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Bitcoin volume unaffected by Tether’s (USDT) market dominance — Data shows

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Tether’s (USDT) stablecoin has been the leading base pair for cryptocurrencies for over eighteen months. 

This is a rather impressive feat given the ongoing court case with the New York Attorney General and the other frequent rumors that USDT is not sufficiently backed or subject to regulators’ reach. 

USDT has also been the dominant stablecoin in China even though the country banned cryptocurrency exchanges in 2017. This is because large exchanges like Binance, Huobi and OKEx turned to the stablecoin as their leading base pair. 

It’s also worth noting that competitors like USD Coin (USDC), TrueUSD (TUSD), and Paxos Standard (PAX) had a combined capitalization of $520 million in June 2019. During the same period, USDT had already amassed a market cap larger than $3.1 billion.

Over the past 15 months, Tether’s market cap grew to $15.7 billion, while its four largest competitors reached $4.1 billion. Regardless of all the USD backing controversies, USDT has held a nearly 80% market share of all fiat-backed stablecoins.

A nearly identical story is noted in trading volumes, where Tether dominates with a 75% lead. 

Consolidated crypto volume by base pair. Source: CryptoCompare

Data from CryptoCompare shows USDT holding a nearly 73% volume market share over the past three months. Before investigating further, it should be mentioned that numbers will vary according to each data provider, as some exchanges are often excluded due to a lack of transparency.

Despite these indiscrepancies, CryptoCompare Head of Research, Constantine Tsavliris, explained that:  

“In terms of Bitcoin trading into USDT or other equivalent stablecoins such as USDC or PAX, we haven’t seen a significant shift in terms of volume.”

A stablecoin on-ramp is irrelevant to Bitcoin price

Most traders have grown accustomed to using Bitcoin (BTC) as the primary gateway to cryptocurrencies. This solution might have been the only, or at least, the most liquid for most traders in 2017 or 2018, but as the stablecoin market grew, volumes on altcoin paired to USDT soared.

A broader offering of altcoins pairs followed the higher stablecoin volumes, and as Coinbase, Huobi, and Binance launched their own stablecoins, this trend accelerated.

It would be wrong to infer that Bitcoin’s diminishing use as the main on-ramp to cryptocurrency is detrimental to its price. Those who acquire BTC as a pass-through might have increased its volume, but used the same amount to sell it later in exchange for altcoins. 

Moreover, even if one uses stablecoins as the leading on-ramp solution, eventually, part of this flow will spill to Bitcoin. Furthermore, most crypto assets are not direct competitors to BTC’s store of value and scarcity propositions.

Chainlink inflow and outflow past 24 hours

Chainlink inflow and outflow past 24 hours. Source: Coinlib.io

For example, the chart above shows $26.6 million in outflow from Chainlink (LINK) to BTC over the past 24 hours. A similar trend occurred with the remaining altcoins, confirming that Bitcoin is not losing volume as stablecoins establish themselves as the dominant base pairs.

By analyzing the combined cryptocurrency market volume, one can determine whether stablecoins have been increasing overall market share or simply taking markets away from Bitcoin.

Crypto total market 7-day average volume, USD billion

Crypto total market 7-day average volume, USD billion. Source: TradingView

The chart above is probably astonishing even for traders who experienced the late 2017 bubble. The $36.6 billion January 2018 daily average peak might have been excessive at the time but it’s rather shy when compared to the current $100 billion level.

Regardless of whether faked volumes impact this view, we can see that, proportionally, there has been a sizable increase. This volume growth coincides with the stablecoin issuance from $3.6 billion in June 2019 to the current $18.9 billion.

Volume dominance is a key factor

Michael Saylor, the co-founder and CEO of MicroStrategy, believes that BTC’s primary use is reserve currency. Therefore it does not compete with tokens like Ethereum (ETH) and stablecoins. 

Unlike traditional Bitcoin dominance data based on market capitalization, Saylor’s analysis only includes coins based on proof-of-work mechanisms.

Even if one compares Bitcoin’s volume to a broader asset base, it matches the top 20 altcoins’ sum when analyzing transparent volume. 

30-day accumulated transparent volume, USD

30-day accumulated transparent volume, USD. Source: Nomics

Keeping the above data in mind, it is safe to say that stablecoins are not competitors to Bitcoin in market capitalization or volumes. 

Tsavliris explained that he believes this is the case because:

“For the top altcoins in the last few months, volumes aren’t necessarily moving away from BTC markets. Rather, they are offered and utilized in tandem with USDT markets. USDT markets are attractive because they generally offer superior liquidity compared to BTC markets across most exchanges.”

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk. You should conduct your own research when making a decision.





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Analyst Claims Bitcoin Unlikely to Gain a Trend Until 2 Key Events Occur

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  • It has been a rocky past week for Bitcoin, as the cryptocurrency has primarily been subjected to a bout of sideways trading
  • Its inability to gain any trend is likely due to the stock market’s consolidation phase
  • For better or worse, BTC has grown incredibly tied to the traditional market
  • Its near-term trend may depend almost entirely on that seen by equities
  • That said, one analyst is now pointing towards two key events currently taking place that need to end before Bitcoin can make a movement

Bitcoin and the entire cryptocurrency market have been caught within a consolidation phase throughout the past few days and weeks.

This bout of sideways trading has done little to provide traders and investors with insight into where it may trend next.

Periods of consolidation as intense as this one are nearly always following by massive movements. The longer and tighter the consolidation phase, the larger the subsequent move will be.

One analyst is now specifically looking towards the conclusion of two ongoing macro events, noting that until they end, BTC will likely continue trading sideways.

Bitcoin Struggles to Gain Momentum as Consolidation Persists

At the time of writing, Bitcoin is trading up marginally at its current price of $11,520. This marks a notable climb from its recent lows but does not mark a break above any key technical levels.

The current trading range that it is caught within sits between $11,200 and $11,600. Until one of these levels is broken, it remains in a consolidation phase.

The longer this bout of sideways trading lasts, the bigger the subsequent move will be. Essentially, Bitcoin is like a spring coiling up.

The coming weeks will likely provide immense insight into how the crypto will finish the year.

Analyst: Election and Politics are Holding BTC Back 

While speaking about where Bitcoin might trend in the mid-term, one analyst explained that the politics stopping the phase 2 stimulus deal from being passed and uncertainty surrounding the election are both holding BTC back.

He doesn’t believe that the crypto will gain a sustainable trend until these two things come to an end.

“I think BTC trading will continue to be pretty boring until the uncertainty of elections/politics are over. Macro-trend says up. Micro-trend says ‘gimme your lunch money, kid.’”

This indicates that it may be a few more weeks before Bitcoin can garner a trend, which could make its next big movement explosive.

Featured image from Unsplash.
Pricing data source: BTCUSD on TradingView.





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Fool’s gold? Peter Schiff’s bank under investigation in tax evasion probe

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This morning, millionaire broker and noted Bitcoin skeptic Peter Schiff awoke to find his bank under renewed scrutiny due to an international criminal investigation. 

According to reporting from Australian newspaper The Age and The New York Times, the J5 — a joint task force of tax authorities from major Western governments convened in the wake of the bombshell publication of the Panama Papers — have placed “hundreds” of accounts at Schiff’s Puerto Rico-based Euro Pacific Bank under investigation for tax evasion and other financial crimes. 

The reports detail what appears to be a comically inept organization responsible for harboring the fortunes of a cast of shady businessmen and criminals. Employees hired after a quick Google search screening were tasked with attracting clients such as Simon Antequetil, the noted Australian fraudster and tax avoidance maestro.

The reports also shed light on how Euro Pacific may have tainted public holdings of Schiff’s favorite asset: gold. 

Former Australian Federal Police (AFP) investigator John Chevis discovered in 2017 that West Australian government-owned Perth Mint had a relationship with Euro Pacific. 

“I was very surprised,” Chevis told The Age. “I think there’s a significant risk that some of the gold held within the Perth Mint by customers of the Euro Pacific Bank may be held beneficially for criminals in other parts of the world.”

In an interview with The Age last month, Schiff denied wrongdoing on the part of Euro Pacific, saying the bank “turns down far more accounts than we approve because our compliance is so rigorous”. 

“It’s got nothing to do with reality,” he said of the allegations.

He later stormed out of the interview.

But nestled amid the reports is a key detail which may shed some light on why Schiff has been such a virulent critic of the world’s most popular cryptocurrency, Bitcoin. 

From The Age:

“The bank’s security was also a problem […] at one point, Russians tried to extort the bank for a ransom of 1000 bitcoins, worth millions of dollars.”

While Schiff was criticizing Bitcoin as early as 2013, the attempted extortion scheme might explain why he’s been particularly vocal as of late, most notably in a Twitter spat with Gemini co-founder Tyler Winklevoss.

Schiff has also demonstrated a history of paranoia regarding hacks, especially cryptocurrency-related hacks. In July, Schiff augured that the hack of multiple Twitter accounts by an American teenager might be a “harbinger” for a Bitcoin hack, and in April he tweeted about “the potential for improvements in technology to hack the blockchain and counterfeit Bitcoin.”

Despite Schiff’s concerns over the potential hacking of the Bitcoin blockchain, there is no equivalent in the digital asset world to iron pyrite. Unless we count BSV.





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Bitcoin May Plunge in Q4 Due to a Tax-Induced Selling Frenzy

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  • Bitcoin’s price action as of late has done little to offer investors with any tangible insights into where it may trend next
  • Analysts have been largely noting that the cryptocurrency’s outlook is being dimmed by turbulence within the stock market, which may persist until after the elections
  • Many traders do believe that the rest of Q4 will be a bullish month for BTC, as this may be when it can decouple from the stock market and garner some independent momentum
  • One analyst explained that he believes downside is imminent in the quarter ahead, noting that whales will have to cash out some of their crypto to cover taxes, which could spark a selloff

Bitcoin and the entire crypto market have lacked momentum throughout the past few days and weeks.

This has largely come about due to the turbulence within the stock market, with bulls and bears being unable to spark any short-term trends as the stock market consolidates.

This sideways trading pattern may not last for too much longer. One analyst noted that BTC might see a selloff induced by whales selling their crypto to cover taxes.

He notes that this sentiment is being reflected while looking towards options market makers.

Bitcoin Lacks Momentum as Stock Market Continues Consolidating 

The stock market hasn’t been able to form any clear trend as of late, with investors widely awaiting more insights into a phase 2 stimulus package that has yet to be agreed upon by Congress and the White House.

As the election also draws closer, investors are potentially awaiting its results before opening fresh positions.

This has caused Bitcoin to see a similar bout of lackluster price action. Both bulls and bears have largely reached an impasse and have been unable to spark any short-term trend.

At the time of writing, Bitcoin is trading up marginally at its current price of $11,400. This is around the price at which it has been trading throughout the past week.

Analyst: BTC Likely to See Tax-Induced Selloff Later in Q4

One analyst offered a bearish outlook on Bitcoin and the crypto market in Q4, noting that he expects it to see a selloff induced by whales taking out money to cover taxes.

“Its hard to for me to imagine a Q4 pump mega. All whales selling in order to prep to tax. Unless you’re telling me that the majority of crypto are in tax havens such as SG and HK. Sentiments shared amongst options market makers who are pricing monthly IV at 30%+,” he explained.

Image Courtesy of Theta Seek.

If the options market makers prove to be correct, then it could be a turbulent coming few months for Bitcoin.

Featured image from Unsplash.
Charts from TradingView.





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