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Crypto Analysis

Altcoins Drop After Week of Gains, Bitcoin Stable Near $6,500

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After a week of massive gains for multiple altcoins, the market surge has now cooled off and many are trading down over 2%. Just as the market surge was led primarily by Ripple (XRP) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH), they have also been the worst affected by today’s drop.

At the time of writing, Bitcoin is trading just below $6,500 at its current price of $6,460. Although it fell slightly (just over 1%) from yesterday’s levels, it is still firmly in the middle of its long-established trading range between $6,200 and $6,700.

Investors should note that BTC’s proven level of support is in the $6,200 region, as its price has bounced multiple times when bears push it into the bottom of its trading range. Its resistance point that bulls must break decisively in order for further highs to be discussed is likely in the $6,700 region, as that is where BTC has historically been rejected while trading in the aforementioned range.

Altcoins Trading Down After Weeks of Bullish Volatility

During Bitcoin’s long period of sideways trading, altcoins have seen some decent levels of volatility, mainly being led by XRP and BCH.

Over the past week, these two cryptocurrencies have been the best performers, trading up 11% and 40% respectively from their weekly lows. Despite having a good week, they have also been today’s worst performers, with XRP trading down nearly 6% on the day, and BCH trading down 4.5% in 24 hours.

XRP’s recent price rise has likely been the result of a new round of swirling Coinbase listing rumors, which, although largely baseless, typically arise during periods of high buying activity.

Bitcoin Cash’s meteoric rise has been the result of its upcoming hard fork event, which is scheduled to occur on November 15th. This event will reward BCH holders with free tokens, which is the main factor behind its massive price rise.

Recently, cryptocurrency exchange Poloniex announced that they would be adding support for pre-fork trading ahead of the Bitcoin Cash hard fork.

In an announcement, the exchange explained that:

“Starting today, Poloniex is offering customers the option to trade two tokens at the center of the debate about the pending Bitcoin Cash (BCH) hard fork: Bitcoin Cash ABC (BCHABC) and Bitcoin Cash SV (BCHSV).”

They further noted that this is the first time they have ever added support for pre-fork trading, and that the new feature is being implemented in an effort to stay innovative.

Related Reading: Binance Announces Support of Upcoming Bitcoin Cash Hard Fork

Analyst Explains That Multiple Altcoins Have Reversed Downtrends 

Despite seeing a pullback today, one prominent analyst explained that many altcoins have actually reversed their downtrends that have been in place since earlier this year.

“After pullbacks to the lower end of narrow trading ranges last week, a growing number of ALTs [altcoins] bounced back to reverse downtrends that have been in place since the April-May highs and in some cases since the beginning of 2018,” Robert Sluymer, a technical strategist at Fundstrat Global Advisors, explained while speaking to MarketWatch.

Over the next few days, it will become increasingly clear whether or not the recent volatility was simply a temporary movement, or if it signals a larger end-of-year trend.

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Crypto Analysis

Twitter on the Defensive, Blames Third-Party App for Recent Scams

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Twitter is pointing the finger at an unnamed third-party app as the party responsible for a string of cryptocurrency giveaway scams in recent weeks involving some major brands.

Throughout the year, the popular social media platform Twitter has been in a losing battle against a massive botnet and cybercriminals who are hijacking prominent, verified accounts and using them to steal cryptocurrencies from their user base. 

Despite the problem being a lingering one, in recent weeks, the frequency of the scheme had appeared to escalate significantly, hitting a total of four big name brands and resulting in thousands of dollars in stolen cryptocurrency.

The scammers first targeted a British fashion brand and the United Kingdom arm of a French film studio, and shortly after set their sights on U.S. retail giant Target, and search engine powerhouse Google, via their G Suite brand account. The accounts were used to tweet promoting a cryptocurrency giveaway scam, and the tweets were promoted via the platforms paid advertising system. 

Over $185,000 in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum were stolen from Twitter users as a result.

Shortly after Target was hacked, Twitter claimed it had implemented some security measures aimed at preventing the frequency of the scheme that have long been plaguing the social media platform. Not even hours later, Google’s G Suite account was hacked, suggesting more might be at play.

Related Reading | Bitcoin Beats Twitter: Square Market Cap Reaches $30 Billion

Target had initially apologized to its audience after the retailer’s “Twitter account was inappropriately accessed,” but after blamed it on a third-party app.

Now, Twitter itself is pointing the finger at an unnamed third-party app as the backdoor hackers used to post the tweets promoting the crypto giveaway scam. A spokesperson for Twitter confirmed to Hard Fork that it was a third-party marketing app that was hijacked and used to promote the scam.

Twitter itself was tight-lipped over which app might have been responsible. Major brands often use third-party marketing software, apps, or platforms to help them in their marketing efforts to better reach their target audiences, allow for the scheduling of posts, and to allow for better tracking metrics than what is traditionally offered from platforms like Twitter and Facebook. 

Such examples of social media marketing apps would be Hootsuite, or Buffer.

The social media giant has been on the defensive for much of 2018, and the cryptocurrency scam has taken advantage of thousands of eager investors seeking to make a quick buck.

The issue has become so widespread, that celebrities and cryptocurrency industry icons have begun voicing their concerns, calling for action, and are even adding phrases like “not giving away crypto” to their usernames in an attempt to warn users.

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Crypto Analysis

Oxfam Officially Launches Blockchain-Based Program That Empowers Farmers

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Oxfam has officially launched their blockchain-based program, called BlocRice, that is aimed at giving farmers significantly more negotiation power and to increase the efficiency of the supply chain by connecting buyers and suppliers directly through their system.

The new program, which has undergone successful trials in Cambodia, has a primary goal of increasing revenues for farmers, who can be severely underpaid, by allowing them to form agricultural cooperatives that operate similarly to labor unions, that ensure that agriculture product prices rise across the board.

Solinn Lim, the country director of Oxfam in Cambodia, spoke about the launch of the BlocRice initiative, explaining that it will promote the use of smart contracts between organic rice farmers and exporters in Cambodia, and buyers in the Netherlands.

“BlocRice promotes the use of such digital contracts as tools for social and economic empowerment. The application of blockchain technology is expected to enhance the negotiation power of small-scale farmers in their rice value chains, who are usually poor primary producers,” Lim explained.

The use of blockchain-based smart contracts will be cohesive between all the parties in the supply chain, and Oxfam has already negotiated and facilitated the use of these products between rice farmers in Cambodia’s Preah Vihear province, exporters in Cambodia, and SanoRice, the Dutch rice cracker manufacturer.

Lim added that all the information regarding the sourcing, transportation, and use of the rice, will be shared through a central, blockchain-based, system that will allow for a more cohesive and transparent relationship between all involved parties.

“BlocRice promotes the use of such digital contracts as tools for social and economic empowerment. The application of blockchain technology is expected to enhance the negotiation power of small-scale farmers in their rice value chains, who are usually poor primary producers,” she explained.

Furthermore, BlocRice’s modernization of the rice ecosystem will also introduce cashless payments to farmers, many of which previously did not have bank accounts, using accounts provided by Acleda bank.

Related Reading: Oxfam to Empower Cambodian Rice Farmers with Blockchain

The Positive Benefits of Blockchain on Humanity

Oxfam’s latest initiative provides a perfect example of how blockchain technology can enhance lives by empowering individuals and rebalancing power-relationships between parties participating in business relationships, including trade.

Song Saran, the CEO of Amru Rice, one of the companies that will be participating in BlocRice as an exporter, spoke about the positive impacts of the initiative, saying that it will “increase transparency, traceability, fairness and trust in the supply chain by and enhance the livelihoods of farmers.”

Saran further added that although the BlocRice initiative will initially be exclusive to rise products, the same system and concept could easily be applied to other products and even other industries, adding that if it’s successful, it could be expanded to all of the communities currently exporting through Amru Rice.

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SEC Orders Airfox and Paragon to Return Millions to Investors on ICO Registration Violations

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The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has settled charges against two cryptocurrency companies which were accused of violating ICO securities offering registration rules.

Both firms, Carrier EQ (Airfox) and Paragon Coin sold digital tokens in ICOs in 2017 after the regulator’s official stance on the ICO. Some crypto fundraisers can be considered securities offerings, according to its DAO Report of Investigation.

Airfox and Paragon Settle Charges with SEC for ICO Registration Violations, $250 in Penalties

As part of the settlement, both cryptocurrency companies will return funds to harmed investors, register the tokens as securities, file periodic reports with the Commission, and pay $250,000 in penalties.

Neither one has admitted or denied the findings made by the SEC, but they have consented to the orders.

Carrier EQ (Airfox), a firm which facilitates the transfer of mobile airtime, data and currency, as well as payments for goods and services, raised $15 million from selling over a million AirTokens on October 2017.

The company had closed its $6.5 million ICO pre-sale weeks earlier than scheduled. The Boston-based blockchain company intended to use the money to develop a micro-loans program and expand abroad to emerging markets.

Paragon Coin, which focuses its blockchain platform on the cannabis industry, raised approximately $12 million worth of digital assets to work toward legalization of cannabis and implement its business plan.

Related Reading: Crypto Week in Review: SEC Fines EtherDelta, Binance to Attract Institutions

The funds would be used to make supply chains more efficient and manageable, increase transparency regarding the origin of seeds and produces, as well as allowing payments between different parties.

These are the Commission’s first cases imposing civil penalties solely for ICO securities offering registration violations. Airfox and Paragon Coin failed to register their crypto fundraisers pursuant to the federal securities laws nor did they qualify for an exemption to the registration requirements, Stephanie Avakian, co-director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division, said in a statement.

“We have made it clear that companies that issue securities through ICOs are required to comply with existing statutes and rules governing the registration of securities. These cases tell those who are considering taking similar actions that we continue to be on the lookout for violations of the federal securities laws with respect to digital assets.”

Munchee was the Commission’s first non-fraud ICO registration case. The visual review and social networking app for food failed to register with the financial watchdog, but stopped its offering before delivering any tokens and promptly returned proceeds to investors.

The company was seeking to raise up to $15 million from thousands of investors ‎to develop an iPhone app for restaurant meal reviews. The SEC did not impose a penalty or include undertakings from Munchee.

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