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Fed Chair Says Still “Working on” Digital Dollar as China Pulls Ahead

Fed Chair Jerome Powell said the U.S. central bank is currently running technical experiments on how a digital dollar would work.

“There are many subtle and difficult policy choices and design choices that you have to make. We’re doing all that work.”

He reiterated the process also requires consultation with the public and Congress before any decision is made. This casts doubt on whether a digital dollar would ever see the light of day.

Powell’s words have triggered unease among those who fear losing the “technological cold war” to China.

Powell Not Keen on a Digital Dollar

World central banks have come increasingly under pressure to launch digital versions of their domestic currency in recent times. Some believe it’s the appropriate response to combat the rise in private cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin. Others see it as an inevitable evolution of money for the digital age.

Several key nations, including Japan, Thailand, Eurozone countries, and Russia, have publically endorsed such a move.

However, in the past, Powell expressed indifference, saying there’s a lack of demand for a digital dollar as consumers already have many existing alternatives.

“It’s also not clear to us that there is demand for this. You know, consumers have plenty of payment options, they’re not clamering for this.”

Ripple Chair Chris Larson sees the issue as bigger than U.S. consumers. He believes a digital dollar is pivotal in defending America’s position as the leading economy and retaining the dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency.

Referring to China, Larson said other nations who recognize and embrace blockchain technology have the opportunity to seize American stewardship of the economic order.

“For China, this is a once-in-a-century opportunity to wrest away American stewardship of the global financial system, including its ultimate goal of replacing the dollar with a digital yuan.”

Digital Yuan is Ready

The digital yuan has been seven years in the making and already been trialed in several real-world pilots by the People’s Bank of China (PBoC).

On Monday, Li Bin, Head of the PBoC, announced a further expansion of testing via six additional pilot programs.

“The financial hub of Shanghai, Hainan province in the far south, the central cities of Changsha and Xi’an, as well as the port cities of Qingdao in Shandong province and Dalian in Liaoning province have been chosen to participate in the programme.”

This cements China’s position well ahead of the U.S. in terms of a nationwide rollout date.

What Could This Mean For Bitcoin?

Phillip Gillespie, the Chief Executive of liquidity provider B2C2 Japan, shared his concerns on what a digital yuan could mean for Bitcoin. He fears it could be one of the biggest risks facing the leading cryptocurrency.

Chinese citizens are already banned from converting yuan to tokens, but many circumvent this by on-ramping using Tether.

But with a digital yuan, the Chinese government has the power to block Tether.

Bitcoin daily chart

Source: BTCUSD on TradingView.com
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A ‘physical’ Litecoin ETF is coming to Germany’s Xetra exchange

ETC Group, a specialist provider of cryptocurrency-backed securities, said it would list the Physical Litecoin exchange-traded product (ELTC) on Deutsche Boerse’s XETRA on Wednesday, as per a release.

It follows on the success of the Group’s Bitcoin product (BTCE), which reached over $1 billion in assets in just seven months since listing, proving the growing demand for products that enable investors to dabble in cryptocurrencies minus the safety and regulatory concerns.

All about the Litecoin ETP

ETPs are listed on a regulated exchange and investors buy them through regulated brokerages. These are some of the most robust ways to trade and invest in cryptocurrencies and can be traded by investors in the same way as traditional equities.

ETC Group’s ELTC is structured as asset-backed debt security issued in Germany and is marketed and distributed by HANetf. It will track the price of Litecoin, allowing investors to—invest in the cryptocurrency in a regulated and safe manner.

The ETP is the first Litecoin product to be listed on Xetra and will be central counterparty cleared (meaning the ETC Group will act as both the buyer and the seller of the ELTC product in the market). It has a management fee of 2%.

“Litecoin has grown by 342% 6 in the past 12 months and is the ninth-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization at $14.6 billion 7 with growing interest from institutional and retail investors. It’s often talked about as the silver to Bitcoin’s gold,” stated Bradley Duke, CEO of ETC Group.

He added:

“In contrast to previous rallies in cryptocurrencies, the current one is the first to be supported by both retail and institutional investors, making this the ideal time to launch ELTC.”

The success of institutional Bitcoin products

Duke noted that the coronavirus-stricken economy and uncertainty have caused investors to increasingly consider investing in the crypto market, as they both offer opportunities for diversification from traditional assets while providing ‘hedging’ against inflation.

It’s a sentiment that has been shared by high-profile investors like Paul Tudor Jones and tech companies like MicroStrategy and Tesla in the past year.

Meanwhile, the Litecoin product is the third crypto ETC from ETP Group. Early April saw the release of the ETC Group Physical Ethereum ETC (ZETH)—it tracked the price of Ethereum—which was the first Ethereum ETP to be listed on the Deutsche Borse.

The launch follows the huge success of ETC Group’s first product, the BTCetc Bitcoin Exchange Traded Crypto (ticker BTCE), which launched on XETRA last June. It has since seen its assets under management grow to over $1 billion in just seven months.

As of press time, the BTCE had a turnover of 925 million on Xetra in February with a market share of 79.4% of the ETN segment of Xetra. It ended up becoming the most traded ETP across the whole of the exchange.

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Ethereum lab ConsenSys raises $65 million from JPMorgan and Mastercard

Ethereum incubator and blockchain technology company ConsenSys today announced the final close of its $65 million round, it said in a release to CryptoSlate.

Raising funds for DeFi

Global financial services firms J.P. Morgan, Mastercard, and UBS invested alongside leading blockchain companies, including Protocol Labs, the Maker Foundation, Fenbushi, The LAO, Alameda Research.

Additional investors include CMT Digital, Greater Bay Area Homeland Development Fund, Quotidian Ventures, and Liberty City Ventures. Several funds invested with Ethereum-based stablecoins, DAI, and USDC, as consideration.

The funds will be used to build decentralized finance (DeFi) and Web3 applications and the various synergies between the two, with ConsenSys focused on commercializing its industry-leading platforms as distribution channels for leading DeFi protocols/

“When we set out to raise a round, it was important to us to patiently construct a diverse cap table, consistent with our belief that similar to how the web developed, the whole economy would join the revolutionaries on a next-generation protocol,” said ConsenSys founder Joseph Lubin in a statement.

He added:

“ConsenSys’ software stack represents access to a new automated objective trust foundation enabled by decentralized protocols like Ethereum.”

Raj Dhamodharan, executive vice president of digital asset at Mastercard, explained why the firm chose to take part in the round, “Enterprise Ethereum is a key infrastructure on which we and our partners are building payment and non-payment applications to power the future of Commerce.”

ConsenSys 101

For the uninitiated, ConsenSys is an integrated Ethereum software company with best-in-class products powering the blockchain developer and financial user experience: Codefi, Diligence, Infura, MetaMask, Truffle, and Quorum. 

This product suite supports both public and private permissioned blockchain networks and will be supporting Layer 2 Ethereum networks and facilitating access to adjacent protocols like IPFS, Filecoin, and others. 

ConsenSys also contributes significantly to Ethereum 2.0. ConsenSys’ products are the primary points of access to Ethereum for developers, enterprises, and consumers, making Web3 more accessible and useful. 

MetaMask, among the most-used ConsenSys products, counts over 3 million monthly active users across mobile and desktop. More than 150,000 developers use Infura’s APIs, and 4.5 million developers create and deploy smart contracts using Truffle. 

Explore all DeFi Coins.

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Bitcoin Price Taps New All-Time High, Analyst Says ‘Fertile Grounds for BTC to Take a Fresh Leg Up’

The price of bitcoin has crossed a new all-time high (ATH) on Tuesday, as the leading crypto asset has jumped to $63,275 per unit during the early morning trading sessions (EST). At the time of publication, the entire market economy with over 9,203 cryptos is valued at $2.153 trillion with $164 billion in global trade volume.

Bitcoin Price Touches New Highs

Bitcoin (BTC) has finally crossed the psychological resistance at the $60k mark and even brushed past the last all-time price high. At around 5 a.m. (EST), bitcoin’s price jumped to a new ATH reaching $63,275 per BTC. At the time of writing, BTC is just under the $63k handle and has a market valuation of around $1.177 trillion today. That’s approximately 54% of the entire $2.153 trillion crypto market economy, while ethereum (ETH) captures 11.9% on Tuesday.

Bitcoin Price Taps New All-Time High, Analyst Says 'Fertile Grounds for BTC to Take a Fresh Leg Up'
Top five crypto asset markets on April 13, 2021.

Ethereum is swapping for $2,225 per ETH and has a market valuation of around $256 billion. The forerunner today is XRP which has gained a whopping 23% during the last day and 66% over the last seven days.

Bitcoin Price Taps New All-Time High, Analyst Says 'Fertile Grounds for BTC to Take a Fresh Leg Up'
Bitstamp BTC/USD markets on April 13, 2021.

XRP is swapping for $1.70 a coin and is just below binance coin (BNB) markets. BNB is exchanging hands for $573 per unit and has a market valuation of around $85 billion. BNB captures over 4% of the entire market capitalization while XRP has around 2.98% today.

Bitcoin Price Taps New All-Time High, Analyst Says 'Fertile Grounds for BTC to Take a Fresh Leg Up'
Deribit ETH/USD markets on April 13, 2021.

In the sixth position is cardano (ADA) which is trading for $1.37 per unit and the seventh position held by polkadot (DOT) is swapping for $41. Uniswap (UNI) has now taken the eighth position and is trading for $34.79 per coin. Litecoin (LTC) and bitcoin cash (BCH) hold the ninth and tenth positions respectively. LTC in the ninth position is swapping for $268 while BCH is trading for $721 per unit.

Delta Exchange CEO: ‘Overall Sentiment Is Still Strong’

Of course, a great number of crypto enthusiasts are very positive about the prices. The CEO of Delta Exchange, Pankaj Balani, is one of those people. In a note to Bitcoin.com News, Balani said “Bitcoin has been consolidating over the last month, while altcoins have hit fresh yearly highs. This is healthy consolidation for Bitcoin given that we have already hit close to 100% YTD return on BTC and the market needed to take a pause. The interest in Alts though, suggests that overall sentiment is still strong,” the Delta Exchange CEO added.

Balani continued:

These are fertile grounds for Bitcoin to take a fresh leg up. We have some resistance around the $60,000 mark but a successful break out here can mean Bitcoin pushing to $65K and looking to challenge the $70-$75K levels. On the other hand, traders are keenly looking at $50K as a crucial level as it acted as strong support during the March Futures expiry pull back.

Bitfinex CTO: ‘The Momentum May Continue’

The CTO of Bitfinex, Paolo Ardoino shares Balani’s optimism and told Bitcoin.com News that even though we have seen some turbulence and retracement BTC still advanced. “The digital token space continues to see tremendous growth and technological advances against a backdrop of increasing institutional adoption and Wall Street’s embrace of blockchain-based businesses. As a result of the growing demand in [decentralized finance (defi)], tokens other than bitcoin are expanding their reach, with select tokens emerging as front runners due to their efficiency and utility,” Ardoino said.

Ardoino further added:

Bitcoin has surged to a new all-time high in a rally that continues to be partly fueled by institutional buyers of the new digital gold. This momentum may continue as increasing numbers of funds and corporations add bitcoin to their investment portfolios. An ongoing pandemic may also be furthering a safe haven narrative for bitcoin, particularly in emerging markets where bitcoin is gaining traction.

While BTC trades at new heights, many people are curious as to where the leading crypto asset is headed. Alex Kuptsikevich, Fxpro senior financial analyst says that the last crypto winter saw infrastructure built and it has paid off.

“At this point, we are witnessing the major players in the traditional market having a warmer attitude towards the major cryptocurrencies,” Kuptsikevich told Bitcoin.com News. “The result will be more and more integration of the asset into the traditional market, but there is still a very troubling question about the attitude of the U.S. regulator about what is happening.”

What do you think about bitcoin touching a new all-time high on Tuesday? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.

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Bitcoin Price To Hit $70,000 by April-End? This Analyst Thinks So

Bitcoin is preparing for a supersonic bull run towards $70,000 in April.

So believes Nick Spanos, co-founder of Zap.org — a decentralized oracle data feed startup. In an email interview, the market analyst said that he sees the bitcoin price higher due to two very supportive developments in the cryptocurrency market.

First, Mr. Spanos noted, the much-publicized direct listing of Coinbase Global Inc. shares on the Nasdaq Stock Market would propel the bitcoin prices upward. The Coinbase stock (Ticker: COIN) would serve as a gateway to more conservative investors to embrace the cryptocurrency and other digital assets.

“The upcoming public debut of Coinbase is particularly exciting to mainstream market investors,” Mr. Spanos told NewsBTC. “They will have a more direct opportunity to buy the shares of a company that plays a central role in Bitcoin and crypto space.”

ETF-ETF

Last, the analyst noted a recent spike in the number of companies seeking a bitcoin-enabled exchange-traded fund approval from the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The agency so far has denied every crypto ETF proposal that came to its table, citing concerns related to regulatory uncertainty and price manipulation.

Nevertheless, many believe that the US might see its first Bitcoin ETF, especially after Gary Gensler’s nomination for the SEC’s chairman position. Mr. Gensler taught courses on cryptocurrencies and appear to be softer on the sector, on the whole, than his predecessor Jay Clayton. Mr. Clayton is notorious for dragging many initial coin offering projects under the SEC’s controversial securities law, including Ripple Labs’ XRP token.

Matt Hougan, the chief investment officer of Bitwise Asset Management, which has sought to launch a Bitcoin ETF, believes the new derivative class could bring a lot more capital into the cryptocurrency market. North America’s first Bitcoin ETF in Canada has already amassed more than $1 billion in assets since its launch in February.

Mr. Spanos built his bullish narrative on a similar narrative, stating that the increasing count of companies seeking an ETF could Bitcoin to a new high of $70,000 by the end of April.

Bitcoin Technical Outlook

Technical indicators also point to a sustained rally towards $70,000 or beyond. One of them is Ascending Triangle, a bullish continuation pattern that is now in the process of logging a breakout move to the upside. The chart below shows the triangle.

Bitcoin shows signs of breaking out of triangle pattern. Source: BTCUSD on TradingView.com
Bitcoin shows signs of breaking out of the triangle pattern. Source: BTCUSD on TradingView.com

Anticipations are high about a breakout move above the Triangle’s upper trendline that would at least send the price to $70,000. Its overall upside target remains at $80,000, equal to the maximum distance between Triangle’s upper and lower trendline.

Photo by Waldemar Brandt on Unsplash