Bitcoin News Summary – February 18, 2019

The fund has raised $40 million, most of which for investment in promising crypto companies, though some portion will also be allocated to Bitcoin.

Here’s what happened this week in Bitcoin in 99 seconds.

Morgan Creek Digital’s new crypto venture capital fund received investment from Virginian pension plans. The fund has raised $40 million, most of which for investment in promising crypto companies, though some portion will also be allocated to Bitcoin.

A series of tweets by Wikileaks denounced Craig Wright, the self-proclaimed inventor of Bitcoin, as a “serial fabricator.” Wikileaks also presented documents which they say Wright forged to support his claim to be Satoshi Nakamoto.

US bank, JP Morgan Chase & Co., is releasing a permissioned stablecoin pegged to the US Dollar. The bank will trial JPM Coin in the coming months, using it to transfer value between clients. Last year, JPM banned Bitcoin purchases through its credit cards and JPM’s CEO, Jamie Dimon, bashed Bitcoin as a “fraud.”

Details emerged that a trade deal between Argentina and Paraguay was settled in Bitcoin. Argentina exported $7,100 worth of fumigation and pesticide products to Paraguay, which was paid for in Bitcoin. Although the amount is small, the deal sets an interesting precedent for international trade.

And finally, crypto broker Coinmama published information on a recent data breach. No user or company funds are directly affected. A list of emails addresses and encrypted passwords belonging to around 450,000 Coinmama clients, was discovered on the darknet. Coinmama was one of 24 other companies in the list. It’s recommended that affected users change their password.

That’s what happened this week in Bitcoin. See you next week.

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Following Ethereum Usage Concerns, Crypto Investors Says Give DApps Time

Last week, Ethereum World News reported that decentralized applications (DApp) were seeing minimal use. More specifically, according to research …

DApps Need Time

Last week, Ethereum World News reported that decentralized applications (DApp) were seeing minimal use. More specifically, according to research done by LongHash, a mere 180 out of 1812 blockchain applications on Ethereum saw associated ERC-20 token transactions on February first. Citing the same data set, the crypto asset research unit divulged that 13% of the utilized applications had more than 100,000 transactions in the past 24 hours, while 19% had somewhere between 10,000 and 100,000 transactions.

While these numbers aren’t measly by any means, critics argue that there’s a way to go. In response to a similar set of statistics compiled by Kevin Rooke, Saifedean Ammous, the world-renowned author of “The Bitcoin Standard,” questioned the value of decentralized applications, noting that from a brief glance, he can tell that centralizing most DApps would be logical. Ammous was adamant that even for gambling applications, such as Ethereum Dice and TronBET, it wouldn’t be nonsensical to use centralized hashing systems for RNG.

Yet, in a recent comment, Travis Kling, an anti-establishment proponent that heads Ikigai, a Los Angeles-based crypto hedge fund, claims that such critique and comments of similar caliber are baseless and/or premature.

No Coiners: DApps have no good use cases and developers are making things that don’t matter.

2008: The most downloaded paid iPhone app of the year is a screensaver of koi fish swimming in a pond.

Give it time.

— Travis Kling (@Travis_Kling) February 17, 2019

The former portfolio manager at Steven Cohen’s Point72 did his best to outline the fact that the blockchain ecosystem, and DApp subsector by extension, is nascent by noting that in 2008, the most downloaded paid iPhone app was a koi fish swimming in a pond. Kling is obviously arguing that while DApp may not look like much now, their potential to revolutionize many of society’s facet is there, albeit hard to spot.

Kling’s recent hopeful comment comes days after he warned of the state of the legacy market. He 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.

MakerDAO Flexes On Peers Amid Crypto Winter

While the so-called “DApp Revolution” is likely years away, one application has seen monumental growth amid what can only be deemed as “crypto winter.”

Over recent months, MakerDAO, a project that is centered around blockchain-based loans and the Dai stablecoin, has embarked on a quiet rise to fame. Crypto researcher Kevin Rooke noted that over two million Ether is held in MakerDAO’s decentralized finance smart contract. With there being 104 million currently in circulation, Maker’s operations have occupied 2% of the cryptocurrency. LongHash also explained that there are now 7,300 addresses (and growing by 20% monthly) actively using Dai.

This stellar fundamental performance has allowed MKR, the native token of the decentralized finance ecosystem, to surge in recent weeks. In fact, the ERC-20 token is up 37% since the start of February, as Bitcoin and other leading assets have stumbled over their own two feet. MKR is currently valued at $532.85 and has posted a 4.3% gain in the past 24 hours, much like Ethereum.

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Stellar Lumens (XLM) Price Prediction 2019 – Does Stellar Have a Future?

Through the year, Stellar have continued to make progression with XLM, … The main currency in cryptocurrency markets is Bitcoin and given this, …

Stellar Lumens is a cryptocurrency platform that focuses on remittance and cross-border payments.

Stellar is aiming to be an open financial system that gives people of all income levels access to low-cost financial services. These services include, but are not limited to:

  • Remittances
  • Micropayments
  • Mobile Branches
  • Mobile Money

In addition to these services, one very powerful feature of the network is their Distributed Exchange. Users can liquidate/exchange their funds for other cryptocurrencies or fiat currencies using the platform’s exchange anchors.

Stellar’s Year in Review

During January, XLM recorded an all time high price of $0.93, shooting up from $0.39 just a few days earlier.

On the 8th of March 2018, Stellar announced a new partnership between themselves and Keybase.

The next big month for Stellar and XLM came in the shape of July. After passing through April, May and June with very little to shout about, the Stellar project hit headlines once again with an announcement from the Stellar Development Foundation that highlighted Stellar XLM had become the world’s first blockchain product to be recognised by Sharia law. Through the year, Stellar have continued to make progression with XLM, through further partnership announcements that are all helping XLM to become a powerful rival to XRP.

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Market Movements and Sentiment Shift

The downfall of altcoins that were mainstream media darlings at the start of the year, XLM among them, can be attributed, in part, to novice investors getting scared off once the bear market kicked in with a vengeance. Every resurgence of bitcoin in recent period, was met with the inability of altcoins to rally with it. Reason for that can be rookie investors learning from their mistakes, while smart money that was previously watching from the sidelines has begun to enter.

These entities weren’t about to buy BTC when it was trading at an all-time high, but they’ll take a look now, having missed the boat the first time around. None of them, it seems, are interested in altcoins however, despite the fact that many are trading at a 5x discount. Institutional investors may be cautious, but they’re not foolish.

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Our XLM Price Prediction for 2019

It is quite clear that cryptocurrency price predictions should be taken with a grain of salt, but there are factors to look out for that will almost certainly have a bearing on the future price of the wider cryptocurrency market. This includes:

  • The level and nature of regulations imposed in dominating cryptocurrency markets
  • The level of cryptocurrency adoption in the coming year and beyond
  • The level of growth in the cryptocurrency futures market
  • The utility of tokens and the ability of the underlying technology to solve real-world problems

XLM, as the rest of the market, is tied at the hip of bitcoin’s price action. If bitcoin embarks on another bull run, XLM can hope for one as well. Since that is very unlikely, don’t expect much to change for XLM price-wise in this year. So 2019 will be a year of boring sideways action with minor bitcoin ignited jumps and slumps.

In general:

The main currency in cryptocurrency markets is Bitcoin and given this, altcoins tend to fuel Bitcoin runs and Bitcoin tends to do the same in return. Given this relationship, Bitcoin price movements (or lack thereof) tend to effect altcoin prices.

When Bitcoin goes up swiftly, it will likely:

  1. Suppress or depress altcoins as money flows into Bitcoin;
  2. Or, take altcoins along for the ride

In cases when Bitcoin plunges, it will likely:

  1. Depress altcoins as money flows into fiat;
  2. Or, cause altcoins to boom as money flows into them, but this is rarely the case.

When Bitcoin moves sideways, it will likely:

  1. Cause altcoins to mimic that as traders wait for a clear sign on the direction of the market;
  2. Or, cause altcoins to flourish as traders look for returns in altcoins and try to get favorable trades in terms of BTC pairs.

The vast majority of trading that occurs in the crypto markets are between BTC and Altcoin trading pairs. Since most Altcoins do not pair with fiat currencies (and only a few are paired with stable coins like USTD), Bitcoin is the next best option. Therefore, when Bitcoin is stable, it forms as the ideal base currency for buying Altcoins (which is why Altcoins tend to do well when Bitcoin goes sideways).

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A bullish Bitcoin usually drives Altcoin holders to dump their Altcoins into Bitcoin (because why take risks betting on smaller volume coins when you can make gains on the largest and most traded cryptocurrency).

Considering that Bitcoin is the ‘anchor’ of the crypto market, when Bitcoins price starts to fall, traders begin to sell all other coins and retreat back to fiat or stable coins like Tether.

Majority of altcoins will fail

The majority of projects will fail — some startups are created just to gather funds and disappear, some would not handle the competition, but most are just ideas that look good on paper, but in reality, are useless for the market.

Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum said:

“There are some good ideas, there are a lot of very bad ideas, and there are a lot of very, very bad ideas, and quite a few scams as well”

As a result, over 95% of successful ICOs and cryptocurrency projects will fail and their investors will lose money. The other 5% of projects will become the new Apple, Google or Alibaba in the cryptoindustry. Will XLM be among those 5%? Hard to tell but probability for that is better than with most other altcoins but still far from being a wrap. XLM is pinning most of their hopes on their partnership with IBM which is one of the highlights of project’s history to date. On the other side, the niche XLM is competing in is fiercely crowded with other top-notch crypto projects, most notably XRP. Since the race is considered by many to be a winner takes all, XLM is dancing on a razor thin edge in an effort to capture the global market of payments and value transfers.

All of this summed up means one thing: XLM might live through couple of orchestrated and, for a regular trader, completely unpredictable pumps but the majority of time will be murky sideways trading with small volume and no significant interest from the market.

Price will heavily depend on what BTC will do and since many analysts think BTC will not be making big moves in this year, it is hard to expect XLM will do them either. The price will probably stagnate and record slow-moving depreciation or appreciation depending on the team activity, potential technological breakthrough or high-level partnership.

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Market prediction for Stellar-Lumens (XLM) price 2019

Predicting token price is thankless task – it is not much different than gambling. However, people still gladly make their predictions and even more bigger pool of people search and read them. So here are couple of independent sources and their musings about XLM price in this year.

#1 Long Forecast

Long Forecast gave an entirely conservative prediction, where they forecasted that by the end of 2019, XLM might reach $0.30, which make sit look like it won’t grow much as compared to the current price. Maybe, the end of 2019 prediction is missing if this can be considered the prediction for the 1st half of 2019.

#2 Wallet Investor

Wallet Investor updates prices and predictions every three minutes using the latest technical analysis. They have very conservatively made a 5-Year forecast of $1.005.

#3 Mega Crypto Price

The price forecast at Mega Crypto Price has been very optimistic for all the cryptocurrencies and its the same for XLM, too, predicting that Stellar could be worth $5.10 by the end of 2019. The team says that this can be achieved as long as there are no major security flaws and the overall sector performs well.

#4 Monetize Info

Monetize believes that Stellar’s major partnerships will be the major reason behind an upcoming price surge, which might result in XLM’s price reaching $2-$3 by 2019. Beyond IBM, Stellar’s partners include Stripe, Deloitte, etc.

For example, Stripe gave Stellar a 3-million-dollar capital injection a few years back which Stellar immediately returned in XLM.

#5 The Economy Forecast Agency

This website features a long-range forecasting model to make market forecasts for corporate clients. The website has its own price prediction for 2020, which says XLM will see a high of $0.64 in 2020, which is by far the most conservative and pessimistic of XLM’s price predictions.

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Facebook’s Blockchain Team Looks for 13 New Members: Managers, Engineers, Researchers Job …

According to Facebook’s Careers Site, there are 13 different blockchain-related jobs opened. This shows that there is a real interest for Facebook to …

According to Facebook’s Careers Site, there are 13 different blockchain-related jobs opened. This shows that there is a real interest for Facebook to develop new blockchain-related solutions. As reported back in 2018, the social media company had 32 individuals working on the blockchain area.

Facebook might be interested in creating a new stablecoin for WhatsApp users in India that would work specifically for remittances. WhatsApp is being used by over 200 million individuals in India, thus, the implications for the crypto market could be very important.

The “Marketplace Payments Blockchain” role that was being offered by the company could be related to its intention to launch the stablecoin in India. There is also another blockchain role opened called “Brand Strategy” and that it would also suggest that the company is pending launch date. You can also see they are looking to get growth product managers, data/software engineers and qualitative/quantitative researchers.

Until now, the company has not been releasing information regarding its blockchain-related projects in the market. Indeed, the plans of the company remain unconfirmed. Thus everything is based on speculation.

There are some roles that appeared back in December 2018 that are still open, suggesting that it is not so easy for the company to find the correct candidates for specific positions. Several positions that were opened during the last month of 2017, where closed around Christmas.

Facebook Acquires First Blockchain Startup by Buying Chainspace, a Smart Contract Platform

Is JPMCoin A Serious Threat To Ripple?

On February 14, the giant bank J.P. Morgan announced plans to issue its own digital “coin,” to run on its in-house Quorum blockchain. The coin will be …

On February 14, the giant bank J.P. Morgan announced plans to issue its own digital “coin,” to run on its in-house Quorum blockchain. The coin will be pegged 1:1 to the U.S. dollar, with J.P. Morgan using the considerable heft of its balance sheet to guarantee the peg, so will not suffer the wild fluctuations in value that can make cryptocurrencies unreliable for payments. It is thus what in the crypto world is known as a “stablecoin,” not a cryptocurrency – a digital token that represents a fiat currency.

Exactly what impact “JPMCoin” will have on the cryptocurrency landscape is unclear. Opinion is divided between those who think that JPMCoin is a serious threat to Ripple and, to a lesser extent, Bitcoin and Ethereum, and those who think it is a non-event. Who is right?

JP Morgan logo is seen on an android mobile phone. Photo credit: LightRocket via Getty ImagesGetty

Well, it all depends how the coin is used, and who uses it. In a useful Q&A, Umar Farooq, J.P. Morgan’s head of Digital Treasury Services and Blockchain, explains how J.P. Morgan’s customers would use the coin:

When one client sends money to another over the blockchain, JPM Coins are transferred and instantaneously redeemed for the equivalent amount of U.S. dollars, reducing the typical settlement time.

This sounds much like Ripple’s xRapid, which uses the cryptocurrency XRP as a bridging currency. To send money using xRapid, a customer exchanges fiat currency for XRP, the XRP is transferred, then the recipient redeems the XRP for fiat currency. The difference is, of course, that XRP is not a stablecoin. It is a traded instrument whose price can – and does – fluctuate widely. In today’s fast FX markets, the price can change even in the 3-4 seconds that it takes to execute the payment. J.P. Morgan is clearly promoting its coin as having exchange rate stability that XRP, like other traded coins such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, does not have. So is J.P.Morgan trying to kill xRapid?

It’s not immediately apparent that this is its goal. Firstly, JPMCoin will – at least to start with – only be used for payments entirely in U.S. dollars, unlike xRapid which can handle multiple currencies and cross-currency payments. Secondly, JPMCoin is – again to start with – only available to J.P. Morgan’s institutional clients. They can use the coin to send money between themselves, but not to retail customers or to non-customers. It’s thus a very limited enhancement to J.P. Morgan’s in-house payment rails.

This tends to support the argument that JPMCoin is merely marketing hype. After all, payments between J.P. Morgan’s customers are really only transfers across its own books. It seems a bit sad that cash-strapped IT departments have to say “look, it’s blockchain” to persuade board directors to throw some money at settlement plumbing, always a pariah compared to fancy front-office systems. But from the point of view of J.P. Morgan’s customers, this is simply a long overdue improvement to the bank’s extremely expensive and very clunky cross-border payments systems. As Farooq observes (quoted in CoinTelegraph), this could be particularly beneficial for a large institutional client with overseas subsidiaries, which at present can only move money around its organization using external payment rails:

Money sloshes back and forth all over the world in a large enterprise. Is there a way to ensure that a subsidiary can represent cash on the balance sheet without having to actually wire it to the unit? That way, they can consolidate their money and probably get better rates for it.

It’s completely ridiculous that customers of J.P. Morgan have to use SWIFT and Fedwire to move money around within their own organizations. J.P.Morgan should have sorted this out long ago. As should other major banks.

Nevertheless, JPMCoin is a slap in the face for Ripple. Brad Garlinghouse, Ripple’s CEO, is on record as saying he expects “major banks” to adopt xRapid, along with the XRP token, in 2019. Now, J.P. Morgan – unquestionably a major bank – has told Ripple “no way are we using xRapid or XRP.” And it doesn’t mean only for internal transfers. The bank’s Q&A says it intends its coin eventually to be used for payments in multiple currencies and across other blockchains. That would make it a solution for cross-currency payments to non-customers – exactly the market that Ripple is aiming for.

Even if the coin remained limited to J.P. Morgan’s institutional clients, JPMCoin would still threaten Ripple’s plans. According to J.P. Morgan’s Farooq, “pretty much every big corporation is our client, and most of the major banks in the world are too.” The U.S. dollar is used for the majority of global transactions. If JPMCoin can corner the market in U.S. dollar transactions between most of the world’s large corporations and major banks, where does that leave Ripple?

Even before JPMCoin hit the news media, Ripple’s plans to recruit major banks looked over-optimistic to the point of incredulity. Major banks currently control international payments. Why would they hand that privilege over to a third party, when they could develop their own blockchain-based payments network? And the need for such a network to facilitate payments between customers of different banks is no obstacle. Banks will cooperate when it is in their interests to do so. Indeed, that is how SWIFT came to be, and the FX bank CLS, and in the UK, the LINK network of ATMs. So it’s entirely possible that banks might cooperate to create their own blockchain-based international payments network. In a particularly nasty twist of the knife, the major banks could even use Ripple’s own innovation.

Ending Ripple’s dreams of world domination, and those of other digital coin issuers, might therefore be exactly what J.P. Morgan has in mind. It will be interesting to see how this little stand-off develops.

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