Retail Investment Not Returned in Force Yet; This Doesn’t Feel Like 2017’s Bull Run

Today, BTC is tracing back the recent gains, going to the $17,400 level. A pullback has long been expected as Bitcoin has been surging since early October when the price was around $10,500.

For the last six weeks, the digital asset has been printed green candles, and this week, we might finally end up seeing some correction. However, BTC/USD is currently trading above $17,900 at the time of writing.

“We’re overextended here and due for a pullback,” Vijay Ayyar, head of business development with crypto exchange Luno told Bloomberg.

“Anywhere from between $18,000-$19,000 is potentially a top. We should have many people selling at these levels, especially those that bought at the top in 2017-18. Major rallies in the past always had 30-40% corrections. No reason to believe this time is different.”

Red in the Bitcoin market has the majority of the altcoins recording losses as well, with a few notable exceptions like FOAM (+90%), YFI (10.4%), and WAVES (7.6%).

Reaching for those highs

This week Bitcoin had a wild run as the leading digital asset went from $15,750 to nearly $18,500. With this, on Wednesday, the highest number of bitcoin addresses were created since January 2018.

Additionally, this uptrend saw the volume across the board, climbing to new highs. The leading spot exchange Binance recorded a new all-time high in its volume, as shared by its CEO Changpeng Zhao.

Yesterday, the real volume also surged above $6 billion, as per Messari. Even crypto exchanges went off as usual as the digital asset made some big moves.

However, on-exchange trading volumes are still below prior levels, “indicating that retail investment in the space has not yet returned in force.”

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“I don’t see this move as a mania or grossly over-loved just yet,” wrote Chris Weston, head of research at Pepperstone Financial Pty.

Still Far Off

While volume hasn’t made new highs, the aggregated open interest in the BTC futures market has done so at $6.4 billion, in USD terms, that is.

However, in terms of Bitcoin, the open interest is far from the ATH — trailing at around 390k BTC, below the yearly average of 395k BTC.

On CME as well, the open interest surpassed the $1 billion mark.

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Comparing the current market condition with that of the last bull run, analyst PlanB noted,

“Big difference with 2017 is that most BTC sold today will never see the daylight again, they disappear into deep cold storage. Buyers today are professionals with long term vision and staying power.”

As we reported, Chinese state media also shared bitcoin’s bull run with the people noting that the bull run of 2020 is institutionally driven in a more developed ecosystem.

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Author: AnTy

China’s State Media on BTC’s ‘Institutional-Driven’ Bull Run; Improved Dramatically Compared to 2017

Bitcoin has enjoyed gains of 31% in November while being up more than 67% this quarter, making it the 18th largest asset in the world by market capitalization.

After breaking $16k, $17k, and $18k this week, today, we are keeping around the $18,000 level on the back of a $6 billion trading volume.

However, with these gains came the issues with crypto exchanges as they continue to go down whenever BTC makes higher than usual moves.

Coinbase has been one of them, whose CEO Brian Armstrong said they are working on adding additional capacity, in terms of servers and customer support “to deal with increased traffic.”

While Armstrong said, “Bull runs can be exciting and stressful,” the crypto community isn’t really satisfied as the exchanges had three years of bear and slow market to deal with the issues.

Now that the bull market is here, the situation will only get wilder and wilder — the market capitalization of BTC has already hit a new high. Unchained Capital stated,

“The bitcoin market cap is at a new all-time high, but the current state of coins held for the long-term is nearly identical to when the price was about $700 in 2016 before it went on its historic run to $20k in 2017.”

Already we are at price levels not seen since the euphoric December 2017, and the positive momentum continues to come for the leading digital asset as the BTC percentage supply on exchanges continues to decrease while the overall exchange flow balance remains dormant.

“This is good news for bulls, with little funding moving from offline wallets with the intent of making major trades,” noted Santiment.

Gradually as we continue to go higher, mainstream media is taking note as well. The latest has been from CCTV.

China’s official TV channel reporting on Bitcoin’s uptrend, which it said is driven by institutional funds. The ecosystem is far better than the last time during the current bull run.

“The Bitcoin ecosystem ranging from infrastructure and development to investment, has improved dramatically compared to 2017.”

However, at the same time, we have been seeing the Chinese government cracking down on the exchange of cryptocurrencies. According to the local media, about 74% of the “Chinese miners are facing a major problem in paying electricity bills.”

This could also be why funding has been flat in this bull run, with open interest in USD increasing only marginally. Economist and crypto trader Alex Kruger shared his theory behind this,

“Chinese miners selling heavily reduced due to fiat onramp complications. They are instead shorting derivatives. Their selling pressure is equal in measure to buying pressure from levered longs. Hence why funding has remained flat in this bull run.”

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Author: AnTy

ErisX Obtains CFTC License to Provide Futures & Swaps Clearing Beyond Digital Assets

The Chicago-based crypto exchange, ErisX, gains regulatory approval from the U.S Commodities and Futures Trade Commission (CFTC) to start a clearinghouse for all types of futures and swaps. The crypto-focused exchange will expand its clearing services for fully collateralized swaps from digital assets to all traditional assets following the OK by the CFTC.

Back in July 2019, the firm gained the traditional designated contract market (DCM) license from the CFTC, allowing users to trade futures on the platform. The latest license granted to the firm is the traditional derivatives clearing license (DCO), which allows the firm to provide a clearinghouse for all fully collateralized swaps. Previously, ErisX provided these services to digital asset futures contracts listed on its virtual currency exchange – ErisX exchange.

ErisX, backed by TD Ameritrade, offers users both spot and physically settled futures contracts on Bitcoin (BTC) – recently announcing the launch of physically-settled Ethereum futures. The launch of these ETH-settled futures in the U.S is a first of its kind under the regulation of the CFTC.

Before the launch of ETH futures contracts, ErisX Clearing LLC received its approval of the lucrative BitLicense application offered by the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS). The exchange joins an exclusive list of crypto firms holding the license, including Binance, Coinbase, BitPay, Bitstamp, and Robinhood.

ErisX platform aims at integrating digital asset products and technology into a reliable, compliant, and robust capital markets workflow.

On the subject of the latest DCO license offered to ErisX, Laurian Cristea, General Counsel at ErisX, celebrated the move allowing listing and clearing of third-party contracts on their platform.

“Our trading platform is a high throughput, deterministic, low latency matching engine hosted in a world-class data center,” Cristea further said.

“Similarly, our clearing system is a reliable, web-based clearing engine designed to meet institutional requirements, and with real-time segregation balances, no other DCO can boast.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

Bitcoin Average Transaction Fees Jump 188% to Above $10 Following Price Rally

Bitcoin’s price is experiencing a bullish month with over 25% gains and came very close to hitting 2019 high yesterday.

Currently, BTC is trading around $13,220, having dropped over 4% since rallying yesterday, on the back of the increased trading volume, which has climbed above $3 billion.

This latest bout of volatility is not only proving good for investors, traders, and speculators but also miners as the percentage of Bitcoin miner revenue from fees increased to 22.25% yesterday — the highest value since January 2018.

This is because the average Bitcoin transaction fee has spiked 188% to above $10, as per Bitinfocharts.

The total fees have also jumped to 2.67 million from $403k on Oct. 17.

Coin Metrics BTC Fees
Source: Coin Metrics

Just last week, the average fees were mere $1.4, and from there, as the price of bitcoin rallied and the market jumped in to participate in this euphoria, the activity increased, and so did the fees.

The last time we were at this level was in February 2018, while the all-time high was $55 at the top of the bull market in mid-December 2017.

A similar surge is not seen in transaction count, but a spike was recorded in transaction transfer value.

However, with the latest surge, Bitcoin’s average transaction fee is eclipsing ETH’s at $1.69. Ethereum’s average transaction fees were higher than BTC’s for most of September after it exploded over the summer due to the rapid rise of DeFi.

But the momentum has shifted back to BTC.

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Author: AnTy

Digital Assets Beat Traditional Assets by a Wide Margin & Ethereum Outperforms Bitcoin

In 2020 to date, Bitcoin has seen a positive performance of 80% and Ethereum 217%.

With these gains, digital currencies are leading this year, with both the top digital assets outperforming traditional asset classes, that too by a wide margin.

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Source: TradeBlock

Clearly, Ether has enjoyed much higher performance than Bitcoin, just yesterday it also caught up with BTC’s latest move. ETH went to $420 and is currently trading around this level only.

The realized price of Ether, the average price for each ETH at the time it last moved on-chain, actually hit a 21-month high, at $246, a level not seen since January 2019. In the past six months, it has increased by 21%.

According to one quant trader, benign bearish on the network, which is the center of the fast-growing DeFi and stablecoin space, just doesn’t make sense.

“I get not being long ETH, but I don’t get why anyone would be short ETH against what is to me the single most important protocol upgrade and token incentives change since the beginning of Ethereum in 2014,” said Qiao Wang.

Outperforming Bitcoin

It has been because of DeFi and stablecoins crazy growth this year, which saw Ethereum beating Bitcoin not just in terms of price but also in transaction volume as it transacted two times more value than BTC daily.

“Ethereum’s progress has been so incredible that it will likely becomes the first public blockchain ever to settle $1 trillion in a year,” said Ryan Watkins, a researcher at Messari.

ETH vs BTC Daily Transactions
Source: Messari

Much of this growing activity has been because of stablecoins, especially ERC-20 USDT, with Tether alone doing more volume daily, nearly double, than Bitcoin.

When it comes to DeFi, Yield farming phenomena and decentralized exchanges (DEX) play a big part. DEXs now comprise 13.6% of total volumes from all exchanges (CEX+DEX). Uniswap and Curve did more than $20 billion in combined volume last month, resulting in a boom in on-chain liquidity on Ethereum.

However, as Ethereum becomes the “epicenter of crypto finance,” it comes at the cost of extremely high fees pricing out retail users and pushing some apps out too.

And this allows alternative platforms to gain attention and adoption. According to Messari, 5 layer 1 alternatives raised a combined $138 million over the quarter.

“The next 12 months could come to define the smart contract market as almost every high-profile Ethereum competitor will be live by year-end. And these networks are barrelling towards a head-to-head battle with Ethereum’s bevy Layer-2 scaling solutions,” said Wilson Withiam of Messari.

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Author: AnTy

An Erosion of Centralized Power: DEX’s Steal Trading Volume & Web Traffic from CEX’s

While Bitcoin ended the quarter 3 of 2020 with positive 18% gains, it was the quarter of decentralized finance (DeFi).

The DeFi explosion also saw Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC) growing substantially with nearly $1 billion flowing in, representing a 1766% growth.

As per the latest CoinGecko report, more than $9 billion flowed into the crypto space in Q3 alone, with Tether (USDT) accounting for about two-thirds of this total inflow. However, the overall growth of the stablecoin market has slowed down in this quarter.

Capital inflow accelerated as yield farming gained steam
Capital inflow accelerated as yield farming gained steam

As the DeFi hype and yield farming frenzy took over, so did the volume, making it a vibrant quarter for cryptocurrency exchanges.

The total trading volume in the quarter surged 88%, a $155 billion increase, thanks to the month of August when the DeFi mania was at its peak, and many decentralized exchanges (DEX) like Serum and SushiSwap got into the picture.

Towards the end of Q3, the capital flow also appears to be slowing down as yield farming returns got reduced, but it is likely to continue to outperform traditional markets.

The Shift

Centralized exchanges are still very much the ones with the bulk of the trading volume, recording $171 billion in July, followed by $314 billion in August.

However, in the month of September, CEXs volume dropped to $300 billion, while DEXs recorded $30.46 billion, a 700% increase from the previous month. Compared to CEX’s 35% growth, the monthly average DEX trading volume grew by 197% in Q3.

While CEX’s decline was dragged by Coinbase and OKEx, both contributing 60% of the decline in the DeFi space, Uniswap is the leader that contributed 60% to the growth and, combined with Curve, account for 80% of the market share.

This obvious erosion of market share by DEXs could also be seen in web traffic.

In the last month of the quarter, September, the traffic on centralized exchanges took a hit while Uniswap’s almost doubled to become the world’s sixth-largest exchange.

Crypto-Exchange-Web-Traffic
Source: SimilarWeb.com

“This is likely fueled by investor’s appetite to trade on newly created coins, yield farming coins, as well as the subsequent flight towards stablecoins during September’s market dip,” notes the report.

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Author: AnTy

Current Market Structure Reminiscent of Period Preceding Bitcoin’s Historic Bull Run: Grayscale

The gains in the crypto market have digital asset manager Grayscale Investments AUM jumping to $5.8 billion.

In its latest report titled “Valuing Bitcoin” written by Grayscale research director Phil Bonello, he points out that a plethora of blockchain metrics indicate that “the current market structure is reminiscent of early 2016, the period that preceded Bitcoin’s historic bull run.”

On the supply side, never has the current level of Bitcoin ever been owned for more than one year while exchange balances continue to be at their lowest levels since May 2019.

On the demand side, daily active addresses are at its highest level since 2017 with the mining profitability ratio stating it a good buying opportunity. Whale Index, that tracks the number of unique BTC addresses with balances over 1,000 Bitcoin is also near its ATH.

Additionally, in the current environment, Bitcoin has become even “more important than ever.”

In 2020, in order to prop the coronavirus pandemic battered economy, governments introduced ultra-loose monetary policies, printing money faster than ever – QE, and continued to increase the debt which has made the situation worse than 2008 Great Recession.

Source: Grayscale

In this environment, investors are now searching for ways to protect against an ever-expanding monetary supply, and Bitcoin’s limited supply which isn’t controlled by any authority makes it an attractive option. The report states,

“We believe demand for a scarce monetary asset like Bitcoin grows as global monetary inflation accelerates.”

Because bitcoin isn’t a cash-generating asset, traditional investors struggle to assign a fair value to it. As such, in many ways, it is similar to how gold is valued — relative valuation and supply/demand analysis.

In May this year, billionaire investor Paul Tudor Jones in his investment case for bitcoin, which he called an inflation hedge, suggested Bitcoin should have a far higher market capitalization than it currently has. Jones at that time wrote,

“Bitcoin had an overall score nearly 60% of that of financial assets but has a market cap that is 1/1200th of that. It scores 66% of gold as a store of value, but has a market cap that is 1/60th of gold’s outstanding value. Something appears wrong here and my guess is it is the price of Bitcoin.”

According to Grayscale, as the demand for the store of value grows during monetary inflation, Bitcoins’ unique quality of being scarce, makes it well-positioned to be a safe haven.

“Bitcoin continues to command global investor attention, there is scant supply to meet growing demand, and the infrastructure is now in place to satisfy that demand.”

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Author: AnTy

Analyst Predicts New ATH for Ether in Q2 2021; Heightened Volatility Also Bullish

Ether is having a field day, enjoying substantial gains this past week.

The digital asset jumped 20% to reach about $445, a level that was last seen in late July 2018.

Ether started gaining after the price broke out of a two-month range between $210 and $250 towards the end of July. At the time of writing, Ether has been trading around $445, up 226% YTD.

“ETH is in a consolidation phase after hitting a recent high of $445 over the weekend. However, the correction has not been big, indicating market participants still have strong buying power. ETH still has a chance to test its previous high,” states OKEx in its daily report.

According to trader Crypto Wolf, Ether will hit new highs, $1,570 reached in Jan. 2018, in Q2 of next year.

New Money is Flowing In

As we reported, this jump in price has been coinciding with the growing usage of the second largest network.

Even though Ether transaction fees broke all-time highs two days in a row at 17.8k ETH and 20.3k ETH last week, the daily transaction count is also nearing an ATH. The last peak was at 1.34 million that was set on January 4, 2018, when the average market price of Ether was $1,042, according to data source Santiment.

This 25-months high also has investors taking an interest in Ether futures and options, which hit a new peak last week.

The total value of outstanding contracts, open interest in Ether futures rose to a record high of $1.73 billion on Friday, breaking the previous high of $1.45 billion from August 5th, as per Skew. Open interest in the futures market has increased by 300% this year.

In the options market, which is skewed bullish, the OI has climbed to a record high as well at $454 million. This indicates money flowing into the digital asset with another positive aspect seen in the contango market.

DeFi Boom Powering Ethereum

In the meantime, the rising 1-month volatility for Ethereum has gone to 102% along with the 3-month volatility while the 6-month at 94%. This indicates that “the market is putting a lot of hope on Ethereum ‘succeeding’ in its efforts to transition from the current Proof of Work (PoW) to Proof of Stake (PoS),” said Denis Vinokourov, head of research at the London-based digital asset firm Bequant.

Only time will tell if these bulls will be right, the latest Ethereum testnet crashed last Friday and was unable to reach finality. A time-related bug was the problem at Prysm, which is used by the vast majority of validators.

For now, the market continues to grapple with out of control gas and transaction costs. All of which has been thanks to the popularity of decentralized finance (DeFi), which is growing at a fast pace.

On May 30th, the DeFi sector had $1 billion total value locked, which has grown more than 500% to reach a new peak of $6.31 billion today, as per Defi Pulse.

The amount of Ether locked in the sector has also grown massively in the past two months. From 2.5 million ETH two months back, there is now 4.5 million ETH locked in DeFi.

It is the DeFi boom, users rushing into yield-farming projects, that is powering the gas, activity, and gains in the Ethereum network.

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Author: AnTy

Gold Beating Bitcoin for Over 2 Months Now; A New ATH for Bullion is Imminent

Precious metals are enjoying the gains with gold rising 1.23% today to reach $1,840 per ounce today although it is Silver which has been stealing the show by having its highest finish since 2016.

XAU/USD chart
Source: TradingView XAU/USD

With the government and central banks releasing excessive stimulus, the new normal is benefiting the metals just as much as it is stocks which have been rallying hard throughout 2020.

The expectation for even more stimulus and lower interest rates amidst the rising debt and increasing coronavirus infections, slow economic recovery, and US-China tensions have prompted investors to keep buying the yellow metal.

“I wouldn’t be surprised to see gold test the all-time highs set in 2011 at around $1,900 per ounce,” said Thomas Taw, head of APAC iShares investment strategy at BlackRock previously.

With rates at virtually zero, gold and the likes of bitcoin becomes far more attractive when the real yield on alternative investment becomes negative.

Also, a meeting of European Union leaders in Brussels is also in agreement on a huge spending program of €1.82 trillion (over $2 trillion USD) while US lawmakers are set to start talks over an additional coronavirus aid bill.

All the money central banks are pumping in the market means further currency debasement which should help gold “profit as a store of value” and of course Bitcoin.

However, for now, gold is stealing the thunder with bitcoin down 6% since May 7th when the market topped at just above $10,000. Also, billionaire investor Paul Tudor Jones announced his fund was buying the digital asset calling Bitcoin the “fastest horse” and an inflation hedge while gold has jumped 7.5% during the same period.

While bullion has been enjoying all the bullish factors, bitcoin has been stuck in a rut all this time after surging to $10,000 in the aftermath of the March sell-off. The range bitcoin has been trading has been getting tighter and tighter, one month price range has been actually at an all-time low, with volatility declining as well.

Today, however, after a long time, bitcoin is making some moves, rising above $9,400 with ‘real’ trading volume also increasing albeit slowly to $1.3 billion.

Meanwhile, Citigroup analysts say gold hitting a new all-time high is “only a matter of time.” The yellow metal is already up 20.5% YTD.

The precious metal has already posted fresh records in G-10 and major emerging market currency this year. Gold is expected to climb to a new ATH in the six-to-nine months with a 30% probability that it’ll top $2,000 an ounce in the next three-to-five months. Last month, Bank of America made even a higher top prediction at $3,000 per ounce.

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Author: AnTy

Bitcoin Tokenized on Ethereum ‘Dominates the Off-Chain Space,’ Pushing ETH’s Fees Higher

In 2020 so far, Ethereum made 80% gains, more than 3x the gains recorded by Bitcoin. However, ETH moves compared to bitcoin have been tighter over the years.

During 2015-17, the price of ETH appreciated 6% to 8% versus bitcoin when the leading digital asset went up and a 4% to 6% fall on days BTC was down. Now in 2020, when Ether has seen a rebound, these moves continue to get smaller.

Analyst Ceteris Paribus believes these ranges will widen once again in a bull market but says, “ETH won’t make a significant run until BTC moves higher… Once BTC breaks $13K or so, I do expect ETH to become more interesting.”

Unlike Ether’s price, the gas prices continue to be on an uptrend. “The daily median gas price has increased by more than 5x since April, surpassing 50 Gwei yesterday for the first time in almost 2 years,” noted Glassnode.

Ethereum Median Gas Price
Source: Glassnode

While Ethereum network usage continues to rise, Phase 0 of ETH 2.0 is still not here. As we reported, it might not come until next year, on January 3, 2021 (Bitcoin’s 12th anniversary).

However, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin says, “FWIW I personally quite disagree with this, and I would favor launching phase 0 significantly before that date regardless of level of readiness :D.”

The final testnet, however, could be here soon.

Ethereum fees are also surging, “being larger than Bitcoin fees in periods,” because of the tokenized bitcoin on the Ethereum blockchain, which is currently heavily in use.

Fees: BTC vs ETH
Source: Arcane Research

Tokenization of bitcoin as an ERC-20 token is gaining a lot of traction, which enables functionality that is not natively supported on the bitcoin blockchain.

Bitcoin tokenized on Ethereum “dominates the off-chain space,” accounting for 82% of all the BTC supply locked off-chain. But it is still in its infancy as only 0.1% of BTC supply is locked into off-chain solutions.

Bitcoin Tokens on Ethereum
Source: Arcane Research

Wrapped BTC (wBTC) is the largest bitcoin token on Ethereum, with 11,136 BTC locked into the protocol. In 2020, wBTC supply has increased a massive 1887% as “investors seek to gain bitcoin exposure in the DeFi ecosystem.”

In total, 15,236 BTC are locked into the tokenized bitcoin protocols on the Ethereum network, which is 4x the size of Liquid and Lightning Network.

But “tokenized BTC on the Ethereum Network carries similar scaling issues as Bitcoin,” which might be reduced if Ethereum successfully switches from PoW to PoS, states Arcane Research in its report.

Elsewhere, ETH hodlers are also on the rise, with the number of addresses holding 1+ coins reaching an all-time high of 1,082,158, hitting a new peak in less than a week.

The flagship cryptocurrency, which has been silent for the past several weeks now, meanwhile has the percent of BTC supply that is active for over three years, reaching a 19-month high of 28.8%.

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Author: AnTy