🤷 Opinions Evgeny Konstantinov

The Egg of Andy Weir

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Blockchain and sharing economy went public in 2009 and are a total success
The Egg of Andy Weir

If the name of Andy Weir does not sound outright familiar, then the movie The Martian will. Andy Weir is the novelist who wrote the book in 2011 that was made into the eponymous movie in 2015.

Weir’s most famous short story, however, that went through another round of popularity with the movie release and that he published on his website back in 2009 is “The Egg”. Tallying at around 1,000 words, the story has been translated into over 30 languages by readers and is still bringing today around 100,000 visits to Weir’s website monthly.

The gist of the story is this. A man dies in a car crash and emerges in a place of nothingness where he meets God. God tells the man he will be reincarnated as a Chinese peasant girl in 540 AD. Not only that, but that the man is constantly going through reincarnations through time and that every person the man ever knew directly, including his wife and kids, by proxy, or indirectly like Hitler and Jesus — they have always been reincarnations of this very man. Every person that ever existed in the universe is this man.

If you haven’t read the story, read it, it’s likely to be worth your time.

The quote of particular interest is where God explains to the man why the universe exists the way it does:

I looked you in the eye. “The meaning of life, the reason I made this whole universe, is for you to mature.”

“You mean mankind? You want us to mature?”

“No, just you. I made this whole universe for you. With each new life you grow and mature and become a larger and greater intellect.”

“Just me? What about everyone else?”

“There is no one else,” I said. “In this universe, there’s just you and me.”

You stared blankly at me. “But all the people on earth…”

“All you. Different incarnations of you.”

“Wait. I’m everyone!?”

“Now you’re getting it,” I said, with a congratulatory slap on the back.

“I’m every human being who ever lived?”

“Or who will ever live, yes.”

“I’m Abraham Lincoln?”

“And you’re John Wilkes Booth, too,” I added.

“I’m Hitler?” You said, appalled.

“And you’re the millions he killed.”

“I’m Jesus?”

“And you’re everyone who followed him.”

You fell silent.

“Every time you victimized someone,” I said, “you were victimizing yourself. Every act of kindness you’ve done, you’ve done to yourself. Every happy and sad moment ever experienced by any human was, or will be, experienced by you.”

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Sharing economy formation

Again, the “The Egg” is Weir’s most famous story and it was relatively popular before the book and the movie The Martian. Why though? I am going to try and give this a little perspective and whether it’s a stretch, of course, entirely up to you, but it might be worth a little ponder-over.

Andy Weir published the story on his website in 2009, and the date is almost at the crest of the wave of the sharing economy formation as a concept and roughly at the foot of the sharing economy implementation in various models.

The term ‘sharing economy’ started appearing in the early 2000s and some sources attribute the first use of the term in public to professor Lawrence Lessig.

Sharing economy was a novel idea and required a leap of trust that took a lot of people to make, and it took years for a lot of users and investors to grow on.

What’s interesting though is that the concept took a firm root around the same time when the global financial crisis peaked in 2008. When the trust went away from the vertical structures — institutions — and splashed into the state of distributed, social, and horizontal.

If we list a few examples of companies that immediately come to mind when we talk sharing economy, the dates of when they started are telling:

  • Kickstarter — founded in April 2009

  • Uber — founded in March 2009

  • Airbnb — founded in August 2008

  • Indiegogo — founded in 2007

  • BlaBlaCar — founded in September 2006

With the collapse of the vertical trust flow came the great new realization of distributed trust models in which people made the great leap and started trusting each other — allowing complete strangers into their apartments, sharing long-distance car rides with someone they never knew, and giving money to people through a website simply because they liked the idea of what was promised and didn’t need or want corporations to shove a new product down their throats.

Did people shortcut the empathy distance and realize they were all more or less similar and closer to each other with the rise of the sharing economy? They arguably did.

This was the time when Andy Weir published “The Egg”, the story that says:

“Every time you victimized someone, you were victimizing yourself. Every act of kindness you’ve done, you’ve done to yourself. Every happy and sad moment ever experienced by any human was, or will be, experienced by you.”

What’s extremely interesting is that the Bitcoin network went live in January 2009. It’s fascinating how much time the humankind and the ideas move in unison and do so without realizing it. The implementation of Blockchain, a trustless public ledger, that should be — or already is, depending on what project you follow — the backbone of the distributed, social, and horizontal trust happened at the same time that the implementation of the sharing economy started. Both the Blockchain technology and the sharing economy became a success.

When you check the timeline and put “The Egg”, the collapse of vertical trust, the sharing economy, and the Blockchain technology in the same row, you realize we are talking the same thing. U°Community believes the next wave of development and progress is in establishing transparent and immutable paths for the flow of the energy of trust for the communities — which are the now of the world progress — to truly thrive.

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Bureaucracy as an Indicator of Unsustainable Vertical Complexity

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Presence of stifling bureaucracy implicates a failure of the centralized system to evolve
Bureaucracy as an Indicator of Unsustainable Vertical Complexity
Contents

In his 1922 essay Bureaucracy, the German sociologist Max Weber, considered by some to be the father of organization theory, argued that centralized bureaucracy was an outright requirement for the healthy functioning of society. This was, in many ways, a pivotal moment in our developmental history as a social species.

Weber’s theory was embraced by at the time still industrializing nations in the West; consequently, bureaucratic entities and agencies sprung upon the world over to facilitate this transition. Bureaucracy made a brisk landing and was here to stay.

The Evolution of Modern Bureaucracy

Notwithstanding its initial endorsement by the masses, Weber’s theory of bureaucracy showed its major drawbacks in the post-industrialized world of the 1960s and 70s. What was necessary for everyday business half a century earlier started to become a gargantuan obstacle, as both individuals and businesses realized that excessive bureaucracy had made things very rigid, clunky, and slow to move. Furthermore, bureaucracy inadvertently started to dictate the very direction that both private citizens and companies had to take by forcing its mandates and regulations upon them, thereby eventually stripping virtually everyone and everything of their right to any remotely innovative or even independent enterprise.

For the past 30 years, first post-industrialized and then digital societies have been struggling to adjust to the ever changing world through this outdated but to this day influential bureaucratic model, always being caught between the what-to-do (idea) and the how-to-do (regulation). One thing became crystal clear as we started to approach the 21st century: decomplexification was needed with a general move away from centralized bureaucracy. It comes as no surprise that the old idiom cutting through red tape, which refers to circumventing bureaucratic procedures and dodging the paper fists, saw a concurrent surge of popularity in the early 2000s.

The Term Today Simply Means Arbitrary Pain

It is fascinating to note that arguably the three most widely read online dictionaries all give definitions for the word bureaucracy filled with negative connotations right off the bat:

  • A body of nonelective government officials. (Merriam Webster)

  • Administration of a government […] staffed with nonelected officials. (The Free Dictionary)

  • A system for controlling a country […] operated by a large number of officials employed to follow rules carefully. (Cambridge)

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As per the above, it becomes evident that nowadays bureaucracy implies something extremely centralized and inflexible, behemoth-like, filled with arbitrarily employed individuals (that most other people may not want to deal with in the first instance) who administer stringent rules for the purposes of keeping all other citizens under control. Naturally, the question that begs to be asked: How on earth did we manage to get here?

This is most peculiar. After all, do we need this sort of immobile monster today? And even more alarmingly, is that even what Weber had in mind when he offered his take on bureaucracy, or is it simply the case of an overworked phenomenon running amuck, a plough pulling an ox, as it were, things having bizarrely turned on its head?

Fundamental Reasons for Systemic Crumbling

The domain of economics reminds us of the famous rule of diminishing returns. A common example of this would be adding more workers to an assembly line but still not having factory’s output increase. Since workers will, sooner or later, start getting in each other’s way, the opposite effect will, in fact, ensue, ultimately decreasing the factory’s productivity. Likewise, adding more kilograms of paperwork and regulatory rigidity to the social routine is bound to eventually lead to poor results, and this has undoubtedly happened already.

It is inevitable that when institutions go through periods of steep vertical growth that we are observing right now, complexities associated with the functional makeup of these institutions also grow exponentially. Finally, these complexities grow to the point of:

a) being unmanageable through bureaucracy (as is the case in many countries in the West);

and/or

b) manifesting themselves through overt restrictions and bans (which is particularly pronounced in countries with official state regimes and/or religions, e.g. China, Turkey, UAE, etc).

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Complexity theory, developed in the 1960s, postulates that every social and economic structure is a dynamic network which is constantly evolving and adapting itself to the forever changing external factors, often unbeknownst to its individual players on the inside who can remain oblivious to any alterations. What this also means is that every system’s output is not the sum total of the individual static entities in the system, but rather a sum total of their interactions, which are often impossible to foresee. In effect, what follows is that each system, at least to a certain extent, governs itself, whether we like to admit it or not, which goes hand in hand with Adam Smith’s famous invisible hand in economics first mentioned all the way back in 1759.

Friedrich von Hayek took it a step further years later and claimed that when governments got (overly) involved, it prevented the system from automatically adjusting itself, causing more harm than good.

Undeniably, this is not a prediction but a description of today’s world: the current system, including its many social safety nets (unemployment benefits, welfare, healthcare, etc) is already crumbling, because bureaucracy at its core can no longer cope with the weight of complexity on its shoulders. The big change is waiting to happen, and, for better or worse, the evolutionary wheels are already in motion as we speak.

Alternative at the Door

Bumbledom has no place left in the progressive world. A different system, a decentralized one, bureaucracy-free, or at least bureaucracy-minimal, should be considered before we get too far gone. As of right now, there is a system that may live up to this mammoth of a task and add to the creation of a global system of “governance” that does not depend on any one government. This system, as far as the business world goes, is already here, and it’s called the Blockchain. Notably, it does not rely on a God-like political or economic entity to manage its daily running; instead, it relies on transparent self-governance and confirmability of transactional facts by members of its community at large.

It is important to understand that when the Blockchain was being introduced, it wasn’t just a financial solution but an instrument of social and political change. Certainly, the private business sector swiftly followed to profit, but at the backbone of this model today still lies the embedded need for a deeper change, the need for overall socio-economic liberty.

When considering a decentralized alternative, it is equally crucial to understand that no one is talking about disorder or violent anarchy: decentralization does not necessarily mean that at all.

The process of decentralization in Iceland, albeit still incomplete, is a prime example of it. People are perfectly capable of maintaining their society without a direct involvement from government simply by the virtue of mutual trust, wherein the word trustless takes on the new Blockchain-related meaning of “no longer requiring trust” since everything is barrier-free, translucent, and corroboratable by everyone involved.

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Battle of the Wills

With this type of technology available, why do many of us still cling to the obviously outdated format of centralized social organization and centralized platforms? It seems odd. Is it because it’s safer? But it resoundingly isn’t: just look at the multiple scandals to do with privacy violation claims surrounding Google and Facebook. Is it because it’s more familiar? Well yes, it is, naturally. But true progress does come at the cost of leaving your comfort zone. Besides, the truth be told, the Blockchain has by now already become the comfort zone of many. So, this sort of excuse won’t suffice.

According to the futurist Max Borders, who worries about an upcoming imminent struggle between “central hierarchies and prosocial networks”, there’s going to be a trust race between the trustless leviathans of the FAGMA type (Facebook, Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon), who demand loyalty and trust but no longer invariably receive it, and the decentralized, trustless platforms pushed forth by the Vitaliks of the world, which by their very nature do not require trust. Many, including Max, root for Vitaliks and hope that the former group comprised of the giants will lose to the latter group comprised of the up-and-coming cyber minds of the modern age.

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Global Perspective: The Future is Now

When looked at globally, the basis behind the Blockchain technology forms a welcoming environment for the development of a completely new type of digital economy. The role of intermediaries in this regime comes down not so much to reselling goods and services, but rather to ensuring that there is a successful communication between the seller and the buyer, says Blockchain entrepreneur and investor Alexander Petrov. In other words, more than anything else, middlemen in this scenario are working towards reinforcing a direct exchange between the two interested parties that transact business.

It is apparent that modern interfaces will soon enough altogether replace those individuals who sell; in contrast, those who analyse markets will be in yet higher demand. Professionals like accountants may want to think about changing their line of duty: in the very near future, their labor is bound to be replaced by services run from the web making their occupation obsolete.

Petrov adds:

Naturally, economies of the future based on direct exchanges of assets and information between people will require a heightened level of financial competence. Every person will have in their possession digital tokens, and they will have to learn to continuously guard and grow their wealth.

This is the reason financial consultants and traders will absolutely prosper in this new world. And it goes without saying that IT programmers and developers, the very architects of digital reality, will do extremely well under these new market conditions. Evidently, they are doing well already.

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Aiming Big, Starting Small

Newly developing trustless networks, in the new sense of the word, like the algorithm-based “UCommunity”, which models its social paradigm on the Blockchain’s building blocks principle, is one of the few platforms already leading this innovative change today. A freshly emerging web-based social structure is currently in the making: with its doors wide open, it extends its eager digital hand to future members, those willing to think outside the box.

Learn More

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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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