain-enabled transactions made on HSBC’s so-called “FX Everywhere” system were 25% than traditional methods. While HSBC’s offering doesn’t involve an in-house crypto asset, the premise is somewhat similar, meaning that extrapolating cost savings isn’t entirely illogical.
Thus, while Dimon still seems to be convinced that Bitcoin and other crypto assets aren’t fine and dandy, JP Morgan’s blockchain division are likely looking at green boxes in their books, rather than the morals of JPM Coin.
Funny enough, this newfangled digital asset comes after the Wall Street institution released a foreboding report regarding the long-term prospects of cryptocurrencies. Though, the firm’s research division was bullish on blockchain technology and similar innovations. Per previous reports from this outlet, JP Morgan’s researchers wrote that Bitcoin is only best used in a dystopian world, one where fiat currencies and traditional banks are all but dust.
Regardless, Crypto Community Still Detests JPM Coin
Although JP Morgan’s attempt to bolster its bottom line is commendable from an economic perspective, much of the crypto community lambasted the organization for its cryptocurrency project.
As reported by NewsBTC just hours after the jaw-dropping news broke, industry diehards came out in force to lambast JPM Coin. Alec Ziupsnys, better known as Rhythm Trader, noted that the company’s venture isn’t much of a “cryptocurrency.” WhalePanda echoed this sentiment, quipping that the new product is a “useless sh*tcoin.”
But these quips were just the tip of the iceberg, as a mass of crypto commentators took to their Twitter feeds en-masse to bash the institutions’ audacity to introduce the umpteenth stablecoin, one that is entirely centralized no less.
Anthony Pompliano, an anti-establishment figure that heads Morgan Creek Digital, joked that the “most popular token for money laundering this year” will be JP Morgan’s very own asset, likely referencing the fact that Bitcoin is barely used for “cleaning cash,” if at all.

The most popular token for money laundering this year will be JPM Coin
— Pomp (@APompliano) February 14, 2019

Brad Garlinghouse, the chief executive of Ripple Labs, also had something to say about the offering. In a Twitter comment that garnered some semblance of support of both the XRP and Bitcoin community, the fintech guru explained that JP Morgan’s sudden launch of a digital asset is like launching “AOL after Netscape’s IPO.” This is, of course, in reference to the earliest Internet browsers at the commencement of the first notable Dotcom boom and bust cycle.
Related Reading: Dotcom Bubble Burst May Have Been Necessary; What About Crypto?
Even Bitcoin Nouriel “Dr. Doom” Roubini, a professor at Stern School at New York University, had some laudable choice words for JP Morgan’s newest venture. Roubini, who has claimed that Bitcoin will go to $0 on multiple occasions, explained that JPM Coin is far from the public, permissionless, and decentralized nature that cryptocurrencies are best known for.

In which way has the new alleged JPMorgan crypto coin anything to do with blockchain/crypto? It is private not public, permissioned not permissionless, based on trusted authorities verifying transaction not trustless, centralized not decentralized. Calling it crypto is a joke
— Nouriel Roubini (@Nouriel) February 14, 2019

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Bitcoin Giant BitMEX: Major Financial Crisis Could Be Several Years Away

The economy is doing just fine, they say. No, maybe not. A growing number of economists (and notable ones at that) have begun to tout theses accentuating that the world’s economy isn’t in clear waters, in spite of the seemingly ever-rallying stock market. Bitcoin giant BitMEX’s research division broke down this subject matter on Tuesday, as it released an extensive study regarding the “anatomy” of the potentially inevitable global fiscal imbroglio.
Hold on to your hats, what they wrote wasn’t all too pretty.
The Impending Crisis & Bitcoin
The research unit at the Hong Kong-headquartered exchange first laid out a number of ground rules, explaining that since the rise of modern society, financial crises have brutalized investors every decade or so. BitMEX Research went on to leverage dozens of statistics to outline the state of the global economy as it stands.

Anatomy Of The Next Global Financial Crisis – BitMEX Blog
— Max Keiser, tweet poet. (@maxkeiser) February 12, 2019

Long story short, the team of researchers and analysts noted that the current financial system is currently unstable and fragile, backing their claim by drawing attention to the dichotomy between the overall lack of volatility and sudden spikes in the VIX. They noted that this instability has only been underscored by low-interest rates and a tumultuous political climate (think Brexit, Trump/China, and the Yellow Vests), making it all the more likely that a crisis is brewing under the surface.
And with all that in mind, BitMEX’s research team noted that maybe it would be wise for investors to start building portfolios that mitigate risk. The exchange’s team wrote;
“Maybe one could construct a portfolio of VIX calls, long dated corporate bond ETF puts, index-linked government bonds, hedge funds specializing in volatility, gold and maybe to a lesser extent, even Bitcoin. Again, although one cannot know when these events will occur, perhaps now is a time to adjust one’s investment portfolio.”
Related Reading: European Central Bank Exec: Bitcoin is the “Evil Spawn of the Financial Crisis”
Financial Incumbents Are Waving Red Flags Too 
Even the mainstay in the legacy financial realm, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), has begun to express a sentiment that should have both institutions and common Joes worried. In a recent speech at the World Government Summit in Dubai, IMF’s Christine Lagarde remarked that there are “four clouds” closing in on the global financial environment, even quipping that a “storm” might strike.
Lagarde explained that these clouds include the trade spats between the U.S. and China, quantitative tightening, Brexit, and, arguably most importantly, the “heavy debt” that governments, individuals, and corporations alike have garnered.

And according to a recent piece from MarketWatch, the amount of U.S. national debt just breached a record $22 trillion earlier this week, solely cementing the idea that the world’s economy could be in dire straits. In response to this swelling statistic, the Peterson Foundation, an American financial services group that is focused on amending the nation’s economic issues, claimed that the fiscal situation is “not only unsustainable but accelerating.”
While some claim that by some holy miracle, the U.S. government will find a way to pay its debts (or default on them without a macro meltdown), a mass of economists is seemingly claiming that the end is nigh.
Ray Dalio, the co-founder of the world’s largest hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates, recently drew eerie parallels between today’s environment and the one seen in the midst of the Great Depression. In a comment made at Davos, the world-renowned investor, who has become a market pessimist as of late, explained that from 1929 to 1932, there was a lot of “printing of money, and purchases of financial assets,” much like today.

If you don’t want to hear it from one of America’s wealthy men, for some reason, others have made similar comments. Dr. John Hussman, an American economist & investor with a track record of prediction crises, noted that the earnings growth that investors have postulated is likely to “fall short of what we’ve observed over the past couple of decades.” Hussman coupled this with the idea that investment advisors are tacitly promoting “reckless speculation” to conclude that stocks are trading at “most obscene valuations” ever.
Even Kenneth Rogoff, an economics professor at Harvard University and a former IMF chief economist, expressed dismal sentiment in a recent Guardian op-ed. Rogoff remarked:
“Unfortunately, an inexorably growing financial system, combined with an increasingly toxic political environment, means that the next major financial crisis may come sooner than you think.”
Could Crypto Be The Answer?
Travis Kling sure does think that cryptocurrencies, especially Bitcoin, could be the answer to a crisis, or at least the asset that will be left standing after such an event. Kling recently stated that Bitcoin is a perfect hedge against “fiscal and monetary policy irresponsibility.” He stated that the monumental rise of employed quantitative easing (QE) strategies is “how you would write the script” for the adoption of cryptocurrencies, especially ones that tout a decentralized nature.
Trace Mayer, a long-time Bitcoiner and a zealous anti-establishment thinker, echoed Kling’s concerns regarding the buildup of public debt. In a recent tweet, Mayer remarked that it’s been a mere 11 years since the 2008 recession, but that governments and society at large haven’t learned, accumulating $87 trillion more debt as humanity’s relentless lust for growth continues.
11 years later with $87T more debt. Second verse is little bit louder & little bit worse.
Except now liquidity pyramid's safe & liquid tip $gold has new neighbor: #Bitcoin
And 99% cash & 1% $BTC can be a very good risk/reward portfolio construction.
— Trace Mayer (@TraceMayer) February 13, 2019

Echoing analysis done by PlanB, Mayer then concluded that a portfolio consisting of 99% cash and 1% Bitcoin could be great from a risk/reward perspective, and could outperform in a worldwide bear market.
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SEC Taking Time to Approve Bitcoin ETF Makes “Perfect Sense” Says Bitwise, Even Gold Took a While

2,500 of the world’s foremost investment professional descended on Hollywood this week to talk exchange-traded funds (ETFs). While much of the discussion between the who’s who on Wall Street was centered around traditional vehicles, talk surrounding Bitcoin (BTC)  and cryptocurrency products came to light.
In an interview with CNBC’s Bob Pisani, a leading representative of the cryptocurrency space expressed optimism towards the launch of a product, which could thaw BTC out of a price crash-induced cold snap.
Related Reading: Bitcoin ETF Approval Could Ease EU Regulators Concerns About Crypto
SEC Is Coming To Understand Crypto’s Issues
Bitwise Asset Management CEO Hunter Horsley, a guest on CNBC’s segment, first noted that by many, if not most measures (save for price), 2018 was a solid year for crypto’s facets. Horsley remarked that while token values plummeted, in “everything you can wish for,” strides were made, especially in terms of market structure and participation. He drew attention to Fidelity’s up-and-coming custody product, CME’s and CBOE’s futures, along with participation from university endowments, Facebook, and Samsung to give his point some credence.
So, he concluded that cryptocurrencies as an asset class are in their “most viable” state ever. That led Horsley to his next point, as he remarked that considering the market conditions, a crypto-linked ETF could be the logical next step.

Fun chatting with CNBC’s @BobPisani at #InsideETFs today. We spoke about the @BitwiseInvest @NYSE Bitcoin ETF filing and the state of the crypto market coming out of 2018.
— Hunter Horsley (@HHorsley) February 12, 2019

First, the Bitwise C-suite member remarked that his firm’s S-1 application, filed just weeks ago, will be reviewed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in March.
Then, when questioned by the CNBC anchor regarding the SEC’s apparent fears of market manipulation, a byproduct of nascent, overseas-based markets, and custody, Horsley responded with confidence.
The former Facebook and Instagram product manager explained that from his firm’s point of view, the SEC has “a lot more understanding in place” regarding the state of cryptocurrency markets. And while “the numbers you see on various crypto-related websites [often] aren’t accurate,” Horsley pointed out that a fleshed-out comprehension of the industry’s inner workings is what truly matters. Concluding his comments on the SEC’s role in the Bitcoin ETF realm on an optimistic note, the industry heavyweight stated:
“Leverage ETFs took five years. Actively-managed ETFs took six or seven years. Even gold, which has been around for thousands of years and had a product in Australia, took three years from S-1 to initial launch. And I think that the fact that the SEC has taken a couple of years to get comfortable with [cryptocurrencies] makes complete sense. It’s not that they are anti-crypto, but they’re pro-investor.”
The Bitwise chief executive’s hopeful comments come just a day after Ric Edelman, a well-respected American investor with decades in the business, quipped that the launch of Bitcoin ETF has an inevitability. Per previous reports from this very outlet, Edelman, a world-renowned financial services guru, noted that trading of a cryptocurrency product on U.S. markets is a matter of “when,” not “if.”

Like Horsley, the Philadelphia-based investors explained that the regulatory incumbents with jurisdiction over digital assets are slowly coming to terms with the state of this embryonic space.
The Importance Of A Bitcoin ETF
In response to a query from CNBC host Pisani regarding the potential impact that a crypto fund would have on the ecosystem, Horsley noted that for a vast number of investors, an ETF would be an “enabling moment,” whereas thousands, if not millions of consumers would suddenly be enticed to make a proper foray into the Bitcoin realm.
While Horsley seems to be in agreement with the theory that a publicly-traded cryptocurrency fund could be the greatest thing to ever happen to this ecosystem, some have politely refuted this thought process.
Just yesterday, Alec “RhythmTrader” Ziupsyns noted that if Square, a fintech upstart headed by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, integrates the Lightning Network, the effect on the market would be larger than a Bitcoin ETF and Bakkt combined.

Even Anthony Pompliano noted that there’s a fleeting chance that the eventual launch of a Bitcoin ETF could not turn out as some expect, as the hype surrounding such a product could be overstated. In an interview with BlockTV conducted in January, the Morgan Creek Digital co-founder postulated that if BTC didn’t run off the SEC’s approval of an ETF, investors’ psyche would likely be damaged en-masse, potentially hurting this industry’s long-term potential.
Anyhow, the overwhelming majority have stuck with the idea that when a Bitcoin ETF finally comes to market, this industry will see interest from millions of consumers once again, as barriers to entry get wiped away once the SEC gives a green light.
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The post SEC Taking Time to Approve Bitcoin ETF Makes “Perfect Sense” Says Bitwise, Even Gold Took a While appeared first on NewsBTC.
Source: New

Bitcoin is Not Only a Hedge Against Inflation, But a Cashless Society Too

Bitcoin (BTC) may have lost over 80% of its value over the past 13 months, but many have argued that its underlying value proposition has only become more and more apparent. Hasu and Three Arrows’ Su Zhu, two crypto researchers, touched on the subject matter on Tuesday, when they released a collaborative blog post outlining the value that Bitcoin poses to a society rife with government-issued digital money.
Related Reading: Banks are Better than Bitcoin (When It Comes to Money Laundering)
E-Money To Make Society Vulnerable To Surveillance, Control
Cash, not money (yes, there’s a difference), has existed for hundreds, if not thousands of years. For those who missed the memo, cash is inherently a peer-to-peer, permissionless, and private medium.
Yet, with the rise of the digital payment services in mind, Hasu and Zhu argue that the hegemony that forms of cash has established itself could be coming to an end. The duo writes that PayPal, Venmo, Square, and products of similar caliber and nature “remove every need for cash,” as they’re marketed as faster, cheaper, and more efficient forms of payment.

New article with @zhusu where we argue that the elimination of cash, even if most payments are already digital, will make society more vulnerable to surveillance, financial control, and authoritarianism.
— Hasu (@hasufl) February 12, 2019

The database tracking these transactions made with online money is already available for the powers that be, allowing the establishment to watch over society with a Sauron-esque eye. And with the seemingly relentless rise of these services and ecosystems, cash could become a thing of the past in the near future. They explain:
“The use of cash in larger denominations has become so stigmatized in the US and Europe that withdrawing or carrying above a certain amount requires explicit government permission… We will argue that the elimination of cash, even if most payments are already digital, will make society more vulnerable to surveillance, financial control, and authoritarianism.”
While the absence of private, permissionless mediums of exchange wouldn’t necessarily be a problem if humans were non-fallible, such a sterile utopia only exists in the minds of sci-fi writers. Thus, Hasu and Zhu noted that while governments would claim that going cashless protects citizens, censorship, fund confiscation, and the like would become the norm.
But that’s where Bitcoin comes in. They explain that the crypto asset could become a viable hedge against a cashless society. It was noted that while Bitcoin evidently has a use case as a deflationary asset, much like gold, it’s best used as a new breed of money — digital cash, “that combines the benefits of physical cash with the benefits of digital payments.”
Bitcoin Has A Bright Future
Hasu and Zhu aren’t the only industry insiders with this specific thesis regarding Bitcoin’s value in the real world. Arthur Hayes, the chief executive of the Hong Kong-headquartered BitMEX, took to his company blog at the start of 2019 to make a similar argument, accentuating that an entirely cashless society isn’t optimal.

As reported by NewsBTC previously, Hayes explained that as technology and the Internet continue to overtake all facets of society, a centralized, government- and corporation-backed e-money will likely become only “natural.” While such a system would be efficient for the common Joe and Jill, who crave for convenience and efficiency, such a form of sovereign digital money would increase the propensity for consumers to hand over their formerly private data.
Much like Hasu and Zhu, Hayes explained that the world’s first blockchain network is uncensorable, borderless, non-inflationary, and most importantly (in the eyes of Hayes), private — a far cry from the centralized monetary systems of the future. The BitMEX CEO explained that privacy is an integral part of any well-function society, making a system like Bitcoin more than essential.
Even if society doesn’t opt to adopt a fiat digital medium of exchange, many argue that Bitcoin still has a very bright future ahead of itself. In comments made at an alternative investment event in the Grand Cayman, Travis Kling, the chief investment officer of the Los Angeles-based Ikigai, remarked that Bitcoin is a perfect hedge against “fiscal and monetary policy irresponsibility.” He stated that the monumental rise of employed quantitative easing (QE) strategies is “how you would write the script” for the adoption of cryptocurrencies, especially ones that are fully decentralized.
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The post Bitcoin is Not Only a Hedge Against Inflation, But a Cashless Society Too appeared first on NewsBTC.
Source: New