Big money stays away from booming bitcoin

Big money stays away from booming bitcoin

David https://markethive.com/david-ogden

As Bitcoin Price Hits Record Highs, Australia’s Government Considers Digital Currencies and Tax Implications

As Bitcoin Price Hits Record Highs, Australia’s Government Considers Digital Currencies and Tax Implications

As bitcoin’s valued soared to record heights over the weekend,

the Australian government heard evidence on digital currencies and its tax implications. On Saturday, bitcoin’s value saw its value rise to $6,200 for the first time, pushing its market cap to $102.8 billion. With investor interest increasing in the cryptocurrency market, governments are turning their attention to the impact it presents. One of which is Australian’s House of Representatives Standing Committee on Tax and Revenue. Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, Kevin Hogan, the member for the Division of Page in NSW and chair of the committee, said that digital currencies would present risks to governments if they remain outside of regulation.

He said:

If people choose to go ‘off the grid’ and it is fully encrypted, that presents challenges.

Of course, while there are challenges that governments need to overcome, there are also opportunities too. Hogan believes that if the Tax Office embraces the blockchain, the collection and payments of taxes would be

more efficient.

If these cryptocurrencies emerge in greater numbers, certainly the government will need to adapt to some of that to make sure that the tax payment system is included in that.

The Chinese government is one authority that is utilising the distributed ledger to collect taxes and issue electronic invoices. In August, it was reported that Chinese authorities have ‘actively’ been exploring the application of the distributed ledger in the ‘fiscal and taxation business.’ This announcement from Australia comes at a time when authorities recently made progress with its anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorism financing (CTF) bill, which included bitcoin exchanges under the remit of Australian legislation for the first time.

Part of a wider reform of the government’s AML and CTF laws, the objective is to provide more power to the Australian Transactions and Reporting Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), the country’s financial intelligence agency and watchdog. It’s believed that the bill will be passed. Last week, David McKay, the Royal Bank of Canada’s CEO, said that while he would never call bitcoin a fraud, he does have concerns with it.

In a report, he said:

There are some real concerns about how the bitcoin is being used that we have to resolve.

In the past, Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, has called bitcoin is ‘a fraud,’ claiming that it’s ‘worth nothing.’

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MasterCard Announces Blockchain B2B Payments Despite Rejection of Bitcoin

MasterCard Announces Blockchain B2B Payments Despite Rejection of Bitcoin

MasterCard recently announced a way for businesses

to make direct business to business (B2B) payments over their Blockchain technology-based network. The company has dubbed its offering “MasterCard Blockchain API,” and it will be debuted at the Money 20/20 Hackathon in Las Vegas in a few days. Testing and validation have been completed, and the tech will officially be ready for customers’ use beginning next week. The announcement is a bit ironic after the company’s wholesale rejection of Bitcoin. I guess as the old saying goes, “monkey see, monkey do.”

Advantage Blockchain

Blockchain technology has been raised as an excellent option for B2B transfers for a multitude of reasons. Blockchain transfers are fully private and secure, while at the same time offering flexibility and scalability for business transactions.

According to one executive:

“By combining Mastercard Blockchain technology with our settlement network and associated network rules, we have created a solution that is safe, secure, auditable and easy to scale.”

While the solution is a major coup for Blockchain technology in general, the credit giant’s announcement may be seen as copycatting the technology of other systems and platforms. Blockchain technology has, until the past couple of years, been relegated to the fringes of the tech conversation. The sudden interest and application from enterprise-level corporations shows an awareness of the power of the systems already designed by other companies.

Saudi Arabia’s IDB Plans Blockchain Financial Project
 

Institutional-level adoption cases for Blockchain technology

are cropping up everywhere. The most recent announcement comes from Saudi Arabia, where the Islamic Development Bank will use Blockchain-based financial platforms to reach out to Muslim customers. The Islamic Research and Training Institute is seeking to create platforms that are sharia-compliant via partnerships with Ateon and Belgium-based SettleMint.

According to the announcement:

“Involvement of the IDB, a multilateral development institution, could also encourage other fintech firms to incorporate Islamic finance to tap markets across the Middle East, Asia and Africa. Islamic finance follows religious principles such as a ban on gambling and outright speculation, but until now the sector has focused on traditional retail banking services.”

Global adoption growing

Recent announcements from other governments have indicated that Blockchain technology is making inroads into a variety of national and institutional arenas. The recent release of MasterCard’s B2B Blockchain technology-based payment platform indicates a widespread beginning for the adoption of Blockchain technology into various aspects of the financial sector.

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Why MIT Implemented Bitcoin Blockchain to Distribute Diplomas Instead of Permissioned Ledgers

Why MIT Implemented Bitcoin Blockchain to Distribute Diplomas Instead of Permissioned Ledgers

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has started to issue diplomas

through its Blockcerts platform, a Bitcoin Blockchain-based application which provides a tamper-resistant and immutable ledger for the distribution of academic credentials. Blockcerts, which was first introduced in 2016, was developed by Learning Machine in collaboration with the MIT Registrar’s Office, with the vision of creating an open infrastructure wherein graduates can receive diplomas that are easily accessible and verifiable.

The Blockcerts development team explained:

“Blockcerts provides a decentralized credentialing system. The Bitcoin Blockchain acts as the provider of trust, and credentials are tamper-resistant and verifiable. Blockcerts can be used in the context of academic, professional, and workforce credentialing.”

Merit of Using the Bitcoin Blockchain

Permissioned or centralized Blockchains are being employed by large-scale conglomerates and corporations such as Pfizer and Genentech, pharmaceutical giants with a combined market cap of $300 bln, because they require flexibility and the settlement of thousands of data points every second.

But, for documents like academic credentials and diplomas, the immutable and public Bitcoin Blockchain network can be used, as it does not demand high flexibility and high counts of data points to process. Hence, by creating academic credentials and diplomas at MIT and embedding them into Bitcoin transactions which are eventually sent to the Bitcoin public Blockchain, the Blockcerts app and MIT can allow both students and companies in the future to utilize the Bitcoin Blockchain to verify diplomas and credentials.

MIT Registrar and Senior Associate Dean Mary Callahan, stated:

“From the beginning, one of our primary motivations has been to empower students to be the curators of their own credentials. This pilot makes it possible for them to have ownership of their records and be able to share them in a secure way, with whomever they choose.”

Chris Jagers, co-founder and CEO of Learning Machine, the software development firm behind Blockcerts, further emphasized that platforms like Blockcerts are particularly important because even if the issuers of credentials, in this case MIT, terminate their operations or shut down, students and organizations can verify their credentials on the Bitcoin Blockchain,

which is unalterable in nature.

“MIT has issued official records in a format that can exist even if the institution goes away, even if we go away as a vendor. People can own and use their official records, which is a fundamental shift.”

Permissioned Blockchain is Not Needed

Blockcerts has also proven the commercial applicability of the Bitcoin Blockchain as an infrastructure for applications. Permissioned and centralized Blockchains are not necessary to process small amounts of data, especially if security is of the utmost importance for the clients. For MIT, the security and immutability of Bitcoin is especially crucial because academic credentials and diplomas are extremely valuable and important information for students and professionals. More importantly, the usage of a public Blockchain network allows the application to operate as open-source software.

The Blockcerts team said:

“At its core, Blockcerts is open. The software is open source and anyone is welcome to join the developer community. Only an open standard allows individuals to remain fully in control of their own academic history. That is important, because academic certificates are markers of our lives. They can be tickets to a better job or education, and we can use them to tell a story about who we are and how we have become that person.”

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Bank of America Files Patent for Blockchain-based Processing System

Bank of America Files Patent for Blockchain-based Processing System

Bank of America has filed a pair of patents for a Blockchain-based system

aimed to improve the tracking of file transfer processing in real time. Under the system, a Blockchain can be integrated with communications and memory devices to facilitate the data processing process. Based on the patent applications as of mid-October 2017, the bank proposes the use of a Blockchain to facilitate the transferring of large volumes of data while simultaneously tracking the data through the use of cryptographic keys during the transfer process.

The system will be able to handle two types of data processing, namely, the actual data transfer itself, and the log of the cryptographic keys identifying each data packet and its present processing stage.

Part of the patent applications read:

"The present invention is directed to providing a novel technical solution that reduces transactional and informational complexities and transforms the processing of electronic files and management of data contained within such files."

Bank of America’s research efforts on Blockchain

The latest applications are part of the major American bank’s effort to establish a portfolio of protected applications of Blockchain technology. The bank has already filed over 20 patents related to the technology or digital currencies since 2014 as of August. Among the patents filed are three patents based on the use of distributed ledgers to authenticate the veracity of information and the parties who handle it and two patents based on a peer-to-peer (P2P) payment system that is powered by a Blockchain. The mega-bank has also filed a batch of patents covering almost the entire cryptocurrency exchange and payment process including transaction validation, risk detection, real-time conversion, as well as online and offline storage.

World’s Largest Money Manager Says No Fair Value for Bitcoin

Richard Turnhill, the strategist for BlackRock Financial

and therefore the largest money manager in the world, owns no Bitcoin, and doesn’t know what a fair price would be. According to a recent interview, the analyst was quick to point out that commodities prices are based on inherent value, and he sees none in cryptocurrencies. The interview includes bullish predictions on effectively everything, from equities to stocks, with the final statement about Bitcoin being the only relatively negative comment. Turnhill made is clear that his position is one based on research.

Per the interview:

“I would say that cryptocurrencies show many characteristics of a bubble right now, which is [to say] you've seen spectacular price increases. The main argument for buying them is that prices have risen, and are therefore going to continue to rise over time. But there's no inherent right or wrong price for bitcoin. You could say 'what's the fair value?' you know, I'm an investor, I like to think about the fair value of stocks of bonds. I can't answer what's the fair value for bitcoin or any cryptocurrency. For that reason, I'm not an owner.”

General trends

The information from Turnhill reflects statements made last week by Larry Fink, BlackRock’s CEO, who said that Bitcoin was essentially only good for money laundering. Nonetheless, bulls point to the continued price increases, and other stock analysts see substantial gains ahead. While the rising price is certainly good, in the short term, long term increases in value will come as more people begin to understand the nature of Bitcoin, consensus systems, and how value is defined.

Chuck Reynolds


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Digital Currency Looks to Solve Cannabis Industry’s Cash Problem

Digital Currency Looks to Solve Cannabis Industry’s Cash Problem

Digital currencies may solve some the legal cannabis industry’s

woes by becoming an alternative to cash payments. Despite recent state-level ballot initiatives across the US that legalizes marijuana in one form or another, the drug still remains illegal at the federal level. While it’s unlikely the feds are going to go after legal cannabis dispensaries any time soon, the legal murkiness does create one serious problem.

Cash-only

Banks won’t deal with cannabis dispensaries. Consider the ramifications. No banking means no payment processing, which means customers can’t use credit or debit cards to make purchases. According to a 2016 survey, 75 percent of customers prefer to pay with credit or debit cards, with only 11 percent preferring to pay with cash. Unfortunately, dispensaries can’t give customers what they want – payment methods other than cash – because banks won’t do business with them. Consequently, the customer is inconvenienced and the merchant loses potential sales.

A lack of banking causes even more serious problems. Since the industry is forced to accept only cash for payments, marijuana dispensaries are an excellent target for robbers and thieves due to the large amount of cash they keep on premises. There’s still a larger problem than that, which is perhaps the biggest of all: dispensaries have great difficulty paying their expenses. Utilities, tax assessors and vendors would much rather not be paid in cash, and some vendors may not even accept cash payments. The cost of protecting large sums of cash is prohibitive. The need for armored cars, safes and guards depletes the bottom line. It’s been estimated that cash handling expenses can amount to 10-15 percent of sales.

Changes are coming

Seeing an opportunity to gain access to a $6.7 bln market, the digital currency Dash partnered with Alt Thirty Six in April 2017. The Dash network, through its decentralized self-funding mechanism, is paying the company $496,000 to integrate Dash as a payment option in the cannabis industry’s point of sale (POS) systems. The vendor also has skin in the game, having spent nearly $700,000 of their own money developing the POS platform. As part of this arrangement, Dash will be the only digital currency offered by the point of sale platform. According to the budget proposal submitted to the

Dash network:

“We have three major verticals identified and solidified reseller partnerships that will adopt the Alt Thirty Six + Dash payment solutions:

  • Independent Software Vendors (ISV) – Music & celebrity apparel company (100+ online stores), online marketing automation partner (600+ clients), and more.
  • Value Added Reseller (VAR) –IBM, Sirius Computer Solutions, Industry Specific point-of-sale (POS) Partners
  • Ecommerce Retailers – Sirius Computer Solutions​”

The vendor has been making monthly progress reports to the Dash community and work continues apace. The platform’s initial release is scheduled for December of this year.

Going mainstream

The road to mainstream adoption of digital currency has to begin somewhere, and perhaps no other industry needs cryptocurrency as much as this one. Many have suggested that digital currencies could gain adoption by saving vendors money on credit card fees, and this is certainly possible. But such fees usually amount to no more than three percent.

With the legal marijuana industry, Dash has the potential to save merchants up to 15 percent, which would be a massive boon to their bottom line. Dash is suitable for point of sale use because of its InstantSend feature. Transactions sent via InstantSend are fully confirmed and irreversible in four seconds. Bitcoin transactions, by comparison, usually aren’t considered fully “settled” until six confirmations are received, which can take an hour or more.

Chuck Reynolds


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Wall Street Can No Longer Dismiss Bitcoin, Demand is Too High

Wall Street Can No Longer Dismiss Bitcoin, Demand is Too High

It has become increasingly difficult for Wall Street to dismiss Bitcoin

and the cryptocurrency markets, given the $95 bln market cap of Bitcoin, rapidly rising user bases of cryptocurrencies, and the increasing mainstream adoption of Bitcoin as a robust store of value. Up until a few months ago, the vast majority of Wall Street analysts, bankers, and investors dismissed Bitcoin, describing it as a bubble, in an identical way the technology sector continued to condemn Amazon since its launch in 1997.

But, as the user base and market cap of Bitcoin and the rest of the cryptocurrency market soared, it has become challenging for Wall Street to blindly ignore the market, being fully aware that their failure to adopt Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies may result in the isolation of banks and financial institutions in the long-term from the promising cryptocurrency market.

Embracing Bitcoin

Many billionaire investors and major financial institutions such as Mike Novogratz, Kyle Bass, and Goldman Sachs have decided to embrace Bitcoin and the cryptocurrency market, rather than compete against it. Notably, earlier this month, the market cap of Bitcoin surpassed that of Goldman Sachs, nearing towards the $100 bln mark. Ami Ben David, co-founder of venture capital fund Spice, told FT

in an interview:

“A year ago they didn’t know about it, six months ago they thought it was a scam and now they realise they simply just don’t understand it and are starting to get nervous and want to learn about it. There is definitely an element of FOMO. People have been told by their advisers, ‘Don’t touch it! It’s a bubble!’, and now they are upset they might have already missed it.”

Acknowledging the rapid increase in demand for Bitcoin, Paul Vigna of The Wall Street Journal reported that Goldman Sachs has been preparing to launch a cryptocurrency trading platform to address the interest towards Bitcoin from its clients and consumers in the traditional finance sector. “Goldman’s effort involves both its currency-trading division and the bank’s strategic investment group, the people said. That suggests the firm believes Bitcoin’s future is more as a payment method rather than a store of value, like gold,” wrote Vigna.

Entrance of institutional investors

Last week, billionaire hedge fund legend Mike Novogratz revealed his newly established fund that will focus on Bitcoin and the cryptocurrency market in the next few years. He further emphasized in an interview with CNBC that along with major investment firms such as Fidelity, a few large institutional investors are preparing to engage in the Bitcoin and cryptocurrency markets. “I can hear the herd coming. I was just in San Francisco, met with a few big institutional investors and they’re still a ways away, but they’re coming. Lots of funds are being raised and so I’m pretty confident to say that it [Bitcoin price] is going higher,” said Novogratz.

Gates Foundation Launches Blockchain-based Mobile Payments Solution

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has launched

the Mojaloop open-source payments software to provide an interoperability layer between financial institutions, payment providers, and other companies offering payment services to the poor and unbanked people around the world. The mobile payments system employs the Interledger technology that was developed by distributed ledger technology (DLT) startup Ripple.

According to the foundation’s deputy director of financial services for the poor, Kosta Peric, the new software is aimed at resolving the issues with respect to the interoperability of digital payments. He also issued an invitation to players in the banking and payments industries to

test the system.

"Interoperability of digital payments has been the toughest hurdle for the financial services industry to overcome. With Mojaloop, our technology partners have finally achieved a solution that can apply to any service, and we invite banks and the payments industry to explore and test this tool.”

Other partnerst

Aside from Ripple, the foundation was also supported by several financial technology companies in developing the software. The application was developed under the group’s Level One Project, which is an umbrella program for the foundation’s work with the unbanked, poor people that allowed it to explore disruptive technologies such as Blockchain. Under the project, several mobile phone technology providers, namely, Huawei, Ericsson, Mahindra Comviva, and Telepin, have contributed to the development of an open application programming interface (API) to speed the pace of integrations of digital payments services providers.

The Gates Foundation’s works on Blockchain

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been exploring ways to use the Blockchain technology under the Level One Project since 2015. Among the initiatives is the possible use of the technology to bridge or link the disconnected financial systems.

Chuck Reynolds


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First World Fat Cat Jamie Dimon Doesn’t Understand Poverty, Bashes Bitcoin

First World Fat Cat Jamie Dimon Doesn’t Understand Poverty, Bashes Bitcoin

It’s said how little Jamie Dimon knows about the needs of people

who live in the countries of South America, Central America, Africa and Asia. Dimon keeps finding new ways to show his lack of understanding of Bitcoin, and of the economic realities of most of the world’s population.

He recently said:

“If it can be done digitally with the Blockchain, so be it. But it will still be a dollar cryptocurrency. What I have an issue with is a non-fiat cryptocurrency. So crypto sterling, euro, yen, they are all fine. I don't personally understand the value of something that has no actual value.“

Fat cats

For an American millionaire with a narrow view of the world, he may be right. But for the inhabitants of more than 170 countries that do not have strong fiat currencies like sterling, euro, yen or dollars, Bitcoin definitely has value. An example from Brazil clearly demonstrates the benefits of transacting internationally with Bitcoin. Developing countries are often saddled by their governments with capital controls, to prevent money from leaving the country.

Cost savings

A Brazilian who buys a product from Amazon pays a 6.5% “IOF Tax” retained directly on his credit card. This tax is levied on any international purchase or remittance of securities. In addition, this user is at the mercy of the exchange rate that will be applied by the operator of the credit card. Combined, transactional costs can exceed 10% of the purchase price, and that’s not even considering the import taxes that must be paid.

Now imagine a Brazilian who has decided to study the magnificent world of Blockchain and needs to buy a $100 item from Amazon. This person can use one of several Bitcoin-based websites to get a 15% discount on his purchase. Thus a $100 purchase, instead of costing $110 as it would by using his credit card, actually only cost $85. That’s a huge savings. Does Bitcoin have any value to the mega-rich like Dimon? Probably not. But in the developing world, where a few dollars can literally make the difference between feast and famine, Bitcoin has real value.

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
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Hard Times For Bitcoin Forks As Whalepool Traders Say No To SegWit2x

Hard Times For Bitcoin Forks As Whalepool Traders Say No To SegWit2x

SegWit2x’s list of detractors is growing daily

as dedicated records site NOB2X.com adds major discussion group Whalepool. The trading group, which includes prominent cryptocurrency industry figures such as Charlie Shrem, asked NOB2X to update its listings to include them, marking the latest entity to signal formal opposition to the Bitcoin hard fork.

“We oppose NYA and support… Bitcoin,” the group confirmed on Twitter Wednesday. SegWit2x is encountering more opposition as its network snapshot date nears. This week, both Korea’s largest Bitcoin meetup and a group of Latin American businesses and personalities also issued their formal opposition. By contrast, some industry entities have openly embraced the hard fork, with Xapo confirming it was willing to rename the 2x chain ‘BTC’ should it receive suitable support.

NOB2X currently includes close to 100 signatories including well-known exchanges such as Kraken and Localbitcoins, media outlets and scam alert resource Bad Bitcoin. The latter of these caused a stir last month when it removed Roger Ver’s Bitcoin.com from its safelist of trusted sites, later pinning it to the top of its ‘Alerts’ due mainly to Ver’s strong advocacy of alternative Bitcoin blockchain Bitcoin Cash. Meanwhile, November’s second hard fork, known as Bitcoin Gold, has attracted barely any attention at all, its network snapshot due to take place around October 25.

Tezos Team Spat Sends Futures Price Diving 75% as Investors Panic

Infighting at Tezos has led to futures of its $232 mln token

dropping 75 percent in hours, before it has even officially launched. As Reuters reports Thursday, a squabble between Tezos’ twin founders and head of the custodial Tezos Foundation, Johann Gevers, has put the cat among the pigeons.

Now, investors, who have been waiting several months to trade their Tezzies tokens, are no closer to having their faith in the project restored. Arthur and Kathleen Breitman are currently seeking to have Gevers removed from the Tezos Foundation, which looks after ICO proceeds in Bitcoin and Ethereum now worth over $400 mln. A petition letter describes him as “self-dealing, self-promotion and conflicts of interest,” while Gevers confirmed to Reuters he had no intention of leaving. “As Arthur has done to others before me, this is attempted character assassination. It’s a long laundry list of misleading statements and outright lies,” he retaliated. “They’re unnecessarily putting the project at risk.”

Tezos’ ICO netted one of the largest amounts ever for the ballooning sector, with major backer Tim Draper yet to comment on progress or the current teething problems. Asked how much he was invested in Tezos, Draper merely confirmed he had invested “a lot.” Gevers, meanwhile, maintained politics would not affect the integrity of the project’s funds, which were stored in a secret location without direct access by any one party. “These (Bitcoin and Ether) are not held in any one place,” he said, “but secured through high-security” digital wallets “that no single party has control over.”

Chuck Reynolds


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Cautiously Bullish? $6,000 inPlay as Bitcoin Price Stages Sharp Recovery

Having witnessed a solid recovery from the low of $5,100 in the last 24 hours,

bitcoin is once again trading on the front foot and looking northwards. At press time, the bitcoin-US dollar (BTC/USD) exchange rate was roughly $5,700. As per CoinMarketCap, the cryptocurrency has gained 6.47 percent in the last 24 hours. Week-on-week, BTC is up 4.77 percent, and on a monthly basis, it is carrying 45.7 percent gains.

So, is the bitcoin price eyeing $6,000? Strong dip demand would seem to suggest so. The drop to $5,100 witnessed yesterday turned out to be healthy correction as expected, and the subsequent 'V' shaped recovery could be taken as an indication cash is waiting on the sidelines for a good opportunity. Further, the potential (or perceived) benefits of holding bitcoin ahead of the hard fork in November could also bring in more buyers, leading to higher prices. However, short-term overbought technical conditions persist. Therefore, the price action analysis suggests there is merit in being 'cautiously bullish' on bitcoin.

View

'Dragonfly Doji' is candlestick pattern with a long lower shadow (also known as long wick or long tail or long leg) and without a real body and upper shadow. The long tail indicates dip demand, while the dragonfly doji indicates indecision among traders. In this case, the price action on the following day generally decides the short-term outlook. The fact that bitcoin is well bid today indicates the bulls have been able to carry forward the strong move from the low of $5,100. Thus, prices may jump above $6,000 if the bid tone remains intact over the next few hours. On the other hand, a negative price action today would confirm a bearish doji reversal. A bullish-to-bearish trend change is likely only below $5,000 (rising trend line support).

Chuck Reynolds


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