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Blockchain Bites: Bitcoin Bubble, Toil and Trouble

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Bitcoin shed a couple thousand dollars in overnight trading, while larger wallet addresses appear to be consolidating their holdings. Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen said crypto is a “particular concern” and Web 3.0 advanced with Brave’s IPFS integration.

At around Bitcoin block height 666920, President-elect Joe Biden will take office. During his last night at the White House, President Donald Trump issued a list of pardons including Ken Kurson, a former Ripple board member and crypto media man. Notably absent was Ross Ulbricht, the founder of the Silk Road darknet marketplace and antihero figure among Bitcoiners.

Top shelf

Yellen’s concerns
Cryptocurrencies are “mainly for illicit financing” and terrorist financing, Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen said Tuesday at a Senate hearing. The staid remarks are par for the course among regulators, though indicate revamping crypto regulation could be on the docket during her tenure. My colleague Nikhilesh De wrote about what to look for during the Biden administration.

Web & internet redesign
Brave, the privacy-focused web browser used by 24 million, has integrated with the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS), which is essentially a redesigned internet protocol with censorship resistant properties. Brave users can now more easily access IPFS sites and even run a node on the distributed system.

A series of disappointments
Block.one, the tech startup that raised $4 billion through an initial coin offering to develop the EOS blockchain network and its underlying EOSIO software, took a hit when a key executive stepped down 10 days ago. CoinDesk’s Brady Dale dives into the disappointments and power struggles at the company, including one over what to do with its 140,000 BTC stash. It’s worth a read in full.

Quick bites

COINBASE BOUGHT: Staking service Bison Trails. (CoinDesk)

RETAIL INTEREST: India’s largest crypto exchange launched an app to make small crypto purchases easy. (CoinDesk)

CBDC PITFALLS: The European Commission has joined the European Central Bank to study a digital euro before development starts. (CoinDesk)

DOCUMENT DUMP: Bitfinex will finish overturning documents related to an $850 million Tether loan to New York state prosecutors in the coming weeks. (CoinDesk)

51% ATTACK: Privacy coin Firo saw 300 blocks rolled back. (Decrypt)

PORN PAY: Pornhub added XRP, BNB, USDC and DOGE as payment options. (The Block)

JOON IAN WONG: Explores the future of media and social tokens. (The Block – op-ed)

GREEN MINING: How to make bitcoin mining eco-friendly. (CoinDesk opinion)

Market intel

Wall of wallets
With bitcoin in the red, shedding some $2,600 on Wednesday, traders are consolidating. The number of addresses holding at least 1,000 BTC, has risen from 2,407 to a new lifetime high of 2,438 in the past seven days, according to data source Glassnode. “It remains to be seen if persistent buying from large investors translates into a quick recovery,” CoinDesk markets report Omkar Godbole writes. “The odds, however, appear stacked against a notable price drop.

At stake

Toil and trouble?
The question on everyone’s mind is whether this rally is sustainable. After a parabolic ascent that brought bitcoin above $40,000, a level more than double a previous all-time high set in 2017, the cryptocurrency has seemingly settled in a new normal around $35,000.

Daily trading has seen a level of volatility typical for digital assets, with 5% market moves common on the intraday charts. But it’s still an open question whether bitcoin will continue to set new highs above $40,000 in the near term.

JPMorgan analysts have cited a long-term bitcoin price target of over $146,000, based on a comparison to gold. While bears still think the decade-old crypto could collapse to $0. That’s quite a range of opinions!

In a recent survey of “market professionals,” Deutsche Bank found a whopping 87% think investments across asset classes are overheating. More than half think it’s more likely for bitcoin to halve than double within the year. Though even more think the same of Tesla, one of 2020’s best performing bets.

It’s no secret that traditional and digital assets are on the ascent due to an unprecedented amount of U.S. dollars that have flowed into the financial system, as part of a coronavirus recovery plan. Money is cheaper than ever. Interest rates are nothing and approximately 23% of U.S. dollars in circulation were printed last year.

It’s for this reason that some keen observers think it’s not just bitcoin that’s in a bubble, but the entire financial system. Jeremy Grantham, co-founder of GMO, a major investment firm, said “this event will be recorded as one of the great bubbles of financial history,” in a letter to investors. He cited, “extreme overvaluation, explosive price increases, frenzied issuance and hysterically speculative investor behaviour.”

Still, many crypto analysts think there’s something different about bitcoin. Driven by increasing institutional investments – from the likes of hedge funds and publicly-traded companies – the recent market cycle sets itself apart from the retail exuberance seen three years ago.

As CoinDesk’s Director of Research Noelle Acheson noted in a recent newsletter, “It could also be argued that bitcoin is the anti-bubble, that its price is going up because of bubbles elsewhere in the economy. Many investors are buying bitcoin in response to what they see as a massive sovereign bond bubble, which they believe the government will try to deflate by printing money.”

Acheson argues that the label “bubble” implies there’s a discrepancy between an asset’s price and underlying value. The question with bitcoin is determining its intrinsic value. That’s a tough proposition, considering bitcoin’s users are still working out what the cryptocurrency’s use case is, she writes.

Over the past year, the belief in bitcoin as a hedge against inflation has steadily grown in popularity. Even if this idea is true, it wouldn’t undercut bitcoin’s usability as a payment tool to buck financial gatekeepers, or as a way for anyone to speculate on macro trends.

Bitcoin’s open system is non-discriminatory. It can be whatever you want it to be. As Bloomberg journalist Tracy Alloway put it, “[T]here will always be a fresh bull case for Bitcoin waiting in the wings. In that sense, it’s really the perfect post-modern financial asset for a post-modern financialized economy.”

So is bitcoin in a bubble? Well, it depends on what you mean by bubbles and what you mean by bitcoin.

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Can You Buy Crypto on One Exchange and Sell on Another?

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Question: Can you buy cryptocurrency on one exchange and sell it on a different exchange?

Answer: Yes.

Question: Why would you want to do this, and what is it called?

Answer: It’s call Arbitrage, and cryptocurrency investors do it to make money.

Just like any other asset, cryptocurrencies are worth what someone else is willing to pay for them. And as it happens, Bitcoin is worth more in certain areas of the world, as well as between different exchanges. This means there is a profit margin that savvy traders can exploit -and it is perfectly legal.

This is a practice known as arbitrage, where you buy Bitcoin (or another cryptocurrency) on one exchange and then sell in on a different exchange where it has a higher value. Arbitrage is a common market practice; cryptocurrency investors did not invent the practice. It is simply buying from one exchange and selling the same asset on another exchange so the owner can turn a profit.

Why Is Arbitrage Work Done?

The reason why you might buy Bitcoins in Canada and turn around to sell them immediately elsewhere is that there will always be variations of the cost of Bitcoin, from one exchange to another. And sometimes there is a large enough variation that you can make a substantial profit.

Exchanges price cryptocurrencies at what they can sell them for. That means that larger exchanges can move larger amounts of Bitcoin faster than smaller ones can. This also means that they can sell Bitcoin at a lower price.

On the other hand, smaller exchanges move smaller amounts of Bitcoin, so they have to charge more for Bitcoin. It is almost like shopping at a convenience store versus shopping at Costco -volume discounts apply.

The Math and Profit Margins

The potential profit from arbitrage varies greatly, of course. It also has a lot to do with how advanced you are as a cryptocurrency trader. That’s because if you are going to make this work, you need to know which exchanges are selling Bitcoin for more and which for less.

But if done correctly, arbitrage can be very profitable.

Here is a little bit of hypothetical math to show you how the profit is earned through arbitrage.

Bitcoin is selling for $1000 on exchange A

Bitcoin is selling for $1050 on exchange B

You buy 100 Bitcoin at $1000 on A for a total of $100 000

You then sell them on B for $105 000

That is a profit of $5000 in a matter of hours ($50 x 100 = $5000)

When to Try Arbitrage



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GM Stock Up 1%, General Motors to Execute Its EV Plan with Affordable Chevy Bolt

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The Bolt EV will have a starting price of $31,995 compared to the $33,995 starting price of the new 2022 Bolt Utility Vehicle. 

General Motors Company (NYSE: GM) to release two affordable Chevrolet Bolts as part of their plan to become an all-electric vehicle company by 2035. According to the report, the company plans on starting the Chevrolet Bolt below $34,000 and will be an all-electric vehicle. Also, there will be a GMC Hummer EV pick-up later this year at a $113,000 starting price. The Chief Engineer of the company’s battery electric vehicle architecture, Jesse Ortega in a statement said that the representation of the GMC Hummer EV and what the Bolt EV in the body can be represented shows their capabilities.

Meanwhile, GM stock is in the green. Currently, it is 1.69% up, trading at $52.20.

Some of the officials of General Motor refused to comment on the profitability of the Bolt EV. However, the CEO of the company, Mary Barra, and the President of the company, Mark Reuss revealed that the expected next-generation vehicle will be more profitable than the Bolt EV set to be released this year. The Bolt EV will have a starting price of $31,995 compared to the $33,995 starting price of the new 2022 Bolt Utility Vehicle.

The affordability of the vehicle places the company in a better consumer preferential position compared to the Tesla Model 3 which starts at around $37,000 and the $43,000 starting price of the Ford Mustang Mach-E Crossover. Tony Johnson, Director of Chevrolet Marketing believes that the team did marvelously well to deliver superb job driving quality, driving consistency, and driving cost. According to him, the advancement was the contributing factor that resulted in the drastic fall of the starting price.

The Bolt EUV hits 250 miles while the Bolt EV hits 259 miles in full charge. The company’s vehicle that has Ultium Technology will have a 450 mile per charge according to reports. General Motors added some technological features to the model to ensure that they stay competitive. The Bolt EUV, for instance, was integrated with the hands-free supercruise semi-autonomous highway driving system. This will help the driver to be monitored with facial recognition whether he is distracted behind the steering wheel or not while the system is running.

The company has launched a marketing campaign called “Everybody In”. This is a strategy to attract new buyers in their numbers to retain them in the coming years as part of their plan to improve on the adoption of EV. This means buyers will have the opportunity to go for a next-generation EV while they give out their lower-priced vehicles to the company. Ortega explained that they have a plan to keep their customers for a lifetime, and so they seek to delight them by offering them an EV as their needs grow and lifestyle changes.

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Excellent John K. Kumi is a cryptocurrency and fintech enthusiast, operations manager of a fintech platform, writer, researcher, and a huge fan of creative writing. With an Economics background, he finds much interest in the invisible factors that causes price change in anything measured with valuation. He has been in the crypto/blockchain space in the last five (5) years. He mostly watches football highlights and movies in his free time.



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Tether Claims to Receive 500 BTC Ransom Note, They Will Not Pay

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Tether alleges it has received a ransom note for 500 BTC. The extortionists have threatened to make documents that are harmful to the Bitcoin ecosystem public.

On Sunday, Tether shared on its Twitter account that it was been extorted. In a thread, Tether stated that they had received a ransom note asking for 500 BTC – worth around $22 million. Tether further noted that the extortionist had threatened to release documents that would be “harmful to the Bitcoin ecosystem.” Tether has been clear that it will not pay. This comes just days after the stablecoin settled a case with the New York attorney general regarding the $850 million loan to Bitfinex.

The team also disputed the circulating documents purported to be personnel emails between Tether and Deltec Bank & Trust and others. Some have purported that these documents are proof that the stablecoin is not fully backed by dollars in reserves as it has long claimed. So far the emails have not been confirmed and Deltec Bank is yet to comment. After receiving the ransom note, Tether wrote:

“Today we also received a ransom demand for 500 BTC to be sent to bc1qa9f60pved3w3w0p7snpxlnh5t4uj95vxn797a7. The sender said that, unless they receive the BTC by tomorrow, they will leak documents to the public in an effort to “harm the bitcoin ecosystem.” We are not paying.”

Undermining Tether

The team has argued that the threat could be a simple extortion scheme or a way to undermine it. Basic extortions are popular in the crypto community, at the same time, the Tether project is surrounded by controversy. This has made the case complicated. Some in the community have long suspected that Tether is not fully backed by dollars in reserve. Additionally, academics have argued that Tether manipulated Bitcoin prices in 2017. Coincidentally as Bitcoin surged to reach $20K, Tether’s market cap climbed from $2 billion to $34 billion.

Tether has been key in the crypto market as a stablecoin. Stablecoins allow investors and exchanges to enter and exit cryptocurrencies in times of extreme volatility with ease. Despite such coins being popular, the largest has been Tether. At the time of press, the coin ranks 5th with a market cap of $35 billion. Interestingly, because of this the stablecoins use of entering and exiting from other cryptocurrencies, Tether records the highest daily trading volume on the crypto market. At the time of press, this stands at over $95 billion.

With the team clear that it will not pay, many will be watching closely if there are any controversial documents released that potentially harm the ecosystem. If not, it will be obvious that this was just a way to undermine the project and spread FUD in the market.

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Kiguru is a fine writer with a preference for innovation, finance, and the convergence of the two. A firm adherent to the groundbreaking capability of cryptographic forms of money and the blockchain. When not in his office, he is tuned in to Nas, Eminem, and The Beatles.





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