📈 Pricewise Thomas Hughes

Bitcoin Bulls? Missing in Action

Pricewise
Bitcoin is reluctant to post any notable gains and seems drowned in a sideways slumber. We should expect the running movement next couple of days
Bitcoin Bulls? Missing in Action

The Digital Gold is reluctant to post any notable gains and seems drowned in a sideways slumber. The last 24 hours have been slow, with just a -0.53% change and only -1.84% for the last 7 days, with price sitting near $6345 at the time of writing.

The gap between Bitcoin’s Tether and USD valuation has diminished and reached around $50, which could be perceived as bullish. The narrowing gap is a sign of stability and a possible answer to the conundrum of whether Tether is backed by the US Dollar 1 to 1 or not. Somehow, I doubt this whole controversy will end very soon.

In other news, multiple personalities from the financial world, including Larry Fink, the Chairman and CEO of BlackRock and Reggie Browne, the “godfather” of ETFs, have expressed their belief that Bitcoin Exchange Traded Funds won’t become a mainstream reality until the crypto industry becomes “legitimate”. Sour grapes or just a bearish view from two experienced finance guys? Not sure which one is true.

Charts at the glance

Charts at the glance

BTC/USD is trading inside the horizontal channel created by 6800 resistance and 6120 support, and while this is a loose range, lately the pair has been lacking momentum. Overall, the bias is bearish, with Bitcoin and cryptocurrency in general being surrounded by a negative sentiment.

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Choppy, low volatility markets like this one are a nightmare to trade, so I would recommend waiting until a clearer direction emerges. If you just can’t stay away, consider that price is constantly making lower highs and is on a downward path, so a break of the close vicinity bullish trend line would send the pair into the first support at 6120.

Support zone: bullish trend line followed by 6120

Resistance zone: bearish trend line seen on the chart above

Most likely scenario: choppy, ranging movement

Alternate scenario: strong breakout (probably only if news hits the market)

📈 Pricewise
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Alexander Goborov

USA: Biannual History of Weekly LocalBitcoins Volume

The latest figures show that the United States is currently trading at around 7 million USD per week on LocalBitcoins
USA: Biannual History of Weekly LocalBitcoins Volume

LocalBitcoins is a Bitcoin trading platform that was established back in 2012. It is headquartered in Helsinki, Finland, and remains one of the most popular virtual places among those who wish to trade Bitcoin on a peer-to-peer basis. We have recently brought you Struggling Economies in South America Forcing LocalBitcoins Boom which examined how Venezuela, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, and Chile heavily contributed to the increased trading volumes on the website. Now, it’s time to look at the United States.

As was previously shown, the United States is the global leader by the number of Bitcoin nodes, the number of people who own cryptocurrencies, as well as the number of crypto billionaires/millionaires. We thought it would be interesting to also see how the US is doing on LocalBitcoins, so here it is, the history of weekly LocalBitcoins volume, organized biannually (i.e. six month averages or two quarters combined):

image

2013: A modest start with around 100K USD per week, followed by a sharp climb in the second half of that year to over 1 million USD per week.

2014: Around 2 million USD per week in the first six months, close to 3.5 million USD per week in the second half of the year.

2015: A continued climb, around 4 million USD per week in the first half, followed by a further increase and the figure growing to almost 5.5 million USD per week in the second.

2016: Both biannual averages show weekly volumes between roughly 6.5 and 7 million USD.

2017: A reach for the figure of 8 million USD per week in the first two quarters and a further leap to 9.5 million USD per week in the second half of the year, during the last Bitcoin bubble.

2018: An expected drop to around 8.5 million USD per week in the first half (note: unlike Latin America, the US is not a struggling economy), followed by a further decrease to the current figure of around 7 million USD per week in the second half of this year.

We hope you found this list useful. Stay tuned for more to come and be sure to also check out these:

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Best Anonymous Bitcoin Wallets: Diving Deep Into Crypto Anarchy

U.Today tries to get rid of the prefix pseudo- while naming the best anonymous BTC wallet. Is your favorite anonymous Bitcoin wallet on our list?
Best Anonymous Bitcoin Wallets: Diving Deep Into Crypto Anarchy
Contents

Bitcoin is generally considered to be a completely anonymous cryptocurrency. Many believe that the king of crypto rose to prominence because of its privacy-oriented features – it saw the very first signs of adoption on the dark web, where people would buy illicit goods (drugs, guns and so on) without the fear of getting caught. However, is anonymous Bitcoin just a myth? How are Bitcoin transactions anonymous?    
 

(Source: hacked.com)
(Source: hacked.com)

Yes, Bitcoin transactions can be conducted without providing any personal details. However, the term ‘pseudonymous’ is often used in order to describe Bitcoin-related payments. Remember that there is still a wallet address, and all payments linked to this address will be forever recorded on an immutable Blockchain.

NB! Steven Goldfeder (Princeton University) states that it is possible to link the transaction to its owner in 60 percent of all cases.

The truth is, the lion’s share of Bitcoin holders see an anonymous wallet as a safeguard measure that wouldn’t allow third parties to steal their funds.  

In order to tackle this issue, those who value their identity can use some so-called ‘anonymous’ crypto wallets that integrate VPN in order to use different remote servers. It is worth mentioning that all Bitcoin wallets are inherently anonymous, but there are only a number of ones that specifically place an emphasis on hiding your identity while conducting a transaction. Our list includes some of the best anonymous crypto wallets.  

Samourai

Samourai wallet is your first option if your priority is to keep all your transactions anonymous. It is widely regarded as of the most privacy-conscious wallets on the market.     

(Source: bitcoinmagazine.com)
(Source: bitcoinmagazine.com)

There is nothing outstanding when it comes to its security, but the wallet includes plenty of unique privacy features that allow it to stand out among other online Bitcoin wallets:

  • new public addresses created during every new transaction;

  • alerts that won’t let you use the same address.  

  • TOR/VPN support.  

Apart from these anonymity-related perks, it includes a bunch of other fancy features, such as ‘Ricochet Send’. Your transaction will be bounced multiple types off to various BTC addresses before another user eventually receives it. With four additional hops, it is supposed to solve the problem of blacklisting by a third party such as Coinbase. The Trusted Node feature, as the name suggests, allows connecting to any given node. On top of that, you can also set up SMS remote commands (you can either restore or wipe your wallet with the help of one simple command).

Darkwallet

The development of this legendary wallet is currently off, but we decided to put it in the limelight since it was one of the first wallets of that kind. Today, some prominent crypto pundits are calling for more regulations in order to get crypto out of a legal grey zone and reach new heights. Back in 2013, in sharp contrast to this, a group of anarchists launched a crowdfunding campaign in order to develop a completely anonymous Bitcoin wallet, dubbed ‘Dark Wallet’. According to their website, they are still in the alpha stage of the development process.

Darkwallet

"If Bitcoin represents anything to us, it's the ability to forbid the government," says Cody Wilson, one of the key figures behind the project.  

Complete privacy is achieved by means of coin mixing, and one shouldn’t forget that this is also a Tor wallet. The multisig feature also appears to be a huge plus. However, use this wallet at your own risk since some users report bugs and transaction delays. Is this the price to pay for getting back to Bitcoin’s anarchistic roots?

NB! Darkwallet can only be downloaded in the form of a Google Chrome extension.

Bitlox

Bitlox is the only hardware wallet that offers extreme privacy with a bevy of safety-related solutions. You can achieve a high level of anonymity with the help of Tails OS (a free Debian-based OS). Their tool also works fine with the Tor browser.

Bitlox

Bitlox lets you create up to 100 wallets that can generate a plethora of different addresses that never repeat.

There are three versions of this wallet which differ in the level of security and their price tag:

Advanced

This version allows keeping about 100 wallets (which should be more than enough for a run-of-the-mill user).

Ultimate

A hardware wallet made of titanium will set you back $299 dollars. It also comes with an additional privacy perk – you are able to hide half of your created wallets for further enhancing your privacy.  

Extreme

The monstrous wallet with a military-level of security comes at an eye-popping price of $399. This is a safe bet if you are looking for the most anonymous Bitcoin wallet.    

Electrum

Electrum is yet another old-timer that appeared on the horizon back in 2011 when hardly anyone knew about Bitcoin’s existence. Thomas Voegtlin, a German computer scientist, is the brains behind the project.

The fact that this wallet has been operating for so many years in the ever-changing industry speaks volumes about its reliability. However, its interface doesn’t look beginner-friendly (in all fairness, the majority of privacy-oriented wallets are wont to have this feature).    

Electrum

Similarly to Bitlox, it is based on the Tails OS that was specifically designed to conserve the privacy of its users. Unfortunately, this Tails Bitcoin wallet cannot be installed on your mobile phone since its client-based version is the only available one. Still, Electrum is compatible with Ledger Nano S and a slew of other hardware wallets (Trezor, KeepKey, etc.).

Jaxx

U.Today has already included Jaxx on our list of the best altcoin wallets. Right now, Jaxx can be rightfully named one of the most popular wallets on the market, and it partially achieved this because of its multi-coin support.

While Jaxx deals with some technical issues, it’s definitely a perfect choice for those who want to go for an already established wallet.
 

Jaxx
(Source: investinblockchain.com)

Jaxx doesn’t keep your private keys on its servers, which means you will presiding over your coins even if the wallet stops operating.

Jaxx is not marketed as an ‘anonymous’ wallet. As we’ve mentioned above, all Bitcoin wallets are inherently anonymous (unless we talk about fiat-to-crypto exchanges), but Jaxx doesn’t even require your email address for registration.

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Rahakott

The Rahakott wallet is one more example of a wallet that is designed for conducting transactions in a hard-to-trace manner, despite the project being much younger compared to its competitors. On its website, they emphasize the fact that they do not require their users to provide personal data. The wallet offers a specific set of features that help provide an additional layer of privacy:

  • built-in mixer;

  • tunneling all transactions;

  • deterministic wallets.

Speaking of its safety-related peculiarities, it is worth mentioning that the Rahakott wallet is basically unhackable. Even the developers aren’t able to get access to the user’s info. You are only able to open your wallet after entering a mnemonic phrase.   

Rahakott

Lastly, one should point out that this anonymous Bitcoin wallet supports BTC along with some popular altcoins, including Litecoin (LTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH). This is definitely one of the most private multi-coin Bitcoin wallets.

Other ways of buying Bitcoin completely anonymously include:

  • LocalBitcoins (you have to meet the seller in person without providing him any documents);

  • Bitcoin ATM (a good option for those who have plenty of cash on their hands; high fees could be a big turn-off);  
    NB! Some ATMs do require your ID before you can purchase crypto.   

  • Few C2C exchanges.    

The bottom line

If you stick to web wallets, there are a few things that you can do in order to increase your privacy on the Internet. However, this is not a 100 percent guarantee that your transaction will remain anonymous.

After all, preserving your identity is not necessarily a good thing for Bitcoin. Last year, SocGen CEO Frederic Oudea stated that Bitcoin’s emphasis on privacy remains the main hindrance to its growth. There is too much risk involved when it comes to dealing with crypto.

‘The anonymity of the transaction is a problem I think which would put pressure on bitcoin’.

However, Bitcoin is only the tip of the iceberg since there are numerous privacy coins that grant their owners complete anonymity. Not surprisingly, these coins have become the darlings of the dark web in no time.

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Yuri Molchan

Queerest Bitcoin Forks So Far: ‘God’, ‘Pizza’, What Is Next?

Bitcoin has had over 44 forks but three of them sound to be strangest
Queerest Bitcoin Forks So Far: ‘God’, ‘Pizza’, What Is Next?
Contents

At the end of 2017, when the crypto market prices reached their peaks, and before 2018 shot off, several Bitcoin forks appeared. Some of them had quite peculiar titles. Back then, regulators banned some of ICOs, both promising and silly ones, platforms initiated forks of existing projects to ensure themselves interest and liquidity at an early stage.

Every project with a high potential is ‘balanced’ with a bad or silly one. Same goes for Bitcoin. In this story, we will go into three weirdest forks of Bitcoin, which either started off with ridiculously ambitious targets, doubtful and unrealistic aims to ‘save the world’ or those that large players just got over.

Bitcoin Pizza

Bitcoin enthusiasts still remember it when BTC was actually used to buy something for the first time. It was two pizzas and they cost whole 10,000 BTC, which was really cheap back in 2010. Now we have a coin named Bitcoin Pizza (BPA).

The fork took place on Jan. 1, 2018, at block height 501888. BTC owners on exchanges received the exact amount of new coins on a 1:1 ratio with Bitcoin.

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The curious ambition of this fork is that the creators decided to introduce a directed acyclic graph into the Bitcoin structure. Byteball and IOTA use the same technology. Bitcoin Pizza gave its supporters tokens from an airdrop and then promised that they would be allowed to change them for official BPA coins later. However, Blockchain systems cannot be combined with directed acyclic graphs.

Bitcoin Pizza is now pretty much forgotten; their website has long been offline.

Bitcoin God

If Bitcoin is often dubbed the ‘major’ crypto coin, then Bitcoin God (GOD) lifts this status way higher.

This fork sprang to life on Dec. 17, 2017, intended as the first charity Blockchain platform at block height 501225.

Funny as it may seem, initially Bitcoin God was planned to launch on Dec. 25, on Christmas Day.

The idea was that GOD users would vote how many tokens of this Blockchain charities may receive for free. 17 mln GOD coins were given to Bitcoin owners on a 1:1 ratio, 400,000 are intended to be used as rewards to miners (Proof-Of-Stake consensus protocol). 3.6 mln coins are going to be airdropped to charity organizations.

The coin still exists. It supports smart contracts and SegWit along with Lightning Network, and it is anonymous, like Zcash, Dash or Monero.

The coin looks interesting and technically advanced compared to some of its peers. However, the point of its existence with giving away a lot of its supply still raises questions from the crypto community.

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BitcoinBoy

Despite the possible similarity to a GameBoy from the 90s that may leap to somebody’s mind, it has nothing to do with it.

BitcoinBoy (BCB) emerged as a result of a fork on Dec. 31, right on the New Year’s day at block height 501888. As was in the case of Bitcoin God, it implemented smart contracts and zero-knowledge proofs. BCB coins were lavishly spread around, and BTC holders got an exact amount of BCB to their BTC coins. Besides, BitcoinBoy introduced ‘built-in intelligent contracts’ for emitting assets on the Blockchain and for building dApps in order to ‘upgrade’ the BTC chain.

Bitcoin Cash claimed approximately the same targets and has been more successful in achieving them.

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🕵️‍ ICO Watch Eric Eissler

Past-ICO Review: Stox Tied to Bancor’s Sinking Ship

👁 ICO Watch
Stox started out white hot, but it was tied to Bancor and that brought the curtain down on the token
Past-ICO Review: Stox Tied to Bancor’s Sinking Ship
Contents

When the ICO took place, it was a sure bet that investors were placing their stock in Stox, a open source decentralized prediction market platform based on the Bancor protocol. This platform allows users to make predictions on pretty much anything that can be predicted, such as sporting outcomes, elections, whether; you name it, you can probably predict it on Stox.

Financials

Gibraltar-based Stox ran an ICO on Aug. 2, 2017 that lasted for one day and raised between $27 and $30 mln in funding. However, the token, which was launched two days after the ICO closed, on Aug. 4, 2017, has been in decline since its entry into the market. It debuted at $1.21, peaked at $2.60 on Aug. 25, and then fell sharply to $0.42 by the start of October 2017. It saw a price surge in December 2017, and reached $1.66 but fell down to $0.36 at the time of writing, demonstrating that investors have shied away from this once white-hot ICO. For a prediction-based platform, what has investors spooked? There doesn’t seem to be a prediction section on how well Stox will fare on its own website.

Mayweather: prominent ICO proponent

Floyd Mayweather has been known to promote ICOs. He posted on Instagram about Stox, where he flashed a suitcase of $100 bills and boasted he will “make a $hit t$n of money … on the Stox.com ICO.” This is not the first time Mayweather has promoted a crypto. He also promoted Centra Tech, which ended up on CryptoComes’ Top 10 ICO Failures. Does celebrity promotion lead to the demise of companies using an ICO? It’s an iffy statement. It could be the fact that Stox rode on the coattails of Bancor, even basing its smart-contracts on Bancor’s model.

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Do your homework before investing

Since Stox is based on the Bancor model, then it is understood why the price will go down. It is because any token created from Bancor will be tied into Bancor’s price. Bancor’s price is suffering since its debut in July 2017. Here is the reason why, taken from my Bancor Past-ICO Review here on CryptoComes:

According to Professor Emin Gun Sirer, Professor of Computer Science at Cornell University, Bancor will continue to trail the market and its lack of price discovery will diminish any smart tokens created from it.

This, in essence, will keep those coins [referring to any coins developed from Bancor’s Blockchain] from growing beyond that of Bancor’s price, remember they are tied together. In other words, the tokens created off Bancor have no chance to thrive. When the parent coin is going down, Bancor will take them down, too. Tim Draper, billionaire venture capitalist, and backer of Bancor argues otherwise that it will give liquidity to the market. If you bought Bancor, then liquidity is great, because you will want to sell it as fast as you can.

There you have it, it is the Blockchain Stox is based on that is dragging it down. The technology is cool and the users are enjoying the platform, who doesn’t love to take a gamble and place a bet, but its the parent Blockchain dragging down the token.

Better to lead, than to follow

While there are many tokens out there that are based on other Blockchains, such as Ethereum and EOS, these have been proven and accepted by the Blockchain community to be the proper places to build from. In many cases, the axiom, “it is better to lead, than to follow” plays to truth, if Stox did not follow Bancor’s model, it might have had a better chance at improving it’s token price, but alas, it is tethered to Bancor’s sinking ship.

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Top 10 Blockchain ETFs to Buy in 2019

📚 Wikicoin
Are top Blockchain ETFs simply tech stocks in expensive clothes? Find out whether you should invest in Blockchain ETFs if you are hesitant to buy Bitcoin
Top 10 Blockchain ETFs to Buy in 2019
Contents

Why should investors buy top Blockchain ETFs?

Blockchain has become one of the major buzzwords in the tech space over the recent years, and it comes as no surprise that many want to capitalize on the revolutionary technology. That prompted the appearance of Blockchain ETFs where old meets new.

ETFs can be bought and sold in the form of stocks. While cryptocurrencies are generally deemed to be extremely risky, Blockchain ETFs that are comprised of the most established stocks on the market are considered to be a much safer choice. U.Today has come up with the list of top 10 Blockchain-oriented ETFs to invest in 2019.    

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BLCN

BLCN invests in stocks of the companies that are dealing with Blockchain. The ETF has more than 60 stocks. The advisory board of BLCN consists of crypto influencers who decide what stocks they should invest in.

Yahoo! Finance

Despite a bumpy start, Eric Ervin, the CEO of BLCN, is not deterred by disappointing numbers, taking a long view into the future. He believes that the technology is still too nascent, and we are dealing with a long-term investment.

BCNA

Reality Shares has yet another Blockchain ETF, and its focus is placed on China, the second largest stock market in the world. Ervin claims that China is betting big on the DLT technology — it has almost three times the amount of patents the US has. Not surprisingly, Alibaba is their main holding, but the fund also has exposure to China’s A-Shares — before they invest in a particular stock, they asses the number of Blockchain-related patents as well as the degree of innovativeness. Eventually, they only select the companies with the highest score.

Yahoo! Finance 2

BLOK

Amplify’s ETF was launched simultaneously with Reality Shares in mid-January of 2018. BLOK also intentionally excludes the words ‘Bitcoin’ and ‘Blockchain’ from its full name. Prior to that, the SEC issued a warning after a lot of stocks shoehorned these trendy words despite not dealing with crypto at all (case in point: Riot Blockchain (RIOT), which immediately saw its stocks skyrocketing).    

BLOK owns the stocks of IBM, NASDAQ, Overstock and other behemoths that are keen on the Blockchain technology.     

Yahoo! Finance 3

Notably, there is one key difference between BLOK and BLCN — Amplify is an actively managed ETF.

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BKC

Back in May, BKC joined the crowded Blockchain ETF space. Brian Kelly, a Bitcoin permabull and a constant CNBC contributor, spearheads the fund. The holdings with the highest weighting in the fund include Overstock.com, GMO Internet and Global Unichip. Kelly states that BKC is a top-of-the-mind option for those who would like to invest in cryptocurrencies without dealing with enormous price swings and security issues. Overall, BKC holds the stocks of 32 companies.

Yahoo! Finance 4

KOIN

The fund utilizes artificial intelligence in order to discover new Blockchain stocks. It specifically targets stocks with related keywords.   

Yahoo! Finance 5

Since the list of KOIN’s holdings includes many big-name companies in the likes of Microsoft and Visa, it is definitely a safe bet for investors, but the predominance of conventional stocks makes it hard to make sizeable gains. Investing in companies with low market capitalization is considered to be a huge risk for such funds.

LEGR

First Trust Indxx has three groups of Blockchain stocks:

  1. Stocks of companies that have already come up with their own Blockchain-related products (for instance, IBM).   

  2. Those companies that are already utilizing the Blockchain technology, but they use technology that has been developed by other companies.

  3. The last group of stocks is attributed to those companies that are only dipping their toes in Blockchain.

Such a diverse approach to investment is considered to be one of the main advantages of LEGR. However, the fact that the fund rebalances its holdings to other stocks only twice a year makes it less attractive than other options.

Yahoo! Finance 6

LDGR

Blockchain ETF is supposed to be more than tech stocks in expensive clothes. LDGR actually offers to invest in companies that have a proven record of investing in Blockchain-related stocks. Just like in the case with KOIN, it cherry-picks the companies with the help of AI.

Yahoo! Finance 7

According to the company’s CEO Lewis Bateman, they are exclusively focusing on investing in stocks of those companies that already have Blockchain-related patents. Mastercard Inc. and Royal Bank are among their top holdings. It hasn’t been an easy run for LDGR, but the same can be attributed to practically any other ETF that was launched after January. However, Bateman claims that this LDGR stands out among the rest of earlier launched funds because of its robust buildout.    

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LINK

LINK is the first entry on our list that actually features the word ‘Blockchain’. In its portfolio, this actively managed fund features stocks of 31 global companies that are dealing with the nascent technology. Raj Lala, the CEO of Evolve ETFs, is a firm believer in the disruptive potential of the DLT, and the fund is an opportunity to capitalize on that.         

Yahoo! Finance 8

Things didn’t go particularly smooth for this fund since its stocks have shed more than 20 percent of their value since LINK’s inception in May. Hut 8 Mining Corp is at the top of its holdings list with a 10.8 percent share.    

HBLK

Harvest Portfolios was responsible for launching the country’s first Bitcoin ETF HBLK that focuses both on large-scale and small-scale Blockchain businesses. Notably, this became the very first Canadian ETF that got the green light from regulators. Back in February, the Ontario Securities Commission approved the ETF.     

Yahoo! Finance 9

The main purpose of this ETF is to become an entry point for investors who are seeking access to the burgeoning tech sector. Subsequently, they buy the stocks of already established companies.   

BKCH

In June 2018, the Horizon fund was listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (yet another Canadian Blockchain ETF on our list). In 2018, Blockchain ETFs became the salient feature of the country’s biggest stock exchange.  

Yahoo! Finance 10

The fund’s chief executive Steve Hawkins claims that he is not sure how big the adoption of the Blockchain technology is going to be, but the investments are necessary for building out the technology. BKCH, according to Hawkins, is focusing on well-established companies (the holding of this ETF include the stocks of Nvidia Corp. and Digital Realty Trust Inc.).

What differs Blockchain ETFs from Bitcoin ETFs?

Since there is a lot of confusion, it is worth pointing out that no aforementioned Blockchain stocks are dealing directly with cryptocurrencies. The Winklevoss brothers were on track to launch their own Bitcoin ETF, but they didn’t get the approval from the SEC. Bitcoin ETF is seen as a catalyst for the next bull market, but SEC commissioner Hester Peirce (better known as ‘Crypto mom’), claims that it could take years for the much-anticipated approval.  

Hopefully, this article helped you pick up the best Blockchain ETF! Stay tuned with U.Today!   

Top 10 Blockchain ETFs

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