🤷 Opinions Alexander Goborov

From Russia with Love: Moscow's Affair with the Blockchain

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While many think of Russia as conservative and backward, the country is seemingly finding its progressive side in the fintech sector
From Russia with Love: Moscow's Affair with the Blockchain
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Most people know that Russia is the biggest country in the world by size, a major political player on the world stage, and a country with huge reserves of timber, oil, and natural gas.

Fewer know that Russia is now also becoming ever more involved in the world of Blockchain and cryptocurrencies; in fact, it is believed that most programmers who work on the Blockchain today speak Russian in addition to English and Chinese.

To top it off, Russia has now also become home to many international crypto events, such as the Blockchain Life forum held in St Petersburg.

Mining

Statistics from this year, corroborated by the Russian Association of Crypto Industry and Blockchain (RACIB), show that more and more companies in Russia are doing mining: the numbers have grown by around 17% this year taking the total number of mining companies in Russia ― the ones that have been accounted for ― to around 80 000.

According to many fintech specialists, Russia, particularly the Eastern region of the country known as Siberia, is an ideal place for mining because of its abundance of mining resources, namely inexpensive electricity.

This must have something to do with the fact that today, as some sources claim, around 3 million individuals own cryptocurrencies in Russia against 2.5 million individuals from last year. The crypto figures are said to be growing.

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Huobi

One of the top crypto exchanges in the world, Singapore-based Huobi has recently moved in to conquer the Russian market. Although those who trade cryptocurrencies in Russia are no strangers to exchange platforms, Huobi is the first platform to have an actual office in Russia with a Russian-speaking call centre. According to those much satisfied, this is one of the key features Huobi has to offer that no other platform currently has, i.e. ease of real-time client to representative communication in Russian, which has long been overdue.

Huobi
Huobi’s phone app

The new office opened in Moscow at the start of last week. While at present deposits in Russian roubles are not permitted due to regulatory reasons, those who wish to trade will be able to buy cryptocurrencies using roubles and have them put in trading accounts via Huobi’s OTC service. Moreover, Huobi will also offer loans to potential  miners to purchase mining equipment, an important additional service which is to be made available in early 2019.

To make their intentions even more recognizable, Huobi will also be training its future specialists at the Department of Entrepreneurship and Logistics in Moscow’s Plekhanov University of Economics.

LocalBitcoins and Other Players

Helsinki-based LocalBitcoins is one of the most popular Bitcoin to local fiat currency exchange platforms. What is fascinating to learn is that the Bitcoin to Russian Rouble exchange pair is actually the most popular one of all, trading at close to 2 million USD every day: all that despite the Russian government’s ongoing ban of access to the LocalBitcoins domain since 2016.

LocalBitcoins
A LocalBitcoins ATM

Not only does it show that the BTC-RUB trade is strong and plentiful, but also that the crypto traders and owners in Russia have moved way past any government-imposed web regulations in technological terms.

But this is not all. According to independent sources, some places in Moscow exchange cryptocurrencies for roubles in numbers totalling close to 9 billion USD, which is five times LocalBitcoins’ turnover. Among such places are believed to be the large shopping centres “Moskva”, “Sadovod”, and “Food City”.

Sadovod
One of the entrances to the “Sadovod” shopping centre in Moscow

 

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Altcoin Price Prediction [UPDATE]: XRP, ETH, BCH Ride Tron, Stellar, and Binance Coin’s Wave to Rally the Market

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After showing signs of a rally late last week, a number of altcoins have pushed the market into a substantial rally this Monday.
Altcoin Price Prediction [UPDATE]: XRP, ETH, BCH Ride Tron, Stellar, and Binance Coin’s Wave to Rally the Market
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There were indications in the market at the end of last week that a rally was building, built off the back of a few altcoins, as reported by U.Today. This held true as the total market capitalisation of the cryptocurrency market went from $119 billion to $126 billion.

On Friday, there were small spikes starting to show from Binance Coin, Stellar and Tron, and those movements seem to have sparked enough positivity in the market to kickstart the rest of the coins into positive growth.

The likes of Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, and Ripple are leading the way now, with Bitcoin also doing well. However, this rally does not seem to be predicated on Bitcoin’s growth and could be indicative of an altcoin season growing, should the rally continue.

Positive for XRP, ETH, BCH

Monday has now seen positive growth for the entire top 20 coins by market capitalisation. Ethereum is leading the lot with an 11 percent growth rate since Sunday, but it is also good news for Bitcoin Cash with seven percent gains, and Ripple with three.

Bitcoin itself has grown by three percent as well since Sunday, this after trading nearly perfectly flat for the past seven days. The rally being driven by a combination of altcoins is indeed positive for the general market as it shows a break in the dominance of the major cryptocurrency and a divergence.

Many of the major coins have all spiked at the same time, but there are some who are plotting their own path, and are still benefiting from the general good feeling across the market.

Flattening out

The likes of Tron, which led the rally last week, is seeing a flattening out after its early spike, but still has managed to pick up some green numbers.

The same goes for Binance Coin and for Stellar, although a look at their graphs does show a smaller spike at the same time as the rest of the market spiked early on Monday.

Up or down from here?

The movement up from a small spike is clearly a good sign for the market, as is the $7 billion that has been added to the market cap, but the next movement through this week will be key in determining if this is just a bull trap or the beginning of something big.

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Ripple in Trouble: Will JP Morgan Coin Affect the Price Prediction of XRP?

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In a surprising move, bank JP Morgan has announced a cryptocurrency that sounds a lot like what Ripple is trying to do with XRP
Ripple in Trouble: Will JP Morgan Coin Affect the Price Prediction of XRP?
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After being in the news for all the right reasons recently — from donating to blockchain studies at universities and making key banking partnerships — Ripple and its XRP token are suddenly under fire by Wall Street bank JP Morgan.

The bank, whose CEO once famously slated Bitcoin, has seemingly changed its tact with the announcement of its own stable cryptocurrency, the JPM Coin. This new cryptocurrency has been used in just one trial transaction, but many are already hailing it as a game changer for digital assets.

JP Morgan Chase’s plans for its clients to use JPM Coin in cross-border payments is a direct threat to one of the most regulated and in-line blockchain companies: Ripple and their XRP token.

A slap in the face

There has been ongoing rumblings about dissatisfaction with the current method of international payments, SWIFT. For this reason, Ripple has been taking aim at replacing the outdated system. However, it seems like they are not the only ones with JP Morgan now coming to the fire with their own version.

Ripple has been working hard, but at their core, they are a startup that is now in competition with a major Wall Street bank which has a lot of sway and brand recognition in the financial sector.

“This is a huge slap in the face for Ripple,’’ said Tom Shaughnessy, principal at Delphi Digital, a crypto research boutique in New York. “Ripple’s target market is cross-border payments and remittances and now JPMorgan’s effort is a direct threat.’’

Not bothered

With that being said, Ripple and its CEO Brad Garlinghouse, as well as the price of the XRIP token, have barely taken note of this big announcement.

The price of the XRP token has remained quite steady since the announcement, trading sideways for most of the week. Additionally, Garlinghouse tweeted after the news broke:

As predicted, banks are changing their tune on crypto,” Garlinghouse wrote in a Tweet. “But this JPM project misses the point – introducing a closed network today is like launching AOL after Netscape’s IPO. 2 years later, and bank coins still aren’t the answer.”

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Tron, Stellar, and Binance Coin Prices Start to Spike After Intriguing Flat Week in Markets

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While the markets have been trading sideways for the entire week, there are signs that a breakout could happen through Tron, Stellar and Binance Coin
Tron, Stellar, and Binance Coin Prices Start to Spike After Intriguing Flat Week in Markets
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A look at the price of Bitcoin over the last week shows an almost perfectly flat price variation with the coin barely breaking out of a $100 range. With Bitcoin being the head that usually leads the entire market, it has been mostly a flat week for the majority of coins.

However, as the week draws to a close, there are small upticks being noted in some key altcoins that have been active in the past few months, with big news and good market movement.

The likes of Tron, Stellar, and Binance Coin are all showing small upticks into Friday, which could possibly mean a rally is imminent for these coins, especially with a more bullish sentiment emanating around the market this week.

At a similar time last Friday, the price of Bitcoin spiked from $3,400 to almost $3,700 over a short period, where it quickly equalised. Not much has been attributed to this growth spurt, but if the above-mentioned altcoins can drive their price up over the weekend and into next week, the positive sentiment may swell to more of the market.

Different weeks

Tron has had a busy week with a number of big news stories crossing its path; this has seen it both rally and fall over the past seven days. Predominantly, it has been in correction mode, dropping from $0.026 to $0.023, but today it has started its uptick.

Stellar is another coin that has had an up and down week with constant spikes in price through the last seven days, but overall, it has been in regression. That being said, Stellar is also showing the biggest start of a spike, with its price going from $0.075 to $0.079.

Binance Coin has been one of the most successful coins in 2019, and even through this week it has gone mainly up, although it did hit a bit of a hump halfway through the week, dropping down slightly. Now, with its own uptick, the coin is up a full dollar, from $8.40 to $9.40.

Altcoin season

With Bitcoin being mostly steady in 2019, not showing much volatility, people are looking to other coins to try and drive the market. It is unusual for altcoins to affect the market, but it is possible, and looking at the current charts and the three coins mentioned, there is every chance that there could be a rally next week off these movements should they continue into the new week.

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TRX Price Predicted to Grow as Tron Expands Its Reach Entering the Gaming Sector

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Tron, having conquered the torrenting space, is now looking at gaming as its next target, with an MoU being signed with major gaming companies
TRX Price Predicted to Grow as Tron Expands Its Reach Entering the Gaming Sector
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Tron was always heralded as an ambitious project when its roadmap was released, and now, further down the line, the blockchain project is making big headway into different sectors. Its latest move, after conquering the torrenting market with its acquisition of BitTorrent, seems to be towards gaming.

There is news that Roy Liu, Tron’s Head of Business Development, has been busy in South Korea meeting with a number of blockchain companies in the country, as well as some of the major gaming businesses, too.

Reportedly, Tron has penned a memorandum of understanding with the Korean Mobile Game Association (KMGA) and Korea Blockchain Contents Association (KBCCA). This is only the beginning of any form of partnership, but it is a big step.

It indicates that Tron is not looking to slow or stagnate on its roadmap, rather move quickly forward. The creation of the BTT token under Tron and the growth of blockchain in the torrenting industry have helped boost the TRX token’s performance, and the prediction on the price must be positive if this situation advances.

The MoU

The agreements’ terms and conditions note that the two South Korean organizations will search for any potential suitors for Tron’s platform.

Tron has already had investment meetings with a number of South Korean blockchain and gaming companies. Known to be the world’s fourth largest in terms of sales, the South Korean gaming industry crossed up to $2.34 billion in domestic spending on mobile games during 2017.

In regards to the MoU, Tron further revealed that a charity drive that must use its blockchain technology will be a part of the initiative. Tron’s technology will be employed to track donations made through the said charity, in order to raise awareness of ALS, which is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

An active project

Many felt that Tron would be a project that would struggle to hit all its marks when the ambitious blockchain venture was put forward, but as things are progressing, there does not seem to be anything slowing it.

Tron is aiming to prove use cases for its platform, and with the next step of adoption seemingly going to be based on uptake of the technology, there is every reason to believe that Tron and the TRX token will be successful in the short to medium terms at least.

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Ripple Price Predicted to Rise with Key Links to Mastercard, Barclays and Western Union

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Ripple is known for making partnerships with banks, but it is starting to enter the space of remittance and money sending services
Ripple Price Predicted to Rise with Key Links to Mastercard, Barclays and Western Union
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Ripple, the company behind the XRP token and a number of key banking partnerships intended to help with cross-banking transactions, is starting to encroach into a new arena. Through investments in a company that uses the XRP token and the product xRapid, Barclays and Mastercard are starting to get up close and personal with Ripple.

Furthermore, Western Union confirmed that they are piloting some settlement tests with Ripple for certain corridors, which is positive news for the cryptocurrency company and its investors.

The indication is that major companies that are actively involved in interbanking and cross-border payments are beginning to look to improve their own systems with these kinds of experiments and investments.

Cryptocurrencies have always provided an alternative to traditional and institutionalized banks, but it is Ripple that a lot of the more stringent ones are looking at. Ripple and its xRapid offering have prided themselves on being regulatory compliant, and thus are attractive for the likes of Barclays and Mastercard to invest in and Western Union to test out.

SendFriend Remittance

Both Barclays and Mastercard, two of the world’s largest financial service companies and banking institutions, have put money into a remittance company called SendFriend. This company is currently using the XRP-based xRapid service.

SendFriend is primarily targeting a Philippine and U.S. remittance market, utilizing the xRapid service to exchange USD and Philippine pesos with XRP to create cheap, frictionless cross-border transactions that occur almost instantly.

Clearly this market is attractive to the likes of Barclays and Mastercard, and they are looking to get involved by backing such a company in funding. Thus, they are inadvertently promoting the use of cryptocurrencies in this space, adding a lot of legitimacy to the likes of Ripple

Western Union shows interest

Another piece of positive news for Ripple is that Western Union, a company that specialises in sending money across borders and may well feel under threat from cryptocurrencies, is interested in testing out xRapid.

Western Union’s Global Money Transfers General Manager in Asia Pacific, Molly Shea, said in a podcast interview with Analyse Asia:

“We’re piloting some settlement tests with Ripple for certain corridors, the US Dollar and the Mexican peso is one example...learning about possible opportunities...the options that we choose need to be legitimate and widely acceptable for consumer use.”

Once again, this shows that the other major financial institutions are starting to see a value, rather than a threat, in the likes of XRP and Ripple.

More good news for Ripple

It is news like this which points in a good direction for Ripple and cryptocurrency in general as there is a change in the air. More use cases and experimentation in cryptocurrency to prove its value will lead to an uptick in demand, and thus boost the market down the line.

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