Project Uniting Creatives Via Reward-Based Payments Launches Alpha Version Platform

A new platform provides a space for creatives to collectively develop monetizable digital content.

Qravity, a project that facilitates the production and distribution of digital entertainment, has launched a demo version of its platform, which enables decentralized creative teams to collaborate on content production and earn royalties for their work.

Their white paper describes how Qravity will “provide a space for creative visionaries to collectively develop monetizable digital content” such as films, video games, music and other media. A short explainer video summarizes Qravity features. 

Using unique tokens and smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain, producers or project founders can “track digital content creation, distribute project stakes among creative team members and bring Qravity-produced content directly to market.” According to Qravity, creators receive stakes in the projects they help complete and receive stake-based royalties when said content is consumed, allowing for potentially unlimited earnings from successful projects. The company says they evaluate every project proposal they receive thoroughly and approve only those with the highest market potential in order to maximize profitability for stakeholders.

The Qravity platform is also designed to enhance working relationships and ensure efficient communication between team members. Project managers can use the platform’s professional project management tools to guide their creative teams and track task progress and contributions  through all stages — from project initiation through production to distribution. They can also track individual contributions from team members.

Two tokens power Qravity: Qravity QPT to track project ownership — essentially representing shares in a project — and Qravity QCO for monetary transactions, such as content purchases and payments to project stakeholders. Content creators can earn QPT for completing project tasks; these tokens are for internal use within the platform and not available for public purchase. When consumers and distributors buy or rent Qravity content, creators receive a portion of each payment in QCO based on the volume of QPT they received for their work on the production of the purchased content. The greater a creator’s contribution to a project, the more QPT they receive, and, in turn, the greater share of QCO they receive from every purchase.

The Qravity token presale runs from Aug. 18 to 31, 2018, with tokens available for purchase using Ethereum (1 QCO = 0.0002 ETH).  

According to the Qravity roadmap, the company plans to launch the fully functional platform in Q4 2018, when it will also begin production on the platform’s pilot project, Lizzard Maddoxx.  This feature-length, 3D-animated film will be the first digital entertainment project to be produced and distributed entirely with Qravity. It is scheduled to be available through the platform’s marketplace in Q4 2019. Prior to the release of Lizzard Maddoxx, in Q1 2019, Qravity will start accepting new digital content project submissions. The team also plans to enhance their ‘community-minded’ ethos by running events, tutorials and workshops for creative talent around the world.

 

Disclaimer. Cointelegraph does not endorse any content or product on this page. While we aim at providing you all important information that we could obtain, readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company and carry full responsibility for their decisions, nor this article can be considered as an investment advice.

Here is Forbes’ 23 Quotes by Top Execs About Bitcoin (BTC) and Blockchain that You Should Read

Bitcoin (BTC) and Blockchain technology has been making headlines across the globe for the past one or two years. As a result, BTC and the tech behind it, has fascinated the regular enthusiast like you and I as well as global top executives. Forbes magazine has collected 23 fascinating opinion quotes  from these execs and we’d like to share them with you.

Stephen Colbert, Comedian:

It’s gold for nerds.

Rick Falkvinge, Founder of the Swedish pirate party:

Bitcoin will do to banks what email did to the postal industry.

Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, investor, and philanthropist:

Bitcoin is a technological tour de force.

Leon Luow, Nobel Peace Prize nominee:

Every informed person needs to know about Bitcoin because it might be one of the world’s most important developments.

Roger Ver, Bitcoin angel investor, and evangelist:

Bitcoin is the most important invention in the history of the world since the Internet.

Edmund Moy, 38th Director of the United States Mint:

Bitcoin, and the ideas behind it, will be a disrupter to the traditional notions of currency. In the end, currency will be better for it.

Warren Buffet, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway:

Stay away from it. It’s a mirage, basically. In terms of cryptocurrencies, generally, I can say almost with certainty that they will come to a bad ending.

Still thinking about #Bitcoin. No conclusion – not endorsing/rejecting. Know that folks also were skeptical when paper money displaced gold.

Kim Dotcom, CEO of MegaUpload:

[Bitcoin] is a very exciting development, it might lead to a world currency. I think over the next decade it will grow to become one of the most important ways to pay for things and transfer assets.

Chamath Palihapitiya, the previous head of AOL instant messenger:

It’s money 2.0, a huge huge huge deal.

Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve:

[Virtual currencies] may hold long-term promise, particularly if the innovations promote a faster, more secure and more efficient payment system.

Chris Dixon, Co-founder of Hunch now owned by eBay, Co-founder of SiteAdvisor now owned by McAfee:

There are 3 eras of currency: Commodity based, politically based, and now, math based.

Paul Graham, Creator of Yahoo Store:

I am very intrigued by Bitcoin. It has all the signs. Paradigm shift, hackers love it, yet it’s derided as a toy. Just like microcomputers.

David Marcus, CEO of Paypal:

I really like Bitcoin. I own Bitcoins. It’s a store of value, a distributed ledger. It’s also a good investment vehicle if you have an appetite for risk. But it won’t be a currency until volatility slows down.

Marc Andreessen, entrepreneur & investor:

Bitcoin is a classic network effect, a positive feedback loop. The more people who use Bitcoin, the more valuable Bitcoin is for everyone who uses it, and the higher the incentive for the next user to start using the technology. Bitcoin shares this network effect property with the telephone system, the web, and popular Internet services like eBay and Facebook.

Trace Mayer J.D., a leading expert on Bitcoin and gold:

Instant transactions, no waiting for checks to clear, no chargebacks (merchants will like this), no account freezes (look out Paypal), no international wire transfer fee, no fees of any kind, no minimum balance, no maximum balance, worldwide access, always open, no waiting for business hours to make transactions, no waiting for an account to be approved before transacting, open an account in a few seconds, as easy as email, no bank account needed, extremely poor people can use it, extremely wealthy people can use it, no printing press, no hyperinflation, no debt limit votes, no bank bailouts, completely voluntary. This sounds like the best payment system in the world!

Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google:

Bitcoin is a remarkable cryptographic achievement, and the ability to create something that is not duplicable in the digital world has enormous value.

John McAfee, Founder of McAfee:

You can’t stop things like Bitcoin. It will be everywhere, and the world will have to readjust. World governments will have to readjust.

Richard Branson, entrepreneur, business owner for Virgin empire:

Virgin Galactic is a bold entrepreneurial technology. It’s driving a revolution. And bitcoin is doing just the same when it comes to inventing a new currency.

Mike Novogratz, hedge fund manager, Galaxy Digital Assets:

Ten percent of my net worth is in this space.

Marc Kenigsberg, founder of Bitcoin Chaser:

Blockchain is the tech. Bitcoin is merely the first mainstream manifestation of its potential.

Vitalik Buterin, co-founder Ethereum and Bitcoin Magazine:

Whereas most technologies tend to automate workers on the periphery doing menial tasks, blockchains automate away the center. Instead of putting the taxi driver out of a job, blockchain puts Uber out of a job and lets the taxi drivers work with the customer directly.

Jeffrey Gundlach, DoubleLine Capital CEO and Chief Investment Officer:

Maybe I’m just too old, but I’m going to let this mania go on without me.

[Photo source, forbes.com]

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‘Soft’ Crypto ETF Alternative Now Geared Towards U.S. Investors, Says Bloomberg

A Bitcoin-based exchange traded note (ETN) listed on the Nasdaq Stockholm exchange is now being quoted in dollars, targeting U.S. investors.

A Bitcoin (BTC)-based exchange traded note (ETN) listed on the Nasdaq Stockholm exchange is now being targeted towards U.S. investors, Bloomberg reports Wednesday, August 15.

As many in the U.S. clamor to see a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) approved by regulators, this so-called “soft” alternative has been trading on the Swedish exchange since 2015, but is now being quoted in dollars under the ticker CXBTF as of Wednesday.

The product, dubbed Bitcoin Tracker One, is still technically listed and traded in Sweden, but many consider this latest move to be a gateway for U.S. investors. As CoinShares Holdings CEO Ryan Radloff told Bloomberg:

“Everyone that’s investing in dollars can now get exposure to these products, whereas before, they were only available in euros or Swedish krona. Given the current climate on the regulatory front in the U.S., this is a big win for Bitcoin.”

As Bloomberg notes, trading Bitcoin Tracker One is now “similar to buying an American depositary receipt, in that traders will see a foreign-listed asset in U.S. dollars.” To enable this, investors reportedly purchase so-called F shares, meaning that the ETN trades are executed in dollars, but all settlement, clearing, and custody takes place in the Swedish market.

Unlike a exchange-traded fund, an ETN is a debt instrument that is backed by an issuer — like a bank — instead of being tied directly to an asset. Bloomberg notes that the ETN could appeal to investors as an alternative to Grayscale’s Bitcoin Investment Trust, another form of passive investment instrument that is currently available to those who don’t want to actually store and hold the cryptocurrency itself.

As Cointelegraph has reported, there has been significant attention devoted to the pending approval of several high-profile Bitcoin ETFs by U.S. regulators. If approved, opinions are divided as to their future impact on the crypto space. CNBC’s Ran NeuNer has ventured that once such bridges to the mainstream financial sector are in, 2017’s bull run for crypto will come to “look like a warm-up.”

Bitcoin stalwarts Andreas Antonopoulos and Nick Szabo, meanwhile, both aired ETF skepticism this week, with the latter arguing that “Wall Street-managed money… might cause more problems than it’s worth.”

Ripple’s (XRP) xRapid Bags Three New Partnerships

Ripple XRP Token Trading

Ripple (XRP) enthusiasts have long been complaining that Ripple, the overseer of the altcoin finds more use cases for the cryptocoin, saying many of the partnerships sealed by the company were not in favour of XRP.

Now, Ripple (XRP) has danced to their tune. The blockchain company announced that xRapid, which is one of the most viable tools for cross-border payments, and majorly powered by XRP, has sealed a deal with three exchanges.

The decision is born of the fact that the success of xRapid depends on a healthy ecosystem of digital asset exchange partners across the world. These exchanges will give room for xRapid payments to be moved from one currency to XRP, and then into another as fast as possible.

In a release by Ripple, the blockchain technology indicated that Bittrex is going to act as the preferred digital asset exchange for xRapid. The exchange will cater for transactions performed through US Dollars.

Also, Bitso and Coins.ph are preferred for Mexican Pesos and Philippine Pesos respectively.

A statement by Cory Johnson, Chief Market Strategist at Ripple, “Bittrex is one of the biggest names in digital asset trading in the U.S. The same goes for Bitso in Mexico and Coins.ph in the Philippines. That makes today’s announcement an important development for xRapid.”

“We’ve seen several successful xRapid pilots already, and as we move the product from beta to production later this year, these exchange partners will allow us to provide financial institutions with the comfort and assurance that their payments will move seamlessly between different currencies.”

Meanwhile the CEO of Coins.ph, Ron Hose said, “We are excited to be partnering with Ripple to bring the benefits of blockchain technology to cross-border payments, making sending money home more affordable for 10M+ overseas Filipino workers”.

So, below is what the company feels xRapid payment flow will look like from the U.S. to Mexico:

  • A financial institution, that has an account with Bittrex, initiates a payment in US dollars via xRapid which is instantly converted into XRP on Bittrex.
  • The payment amount in XRP is settled over the XRP Ledger.
  • Bitso – through its Mexican Peso liquidity pool – instantly converts the XRP into fiat, which is then settled into a destination bank account.

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xRapid Brings on Three New Exchange Partners

xRapid, Ripple’s cross border payments product that minimizes liquidity costs, is powered by the superior speed, low transaction cost and scalability of the digital asset XRP. But for xRapid to be most successful, there needs to be a healthy ecosystem of digital asset exchange partners around the world. These exchanges allow xRapid payments to move from one currency – into XRP – and back into another currency quickly and efficiently.

Today, we’re pleased to announce Bittrex will act as the preferred digital asset exchange for xRapid transactions that move through US Dollars. In addition, Bitso and Coins.ph will be preferred for Mexican Pesos and Philippine Pesos, respectively.

Here’s what a xRapid payment flow will look like from the U.S. to Mexico:

  1. A financial institution, that has an account with Bittrex, initiates a payment in US dollars via xRapid which is instantly converted into XRP on Bittrex.
  2. The payment amount in XRP is settled over the XRP Ledger.
  3. Bitso – through its Mexican Peso liquidity pool – instantly converts the XRP into fiat, which is then settled into a destination bank account.

“Bittrex is one of the biggest names in digital asset trading in the U.S. The same goes for Bitso in Mexico and Coins.ph in the Philippines. That makes today’s announcement an important development for xRapid,” said Cory Johnson, Chief Market Strategist at Ripple. “We’ve seen several successful xRapid pilots already, and as we move the product from beta to production later this year, these exchange partners will allow us to provide financial institutions with the comfort and assurance that their payments will move seamlessly between different currencies.”

“We are excited to be partnering with Ripple to bring the benefits of blockchain technology to cross-border payments, making sending money home more affordable for 10M+ overseas filipino workers”, says Ron Hose, CEO of South East Asia’s e-wallet and financial services company, Coins.ph.

In May, Ripple announced that financial institutions piloting xRapid saved 40-70% on average compared to traditional foreign exchange brokers who facilitate cross-border payments. The payments also settled in two minutes or less compared to two to three days from traditional methods.

For more information on Ripple’s solutions or to learn more about becoming an xRapid partner contact us.

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Bitcoin ETN Makes its Debut in the United States

Investors in the United States who wish to trade Bitcoin without having to buy the cryptocurrency have been given another route to the top-ranked virtual currency via Bitcoin Exchange Traded Notes (ETN).

Details of the Bitcoin ETN

According to Bloomberg, starting Wednesday American investors will now have access to Bitcoin Tracker One, and BTC ETN. The product which runs under the CXBTF ticker will be quoted in U.S. dollars. However, the clearing and settlement of the trade will be in Krona and Euro since the product is listed and regulated in Sweden.

The ETN is issued by XBT Provider, a subsidiary of CoinShares. The company developed the product in 2015. In July 2018, Amsterdam-based EU speed trading behemoth, Flow Traders became the first company to participate in the BTC ETN market.

For Americans, trading is this particular Bitcoin ETN is like purchasing a U.S. depository receipt in that a foreign-listed asset is denominated in U.S. dollars. Commenting on the ETN, CEO of Coinshares, Ryan Radloff said:

Everyone that’s investing in dollars can now get exposure to these products, whereas before, they were only available in euros or Swedish krona. Given the current climate on the regulatory front in the U.S., this is a big win for Bitcoin.

ETN Might Represent a Soft Opening for Bitcoin ETF

The introduction of BTC ETN trading capability in the United States could be seen as a soft opening for the much sought after Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF). The SEC has far remained unmoved in its reticence concerning issuing approval for any BTC ETF.

Recently, the Commission denied the Winklevoss twins’ ETF application while postponing its decision on the VanEck/SolidX, as well as the Direxion filings. According to the SEC, issues relating to liquidity, custodial tools, and price manipulation haven’t been sufficiently addressed.

ETNs and ETFs are similar in some respects as they provide an opportunity to invest in an asset without actually owning the asset. Such a trading avenue seems perfect for cryptocurrencies given their price volatility. However, a few subtle differences exist between the two. Rather than being an asset pool, ETN is more like a debt instrument that is backed by a bank or any other recognized issuing institution.

Do you think the Bitcoin ETN will gain traction in the American market? Keep the conversation going in the comment section below.

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Crypto Markets Rally as US Investors get Exposure to Bitcoin ETN

Cryptocurrency markets are tentatively posting green numbers again after a disastrous start to August. Has the price just stopped letting blood or is the announcement of a Bitcoin ETN becoming available to US investors driving the minor upswing?

Swedish Bitcoin ETN Available to US Traders

A lot of this summer’s conversation in the Bitcoin community has been about the many Bitcoin ETFs that have been proposed to the US SEC. Of course, the regulator is yet to approve the much-lauded financial product and voices in the space are now saying that 2019 seems a more reasonable time frame.

However, US investors hoping to get exposure to Bitcoin through an established institution needn’t get despondent whilst they wait for what many feel is now inevitable. Starting Wednesday, they can buy Bitcoin exchange-traded notes (ETN).

The new product for US investors is called Bitcoin Tracker One. It isn’t a recent development but the ability to buy it in dollars is. The process of trading the ETN is like buying an American depository receipt since traders will see a foreign listing for the asset that is priced in dollars instead of local currency.

Put simply, an ETN is another way for investors to get exposure to an asset without having to deal with the custody of said asset. ETNs are essentially debt instruments that are backed by their issuers. They therefore don’t have to deal with the same level of security as a ETF since they don’t hold the underlying asset.

Bitcoin Tracker One started trading on the Nasdaq Stockholm stock exchange in 2015 and is therefore listed and regulated in Sweden. The parent company offering the ETN is called CoinShares Holdings Ltd. Its CEO, Ryan Radloff, told Bloomberg:

“Everyone that’s investing in dollars can now get exposure to these products, whereas before, they were only available in euros or Swedish krona… Given the current climate on the regulatory front in the U.S., this is a big win for Bitcoin.”

An ETN is fairly similar to an ETF in the way that they are traded. However, there are a couple of major differences: taxation and credit risk.

In terms of taxation, ETNs are subject to long-term capital gains. This is because only the difference between the price at purchase and at sale is considered taxable. By contrast, ETFs are subject to heavier taxation owing to the fact that the ETF will buy and sell assets within funds. This triggers short term capital gain tax, which is charged at a higher rate.

The second and possibly most important difference between ETNs and ETFs is that ETNs pose additional credit risk to investors. Since they do not actually hold the assets being traded, if the institution offering the ETN were to go bankrupt, investors could lose out. This is not possible in a commodity-backed ETF.

Bloomberg refers to today’s news as a “soft opening of sorts for a crypto ETF.” There is still much anticipation that a full commodity-backed ETF will see Bitcoin prices surge to new highs. It is believed that such a product would give institutional investors the confidence to enter the market on a grand scale.

 

Image from Shutterstock

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Notes From the Brink: Reasons Behind the Crypto Bear Market

Cointelegraph takes stock of a week in which double-digit losses wreaked havoc on many high-profile cryptos, and Bitcoin (BTC) momentarily fell through its $6,000 support.

Crypto is notoriously a “tough neighbourhood,” as even evergreen Bitcoin bull Tom Lee has put it. After a week in which double-digit losses wreaked havoc on many high-profile cryptos, and Bitcoin (BTC) momentarily fell through the $6,000 support, pitiless bearish sentiment has been circling, with some accusing the top coin of being “exhibit A” in a “permanently impaired or even game‐over” market.

While Bitcoin may have posted 2018 lows, Ethereum (ETH) also plummeted to an eleven-month low to trade at around $254, falling by as much as 20 percent on August 14 alone. That same day, total market cap collapsed by $13.2 billion — back to late November 2017 levels.

VC investor Tim Draper told Cointelegraph in an email that these vertiginous swings are exactly “why [he] made [his] prediction for 2022:”

“The long term trend is way up, but I expect many short-term swings in the market along the way. Fundamentally, the world needs Bitcoin, and that demand will only increase in the coming years as Bitcoin finds more and more uses and applications.”

Even more unflappable, “Bitcoin Jesus” Roger Ver, told us:

“I’m not sure what crash you are talking about. BTC is up 58% for the last year, and 1048% for the last two years. That feels like the opposite of a crash to me.”

As both of these remarks imply, the week’s cataclysm had in fact disproportionately impacted altcoins, leaving BTC relatively unscathed, as Coin360 data shows:  

Crypto market visualization. 15 June – 15 August historical data. Source: Coin360.

BTC dominance — or Bitcoin’s percentage of total crypto market cap — continues to break 2018 highs. As of press time it is at 53.3 percent, levels not seen since mid December 2017, just before the coin hit industry records to trade at $20,000.  

With alts undeniably ravaged, others have been puzzling why — even at a time of international currency crises, Bitcoin itself is yet to rally — this, surely, should be a bullish time for the top crypto? However, Bitcoin has notably failed to hold a recent breakthrough in late July when it was trading just shy of $8,400.

Bitcoin’s brief spike upwards in late July, since which it has tumbled. Source: Bitcoin Price Index

So — even if today’s flush of green has been a sight for your sore eyes, you’d be forgiven for continuing to feel skittish.

Is there method to this madness? Cointelegraph examines five of the most popular explanations for the week’s tumult to find out.

US Regulators Dithering Over Bitcoin ETF Approval

E-T-F — three letters anyone who’s been plugged in to the cryptosphere has probably had swirling around their head in recent weeks.

CryptoCompare CEO Charles Hayter yesterday proposed that the week’s market decline was a ricochet off the back of U.S. regulators’ recent decision to shelve a high-profile application for Bitcoin exchange-traded-fund (ETF) until September. He said:

“[This has been] momentum-based selling following the ETF kickback and the usual gyrations of a market in a depressed mode.”

Hussein Sayed, chief market strategist at FXTM, meanwhile suggested that:

“If an ETF doesn’t see the light in the coming weeks expect to see a further selloff, as it suggests regulators will continue to fight against bringing cryptocurrencies into the mainstream.”

If you’ve heard these three letters too many times by now, yet still can’t account for their mysterious powers to stir markets, let’s unpack this.

ETF stands for an exchange-traded-fund, which is a type of mutual investment fund that divides ownership of an underlying asset — a commodity, an index, bonds, or a basket of assets —  into shares.

The fund tracks the value of the asset(s) and is traded on exchanges, with shareholders entitled to any positive returns. A Bitcoin ETF can therefore offer an indirect way of purchasing BTC, where the investor only holds the corresponding security without having to hold the actual coin.

Crypto-based ETFs have long been discussed as a potential “holy grail” for the crypto industry that would herald major Wall Street adoption and allow for broader investor participation. They’re viewed by some as a less risky bet than investing directly in crypto on spot markets.

But as a marketable security that requires oversight by government authorities, their current regulatory status remains unclear. Several recent high-profile cases have demonstrated just how price-impactful ETF-related announcements from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) can be.

First, in mid-July, a market rally kicked off, bolstered by news that the $6.3 trillion asset management heavyweight BlackRock –– the world’s largest provider of ETFs –– was beginning to assess potential involvement in Bitcoin.

But just two weeks later, the markets turned, taking a sharp tumble in response to news that the high-profile Winklevoss twins’ Bitcoin ETF appeal had been denied, with a dizzying $12 billion wiped from total market capitalization.

At the beginning of August, the SEC delayed its decision over another Bitcoin ETF application –– this time filed by VanEck & SolidX for trading on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE). Notably, instead of proposing a BTC-futures-based fund, T plans to go with a physically-backed model involving owning actual BTC. The firm also prices the fund’s shares at $200,000 a pop, eyeing major institutional players.

The SEC’s fickle position has dampened hopes –– even the likes of Charlie Shrem had expected that regulators would have been more likely to grant a stalwart mainstream institution such as CBOE the right to trade an ETF, if not the Winklevoss’ Gemini exchange. EToro analyst Matthew Newton told British newspaper The Independent:

“A green light for the Bitcoin ETF would fire the starting gun on a race among institutional investors to cash-in on this new product, so the market is rightly frustrated by the delay to the decision.”

And –– as The Independent notes –– it’s not just “digital gold” that sees its price fortunes tied to these fabled three letters: the first ever ETF to be backed by gold, which launched in 2003, is reportedly credited for skyrocketing the precious metal’s price up by over 300 per cent in the following decade.

ICO Sell-Off: Developers Are Liquidating Funds Raised Through Token Sales

This theory “soft-forks” three ways.

One

Bloomberg has suggested that developers of Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) are now cashing their holdings into fiat that they can then spend on developing their products. Bearing in mind that most token initiatives are ECR20 projects built on the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain with funds raised in ETH, this could account for the recent shattering price weakness in the Ethereum market. Biswa Das of crypto hedge fund BloomWater Capital told Bloomberg:

“These startups [raised] a lot of funds but they don’t have treasury management or enough cash management experience, so they’re selling too early and causing a lot of pressure in the market. It was fine last year but right now the the market is so fragile that it causes a lot of pressure.”

Das added that those projects that raised ETH during the market’s peak will “be most compelled to sell,” which CoinFi CEO Timothy Tam echoed when he remarked that “ICOs that raised a lot of money are really feeling a lot of pain” as the value of their crypto holdings plummets.

Bloomberg cites July figures from Autonomous Research that suggest that ICO liquidations worth around $5 billion have been driving down ETH’s price, an impact that has been “magnified due to deteriorating sentiment and low liquidity.” It also points to data from research website Santiment, which estimates that ECR20 projects “have spent over 110,000 ETH in the past 30 days.”

Back during the height of Ethereum’s allegedly ICO-driven rally in 2017, the altcoin soared to almost 32 percent dominance of the total cryptocurrency market, compared to Bitcoin’s roughly 39 percent at the time, as data from CoinMarketCap shows.

Ethereum’s burgeoning market cap share in June 2017. Source: CoinMarketCap

The turning tide in summer 2017 sparked talk of a so-called “flippening,” with some claiming that Vitalik Buterin’s brainchild would soon take the lion’s share of overall crypto market capitalization.

With Ethereum’s dominance now dipping as low as 13.5 percent August 14, Timothy Tam took the measure of fortunes as now doubly reversed, emphasizing that “the big story in the market [this week] is the huge weakness in Ethereum,” and noting that “Bitcoin has held up relatively well versus Ethereum,” even as it saw a dent in its chart against the dollar.

Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin in turn hit back, saying that he does not see the recent price collapse as a constraint to further growth. In a discussion with Bloomberg, Lubin attributed the market volatility to “trader types,” i.e. speculative investors, saying that it is not necessarily an indicator of underlying infrastructure enhancement:

“ … we build more fundamental infrastructure, we see a correction, and the potential gets even more impressive…we are probably two orders of magnitude bigger as a developer community than we were eight or 10 months ago.”  

Lubin added that the value surges of the past year were just another bubble like the previous “six big bubbles, each more epic than the previous one, and each bubble is astonishing when they’re happening.”

Two

Meanwhile, Yahoo Finance’s Jared Blikre has claimed that unconfirmed rumors from insider sources allege that the SEC is about to come out with new rules for ICOs in September. This, he said, could be fuelling “a scare that ICOs are disappearing,” but “who knows if it’s true.”

Three

The starkest version of the sell-off theory held that the “extinction-level event” for crypto assets –– which saw droves of double-digit losses among altcoins –– was a deserved comeuppance for projects that had failed to deliver on the goods. Blockstream Corp.’s Samson Mow suggested that “most cryptocurrencies have been overvalued for a very long time” –– or as financial broadcaster Max Keiser told Cointelegraph in an email:

“Crypto markets are shaking out the excess capacity of having more than 1,800 coins with no use case. Before 2017, the only reason new coins were created was to replace coins that had died. The expectation was that all non-Bitcoins would go to zero. Then 2017, and that equation was turned on its head. In 2018 we’re back to coin suicide watch for all but a few; Bitcoin, Litecoin, Monero, EOS, DASH, and a few others.”

Keiser added his Bitcoin-maximalist prediction that “by 2019, Bitcoin’s preeminence as a store of value will reassert itself and we’ll see new all-time-highs. 20 or so coins will make the cut and see new highs. The rest will go the way of virtually all software, gone and forgotten.”

The week’s carnage notably extended well beyond fledgling tokens and ECR20 projects to major contenders such as Ripple (XRP), Litecoin (LTC), EOS, and Cardano (ADA), as Coin360 historical data shows:

Crypto market visualization. 13 August – 14 August historical data. Source: Coin360.

Eyes bleeding, Digital Currency Group CEO Barry Silbert offered up a poll to gage the sentiment of the crypto twittersphere:

Out of 19,871 respondents, 73 percent thought the tumult isn’t over. But, as Fundstrat analyst Tom Lee quipped in response, the poll could likely be a “contrarian indicator”:

“Interested to see result but because crowds are influenced by price action (hence, not independent…no bottom majority probably means bottom in place.”

To Conquer Fear Is The Beginning Of Wisdom

This brings us to the golden thread that wove through all three versions of the sell-off theory and spins off into its own self-fulfilling spiral. EToro analyst Matthew Newton told the Express that it’s not just ICOs that are liquidating, but investors themselves that have “hit panic mode”:

“Investors seem to be increasing liquidations of their ICO holdings, with significant drops in price and increased volumes.This has had a knock-on effect on the rest of the altcoin market, with Bitcoin also momentarily dropping below $6,000 late last night. With prices hanging in the balance, emotions will be running high among traders.

Or, as Samson Mow noted, this “feels like the opposite of last year when money piled in as people felt FOMO. Now it’s piling out as they sense panic.” This theory has been echoed across the crypto space, with Blockchain Capital LLC’s Spencer Bogart alleging investor “disillusionment” with tokens and ICOs, and BKCM CEO Brian Kelly saying that “investors that were in it, and maybe caught the hype in November and December, are now panic selling out.”

ThinkCoin chief analyst Naeem Aslam shared his technical analysis with Cointelegraph in an email, suggesting that the market picture is showing signs of strained stamina in a protracted bear market:

“There are serious concerns that we may actually make another new low for the year because of the sturdy bearish sentiment […] traders have been waiting for the bull rally since early June […] but in actual reality, bears have shown their brutal strength over the bulls […] the only reason that we are seeing […] selling off so badly is that traders are losing hope of a bull run […] as long as the price keeps on having a stab at the lows of this year $5,791, we are not out of woods.”

Aslam’s email was penned during yesterday’s market respite, so he qualified his analysis to note that with Bitcoin “breaking [the August 14th] high of $6,298,” there is “a strong hope” for a bull run to continue if downward momentum stops short of forming a new 2018 low. In this scenario, the week will prove to have been a “false alarm,” he wrote. Aslam gave three key levels to keep in mind which show just how far the technicals intersect with sentiment:

“November 13th low: $5,605

October 18th low: $5,109

Psychological level: $5,000”

Although EToro’s Newton did stress that “keeping things in perspective, Bitcoin is still range-bound for now between $5,700 to $8,000 [and] in line with how it has traded over the past few months,” market panic –– as all these commentators suggest –– runs by its own logic.

Alleged despair and disillusionment also means we’re not just on coin suicide watch, but investor suicide watch, as the popular r/cryptocurrency forum on Reddit saw users on August 14 sharing helplines and site links for the US Suicide Hotline and the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

The Indomitable Futures Interaction Argument

We’ll keep this one short, and let you yourself judge whether or not this is a coincidence, remembering that Bitcoin was by no means the largest casualty of the week’s market havoc.

Earlier this summer, Fundstrat’s Tom Lee –– echoed by others –– had attributed the “gut wrenching” price weaknesses of Bitcoin to futures contract expirations, based on analysis of compiled data for the six expirations that have occured since CBOE launched its BTC futures contracts in December 2017.

CNBC’s Brian Kelly yesterday tweeted a graph accompanied by a statement implying that this week’s price tumble may have something to do with August 15 being the date of BTC futures expirations on CBOE:

“Today is CBOE Bitcoin Futures Expiration. This chart comes from one of the best crypto traders I know; who wishes to remain anonymous. I will call him “Pocket Full of Crypto” #bitcoin tends to recover after expiration.”

In a separate tweet, Kelly further noted that “$BTC shorts are still rising toward April highs…hmmm…,” accompanied by a second graph:

In his own comments on the week, Jared Blikre had also noted the transformational impact of futures trading on the Bitcoin space, saying that,

“I think Wall Street is gearing up for Bitcoin in a big way … but in the short term, we could have a washout, we could go down to $5,000, to $4,000, because the character of Bitcoin, the way it trades, has changed since last December’s introduction of futures.”

The Unexpected Fiat Interaction Argument

Blikre this week joined others in proposing what might be an apparently unusual argument for a crypto market analyst, given that many deem crypto assets’ price performance to be immunized from wider economic factors and capital markets. As James Quinn, head of markets at blockchain investment advisory firm Kenetic, told Bloomberg this week:

“Correlations historically have been extremely low between cryptocurrencies and other asset classes, which is one of the reasons why there is interest in this space.”

Nonetheless, in the wider landscape, emerging market economies — the Turkish lira, the South African rand and the Indian rupee — have all tumbled against the greenback this week.

Blikre –– speaking August 14, when Bitcoin was trading 30 percent down over the three week-period –– suggested:

“30 percent is a crash right. The issue is, Bitcoin is a currency, and when we quote on our screen it’s BTC/USD, that’s a symbol. So like other currencies it trades against the US dollar. The US dollar’s on a tear, it’s up 4.5 percent this year, over the last three days it’s up 1.5 percent. That’s a big move for the dollar, and there’s not a lot of overhead resistance, so it could go even further.”

EToro analyst analyst Mati Greenspan mirrored Blikre in a tweet today, saying that “the buck is simply crushing everything in its path. He proposed that the apparent carnage “may well be a side effect” of dollar strength:

“This is the best explanation I can think of for the crypto decline given all the positive developments we’ve been seeing in the industry.”

Max Keiser for his part offered the following chart as evidence of what he termed the “damage [the] rising dollar is having around the world”:

Bloomberg notes that Bitcoin’s slide against the dollar this month is “almost as big as the Turkish lira’s 25 percent slump” –– “putting paid to the notion” –– as chief analyst at Markets.com Neil Wilson told Business Insider –– “of cryptos as a safe haven play.” Wilson added that “ultimately USD and US Treasury notes are the only real safe harbour.”

Before you arch your brows, this week has interestingly seen the exact opposite argument from renowned US economist Peter Schiff, who is credited for predicting the 2008 housing market meltdown. While it’s worth noting that Schiff is not exactly a Bitcoin bull, in his recent interview with Salon he scathingly anatomized what he considers to be an inevitable impending economic collapse in the fiat-denominated world:

“I think the U.S is in worse shape than Europe […] not that Europe and Japan are not in trouble, they are. But I just think we’re in more trouble  […] There are a lot of bubbles. The bond market is a bubble. The stock market, housing, the whole U.S. economy, really, is one gigantic bubble […] We’re going to have to deal with a lot of defaults, [and] a lot of debtors are going to go broke.”

Schiff further predicted that the Fed’s go-to solution of quantitative easing would wreak yet further havoc for the dollar. With the post-2008 bailout measures, he said, we’ve “actually compounded problems” and postponed “consequences to a later date –– we’re headed to that later date.”

Divinatory Practices

Whether you don a chartist’s hat or sift through proliferating white papers to make your investment judgements, commentators of all stripes continue to devise new strategies to interpret crypto-specific market signals.

A research group from Yale recently proposed a system intended to gage the “risk-return trade-off” of major cryptos, identifying a “strong time-series momentum effect” among major assets such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple. Yale’s research also found a correlation between price and investor attention, which they deduced via social media and search engine trend analyses.

Fundstrat’s Tom Lee, for his part, has developed a “contrarian index” that lets investors know how “miserable” Bitcoin holders are based on current prices — dubbed the Bitcoin Misery Index (BMI) — which he launched at a time of comparable crypto market woes.

If eye-popping volatility appears –– until now –– to remain something of a paradoxical constant in the crypto space, this summer has seen significant developments, the impact of which is arguably yet to be understood.

Earlier this month, Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) –– the operator of 23 leading global exchanges including the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) –– unveiled its plans to create a global ecosystem for digital assets that would cover the spectrum from federally regulated markets and warehousing to merchant and consumer needs.

While some have proposed this is the “biggest Bitcoin news of the year,” implying forthcoming bullish price moves as qualified custodian solutions are offered to institutional clients at scale, others propose that leverage-based financialization could hit at Bitcoin’s “algorithmically-enforced scarcity,” with adverse implications.

But –– as this latter argument notes –– this will depend on how HODLers choose to negotiate the new bridge with the traditional financial world. Until then –– we’re in for interesting times.

Cointelegraph would like to thank Helen Partz for her research contributions to this article.

Thailand Opens to Crypto as SEC Approves Seven Exchanges

thailand crypto

Nations across Asia have been pretty mixed with their approach to cryptocurrencies. Governments in the region tend to be more autocratic where the notion of free trade, decentralization, and power to the people is abhorrent to many of them.

Thailand, which is currently in the grips of a military dictatorship, is taking an unexpected favorable stance towards cryptos as the Securities and Exchange Commission announced their approval of several exchanges in the Kingdom.

According to yesterday’s Thai SEC announcement seven crypto exchanges have been approved for legal operations. The exchanges include BX Thailand (Bitcoin Co. Ltd), the country’s leading exchange which handles $2.3 million in trade volume per day. Additionally Bitkub Online Co. Ltd, Cash2coins Co. Ltd, TDAX (Group Co. Ltd), and Coin Asset Co. Ltd were approved for trading.

Two cryptocurrency dealers: Coins TH Co. Ltd and Digital Coin Co. Ltd (ThaiWM) were also approved by the regulator. According to the Digital Management Act, which came into effect in May, operators were still allowed to permit trading for three months until the final decision was made. Two further digital asset operators that had submitted applications were also under review.

Secretary General of the SEC, Rapee Sucharitakul, stated;

“Investors should check whether the business is listed by the SEC before investing in high-risk digital assets. Operators who are not listed but wish to operate a digital asset business can apply for a license from the SEC. They will be able to carry on business only if they are licensed by the Ministry of Finance.”

Earlier this month Thailand’s central bank released a circular outlining their policies on cryptocurrencies and back tracking on a previous ruling that prevented financial institutions getting involved in crypto. Last week the SEC revealed that over 50 ICO projects were interested in operating in the country as regulations are made clearer.

The SEC also recently approved seven cryptocurrencies for use in ICOs and trading pairs within the country. The ruling junta had previously proposed a heavy taxation of 22% to be levied on crypto profits and trades. The move came under scrutiny from business leaders and the 7% VAT on all trades was waived however the 15% capital gains tax on profits remains in place but has yet to be enforced.

After a negative start to the year Thailand finally appears to be warming to crypto which will keep it competing with South Korea and Singapore.

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Messaging Giant LINE Launches New Crypto Fund, Lists Tron (TRX)

The current crumbling crypto market conditions appear to be no deterrent to tech and communications companies that are clamoring to get in on the action. South Korean messaging firm LINE is upping the game with the launch of a $10 million crypto investment fund.

Unblock Ventures Crypto Fund

According to the announcement, LINE’s Korean blockchain subsidiary, Unblock Corporation, will be operating the fund. The initial capital pool for the corporate token venture fund, named Unblock Ventures, will be $10 million which will be made by another Line Corporation company, LVC Corp. The fund is expected to expand in the future in line with growth in the blockchain sector. The company added;

“By launching this new corporate token fund, LINE is aiming to boost the development and adoption of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. As such, LINE is one of the first publicly traded corporations to formalize token investments through a corporate fund.”

LINE is big in Asia and has over 200 million users, mostly in Japan, Korea, Thailand and Indonesia. It is based in Japan and listed in Tokyo and on the NYSE whereas the parent firm, Naver Corp, is based in Korea. The firm’s reach goes beyond messaging platforms as it also offers payment services, food delivery, social gaming and taxi services.

Tron Listed on BITBOX, Airdrop Inbound

The new crypto fund marks LINE’s second big foray into the industry this year. In June NewsBTC reported that LINE launched its own crypto exchange, BITBOX, which is based in Singapore. Yesterday it announced that it was adding Tron (TRX) to its listings on the exchange. The firm also added that it was “now accepting applications from other coin projects that want to join the exchange and that are prepared to undergo a thorough evaluation process.”

An airdrop was also announced to celebrate the new addition with 9 million Tron coins to be airdropped to users on BITBOX, in a promotional event running until August 22. CEO of LINE Tech Plus, the firm’s Singapore-based subsidiary that operates BITBOX, Youngsu Ko, said;

“Integrating TRON (TRX) with BITBOX will enable us to connect with the world’s fastest-growing blockchain project. TRON has a solid tech platform, especially now it has joined forces with BitTorrent. We look forward to building a strategic partnership with TRON and offering our users the best experience available in the cryptocurrency space.”

TRX prices jumped 11% on the announcement yesterday but fell back to $0.0198, up just 1% on the day at the time of writing.

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