What’s happening with the price of bitcoin?

Yesterday bitcoin was just over $7,000 and as I sat down to write today, it was over $8,000. Indeed, the altcoins like ETH, LTC and XRP had also risen significantly overnight. It’s remarkable to think that it is not that many weeks since bitcoin’s price was under $4,000 and now it has doubled.

It’s because of Facebook

The question everyone always wants the answer to is, “What is making bitcoin’s price surge like this?” Billy Bambrough attributes it in part to Facebook ramping up its plans for a token to rival bitcoin. He reported in one of his articles that Spencer Bogart, a partner at venture capital firm Blockchain Capital, said that Facebook’s plans had “lit a fire in the pants of every major [financial technology] and financial institution in the U.S.” Bogart also believes that Facebook’s move into the crypto arena “will be a catalyst for mainstream bitcoin and cryptocurrency adoption around the world, spurring other financial and technology companies to get into bitcoin and crypto.”

Relative strength index is up

Bambrough also says in another article: “Bitcoin’s relative strength index (RSI), used to identify the momentum behind asset prices, this week registered its highest value since the beginning of 2018 — shortly after bitcoin hit its all-time highs.”

What we have seen since bitcoin hit its massive high of $20,000 in December 2017, has been a lot of discontent with the crypto market and a stalling of adoption by major retailers. Still, the leading cryptocurrency always has its stalwart supporters, such as Mike Novogratz and other bitcoin bulls. Their price predictions, while not yet achieved, look a little more likely to happen than they did only a couple of months ago.

Bitcoin follows a pattern

Indeed, analysts from investment bank Canaccord Genuity said they expect bitcoin to rally hard over the next 24 months, potentially returning to its late 2017 highs. They believe that next year’s halving of bitcoin, which reduces the return to miners by 50%, could be one of the reasons that bitcoin’s price keeps pushing higher.

Canaccord’s analysts also noted that what we are seeing right now is “the striking similarity in bitcoin’s price action between 2011–2015 and 2015–2019.” What they are pointing to here is that bitcoin appears to have a four-year cycle, which is related to its halving that also happens in that same time period. They also predict that there may be “a slow climb back toward its all-time high of ~$20,000, theoretically reaching that level in March 2021.”

And there is one other thing happening at the moment that could be benefiting bitcoin’s price, and that is the US-China trade war over tariffs. While the digital assets market is soaring, the stock markets are falling, especially after China announced tariffs on American goods in a tit-for-tat reaction to Trump’s tariffs on Chinese products.

As ever, it is a combination of things that is contributing to the surge in bitcoin’s price, but it is hard to say which one of them is having the greatest effect.

Shining A Light On XRP Giveaway Scams

If you follow the money you’ll inevitably find people who want to steal it. Scammers have been targeting owners of XRP, Ripple’s native token, and this has been increasing since December 2018, according to Thomas Silkjaerwriting for Forbes.

What is a giveaway scam?

The term ‘giveaway scam’ is yet another new term to enter the crypto lexicon. Simply put, the term covers attempts to defraud people by convincing them that if they send funds to a project they will get more back than they put in, typically via an ‘airdrop’. The scammers usually impersonate the customer support element of exchanges or other websites, but more dangerously, they put up fake profiles on social media channels, such as Twitter, Facebook and Telegram, the latter being the preferred channel for crypto-related projects and especially ICOs. Vitalik Buterin, the Ethereum founder, has been very outspoken about these scams, and not least because his name has frequently been used by scammers to set up fake accounts.

How to report fake accounts

There is a way to report these fake accounts. Go to Bithomp and you can submit what you think is the “scam/fraud XRPL account”. Bithomp then investigates the accounts and if they find that they are fraudulent, they “add a warning to their block explorer service and expose the addresses via an API.”

How many XRP giveaway scams are there?

Silkjaer looked into the XRP ledger to see just how many ‘bad actors’ have been involved in this activity. He identified around 150 accounts connected to scammers or potential scammers. The number of payments received totalled 1,830 and the amount received 2.8 million XRP. He believes that there are just two major scam groups involved in giveaway scams, because “some payment destination tags have multiple relations, meaning that the same destination tag has been used by more than one account.”

A bit of advice

So, here is the standard advice if you believe that you may be being targeted by XRP scammers: If the offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t send funds to an unknown address, or at least be cautious.

Why Coinbase listing didn’t boost XRP price

There was a general feeling that when Coinbase announced it was listing XRP on its Coinbase Pro platform there would be a corresponding leap in the value of Ripple’s native token. There was some movement on the day of the announcement (25th February) with XRP shooting up by 10% in value, but that is about as exciting as it got.

Furthermore, when Coinbase then announced on 28th February that it was adding XRP to Coinbase.com, as well as the exchanges’s Android and iOS apps, the response was flat.

The analysts’ analysis

While crypto consumers might be somewhat surprised by this lack of activity, analysts were less so. According to crypto expert Charles Bovaird, writing at Forbes, several analysts were of the opinion that they had never expected anything else. Jeff Dorman, cofounder and head portfolio manager at Arca Funds told Bovaird: “I’m not surprised by the lack of price action for XRP. First, XRP has been plagued by negative press this year and as a result, the token has been lagging the broader market all year.”

Dorman also explained that the 10% rally on the 25th February had amounted to much more, because “those gains were quickly erased when the people who bought before the news sold into those buying after the news.”

Marouane Garcon, managing director of crypto-to-crypto derivatives platform Amulet, shares Dorman’s view. “I can’t say that I’m surprised by the lack of movement. Throughout this entire bear market news and public developments haven’t been able to spark any sort of uptrend.”

However, Garcon did explain what he thought would move XRP’s price — adoption. He said, “In XRP’s case, I think banks utilizing XRP in their daily operations is what’s going to move their market.”

Big announcements don’t always bear fruit for XRP

Joe DiPasquale, CEO of cryptocurrency fund of hedge funds BitBull Capital also claims that he and others have noticed something ‘interesting’ about XRP’s price movements: “We’ve noticed the market anticipate many of Ripple’s moves, resulting in what might seem as counter-intuitive pricing over major events,” he told Bovaird, adding, “For example, during both of their last two conferences, where they announced major business development deals, the price of the XRP token dropped.”

The crypto ecosystem is the ultimate decider

All the analysts seem to agree on another viewpoint, “the different digital currencies that make up the broader market tend to move in tandem.”

So, the reason Coinbase didn’t move XRP’s price upwards as much as might have been expected is down to Ripple also being subject to the waves within the larger crypto pricing ecosystem, and these don’t always work in harmony with big announcements.

Is Google making the blockchain searchable?

I came across an interesting article on Forbes the other day by Michael del Castillo. He tells a story about data scientist Allen Day, a former Google employee, who while looking at some of the tools he developed there, saw something puzzling. What he saw was “a mysterious concerted usage of artificial intelligence on the blockchain for Ethereum.”

Day was able to look into its blockchain and see a “whole bunch” of “autonomous agents” moving funds around “in an automated fashion.” Although Day has no idea who created the AI, he suspects “they could be the agents of cryptocurrency exchanges trading among themselves in order to artificially inflate ether’s price.”

Day also remarked that he didn’t believe this was the work of a single exchange, but is rather a group effort. Part of Day’s job is anticipating demand for a product before it even exists, and in the light of what he has seen, he believes that making the blockchain more accessible is the next big thing.

Let’s not forget that Google made the Internet more usable, bringing it billions in revenue, and if Day is correct in his predictions it could have another major pay day by making the blockchain searchable. Del Castillo says if it does, “the world will know whether blockchain’s real usage is living up to its hype.”

Day has already been working on this with a team of open-source developers, who have been loading data for bitcoin and ethereum blockchains into Google’s big data analytics platform called BigQuery. And, with the help of lead developer Evgeny Medvedev, he created a suite of sophisticated software to search the data.

Day is hoping that his project, known as Blockchain ETL (extract, transform, load) will bring Google’s revenues from cloud computing services up to the level of Amazon and Microsoft. Google is some way behind both of them, but it will struggle to match Amazon’s revenues of $27 billion from cloud services, because Amazon has been in the blockchain game since 2018 with a suite of tools for building and managing distributed ledgers. And Microsoft got into the space in 2015, when it released tools for ethereum’s blockchain. These two companies are focused on making it easier to build blockchain apps, whereas Day wants to reveal how blockchains are actually being used, and by whom.

Day has been demonstrating how his Blockchain ETL could function by examining the hard fork that created bitcoin cash (BCH) from bitcoin. “I’m very interested to quantify what’s happening so that we can see where the legitimate use cases are for blockchain,” Day says. “Then we can move to the next use case and develop out what these technologies are really appropriate for.”

Day is now expanding beyond bitcoin and ethereum. Litecoin, zcash, dash, bitcoin cash, ethereum classic and dogecoin are being added to BigQuery.

It seems Google is waking up to blockchain and is now powering ahead by filing numerous patents related to the blockchain. The company is also encouraging its developers to build apps on the ethereum blockchain, and GV, Google’s investment division has made some investments in crypto-related startups.