Is 10.5k the Bitcoin resistance point?

If you’re a Bitcoin (BTC) owner, you may have been disappointed to see it fail to stay across the $12,000 mark, and it has dropped to hover between $10,000 and $10,500 during the past week.

As Charles Bovaird says in one of his most recent posts about the Bitcoin price, “In this time, the digital currency has failed to reach $10,500, and while it has fallen below $10,000, it has failed to stay below this level for long.”

So, what does Bovaird make of what is happening, and I should say that I follow his analysis of this market, because it has always proved to offer balanced information.

What Bovaird asks is this: is BTC encountering “significant resistance” at $10,500?

According to those he interviewed, the answer to that is yes. Why is it happening?

In the opinion of Kiana Danial, CEO of Invest Diva, “Bitcoin has found a short-term resistance at $10,500 which has acted as resistance multiple times in the past, including in June 2020, February 2020, and a number of times in 2019.” She also adds, “A break above $10,500 could open doors for further gains towards $11,150, while a break below $10,000 (the lower band of the current range) could lead to a revisit of the lows of back in July at around $9,300.”

John Todaro at TradeBlock is of a similar opinion. “Yes, we are facing resistance at $10,500,” he stated, adding, “$12,000 has proven to be a difficult ceiling to break through.”

Joe DiPasquale, CEO of cryptocurrency hedge fund BitBull, commented, “Bitcoin is consolidating in this range for now with support at $10K and resistance at $10.5K.” 

He also says, that if BTC doesn’t fall beneath $10,000, then we may see a retest of $10.5k. But if it does fall, to say $9,800, then we’re likely to see $9.5k shortly after.

But not all agree that BTC is facing resistance at $10,500. Marouane Garcon, MD of crypto-to-crypto derivatives platform Amulet, said, “I would say that $10,000, which was a level of resistance, is now the support and in this obvious accumulation phase, we’re testing that support level.”

Do you have any thoughts about what might happen to the price of Bitcoin in the next few months, and what events might affect it to raise the price, or cause it to fall?

Why you should be careful about the cable you use to charge your iPhone

If your home, or your office, is anything like mine, you’ll know that it’s not unusual for family members and colleagues to borrow charging cables for their phone. This information relates specifically to iPhones.

Zak Doffman writes: “How do you fancy an iPhone charging cable that looks like an Apple original and acts like one as well, but which will tap into a connected device and steal all its secrets, and which has its own radio transmitter to send all that stolen data over the air to a waiting attacker.” Did you ever think that could happen?

Last year the early version of the O.MG cable caused a stir at Def Con. It’s an iPhone Lightning cable that has been configured to enable remote, malicious access to a computer. It looks and works like an original Apple USB cable, but when the O.MG cable is used to connect a phone to a Mac, it enables an attacker to mount a wireless hijack of the computer.

According to its developer, Mike Grover (the MG in O.MG) in the past you could tell the difference between his cable and an original Apple model, but that is not the case now. He has been working on it over the last year and told Doffman that the result has been “a game-changing improvement to replicate the Apple original.”

As Doffman points out, this is not a major threat to us iPhone users, but it has the potential to be a problem. For example, Doffman says, “If you plug it into your Mac, it will access your computer and log your keystrokes.” It could also drop malware into your devices: “In short, you’re compromised—an attack vector usually consigned to the dark web is now openly for sale online,” Doffman states.

It is unlikely that those of us who swap cables with our kids or colleagues will be affected. But imagine that you work in a government service, the military or you’re a trade negotiator, and you travel frequently, staying in numerous hotels and waiting at airports, then you may be more at risk.

It is easy for criminal to target such iPhone users. In a 2019 article Doffman highlighted the dangers of using public USB charging points, because there is a risk that those USB sockets carry data as they deliver power: “criminals load malware onto charging stations or cables they leave plugged in.”

On the other hand Grover has had positive feedback about the O.MG cable. He said: “I have received countless stories from people who tell us that the O.MG Cable has become one of the most powerful tools for delivering security training, many aspiring hackers tell us how fast the UI is for rapid payload development. And that really makes it worth the effort we put into continually improving our work.” So, let’s be clear, Grover is not the bad guy here. His invention is meant to be a help and his focus is on logging the credentials as they’re entered into the computer—both username and password, enabling a payload to be pushed across.

However, as Grover and Doffman report, “once you open up the world of mass-produced replicas, you can start to play with power adapters and other cables, and you can shift the focus from key logging to infection, and from computers to smart devices.”

As cyber threats grow, it’s time to think more seriously about how we connect our devices and what we use to do that, wherever we are.

PayPal targets fintech

PayPal is getting into point-of-sale financing. This is a tool that allows you to pay for an item in instalments rather than putting it on your credit card. It has been growing in popularity, and the pandemic has driven its use to rise even more steeply.

Two companies, namely Afterpay (Australia) and Affirm (USA) have been thriving in this sector. For example, Afterpay, whose entire business is staked on the scheme, has sailed from a market valuation of $1 billion in 2018 to $18 billion today, and Affirm is planning an IPO that could fetch $10 billion.

Now PayPal is squeezing itself into the space with its new ‘Pay in 4’ product. This will allow you to pay for any items that cost between $30 and $600 in four instalments over six weeks.

It promises to be slightly less expensive to use than the other two companies mentioned. It won’t charge interest to the consumer or an additional fee to the retailer, but if you’re late on a payment, you’ll pay a fee of up to $10. 

It’s OK for PayPal to do this, because it already has a highly profitable payments network it can leverage. As Jeff Kauflin says, “Eighty percent of the top 100 retailers in the U.S. let customers pay with PayPal, and nearly 70% of U.S. online buyers have PayPal accounts.” Not to mention the fact that as Covid-19 made online purchases skyrocket, it saw record revenues of $5.3 billion and profits of $1.5 billion. Its stock has rocketed in value, adding $95 billion of market value over the past six months, and Lisa Ellis, an analyst at MoffettNathanson, told Kauflin, “PayPal can grow 18-19% before it gets out of bed in the morning.” 

Why move into point of sale financing?

Data from both Afterpay and PayPal shows that consumers spend more money—sometimes 20% more—when they’re offered point of sale financing options. Therefore, when PayPal launches Pay in 4 this autumn it can expect to see transactions rise. It earns 2.9% on each transaction, so its fee revenues will receive a boost as well.

Kauflin makes a good observation: “With Pay in 4, PayPal’s renewed push into lending is an indication the company is getting more aggressive in a volatile economy where many consumers have fared better than expected so far.” Furthermore, PayPal will house these new loans on its own balance sheet. As its senior vice president Doug Bland says, “We’re incredibly comfortable in managing the credit risk of this.” That is indubitably true.

Covid-19 sparks the tech trends of 2021

This year, 2020, has been such a disaster that looking forward to 2021 is our only option. Of course, while making predictions used to be a fairly safe occupation, now it feels slightly dangerous. Furthermore, as Bernard Marr reminds us in Forbes, “tech has been affected just as much as every other part of our lives.”

It is also true that tech promises to play a major role in adapting to whatever the future may now look like. As Marr says: “From the shift to working from home to new rules about how we meet and interact in public spaces, tech trends will be the driving force in managing the change.”

You would be correct in thinking that Covid-19 has accelerated tech advances that were already in the pipeline, due to our increasingly digital lifestyle. Now they will happen quicker, because necessity is driving the change.

In Marr’s latest book, Tech Trends in Practice, he has identified some of the things we may see in 2021, many of which will support the recovery from the effects of the pandemic on almost every part of our lives.

He identifies Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a leading tech trend. In 2021 “it will become an even more valuable tool for helping us to interpret and understand the world around us.” We have seen an unprecedented amount of data collected around Covid, and machine-learning algorithms “will become better informed and increasingly sophisticated in the solutions they uncover for us.” Some of the AI tools Marr envisages include “ computer vision systems monitoring the capacity of public areas to analyzing the interactions uncovered through contact tracing initiatives, self-learning algorithms will spot connections and insights that would go unnoticed by manual human analysis.”

The provision of services that we need to live and work through cloud-based, on-demand platforms, known as ‘as a service’ providers are also key. Just look at how quickly Zoom entered our personal and business lives during the last few months.

5G is another key tool, and not just so you can download films faster. 5G will support services relying on advanced technologies, such as augmented reality and virtual reality (discussed below) as well as cloud-based gaming platforms, and it will likely make cable and fibre-based networks redundant.

Extended reality, virtual and augmented reality that uses glasses or headsets to project computer-generated imagery directly into the user’s field of vision is growing. Emergency services have already been using it for training during Covid, as real-life training situations for firefighters and police were not feasible. We may also see it used more in medical diagnostics, as face-to-face consultations decrease.

There will be many more tech advances as we grapple with an uncertain future. The aim is to make everyday activities safer for everyone, and to allow business to continue as we negotiate our way through a new environment.