bookmark_borderDogecoin hasn’t always been a ‘fun meme coin’

Did you know that Dogecoin used to sponsor a NASCAR driver? Learn some unbelievable stories behind Elon Musk’s “favorite” cryptocurrency.

Dogecoin (DOGE) might look like a fun meme coin, particularly as its price has absolutely skyrocketed in 2021.

But behind the innocent Shiba Inu dog cartoon are some horrific stories. Those buying the cryptocurrency due to shilling and jokes from Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, most likely have no idea of DOGE’s early days.

DOGE/USD 1-day candle chart (HitBTC). Source: Tradingview

The early days

Introduced by software engineers Billy Markus and Jackson Palmer in December 2013, Dogecoin’s protocol followed Luckycoin and Litecoin (LTC) proof-of-work algorithm using Scrypt technology.

It all started back on Christmas day, 2013, when Dogewallet announced that its webpage had been compromised, causing users to send funds to the hacker’s address. The $12,000 worth of users’ coins lost was fully reimbursed by Dogecoin Foundation Board Member Ben Doernberg, which included community-funded donations.

How many times have you heard about altcoins or startups focusing on social network micropayments using cryptocurrency? Inspired by the Bitcointip project, which had been going on for over a year, the Dogetipbot service was launched, enabling automatic DOGE tipping on Reddit, Twitch and Twitter.

Unfortunately, Dogetipbot’s creator cashed out the entire stash in 2015, which later led to the service’s bankruptcy in May 2017.

The spectacular rise and fall of Dogecoin’s early days. Source: CoinMarketCap

Much sponsorships, such exit scams

Adding to Dogecoin’s unorthodox origins, there’s the “Wolong” tale, an active pseudonym on IRC and Reddit trading groups back then. By taking advantage of the Jamaican’s bobsled team sponsorship announcement, this trader supposedly coordinated whales to pump DOGE by 600% in Jan. 2014.

A well-documented piece attributed to this person circulates on the web, describing every move behind those coordinated pump efforts. More interestingly, the mentioned public and private discussion groups are eerily similar to the recent r/SatoshiBets actions behind the more recent 2021’s Dogecoin 980% pump.

DOGE/USD price July 2014- April 2015 (HitBTC). Source: Tradingview

Lastly, in October 2014, the Moolah altcoin exchange announced it was shutting down and filing for bankruptcy protection, marking another strong price correction as seen in the chart above.

Among the investors who were victimized are Dan Wasyluk and his colleagues, losing a total of 750 BTC. Back then, not so many exchanges listed DOGE. Thus, Moolah did provide some vital infrastructure to the online community at the time.

To sum up, Moolah’s founder “Alex Green,” managed the campaign for a NASCAR driver sponsorship, in addition to financing numerous Dogecoin meetups and Twitter promotions.

Yes, it really happened, a Dogecoin-sponsored racing car. Source: Reddit

Eventually, people found out that “Alex Green” was an alias used by Ryan Kennedy, who was sentenced to 11 years jail time for multiple crimes, including rape.

Despite its early dark days that were filled with pump and dump exit scams, however, Dogecoin appears to have found its niche in the cryptocurrency space and with a strong online community. Its Reddit subforum, for instance, has over one million subscribers today.

Therefore, Dogecoin’s volatile beginnings will likely be forgotten. Nevertheless, DOGE certainly has a long history of people using it to pump and dump their bags way before Elon Musk likely even knew about his favorite meme-inspired cryptocurrency.

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.

bookmark_borderTransparent stablecoins? Conclusion of Tether vs. NYAG raises new questions

Though the Tether settlement may help bring in more transparency, experts believe that state-centric bans may not be the way out.

A long-standing legal drama finally found resolution on Feb. 23, with the New York Attorney General’s office announcing that it had come to a settlement with cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex after a 22-month inquiry into whether the company had been trying to cover up its losses — touted to be worth $850 million — by misrepresenting the degree to which its Tether (USDT) reserves were backed by fiat collateral.

According to the terms of the announced settlement, which now marks an end to the inquiry that was initiated by the NYAG back in Q1 2019, Bitfinex and Tether will pay the government body a fixed sum of $18.5 million but will not be required to admit to any wrongdoing. That being said, the settlement clearly states that henceforth, Bitfinex and Tether can no longer service customers in the state of New York.

Furthermore, over the course of the next 24 months, Bitfinex and Tether will be required to provide the NYAG with quarterly reports of their current reserve status and duly account for any transactions taking place between the two companies. Not only that, but the firms will also be required to provide public reports for the specific composition of their cash and non-cash reserves.

On the subject, NY Attorney General Letitia James said that both Bitfinex and Tether had covered up their losses and deceived their customers by overstating their reserves. When asked about this most recent development, Stuart Hoegner, general counsel at Tether, replied to Cointelegraph with a non-committal answer, stating:

“We are pleased to have reached a settlement of legal proceedings with the New York Attorney General’s Office and to have put this matter behind us. We look forward to continuing to lead our industry and serve our customers.”

Does a New York exclusive ban even make sense?

To gain a better legal perspective of the situation, Cointelegraph spoke with Josh Lawler, partner at Zuber Lawler — a law firm with expertise in crypto and blockchain technology. In his view, the lawsuit, and particularly the nature of the settlement in which Tether and Bitfinex agreed to cease actions, underscore the confusion inherent in the regulation of digital assets in the United States.

Additionally, the agreement by Bitfinex and Tether to prohibit the use of its products and services by New York persons and entities seems on paper to be nearly impossible to accomplish, with Lawler opining:

“Are they saying that no one with a New York nexus can own or trade Tether? Tether is traded on virtually every cryptocurrency exchange in existence. Even if Tether could restrict the use of Tether tokens by New Yorkers, is that really a good idea? Do we now have a world in which every state can pick off particular distributed ledger projects from functioning within their jurisdiction?”

Lastly, even though the deal between Bitfinex/Tether and the NYAG has come in the form of a settlement — i.e., it is not subject to an appeal or federal scrutiny under the commerce clause — state-centric bans may further add to the existing regulatory uncertainty.

Added transparency is always a good thing

With regulators now asking Tether and Bitfinex to be more forthcoming about their monetary dealings and issuing an arguably small fine on them, it seems as though an increasing number of firms dealing with USDT will now have to pull up their socks and get their account books in order. Joel Edgerton, chief operating officer for cryptocurrency exchange bitFlyer USA, told Cointelegraph:

“The key point in this settlement is not the elimination of the lawsuit, but the increased commitment to transparency. The risk from USDT still exists, but increased transparency should cement its lead in transaction volumes.”

In a somewhat similar vein, Tim Byun, global government relations officer at OK Group — the parent company behind cryptocurrency exchange OKCoin — believes that the settlement can be looked at as a win-win scenario not only for NY OAG and Tether/Bitfinex but also for the cryptocurrency industry as a whole, alluding to the fact that that the 17-page settlement revealed no mention of Bitcoin (BTC) being manipulated via the use of USDT.

Lastly, Sam Bankman-Fried, chief executive officer for cryptocurrency exchange FTX, also believes that the settlement, by and large, has been a good development for the industry, especially from a transparency perspective, adding:

“Like many settlements, this one had a messy outcome, but the high-level takeaway here is that they found no evidence to support the heaviest accusations against Tether — no evidence of market manipulation or unbounded unbacked printing.”

Will scrutiny of stablecoins increase?

Even though stablecoins have been under the regulatory scanner for some time now — since they claimed to be pegged to various fiat assets in a 1-1 ratio — it stands to reason that added pressure from government agencies may be present when it comes to the transparency side of things from here on out.

Another line of thinking may be that governments all over the world will now look to curtail the use of stablecoins, such as USDT, especially as a number of central banks are coming around to the idea of creating their very own fiat-backed digital currencies. As a result, governments may want to push their citizens to use their centralized offerings instead of stablecoins.

Related: Many pieces of the Diem puzzle still missing as launch gets delayed

On the subject, Byun noted: “Stablecoin is just one type of cryptocurrency or ‘convertible virtual currency,’ and therefore, stablecoins and the stablecoin market will continue to attract scrutiny and mandated examinations from regulators.” That said, Byun believes that whether it’s Bitcoin, Ether (ETH) or Tether, crypto investors generally understand that investing in crypto remains a high-risk activity and that they “must practice caveat emptor” at all times.

Does Tether impact institutional adoption?

Another pertinent question worth exploring is whether or not the settlement may have an adverse impact on the institutional investment currently coming into this space. In Lawler’s opinion, the decision is not going to slow down adoption even in the slightest. “Institutions are not principally focused on Tether. There are other stable coins, and Bitfinex is all but irrelevant to them,” he added.

Similarly, it could even happen that the ongoing reporting requirements set by the NYAG for Bitfinex and Tether may end up bolstering institutional confidence in Tether — a sentiment that some of Tether’s most vocal and consistent critics also seem to agree with.

That being said, a lot of speculation around Tether’s fiat reserves continues to linger on; for example, Tether Ltd.’s finances are handled by Bahamas-based Deltec bank. In this regard, one anonymous report claimed that “from January 2020 to September 2020, the amount of all foreign currencies held by all domestic banks in the Bahamas increased by only $600 million,” up to $5.3 billion. Meanwhile, the total volume of issued USDT soared by a whopping $5.4 billion, up to around $10 billion.

As Tether states on its website USDT is covered by fiat and other assets, so such investigations cannot be conclusive. However, what both NYAG and the anonymous authors of the report agree upon is that Tether needs to be more forthcoming about its financial status. With that in mind, Tether’s commitment toward transparency and revealing its reserves to a regulator seems like a step in the right direction.

bookmark_borderBitcoin sell-off over? Strong ‘buy the dip’ signal flashes for the first time since September

Bitcoin is retesting a key support level at $44K-$45K for the third time in the past week.

The price of Bitcoin (BTC) has dropped to the key $44,000-$45,000 support level on Feb. 28 for the third time in the past week. The BTC/USD pair briefly dipped below $44,000 on Bitstamp before paring some of the losses, bouncing back above $45,000 at the time of writing. 

BTC/USD 1-hour candle chart (Bitstamp). Source: Tradingview

‘Full rest’ for SOPR, funding rates

Some analysts have pointed out an uptick in miners’ selling as the reason behind the latest drop in price. 

It’s a whale war, and you know who got the real power.

US Institutional Investors
– Coinbase Outflow = STRONG BUY
– Coinbase Premium = BUY

BTC Whales
– BTC Reserve = BUY
– Stablecoin Inflow TXs = BUY

Miners
– Miner Outflows = SELL
– Miner to Exchange Flows = SELL pic.twitter.com/fhVBp8qocm

— Ki Young Ju 주기영 (@ki_young_ju) February 28, 2021

Fortunately, the third retest of this key support level may have a silver lining for the bulls. Data analytics resource Glassnode noted that the daily Bitcoin Spent Output Profit Ratio (SOPR) has seen a full reset.

The SOPR essentially shows whether spent outputs are in profit or loss at the time of transaction. This key metric turned negative for the first time since September 2020. In other words, investors are now moving BTC at a slight loss on average, suggesting that profit-taking has abated, according to Glassnode. 

“In total, we saw an on-chain net realized loss of $243 million yesterday,” the analysts added.

“That is the lowest daily value since April 2020.”

Bitcoin funding rates. Source: Bybt.com

Meanwhile, popular trader Philip Swift, the co-founder of trading suite Decentrader and creator of the Golden Ratio multiplier method, also pointed out the SOPR crash. He considers this a potentially bullish turnaround for BTC price in combination with last week’s reset of derivatives funding rates, both of which have previously coincided with the start of new uptrends.  

“The SOPR has now reset (green on the chart) meaning that wallets selling are now selling at a loss,” he explained. He added:

“This is a strong ‘buy the dip’ signal in a bull market. This alongside derivative fundings having reset is bullish.”

BTC price vs. SOPR. Source: DecenTrader/Twitter @PositiveCrypto

The last time the SOPR flipped green was five months ago when Bitcoin was trading around $10,000. At the time, this was a key hurdle for BTC to trigger a new bull market. Since then, the price has surged more than five folds to the new all-time high of around $58,000. 

Nevertheless, many traders are showing caution at the market enter the month of March, which has historically been bearish for cryptocurrencies and all markets in general. 

“I think March may be slow with a lack of confidence in traditional markets but overall I am bullish Bitcoin and expect significantly higher over the next three months,” said Swift in private comments. 

$44K-$45K remains the key level to watch 

In the meantime, Bitcoin traders are keeping a close eye on the $44,000-$45,000 level. Trader Willy Woo, for instance, says the $45K level is very strong support and expects any dips below this level to be bought up aggressively should they occur. 

UTXO Realized Price Distribution. This is the on-chain, more precise version of volume profile. The peaks represent the price where most coins changed hands.

$45k upwards is very strong support.

Any dip (if you’re are lucky) into $39k is a no-brainer BTFD.

Data: @glassnode pic.twitter.com/Z4xbEr0jTv

— Willy Woo (@woonomic) February 27, 2021

Furthermore, researchers at on-chain analytics firm Santiment believe that the entire cryptocurrency market now depends on Bitcoin holding above this key level.

“It’s been a red weekend thus far, with most eyes on Bitcoin as it has rallied back vs. the climb altcoins were making,” they said, adding: 

Keep an eye on the $44k support level for BTC as an indication to monitor for all of crypto. As well as BTC’s on-chain activity. 

bookmark_borderProfessional traders need a global crypto sea, not hundreds of lakes

The cryptocurrency trading market is in its early stages, with regulations playing a key role in market fragmentation.

Coinbase’s IPO announcement has been hailed as “a milestone for the crypto industry” by Fortune Magazine. Similar to the Netscape IPO announcement that signaled the legitimacy of the internet, Coinbase’s impending public offering signals to the public at large that cryptocurrency trading is legitimate, legal and secure in the eyes of the Securities and Exchange Commission. And now, investors have an opportunity to own stock on the largest crypto trading platform in the United States.

As a result, many see an investment in Coinbase as an investment in the future of crypto trading. It is the highest volume U.S. crypto exchange, with three times the volume of its next closest U.S. competitor. The largest of anything in the U.S. must be the world leader. Except, it’s not. And conventional wisdom and current market realities are very far apart.

In order to understand the nuances of the crypto trading platform market, one must understand some important facts.

These are important implications that shape current market maturity and the problems institutional crypto traders face today. There is no single exchange that enables traders to access global trading markets, cross-border price discovery, global best prices, global liquidity or decentralized trading markets.

The crypto trading market is still highly fragmented with no dominant player

Together, the top five crypto exchanges represent only 41% of the total global trading volume. Coinbase, the largest exchange in the U.S., generates only 2.1% of global volume. The number one ranked exchange in the U.S. ranks only 19th globally. In the global market, there is no dominant player as we’d expect to see in a more mature market.

According to the data above, the New York Stock Exchange’s share of global equity trading is more than 12 times higher than Coinbase’s, and the top two U.S. equity exchanges account for over 50% of global daily trading volume, while the top two U.S. crypto exchanges represent only 3% of the global trading volume.

Compared to traditional stocks, the crypto market is also highly fragmented. The top two stock exchanges represent 51% of daily trading volume, while the top three crypto exchanges represent only 27% of daily trading volume.

No unified global trading market exists

The crypto trading market is still in its infancy. Based on my conversations with institutional traders and independent professional traders, I’ve learned that institutions are still clamoring for institutional-grade capabilities that are not yet available on a single platform, such as:

  • Global price discovery — e.g., prices from global markets normalized for local currency.
  • Global Best Bid and Offer — global order book, normalized for foreign exchange and fees in local currency.
  • Global liquidity access — access to global liquidity, not just that of one exchange.

Each exchange is its own trading “lake” with no “canal” connecting them. In the U.S., a trader can only trade with 2.1% of global users, with an order book that is completely separate and distinct from other U.S. trading markets — e.g., Coinbase and Kraken.

Global trading volume, liquidity and price discovery are available only to those who are able to manage multiple accounts across multiple exchanges in multiple countries and continents. It’s a tall order that ties up both legal and technical resources.

Clearly, traders would benefit from a single, global order book normalized in a single currency to discover the best global prices along with the liquidity required to execute large block trades. The industry sorely needs crypto’s equivalent of traditional securities’ National Best Bid and Offer.

Centralized exchanges are only part of the trading picture

Binance and Coinbase are centralized exchanges that match buyers’ orders with sellers’ orders, executing trades and settling accounts. Customers’ crypto assets are held in custody by an exchange, and users only trade with other users on the same exchange. Even in aggregate, centralized exchanges don’t capture the entirety of digital asset trading volume.

This is because decentralized exchanges are on the rise, enabling peer-to-peer trades (or swaps), in which assets are exchanged directly between traders, typically without Know Your Customer. At one point during 2020, Uniswap’s trading volume exceeded that of Coinbase’s. It’s possible that DEXs will gain an even footing with CEXs, so one cannot gain a full picture of the crypto trading market without taking DEXs into account.

The CEXs that figure out how to incorporate DEX price discovery and liquidity into their trading will have an important advantage.

Decentralized exchanges are growing but lack infrastructure to scale

Decentralized exchanges generate approximately 15% of the total crypto trading volume (based on CoinMarketCap data on Feb. 16, 2021). DEX trading has been growing fast, with Uniswap’s trading volume surpassing Coinbase’s in 2020 — a feat achieved with only 20 employees. Today, Venus is trending alongside Binance, which leads the market in 24-hour trading volume at the time of writing.

Professional traders may value DEXs for the security of wallet-to-wallet, or peer-to-peer, trades. However, there are two issues. First, without counterparty KYC, institutional traders cannot trade on DEXs. Second, the public chain technology supporting DEXs is slower and more expensive than exchange trading.

Institutional investors will need DEXs that are faster, with lower fees and robust KYC procedures. A DEX must be built on a faster, less expensive blockchain in order to attract institutional traders.

There are no true centralized exchanges — only brokers

Confusing matters even more, today’s crypto exchanges are more like regional brokers than true, global exchanges. For example, compare and contrast trading Apple (AAPL) on E-Trade versus trading Bitcoin (BTC) on Coinbase.

A professional trader in the U.S. seeking to trade BTC accesses only a small portion of the global market via Coinbase. Price discovery and liquidity are only by Coinbase’s BTC/USD order book. Over 97% of the world’s world’s supply, demand, price discovery and liquidity are only accessible via hundreds of other exchanges.

To sum up, selling Apple on E-Trade compared to selling Bitcoin on Coinbase:

  • E-Trade places orders on Nasdaq, which captures nearly 100% of AAPL spot trades.
  • Coinbase places orders on its own order book, which captures 2.1% of all global trades.

There is no truly global crypto trading market but rather hundreds of smaller, local markets. Imagine AAPL selling on 300+ different exchanges, each with its own buyers and sellers. This is the current state of the global crypto market.

The problems with this are twofold. First, trading on a CEX strips away many of the benefits of decentralized assets. Second, crypto trading is segregated into hundreds of discrete trading “lakes” — each with its own local fiat/crypto supply and demand.

Decentralization ensures no single entity can fully control a cryptocurrency. Users cede significant control when depositing in centralized exchanges that manage token listing privileges, custodianship, order matching and execution, and brokerage services.

This centralized power presents security and compliance hazards, which has led to market criticisms. In fact, Asia–Pacific traders have launched several coin withdrawal campaigns to show their resistance to CEX trading. The younger generation is averse to centralized power and daring to challenge it, as evidenced by the recent retail shorting war in the United States.

Centralized exchanges are also limited in their access to the global market and are severely limited. Why? Exchanges, such as Coinbase and Gemini, accept users from limited regions (the U.S. only) with limited fiat currency trading pairs (the United States dollar only) unlike E-Trade, which opens the doors for its traders to a multitude of exchanges, equities, exchange-traded funds and more. In contrast, CEXs close the doors to all others, severely limiting price discovery and liquidity, which leads to higher spreads, lower fill rates, higher slippage and, generally, inefficient markets. The concept of Best Bid and Offer does not yet exist in the crypto world, as the BBO on Coinbase is not the same as Gemini’s, Binance’s or Huobi’s.

Professional traders are underserved

From the perspective of professional traders, the market maturity and global trading capabilities required are not yet available. Cryptocurrency trading market segmentation is in its infancy, and the needs of professional traders are far from being met because: (1) they cannot efficiently access a global market; (2) they cannot access the best prices in a global market, and they cannot access institutional-grade liquidity.

Furthermore, DEX trading is not yet viable for institutional traders due to the lack of KYC during onboarding. Yet, the average Uniswap trader is far more active. Uniswap users are completely on-chain, open and transparent, and its 300,000 users trade more than Coinbase’s, which claims to have 35 million users. Therefore, an entire market of whales is trading outside of centralized exchanges, completely overturning the market misperception that Uniswap and DEX users are mainly retail investors.

No trading market exists that provides true global coverage, and retail and institutional traders cannot access a truly global market. And no trading market exists that provides institutional-grade DEX trading.

Asset digitization will drive growth

Industry consensus is that the continued digitization of assets is inevitable. Bitcoin and Ether (ETH) are blockchain-native tokens that constitute the main trading volume of the current cryptocurrency trading market. Yet the cryptocurrency market cap is less than half of Apple’s.

The stock market is almost negligible compared to the untapped digitized asset market. While the opportunity is large, it is also too early to predict the outcome.

Many exchanges expose traders to compliance risks

Some of the world’s leading exchanges allow trading in a large number of controversial tokens. Many exchanges’ Anti-Money Laundering regulations are not robust enough. Despite claiming to have licenses in some countries, it is hard to imagine the legitimate compliance of offering derivatives trading to users all over the world by using an exchange license in a single country. These compliance risks pose a serious challenge to the stability of the position of some exchanges, and not long ago, the market landscape for derivatives changed rapidly after BitMEX was indicted, resulting in a loss of users and a decline in trading volume.

Innovation in institutional-grade exchange technologies is not yet widely available. Volume rankings tell today’s story. Tomorrow’s story will be told by the trading markets that provide a true, global Best Bid and Offer price discovery, institutional access to DEX pricing and liquidity, and the ability to execute global trading strategies on a single platform.

This article does not contain investment advice or recommendations. Every investment and trading move involves risk, and readers should conduct their own research when making a decision.

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

Haohan Xu is CEO of Apifiny, a global liquidity and financial value transfer network. Prior to Apifiny, Haohan was an active investor in equities markets and a trader in digital asset markets. Haohan holds a Bachelor of Science in operations research with a minor in computer science from Columbia University.

bookmark_border数字资产管理机构 Blofin 获 1000 万美元 A+轮投资,SIG 领投

链闻消息,数字资产管理机构 Blofin CEO Matt Hu 表示,Blofin 在 A+轮融资中筹集了 1000 万美元,由 SIG 领投,Matrix、Lingfeng Capital、Superchain Capital、Jackdaw Capital 等机构跟投。Matt Hu 强调,本轮融资后 Blofin 将覆盖全球更多交易平台和机构,获取更多有效数据,优化投资模型。目前 Blofin 正在申请香港、新加坡等地数字资产管理牌照,未来将在更多国家和地区为专业投资者提供合规数字资产管理服务。

Blofin 是一家开曼(Cayman Island)数字资管机构,已建立量化数据库,覆盖全球 40+交易所实时数据和 200+全球量化团队数据。目前,Blofin 的海外机构客户资管规模达 1.2 亿美元,月均交易量突破 150 亿 USD。

原文链接:数字资产管理机构 Blofin 获 1000 万美元 A+轮投资,SIG 领投

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