The cryptocurrency market showed some signs of recovery with the beginning of the new week as total market cap added $14 billion to its value.
Bitcoin dropped 5 percent on December 13 and lost $188 of its value closing the trading day at $3,354, just between the September 2017 lows of $3,600 and $3,200. The BTC/USD pair declined even more on December 14, to $3,280, almost touching the suggested low at $3,200.
The U.S. based exchange Coinbase made another improvement to the service by allowing its U.S. customers to make free instant USD withdrawals to PayPal accounts. According to the company, the transfers are free and incur no fees unlike standard withdrawals to a U.S. bank account. What is more, Coinbase users can now begin trading cryptocurrencies directly with other cryptocurrencies. The crypto-to-crypto trading pairs were available to professional cryptocurrency trading services and are now also featured on platforms for retail customers under the name Convert.
Revolut, one of the most crypto-friendly banking alternatives, has received a European banking license. As announced on December 13, the UK-based company now has permission to begin offering European customers traditional banking services alongside its current suite of products. The services will launch in 2019 and customers in eligible jurisdictions will have the ability to sign up for direct deposit and receive deposit insurance on up to €100,000 through the European Deposit Insurance Scheme. Later, the firm will roll out overdraft protection, as well as traditional personal and business loans.
The most popular cryptocurrency was trading mostly in the $3,200-$3,350 range during the weekend of December 15-16 and gained $20 of value during that period. It closed the 7-day period with a 9.5 percent loss.
It was of significant importance for Bitcoin not to drop below $3,200 and stabilize above $3,500-3,600 level in the order set the ground for a short-term price recovery. Buyers were on the same page on December 17 and initiated a bull run, gaining more than 10 percent. BTC closed the day just above $3,600 and moved higher on the next day, to $3,630, completely erasing the losses from the past 7 days.
Hong Kong’s financial regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SFC) is planning to tighten regulations on cryptocurrencies and crypto exchanges by putting related companies under the oversight of the Commission, the government body announced on December 17. Crypto investment funds (including exchanges) will be required to obtain a license if more than 10 percent of the assets they manage are made up of bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, and will be allowed to sell related products only to professional investors. Additionally, companies can only issue ICOs for tokens that fulfilled SFC’s requirements. For instance, the tokens must have existed for at least 12 months.
U.S. prosecutors issued an arrest warrant for the CEO of Romania’s largest cryptocurrency exchange Coinflux. Vlad Nistor, who is also a founder of the company, was supposedly arrested on the territory of Romania and will be charged with fraud, organized crime, and money laundering. The exchange published an announcement saying that it has temporarily suspended all digital currency exchanges, while the company’s bank accounts have been frozen.
The Blockchain Transparency Institute published an interesting report on the top cryptocurrency exchanges volume. The researchers claim that the majority of the top 25 Bitcoin trading pairs listed on CoinMarketCap are based upon “grossly” inflated false volumes and there are clear evidence of wash trading. As per the report, the true volume of the CMC top 25 BTC trading pairs is under 1% of their reported volume. Only 2 out of the top 25 pairs are not wash trading their volume; those on Binance and Bitfinex.
BTC/USD formed another green candle, the third consecutive on the daily chart, on December 18 and continued its raid towards the $4,000 level. The pair closed the day at $3,780 and saw volumes growing significantly on all trading pairs, which ended in breaching the $3,800 line on December 19.
In the early hours of December 20, we see Bitcoin trading above $4,000 with $4,200 already in sight.
Ether dropped below $90 for the first time since May 2017 and closed the trading day at $87.7 on December 13.
The ETH/USD pair declined even further to $84.5 on December 14 and made almost no price movements during the weekend of December 15-16, ranging in the $85-$86 zone. It closed the 7-day period with a 10% loss – still one of the worst performing currencies in the Top 10 list.
Crypto assets data and software development firm Santiment reported on December 17 that ICO projects were moving some part of their ETH out of wallets with 400,000 ETH being transferred in the past 30 days alone. Santiment gives a breakdown of the specific wallets in its sample, ranking the ICO teams according to the amount of ETH “spent” over the thirty-day period. There is a significant increase in transactions compared to the previous 2 months and even though the numbers are big and there is obviously a lot of activity, no direct evidence is present the accumulated ETH funds are being sold or transferred to exchanges for trading purposes.
The third biggest altcoin in terms of market capitalization started the new week with a solid bull run from $86 to $97 on December 17. The 12 percent gains were extended on December 18 when ETH/USD moved above the $100 mark, up to $104.
Like most of the cryptocurrencies, Ethereum made a slight movement downwards on December 19 to $102 and closed with a red candle. Next target for ETH is the $113-$114 zone and defend of $100.
The Ripple company token moved closer to the $0.30 support on December 13 and closed the day at $0.3040.
On December 14, it dropped below the above-mentioned mark for the first time since September this year and found itself at $0.2940. Although XRP was showing signs of stability compared to the other top 10 coins, it was now eyeing the $0.26-$0.27 support zone.
On December 15 and 16, the XRP/USD pair reached $0.29 but did not drop below that level closing the week with a 7.8 percent loss.
The new week started two-digit gains across all major pairs and XRP was no exception as it successfully managed to regain $0.30 on December 17 (to $0.338) and $0.34 on December 18 ( to $0.361).
On December 19 we saw some profit taking activities buy most of the traders and XRP moved back south to $0.358. The overall market sentiment, however, was suggesting a continuation of the short-term trend and move towards the $0.45 support on December 20.