Market Update: Bitcoin Stays Below $3,900 as Ethereum Closes Gap on XRP

As we approach the end of 2018, the year bitcoin turned 10 years old, it appears the cryptocurrency ecosystem’s decline may not be over yet, although the trend may reverse next year as the equity markets appear to be entering a bearish period.

Currently, according to CryptoCompare data, bitcoin is trading at $3,870 after falling roughly 1% in the last 24-hour period. Its market cap is of about $67 billion, meaning it has roughly 51.8% of the ecosystem’s market share.

Bitcoin's price performance in the last 24 hours

This year bitcoin went from over $13,000 to a low of little under $3,200 before it started to recover. Despite the drop, adoption has been increasing as the number of cryptocurrency ATMs, as covered, has doubled to over 4,000, with 6 being installed per day this year.

Moreover, BTC’s layer-two scaling solution, the Lightning Network (LN), has been growing at a steady pace. This month, it surpassed a 500 BTC capacity, and saw a crypto artist sell a tiny piece of artwork for one milisatoshi, about $0.000000037, in what was likely the cheapest artwork ever sold.

Bitcoin is often seen as a tool to hedge against economic crisis as it’s seen as sound money. It was created after the 2008 financial crisis and since then the equities market has been in one of the biggest bull runs in history. It is, however, apparently near its end, and some analysts claim BTC may thrive as stocks crash.

Looking at the S&P 500 Index it’s easy to see why the equities market is believed to be entering a bear market. After seeing a over 250% increase since the 2008 financial crisis, the index started plummeting from a high of about 2,929 to 2,350. Although it has recovered to 2,456, some have pointed out this may be a dead cat bounce.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average has seen a similar rally in the last few years, and has also started plummeting in the last few months. Peter Brandt, a technical trader who predicted bitcoin’s 84% decline this year, believes the Dow is set to face a similar correction.

ETH Starts Closing In On XRP

This year Ethereum’s ether saw its price drop from an all-time high close to $1,400 to a low of little over $80, before it started recovering. At press time, ETH is trading at $139 after rising 1.9% in the last 24 hours, and its market cap is of $14.3 billion.

This decline saw it lose its position as the second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap to XRP, which fell from a high above $3 to $0.37 at press time. Its market cap is of $14.9 billion, as its price dropped nearly 1% in the last 24-hour period.

Market cap of Ethereum and XRPEthereum's market cap is close to surpassing that of XRP

The gap between both cryptocurrencies has been declining. While XRP is up 26.9% in the last two weeks, ETH has surged 59.8% in the same period. If its price keeps rising, it’ll soon claim the title of the second-largest cryptocurrency.

Most other top cryptocurrencies, including EOS, TRX, and LTC are up by less than 1%. NEO is notably up by about 4% in said period.

BBC: Facebook Planning to Launch ‘GlobalCoin’ in Q1 2020

Siamak Masnavi

Social networking giant Facebook is planning to launch its own cryptocurrency (internally dubbed "GlobalCoin") and crypto-powered global payments network (internally called "Project Libra") worldwide by Q1 2020, according to a report published earlier today by BBC News, the world's largest broadcast news organization.

Project Libra's Origin Story

  • 8 May 2018: In a post on Facebook, David Marcus, the former head of Messenger, who was at that time also a board member (since December 2017) of crypto exchange Coinbase, revealed that he was leaving that role to set up a new group focused on exploring applications of blockchain technology across the whole of Facebook.
  • 13 December 2018: Cheddar reported that Facebook’s blockchain group is planning to "potentially disrupt the entire payments industry":

"At a private dinner Facebook hosted during a recent crypto conference, one attendee told Cheddar that Facebook employees pitched the idea of creating a decentralized digital currency for the social network’s 2 billion users."

  • 21 December 2018: Bloomberg reported that Facebook was creating its own cryptocurrency (a stablecoin) for money transfers within its highly popular messaging app WhatsApp.
  • 28 February 2019: The New York Times confirmed Bloomberg's earlier story, and said that, according to its sources, this project was "far enough along that the social networking giant has held conversations with cryptocurrency exchanges about selling the Facebook coin to consumers."
  • 8 April 2019: Nathaniel Popper, one of the two journalists who wrote the report in the New York Times, provided this update (on Twitter) about Facebook's cryptocurrency project:
  • 2 May 2019: The Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook was "recruiting dozens of financial firms and online merchants to help launch a cryptocurrency-based payments system," and that the core part of this initiative (code-named "Project Libra") is "a digital coin that its users could send to each other and use to make purchases both on Facebook and across the internet." Furthermore, this report said that, according to people familiar, Facebook was talking to "financial institutions including Visa Inc., Mastercard Inc. and payment processor First Data Corp." about investing in this project.
  • 17 May 2019: A report by Reuters said that FinTech company Libra Network was registered in the Republic and Canton of Geneva on May 2. Looking at the entry for Libra Networks, which was published on May 7 in the Swiss Official Gazettte of Commerce (SOGC), tells us:
    • Libra Networks LLC (registration number: CHE193533388) has its registered office in Geneva.
    • According to the English translation, the stated purpose of this company is "provision of services in the fields of finance and technology, as well as the development and production of related software and infrastructure, particularly in connection with investment activities, the payment operation, the financing, identity management, data analysis, big data, blockchain and other technologies."
    • The share capital is CHF 20,000 (100 shares, each with a nominal value of CHF 200); all of the shares are owned by Facebook Global Holdings II, LLC.

Facebook's Stablecoin: GlobalCoin

Here is what we have learnt from the BBC News report:

  • Facebook "is planning to set up a digital payments system in about a dozen countries by the first quarter of 2020."
  • The plan is to start testing the new cryptocurrency (some kind of stablecoin), GlobalCoin, by the end of 2019.
  • Facebook has been getting "advice on operational and regulatory issues" from the UK's central bank governor Mark Carney (whom Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg reportedly met in April) and from U.S. Treasury officials.
  • Facebook is also in talks with global remittance firms such as Western Union "as it looks for cheaper and faster ways for people without a bank account to send and receive money."

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