Author: nicolaoptions

Value Locked in Crypto DeFi Markets Hits $1 Billion Milestone

Value Locked in Crypto DeFi Markets Hits $1 Billion Milestone

News
With Ether (ETH) breaking through the $200 mark yesterday, $1 billion in value is now locked in the DeFi markets.

Total value locked in DeFi markets, Feb. 7. Source: defipulse.com
As of Feb. 7, ETH is trading close to $220 — up 4.5% on the day and almost 22% on the week.
Broadly speaking, DeFi is shorthand for decentralized finance, referring to the use of blockchain, digital assets and smart contracts in financial services such as credit and lending.
According to analytics site Defipulse.com, the $1 billion locked in the markets — i.e. across the spectrum of smart contracts, protocols and decentralized applications (DApps) built on Ethereum — is almost 60% denominated in MakerDAO’s DAI stablecoin.
Defipulse stats reveal that one year ago today, the value locked in DeFi was roughly a quarter of what it is now, at $276 million.
As it celebrates the milestone, some in the Ethereum community have pointed to the role played by the Bitcoin (BTC) lightning network, which accounts for 1.7% of the value ($8.5 million) — making it into the top ten digital assets used for DeFi contracts and applications:

DeFi total value, breakdown in top ten digital assets, Feb. 7. Source: defipulse.com
As the site notes, the total value figure is calculated hourly by pulling the total balance of Ether (ETH) and ERC-20 tokens held in DeFi smart contracts and multiplying these balances by their spot prices in USD.
ETH price correlationAs Cointelegraph reported last fall, while the dollar value chart of digital assets locked in DeFi shows some correlation to Ether’s price, it is not entirely dependent on it.
After falling with Ether’s price in July 2019, the value of assets locked in DeFi apps resumed its growth even as the altcoin’s price continued largely to fall. In a short time period, the correlation is tighter.

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Japanese Lawmakers Want US to Place Digital Currencies on G7 Agenda

Japanese Lawmakers Want US to Place Digital Currencies on G7 Agenda

News
Japan is feeling the pressure of China’s strident moves forward with a digital yuan.
According to a Feb. 7 Reuters report, top lawmakers in the country are calling on their government to push for digital currencies to be placed on the G7’s agenda this year.
Akira Amari — former economy minister and a prominent member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party — told a group of lawmakers convened to discuss the matter that:
“Japan should work in close coordination with the United States. As part of such efforts, we should ask the United States to set (digital currency) on the G7 agenda as chair.”
An end to the global dollar order?The U.S., which is leading the G7’s meetings in 2020, is the focus of Akari’s concerns due to his view that the prospect of a digital yuan could challenge the dollar’s hegemony — and thus upend the global network of financial and geopolitical relationships built upon its role:
“We live in a stable world led by dollar settlement. How should we respond if such a foundation collapses and if (China’s move) gives rise to a struggle for currency supremacy?”
In a country that relies heavily on dollar-denominated settlement, other high-level lawmakers reportedly share Akari’s concerns, considering that the digital yuan may see high adoption among emerging economies in particular.
Currency competitionAs reported, Akari is not alone in his view that China’s central bank digital currency (CBDC) project could evolve into a powerful soft power tool. One U.S. journalist recently argued that:
“China could force other countries to similarly go digital. China could mandate payments from nations with Chinese power plants or other infrastructure improvements built under the ‘Belt and Road’ initiative be in the Chinese digital currency. Enormous companies doing business in China could be similarly forced to adopt.”
While any pursuit of a digital dollar still remains largely theoretical, this week a member of the Federal Reserve’s board of governors signaled that the institution is more open to the idea of CBDC than previously.

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Twitter, Square Stock 20% Price Surge Boosts Bitcoin Lightning Network

Twitter, Square Stock 20% Price Surge Boosts Bitcoin Lightning Network

News
Perhaps the two most prominent supporters of Bitcoin’s (BTC) Lightning Network have seen their share prices rocket this week as the technology gains fresh recognition.
Data covering the share prices of Twitter and sister company Square, the payment gateway which directly supports Bitcoin, shows both companies sealed major gains in recent days.
Cash flows towards BTC, LightningTwitter stock (TWTR) appreciated by close to 20%, while Square (SQ) hit local highs of $81.65, almost 10% up on last week and nearly 25% since Jan. 1. The former recently revealed that it had turned its first quarterly revenues in excess of $1 billion.
“2020 is now officially an investment year, and in return, investors should expect Square to exit 2020 at an improved growth rate,” investment media outlet Investor’s Business Daily quoted a JPMorgan analyst as saying on Thursday.

Square share price (year-to-date). Source: Yahoo!
Both companies share the same CEO, Jack Dorsey, a figure who has become synonymous with the growth and increasing popularity of the Lightning Network.
Lightning is a so-called “layer 2” technology for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. It is designed to make payments instant and practically free for the user via transactions that are made off-chain.
Dorsey has remained committed to introducing the technology to both Twitter and Square. Last month, Square gained a patent dedicated to real-time crypto-to-fiat currency swaps.
Square interest keeps climbingHe has also invested directly in Lightning Labs, the company developing the Lightning protocol and related products. Earlier in February, the firm confirmed it had raised $10 million in a Series A funding round.
“If you think of the Visa network as this payment layer for, say, when people are transacting with dollars, Lightning is doing that for Bitcoin,” CEO Elizabeth Stark told Yahoo! Finance on Feb. 5.
Even prior to Lightning-based events, Square garnered considerable praise for adding Bitcoin to its Cash App wallet, which currently has an estimated $15 million users. According to data from Google Trends, overall interest in “Cash App” has also steadily increased over recent months and years, driving attention towards both BTC and Lightning.

Google search interest in “Cash App.” Source: Google Trends
The number of Bitcoin buyers using the Cash App doubled in Q3 2019 alone, statistics showed at the time.
Currently, the Bitcoin Lightning Network is made up of over 13,000 nodes and 36,000 channels with almost $8.5 million in locked-up BTC, according to monitoring resource 1ml.com.

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Japan Convicts Cryptojacker Who Misled Victims Over Monero Mining

Japan Convicts Cryptojacker Who Misled Victims Over Monero Mining

News
A Japanese court has demanded a man who infected website visitors with cryptocurrency mining malware face justice — after acquitting him.
As local daily news outlet The Mainichi reported on Feb. 7, the Tokyo High Court overturned a previous ruling which cleared the man, who was not named, of any wrongdoing.
Visitors “not informed” of malwareAccording to the original indictment, the 32-year-old web designer installed the Coinhive miner on his own website in October 2017. It was active for a month, using visitors’ devices to mine cryptocurrency for his own benefit — a practice known as “cryptojacking.”
The man then faced legal consequences in March 2018 but ultimately avoided punishment. At the time, lawmakers explained that a failure to warn him before indicting him was to blame. The High Court, however, disagreed.
“Visitors were not informed of (the mining program) or given the chance to reject it,” The Mainichi quoted Presiding Judge Tsutomu Tochigi as saying.
It remains unknown how much the website owner made in illicit proceeds during the brief period that Coinhive was active.
Coinhive long gone but threat remainsAs Cointelegraph reported, Coinhive itself shut down last year, having reportedly become economically unviable.
Its fortunes appeared closely tied to those of privacy-focused altcoin, Monero (XMR), a favorite of mining programs that attackers use to carry out covert activities. Monero saw a significant drop in value in 2018, while a hard fork further complicated matters for Coinhive.
By comparison, the service was active on over 300 websites as of May 2018, statistics reported at the time.
Cryptojacking remains a serious problem worldwide, with Interpol last month partnering with a cybersecurity firm Trend Micro in a fresh bid to tackle the issue.

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Ripple Co-founder Jed McCaleb Sold a Billion XRP and Has 4.7B Left

Ripple Co-founder Jed McCaleb Sold a Billion XRP and Has 4.7B Left

News
Analysis by blockchain monitor Whale Alert suggests that Ripple co-founder Jed McCaleb sold off more than one billion XRP between 2014 and 2019.
In a Medium post published on Feb. 6, Whale Alert estimated that McCaleb has another 4.7 billion XRP left to sell, equating to around 5% of the total supply. At today’s prices, the hoard is worth more than one billion U.S. dollars, dwarfing the $135 million Whale Alert estimates he has made via XRP sales to date.
McCaleb sold another 19 million, or $5.4 million worth last month — and Whale Alert believes the rate may increase this year as the agreements limiting his XRP sales expire. Specifically:
“At the current rate it would take him around 20 years to sell all of it, however, his activities have been limited by the settlement agreement with Ripple, which is likely to expire sometime in 2020.”
The news alarmed some XRP holders on Twitter.
“We didn't want to alarm people, but I hope they now have a better view of what's going on,” Whale Alert told Cointelegraph.
Whale Alert monitors blockchains and issues notifications on Twitter and Telegram about large movements of cryptocurrency.
90,000 transactions analyzedWhale Alert posted the addresses it had identified as belonging to McCaleb, which it traced via the information on his blog, forum posts and the public ledger.
“By analyzing over 90,000 transactions we were able to track around 8 billion XRP to Ripple, a settlement account and his personal accounts from which he actively sells.”
It said he sold off the 1.05 billion XRP almost exclusively through Bitstamp.
Whale Alert was unable to determine if McCaleb’s sales had affected the price of XRP but said: “because he is exclusively selling XRP, he is adding to the net amount available.”

Image source: Medium.com/@whalealert
The man behind Mt Gox, Ripple and StellarMcCaleb is a key figure in cryptocurrency’s history, having created the Mt Gox exchange and co-founded Stellar (XLM).
He also co-founded OpenCoin in 2012, which later became Ripple, and was allocated 9.5 billion XRP when the 100 billion supply was pre-mined. This large share of the supply has proved to be controversial over the years.
The XRP price plunged 40% in the 24 hours after he announced his intention to sell all his holdings in 2014. He then negotiated a seven-year agreement with Ripple that limited monthly and annual sales. The agreement allows McCaleb to sell one billion XRP in the sixth year of the agreement and two billion XRP in the seventh.
Whale Alert said by their count we are now in year seven. “The post is from 2014, so if you take that as year 1, then it should end in 2020 somewhere,” they explained.
However, details are sketchy and others believe that it is year six into the deal.
Following a lawsuit by Ripple in 2016 alleging he’d violated the deal, an amended agreement put a daily cap on sales, which is currently set at 1.5% of XRP’s daily volume.
Whale Alert concluded its analysis by cautioning there are billions more XRP out there waiting to be sold.
“Whether or not you believe the future is bright for blockchains like Ripple, the economic power and consequences of whales like Jed McCaleb cannot be ignored and he is not the only one; co-founder Arthur Britto also holds billions of XRP in escrow that will expire sometime in the future.”

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India’s First IEO Gives Local Community a Much-Needed Breath of Fresh Air

India’s First IEO Gives Local Community a Much-Needed Breath of Fresh Air

Follow up
Despite regulatory uncertainty and banking restrictions imposed by the Reserve Bank of India, WazirX — the Indian cryptocurrency exchange recently acquired by Binance — launched its WRX coin through an initial exchange offering on Binance Launchpad. On Feb. 5, 2020, WRX coin became available for live trading on Binance. The move was dubbed as a big achievement for the Indian crypto industry, as it will likely lead to global recognition.
Earlier, Cointelegraph reported that the 9,033 winners of WazirX’s token sale on Binance Launchpad were announced. Over 20,000 users participated and more than 136,000 tickets were claimed.
In a conversation with Cointelegraph, Nischal Shetty, founder of WazirX, said that this has brought a much-needed positive energy into the entire Indian ecosystem:
“This is the much needed good news for the Indian community because from the last two years, with the bear market and the banking restrictions, Indian crypto ecosystem needed a huge morale booster.”
CoinDCX, one of the biggest competitors of WazirX in the country, also announced the listing of WazirX’s WRX token on its trading platforms. Sumit Gupta, co-founder and CEO of CoinDCX, expressed his feelings with Cointelegraph:
“We are happy about the achievement of WazirX team. Their efforts have paid off and this is definitely a positive sign for the Indian crypto ecosystem.”
Talking about the IEO and WRX token, Shetty said that this is very similar to Binance’s BNB token, adding that, “Binance grew as a result of the crypto-to-crypto trading and we want to grow WazirX as a result of unwavering focus on peer-to-peer fiat-crypto options.”
Shetty started WazirX in 2017 and launched an auto-matching peer-to-peer engine-based platform in June 2018, a few days before the banking ban from the Reserve Bank of India came into effect. Following the bank’s actions, many Indian exchanges such as Koinex, Coindelta, CryptoKart, Unocoin, BuyUCoin and Coinsecure shut down their operations.
However, the peer-to-peer model became popular among Indian traders. With the successful implementation within the Indian community, Shetty is planning to launch this model in other countries as well. He said:
“In many countries, banking is an issue or banking APIs are slow and expensive. We have the plan to launch WazirX Peer-to-Peer platform in such countries to solve crypto trading-related problems.”
Multiple steps to build a positive environmentThe Indian crypto and blockchain community is working hard to build positive sentiments in India. After the banking ban imposed by the Reserve Bank of India, the community founded several initiatives at different levels, including multiple seminars, meetups and conferences for industry, government bodies and youth.
Contributing to the space are programs like GenesisBlock and Unwind, which discuss possible implementation of cryptocurrencies and blockchain in the Indian ecosystem. Technical institutes have also launched multiple literacy programs for blockchain technology.
Related: Verdict in India Imminent, RBI Cites Warren Buffet Skepticism as Reason to Ban
Additionally, in 2018, the local crypto community challenged the decision of the central bank in the Supreme Court of India, citing the right to do business under Article 19 of the Indian Constitution.
On a positive track, Singaporean crypto exchange Zebpay announced the resumption of their services in India. Gupta told Cointelegraph that this indicates a change in the environment for blockchain in India:
“We’ll see more projects getting listed. More companies will come to India and we welcome every player who supports the growth of the Indian ecosystem.”

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Crypto Trading Pioneer Rana Yared Leaves Goldman Sachs

Crypto Trading Pioneer Rana Yared Leaves Goldman Sachs

News
Financial service powerhouse Goldman Sachs Group Inc. lost another one of its top brass on February 5 after two other executives expressed departure plans several days prior.
Goldman Sachs partner Rana Yared plans to exit her position at Goldman Sachs for a VC outfit, a source told Bloomberg for a Feb. 5 article. During her time at Goldman, Yared played a major role in the financial giant’s crypto endeavors.
Goldman in cryptoSince 2017, the blockchain and crypto industry has seen an influx of traditional market entities in some capacity. In July 2019, a job post from Goldman Sachs hinted at the firm’s potentially growing interest in the industry.
Additionally, since last fall, several Goldman Sachs’ alumni have moved into the industry, including Howard Surloff, who joined Blockchain.com’s general counsel last October.
As part of a pool of traders, Yared headed up Goldman’s dive into crypto, allocating portions of the company’s funds into up-and-coming technology businesses, Bloomberg reported. Yared had a hand in approximately $2 billion in funds invested.
Yared in businessBeginning in 2006, Yared had a notable career at Goldman Sachs, achieving partnership status by age 34 in 2018, Bloomberg detailed. During her time at the firm, Yared also managed an investing posse for the firm, supervising 30 individuals.
Just a few days ago, Goldman Sachs lost two of its other top brass — Ezra Nahum and Adam Korn, a separate Bloomberg article detailed.
In January, Goldman’s chief executive, David Solomon, announced that the company would refuse an initial public offering if the company lacks a director who is “female or diverse,” Cointelegraph reported.

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Chinese Crypto Mine Stop or Stall Operations Due to Coronavirus Outbreak

Chinese Crypto Mine Stop or Stall Operations Due to Coronavirus Outbreak

News
Due to the Coronavirus outbreak in China, the government has taken a series of measurements to keep the situation under control. Businesses are being affected across the nation. With the existing quarantine control, people are staying right at where they are and not be able to return to their work.
A mining farm, in particular, is being forced to shut down during the epidemic. According to BTC.top CEO Jiang Zhuoer’s Weibo moment post on Feb. 4, all the mining machines have been forced to shut down in one of the mining farms he owns in a remote region in China.
Per Zhuoer’s post, the firm has been told that it’s not allowed to return to work at the moment. He claims that personnel at the mining farm have never stopped working and none of the maintenance staff has ever left this area before the quarantine control period.
Meanwhile, Bitcoin mining machine companies in China are delaying after-sale servicesAffordable electricity and resources in provincial areas such as Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, Yunnan and Sichuan have contributed to China’s status as a major market for Bitcoin miners.
Bitmain and Canaan Creative are the main mining chip manufacturers in China, with Bitmain producing 66% of the world’s cryptocurrency mining hardware.
Yet due to the outbreak of the virus, companies such as Bitmain, Canaan and MicroBT have published notices on their websites of delays in their after-sale services until Feb 10.
Bitcoin’s halving is less than 100 days away. Some crypto commentators believe this could trigger some serious price action. The coronavirus outbreak timespan overlaps with bitcoin’s halving event. Mining companies worry that these two factors are going to have a stronger impact on the maintenance of mining equipment and delivery of new mining machines.

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Coinbase and Ripple Push for Regulatory Framework, US Congress Stalls

Coinbase and Ripple Push for Regulatory Framework, US Congress Stalls

Analysis
A new working group, spearheaded by senior employees of Ripple and Coinbase, is going to advise United States regulators on crypto-friendly policies. But congresspeople are too busy preparing for the upcoming elections, which means that U.S. crypto firms will have to continue hula-hooping through state-by-state regulations in the near future.
Earlier this month, a D.C.-based advocacy group called the Blockchain Association, representing a number of high-profile cryptocurrency firms, launched a working group tasked with pushing for a U.S.-wide regulatory framework. Called the Market Integrity Working Group, the new entity is co-chaired by Breanne Madigan, head of global institutional markets at Ripple; and Rachel Nelson, Coinbase’s senior director and associate general counsel. So what is it, exactly?
Ex-Wall Street execs will advise lawmakers on crypto regulationThe Blockchain Association’s Market Integrity Working Group was launched on Jan. 23. Both of its co-chairs are Wall Street veterans — Madigan worked at Goldman Sachs for 15 years, while Nelson spent five years at J.P. Morgan.
When asked about the structure of Market Integrity Working Group, Blockchain Association’s communications advisor Graham Newhall clarified to Cointelegraph, “It is just that, a working group, under the umbrella of the Blockchain Association.” He added:
“It is one of several such groups we’ve commissioned to work on specific issues relevant to the crypto economy.”
The advocacy group has launched various working groups on proof-of-stake networks (also co-chaired by Rachel Nelson), stablecoins, security laws, custody, and other industry-related topics in the past. Working groups “are simply a vehicle to maximize the expertise of Association member companies,” Newhall said, adding:
“They do not represent a separate entity, lobbying on its own behalf, rather we task expert members to study particular problems facing the crypto industry and potential regulations. The findings of these groups inform our conversations with regulators and lawmakers.”
As Newhall further explained to Cointelegraph, the Market Integrity Working Group co-heads were “chosen in discussion with Association members, pertaining to those individuals and companies that have a particular interest or expertise on a chosen subject.” The Blockchain Association has 22 member organizations, including Circle, Kraken, Ripple, Coinbase and 0x, among other U.S. cryptocurrency firms.
U.S.-wide crypto regulation: A distant, but largely unavoidable scenarioAs leaders of the newly assembled Market Integrity Working Group, Nelson and Madigan are planning to advise regulators on how public policies can stimulate the cryptocurrency industry, specifically improving market integrity and providing consumers “the confidence they deserve.”
Notably, the organization highlights the “labyrinthine patchwork of state-by-state” regulations in the U.S. as one of the main obstacles for crypto businesses that ultimately results in “significant barriers to entry for new exchanges” and “a complicated compliance burden for existing exchange.” Market Integrity Working Group concludes:
“Consumers and cryptocurrency exchanges deserve a clear regulatory framework, the establishment of which would ultimately enhance market integrity and drive consumer adoption of cryptocurrencies.”
However, the working group is aware that U.S.-wide regulation is not likely to be adopted in the near future. “We don’t think something like that is likely in the near term, especially in an election year,” Newhall told Cointelegraph.
Experts confirm that federal crypto regulation is not exactly a pressing issue for Congress. “In the short term, this is an unlikely scenario,” Carol Goforth, law professor at the University of Arkansas, argued in an email conversation with Cointelegraph. According to her, in the near term, the legislators were first of all focused on the impeachment hearing and will now switch their focus to the upcoming 2020 presidential elections:
“One way or another, the looming 2020 election cycle is likely to take precedence. However, in the long run, it may as a practical matter be necessary for legislative intervention.”
However, Goforth notes, appropriate legislation would stop “a colossal waste of resources” that is happening due to U.S. regulators dealing with crypto on a case-by-case basis:
“Currently, the SEC is spending significant sums of money litigating the question of whether cryptotokens with a functioning purpose other than serving as a currency-substitute are securities at all. This is playing out in both the Kik litigation and Telegram ICO dispute. Even if the courts agree with the agency’s analysis (a battle that may have to be fought in multiple circuits unless and until the Supreme Court is willing to weigh in), that still leaves a set of regulatory requirements that were never designed with interests like cryptoassets in mind.”
Andrew Mount, litigation associate at Bressler, Amery & Ross, P.C., suggests that “we are headed towards federal crypto regulation” as the number of major cases involving crypto keeps piling up, although he also stresses that “it is anyone’s guess when it will happen.” He went on to elaborate:
“High profile cases like Facebook’s Libra and Telegram’s Gram push crypto into the national spotlight. With the crypto space rapidly expanding (and more “name brand” companies getting involved), Congress will face increased public pressure to enact legislation.”
Furthermore, Market Integrity Working Group’s proposed legislation “could expand the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) authority to include the regulation and oversight of digital commodity exchange markets,” as per the blog post written by Madigan and Nelson.
When asked why the working group would pick the CFTC over other major U.S. financial regulators like the Securities and Exchange Commission, Graham said that “the CFTC has a long history and expertise in monitoring the health and integrity of markets, so we think they are a good point of focus.” He added that for them, the SEC is also quite an important entity, but that the primary focus will be on the CFTC. As Goforth argues, expanding the SEC’s purview instead would make more sense:
“They have not had to develop standards for disclosure, or exemptions, and seem less well positioned to protect potential crypto entrepreneurs, markets, or purchasers. Amending the securities laws to specifically cover cryptoassets, and directing the SEC to adopt exemptions that protect persons engaged in the creation and distribution of such assets in the absence of fraud, would seem to me to be a more efficient approach.”
The establishment of a crypto-focused working group that aims to collaborate with congresspeople is still a healthy development for the industry, both experts agree. Goforth believes that lobbying is very effective in educating legislators, adding that the crypto market is still being stigmatized: “The real challenge will be to convince them that appropriate regulation of cryptoassets is in the best interests of their constituents.” Similarly, Mount told Cointelegraph that regulators are still cautious about the crypto markets:
“The primary issue holding back progress at the federal level is regulators’ lack of trust in the crypto markets. The SEC made this evident in their denial of Bitwise’s bitcoin ETF application in October 2019. The denial reflected the SEC’s uncertainty in the integrity of the bitcoin market. Because the Market Integrity Working Group’s mission addresses this core concern, it should serve as an effective guide for future Congressional action.”
So, what’s the plan?As for now, the Market Integrity Working Group has yet to produce a specific roadmap. “The group is new and will work on a detailed strategy in the weeks and months to come,” Newhall said. “We will be adding members to the group to respond to the sustained interest the launch has garnered thus far.”
According to Newhall, there are several lawmakers advocating positive crypto regulation, namely the co-sponsors of the Token Taxonomy Act, as well as representatives DelBene and Schweikert, who recently introduced a bill to exempt personal cryptocurrency transactions from taxation for capital gains — so, convincing the Congress might not be so difficult after all.
While the new working group headed by Ripple and Coinbase execs seems determined to convince U.S. lawmakers that a clear regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies is long due — and the legal wrangling of Telegram’s Gram clearly illustrates that point — the Congress won’t get to the case until the elections are over, experts predict.
It means that the U.S. will most likely continue to fall behind in terms of federal crypto regulation throughout 2020. In the last month alone, the European Union and Singapore started overseeing crypto assets under new directives, joining the ranks of Japan, Switzerland, Malta and other countries that have made up their minds about cryptocurrencies and blockchain. On the positive side, the working group will have more time to research and prepare their arguments for the lawmakers, some of whom are already championing crypto-friendly regulatory measures.

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Bitcoin Price Targets $10K as BitMex Open Interest Soars to $1.5B

Bitcoin Price Targets $10K as BitMex Open Interest Soars to $1.5B

Market Update
The bullish sentiment continues to build in the crypto market as numerous altcoins post double-digit gains on a daily basis. Bitcoin’s spot price (BTC) on crypto exchanges also continues to push higher with the passing of each day and earlier today the price broke above $9,800, extending to $9,862 before pulling back to trade around $9,650.

Crypto market daily price chart. Source: Coin360
Recently published data from Skew Markets shows Bitcoin futures with a May 2020 and June 2020 expiry date rising to $10,000 and above at a handful of exchanges. This further reinforces the general belief that Bitcoin’s bullish trend will continue for the foreseeable future.

Listed BTC Futures/Perpetual Swaps. Source: Skew.com
Bitcoin futures Open Interest (OI) at BitMEX has also risen to a new high at $1.5 billion. Open Interest simply highlights the size of contracts that buyers and sellers have open on the exchange. The recent narrative amongst traders suggests that when OI reaches $1 billion the market dumps and Bitcoin price contracts.

Exchange BTC Futures Open Interest. Source: Skew.com
Generally, most crypto traders track the fluctuations in OI to determine the strength of bullish and bearish trends in Bitcoin’s price action. When Bitcoin price and OI increase in tandem analysts infer that the trend is strong, whereas the opposite conclusion is reached when the price, volume, and OI move against each other.
Interestingly, the $1 billion threshold on OI has been breached, yet Bitcoin price continues to rally higher each day.

Bakkt Bitcoin Futures-Total Open Interest & Volume ($). Source: Skew.com
OI has risen across a number of exchanges over the past few weeks and today Bakkt followed the trend as the number of open futures positions reached a record high at $13 million on Feb. 5.
The same phenomenon occurred at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, where Bitcoin futures reached a new 5-month high at $249 million.

BTC USD daily chart. Source: TradingView
At the time of writing, Bitcoin traders are attempting to flip the $9,800 resistance to support. Achieving this goal would increase the likelihood of the price moving to $10,000 and once this level is reached, traders anticipate encountering resistance at $10,300 and $10,500.
Above this level, Bitcoin price could slice through the volume gap on the volume profile visible range (VPVR) with a target at $11,500.

Bitcoin daily price chart. Source: Coin360
The overall cryptocurrency market cap now stands at $276.2 billion and Bitcoin’s dominance rate is 64.3%. As the dominance rate fluctuates and Bitcoin struggles to gain above $9,800, altcoins have continued to press higher, producing double-digit gains.
Tron (TRX) rallied 11.08%, Binance Coin (BNB) gained 6.75%, and Ether (ETH) notched a 4.49% gain which brought the price to $212.96.
Keep track of top crypto markets in real time here

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