It was another eventful pair of days in the crypto markets. And these days were especially eventful. So eventful, that there may be regulatory bodies knocking on the doors of one particular exchange in the near future. Plus, we connected the dots on what could be the tip of a cryptocurrency iceberg intended to up-heave long-established bitcoin. So, without further ado, let’s dive in.
With new users piling onto secondary exchanges, the market has shifted the focus of it's buying power from bitcoin to low market cap currencies. Psychologically, bitcoin was perceived as too expensive. Incoming capital began flooding into the markets in search of El Dorado Nuevo, [very] loosely translated as the next digital gold. And the market cap was growing astronomically - just check yesterday's By The Numbers. Given that velocity, it was near impossible to find a loser - 98 of the top 100 coins by market cap produced positive returns on Monday.
Early Tuesday morning, it was discovered that Yobit, a small cryptocurrency exchange in South Korea, fell victim to a cyber attack in which a reported 17% of total assets were lost. Customers were met with a gut-punching message when logging into Yobit, which began with the foreboding words “I am very sorry to inform you again with the sad news”. Kim Jong-un looted the exchange not 8 months ago, resulting in roughly 4,000 bitcoins lost. This led to a stream of panic selling in the Korean markets, driving bitcoin’s price down even further to the low 18,000 range.
Connecting The Dots
Last week, we discussed Coinbase - a lot. The exchange is intending to expand it's services to accommodate several alternate coins in 2018. We also discussed why, because of the clear advantages that come with a move to a gateway exchange, there would likely be a massive surge in demand for the migrating coins. With the recent entry of speculative investors into the market, bullishness momentum resulting from such an announcement is even more certain.
Continuing where we left off with bitcoin's price action you can see there is a visible drop from about $18,250 to the low $17,000's. Concurrently, the price of Bitcoin Cash rose from roughly $2,300 to $2,800 during the same time frame. Generally, this is not viewed as out of the ordinary - this can be conceived as market participants merely hedging into Bitcoin Cash given the recent South Korean FUD.
Down and Down Again
Several hours later, bitcoin's price undergoes a second notable drop to the low $16,000's. This decline was due to Coinbase announcing Bitcoin Cash could now be bought, sold and received on the exchange. This caught everyone off guard, leading to a MASSIVE increase in the price of Bitcoin Cash. Like all climbs, the rally was quickly followed by a ~$1,000 drop to consolidation within the $3,300 range.
By all means, this was a definitive Pump-And-Dump. As you may have guessed, this is problematic. Reports began to surface on Twitter that Coinbase engaged in insider trading by tipping specific parties off about the addition of Bitcoin Cash. Following the announcement, @IamNomad tweeted "by being part of a product index for @CMEGroup you agreed to certain rules. Since bch news was clearly leaked around 2:30 CST to certain parties, this qualifies as insider trading. Hope you enjoy the incoming complaints."
CacheBoi, our resident chartist, provided an up-close-and-personal visual of the market manipulation as seen on Bittrex Exchange.
Naturally, Coinbase ushered out a reply following their official announcement, denying the accusations made by the community. Later in the evening, CEO Bryan Armstrong reiterated their employee trading policy on Medium. Coinbase, leak sensitive information? Blasphemy! Look, here's our manual - we told them they couldn't trade Bitcoin Cash ages ago. Many times! Note the tweet was made in CST.
I'll Take "Not Buying It" For $1,000
While their strict policy is certainly noble in an industry where security is of paramount important, that doesn't cut it. Ok, employees were told they couldn't trade Bitcoin Cash. What's stopping someone from tipping off a friend? Are we supposed to believe that SOMEONE didn't spill the beans to a friend about the hottest, most profitable market in the world? This isn't the CIA (or Sparta) - this is Coinbase. People don't forget that, especially when there's money to be made with their information. Show me a spokesperson that says that's what happened and I'll show you a liar.
That's not the only thing fishy about the specific timing of the announcement. Coinbase just released a new Roadmap four days ago. And on that Roadmap, the only projection for Bitcoin Cash concerned withdrawals that are legally owed to customers from the Hard Fork*. That planned Roadmap is corroborated by another article confirming their intention to allow users to withdraw their Bitcoin Cash. Checks out.
*For those unfamiliar with the Hard Fork, it led to the creation of Bitcoin Cash. More information about that can be found here.
There is an ongoing debate in the cryptocurrency community as to what is considered the "actual" bitcoin outlined in Satoshi Nakamoto's whitepaper. Supporters of Bitcoin Cash argue that Bitcoin's high transaction fees and slow processing speed makes it more of a store of wealth. In their eyes, Bitcoin Cash more closely aligns with Satoshi's vision of a cashless society. Despite this belief, bitcoin has continued to grow in popularity. It simply cannot be dethroned.
Or can it? If bitcoin were to take a consecutive string of L's, could that provide enough adverse momentum to flip public sentiment? If that were possible, a new contender would NEED to be ready to take it's place - and people would need to know about it. More importantly, they would need to be convinced it was better.
Calling All Conspiracy Junkies
The cyber attack on Yobit Exchange ignited a wave of panic in the bitcoin markets. According to Parabolic Trav, this is nothing more than a healthy price correction - but what if it was meant to be more? What if Coinbase announced the Bitcoin Cash listing behind this event on purpose to create a chain of negatively perceived events towards bitcoin? Could the Yobit hack, while unexpected, could have been used to initiate a campaign of fear, uncertainty and doubt?
With bitcoin already perceived as "expensive", a sudden wave of bullish events about the cheaper Bitcoin Cash - the "actual" bitcoin - could theoretically cause a massive swing in public opinion. Especially with so many speculative traders in the market. What would have normally been a healthy correction from the Yobit hack could perhaps cause bitcoin to enter a major correction period, depending upon how it was interpreted by the market.
In High Demand
Before proceeding with Conspiracy 101, let's dig a little deeper into the mayhem of the Bitcoin Cash listing. GDAX, which is owned by Coinbase, opened Bitcoin Cash trading at the same time. We’ve mentioned that when there is heavy traffic, exchanges are prone to shutting down, preventing users from logging on and placing buy / sell orders. Charlie Lee himself acknowledged it was "operationally very hard to launch on Coinbase and GDAX at the same time".
With the massive surge in demand for Bitcoin Cash, the exchange crashed. But not before cranking the price up to a whopping $9,500. But, no orders could be placed. Compared to other exchanges, that's a $6,300 premium.
Connecting More Dots
Ok, so Bitcoin Cash is listed on Coinbase. Big whoop. After the announcement, the price of Bitcoin Cash went up, and the price of bitcoin went down. However, bitcoin is still within the confines of it's parabolic trend. There remains no reason to be upset. So, assuming that there is a plot to dethrone BTC, what would need to happen? The parabolic trend pattern would need to be broken. Only after that happens can a "top" be called by traders, prompting the appropriate correction.
But how? To do that, there would have to be overwhelming evidence that Bitcoin Cash was the superior coin, and prehistoric bitcoin's days were numbered. To do that, there would need to be some major media shill power.
Well, it just so happens...
Enter: CNBC's Fast Money. As the show's Twitter account proudly reveals, Bitcoin Jesus himself will be joining them to discuss a monumental change in the cryptosphere. Couple things here worth noting:
One: The image is clearly taking shots at bitcoin. In the past day, Bitcoin Cash has been HUMMING - just look at those returns. But what happened to the mighty BTC? Not so hot. Bitcoin is drip drip dropping.
Two: The image conveniently shows the price of Bitcoin Cash when it contained a substantial amount of it's premium. What was again, about $6,300? Look at that! Bitcoin Cash is up $6,313 in the past day. If I didn't know any better - and I don't, because I'm a speculative buyer susceptible to changing teams - I would say that Bitcoin Cash is the place to be.
Three: As a backstory, Roger Ver created Bitcoin Cash and is the CEO of bitcoin.com, inferring Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is Bitcoin (BTC). Ver recently chastised thought leader Andreas Antonopoulos for failing to buy and hold bitcoin in the early years.
But, forget all that - this is Bitcoin Jesus we're talking about. CNBC said so themselves. This must be the coming of the new cryptocurrency! This is a big deal. If those numbers didn't convince me to buy Bitcoin Cash, I definitely should now.
Four: The biggest change in the crypto world since time was invented? Not to tread on toes, but that doesn't seem right either. Coinbase is adding multiple altcoins throughout 2018. Bitcoin Cash is only the first of many. Again, big whoop.
To be fair, I'll play Devil's Advocate. What if CNBC really just approves of Bitcoin Cash? The debate between the two blockchains is fair enough. They could be drumming up some excitement for what could be a big story on a major competitor in the space.
Let's assume that's true - CNBC just wants to cover the story. Now, to be impartial, that would require zero affiliation with both Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash. Any sort of allegiance would suggest there is a bias in their behavior, which, at the moment, appear to favor Bitcoin Cash.
Even More Dots
One thing to understand about the internet is that the internet is undefeated. Twitter personality @WhalePanda showed just how true that is with capping off our twist of the "Flippening" Theory. The pictures are below. So, you tell us - coincidence, or no?