🤷 Opinions Thomas Hughes

2018: The Year That Could Have Been But Wasn't

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Cryptomarkets shed billions in market cap over the past year, but traders are still betting on BTC $20,000. Read on for the three catalysts you should look for in 2019
2018: The Year That Could Have Been But Wasn't
Contents

Cryptomarkets shed billions in market cap over the past year, but traders are still betting on BTC $20,000. Read on for the three catalysts you should look for in 2019. 2018 was the year that could have been. It was the year that could have seen BTC reach $20,000, it was the year we could have seen mass adoption of cryptocurrency, it was the year we could have seen ETH overcome its scaling issues, and it was the year we could have seen US regulation. The problem for the market is that it wasn't. 2018 was one big fat dude for cryptocurrency and now only one question remains: Will cryptocurrency markets rebound in 2019?

Bitcoin sold off and sold off again, and again

Depending on how you do your calculations (and which exchange you get your data from), Bitcoin is down more than 80%. BTC is down more than 84% from its peak set in late 2017, it's down more than 81% from January 1st, 2018, and it looks like it could go much lower before hitting its bottom. While the coin, and the market, are showing signs of life at current levels (near $3,750 BTC/USD) the technical picture is not good. BTC has recently fallen below the 23% retracement level of the 2017 bull market and is set to retest a one-year low.

BTC/USD chart
BTC/USD chart

Regulation is the reason traders are wary

No matter how you slice this pie, regulation is the reason why cryptocurrency markets sold off over the last year. Market participants just don't trust the existing framework (there isn't one, really) and have been taking their money and liquidity out of the market in anticipation of what may, or may not, come. The sell-off started late in 2017 when China began its crack-down on crypto, shutting down exchanges and restricting access to Chinese citizens, and that wave of selling was only intensified when South Korea joined the fray.

Since then, we've seen South Korea reverse its stance on cryptocurrency and several other nations begin to embrace it. South Korea had no choice as its tech sector is heavily involved in Blockchain development and its citizens demanded legalization. The problem now is that the world's leading financial nations — the US and EU — have yet to get on board.

The US SEC has hinted at regulation for over a year. The agency has created a cryptocurrency czar to oversee coordination and broad implementation of cryptocurrency regulations, it has allowed the market to believe a BTC or cryptocurrency ETF will be listed, and yet there is still no firm regulation in place.

The biggest hurdle for US regulation is a lack of infrastructure and consumer protections. There is no legal definition of Blockchain assets, there is no “safe” way for US investors to hold the tokens, and there is no clearinghouse to ensure proper exchange and delivery of assets. The creation of the BAKKT platform, a joint venture between the Intercontinental Exchange and industry partners, will help pave the way for regulation but even it is still not active. When it is, it could be a game-changer for crypto. BAKKT will provide a US-compliant atmosphere for handling atomic swaps (a token to token exchange) as well as listing ETFs and futures products based on cryptocurrencies.

Expanding exchange environment

One of the many positives for cryptocurrency over the last year is the expansion of the exchange ecosystem. We did not see many new exchanges appear but what we did see was even better; the old exchanges are improving their operations and expanding the number of tokens that they list. One of the higher-profile exchanges participating in this expansion is Coinbase. The US-based exchange has opened its services from the previous three tokens (BTC, ETH, and LTC) to over a dozen. This means traders in the US and the world have easier access to many of the leading tokens that were previously only available from the source or through shady, unregulated, offshore exchange services.

Ethereum still the most advanced cryptocurrency

Yet another problem the cryptocurrency market faced in 2018 was a lack of progress with the Ethereum network. Ethereum is the most advanced Blockchain allowing cross-border exchange as well as powering smart-contracts and dApps, but it is handicapped by slow transaction speeds, privacy and security concerns.

ETH/USD chart
ETH/USD chart

The ETH team has had multiple upgrades and modifications on tap for over a year — many had been slated to launch in 2018, but setback after setback has prevented it from happening. The goal is for Ethereum to implement concepts — from sharding to sub-chains and ZK-Snarks — that will improve speed and security and help the network switch from POW to POS mining.

The switch to POS mining (proof of stake) is important to ETH as it will lower the cost of use for the system. The way it is now, if there is high demand for the Ethereum network (and there often is), the cost of using it becomes prohibitive for many applications. Ethereum may be the most advanced Blockchain but it's far from viable without major changes.

XRP making Ripples in Blockchain

Ethereum's lack of scalability and other issues have opened a door for other Blockchains like Ripple to step through. While Ethereum's developers are busy trying to solve their scaling issues and become the one Blockchain that can do anything, Ripple has been quietly focusing on a single application and doing a good job of it. Ripple is a cross-border payment platform aimed at large financial institutions. It has partnered with some of the world's largest banks, such as Banco Santander, and is expanding its services every day.

Ripple was not immune to the 2018 market sell-off, but it has survived better than most. The token has been exhibiting support at its August lows even while BTC, ETH, and LTC moved to new lows. The technical picture is still a little shaky; there is a chance that support at 0.2500 will be retested, but the long-term outlook is positive. Ripple is being used by the world’s largest banks and that use will drive adoption of the network by individuals and businesses, and demand for the XRP token will drive its price higher.

XRP/USD chart
XRP/USD chart

Three catalysts that will drive cryptocurrency markets higher this year

There are three catalysts on the horizon that will drive cryptocurrency markets this year. These are regulation, ETH upgrades, and ICOs. The implementation of regulation, specifically from the US, will open a floodgate of new capital to the market. Regulation will provide a “safe” environment for traders that has been sorely lacking and improve acceptance and use of digital Blockchain assets around the world.

After that comes the ETH upgrades. There is still no firm word on when to expect these upgrades but there is some speculation the Constantinople hard fork could happen as early as January. Constantinople is a combination of upgrades that are part of the larger push towards POS and includes five separate EIPs or Ethereum Improvement Protocols. The target date is January 16th — we'll see if they make it.

The final catalyst for 2019 will be ICOs. Industry experts are predicting a resurgence in ICOs this year and that will drive investment in the Blockchain. For one thing, most ICOs are built on an underlying Blockchain like ERC-20 for Ethereum. This means that with each new ICO, the value of the underlying chain will improve, too. If Ethereum is able to successfully implement the Constantinople hard fork, it will only drive the ICO market to new highs.

The final thought for 2018

My final thought for 2018 is that 2019 could be a good year. There are a lot of reasons to be bullish — the only thing now is to wait for the signals. Until then, the market is likely to remain volatile and new lows may be reached in top tokens like BTC, ETH, and LTC. These lows may prove to be the final lows but that may rest on the shoulders of the Ethereum development team; fingers crossed Constantinople launches as planned and is successful. If you aren't already HODLing some crypto, now is a great time to get in. Remember, you can't win it if you aren't in it.

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Bearish Ripple Chart Analysis Pointing Towards Short Term Price Losses: Is It Time to Sell XRP?

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After a week or so of good price growth, Ripple looks as if it could be in for a short bear run, so maybe it's time to take profit
Bearish Ripple Chart Analysis Pointing Towards Short Term Price Losses: Is It Time to Sell XRP?

A look over the charts for XRP shows some good growth since last week. However, there has been a bit of a flattening out, and even an inability to hold key support levels. This is key in trying to predict the next steps of XRP’s price, and technical analysis suggests that a small bear run could be imminent.

Ripple’s price failed to stay above the $0.3250 and $0.3200 support levels and declined against the US dollar. The price also failed to hold gains and declined recently against Bitcoin. XRP/USD could slide towards the $0.3050 support before starting a fresh upward move.

Because of these predictions, it might be time for some smart trading, selling some tokens for profit taking before looking for the bottom again and buying back in.

A look at the charts

Over the last five days, XRP peaked at $0.354 on Wednesday before correcting down and rebounding to $0.352; however, it has since fallen back to $0.342. There was some fight back from the XRP token to try and pick up those gains again over the last few days, but overall it has fallen twice, unable to maintain those support numbers.

Bearish Ripple Chart Analysis Pointing Towards Short Term Price Losses: Is It Time to Sell XRP?

After a period of trading relatively flat, and with indications showing it is struggling to hold its gains, the prediction would be that the price of the coin will face bearish tendencies in the short term.

More small drops can be expected, with undulating rises that fail to stick. It is not gloom and doom for the cryptocurrency, rather a period of correction after a good rise that set off the market growth earlier in the week.

For investors or traders, this is actually good news given that if the prediction is correct, there will be a chance for profit taking as people sell off tokens after the bull run, only to ride out the bearish run in order to buy back.

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Litecoin Price Forecast 2019: Set Sail to Break the $50 Iceberg and Swim as Far as $230

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Litecoin price forecast 2019: The coin has the chance to reach the value of $230. What are the factors contributing to LTC growth?
Litecoin Price Forecast 2019: Set Sail to Break the $50 Iceberg and Swim as Far as $230
Contents

Following Bitcoin’s path, Litecoin seems to be on the rise: it’s becoming quite popular among investors and is slowly gaining in price. There’s a very high probability that it will trade higher than $30 all year long, but what about its highest points?

Litecoin Price Forecast 2019: Set Sail to Break the $50 Iceberg and Swim as Far as $230

Focus on numbers: Litecoin’s future in 2019

Although the bearish period seems to be over, the crypto market is still highly volatile. That’s why making any short-term predictions is quite hard. However, it doesn’t discourage analytical websites and people from making their own forecasts.

Thus, according to publications on various crypto websites, Litecoin has enough potential to reach the $1,000 edge. Some articles mention the number $2,000 – it seems to be far from reality. What are these suggestions based on? It’s not clear.

However, these forecasts are on par with predictions from some experts. For example, George Tung, a cryptocurrency analyst, claims that Litecoin will reach $1,500 towards the end of 2019. Brian Kelly, the head of BK Capital Management (LLC), is sure we might witness an LTC price of $500 or even $600 by the end of this year. Though conservative, this approach seems to be close to reality.

In November 2017, Litecoin was traded at $100 and investors managed to enjoy 25x ROI. If the market is hit by the bullish wave again, the scenario can repeat: LTC might jump from its current $48 to $1,200. But what if that won’t happen?

Our guess is that Litecoin can reach the range of $150-$230 by the end of 2019. How can it crawl to such numbers? First, in August 2019, the block reward for miners will be cut by 50%, which might provoke the growth of demand for LTC.

What will kick-start Litecoin growth?

Here’s the whole gamut of factors that can make Litecoin soar separately or altogether:

  • The rate of accepting Litecoin on exchanges and online websites will gradually increase. One of the adoption examples is the Surf Air store that started accepting LTC payments.

  • Of course, Litecoin’s growth is partially defined by Bitcoin’s performance. At the moment, BTC is on the rise. However, Litecoin seems to recover from the bearish period much faster and better.

  • At the same time, while Bitcoin’s gaining in traffic, users start complaining about growing transaction fees and slow performance. That’s when their attention switches to Litecoin, with its lower commissions and better speed.

  • A big influx of traffic on Coinbase is expected – it backs three major crypto assets, including LTC.

Thus, Litecoin is getting more and more media attention, which only contributes to its growth. Some Internet users are sure that it has to reach the $50 mark to get back on track and start gaining in value. This event is definitely around the corner!

Disclaimer: The opinion expressed here is not investment advice – it is provided for informational purposes only. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of U.Today. Every investment and all trading involves risk, so you should always perform your own research prior to making decisions. We do not recommend investing money you cannot afford to lose.

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EOS Price Expected to Keep Rising After Doubling in Value Since December Lows

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EOS is one coin that has shrugged off its lows to double in value since December, with more growth expected
EOS Price Expected to Keep Rising After Doubling in Value Since December Lows

In the current climate, there is optimism returning to the market with Bitcoin pushing the $4,000 mark. However, a lot of this positivity has come from an altcoin rush of late. Coins such as Tron, Ethereum, Ripple and Stellar have played their part in boosting the market, but one particular coin has been striving since its lows in December last year.

EOS, a cryptocurrency that is currently ranked fourth by market cap, has quietly been going about its business, growing not only in price but also value as a blockchain company. It is showing some medium to long term bullish tendencies, outperforming many others.

The coin reached a low of $1.54 on December 7th, 2018, but at the moment, it is heading beyond the $4 mark, having doubled in value since that late last year low. It currently sits at $3.38.

Many are expecting the coin to keep growing, with its highest point touching $4.05. This move represents a 161% gain in only 74 trading days. If the bullish tendencies can continue across the markets, there is no doubt that EOS will cash in.

EOS Charts

More to come

EOS is seen as a rival to Ethereum, and because its intention is to improve upon the original smart contract blockchain, it will feel it has an edge in terms of adoption in the coming months.

It is a double-edged sword, as added adoption of the blockchain platform will help increase its reputation, which in turn will boost its price. Then, because EOS’ price is already starting to grow substantially, it will bring the platform to the fore for future blockchain applications.

If EOS can continue to offer a good blockchain service and the market keeps positive, there is every reason to believe that the coin’s price will continue to grow — and also outperform many of its rivals and other altcoins.

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Ripple XRP Price Prediction: Major Financial Services Group Sees XRP Exceeding Bitcoin’s Market Cap

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The president of SBI Holdings in Japan believes that Ripple will dominate global expansion and soon have a bigger market cap than Bitcoin
Ripple XRP Price Prediction: Major Financial Services Group Sees XRP Exceeding Bitcoin’s Market Cap
Contents

The SBI Group, a Japan-based financial services giant as well as a keen partner with Ripple for their bank settlement cryptocurrency, are bullish on the XRP token overtaking the current head of the market cap standings, Bitcoin.

The President and Representative Director of SBI Holdings, Yoshitaka Kitao, has come out and said XRP is dominating international expansion and will become global in the future. This global domination, based on XRP’s propensity to partner with major financial institutions across the globe, means Kitao sees it overtaking Bitcoin.

Bitcoin has stood at the head of the market cap standings in relation to cryptocurrency ever since it was invented some 10 years ago. Other coins have come close to knocking it off, but the decentralised coin has stood firm. But, if Kitao is right, XRP could overtake the market cap with a huge growth in price from global adoption.

International adoption

Ripple’s XRP token is as a cryptocurrency global and borderless, just as Bitcoin, because of its decentralised nature. However, Ripple has been looking to run XRP like a business with its xRapid product.

Thus, its growth is based on its adoption by financial institutions around the globe, and as this adoption grows, the worth and interest in XRP will increase, and thus its market cap will begin to rise.

“Because XRP is already beginning to become international, xRapid will be used for fund transfers in 2019. By increasing the so-called XRP’s plastic use, we anticipate that the [Ripple] market capitalization will easily exceed the market capitalization of Bitcoin,” Kiato said.

Ripple has already shown its power in growth as opposed to other major cryptocurrencies, often stealing second spot from Ethereum in the recent past. Ethereum was once a coin that was almost overtaking Bitcoin, but it is now under threat by a much more compliant and potential-full XRP token.

Better use cases

Because Ripple is trying to build XRP’s use cases for financial institutions, it has an advantage over other tokens in that it will be useful rather than just a cryptocurrency experiment. It is highly believed that once crypto finds its killer application, the price of it will skyrocket as people flock in demand.

If XRP does become more globally adopted, there will be an influx of interest in the coin and thus its price will shoot up, allowing it to overtake Bitcoin’s market cap in no time.

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EOS Price Jumps 25% as Market Flattens Out: Is There More to Come?

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The cryptocurrency market’s best performer in the last 24 hours has been EOS as the rest of the growth plateaus – what’s next?
EOS Price Jumps 25% as Market Flattens Out: Is There More to Come?
Contents

Ever since last week Friday, where there were small indications that a rally could happen, the cryptocurrency market has shown some good growth, with Bitcoin, the head of the market, topping off at just under $4,000.

What has been typical of this small rally has been the effect of some of the major altcoins in pushing the cryptocurrency market. It began with the likes of Binance Coin, Stellar and Tron, and then saw Ethereum take over, but now EOS has shown a huge 25% growth spike in the last 24 hours.

It would seem that this rally has flattened out for the moment, with a lot of the coins levelling out. It is now important to see what comes next as another rally following this levelling could be massive for the medium to long term growth of the entire market.

EOS Drive

The now-fourth biggest cryptocurrency based on market cap has advanced nearly 25 percent in the last day to reach $3.47 and is currently neck-and-neck with Litecoin, whose own value has also ballooned 11 percent since year-end 2018.

Today’s gains reflect support from the EOS community and could have something to do with Block.one, the creator of EOS, recently providing greater clarity on the roadmap.

Block.one CEO Brendan Blumer addressed some of the community concerns on social media, reminding them in a message entitled “Great Things Take Time” that there is more ahead than meets the eye.

Of course what is important to note in regards to this kind of reaction is that these altcoin projects are putting out positive news, and that is having an effect not only on the coin, but the market in general.

There is positive news being met with results which are driving the market, and this has not been seen for a long period. The bullish market tendencies being seen could be indicative of a change in the sentiment.

What next?

It is still early to call, and quite tentative, but it certainly feels like a bull run could be developing. It may be based off the altcoin news and sentiment, but Bitcoin will play a important role. The major cryptocurrency came $30 short of cracking the $4,000 mark.

If Bitcoin is able to breach that resistance, even if it is through the drive of another altcoin, it could open up a whole new level of potential gains across the market and could possibly start a new bull run.

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