Sunday, Dec. 23 — all of the top 20 cryptocurrencies are seeing moderate gains, with Bitcoin’s (BTC) price going above $4,000 again, according to CoinMarketCap data.

Market visualization

Market visualization from Coin360

At press time, Bitcoin is up nearly four percent on the day, trading at $4,050. Looking at its weekly chart, the current price is lower than the Friday’s high of almost $4,200; but the cryptocurrency is still trading significantly up from $3,294 — the point at which it started this week.

Bitcoin 7-day price chart

Bitcoin 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Ripple (XRP) — the second largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization — has gained over five percent on the day, trading at $0.374 as of press time.

On the weekly chart, the current price is significantly higher than $0.292, the price at which XRP started the week. However, the current price is slightly lower than the high of $0.389 reached on Wednesday.

Ripple 7-day price chart

Ripple 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Ethereum (ETH) remains the third largest cryptocurrency by market cap, seeing a 15 percent value increase over the last 24 hours. At press time, ETH is trading at $128, having started the day at $111 and hitting an intra-day high of $133.

On the weekly chart, the current price is notably higher than $87, which was the value of ETH on Monday.

Ethereum 7-day chart

Ethereum 7-day chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Among the top 20 cryptocurrencies, some are reporting more significant growth rates. Namely, NEO has gained 12 percent, and EOS is also up nearly 12 percent. Cardano (ADA), Litecoin (LTC), IOTA and Ethereum Classic (ETC) are all up almost 10 percent.

The combined market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies has surged to over $135 billion at press time. This places the current market cap near its weekly high of over $137 billion, after having started the week at just $104 billion.

As Cointelegraph reported recently, co-founder of Ethereum, Joseph Lubin, declared on Twitter that he is “calling the cryptobottom of 2018.” He further added that from his perspective “the future looks very bright.”

Earlier this week, two United States congressmen introduced a bipartisan bill titled “Token Taxonomy Act,” which proposes to exempt crypto assets from being considered securities.

A team that includes representatives from the Bank of Israel has issued a formal request for information about Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), published on its website Dec. 18.

The request — the goal of which is, as per the title, the “Regulatory Coordination of Virtual Assets”— states that “the regulators of the Israeli financial system believe that there is room to renew and strengthen cooperation and coordination among all regulators and the public” regarding DLT.

Besides the country’s central bank, the team reportedly includes representatives from the country’s Securities Authority, the Ministries of Finance and Justice, the Tax Authority, the Israel Money Laundering and Terror Financing Prohibition Authority and various other local regulatory bodies.

The document asks for information pertaining to barriers to the development of the local DLT industry. The text inquires explicitly about problems encountered by local DLT companies, fundraisers, investors and consumers dealing with virtual assets as examples.

Moreover, the request inquires about the risks inherent in the use of virtual assets and the opportunities of DLT in the finance industry. Lastly, the statement also asks how DLT can help address issues regarding Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and terrorism financing.

As per the statement, interested parties are invited to submit relevant information until Dec. 31, 2018.

As Cointelegraph reported at the beginning of November, an Israeli study group exploring digital currency options has recommended that the country’s central bank not issue its own cryptocurrency.

At the beginning of December, Ehud Barak, a former Israeli Prime Minister, compared digital currencies to Ponzi schemes. He reportedly stated that “he would never invest” in crypto as “Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies [are] a Ponzi scheme.”

The Chinese fintech incubation zone located in the Guangdong province has officially started its operations, Chinese news outlet Chinese Software Developer Network (CSDN) reports Dec. 21.

According to the article, the zone — which officially opened Dec. 20 — has a total area of 120 square kilometers and already hosts the headquarters of over 20 companies. The zone and its administration will reportedly offer the companies project financing, office space and policy guidelines, and will overall “promote the transformation and application of technological achievements.”

CSDN notes that the Guangdong financial high-tech zone will “focus on the major needs and major pain points of the financial [industries] encouraging blockchain and other technologies in finance, manufacturing, trade.” The zone will begin with fostering pilot projects, and then will move forward in order to “culvative a group of blockchain financial technology enterprises and innovation teams.”

In November, the “Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macao Dawan District Blockchain Alliance” had been established to promote innovation and sustain the development of blockchain tech. CSDN mentions the three districts as areas for expanding the use of the technology.

China, which has long been cracking down on cryptocurrency by banning both domestic and foreign exchanges, and even crypto-related social accounts, seems to be heavily investing in blockchain technology. As Cointelegraph reported this week, a media copyright protection alliance has been created in Beijing to provide copyright protection employing blockchain technology.

Also in December, Shenzhen, a major city in the Guangdong Province and home to the first economic special zone in China, announced that it will use blockchain technology for electronic tax invoices.

American global telecommunications conglomerate Comcast aims to make its blockchain initiative Blockgraph commercially available in 2019, according to a press release published Dec. 21.

“Comcast is currently working with NBCUniversal to test Blockgraph’s capabilities with plans of incorporating it into its addressable offering in early 2019,” states the release.

Comcast is a global media company founded in 2001, that provides cable television, Internet and telecoms services. Comcast is purportedly the second largest broadcasting company in the world in terms of revenue and largest TV company in the United States. The company’s consolidated revenue for the third quarter of 2018 was $22.1 billion.

According to Comcast, its Cable Advertising division initiated the next phase of its Blockgraph platform — a product designed to secure personal data and share information —  which will subsequently lead to the project’s launch in 2019. Comcast is working on the project with other industry players like mass media conglomerate Viacom and advertising sales firm Spectrum Reach, among others.

Blockgraph will purportedly provide an “identity layer” for the TV industry, by means of which media companies can share non-identifiable audience data. The peer-to-peer platform aims to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of TV marketing and advertising. President of Spectrum Reach David Kline commented:

“It’s imperative that the use of data prioritizes the privacy of consumers’ personal information. Blockgraph’s technology offers enhanced security and privacy protections by allowing all players within the TV ecosystem to directly share insights derived from anonymized and aggregated information.”

Comcast has been maligned in the American media for being a de facto monopoly in many regions, and has even been called the “Worst Company in America” by some publications. Earlier today, Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson filed a lawsuit against Comcast Corporation/Xfinity, alleging that it has charged customers more than it promised, in addition to charging for unordered services and products.

In addition to its own products, Comcast has supported other blockchain development projects. In March, New York-based blockchain startup Blockdaemon closed a $3 million venture capital seed round led by the telecoms giant. The funds were set to be used to “enhance infrastructure options, and to help customers run multi-tenant networks across all sorts of different blockchains.”

United States lawmakers have introduced a bill to levy further sanctions on Iranian financial institutions and the development and use of the national digital currency. HR 7321 was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Mike Gallagher on Dec. 17.

In a bid to combat money laundering and terrorism-related activities, the “Blocking Iran Illicit Finance Act” calls for sanctions on the Iranian financial sector and on the development and use of the national cryptocurrency.

The act specifically prohibits transactions, financing or other dealings related to an Iranian digital currency, and would also introduce sanctions on foreign individuals engaged in the sale, supply, holding or transfer of the digital currency.

The act also calls for a report to Congress on the government of Iran’s progress in developing a sovereign digital currency. A corresponding bill was introduced in the Senate by former presidential hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz on Dec. 13.

The U.S. government introduced sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program in 2005, while the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives passed the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act in 2010. The sanctions affected the financial sector of the country, barring financial institutions of Iran from directly accessing the U.S. financial system.

The sanctions were lifted in 2015 after the country agreed to dial down its nuclear program to meet standards set out by International Atomic Energy Agency in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

However, in May 2018, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that America would withdraw from the JCPOA that was brokered under his predecessor President Barack Obama. Sanctions were subsequently reintroduced.

Many Iranians have turn to cryptocurrency as a way to skirt sanctions. In May, Mohammad Reza Pourebrahimi, the head of the Iranian Parliamentary Commission for Economic Affairs, referred to cryptocurrencies as a promising way for Iran to avoid U.S. dollar transactions, as well as a possibly replace the SWIFT interbank payment system.

As Cointelegraph reported earlier in December, Iranians are turning to Bitcoin (BTC) mining due to economic difficulties. Despite the recent crash in crypto markets and fluctuations in the national rial currency caused by sanctions, Iranian people are still reportedly managing to gain profits from mining Bitcoin.

Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex has introduced margin trading for stablecoin Tether (USDT), according to a blog post published Dec. 21.

Bitfinex has launched margin trading for the USDT/USD pair, which would purportedly lead to more efficient price discovery and enable users to hedge the exposure taken on stablecoins. Along with a dedicated lending market, USDT will be available as collateral for margin positions, the post further reads.

While stablecoin margin trading is currently limited to USDT/USD, the exchange is planning to introduce margin trading for some other stablecoin pairings once sufficient liquidity is reached.

Earlier in December, Bitfinex and its spin-off Ethfinex added support for four new major USD-backed stablecoins, including USDC, True USD (TUSD), Paxos (PAX) and the Gemini dollar (GUSD). The four coins joined the already supported Ethereum-backed coin DAI and the industry stalwart, USDT, all to be traded against the U.S. dollar.

In late November, Bitfinex became the subject of probe by the United States Department of Justice (DoJ) in connection with alleged cryptocurrency market manipulation. The agency focused its investigation on whether or not USDT was used to artificially inflate Bitcoin (BTC) prices during last year’s meteoric rise.

The DoJ was reportedly looking into how Tether issues its new tokens and why the majority of USDT enters the market through Bitfinex, in the context of a broader enquiry into whether “market tricks” partially inflated crypto prices in recent years.

The DoJ’s allegedly intensified probe into activity on Bitfinex adds to prior investigations into possible misconduct. Both Bitfinex and Tether received subpoenas from U.S. regulators for undisclosed reasons back in December 2017, which purportedly relates to insistent doubt over Tether’s claims that USDT is backed one-to-one by the U.S. dollar.

Yesterday, an auction was held by cryptocurrency and blockchain artist @cryptograffiti for a piece titled “black swan,” which the artist made using “fiat and counterfeit detector pen ink.” The artist, who became involved with bitcoin in 2013, held the auction on a website where users could only bid via Lightning Network micropayments, with the first person to bid the smallest amount being the winner.

Cryptograffiti and Bitcoin Magazine would like to take this opportunity to announce the winner of the auction. Congratulations Twitter user @BTC_Spot!

The winning price was the first of several 1 millisatoshi bids (one hundred billionth of one bitcoin). At the time of writing, the US-dollar denominated value of the bid is approximately $0.000000037.

The auction marks a significant event for Lightning’s use among the Bitcoin community. It even served as a learning lesson for those who participated.

“Many others were unaware that sub-satoshi payments were possible via LN,” the artist told Bitcoin Magazine.

Fully concluded, the auction attracted 77 bids to the tune of 182,252 satoshis (0.00182252 BTC). Cryptograffiti pointed out that 14 bidders connected to his Lightning node the day before the auction after he sent out a tweet hinting at the event.

The Inspiration

As he explains in a Twitter thread, Cryptograffiti created “black swan” for two reasons. The first, to poke fun at mainstream media’s focus on the less relevant aspects of Bitcoin like its price, instead of the groundbreaking technology being built. The title itself is a seemingly playful nod to the black swan event theory, an event that is unexpected yet has paradigm-shifting ramifications.

He also created the piece to help spread awareness about the Lightning Network.

“The promise of micropayments was instrumental in my becoming an artist in the space,” he says. He continues to explain that it was in 2012 when he first recognized the impact micropayments could have for artists. He even began attaching public facing wallets to his street art in 2013 as a way to allow for tips.

The Setup

To his own admission, the artist was not technically skilled in setting up the payment processor. He reached out for assistance to Twitter user @notgrubles, who he states was a crucial player in getting the auction off the ground.

With @notgrubles’ help, the artist chose c-lightning, a standard compliant implementation of the Lightning Network protocol, and, using this, they set up nanotip. Nanotip is a web server built on Lightning Charge, a Blockstream-designed software package that makes it simple to build apps on Lightning.

“In addition to nanotip/Lightning Charge, I bought a CasaHODL node, set up BTCPayServer with Zap, and integrated Globee for merch payments,” the artist added.

“As a non-programmer, I still don’t have a firm grasp on everything, but I know more than I did before making black swan and I’m excited to see great strides being made in UX!”

When it comes to bitcoin mining, Canada is a natural.

A temperate climate helps to keep mining equipment cool, and plentiful renewable energy from hydroelectric dams gives Canadian provinces like British Columbia a natural advantage with cheaper electricity costs.

B.C. is sitting on a large surplus of hydroelectric energy, as depleted resources have resulted in the closures of many pulp and paper mills and traditional mines. The power surplus is also a result of the success of alternative energy and energy conservation initiatives.

Consequently, the B.C. government’s energy arm, BC Hydro, is actively looking for new businesses, including bitcoin miners, to take up the slack and help revive stricken resource towns, and it has proposed a discounted energy rate as an incentive.

BC Hydro, a B.C. government Crown corporation, is a leader in green energy programs in Canada.

Scott Howard, CEO of Toronto-based Full Stack Capital, told Bitcoin Magazine that he is encouraged by the B.C. proposal and that the province is a leader in alternative and green energy programs.

“BC Hydro and B.C. in general set the pace for public sector innovation in Canada. This is good news both for energy conservation and for bitcoin mining’s environmental footprint.”

He added, “Bitcoin mining as a base load strengthens the power grid. Effective power generation and distribution requires a stable base load that digital mining can provide.”

BC Hydro’s business development manager, Dina Matterson, said at an energy conference recently that half of the new inquiries the Crown corporation is getting are from the crypto-mining industry, and it is estimated that the inquiries could drum up 5,000 megawatts in new energy demand.

Matterson said they will be submitting a proposal in early 2019 to the British Columbia Utilities Commission, which regulates BC Hydro, for a “load attraction rate,” an initial discount on electricity for new corporate customers, including cryptocurrency companies.

“This rate would help BC Hydro compete with clean jurisdictions that have lower power rates than us,” she told the conference participants. “We need to get in the game.”

The B.C. government hopes to connect the lumber, pulp and paper, and traditional mining companies, which have invested in generating substations and transmission lines, with new bitcoin mining startups that would rent these power utilities at reduced rates.

For example, bitcoin miners in Ocean Falls, B.C., are successfully using previously abandoned power-generating stations and transmission lines, and a new bitcoin mine is under development in Houston, B.C., a once-thriving lumber town.

To date, BC Hydro has provided bitcoin miners with six megawatts of power, although the utility believes there are many more crypto miners operating in the province.

B.C.’s attempt to lure cryptocurrency entrepreneurs to make use of its abandoned infrastructure and surplus power resonates with global trends that signal an uptick in cryptocurrency mining.

A recent report from the University of Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance flagged the exponential increase in crypto-mining operations around the world in 2018.

China remains the top country to host mining farms, but the U.S. and Canada have witnessed a rapid growth of mining-farm openings over the past year, often associated with the availability of cheap hydroelectric power, says the report.

Ameer Rosic, CEO of Toronto-based Blockgeeks, is enthusiastic about the future of bitcoin mining, especially in the Canadian setting, telling Bitcoin Magazine:

“Since the beginning Canada has been at the forefront of Bitcoin. I think the timing couldn’t be better for Canada to attract more bitcoin miners. B.C. has very affordable electricity and the cost of ASICs has decreased tremendously. This is a golden opportunity to stimulate local economies and put Canada as a leading player in the bitcoin mining space.”

The United Kingdom tax collection service published its first detailed tax legislation for private cryptocurrency holders Dec. 19 following a lengthy consultation period.

Its new policy paper, “Cryptoassets for Individuals,” sets out likely tax obligations for private investors who buy, sell, get paid in and even lose cryptocurrency.

Capping months of uncertainty among U.K. taxpayers over what they need and need not report to authorities about their holdings, the latest information is officially endorsed by tax collection agency HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

Specifically, individuals will be liable to pay either Capital Gains Tax (CGT) or Income Tax (IT) depending on the type of cryptocurrency transactions they are involved in.

In the case of receiving payment from an employer in cryptocurrency, employees would also have to pay social security contributions known as National Insurance (NI).

“The tax treatment of cryptoassets continues to develop due to the evolving nature of the underlying technology and the areas in which cryptoassets are used,” HMRC writes introducing the paper.

“As such, HMRC will look at the facts of each case and apply the relevant tax provisions according to what has actually taken place (rather than by reference to terminology). Our views may evolve further as the sector develops.”

The paper does not give information about businesses’ obligations, which authorities say will appear later.

Among the notable features of the HMRC’s position are tax liability in the case of loss or theft of cryptocurrency, for example through hacking of a wallet.

In such cases, the victim “still owns the assets and has a right to recover them,” it says, meaning CGT obligations remain until it becomes apparent they are forever inaccessible.

“Those who do not receive cryptoassets they pay for may not be able to claim a capital loss,” the paper adds.

“Those who pay for and receive cryptoassets, may be able to make a negligible value claim to HMRC if they turn out to be worthless.”

The U.K. had come under fire in the preceding months over various plans for cryptocurrency regulation which may see a ban on certain types of associated instruments such as Bitcoin futures.

A recent survey revealed high rates of ownership and interest in cryptocurrency, along with a strong belief in its future growth prospects.

Bitcoin (BTC) tumbled to 15-month lows earlier today, dashing hopes of a rally signaled by current extreme oversold conditions.

The world’s largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization fell to $3,200 on Bitstamp at 00:15 UTC – the lowest level since September 2017.

BTC was trapped in a five-day-long narrowing price range 24 hours ago and showed signs that it might break upwards with a strong move toward the crucial resistance at $3,633.

These bullish expectations were based largely on a premise that the sellers are facing exhaustion, as indicated by the 14-week relative strength index (RSI), having engineered a 49 percent price drop in the last four weeks.

Further, evidence of bargain hunting had emerged earlier this week in the form of a three-day inverted hammer candle.

Even so, BTC dived out of the narrowing price range in U.S. trading hours yesterday, killing the prospects of a short-term inverted hammer bullish reversal above $3,633.

BTC’s persistent failure to produce a notable price bounce despite extreme oversold conditions indicates that the bearish sentiment is very strong. As a result, a convincing break below the 200-week moving average (MA) support of $3,170 cannot be ruled out.

At press time, BTC is changing hands at $3,250 on Bitstamp, representing a 2 percent decline on a 24-hour basis.

4-hour chart

The symmetrical triangle breakdown seen in the 4-hour chart indicates a resumption of the sell-off from the Nov. 29 high of $4,410.

The stacking order of the 50-candle moving average (MA), below the 100-candle MA, below the 200-candle SMA, is a classic bear indicator. The RSI has also fallen back into bearish territory below 50.00.

BTC, therefore, risks falling to the psychological level of $3,000. On the way lower, it may encounter support at $3,179 (200-week MA).

Daily chart

As seen above, BTC has charted lower price highs (marked by arrows) along the downward sloping 10-day exponential moving average (EMA). Notably, BTC persistently failed to close above that EMA hurdle at the end of the last month.

Hence, the 10-day EMA, currently at $3,465, is the level to beat for the bulls.

View

  • The range breakdown on the hourly chart may have opened the doors for a deeper drop to $3,000.
  • The 14-week RSI remains below 30.00, marking oversold conditions. Recent price action, however, indicates that the market is paying little heed to the indicator.
  • A UTC close above the 10-day EMA of $3,465, if confirmed, could be considered a sign of short-term bullish reversal.