Critical ‘Monsieur Bitcoin’ Appointed Head of French Crypto Regulatory Task Force

France is to spearhead its cryptocurrency regulation with a task force headed by Jean-Pierre Landau who thinks Bitcoin is the “tulips of modern times.”

France’s Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire has appointed an open Bitcoin critic to head a task force examining cryptocurrency regulation, local source Les Echos reports Monday, Jan. 15.

Jean-Pierre Landau, who called Bitcoin “the tulips of modern times” four years ago, will now head France’s efforts to “better control” its regulatory evolution.

We want a stable economy,” minister Le Maire told reporters in a session during which he announced Landau’s appointment.

“We cannot allow speculative risk and the possibility of misappropriation [of funds] linked to Bitcoin.”

Despite Landau’s past opposition, Les Echos describes him as “Monsieur Bitcoin,” Mister Bitcoin.

Landau’s tasks will also involve researching how French authorities can stop “tax evasion, money laundering and criminal and terrorist activity financing” using cryptocurrency.

Le Maire himself has become a vocal proponent of legislative improvements for cryptocurrency at an international level in recent months.

In December, he announced his desire for Bitcoin to be a topic of debate at the forthcoming G20 Summit in Argentina scheduled for March.

There is evidently a risk of speculation. We need to consider and examine this and see how… with all the other G20 members we can regulate Bitcoin,” he told local news network LCI.

World’s Fourth Largest Bank MUFG To Launch Own Cryptocurrency In 2018

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Japan’s largest bank, is reportedly set to launch its own cryptocurrency in FY 2018.

Japan’s Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG), the fourth largest bank in the world, will launch its own digital currency MUFG coin, local news publication Mainichi.jp reported Sunday, Jan. 14.

MUFG is the largest financial company in Japan and is set to become the first Japanese bank to issue a virtual currency, Mainichi.jp reports.

The bank had plans to develop a cryptocurrency as far back as 2016. According to Mainichi.jp, the launch date has now been finalized and is intended to take place in the FY 2018.

Based on Blockchain technology, MUFG coin will allow users to conduct instant person-to-person transactions as well as shop with lower fees.

MUFG stated the company will process all the transactions from its cryptocurrency’s network, claiming that such an approach will help improve the stability of the coin.

The bank also plans to peg one MUFG coin to one Japanese yen in order to maintain people’s confidence in the new cryptocurrency.

Another local company, the e-commerce giant DMM Group, launched its own 7-asset cryptocurrency exchange on Jan. 11, which highlights the growing level of Blockchain tech adoption in Japan.

In contrast to the governments of neighboring China and South Korea, the Japanese government has adopted a more welcoming approach to regulating the cryptocurrency market, which has likely had a positive impact on the growth of the industry in the country.

South Korean Petition Against Crypto Regulation Gets 200K Signatures, Government Must Respond

200,000 people sign a petition asking the South Korean government to stop its attempts of strict cryptocurrency regulation, government obligated to respond.

Tuesday morning, Jan. 16, a South Korean petition against the regulation of virtual currency reached the amount of signatures required to compel a response from the government.

The online petition calling the government to reconsider its stance on cryptocurrency regulation was started on the website of the South Korean presidential office on Dec. 28.

On January 16, the petition obtained more than 212,700 signatures. According to the website of the presidential office, the minimum required for a government response is 200,000, thus officials are expected to react to the requests listed in the petition in the next 30 days.

The petition asks the government to renounce proposed trading regulations that would ruin “a happy dream” that has been enabled by digital currencies.

However, the petition still supports some of South Korea’s cryptocurrency regulations, such as banning anonymous trading accounts. Notably, South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb also supportsthe right set of regulations”.

Worried about a ‘cryptocurrency obsession’ in the country, the South Korean government started considering a range of regulatory measures for crypto.

Some of the proposed regulations include banning anonymous virtual trading accounts, forbidding underaged investors and foreigners from investing in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies on the Korean market, and even banning cryptocurrency trading outright.

Cryptocurrency investing has become especially popular among South Korean youth since the country’s economic situation is notably hard for the young population. According to Quartz, the youth unemployment hit an all-time high rate of 12.5% in February 2017, compared to the average overall unemployment rate of 4.2%.

Overall, the stance of the South Korean government towards cryptocurrency regulation has been contradictory during the last month, made particularly confusing by the Justice Minister’s informal proposal of a cryptocurrency trading ban, which was then widely misreported by mainstream media.

How Much of a Bubble is Bitcoin, Really?

There are even instances where people with no former interest in cryptocurrency feel now is the time to start becoming involved in the Bitcoin boom. But some onlookers wonder, will the bubble burst, and if so, how long from now?

Even those who’ve never invested in Bitcoin before are starting to keep a closer eye on its progress. That’s because the currency has recently soared in value, causing the people who own Bitcoins to get excited and wonder how much more the worth could climb.

There are even instances where people with no former interest in cryptocurrency feel now is the time to start becoming involved in the Bitcoin boom. But some onlookers wonder, will the bubble burst, and if so, how long from now?

Bitcoin shows many signs of a classic bubble

Derek Thompson, who covers economics for The Atlantic as a senior editor, notes it’s hard to determine if Bitcoin is a bubble because it’s an entire industry. However, he thinks Bitcoin’s recent patterns are akin to other famous bubbles that burst — such as the dotcom bubble.

Bitcoin is a topic on everyone’s tongues and minds. Investors make huge life decisions based on Bitcoin worth, and they often make impressive predictions about what’ll happen in the future. People also made those actions in association with other things that went bust, leading individuals to caution history will repeat itself. They say the only thing they’re not certain about is when it’ll happen.

Bitcoin volatility is a constant

One of the reasons why people are buzzing about Bitcoins is because their value has skyrocketed so much. At the beginning of 2017, a Bitcoin was worth $1,000. Now, its value is $5,000. Then, there was a point in September where the per-coin value was nearly $5,000, but it tumbled to $3,200 only two weeks later.

For a broader perspective though, it’s necessary to realize that altcoins — any cryptocurrency that’s not Bitcoin — also fluctuate. That reality could theoretically contribute to worries that Bitcoin is a bubble. They might assume that Bitcoin is as volatile as all the other cryptocurrencies, but compiled market statistics actually indicate it’s the most stable.

Even so, some people who intelligently track the market expect volatility. Dave Birch, founder of Consult Hyperion, a leading consultancy in the field of electronic transactions, has even said, “One does not invest in Bitcoin, one gambles in Bitcoin.”

He backs up that belief by advising people to only invest as much as they’re prepared to lose. If individuals actually did that, the possibility of a bursting Bitcoin bubble wouldn’t be so frightening. Instead, many people have moved all their investments over to the Bitcoin world.

Anonymous transactions and lack of spending options cause raised eyebrows

A characteristic that attracts many people to Bitcoin is the ability to send and receive money without revealing personal information. They also love the lack of government regulation and feel that by investing in the Bitcoin market, they have more financial freedom.

However, Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund, calls the idea of private Bitcoin transactions questionable. He doesn’t believe the world’s governments will allow the lack of personal identification information associated with Bitcoin to persist forever and brings up how in the US. The IRS has already demanded some user records associated with the Coinbase website.

Furthermore, Chainalysis is a company that specializes in helping identify the people who own the digital wallets used to store Bitcoins. The discovered information reduces fraud and money laundering.

Dalio also mentions the high amount of speculation and the lack of spending options for Bitcoin owners. He believes the concept of Bitcoin could work because of that speculation and that people don’t have enough ways to use the Bitcoins they own. For those reasons, he agrees there is a Bitcoin bubble, and that’s the only logical conclusion considering the rapid rise of the Bitcoin’s value.

Market control in the hands of a small number of people

Another thing that could make the Bitcoin bubble burst — or at least make investors panic — is the fact that approximately 1,000 people hold about 40 percent of all Bitcoins. The individuals tied to large amounts of the cryptocurrency are often referred to as “whales.” If they choose to suddenly sell a lot of Bitcoins to take advantage of high market prices, other Bitcoin owners notice.

There are also fears the whales could coordinate actions between themselves and work together to make the market fluctuate. Because the laws surrounding cryptocurrency are not concrete, there are uncertainties about what kind of punishments they might face for doing that.

Cryptocurrency founder says Bitcoin is not a bubble

Although it’s not hard to find plentiful online resources asserting there’s no doubt Bitcoin is a huge bubble soon to burst, some people provide alternative views. One of them is Ben Davies, co-founder of another cryptocurrency called Glint. He thinks people are not looking at the bigger picture of Bitcoin, and that’s causing them to incorrectly see it as a bubble.

Davies also thinks the way people often compare Bitcoin to the bubble associated with tulip bulbs doesn’t hold water. He notes that although the prices of tulips soared then experienced a sharp downturn, that historic event is a “poor comparison. He asserts the price increases associated with tulips were not similar to the cryptocurrency phenomenon. However, even Davies admits Bitcoin “has all the hallmarks and antecedents that are the precursor to a bubble.”

This is just a sampling of why so many people strongly believe Bitcoin is a gigantic bubble that’s a substantial concern. To avoid getting into the kind of trouble that could potentially ruin their lives, investors should continue studying the market regularly and seeing how the Bitcoin value fluctuates.

Besides, it’s smart to have a plan in place for if or when the bubble bursts. Many of the people who were the most severely affected by previous bubbles that popped were those who didn’t stop to think “What if?” and figure out what to do if the worst happened.

Failing to do so could mean a person is ignoring history.

IBM And Maersk Start Promised Blockchain Supply Chain Company

IBM and Maersk make good on previous promises, announce the start of Blockchain supply chain platform.

IBM and Danish transport and logistics company Maersk announced Jan. 16 that they are teaming up to create an as-yet-unnamed Blockchain-based shipping and supply chain company. The goal of the venture is to commercialize Blockchain for all aspects of the global supply chain system, from shipping to ports, and banks to customs offices.

Blockchain technology is uniquely able to provide special control for the logistics industry, since it can replace tedious and insecure paperwork with secure digital records that are also transparent.

Maersk’s chief commercial officer Vincent Clerc, who will serve as chairman of the newly formed board for the joint venture, was quoted in the official announcement saying:

“The potential from offering a neutral, open digital platform for safe and easy ways of exchanging information is huge, and all players across the supply chain stand to benefit.”

The company had promised to make delivery of the new project by the end of last year. The offering is the fulfillment of a year’s worth of planning by both companies, each of whom have invested in Blockchain in various other ways as well. The joint venture is hoping to start offering their software solutions by Q3 2018.

Ripple’s Image Not Protected from Market Sell-Off

ripple cryptocurrency making money

Value continues to drop maniacally with market-wide sales regardless of name. South Korea’s impending ban of the digital currencies would destroy an environment that found success late in 2017 because of the same nation. It remains a question as to how, when, and to what extent a ban would affect trading, but the negative atmosphere is scaring off investors.

The American market played into a late downturn for countless tokens at the end of 2017. Wall Street’s skeptical view of cryptocurrency led to a number of traditional investors to abandon ship before the regulation-less market felt the squeeze. That time has now come as regulations and complete bans are being handed down via different avenues.

One of the star coins during the first way of sell-offs in December was Ripple (XRP). The token which acts as a transfer vehicle for prominent financial institutions climbed to all-time highs while Bitcoin, Litecoin, and many others were plague by downward trends. Starting 2017 with a value of slightly more than half a cent per token, XRP closed out the calendar year beyond $2.25.

Carrying a spike to start 2018, value has beyond settled. Ripple is a part of the massive freefall effecting nearly the entire market. The entire crypto market has seen a loss in value of over $250 billion. Just two coins (Tether (USDT) and Siacoin (SC)) increased their value on Tuesday. Ripple, which had held firm during previous downturn, fell nearly nearly 17% over the same 24-hour period.

Market downturn has been a part of cryptocurrency and will continue to be until tokens have mass utility. Extreme volatility in coin values is one of the initial deterrents for investors entering the market. However, Ripple’s ability to withstand widespread troubles post-price rise had not only traders optimistic, but creators as well. The extensive positive trend in value had Ripple rethinking its internal market strategy with an eye on consumer-retail. Bitcoin holds the strongest grasp on chances of becoming a daily tender. Ripple felt a brief stint of success may have been enough to rethink their original mindset.

Ripple presently stands apart of many cryptocurrencies because it holds greater tangible use in the present. A speculative market can be overturned by actual substance, and that is why Ripple rapidly rose up the charts. However, the token’s recent downturn has shown that it is still just a single fish in a large pond.

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Litecoin Price Analysis: LTC/USD Slides Toward $150

Litecoin Price Analysis: LTC/USD Slides Toward $150

Litecoin price declined further and moved below the $175 support against the US Dollar. LTC/USD tested the $150 level and it currently in a bearish zone.

Key Talking Points

  • Litecoin price is struggling to recover after an hourly close below the $200 support (Data feed of Kraken) against the US Dollar.
  • There are two bearish trend lines forming with current resistance at $188 on the hourly chart of LTC/USD pair.
  • There are two important resistances forming near $200 and $220 on the upside.

Litecoin Price Forecast

There were further declines noted in litecoin price as it failed to hold the $200-220 support area against the US dollar. The LTC/USD pair fell below the $175 low as well, and traded toward the $150 level. A new monthly low was formed at $151.22 and the price is currently placed in bearish zone below the 100 hourly simple moving average.

A minor correction is underway from the $151.22 low. It has moved above the 23.6% Fib retracement level of the last decline from the $247 high to $151 low.

Litecoin Price Analysis: LTC/USD Slides Toward $150
Cryptocurrency charts and prices provided by TradingView

However, there are many resistances on the upside near the $190, $200 and $220 level. An initial barrier is around are two bearish trend lines forming with current resistance at $188 on the hourly chart.

Above the trend lines, the 50% Fib retracement level of the last decline from the $247 high to $151 low is at $199.58 to act as the next major hurdle for buyers. However, the most important resistance is at $220.

The stated $220 level was a support earlier and now it could stop upsides in litecoin price. Only a successful close above the $220 resistance and the 100 hourly simple moving average may possibly negate the current bearish structure.

On the downside, an initial support is around the $160 level, followed by the $150 swing low. Should there be further declines below $150, the price will most likely accelerate losses toward $120.

The overall bias is bearish and buyers should be careful chasing the market as long as LTC/USD is below $220.

Trade safe traders and do not overtrade!

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Major crypto selloff as markets tumble

Crypto markets down

Bitcoin and its brethren took a beating this morning during the Asian trading session as a major selloff ensued and markets slumped across the board. Unlike yesterday were a couple of coins such as NEO were climbing all have lost today and prices continue to fall.

Speculation of possible further clampdowns in Southeast Asia, particularly South Korea could be the cause of the decline. The end of the first round of CBoE Bitcoin futures are also due now so there could be massive shorting occurring. Either way the markets are hemorrhaging and the total market capacity has fallen 34% from $730 billion to $480 billion over the past seven days.

Bitcoin has fallen from $14,450 this time last week to $10,800 today, a decline of 25% in a week. Over the past 30 days the fall is closer to 45%. Trading analysts have forecast that it could go as low as $8,000 before showing any signs of recovery. Implementation of the Lightning Network could possibly be the lifeline to revive Bitcoin however adoption is likely to be a gradual process.

Ethereum has shed over 20% in the past 24 hours falling from $1,200 to $950. However looking at the three month chart paints a better picture as ETH is still up over 200% despite the current market collapse. Traders have been slowly switching to Ethereum as a base to buy other altcoins due to the problems with Bitcoin’s slow and expensive transactions. More and more ICOs using it have also helped it along in recent months and the price action is still quite strong.

Litecoin has also suffered and has dropped a similar 20% from $240 to around $180 but considering it was trading at $55 in November things don’t look too bad. Ripple has probably taken the biggest hit falling over 70% from its January 5 high of $3.80. Even NEO which had rallied through most of the troughs has fallen today, down from a record high of $194 two days ago to around $130 today.

The markets are still very volatile and have swung dramatically in just a few months, it will be a while before things settle down in crypto land and only the brave will survive. Those hodling who believe in the technology may do well by buying more in the dips.

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Cryptocurrency Market Continues to Slump as Ethereum, Ripple, et al. Suffer 20%+ Fall

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The cryptocurrency market has continued to slump over the past 24 hours, as major cryptocurrencies including Ripple, Ethereum, and Bitcoin Cash recorded over 20 percent in daily losses. Since January 15, the market valuation of cryptocurrencies declined from $700 billion to $500 billion within a 48-hour span. In the past few hours, the cryptocurrency market

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Bitconnect Closes Virtually Its Entire Operation, BCC Token Drops 87%

Bitconnect essentially closes its doors following regulatory troubles, bad publicity.

Bitconnect has formally closed its lending platform and cryptocurrency exchange following warnings from Texas and North Carolina regulators. The Bitconnect Coin (BCC) digital currency is down 87% today and 93% from its December 29 high of $437. At press time, BCC is trading for just $30.

Ponzi-like

Many in the digital currency community have called Bitconnect a Ponzi scheme, including Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin, according to TechCrunch. Such accusations were based on the multi-level referral system and the promise of up to 40% earned interest, plus a daily bonus of up to 0.25% per day, on each loan. The promise of risk-free high returns is often typical of a scam – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Bitconnect Coin’s website describes the currency as:

“The moment you acquire BitConnect Coin it becomes an interest-bearing asset with 120% return per year. It is that simple.”

Unfortunately for investors, that “interest-bearing asset” is now nearly worthless.