A long weekend looms, but before that, there’s a lot to digest.

Perhaps topping the list is the latest scuttlebutt around trade with China (see more below). Netflix earnings also rank high, with shares down 3% in pre-market trading after a Q4 revenue miss. Automaker Tesla is also in the news after announcing plans to shrink its workforce as it tries to lower product prices and improve its margins.

Amid optimism over China, markets in Europe and Asia all rose more than 1% early Friday, one of those few times when every index is in sync. U.S. stocks also had a positive tone before the opening bell, but whether that can last is a big question. Whichever way the market is going heading into the last hour today, it might be interesting to see if it reverses course if people flatten out their positions in a possible attempt to lessen up on risk ahead of the weekend. Then we’ll have to watch and see what kind of news comes out over the next three days, especially on the China front.

U.S. markets are closed Monday for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. birthday holiday, and Market Update won’t publish that day.

China News Lifts Hopes, But Will It Last?

If investors needed any more evidence of how closely the market is tracking U.S./China negotiations, they arguably got it Thursday. Major indices woke up from a lethargic morning after The Wall Street Journal reported that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin proposed lifting some or all tariffs to advance trade talks and win China’s support for longer-term reforms.

This is far from a done deal, and investors should consider taking it for what it is—likely a trial balloon that could face resistance from harder-line U.S. negotiators. The other thing to consider is that China news can work both ways. There continues to be a lot of rumor and innuendo, and on any given day either positive or negative tidings on the situation could lift or trip up the markets.

Remember, as recently as Thursday morning, moods were sullen as China’s government referred to proposed U.S. legislation against Chinese firms Huawei and ZTE as “hysteria.” At the same time, there was a report that the U.S. was considering new auto tariffs. In other words, things can change on a dime.

That’s one reason volatility remains high, though the Cboe Volatility Index—the market’s main fear indicator, retreated down to near 18 on Thursday from above 30 in the days after Christmas.

On Lookout For Potential Friday Profit Taking

With so much rumor in the air not only about China but also on the government shutdown and Brexit, caution could be the watchword going into the U.S. three-day holiday weekend. As we noted yesterday, recent Fridays have brought some profit taking, especially in weeks where the market has already booked some gains. This trend actually has a name: the “Friday effect.”  If things do remain steady toward the last hour today, the takeaway would probably be bullish. That’s because it could solidify thoughts that people are getting more comfortable with risk after months of “risk-off” trading.

Some risk-on sentiment appeared to show up late this week as 10-year Treasury note yields climbed to 2.75% by the end of the day Thursday, closing in on three-week highs posted earlier this week. Some of the more cyclical sectors drew investor interest Thursday, as well, with the sector leaderboard dominated by industrials, materials, and energy. The possibly softer tone in trade negotiations reported by The Wall Street Journal appeared to help those sectors, with some of the bellwether stocks like Caterpillar and Boeing getting a lift. Some analysts call these the canaries in the coal mine for optimism or pessimism about China tariffs.

Turning On Netflix

Most of the FAANGs, on the other hand, only posted small gains Thursday as investors awaited earnings from Netflix after the close. When the news did come, the Netflix movie appeared to have a bittersweet ending.

Yes, streaming subscriber numbers rose more than expected, climbing by 11.36 million in Q4, and the company’s Q4 earnings per share beat third-party consensus estimates. However, revenue just missed analysts’ expectations. Also, Netflix also continues to spend a lot of money, though it promised its cash burn would peak this year and then go down. Comcast and Disney also have streaming options, so competition is heating up.

In a conference call with analysts, Netflix executives said the company’s spending reflects its move toward more “owned” content and production. Netflix expects 8.9 million global subscribers in Q1, above a pre-earnings third-party consensus of 8.2 million. That growth, it said, is due to the success of original productions like Bird Box.

In one sense, the spending isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If Netflix continues to put its money into successful original productions, it’s arguable that the costs ultimately could pay off in more subscribers. Still, it seems like maybe Netflix has had such an incredible run in the market recently that a lot of the news is already out. The company released viewership numbers a while ago, so what else can it say? It may have run out of bullets on how to excite people, at least for now.

High-end retailer Tiffany is also in the news as it reported holiday results. The company guided toward the low end of its previously-disclosed earnings per share range, and comparable year-over-year sales fell 2% during the holiday season. Much of the company’s sales are related to tourism, so the spat between China and the U.S. might be a pressure point. However, shares bounced back in pre-market trading after being down earlier.

Back to Earth for Financials

Earlier this week, it was like old times as the financial sector helped lead the rally. On Thursday, it looked more like a rerun of 2018, with financials climbing about 0.5% but well down on the sector leaderboard. This came after Morgan Stanley’s (MS) disappointing earnings, though MS shares did claw back a little after dropping sharply early on. Most of the big banks suffered in Q4 from a tough trading environment, and MS arguably had the worst time.

However, the entire sector still faces a potential challenge. If interest rates remain flat, that means they don’t have the spread revenue coming in, conceivably making them more reliant on trading. The financial sector is having a decent start to 2019, but we’re still only a couple weeks in and the interest rate environment doesn’t look particularly favorable, at least not if you’re a bank trying to boost margins.

On the data watch today, University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment is arguably the biggest piece of economic news. Holiday shopping season, which originally had looked pretty impressive, now has some questions surrounding it after Macy’s and Nordstrom reported disappointing sales. The confidence number might help investors glean whether any retail blues might have stemmed from falling sentiment.

Figure 1: 50 And Up: For the first time in about a month, the S&P 500 Index (candlestick) caught up with its 50-day moving average (blue line). This six-month chart shows that it’s been rare for the SPX to be above its 50-day moving average over the last few months, so it might be interesting to see if it can sustain this position. Data Source: S&P Dow Jones Indices. Chart source: The thinkorswim® platform from TD Ameritrade. For illustrative purposes only. Past performance does not guarantee future results.DATA SOURCE: S&P DOW JONES INDICES. CHART SOURCE: THE THINKORSWIM® PLATFORM FROM TD AMERITRADE.

Pony Up: With Ford earnings due next Wednesday, maybe it’s a good time to check in on one of the company’s flagships, the iconic Ford Mustang. This April marks the 55th anniversary of the car’s 1964 introduction, and it coincides with F planning to stop production of almost all small- and mid-size cars in the U.S., except for the Mustang. More than 10 million Ford “pony cars” have gone out the door since its debut, but not all is smooth revving in the corral. Mustang sales fell more than 7% in 2018, and are down nearly 40% from 2015, according to auto industry data. One issue is that Mustang sales historically pop when a new model comes out, and F hasn’t introduced a completely new Mustang in four years. Unfortunately for F, a new Mustang appears to be about two years out, automotive media outlets report. The Mustang was the best-selling sports coupe in the world last year, with more than 75,000 rolling out to U.S. customers and thousands more selling abroad. The company also might have a 700-horsepower Mustang in the works that could top 200 miles per hour, Road & Track reported.

Paint Splatters: It’s no secret that the U.S. housing market has been under pressure lately, but the weaker than expected preliminary Q4 results this week from paint maker Sherwin-Williams probably helped send additional shivers through some of the home builder and home improvement companies. In a side note, home construction company PulteGroup received a downgrade Thursday and shares fell, reflecting in part the slowing housing environment as homes grow more expensive. Often when home construction companies suffer, that helps pick up some of the home renovation companies like Lowe’s and Home Depot, the thought being that if people can’t afford a new home, maybe they’ll do a new kitchen or bathroom. However, painting comes with any home project, so it might make some market participants nervous to see Sherwin-Williams’ business hurting. Lowes and Home Depot report later this earnings season, but consider staying tuned for their insights now that Sherwin-Williams has raised concerns about perhaps more weakness in housing.

Technical Picture: Thursday’s late rally pushed the S&P 500 Index above its 50-day moving average of 2626. This week marks the first time in about a month that the S&P 500 has flirted or surpassed a major moving average, and that could potentially help the market from a chart perspective. On another note, the S&P 500 is approaching what technical traders call a “50% retracement” of the gap between its Q4 closing low and its 2018 closing high. The level to consider watching is around 2640, which would mean a 50% comeback from Dec. 24 when the market most recently bottomed. A close above 2640 might signal to some traders that the rally has more legs, and could mean some investors putting money back to work in the market. However, we’ll have to wait and see. Things have come pretty far, pretty fast, and there’s also the risk of profit-taking ahead of the long weekend.

This post credited to Forbes. Image source: Forbes

When the world first learned that Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss were bitcoin bulls, the cryptocurrency that started it all was having a horrible day, having collapsed by 60% from what was then an all-time high of $266 down to a measly $120, according to a 2013 New York Times report. The Winklevoss brothers then valued their holdings at around $11 million.

Today, bitcoin’s forecast is hardly any better; it has lost 80% of its total value, down from its all-time-high of $19,000 to about $3,500 today. But it’s that relative price increase of 2,800%—and a number of other milestones—that the brothers think shows they’re on the right path.

So, instead of holing up their forces for a brighter day, Tyler and Cameron now employ more people than ever and just moved to some fancy new Park Avenue offices. Instead of giving up after multiple failed attempts to get a bitcoin ETF license from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the brothers have changed tack and are launching their first mobile application and a new basket of cryptocurrencies.

While the crypto industry is in many ways in retreat, the Winklevoss brothers are digging in.

“We can weather this downturn,” said Gemini president, Cameron Winklevoss.

The brothers say the mobile app is part of an expanded focus that has been in the works for months. In addition to letting existing customers set alerts and make purchases in any of Gemini’s five cryptocurrencies, the mobile app, which is available in Apple’s App Store and Google Play, lets new users initiate know-your-customer proceedings, including facial recognition and other biometric proofs using the mobile device camera.

To give an idea of exactly how rough the cryptocurrency market is that the brothers are launching these products into, the overall market cap has declined from its peak of $817 billion in January 2018 to $110 billion today. Collectively, the market caps of all five of the cryptocurrencies Gemini now trades have declined about 78% from about $356 billion in December 2018 to $75 billion today.

Nevertheless, the brothers remain undaunted, focusing steadfastly on their belief that the underlying blockchain technology will lay the foundation for a new, less-centralized financial infrastructure.

“For many years when we were building Gemini, price wasn’t a thing. Bitcoin was a $200 coin,” said Cameron. “Then, last year is actually an anomaly, and almost, you could argue, a distraction.” While a representative of Gemini declined to share how much cryptocurrency the brothers currently owned, or even if they owned any, in 2016 they confirmed they had a “material” stake in ether, according to a CoinDesk report.

The launch of the Gemini mobile app may seem like a long-overdue achievement, given that U.S. competitors like Coinbase and Kraken launched their mobile apps in October 2013 and September 2014, respectively. But Gemini has been focused largely on building out a financial infrastructure targeting institutions first, trusting a more organic approach in order to attract retail investors.

To give some perspective, while Coinbase received its banking charter only in October 2018 and Kraken still operates without a charter, which limits the kinds of business it can legally conduct, Gemini won its charter from the NYDFS all the way back in October 2015. Following multiple failed attempts to obtain another license from the SEC to offer a bitcoin Exchange Traded Fund (ETF), the launch of a mobile app signals an expanded interest in specifically targeting retail investors.

“You’re going to see that the product story and the individual customer narrative is going to be a bigger part of 2019,” said Tyler Winklevoss, Gemini’s chief executive officer, who joined his brother, speaking with Forbes at the company’s new three-floor offices. Gemini declined to share customer numbers, but to give an idea of growth, the firm has doubled in size over the past year, according to a representative, and employs almost 200 people at the new 50,000-square-foot location.

While such a hiring trajectory flies in the face of developments at some crypto firms like ethereum incubator ConsenSys, which has had difficulty over the downturn and plans to lay off as much as 13% of its staff, it aligns with a Glassdoor report that showed a 300% increase in crypto jobs year over year. The blockchain-focused Web3 Foundation, tells Forbes it doubled its staff this quarter exclusively with crypto-related hires and will continue to make key hires into next year.

“While some capital might be leaving the market,” Cameron acknowledged, “the human capital is really impressive, and it’s long-term capital. People don’t make decisions to enter crypto on a month-to-month or price-to-price basis.”

This post credited to Forbes. Image source: Forbes

Since January 14, subsequent to a minor correction, the crypto market has added $6 billion to its valuation as the Bitcoin price maintained stability.

While many cryptocurrencies, especially low market cap tokens fell substantially earlier this week, Bitcoin remained in a tight range between $3,400 to $3,600.

Image credit: TradingView

How Bitcoin is Able to Retain Dominance

The abrupt decline in the valuation of the crypto market on Monday was largely triggered by the weakness in the short-term price trend of small digital assets.

In the last four days, Bitcoin has barely moved at all, demonstrating a high level of resistance below the $3,500 mark.

Luke Martin, a cryptocurrency technical analyst, said that the breakout of the Bitcoin price above $3,700 could allow the dominant cryptocurrency to record a promising short-term price movement in the days to come.

“BTC battling to reclaim the range all week. If price can get back above $3,700 I’m more excited about alt positive momentum continuing,” Martin said.

Bitcoin remains as the only major cryptocurrency to be able to sustain a certain level of stability in a period of extreme volatility and uncertainty.

Reports suggest that the fundamentals of the asset have allowed it to outperform most crypto assets in the global market.

In many areas including hash rate, developer activity, transaction volume, and trading volume, Bitcoin has easily surpassed its competitors throughout the past 12 months.

As the world’s first cryptocurrency, bitcoin remains the most prominent and used decentralized currency of them all.

A recent report released by Charlie Humberstone at a cryptocurrency market data provider CryptoCompare revealed that Bitcoin-related articles accounted for 42 percent of all cryptocurrency-related coverage.

The analyst wrote:

As always Bitcoin kept chugging along, gaining a larger share of the news coverage from the growing number of ‘bear market casualties’. Bitcoin-related articles reached a peak of 42% by the end of the year. Blockchain articles too maintained their prominence — peaking at nearly 20% of articles in May.

During a bear market, the valuation of many cryptocurrencies and blockchain projects drops substantially. While the decline in valuation makes it cheaper for new companies entering the cryptocurrency market to acqui-hire, it also reduces the costs that incur when initiating various types of attacks on blockchain networks.

Last week, for instance, Ethereum Classic suffered a 51 percent attack which led to the loss of over $1 million.

Fundamentals are Crucial

Throughout the months to come, until the cryptocurrency market recovers, Bitcoin is expected to outperform most crypto assets in the space due to its strong fundamentals.

According to ATHCoinIndex, Bitcoin has outperformed the top ten largest cryptocurrencies in the global market by significant margins since the start of a bear market in early 2018.

The cryptocurrency market is generally expected to demonstrate a high level of volatility in the days to come. But, until the market establishes a proper bottom, analysts expect low market cap tokens and low volume cryptocurrencies to extend their losses against both Bitcoin and the U.S. dollar.

This post credited to CCN. Image source: CCN

This week, a major crypto exchange ShapeShift was forced to lay off 30 percent of the company’s workforce, letting go 37 employees.

In a letter to the company and to the users on the platform, ShapeShift founder and CEO Erik Voorhees said that the crypto winter had left the firm with no other viable choice but to adjust to worsening market conditions.

“Today, we let 37 employees go, reducing the size of our team by a third,” Voorhees said.

Not Wholly Negative: Lessons from Crypto Winter

Following one of the largest bull markets in the history of the cryptocurrency market in 2017, the vast majority of companies in the industry including ConsenSys, Bitmain, and ShapeShift aggressively expanded their services, often outside of their core business.

CCN.com@CryptoCoinsNews

Calling Crypto a ‘Harsh Mistress,’ ShapeShift Announces Major Layoffs https://www.ccn.com/calling-crypto-a-harsh-mistress-shapeshift-announces-major-layoffs/ …257:24 AM – Jan 9, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacyCalling Crypto a ‘Harsh Mistress,’ ShapeShift Announces Major LayoffsShapeShift exchange has become the latest in a string of cryptocurrency and blockchain companies to announce major layoffs due to the ongoing cryptocurrency bear market. In a Medium post entitled…ccn.comSee CCN.com’s other TweetsTwitter Ads info and privacy

During that time, ShapeShift recorded a massive growth rate of 3,000 percent as the valuation of cryptocurrencies surged past $800 billion. Exchanges were seeing record volumes, and businesses in the industry received substantial venture capital money from prominent investors.

Voorhees explained:

We ride high and fast during the ascents, growing at rates unseen almost anywhere else in the business world (ShapeShift grew 3,000% in 2017). And when the markets turn, the crypto recession is similarly dramatic and severe.

But, as the market eventually entered a correction phase and most crypto assets began to record 70 to 80 percent drops from their all-time highs, the market started to struggle; less venture capital money was coming in, revenues declined, and overall trading activity dropped.

bitcoin price ethereum price
With the Bitcoin (blue) and Ethereum (red) prices down more than 70 percent over the past year, crypto firms are starting to tighten their belts.

Having already expanded to different areas within the cryptocurrency market and in some cases outside of finance, many companies could no longer sustain large teams working on a variety of products.

He said:

As a company, we’ve made a thousand mistakes. The most thematic has been a lack of focus. Here’s the lesson we learned: regardless of any particular project’s marketability, they were pulling our attention in too many directions. They cost financial resources. They required legal review. And then further review, and then additional review after that.

Consequently, ConsenSysBitmain, and ShapeShift all laid off 30 to 50 percent of their workforce to redirect their focus to their core products, realigning their vision.

Bitmain eliminated entire departments working on areas like artificial intelligence (AI), ConsenSys announced the second phase of the company to work on products that can be used by the mainstream and casual users, and ShapeShift has also begun to shift more attention to its core business.

The realignment of vision by large companies in the crypto sphere is not entirely negative; they are going back to their roots to serve their core user base and drive adoption into their main services before expanding again to other areas.

Importance of a Bear Market

A bull and bear market cycle is crucial in an emerging market like crypto because it allows companies to re-evaluate their progress and move forward to achieve greater success in the long-term.

This post credited to CCN. Erik Voorhees Image via ShapeShift/YouTube

Ethereum, which has regained its spot as the world’s second largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization after recent gains, is soaring today, helping to boost the cryptocurrency market—including bitcoin and ripple (XRP) as a post-Christmas rally rolls on.

Ethereum has climbed some 80% over the past month, adding a further 12% rise over the last 24 hours, as an upcoming so-called hard fork pushes up demand for ethereum’s tradable token ether.

Bitcoin has added some 4% over the last 24 hours, while ripple, a common name for the XRP tradable token, has climbed 3%. Ripple last year overtook ethereum as the world’s second largest cryptocurrency on the back of surging interest from the established financial services sector but has failed to hold on to those gains.

The hard fork, which usually means a cryptocurrency splits in two, will see ethereum miner rewards fall from three ether to two and decrease the block time, making the network faster. The update is set for January 16 and is thought to be a key component of ethereum’s transition from using a proof of work protocol to proof of stake.

Cryptocurrency forks do not always mean their value rises, however.

Bitcoin forks have previously led to minor drops in the bitcoin price in the short term. When bitcoin cash forked from the bitcoin network in July 2017, bitcoin dropped some 4%—though bitcoin had risen strongly in the months leading up to the fork and continued to do so in following months before peaking in December 2017.

Bitcoin cash itself then rallied hard ahead of its split in November last year. The bull run proved to be short-lived, however, with both bitcoin cash, and the hived off bitcoin SV, falling sharply in following weeks.

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Ethereum, ethereum price, bitcoin, bitcoin price, ripple, ripple price

Ethereum has rallied this month after falling steadily throughout most of 2018.COINDESK

The ethereum price has lost some 80% from its peak 12 months ago, as many of the digital tokens built on the ethereum network failed to hold their value. However, ethereum co-creator Joe Lubin called the “cryptobottom of 2018” in mid-December, saying it was “marked by an epic amount of fear, uncertainty, and doubt from our friends in the 4th and crypto-5th estates.”

The bitcoin and wider cryptocurrency bear market forced Lubin to make changes at his company ConsenSys last year.

Last month, closely followed economist and a cryptocurrency trader Alex Krüger tweeted he expected the reaction to the upcoming ethereum hard fork would be “bullish.”

“Once mining is past the initial (painful) adjustment period, less mining supply mined by fewer miners will be decidedly bullish,” Krüger wrote.

Meanwhile, bitcoin and Ripple’s XRP have also climbed over so far this week, kicking off 2019 with a rise and greeting many traders and investors returning to work today after the holidays with a sea of green.

ethereum, ethereum price, bitcoin, bitcoin price, ripple, ripple price, chart

Traders returning to work today have reason to be cheerful.COINMARKETCAP

Many will be hoping this positive start to 2019 will continue for the rest of the year after 2018 ended in what’s been called Crypto Winter, due to its debilitating effect on the market and crypto investment and development.

This post credited to forbes  Image source: Forbes

Over the past 12 months Bitcoin has continued to fall, dragging the entire crypto market down with it. The daddy of all digital currencies hit a 16 month low in mid-December when it fell below $3,200. Things could be on the verge of a reversal soon though according to analysts.

Turning The Tide On The Bears

A positive start to 2019 and new technical analysis suggests that trends are about to turn for Bitcoin and its brethren.  An indicator used to detect trend reversals shows that Bitcoin is in its longest buying streak for six months according to Forbes.

The GTI Vera Convergence Divergence indicator has previously been used to highlight buy signals and it has not been wrong. Bitcoin had a month long rally the last time this indicator showed positive signals. “Should buying pressure persist as it has over the past 13 days, Bitcoin could continue to see a rise in prices,” Bloomberg added.

Bloomberg’s Galaxy Crypto Index, which tracks some of the top crypto assets, is similarly indicating Bitcoin’s longest buy streak since September when its market dominance climbed to 58%. This sentiment has been echoed by senior analysts such as eToro’s Mati Greenspan who said the market is much closer to the bottom than we are to the top, before adding;

“I’m seeing an industry that is growing at a very rapid pace right now where we see companies that are involved in bitcoin and blockchain hiring at a rapid rate. We see new projects coming online. We see all kind of indication that people are getting more and more involved in the market.”

While it is true that large scale mining operations have downsized, crypto exchanges such as Binance and Coinbase have continued to expand and take on new staff and new geographic locations. The looming promise of institutional investor involvement from the likes of Nasdaq and ICE is another signal that the market is not likely to fall any further.

Ethereum has led the rally so far this year with its upcoming Constantinople hard fork being the catalyst. A recovery of over 80% in just three weeks for ETH has bolstered crypto markets which have grown almost 5% since the new year started. Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin called the bottom in mid-December when most cryptos were at their lowest levels for 18 months;

Joseph Lubin

@ethereumJoseph

I am calling the cryptobottom of 2018. This bottom is marked by an epic amount of fear, uncertainty, and doubt from our friends in the 4th and crypto-5th estates.

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The momentum at the moment is slow but recovery is a painful process and will not happen overnight. A steady upswing for crypto markets will be far healthier for the ecosystem than the mass volatility of 2017’s bull run. The snow from the crypto winter could slowly be starting to melt.

This post credited to News BTC Image source: News BTC

Following a several day period of relative stability in the cryptocurrency markets, Bitcoin has now risen nearly 4%, which is leading the overall crypto markets to surge. Today’s positive price move is being led by Ethereum, which is currently trading up well over 10%.

Today’s move marks the first market surge of 2019, although Bitcoin faces historical resistance around $4,000 which may prove to be a difficult level to break through.

Crypto Markets Add $7 Billion From Daily Lows 

Today’s price surge has led the crypto markets to add over $7 billion to their aggregated market capitalization, which has risen from daily lows of $125 million to its current levels of nearly $133 billion.

Bitcoin is naturally leading the direction of the market and is currently trading up 4.4% at its current price of $3,900. This has been a relatively volatile week for Bitcoin’s price, which fell to lows of $3,600 before rising to highs of nearly $4,000.

During its last price rise, Bitcoin appeared to treat $4,000 as a level of resistance, as its price was swiftly pushed downwards after touching this level. More time is required to see if Bitcoin will be able to maintain its current upwards momentum and break above $4,000 during its current price surge.

Altcoins Surge, Ethereum Leads the Way 

Bitcoin’s price rise has allowed the altcoin markets to see some decent gains, with Ethereum and EOS being today’s best performing cryptocurrencies so far.

At the time of writing, Ethereum is trading up 13% at its current price of $152. Ethereum is nearing its one-month highs of $156, which may act as a level of resistance. Ethereum is trading up 83% from its monthly lows of $83.

Ethereum’s massive price rise over the past month is the likely result of two primary factors, consisting of being in oversold territory earlier this month, and its upcoming Constantinople fork, which will reduce its block rewards and in turn decrease the new Ethereum supply.

Alex Krüger, an economist who focuses primarily on cryptocurrencies, linked Ethereum’s performance directly to this event, saying in a recent tweet that the supply reduction will be a bullish event.

“Notable outperformance of $ETH over $BTC in the last few weeks. There’s a reason for it: the upcoming fork / supply reduction. Another BAKKT delay adds to it,” he said.

In the past, Krüger has spoken bullishly about the Constantinople fork, which is set to occur around January 16th of this year, saying:

“Ethereum’s Constantinople fork is coming on block 7080000, around January 16, 2019. Constantinople will reduce the block rewards from 3 to 2, decreasing new $ETH supply accordingly… On the long run, this is decidedly bullish.”

Ethereum has now retaken the number two spot by market capitalization from XRP.

XRP is slightly outperforming Bitcoin and is trading up nearly 6% at its current price of $0.374.

EOS is also having a good day and is trading up over 10% at its current price of $2.84.

This post credited to News BTC Image source: Shutterstock

Digital assets platform Bakkt — created by the operator of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) — has announced the completion of its first funding round in a blog post today, Dec. 31.

The institutional investor-focused cryptocurrency platform from the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) has officially raised $182.5 million from 12 partners and investors, according to the post.

The partners and investors reportedly include major names in both traditional finance and crypto-oriented investing, including ICE, Boston Consulting Group, Galaxy Digital, Goldfinch Partners, Alan Howard, Horizons Ventures, Microsoft’s venture capital arm and Pantera Capital.

Bakkt also noted in the announcement that the company is working with United States regulators — namely the  Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) — to obtain “regulatory approval for physically delivered and warehoused bitcoin,” adding:

“We have filed our applications and the timing for approval is now based on the regulatory review process.”

Also today, ICE separately announced in a notice that the firm “expects to provide an updated launch timeline in early 2019, for the trading, clearing and warehousing of the Bakkt Bitcoin (USD) Daily Futures Contract.” In late November, the long-awaited digital assets platform stated that it was targeting Jan. 24, 2019 as a launch date, pending CFTC approval.

ICE first announced plans to create a Microsoft cloud-powered “open and regulated, global ecosystem for digital assets” in August, as Cointelegraph reported at the time.

Multiple experts and commentators in the crypto and blockchain industry have pointed to Bakkt’s coming launch as a major factor that will help crypto markets rebound from this year’s ongoing bear market.

This post credited to cointelegraph Image source: Cointelegraph

Bitmain, the world’s leading ASIC manufacturer, is facing major headwinds in its attempt to launch an Initial Public Offering.

According to a report published by the South China Morning Post, the Hong Kong stock exchange regulator is fidgety about approving an IPO related to the cryptocurrency market given its tempestuous nature. The market has seen many companies close shop in recent months following an unprecedented price dip that led to many cryptocurrencies losing over 75% of their value within weeks, and crypto mining becoming largely unprofitable.

On September 26, 2018 Bitmain Technologies filed a $3 billion IPO that lapses in March 2019. According to the listing rules, rejection or approval should be made within six months after all questions regarding the proposal are answered. The application lapses if the regulators take over six months to issue a response.

So far, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange has kept mum about the IPO, and the China International Capital Corporation (CICC) which is sponsoring the venture has also kept the public in the dark. Hong Kong regulators seek to have a robust regulatory framework in place to ensure that investors and other stakeholders are protected prior to the approval of a crypto industry IPO.

Bitmain currently operates Antpool and BTC.com, two of the largest mining pools on the Bitcoin network. Together, they dominate 31% of the market. The company also dominates about 75% of the ASIC hardware market. This means that a change in the Bitcoin ecosystem significantly affects its margins.

On December 10, Bitmain laid off employees at its development center in Ra’anana, Israel. It blamed the vicissitudes of the market, which impelled the company to reconsider some of its projects. The Bitmain division is Israel was tasked with developing blockchain technology, mining pools and coming up with innovative artificial intelligence solutions.

According to BitMEX Research, Bitmain is facing major issues due to the current bearish market trend, and may be incurring significant losses brought on by declining demand for miners.

Although Bitmain reportedly earned over $1 billion in profits during the first quarter of 2018, its $328 million initiative to acquire a Bitcoin Cash stash is also deemed to have backfired, and investor capital injection is now crucial for its survival.

Many cryptocurrency mining companies are wading through choppy waters following the recent market slump. One widely reported victim is Giga Watt.

The company, which provides turnkey mining services, filed for Chapter 11 in November after it was unable to pay off debts totaling about $7 million. Its creditors included electricity provider Neppel Electric, Talos Construction, the Douglas County PUD, and Schmitt Electric.

This post credited to Daily HODL Image source: Daily HODL

In December, traders’ investment in the cryptocurrency market has been comparatively better than what it was on Wall Street, as demonstrated by the relative performance of the Bitcoin price and S&P 500 index.

S&P 500 Slumps Below Bitcoin Price on 30-Day Chart

Bitcoin underwent an impressive bullish correction after falling almost 85% from its all-time high near $20,000. The price at the beginning of December established an interim bottom level at $3,127 before jumping towards its monthly high near $4,237. That totaled its correction to almost 35.5%.

Chart comparing the December trend of Bitcoin and S&P 500 Index | Source: TradingView.com

The S&P 500, on the other hand, was already undergoing a downside correction after establishing its 52-week high at 2,940.91. As December kicked in, the index noted ten back-to-back daily selling sessions during mid-term — causing a crash of almost 20% from the recent peak, its lowest since April 2017.

The S&P’s sister indexes, Dow Jones and Nasdaq, also plunged significantly within the same timeframe. The trio together came closer to record the worst monthly crash since October 2008, during the time of the financial crisis.

Overall, The S&P 500 slumped 19.8% by Tuesday from its September 20 record close. The Nasdaq and the Dow depreciated 23.3% and 18.8% from their record closes set August 29 and October 3, respectively.

Different Fundamentals

The fundamentals of both Bitcoin and S&P are quite distinctive from each other. While Bitcoin is a standalone asset, which is traded mainly via retail and OTC markets, S&P is a market capitalization index of the US’s biggest public-traded corporations by market value. Each market was responding to its specific catalysts, without establishing any definitive correlation with the other.

The Massive Fall and Minor Rise of the Bitcoin Price

Bitcoin, for instance, corrected all this year after overreaching its upside targets without confirming real demand. Along with Ethereum, it was used as a method to raise funds to many young blockchain startups that eventually failed without making the product they intended to make. Some of them even turned out to be vaporware or outright scams. This and other factors finally increased the selling pressure on the Bitcoin market and caused a huge plunge.

The cryptocurrency only recently found a temporary bottom, which influenced speculators to accumulate the asset at lower prices. The crypto market is eyeing 2019 to be the year of BTC’s institutional adoption, which influences the traders within it to “buy the dips” and hold the digital currency unless their respective upside target is established.

S&P 500 Faces Continued Bearish Indicators

Unlike Bitcoin, the S&P 500 is reacting to macroeconomic factors, ranging from Fed interest rate hikes to global political scenarios rooting from the Trump administration. A recent tweet from US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Tuesday revealed that he was in talks with the CEOs of the Untied States’ six biggest banks. It led to a pessimistic market sentiment over the liquidity among these institutions.

The ongoing US-China trade war is also heading into a blank despite the assurance from both Washington and Beijing. A vice presidential-level meeting between the two powerful economies, as reported on Sundayby the South China Morning Post, hinted positive outcomes. But it wasn’t enough to reinject optimism into the US stock market.

The S&P is expected to consolidate until the new year kicks in. Most of the traders and stockbrokers are away from their desks during the holiday season, which is likely to reduce the volume in these markets.

Despite being the two distinctive asset classes altogether, Bitcoin has proven to be better in terms of return of investment this month.

This post credited to ccn Featured Image from Shutterstock. Charts from TradingView.