Bitcoin’s meteoric uptrend over the past several days and weeks has allowed BTC to smash through multiple resistance levels that were previously hampering its price action, and yesterday’s break above $8,000 led to a sense of euphoria amongst the cryptocurrency’s bulls.Analysts are now noting that Bitcoin could currently be caught within the early stages of the next major bull run, but it is important to note that how it responds to this one key price level could be the single factor that validates or invalidates this incredibly bullish possibility.Bitcoin Hovers Around Key Support Level as Analysts Watch for Heightened VolatilityAt the time of writing, Bitcoin is trading down roughly 1% at its current price of $8,020, which marks a notable decline from its daily highs of just under $8,400 that were set at the peak of the recent rally.It does appear that in the near-term Bitcoin could be on the verge of breaking below its key support at $8,000, although each slight dip below this level over the past couple of hours has been quickly absorbed by buyers.HornHairs, a popular cryptocurrency analyst on Twitter, explained in a recent tweet that he is closely watching to see how BTC responds to $8,000 for insight into which direction it will go next, as it could be the determining factor for whether or not this recent rally marks a long-term trend shift.“May be jumping the gun here but I’m willing to hop back in if we see another solid bounce & recovery at this demand. On the other hand a close back below the range high would make me flip my bias & short a retest. If this does trend higher this will be an entry worth holding,” he explained.May be jumping the gun here but I’m willing to hop back in if we see another solid bounce & recovery at this demand. On the other hand a close back below the range high would make me flip my bias & short a retest. If this does trend higher this will be an entry worth holding. pic.twitter.com/c1mQOKtV4A— HornHairs 🌊 (@CryptoHornHairs) January 8, 2020
Holding Above $8,000 Could Confirm Next Major Bull MarketPeter Brandt, a renowned analyst, spoke about Bitcoin in a recent tweet, explaining that it is currently attempting to break above the upper boundary of a multi-year descending channel, but bulls need to continue to maintain their buying pressure in order for this to be confirmed and in order for BTC to enter the early stages of its next bull market.“Has a new bull market began in #Bitcoin $BTC? 1. Market held support at lower boundary of multi-yr channel 2. Small H&S bottom on daily chart 3. Pending penetration of 6+ mo channel… If enough cryptocultists have been shaken out since Dec ’17, then ‘yes’ If not, then ‘no’,” he said while referencing a chart showing the aforementioned channel.Has a new bull market began in #Bitcoin $BTC?
1. Market held support at lower boundary of multi-yr channel
2. Small H&S bottom on daily chart
3. Pending penetration of 6+ mo channel
If enough cryptocultists have been shaken out since Dec ’17, then “yes”
If not, then “no” pic.twitter.com/vpKQeOKqLI— Peter Brandt (@PeterLBrandt) January 8, 2020
The next few hours may shine a light on the validity of this pending channel breakout, as a dip below $8,000 could spark a larger sell-off that puts the crypto firmly back into the middle of this wide trading channel.Featured image from Shutterstock.
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Author: Cole Petersen
Before the emergence of crypto exchanges and trustless multi-sig, early bitcoiners saw the need for an escrow service – a mediator to act as a go-between for strangers transacting online. Given the panoply of options now available, it is strange to think that escrow was once provided by a few early supporters, who put their reputation on the line to give buyer and seller the protection they desired. So, how did the first bitcoin escrow service come about?
2010 was a watershed year for Bitcoin. Back then, when it was still possible to mine the currency on a humble home computer, we witnessed the first block size debate; bitcoin acquired its famous logo; Laszlo Hanyecz purchased a couple of pizzas with the currency; the first mining pool, Slush, was announced; and Satoshi observed that Wikileaks had “kicked the hornet’s nest” by seeking to raise funds in the nascent crypto. The enigmatic Nakamoto’s final message on the bitcointalk.org forum came a day later, on December 12.
The introduction of a makeshift bitcoin escrow service is arguably just as notable an event as any of the aforementioned milestones. As was invariably the case in those days, the topic was raised on a bitcointalk forum thread, with an anonymous poster asking “Does anyone currently offer this service? I am looking to offer this amongst the payment methods for bitcoin.”
It didn’t take long for other forum members to wade in and assume the role of neutral middleman – in return for a 50 BTC fee. “There’s probably some market in it, who knows?!” said Xunie. If only he realized just how big a market that would turn out to be.
Current forum operator Theymos, who had been bequeathed moderator duties by Satoshi himself, had a different proposition, saying he would personally act as an arbitrator for “1% of the bitcoins to be transferred.” Theymos elaborated on his offer: “In case there’s a dispute I can’t solve, I’ll favor whichever party can provide me with the most detailed personal information that I can verify is actually correct (a certificate signed by a trusted CA would be ideal). Then I’ll give that info to the losing party so that they can attempt to find the other person and use the legal system.”
The Importance of Escrow in the Pre-Exchange Era
Back in the pre-exchange era, escrow was a sorely absent element from day-to-day crypto transactions. Trading bitcoin for something else was not altogether uncommon, but to do so over the web, with someone you didn’t know in real life, required complete trust. This was in the days before 2-of-3 wallets, where users could have a third party own partial keys to a wallet – as is now commonly used on sites like Localbitcoins and local.Bitcoin.com.
The fact that a bitcointalk OG like Theymos responded so enthusiastically to the idea attests to the acknowledgement that escrow was the next step in Bitcoin’s evolution. While there are a great many things that differentiate Bitcoin (and crypto, generally) from the traditional financial system, a trustworthy escrow service was clearly needed. Without it, parties would never gain confidence in the security of any trade. After all, bitcoin transactions are irreversible.
Although many members of the forum pitched in and offered to act as an escrow, the original problem – namely that two parties were entrusting a stranger to facilitate their transaction – remained. However, it was a more innocent age and the sense of community was palpable on the famous forum. Besides, with no reputable bitcoin escrow service available in 2010, using a third party with whom you might be familiar was seen by many as the next best thing. Bitcoin might be trustless, but in its early days, mutual trust was integral to its growth.
Bitcoin History is a multipart series from news.Bitcoin.com charting pivotal moments in the evolution of the world’s first cryptocurrency. Read part 22 here.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
Did you know you can verify any unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction with our Bitcoin Block Explorer tool? Simply complete a Bitcoin address search to view it on the blockchain. Plus, visit our Bitcoin Charts to see what’s happening in the industry.
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Author: Kai Sedgwick
Ethereum’s recent uptrend reached a boiling point yesterday when the cryptocurrency rallied to highs of $148, which is the level at which ETH met significant selling pressure that led to a strong and swift rejection.The strong rejection at this level has put ETH into a downwards tailspin, even forcing it to lose its position within the $140 region.Analysts are now noting that this rejection came about after the cryptocurrency hit a key resistance level, which may lead it to drop to the lower boundary of its current descending channel, potentially leading it as low as $85 in the near-term.Ethereum Shows Signs of Reversing Recent Uptrend At the time of writing, Ethereum is trading down roughly 3% at its current price of $139, which marks a notable decline from its daily highs of $148 that were set at the peak of yesterday’s rally.It is important to note that Ethereum is still trading up significantly from weekly lows of $126, although its recent uptrend uppers to be at risk of reversing as its selling pressure begins ramping up.While looking at Ethereum’s BTC trading pair, its current price action looks even more bearish than it does against USD, as it is currently down 4% against Bitcoin. This is a notable drop while considered that Bitcoin also faced a sharp sell-off earlier this morning.Joe Weisenthal, an editor at Bloomberg, pointed out ETH’s bearishness against BTC in a recent tweet, referencing a chart that shows the Bitcoin/Ethereum cross rate denominated in USD.“The Ethereum/Bitcoin cross is an ugly chart,” he explained.The Ethereum/Bitcoin cross is an ugly chart. pic.twitter.com/xYwA45lV3o— Joe Weisenthal (@TheStalwart) January 7, 2020
Will Growing Weakness Send ETH to $80?It is important to note that the recent rejection at $148 came about as the cryptocurrency attempted to break above the upper boundary of a descending channel that it has been caught within.Scott Melker, a popular crypto analyst, pointed to this channel in a recent tweet, explaining that the lower boundary exists around $85, which could mean that this will be the level Ethereum’s bears target if they are able to spark a massive sell off.“$ETH (USD) At the top of a descending channel, pushing against resistance. Like any USD pair, this will likely only rise if $BTC rises as well – in which case you would probably be better off sitting in $BTC anyway, assuming you are stacking sats and not dollars,” he explained.$ETH (USD)At the top of a descending channel, pushing against resistance. Like any USD pair, this will likely only rise if $BTC rises as well – in which case you would probably be better off sitting in $BTC anyway, assuming you are stacking sats and not dollars. pic.twitter.com/IqGj3bure9— The Wolf Of All Streets (@scottmelker) January 8, 2020
Whether or not Bitcoin is able to sustain above $8,000 in the near-term will likely be one key factor that helps determine whether or not ETH will soon undergo a bearish trend reversal.Featured image from Shutterstock.
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Author: Cole Petersen
Stronger privacy is coming to the largest stablecoin, tether, with a recent blockchain-to-blockchain swap of $15 million worth of tokens.
At 11:27 UTC on Jan. 7, stablecoin issuer Tether conducted a cross-chain swap of some 15 million USDT reserves from ethereum to Blockstream’s Liquid, a federated sidechain running parallel to the bitcoin blockchain. The technical possibility of USDT’s Liquid debut was first announced in July 2019.
Innocuous at first glance, the transfer has implications for both digital asset trading and the larger tether market, which saw a mass migration from Omni, a bitcoin-based protocol, to ethereum and even Tron over the course of 2019.
But what Liquid offers is privacy.
Through confidential assets – a privacy tool which blinds asset values on public ledgers via a protocol called “confidential transactions” – these tether may never see public light again. In fact, it may be the first instance of private digital asset trading at scale.
By hiding tether transfers between off-exchange accounts on Liquid and exchanges themselves, traders can move assets around “without worrying about frontrunning,” pseudonymous Blockstream community manager Grubles told CoinDesk via Telegram.
For example, a trader could move some Liquid-based tether to an exchange, with the intent of buying bitcoin without tipping her hand to others who might drive the price up before she can make the purchase.
“Movements of tether can be tracked in general but also particularly to and from exchanges, which is valuable information. People absolutely trade based on this information,” Grubles said. “Moving from a blockchain that has transparent transactions and onto Liquid is somewhat of a no-brainer in the context of trading.”
Tether maintains a healthy competitive advantage against other stablecoins with nearly 75 times the daily trading volume of the next leading stablecoin, the Paxos Standard (PAX), according to Messari’s Stablecoin Index. Noting its ubiquitous use today by traders, Grubles said a pairing with privacy tech only adds to tether’s competitive edge.
Moreover, tether on Liquid may be the first instance of a semi-private stablecoin, according to Blockstream CTO Samson Mow.
“Services like Whale Alert, that track movements of assets, would not work for confidential assets in Liquid,” Mow told CoinDesk.
However, tokens issued on tether remain public via the Blockstream block explorer, said Grubles, potentially assuaging some of the concerns of Tether skeptics. The stablecoin issuer and its sister company, Bitfinex, are currently under investigation by the New York Attorney General’s Office for allegedly commingling corporate and customer funds.
Confidential assets (CAs) were first formally proposed by Blocksteam employees in an April 2017 academic paper penned by bitcoin researchers Andrew Poelstra, Adam Back, Mark Friedenbach, Gregory Maxwell and Pieter Wuille.
As described in the paper, the researchers used Pedersen commitments, a mathematical function capable of shielding input information while proving its overall validity, to “blind the amounts of all unspent transaction outputs (UTXOs, the term for individual blockchain values).”
Through CAs, coins can be both hidden from prying eyes and proven to still exist. Customer demand drove the decision to convert $15 million worth of tether from ethereum to the Liquid version, Tether CTO Paolo Ardoino told CoinDesk.
“With Confidential Transactions you can’t see the amounts being sent from one party to another,” said Mow. “That means that USDT issued in the Liquid Network provides better privacy than USDT on other chains.”
Tether’s blockchain hop
As a vehicle for crypto trading and price volatility protection, it’s likely more USDT will be minted on Liquid given the advantages. And, it’s not like Tether hasn’t played nomad before.
“We may be witnessing the beginning of another Tether migration from ERC20 to Liquid,” said Tales from the Crypt podcast host Marty Bent in a blog post Tuesday. (ERC20 is the standard Tether has used to create tokens on top of ethereum.)
Launched as RealCoin in July 2014, tether is currently issued on multiple blockchains, the largest of which are ethereum, Omni and Tron. As data provider CoinMetrics shows, Tether kicked issuance onto the ethereum blockchain into high gear in April 2019, rising from $60 million to $400 million in a mere four weeks.
Eight months later and a flippening of sorts occured, with tether issuance on ethereum overtaking Omni earlier this winter. As of press time, some $2.3 billion tether is issued on ethereum compared to $1.5 billion on Omni.
While $15 million may be a far cry from $60 million, let alone $1.5 billion or $2.3 billion, Tether’s last year with ethereum demonstrates how fast the tide can shift.
“The impetus for the transition away from Omni to an ERC20 standard is, from what I understand, because their wallet support is [subpar]. What Ethereum has done really well to date is make it really easy for services to spin up a wallet and accept random tokens,” Bent wrote. “One thing the transition to an ERC20 standard hasn’t solved for Tether users is the Whale Alert problem.”
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Author: William Foxley
It’s always refreshing to hear that a company or individual is prepared to accept Bitcoin in exchange for goods and services. It’s even more refreshing when they actually know enough about the cryptocurrency to want to hold it.British rapper Zuby announced earlier that he not only accepts Bitcoin payments, but that he doesn’t intend to convert them payments immediately to fiat currency. Demonstrating that he has at least done a little homework, in true Bitcoiner lingo, he claims he’d rather “HODL” than sell it straight away.‘Bitcoin Acceptance’ Doesn’t Always Mean Accepting BTCNewsBTC has reported on numerous previous occasions about high profile Bitcoin “acceptance” stories. Some pretty massive companies, such as AT&T, have recently started to allow customers to pay for goods or services using the digital asset.However, there is a problem with this. When a big company claims to accept Bitcoin, more often than not, they don’t. In the example of AT&T, the company used the controversial payment processing company BitPay to facilitate payments.When someone pays AT&T with Bitcoin, BitPay acts as a middleman. The company immediately converts that money to fiat currency and sends the funds to the telecom firm. The payment is no longer peer-to-peer and it isn’t censorship resistant, as the Hong Kong Free Press discovered last year. Political pressure can force BitPay to censor a payment, which runs at odds with what drew many people to Bitcoin to begin with. Had BitPay been involved with WikiLeaks’s now famous Bitcoin funding raising efforts, the website might have received no donations whatsoever, instead of the almost $3 million it managed to generate.Another issue with using such a payment processor is that the payment immediately creates selling pressure since the company needs to exchange the Bitcoin for fiat to pay the intended recipient. Although British rapper, author, and podcaster Zuby is working with Coinbase Commerce to facilitate payments for his goods and services, he does claim to be a holder, rather than an immediate seller:I accept bitcoin for all of my goods and services.I just want you to know that.— ZUBY: (@ZubyMusic) January 8, 2020
In response to the above tweet, a Twitter user asked Zuby if he kept them or instantly converted them to fiat. The singer replied simply:“HODL”Another user recommended that he consider switching to the open source cryptocurrency payment processing platform BTCPayServer. The service is championed by many of those critical of the likes of BitPay. Zuby responded that he would indeed look into using BTCPayServer going forward.Zuby’s welcoming of Bitcoin, as well as his apparent willingness to hold the crypto asset and use services supportive of the ideas underlying the industry, appears to have impressed at least one follower. Shortly after the rapper’s announcement today, Twitter user Caleb Gregory quickly became the first person to pay for Zuby’s merchandise using the cryptocurrency.First person to buy my merchandise with bitcoin! 🙌🏾 https://t.co/rbb3Wu0pT9— ZUBY: (@ZubyMusic) January 8, 2020
Related Reading: Bitcoin Price Plunges to $7,900; Can Bulls Save the Day?Featured Image from Shutterstock.
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Author: Rick D.