Ethereum On-Chain Transaction Volume Reached Record High in December 2018

The on-chain transaction value of Ethereum (ETH) hit an all time high in December 2018, crypto analytics firm Diar reports on Jan. 21.

On-chain transaction levels of the third largest cryptocurrency reached 115 million in December 2018, an all-time high excluding the activity following a hard fork caused by the DAO hack in 2016. Dair stated, “In terms of transaction count on-chain the ‘super computer’ has found stability since October bobbing between 16–17 million monthly transactions.”

On-Chain Ethereum transaction Volumes. Source: Diar

Conversely, the United States dollar value of the on-chain transactions is at a 22-month low. U.S. dollar value on-chain last year was $815 million, down from $1.1 billion in 2017. Diar further states:

“A 97 percent drop in on chain transaction value from peak in January versus December 2018 was by and large the cause of an 80 percent drop in Ethereum’s price.”

U.S. dollar value of on-chain transactions

U.S. dollar value of on-chain transactions. Source: Diar

Diar states that fees are unlikely to interfere with growth as Ethereum has some of the lowest fees for on-chain transactions.

The Constantinople hard fork in the Ethereum Network was recently delayed after the discovery of a security vulnerability allowing a reentrancy attack.

According to ChainSecurity, the smart contract audit firm that discovered the attack, the Constantinople upgrade introduces cheaper gas cost (transaction fees) for some operations on the Ethereum network.

An unexpected side effect allegedly enables reentrancy attacks via the use of certain commands in ETH smart contracts. A reentrancy vulnerability allows potential attackers to steal crypto from a smart contract on the network by repeatedly requesting funds from it while feeding it false data about the malicious actor’s actual ETH balance.

Following a fix by developers, Diar states that the Constantinople upgrade will decrease fees for certain types of transactions, which will allow for better storage use.



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Spanish Port Authority Joins Blockchain Platform Developed by IBM and Maersk

The Port Authority of the Bay of Algeciras (APBA) has signed an agreement under which it will collaborate with IBM on its shipping platform Tradelens, Europa News reported on Jan. 21. Tradelens is a digital platform based on blockchain technology developed by both IBM and international shipping giant Maersk.

Algeciras is one of the top 10 busiest ports in Europe, hosting over 70 million tons of cargo traffic annually. In 2017, the port had a container throughput of 4.3 million containers.

According to an APBA note seen by Europa News, the platform will allow APBA to more securely and efficiently exchange information and documentation between partners within a supply chain. Per the note, the platform will generate value for shippers, freight forwarders, logistics operators and shipping companies.

Europa Press states that by the end of 2018, the solution onboarded more than 100 organizations and 20 port operators. Tradelens has reportedly registered 230 million shipments and processed more than 20 million containers.

Leading port operators have been increasingly implementing blockchain technology to streamline their operations. In October 2018, the  Port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands partnered with major Dutch bank ABN AMRO and the IT subsidiary of Samsung to test blockchain for shipping.

In June 2018, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Ports became the first entity in the country to deploy its own blockchain solution. The subsidiary, Maqta Gateway LLC, developed and launched Silsal — a blockchain-based technology that aims to improve efficiency in the shipping and logistics industry.

The leading port operator in the United Kingdom, Associated British Ports, signed an agreement in September 2018 with digital logistics enabler Marine Transport International to develop blockchain for port logistics.



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Bitcoin, Ripple, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, EOS, Stellar, Litecoin, TRON, Bitcoin SV, Cardano: Price Analysis, Jan. 21

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

The market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange.

Marcus Hughes, the United Kingdom lead counsel for major United States crypto exchange and wallet provider Coinbase, expects huge developments for Bitcoin (BTC) in the next two years.

Hughes is confident about the European Union coming up with a more defined regulatory framework for crypto in 2019. After the regulations are in place, Hughes anticipates large investment banks to finally enter the scene.

U.K.-based investor and entrepreneur Alistair Milne is confident that Bitcoin will break out of its lifetime high and sustain above it. He has based his opinion on the anticipated increase of the level of adoption of the leading cryptocurrency. Milne is certain that Bitcoin will survive for another 100 years.

Similar to how prices tend to overshoot to the upside during a bull market, they also usually overshoot to the downside. Changpeng Zhao, the CEO of Binance, believes that a lot of development has taken place in the crypto space, implying that cryptocurrencies are currently undervalued.

So should the traders start buying? Let’s find out.  

BTC/USD

Bitcoin (BTC) has been trading below the moving averages since Jan. 10. Attempts by the bulls to push the price higher have been met with selling at the moving averages. This is a bearish sign.

The cryptocurrency hasn’t been able to make a higher high and a higher low, a signal that we were watching out for. A set of higher highs and higher lows would indicate a probable change in trend.

If the bears force the price below $3,236.09, it will be a new lower low that would confirm the continuation of the downtrend.

The first sign of a probable change in trend will be when the BTC/USD pair breaks out of the downtrend line and sustains above it. The recovery will gain strength if the bulls scale above $4,255. Until then, every rise to the resistance levels will be sold into.

We might suggest long positions closer to $3,236.09 if the price rebounds sharply from the support, because that would indicate a strong demand at lower levels. Another probable trade can be taken on a breakout above $4,255. Until then, we suggest traders remain in a wait and see mode.

XRP/USD

Ripple (XRP) has been trading in a tight range since Jan. 11. This is unlikely to continue for long. We expect either a breakout or breakdown from this range within the next few days.

XRP

The downtrending moving averages and the RSI in the negative area suggest that sellers are at an advantage. If the bears force a breakdown below the range, the XRP/USD pair can drop to $0.27795.

On the other hand, if the bulls push the price above the moving averages and the downtrend line, the digital currency can move up to $0.4. We suggest traders wait for a bullish pattern to form before jumping in to buy.

ETH/USD

Ethereum (ETH) plummeted below the immediate support of $116.3 on Jan. 20, but the bears could not sustain the lower levels. The bulls pulled back from the lows and closed (UTC time frame) above the support line.

ETH

If the ETH/USD pair fails to find buyers at higher levels and reverses direction, it can fall to $107.51, and if that support also breaks, a drop to $83 will be possible. The downtrending 20-day EMA, as well as the RSI in the negative territory confirm that the sellers have the upper hand in the short term.

The digital currency will show strength if it breaks out of $134.5. It can then rally to $167.32, which is likely to act as a stiff resistance.

BCH/USD

Bitcoin Cash (BCH) has been trading in a tight range of $120–$137.26 for the past 10 days. This shows that both the buyers and the sellers have stopped actively trading it.

BCH

If the bears push the price below $120, the BCH/USD pair can plunge further to $100, and below that a retest of the lows around $73.5 will be probable. The falling moving averages, and the RSI below 40 levels suggest that the sellers have the upper hand.

Our bearish view will be invalidated if the cryptocurrency scales above both the moving averages and the $137.26 mark. We shall wait for a reliable buy setup to form before proposing a trade.

EOS/USD

EOS is currently range bound between $2.3093 and $3.2081. The bears are attempting to break down of the range, while the bulls are trying to defend it.

EOS

On Jan. 13 and 14, the EOS/USD pair bounced off the support of the range, but the bulls could not carry it above the 20-day EMA. This is a bearish sign. Any break of the immediate support of the range, and the $2.1733 mark, can result in a fall to $1.7746, and further to $1.55.

Our bearish view will be invalidated if the cryptocurrency bounces off the support of the range and sustains above $2.5840. If that happens, a rally to the resistance of the range at $3.2081 will be possible. We might suggest long positions above $2.6.

XLM/USD

The bulls attempted to carry Stellar (XLM) higher on Jan. 19, but could not scale the 20-day EMA. Currently, the bears are attempting to break down of the immediate support at $0.10235190.

XLM

If they are successful, a drop to the yearly low of $0.09285498 will be probable. If this level breaks down, the XLM/USD pair will resume its downtrend. Both moving averages are sloping down, and the RSI is in the negative zone, which suggests that the bears have the upper hand.

The first sign of a likely change in trend will be when the bulls succeed in pushing the price above the downtrend line of the symmetrical triangle. A confirmation of strength will be when the pair sustains above $0.13427050. We shall wait for a trend reversal before recommending a long position.

LTC/USD

The bears are not allowing Litecoin (LTC) to sustain above the 20-day EMA, while the bulls are not allowing the price to plummet below $29.349.

LTC

If the LTC/USD pair plunges below $29.349, it could slide further to $27.701, below which a fall to the yearly lows of $23.090 will be likely. The downtrend will resume if the price breaks down to new yearly lows.

Conversely, if the bulls push the price above the 20-day EMA, the virtual currency could rally to $36.428, and beyond that to $40.784. The flat moving averages and the RSI close to 50 levels suggests a balance between the buyers and the sellers.

The next move will happen when this balance tilts in favor of either of the parties. For now, the traders who own long positions can keep a stop loss at $27.5.

TRX/USD

Tron (TRX) has corrected to the 20-day EMA, which might act as a support. However, if the bears break below this support, a fall to $0.02113440, followed by a drop to the 50-day SMA will be probable.

TRX

The TRX/USD pair has been range bound since Aug. 8, 2018. Attempts to break out or break down of this range have been unsuccessful and the price always returned into the range.

There are two possible trade opportunities. The traders can either buy closer to $0.0183 and expect the price to reach $0.02815521, or they can buy on a close (UTC time frame) above $0.02815521.

The uptrending moving averages suggest that the bulls have the upper hand. We shall turn negative on the cryptocurrency if the price slumps and sustains below $0.0183.

BSV/USD

Bitcoin SV (BSV) is gradually giving up ground, which shows a lack of buying support at the current levels. If the price sustains below $74.022, a drop to the next support at $65.031 will be probable.

BSV

The 20-day EMA is gradually sloping down, and the RSI is in the negative territory. This shows that the bears have an advantage in the short term. If the BSV/USD pair breaks below $65.031, it will result in liquidation of long trades. The supports on the downside are at $57, and below that at $38.528.

Our bearish view will be negated if the digital currency scales above both moving averages. We shall wait for the trend to turn positive before recommending any trades.

ADA/USD

Cardano (ADA) is currently trading inside an ascending channel. Usually, the price oscillates between the support and the resistance line of the channel. It reached the resistance line of the channel on Jan. 10, from where it turned down, and is now likely to fall down to the support line of the channel.

ADA

Having broken below the 20-day EMA, the ADA/USD pair might find support at the 50-day SMA. If this support breaks, the buyers might step in at the support line of the channel.

Our expectation of a drop to the support line of the channel will be invalidated if the cryptocurrency turns around from the current levels and breaks out of the 20-day EMA.

We couldn’t find any reliable buy setups at the current levels. The flat moving averages, and the RSI close to the midpoint suggest a consolidation in the near term. Because of these factors, we remain neutral on the pair.

The market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange. The charts for the analysis are provided by TradingView.



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Digital Securities Platform Joins IBM Blockchain Accelerator Program

Compliance platform for digital securities Securitize has joined the IBM Blockchain Accelerator program, Forbes reports on Jan. 21.

According to Forbes, Securitize CEO Carlos Domingo said that the firm’s goal is to build a debt issuance platform using blockchain technology. Domingo said:

“…we hope to modernize the $82 trillion dollar corporate debt market — which is currently riddled with inefficiencies and high fees — with blockchain technology.”

The accelerator will purportedly last three months and will conclude with a presentation and demonstration of Securitize’s platform. The program includes a blockchain architecture workshop and consultations with IBM and external mentors. Domingo also stated that the firm plans to integrate Hyperledger in order to design products and issue debt on a blockchain.

In November 2018, IBM and Columbia University announced two blockchain accelerator programs that aim to help startups in the crypto space. The programs form the Columbia-IBM Center for Blockchain and Data Transparency, a joint innovation center that was established by the tech giant and the ivy league school in the summer of 2018.

Blockchain technology has been previously suggested as a means by which financial organizations could combat “bad debt.” In his 2016 book Blockchain Revolution, Alex Tapscott observed that loan fraud is one of the leading causes of “bad debt.”

Tapscott suggested that in a future where all borrowers store their personal ID’s in a decentralized database, loan fraud will become a thing of past.



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Cryptocurrencies Fail Basic Financial Tests, Lack Value

Huw van Steenis, senior adviser to Bank of England’s (BOE) Governor Mark Carney, told Bloomberg in an interview Monday, Jan. 21, that cryptocurrencies fail fundamental financial tests.

Van Steenis joined BOE in 2018, having previously worked at Schroders and Morgan Stanley. He is currently heading a review of the future of finance, according to Bloomberg. When asked about crypto’s potential to become a threat to economic stability, van Steenis said:

“I’m not so worried about cryptocurrencies. They fail the basic tests of financial services. They’re not a great unit of exchange, they don’t hold value, and they’re slower.”

Van Steenis noted that registering new entrants into the banking system, especially technology firms, is one of the major challenges for BOE.

He also stressed that traditional banks are slow when it comes to adopting new technologies. “What I love when meeting with fintechs is their obsession with customers. The challenge is will they get customers before the traditional banks can innovate,” he concluded.

In March, the Treasury of the United Kingdom launched the Cryptoassets Taskforce, which is comprised of the Financial Conduct Authority and BOE, in order to develop a relevant legal framework for cryptocurrencies.

U.K. Finance Minister Philip Hammond said in a statement that the new crypto task force will work on creating industry standards for facilitating fintech and bank collaborations, as well as supporting innovation throughout the fintech industry.

In October, the taskforce released a report that proposed to define crypto assets in three groups: exchange tokens, security tokens and utility tokens. It also noted the risks related to crypto, such as a lack of customer protection and the possibility of market manipulation.



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Blockchain.com Seeks Undisclosed Stablecoin Partnership by End of 2019: Report

Crypto wallet provider Blockchain.com is seeking to partner with an unnamed stablecoin project by the end of 2019, the firm’s CEO Peter Smith revealed in an interview with crypto news agency The Block Jan. 21.

Blockchain.com, which reportedly provides 32 million wallets, with most of them active to date, is allegedly considering listing a stablecoin on its platform.

In the interview, the CEO of Blockchain.com stressed that the existing high competition in stablecoins will eventually make the market even more active than it is now. Smith reportedly stated that the firm “will make a move in there soon,” claiming that Blockchain.com is “not here to just make it easy to invest in Bitcoin (BTC).”

Smith explained his positive stance on stablecoins, suggesting that the biggest cryptocurrencies have become more of an investment vehicle rather than tool for making transactions. He continued:

“For us, stablecoins give us the power of giving everyone a U.S. dollar checking account. […] There’s no challenger bank with 30 million bank accounts. At the same time as we do that, we’ll be doing it in a way that allows them to still control their funds, to still be financially sovereign individuals.”

While Smith has not specified any exact details about the planned partnership, he noted that Blockchain.com previously invested in a number of still undisclosed stablecoin projects. He also mentioned major stablecoins including Tether (USDT) and Paxos (PAX), stressing that the latter acquires the most trading volume and liquidity.

In November 2018, Blockchain.com fully launched support for the Stellar (XLM) altcoin on its platform, claiming that the company decided to chose the cryptocurrency due to its scalability capacity, as well as for its capability to create custom tokens. Prior to that, the company was listing Bitcoin, Ethereum (ETH), and Bitcoin Cash (BCH).

According to the report, Blockchain.com has operated 100 million transactions since its inception back in 2011, and has originally raised $70 million from such companies as Digital Currency Group and Google Ventures.

In June 2018, Blockchain,com launched an institutional trading platform including over-the-counter (OTC) trading desk, with OTC services reportedly managed through BPS by a team of specialists from Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, and UBS.



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Layoffs Did Not Exceed 10 Percent, Mainly Affect Support Staff

Recent layoffs at blockchain software technology company ConsenSys did not exceed 10 percent of staff. The company’s Executive Director of Enterprise and Social Impact Vanessa Grellet spoke to Cointelegraph about the recent developments at the Crypto Finance Conference in Switzerland on Jan. 18.

Grellet said that the staff cuts were a “natural movement” and mainly affected support staff, while developers and technical employees were largely unaffected. She said:

“I’ve been at the company for two years and a half. When I joined it, we were 60, and we grew to a company that has 1,200 employees all over the world. The way we hired people was related to where the opportunities were, projects etc., and we grew a little bit fast.”

Grellet also said that dismissals can be treated as part of the “natural evolution” of ConsenSys, as the crypto space matures and “not related to any price change.” She compared recent layoffs to similar processes in big financial companies she worked for, stating that they restructured every two years as the companies grew.

Discussing her previous working experience at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), Grellet said that traditional markets and the crypto industry are each on a “very different level of maturity.”

When asked about signs of crisis in blockchain industry and criticism of ConsenSys not being able to deliver on its promises, Grellet said that she still sees huge interest in blockchain technology. Grellet added that ConsenSys has accomplished several projects that have moved crypto adoption forward.

In December, anonymous sources stated that ConsenSys could lay off up to 60 percent of its staff as the blockchain space has become more competitive and “crowded.”

ConsenSys founder Joseph Lubin later stated that ConsenSys “remains healthy” and is rebalancing its priorities. He also complained about the leaks, saying that journalists and bloggers do not have real data and create a lot of panic by reporting layoffs.



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Tangem Crypto Wallet | Japan’s SBI Group Invests $15 Million

Announced today, Japanese banking giant SBI Group has invested in Swiss crypto startup Tangem.

The company is the creator of a slimline hardware cryptocurrency wallet.

SBI Group Invests in Tangem

SBI is offering its support to Tangem with a $15 million USD investment. It will use the capital to expand into areas such as stablecoins, ICOs, tokenized asset offerings, and digital identity.

Tangem Crypto Wallet

Described by the company as a “smart banknote for digital assets,” Tangem’s cryptocurrency wallet mimics a bank card in that it allows a user to make off-chain physical transactions. Effectively, a user can make in-store purchases, by loading the device with cryptos via an NFC-enabled smartphone.

SBI Group

SBI’s wholly-owned subsidiary SBI Crypto Investment provided Tangem with the funding.

The group has been busy partnering with a host of crypto startups. In October 2018, it invested in Denmark-based blockchain security startup Sepior and last March, it bought 40% of cold wallet maker CoolBitX.

SBI and Tangem

On the investment deal SBI Holdings President and CEO, Yoshitaka Kitao, said the following:

“The Tangem hardware wallet, which is highly secure and affordable, is an important tool to promote mass adoption of digital assets and blockchain […] We believe utilizing Tangem will help stimulate the demand for other blockchain services provided by SBI.”

>> Stellar (XLM) the Latest Cryptocurrency Added to Grayscale

Hardware Wallets

A hardware wallet is a physical cryptocurrency storage device. It is similar to an external hard drive in that the data is stored offline and the device is only connected to the computer when necessary. As such, it provides increased security for cryptos than other alternatives.

Because they store cryptocurrencies offline, hardware wallets such as Tangem are becoming an increasingly popular means of storage for the assets.

Numerous online exchanges and wallets have experienced notable hacks, and traders are often told to never store crypto on an exchange for that reason. According to a report from Japan’s National Police Agency (NPA), the issue is significant; the country lost $540 million USD worth of crypto in the first six months of 2018 to hackings alone.

Featured Image: Depositphotos © iqoncept

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AI Devs Behind Robot Sophia Partner with Blockchain Agricultural Data Firm

Decentralized Artificial Intelligence (AI) firm SingularityNET has announced a partnership with agriculture-focused blockchain startup Hara at the World Web Forum, according to a press release shared with Cointelegraph Jan. 21.

Hara’s objective is reportedly to use blockchain to provide Indonesian farmers with useful data like grain price, soil quality and land ownership details. The newly announced partnership between the two firms aims to use this data to offer AI-powered crop diagnosis and data analytics to the ecosystem, according to the press release.

As the press release notes, a main goal of the partnership for the firms is to expand access to information on crop diseases with the goal of making diagnosis more automated.

SingularityNET gained attention globally as the technology in part behind a humanoid robot named Sophia, developed by Hanson Robotics. The robotics firm’s chief scientist, Ben Goertzel, is also SingularityNET’s founder and CEO.

As Cointelegraph reported in December 2017, SingularityNET received five times the amount of demand expected for their token sale, reportedly postponing the sale and later raising $36 million in one minute.

Last year saw a number of blockchain applications in food and farming, many of which focused on increasing the transparency and efficiency of supply chains. In October, the world’s four largest agriculture companies, commonly known as ABCD, announced a partnership to digitize international grain trading by using blockchain and AI.

In December, Medici Ventures, the blockchain venture arm of Overstock.com, purchased $2.5 million in equity in GrainChain, whose blockchain system enables supply chain parties to track the distribution process of harvests.



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Blockchain Can Allow for More Inclusive, Borderless Economy

Blockchain can allow for the creation of a borderless economy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) professor Silvio Micali claimed in a interview on Bloomberg’s Daybreak Asia, Jan. 21.

Speaking on the show, Micali outlined three major properties of blockchain systems that must function simultaneously to enable a more inclusive and borderless economy — security, decentralization and scalability. According to MIT’s Ford Professor of Engineering, until recently, only two of those three basic properties could have been achieved simultaneously at any time.

When asked about scalability in particular, Micali stressed that a decentralized system really needs superior technology to provide the same level of participation and confidence that is enjoyed by centralized systems.

When asked about security breaches in blockchain systems, Micali stated that centralized systems are far more vulnerable to hacking attempts, pointing to the frequency of security and privacy breaches that repeatedly take place among centralized institution of various sorts.

The professor expressed optimism about blockchain in terms of security, noting the level of security built into the concept of a trustless system:

“Only a true decentralized system, where the power is really so spread that is going to be essentially practically impossible to attack them all and when you don’t need to trust this or that particular node, is going to bring actually the security we really need and deserve.”

Recently, a group of major United States universities, including MIT, Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley, announced the launch of Unit-e, a cryptocurrency project touted as a “globally scalable decentralized payments network.”

Earlier in January, MIT Technology Review issued an article claiming that 2019 will become the year when blockchain technology finally becomes normalized.



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