BlackRock, an institutional asset manager that has indirect exposure to Bitcoin (BTC), has recorded a major decline in investor demand for cryptocurrency.

The company’s CEO Larry Fink declared Wednesday on CNBC’s Squawk Box that BlackRock has been seeing less crypto-related queries from investors recently, signaling a massive drop in demand for crypto.

Fink noted that specifically long-term and retirement investors now appear to have less interest in crypto, stating:

“In the past, you’ve asked me about crypto and Bitcoin, again. And in my last two weeks of business travel, not one question has been asked about that. That is just not part of the focus of retirement and long-term investors. We see very little in terms of investor demand.”

Fink’s remarks come amid a continued sideways trading on the cryptocurrency markets, with Bitcoin dropping over 16% over the past 30 days. At the time of writing, Bitcoin is trading at $32,572, slightly up around 0.3% over the past 24 hours. The most-valued cryptocurrency has lost almost half of its price since BTC broke its all-time high in mid-April, surging above $64,000.

Bitcoin price over the past year. Source: CoinGecko

BlackRock is known for its friendly stance on Bitcoin as the company obtained indirect exposure to Bitcoin through its ownership stake in business intelligence firm MicroStrategy. The firm made an initial $425 million investment in BTC in 2020 and then continued buying more Bitcoin.

Related: Fidelity to hire more crypto hands amid growing institutional interest

BlackRock CEO previously delivered some positive comments about Bitcoin as well. Last December, Fink claimed that Bitcoin can potentially evolve into a global market despite still being widely untested.

Despite BlackRock CEO’s claims on the alleged decline in Bitcoin demand from long-term investors, the institutional interest in crypto apparently continues growing. Last week, Bank of America, the second-largest bank in the United States, reportedly set up a crypto research team in response to growing institutional interest in digital assets.




Cointelegraph By Helen Partz

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Bitcoin (BTC) price continued its downtrend Wednesday, ahead of testimony from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.

Spot BTC/USD exchange rate fell to its seventeen-day low of $31,600 following a 3.46% intraday dip. Meanwhile, CME futures tied to the pair plunged 3.41% to $31,515, extending their week-to-date losses to 9.5%.

Bulls step in at $31.5K to buy the Bitcoin dip. Source: TradingView

Bitcoin had powered to $35,000 at the beginning of July, as bulls continued to defend support levels around $30,000 against each downside attempt.

Independent market analyst Will Clemente noted that entities with a low history of selling kept absorbing Bitcoin at lower levels from speculative traders, adding that the strategy is in the process of effectively removing a good BTC supply out of the market.

“Given no capitulation event, in my humble opinion, it is a matter of “when” the re-accumulation process will be finished rather than “if,” Clemente wrote.

“Once the process completes, the market would experience a supply shock.”

But…

…Bitcoin sold off at $35,000 and dropped to near $31,500 during the latest July 14 session. One factor that made traders cautious is uncertainty about how the Federal Reserve would respond to the bout of higher inflation—now running upward at its fastest pace in 13 years.

In detail, the US consumer-price index rose 0.9% in June 2021 from the previous month and by 5.4% compared to June 2020. The higher inflation readings honed focus on Powell’s appearance before the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday, 09:30 EST.

U.S. core inflation data hits its highest levels since the year 1991. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

The central bank chief expects to clarify his position on the ongoing spike in consumer-related inflation. In his earlier statements, Powell has suggested that Fed should move cautiously unless it sees a “maximum recovery” in the U.S. labor markets.

Therefore, with support from some like-minded dovish Fed officials, including New York branch head John Williams, Powell might ignore trimming Fed’s $120 billion monthly asset purchase program in the wake of strong U.S. growth and high inflation.

Fed’s hawkish tone coincides with lower BTC prices

Meanwhile, Evercore ISI’s economist Peter Williams forecasted that rising CPI readings would increase tensions among the Federal Open Market Committee’s members.

He noted that some hawkish members might demand tapering to begin as early as September, albeit adding that the Fed, in general, would follow a wait-and-watch approach, thinking inflation is transitory in nature.

As for Bitcoin, the outlook remains mixed, especially after the cryptocurrency failed to respond to inflation alarms in recent months, mired by China’s crackdown on the crypto sector, increasing regulatory scrutiny, Fed’s rate hike plans for 2023, and Elon Musk’s anti-crypto tweets.

Fortune reported that Bitcoin is marching “on its own drummer,” ignoring the recent spikes in key inflation metrics. That makes the cryptocurrency a doubtful hedge against rising consumer prices.

However, Joel Kruger, a forex strategist at London-based investment firm LMAX, thinks differently. The analyst noted that Bitcoin’s long-term prospects remain skewed to the upside because there’s a “legit fear of rising inflation.”

“Setbacks more about SOME investors looking at Bitcoin as a risk correlated emerging asset,” he tweeted late Tuesday.

“Short-term could see more downside if stocks plunge. But ultimately, Bitcoin should be well supported on the longer-term value proposition.”

Additionally, Greg Waisman, co-founder/COO of cryptocurrency infrastructure company Mercuryo, offered a more critical outlook.

First, he noted that macro investors do not believe in Bitcoin’s true value even against rising inflation. And second, he projected Ether as a better cryptocurrency, given its recent run-up against Bitcoin.

Ether prices against Bitcoin has surged 136% on a year-to-date basis. Source: TradingView

“Bitcoin is the most expensive and renowned cryptocurrency, but it’s not a cryptocurrency of the present,” Waisman explained, adding that:

Ethereum is the true king of cryptocurrencies. Investors will continue to ride the Bitcoin high and dump at their convenience. That said, Bitcoin will once again surpass the $50k mark

Technical outlook

Currently, lackluster volumes and a two-month old downside move continues to keep Bitcoin in a bearish state.

Bitcoin holds above second-quarter support around $30,000. Source: TradingView

Since May 20, the BTC/USD exchange rate has been trending lower inside a falling parallel channel, rebounding off its support trendline and pulling back lower upon testing the resistance one. At the same time, the $30,000-32,000 area has been providing additional support confluence.

The pair appears to be heading back toward the lower trendline following the latest retest of the Channel’s upper trendline. However, the short target in the current scenario is below $30,000 (towards the Q2 bottom of $28,732).

Conversely, a break north of the Channel’s resistance trendline could have BTC/USD test the 50-day simple moving average (50-day SMA; the blue wave) at $35,363 as next upside target. The area has witnessed sell offs in the recent sessions.

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




Cointelegraph By Yashu Gola

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Amid a massive spike of the United States’ Consumer Price Index (CPI), the cryptocurrency community has divided on whether Bitcoin (BTC) is really a hedge to inflation.

The CPI, an indicator measuring the average change in prices that consumers pay for a basket of goods and services, saw its largest one-month increase in June over the past 13 years, Business Insider reported Tuesday. The inflation surge reportedly started in March, when CPI rose by 2.6%, followed by subsequent increases in April of 4.2% and eventually 5.4% in June.

But despite the recent growth in CPI-measured inflation, Bitcoin has allegedly failed as an inflation hedge as its price has almost halved from $64,000 in mid-April, according to some analysts.

“Bitcoin isn’t behaving like an inflation hedge anymore and will continue to remain heavy over expectations over higher yields,” Ed Moya, senior equity analyst at foreign exchange firm Oanda said in a Tuesday note. However, that inflation is viewed as transitory, which could be a reason why the June CPI report wasn’t enough of a catalyst to break Bitcoin’s sideways trading, Moya added.

The crypto community subsequently reacted to these CPI-versus-Bitcoin observations, with many industry advocates emphasizing that their early Bitcoin investment and gains “have already hedged the future.” Some Bitcoin enthusiasts pointed out that Bitcoin has been growing historically, posting massive gains over the long term.

Related: Bitcoin boon as US inflation hits 13-year high, wages fall to lowest in 21st century

According to some crypto experts, Bitcoin is indeed “not a great hedge against inflation.” Mati Greenspan, founder of money management firm Quantum Economics, told Cointelegraph that there “doesn’t seem to be any correlation” between Bitcoin’s price action and inflation or deflation data, stating:

“Certainly bitcoin has been a great performer over time. But most of the gains have occurred during a great global deflationary period in which all risk assets rose. Now that inflation is picking up for real, for the first time since Bitcoin’s inception, it’s drastically underperforming.”

The latest CPI-triggered argument brings another twist in long-running debates regarding Bitcoin as a hedge instrument. A number of financial analysts including Nassim Taleb believe that inflation has nothing to do with Bitcoin price. Still, some global investors like Paul Tudor Jones have moved into Bitcoin to protect their investments from inflation.




Cointelegraph By Helen Partz

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Global payment giant Visa is moving forward with its commitment to digital currency adoption by approving the issuance of a new Bitcoin (BTC) debit card in Australia.

Sydney-based crypto spending app CryptoSpend announced Wednesday that Visa has approved the issuance of a physical debit card that will allow Australians to spend their Bitcoin at local merchants.

CryptoSpend co-founders said in an interview with the Australian Financial Review that the new card will be issued by major local payments company Novatti and is expected to hit the market in September. Visa is expected to announce the approval later this week.

According to the report, the upcoming crypto debit card will allow users to spend a set of major cryptocurrencies including Bicoin, Ether (ETH), XRP, and Bitcoin Cash (BCH). Users’ crypto holdings will be custodied by BitGo.

CryptoSpend co-founder Andrew Grech said that the card will give Australians a way to cash out their Bitcoin profits as opposed to selling the cryptocurrency, stating:

“Spending it directly is a more convenient way of selling it. If the market is green, someone could say it’s time to spend some of my profits. On the other side of the fence, another person might say it’s going to keep going up, I’ll hold onto it. But we have seen more spending volume when the price is going up.”

Related: Visa reports over $1 billion in crypto spending in H1 2021

According to the Financial Review, Visa has already approved the issuance of crypto spending cards in Australia for some global crypto exchanges like Binance, but they are not yet available in the country. Crypto exchange Crypto.com also received approval to be a direct issuer of Visa debit cards in Australia and is preparing to launch a card soon.

Visa did not immediately respond to Cointelegraph’s request for comment.


Cointelegraph By Helen Partz

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Two weeks after a 15% increase in electricity prices in Turkey, a new store selling professional mining equipment has opened its doors in Istanbul —the business hub of the country— on July 13.

Opening a mining equipment shop in a country with costly electricity seems counterintuitive. But Phoenix Store, Bitmain’s sales partner in the Middle East, did the math before opening its second store within the region. Phoenix CEO Phil Harvey explained that their primary goal with the Istanbul store is to educate Turkey’s crypto-friendly population about crypto mining. Then, customers can purchase mining equipment and hosting services that would operate in Canada, United States or Russia. Mining in Turkey is simply not feasible.

“It’s like you want to invest in gold mining,” he said, “You can come here and invest in a gold mine, but it’s not going to be in the back garden. It’s going to be outside.”

Cointelegraph Turkey sat down with Phil Harvey after his presentation to learn more about the crypto mining landscape in the aftermath of China’s crackdown on mining operations.

“China needs to maintain its current growth for the projects in the country,” Harvey started, detailing the crackdown. The country is required to improve several areas, such as reducing carbon footprint, to get funding from the IMF or World Bank:

“The easiest industry to reduce overnight was a gray area industry. Some 68,000 gigawatts of power was removed instantly from China just by saying no to Bitcoin mining.”

It’s a significant revenue stream, but even that would pale in comparison to how much the IMF or World Bank invest in China for projects like road initiatives. “So it was an easy decision for China to make to remove these miners and reduce the carbon footprint that they have,” Harvey added.

While several miners announced that they would relocate to cold-climate countries like Canada, Harvey believes that half of what’s lost due to China’s crackdown will never go back online:

“Because these are older machines that were in a warehouse for many many years and were just making five-ten percent, and they were on. But it doesn’t make commercial sense to now take those off and move them.”

Related: China crypto ban is a “huge opportunity for Canada,” mining group head says

The value of that machine might be $150-$200 at maximum, and it would take about the same amount of money to relocate them. “It doesn’t make sense to do that,” he said, “That’s why I say half of what was on the network that we lost.”

Harvey expects regions like Russia and Kazakhstan to increase their share in the mining landscape with new machines added to the network, but he doesn’t plan to open new stores in those countries for now. After Dubai and Istanbul, Phoenix only plans to open a store in London. “We won’t expand any further for the stores outside of those three locations,” he said.


Cointelegraph By Erhan Kahraman

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The Chinese government continues cracking down on the cryptocurrency mining industry by suspending crypto mining operations in another province.

Authorities at Anhui, a small province in eastern China, have announced a set of measures to tackle growing electricity demand and an associated power supply shortage in the next three years, local news agency Hefei Online reported on Wednesday.

As part of Anhui’s efforts to curb energy consumption, the province plans to shut down crypto mining projects and scrutinize new initiatives that require large amounts of energy consumption. Local authorities also plan to adopt new practices for building data centers as well as promote the reform of electricity prices in order to optimize energy usage in the province.

The Anhui province of China is known for once being one of China’s poorest provinces, having only been removed from the country’s official list of impoverished areas in 2020. Anhui is the eighth largest province in the country by population. The province’s power grid reportedly comprises mostly coal-based power plants in addition to several hydropower facilities as well as wind- and solar-based plants.

Related: Chinese hydropower plants on sale as crypto miners move abroad

Some reports suggest that the latest regulatory crackdown in Anhui is part of a broader country-wide initiative to shut down all crypto mining operations across China.

Chinese crypto journalist Colin Wu reported Wednesday that China’s State Grid Corporation has issued a notice to all parts of the country requesting the closure of virtual currency mining. “At present, some provinces with insufficient power in China, such as Henan and Anhui, have also begun to implement it,” he added.

The news comes amid a major regulatory crackdown on crypto mining in China, following a series of similar bans in other Chinese provinces including Yunnan and Sichuan, one of the country’s biggest hydropower-based mining hubs. Authorities in Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia and Qinghai also ordered mining operations to shutter in recent months.




Cointelegraph By Helen Partz

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Bitcoin (BTC) is seeing a “reset” in investor behavior at $30,000 and the trend need only continue to spark a price rise.

According to on-chain monitoring resource Ecoinometrics on July 13, the only way is “up” for BTC/USD if hodlers continue accumulating coins.

“Intriguing” data points to fresh demand

Analyzing who bought coins since the start of the latest bull run in October 2020, Ecoinometrics showed that major change is afoot compared to last year.

At the start, it was smaller investors, or “small fish,” who were accumulating. This began when Bitcoin passed its previous all-time high of $20,000 and continued all the way up to the new peak of $64,500.

At $20,000, however, larger investors began selling, albeit not in sufficient quantities to end the bull run.

Whales, on the other hand, added selling pressure once BTC/USD hit $30,000 for the first time. The result, analysts say, was the tipping point at May’s highs.

“Apparently $30k is a key level that stopped the trend of coins accumulation by whales,” Ecoinmetrics commented.

The reason that selling pressure ultimately took over could lie with whale sentiment that Bitcoin was gaining “too much, too soon,” and that the market was thus deemed unsustainable.

Now that $30,000 has returned, cold feet are nowhere to be found — investors, both big and small, are buying again.

“Whales and small fish have started accumulating again while other categories have turned neutral,” the findings continue.

“If that interpretation is correct, then what we had with this correction is a reset. Would that trend of accumulation continue, there is only one direction Bitcoin can go and that’s up.”

Bitcoin whale hodling behavior chart. Source: Ecoinometrics/ TwitterA glimmer of hopium

That perspective provides a refreshing counterargument to the bearish tone taken by many market commentators over the past few weeks.

Related: Bitcoin price will see breakout ‘during this week’ says trader with $38K target

Even the classic stock-to-flow price model has fielded concerns of invalidation, something its creator denies, while on-chain activity has been marked by low volumes and a lack of solid support above $30,000.

Calls for a major price move are not in short supply, meanwhile, with hopes for an upward move lingering despite sliding below $32,000 on Wednesday.




Cointelegraph By William Suberg

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It’s not yet known whether Binance’s recent news of  being temporarily suspended from the U.K.’s financial system is the main driver behind today’s Bitcoin (BTC) price drop. As Cointelegraph reported, the exchange sent emails to affected customers but has not given any details.

Regardless of the reason behind the price weakness, derivatives contracts started to display some oddities, and this could be a troubling sign.

Bitcoin quarterly futures are the preferred instruments of whales and arbitrage desks. Although it might seem complicated for retail traders due to their settlement date and price difference from spot markets, their most significant advantage is the lack of a fluctuating funding rate.

When traders opt for perpetual contracts (inverse swaps), there is a fee usually charged every 8-hours that will change depending on which side demands more leverage. On the other hand, fixed-date expiry contracts typically trade at a premium from regular spot market exchanges.

This effect occurs as sellers are postponing settlement, therefore requesting compensation for this time.

Bitcoin futures annualized premiums. Source: BitcoinFuturesInfo.com

As depicted above, the Sept. 24 contract is trading with a 2.2% annualized premium at Deribit, while the Dec. 31 contract is at 3.8%. This curve is precisely what one should expect in healthy markets because a longer settlement period would usually cause sellers to request a more substantial premium.

Keep in mind that there’s a decent ‘Cash and Carry’ activity being deployed by arbitrage desks, buying Bitcoin while simultaneously shorting (selling) the futures contract. These players aren’t effectively betting on a negative price swing as their net exposure is flat, but this activity limits the premium on futures contracts.

Related: Bitcoin price is down, but here’s 3 reasons why $1B liquidations are less frequent

Focus on the broader picture, is the 3-month premium below 4%?

Therefore, a couple of exchanges presenting a flat or slightly inverted futures’ curve should not be interpreted as a bearish indicator. More importantly, investors should measure the 3-month futures premium, which should stay above 4% annualized.

Whenever this metric falls below that, it indicates a lack of interest in leverage longs and is interpreted as bearish.

Currently, the average September annualized basis (premium) of the four exchanges examined is running at 3.3%, which is definitively worrisome.

However, this is not unusual after the market experienced a 50% correction. This situation should simply be interpreted as a lack of confidence from buyers instead of an alarming bearish sign.

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




Cointelegraph By Marcel Pechman

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Within the past few hours, a fresh wave of selling pushed Bitcoin (BTC) price close to the $32,000 support level as the low trading volume and general disinterest from traders saw the price revisit the lower section of its current range.

BTC/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingView

The price of Ether (ETH) also fell under pressure alongside Bitcoin as the building momentum ahead of the network’s upcoming London Hard Fork failed to support a price above $2,000, resulting in a daily low of $1,918.

Bitcoin’s compression range tightens

Some insights into the current market conditions were offered by Gas Fring, a pseudonymous Twitter account, who posted the following tweet highlighting previous instances of range-bound trading for BTC.

As shown in the chart below, Bitcoin price has a tendency to trade within a consistent range following significant price moves, with previous instances lasting up to 132 days as was the case in late 2018 to early 2019.

BraveNewCoin liquid index for Bitcoin 1-day chart. Source: Twitter

The current compression range has lasted 55 days with a tighter range between $30,000 and $36,500 being seen since June 19.

According to Gas Fring, in the previous instance of a “layered stricter compression” seen in Q4 of 2018 and in the summer of 2020, the period of tighter compression “lasted for roughly half the overall period.”

“This tells me that we might have another 2 weeks or so of such inner tighter compression which will take the periods to 34 and 68 days respectively.

Related: Nonfungible tokens soar even as Bitcoin price drops close to $32,000

Altcoins hit hard as Bitcoin continues to struggle

The altcoin market was hit hard by the afternoon sell-off, leaving few coins in the green as traders hastily made for the exits.

Daily cryptocurrency market performance. Source: Coin360

Nonfungible and gaming tokens like Axie Infinity (AXS) and Small Love Potion (SLP) continue to be the bright spot in an otherwise gloomy market, putting on gains of 22% and 35% respectively as new users embrace the daily income opportunity provided by the blockchain-based trading and battling game.

Other notable gainers include a 16% increase in the price of Phala Network (PHALA) and a 15% gain for MyNeighborAlice (ALICE).

The overall cryptocurrency market cap now stands at $1.314 trillion and Bitcoin’s dominance rate is 46.1%.

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




Cointelegraph By Jordan Finneseth

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Investment product issuer 21Shares has joined forces with comdirect, a leading online brokerage in Germany, to bring its cryptocurrency exchange-traded products, or ETPs, to savings accounts. 

The partnership means that comdirect’s nearly 3 million customers will be able to integrate physically-backed crypto ETPs into their Spar savings accounts. 21Shares claims this is the first such instance where investors can gain crypto exposure in their savings accounts.

Marco Infuso, a managing director at 21Shares, said the new product offering will enable comdirect clients to include crypto in their retirement planning and will also help onboard investors who have been apprehensive about dabbling in Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies due to a lack of investment options.

“Empowering people to choose how they allocate their investments for their retirement has led to such a project to materialise,” he said. “This is very exciting for any investors who have been thinking about purchasing bitcoin but did not offer the proper investment tools to store them successfully in a savings plan.

21Shares and other crypto asset firms have been working to integrate digital assets into the traditional finance sphere. Bitcoin ETPs have proven to be a popular option for investors seeking alternative exposure to cryptocurrencies.

Back in 2019, 21Shares became the first crypto issuer to list a fully fully collateralized Bitcoin ETP on German exchanges. Just last month, the company teamed up with asset manager Ark Invest to file for a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund in the United States.

Related: Investment product issuer 21Shares will list Bitcoin ETP on Aquis Exchange

Although the United States Securities and Exchange Commission has yet to approve a Bitcoin ETF, regulators could begin softening their stance over the next few years, according to Todd Rosenbluth. The head of ETF and mutual fund research believes a U.S. Bitcoin ETF could be approved by 2023.


Cointelegraph By Sam Bourgi

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