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Cryptomarketing in 2020: successful application of strategies from MLM and the beauty industry
Over the past decade, the crypto-industry has proven to be a unique industry with a specific audience, which requires a no less specific approach. In this regard, in 2020, the advertising activity of crypto companies is significantly different from that to which banks and various financial companies resort. Industry leaders prefer not to rely on traditional online advertising on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. They follow a different path: they work with bloggers (opinion leaders and influencers), rely on MLM marketing referral programs and actively organize various contests and sweepstakes with generous prize pools. The CoinDesk portal claims that crypto marketing this year is strikingly reminiscent of marketing in the beauty industry, and here it is no less effective.
General conceptMichelle Fan, a blogger with a million YouTube subscribers, is using the same techniques to spread skin care life hacks and the idea of financial freedom through bitcoins. Moreover, she assures that the leaders of the crypto industry, like her, use marketing schemes from the beauty industry, even if they themselves do not know about it.
Both areas prefer to use the DTC (Direct to Customer) business scheme, independently creating and then promoting and selling goods / services, working as closely as possible with the community. Sales are built through aggregated retail platforms like Amazon, Etsy and Shopify, or even through accounts in popular social networks.
Industry leaders in developing countries often resort to the latter option, where large sites like Amazon simply don’t work or aren’t popular. For example, Michelle Haber, a bitcoin maximalist from Libya, made it clear in CoinDesk’s comment that social networks and chats are today the most effective way to distribute goods / services in crypto topics. He said that local traders in order to “educate” the audience help buy hardware wallets, selling them through groups on social networks. Buying yourself Trezor or Ledger in another way is often simply impossible.
Work with opinion leadersMichelle Fan is not the only person from the crypto-community who notices the similarities with the beauty industry. So, Maria Paula Fernandez, who actively uses the services of the DeFi sector and is seriously interested in the topic of skin care, gave the CoinDesk portal a similar comment.
She notes that in both cases, society has become accustomed to relying on the opinion of society itself, rather than trusting the views of the world’s leading media. Therefore, in both sectors, the so-called influencers are very popular — opinion leaders and bloggers who disseminate information among their audience on YouTube, Instagram, TikTok and other social networks, receiving a reward for this.
Crypto-companies very often, like firms from the beauty industry, provide their products to opinion leaders for review and further “instruction” of their subscribers. Maria Paula Fernandez does not see anything shameful in this. Observing the experience of bloggers, subscribers begin to acquire a kind of crypto-education and disseminate the information through the word of mouth. Thus, the crypto-community grows.
The most successful bloggers over time can count on sponsorship from one or another crypto company.
For example, the podcaster Marty Bent, whose show is now funded by Unchained Capital and Square, the developer of Cash App, witnessed this scenario. The latter, by the way, in addition to Bent sponsor also podcast Joe Rogan and rapper Lil B.
Many other large companies, including the Kraken exchange, have resorted to this strategy. They are just as interested in sponsoring reputable content creators who promote products among loyal subscribers. The U.S. exchange sponsors the Reckless VR crypto start-up, founded by Udi Wertheimer for crypto-conferences in virtual reality, and the famous podcast Peter McCormack, who launched his own media brand Defiance last year. Having started his career as a hobby, McCormack turned it into a business of his life, thanks to which he earned about $1 million for 2019.
With all this, working with bloggers is a great opportunity to enter foreign markets. This is understood at Crypto.com, where they use opinion leaders to attract the Russian-speaking and Turkish-speaking community. Does this approach give a result? Judge for yourself: over the past six months, the number of startup users has doubled and currently stands at more than 2 million people.
Referral Bonuses and MLM MarketingThe development of products within the community often turns into MLM marketing strategies, which require the presence of referral bonuses and bonuses “in depth” — favorite schemes of cosmetic brands. They use a multi-level reward system for attracting partners, where you can usually get a bonus not only for personally invited, but also for “friends of friends and their friends”. Thus, opinion leaders who distribute crypto products often receive a portion of the funds that people invited by them will pay for the product / service.
The relevance and effectiveness of the trend is confirmed by the fact that these methods are not shy to use not only crypto start-ups, but also top cryptocurrency companies, widely known throughout the industry. A prime example is SatoshiLabs, a company that manufactures and distributes Trezor wallets. The head of communications, Iva Fizerova, confirmed that she is actively resorting to “affiliate marketing” with bloggers as an alternative to paying them for direct advertising.
No less vivid examples are the largest crypto exchanges Binance and Gemini, which managed to succeed not without the help of referral systems copied from the multi-level marketing campaigns Avon and Mary Kay, which they have been using for decades.
Instagram blogger Chjango Unchained has been earning good bonuses for several months running after posting a referral link to Gemini on her profile. When her subscribers register on the exchange and buy cryptocurrencies worth more than $100, she receives $10 in BTC. According to her, she is doing a good deed. The blogger wants people who are interested in her opinion on digital money to start their crypto path on Gemini, and not, for example, on Coinbase, because the latter charges “crazy commissions”.
Referral system bonuses are a typical phenomenon for many crypto companies, and successful bloggers are happy to use this. A prime example is Michael Gu, known by the pseudonym Boxmining. It has been distributing information about digital money since 2012, having gathered an audience of more than 200,000 subscribers on YouTube and more than 3,500 participants in Telegram chat during this time.
Despite the fact that the manufacturer of hardware wallets Ledger does not sponsor its activities, it places referral links in the video descriptions and collects voluntary donations from subscribers. As you might guess, he feels rather well. At the same time, he emphasized that user activity during the coronavirus pandemic is only growing, especially after YouTube began to put sticks in the wheels of the creators of crypto-content.
Gifts, contests and sweepstakesMaking a small gift is a great way to introduce an audience to a new product. In the cryptocurrency market, this has long been relevant.
Coin creators eagerly carry out airdrops and bounty campaigns, allowing the crypto community to test the new coin. A similar approach is popular in the beauty industry. Samplers of perfumes and branded magazines with smells have led many girls to buy full-fledged versions of the fragrance.
In addition to the cryptocurrency developers themselves, a similar approach is also used by cryptocompanies of a different direction, which cannot conduct airdrops due to their technical features (for example, this is true for manufacturers of hardware wallets). Therefore, they organize more classic contests and sweepstakes. For example, they play a wallet for reposting on social networks or videos published on YouTube.
It is noteworthy that cryptobrands in this area are even more active than cosmetics manufacturers. They work not only with trusted bloggers with many subscribers, but also help to become less “untwisted” users. Therefore, they periodically assist them in organizing draws in order to attract subscribers who could potentially become new customers.
Iva Fizerova from SatoshiLabs confirmed that Trezor manufacturers periodically help users attract new followers through the distribution of gifts. Moreover, this approach brings excellent results. By working with the community this way, they have managed to sell hundreds of thousands of wallets. But most importantly, a reputation of the brand has formed around the product, warmly received by the audience. And this effect is so strong that the company simply does not see the point in spending money on traditional expensive advertising.
Most importantly, despite all the problems of 2020, including the coronavirus pandemic, which seriously hit the global economy and, accordingly, people’s wallets, demand for products did not fall. This approach remains effective, while the percentage of successful conversions in traditional advertising has probably decreased. Fizerova noted that over the past three months they have recorded a steady increase in demand for goods. Moreover, they even had to solve delivery problems, if only the buyers got the desired devices in a timely manner.
A similar approach and results are observed with other manufacturers of hardware wallets. Thus, Rodolfo Novak, co-founder of Coinkite, confirmed the growth in demand for products, despite the pandemic. Working with the community is their main marketing strategy, because it really gives results. Over the past three years, they donated about 50 wallets to YouTube reviewers. Novak is proud that their “users help other users.” According to him, this approach allows you to sell products at a lower price, since the cost of goods does not include high costs for familiar marketing campaigns.
Are marketing strategies effective? More thanThe cryptocurrency market relies on marketing strategies that have established themselves in the beauty industry, which in the new field are no less effective. Maximum performance is achieved with a killer combination of all three of the above methods. It’s about when the founders of cryptocompanies themselves become opinion leaders. Just look at Changpen Zhao, the head of Binance, or Justin Sun, the project manager of TRON. Both entrepreneurs are bloggers with a huge army of subscribers and are personally engaged in the promotion of their brands, regularly rewarding their audience with pleasant gifts.
It’s easy to guess why industry leaders rely mainly on this type of marketing. Advertising products in the traditional way is expensive, especially for startups, behind which there are still no attractive products with a good reputation. But more importantly, crypto products are quite complex in themselves, so they often need detailed explanations, which are difficult to implement in the framework of traditional advertising. Agree that selling a bottle of Fanta with a new taste is much easier than a hardware cryptocurrency wallet, especially since most people don’t understand what it is.
On top of that, regular advertising is complicated by the fact that media giants regularly block crypto content.
In such a situation, marketing borrowed from the beauty industry seems to be the most acceptable and most effective option. By focusing their marketing budgets on opinion leaders and working with the community, cryptocompanies achieve the desired result, even taking into account the coronavirus pandemic. The crypto community is getting bigger and stronger every day. But the best part is that this growth cannot be stopped.
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Museum has played the role of a time recorder. Talking about bitcoin, more than ten years has passed since the creation of it. Although it is uncomparable to the stock market with a hundred years of history, during the ten years, in the different stages of the development of bitcoin and blockchain have continuously poured in geeks, miners, speculators, newbies, leaving keywords such as sudden rich, myth, scam, belief, revolution, etc.
There are also many “old objects” with stories in the “Museum” of the cryptocurrency realm. On Museum Day, let ’s review the stories brought by these “old objects”.
The First Digital Currency White Paper — Bitcoin White Paper
On Oct. 31, 2008, Satoshi Nakamoto released the Bitcoin white paper — A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System in the cryptographic mail group where he belongs, and Bitcoin was born since then.
A white paper is a document that explains the purpose and technology used in cryptocurrency. Usually a cryptocurrency uses the white paper to help people understand what it provides, and it is also an important information channel for investors to understand a project. Therefore, the level of the white paper affects people’s confidence towards the coin.
In a word, in the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry, the value of a white paper is equivalent to that of a standard financing speech. The white paper plays a vital role in this emerging market.
The First Public Bitcoin-Physical Transaction — Pizza
Since Satoshi Nakamoto mined the Bitcoin genesis block on January 3, 2009, Bitcoin has only been spread among the small crowd and has not realized its value.
Not until May 22, 2010, Bitcoin enthusiast “Laszlo Hanyecz” bought a pizza coupon worth $25 with 10,000 bitcoins. This is the first public bitcoin-physical transaction. Bitcoin has its price with 0.3 cents per bitcoin.
This day has also become the famous “Bitcoin Pizza Day” in Bitcoin history. Bitcoin as the imagination of the financial system has more practical significance. The tenth anniversary is coming. How will you commemorate it? Will you buy a pizza?
The First Digital Asset Exchange — Bitcoinmarket.com
After the birth of Bitcoin, in addition to mining, the only way to get Bitcoin in the early days was to conduct transactions on forums or IRC (commonly known as Internet Relay Chat). However, this method involves both long transaction time and great security risk.
In March 2010, the first digital asset exchange — Bitcoinmarket.com launched. However, due to lack of liquidity and transaction depth, it disappeared soon after its establishment, but Bitcoinmarket.com opened the era of the operation of the cryptocurrency realm exchange 1.0.
On June 9, 2011, China’s first Bitcoin exchange — Bitcoin China (BTCChina) launched. Its founder, Yang Linke, translated Bitcoin into Chinese “比特币” for the first time. In 2013, China’s bitcoin trading entered the golden age, and exchanges sprung up. China monopolized more than 90% of the world’s bitcoin transactions. Now, if the top three exchanges Binance, Huobi Global, OKEx are the Exchange 2.0, then the index exchange represented by 58COIN called the 3.0 version, leading the trend.
The First Generation of High-Performance Miner — ASIC Miner
When Satoshi Nakamoto created Bitcoin, the only way to get it is to use computers (including home computers) to mine, mainly relying on the CPU to calculate. However, as the value of digital currencies such as Bitcoin has become higher and higher, mining has become an industry with the competition is getting fiercer, accompanied by increasing difficulty of mining. Therefore, hardware performance competition starts.
In July 2012, the genius Jiang Xinyu (Internet nickname is “Friedcat”) from the junior class of the University of Science and Technology declared at the forum that he could make ASIC miners (chips). As far as mining computing power is concerned, ASICs can be tens of thousands or more higher than the same-generation CPUs and GPUs.
At the beginning of 2013, Zhang Nanqian (Pumpkin Zhang), a suspended doctoral student from the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, developed the ASIC miner and named it “Avalon”.
In June 2013, the Friedcat’s miner USB was finally released, and it maintained 20% of the computing power of the entire network.
At the end of 2013, Wu Jihan, used the tens of millions yuan earned from Friedcat through investment, worked together with Jenke group, to develop the Antminer S1. Since then, the miner manufacturer Bitmain began to enter the stage of history.
It is no exaggeration to say that Friedcat and Zhang Nangeng have opened the domestic “mining” era.
The Birthplace of China’s Bitcoin — Garage Coffee
It is not only the “old objects” that record history, but also a place that everyone in the cryptocurrency realm aspires to.
Guo Hongcai once said, “Without no The Garage Café, there will be no cryptocurrency realm today. Since it is a very mysterious place that all waves of people from the café joint together to create today’s digital asset industry.
▲ In March 2013, American student Jake Smith successfully purchased a cup of coffee at The Garage Café with 0.131 bitcoins. This move attracted the attention of CCTV, and it conducted an interview.
Indeed, The Garage Café is the world ’s first entrepreneurial-themed coffee shop. It has been legendary since its establishment in 2011. The Garage Cafét is not only the core coordinate on China’s Bitcoin map, but also the birthplace of the Chinese cryptocurrency circle, where digital asset realm tycoons including Guo Hongcai, Zhao Dong, Li Xiaolai, Li Lin have made their ways.
The development of digital currency is only 11 years old. Through these “old objects”, we review the various stories of this wave of technology together, hoping to help you understand the development process of the digital currency field. Meanwhile, I also remind all practitioners to use history as a mirror and forge ahead.
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Changpeng Zhao Also Thinks The Recession Would Soar Bitcoin’s Market Capitalization To $2 Trillion
The crypto world fell under the hits of the global economic downturn, due to the recent COVID-19 outbreak. While the stock market wiped almost 40% of its gains, many saw Bitcoin to be a safe haven asset in times of global crisis.
However, the world’s largest cryptocurrency to date failed to stand up to the beliefs of a significant portion of the crypto sector, falling to sub-$4,000 levels, before regaining some of its momentum. Despite the recent rallies, the 30% drop, leading to massive sell-offs, led to lowered trading volumes and market capitalization.
Now, amid Coronavirus outbreak and the U.S. Federal Reserve’s plans for close to $6 trillion stimulus issuance, the financial world may see vast inflation. The Federal Reserve, as well as the national banks of most of the COVID-19-affected countries, plan to print colossal amounts of cash and inject them into the economy. During the havoc, crypto bulls are stepping up their game. Some of them even predicted Bitcoin to hit $100,000 per coin.
One of the most notorious Bitcoin bulls, Binance’s CEO Changpeng Zhao, made another bullish statement on Twitter. He noted that “when speaking in trillions, a modest prediction of $2 trillion market capitalization would mean Bitcoin’s price will be $100,000 per BTC.
Zhao’s predictions come amid the U.S. Senate giving its approval to distribute $2 trillion in relief packages to U.S. citizens affected by the virus outbreak. The stimulus package is by far the most significant rescue deal in the history of the United States.
However, most of the Bitcoin bullishness comes from the long-awaited Bitcoin halving, scheduled for May. The halving process means the reward Bitcoin miners get from mining a block would be cut in half.
„Most of us agree on the fact that the moves by the U.S. Federal Reserve would drive increased inflation so that Bitcoin may become a hedge against the depreciation of the U.S. Dollar. The halving process and the current global financial situation may drive a drastic positive impact on Bitcoin, as well as on the entire crypto sector in the medium and long-term timeframes.” eToro market analyst Simon Peters stated.
Meanwhile, the crypto mining community awaits Bitcoin’s halving. The reward for mining a block would fall from 12,5 to 6.25 BTC, which cuts the new Bitcoin supply. A halving occurs once every four years, with previous events in 2012 and 2016. The ultimate goal is to reduce the mining price until Bitcoin reaches its maximum coin supply of 21 million BTC. However, Bitcoin won’t reach 21 million BTC in circulation at least for 100 years ahead.
CoinCorner’s CEO Danny Scott commented on the possible trends in front of Bitcoin, citing that “Bitcoin received a massive positive push in the months after a halvening, which now may be boosted by the current COVID-19 disease.”
“Despite the halvening, the COVID-19 crisis led to massive sell-offs for fiat cash, which caused liquidity crisis and global market drops. Even gold lost some of its momentum.” Scott concluded.
Bitcoinssubmitted by stealthaccshop to u/stealthaccshop [link] [comments]
Bitcoins (BTC) the most valuable and talked about cryptocurrency is a digital floating exchange that is most used actively on trades of exchanges.
Launched in 2009, it is considered to be a digital firm which has grown wildly over the past years, used mostly for online purchases and an investment There are numerous trading platforms and online exchanges that let you trade bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
But the main thing you have to beware of is trading costs, platform security, and reputation/trust of the bitcoins suppliers.
Which place is safe to buy this Bitcoins?
Bitcoins, not sponsored by any government. Instead of, you can buy bitcoins from bitcoins mining community or else you can also buy them with dollars or nearly any other currency.
As noted, there are few places where you can safely buy this bitcoins
Coinbase is the largest and most reputed Bitcoin platform functioning in the United States. It is one of the easiest places to start with Bitcoin which offers both an exchange and wallet in one choice. It supports Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum and Litecoin.
Once you sign up and connect your bank account, you can easily transfer funds in and out of your account and convert them to Bitcoin and back to dollars at will. You can access it through both the Web app or mobile app. It utilizes two-factor authentication and keeps redundant digital and paper backups of data “in safe deposit boxes and vaults around the world.
Coinmama has more than one million customers in 188 countries and it functions as a all-in-one exchange and digital wallet that makes it easy to buy Bitcoin and a limited list of additional currencies in the U.S. Dollars or Euros. It has no mobile app, but the website is very high quality \
Robinhood initially started as a fee-free stock brokerage and recently expanded into the world of digital currencies. From February 2018, you can buy and sell Bitcoin and other digital currencies completely fee-free on this platform. It supports Bitcoin and Ethereum trades and market data for another 15 currencies. Started its operation in mobile first and recently it added a Web version, so it is best for people comfortable managing money from their phone or tablet.
Binance supports a wide range of digital currencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum and its own Binance Coin (BNB). It offers a wide option to trade coins into multiple currencies and supports digital currencies, including EOS, Skycoin, TRON, ICON, Ethereum Classic, Litecoin, Ripple, Stellar Lumens, Bitcoin Cash, plus a bunch of cryptocurrencies. But noted, there are also some bugs reported with this Android mobile app and some users have reported delays withdrawing certain currencies
CoinExchange is another low-cost exchange platform as it offers a huge number of coins on its platform, perhaps the biggest lists of coins supported by any platform on this list. On this platform the website looks simple, it comes to the point of security, it is robust and has long-term support for currencies on this platform.
Coinbase Pro (formerly known as GDAX) looks familiar to those who use Bloomberg terminals or active stock, commodity and option trading platforms. Because GDAX is now part of Coinbase, funds are safe and insured, and the majority of coins are stored in physical form offline to prevent theft.
Square cash is another mobile app, here you can buy and sell Bitcoin with no fees. Buying and selling free puts this Cash app near the top of the places to buy Bitcoin list. Unlike some digital wallets, you don’t hold your Bitcoin outside of Square, it is held in your Square Cash account on your behalf to sell or withdraw. But if you do want to send your coins to another wallet, Square does offer that feature.
LocalBitcoins was founded in june 2012 and has set its marketplace from Helsinki, Finland. The site uses an escrow system, and the transfer of bitcoin is made after funds are received in the sellers account. The site is suggested for casual traders seeking more privacy.
Paxful is very popular in the cryptocurrency space. In this platform, you can start immediately with a digital wallet and also you are allowed to buy or sell hassle-free bitcoins. It has both the functions of a website and the mobile apps.
Which Is The Correct Time To Buy Bitcoins?
To Find out the right time to purchase bitcoins, make use of tools like Bitcoin Wisdom or Cryptowatch.
It has a metrics chart which analyse with the other Bitcoin trading sites. These charts will help you understand Bitcoin’s price history across the many global Bitcoin exchanges.
#bestplacetobuybitcoin #bitcoinaccount #bitcoinlogin #bitcoinwallet #Bitcoins #Buybitcoin #cryptocurrency #digitalcurrency #paperlesscurrency #paperlessmoney #ethereum #ethereumwallet
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Ripple cryptocurrency was developed in 2012 by Ripple Labs and is a decentralized protocol based on a consensus registry. The main advantage over other cryptocurrencies is low cost of transactions, low fees and high bandwidth. Another feature - coins paid as a fee are burned, so that the volume of Ripple is gradually reduced.
Trading strategiesThe exchange rate of Ripple correlates with the rate of other cryptocurrencies weakly, in particular with the rate of Bitcoin, which significantly affects the dynamics of altcoins price. Ripple is suitable for long-term investment, because it is based on an idea that can be used in the financial environment. You just need to choose a good time to buy.
Trend indicators such as MACD, Bollinger Bands, and RSI can handle this task. These trading indicators can be found on the Tradingview charts, which are integrated into the Trade-mate.io service, providing tools for automatic cryptocurrency trading. In your personal cabinet you can trade Ripple on three trading platforms at once: Binance, BitMEX and Poloniex. In addition to autotrade, the service provides smart trade and panic sell functions for instant sale of cryptocurrencies on all exchanges at once. Smart trade allows you to set up trailing stops to increase profit when trading.
In short-term trading, popular technical indicators and TA figures work well. Due to the low correlation with other cryptocurrencies, Ripple can be used as an asset hedging tool. The figure shows that the “Double bottom” figure worked well.
LifehackRipple system protocol is widely used in the banking sector, so it is used for cross-border payments and currency exchange. National banks are integrating the protocol to ensure payment security. Regular news about a partnership with another large bank may provoke a rise in the Ripple rate.
Ariel Ling, co-founder and COO of BitMax, has shared her thoughts on the current state of digital assets and what to expect in the next years, what retail investor should take into account when buying any cryptocurrencie and the key factors that drive the value of the token/coin.submitted by BitMax_Support to BitMax [link] [comments]
Ariel Ling, BitMax COO
Why, when and how have you started your crypto journey?
I started my crypto journey at the beginning of 2018 when my long-time friend, the co-founder and CEO of BitMax.io, Dr. George Cao “pulled” me out of the traditional Wall Street and asked me to join him in launching this exciting venture. Three main drivers are 1) to learn more about blockchain technology and its transformational applications in different industries; 2) to leverage in-depth traditional finance expertise to improve overall crypto trading and exchange market structure for better efficiency and transparency; 3) to have a chance to work with a talented and driven team who share similar vision, passion and conviction to build a top global digital asset trading platform as well as a wonderful organization from good to great!
If your friend will ask you: should I consider cryptocurrencies as investment opportunity? What will be your answer? Will you recommend any specific digital asset?
Coming from traditional finance perspective, I would explain my thoughts process from three angles — 1) types of crypto or digital assets as the foundation for understanding; 2) whether they, are more for short-term trading or mid-term investment 2) what are elements for investment valuation and decision-making so our friends can assess and make decision for themselves.
First, in general there are three types of digital assets:
Second: is digital asset good for trading or investment? due to the nascent nature and very short history of market development with most of retail investors’ participation and lack of proper regulatory framework globally, there are quite some market manipulation, speculation and fraud activities in the current market, causing significant volatility and investors loss across all types within very short period of time. This made it very hard for any investors to assess the real valuation and momentum drivers behind those large swings. So at this point, I would think with its high volatility and risk, digital asset in general is more of very short-term trading product than investment vehicle. From liquidity perspective, major currency/coin-type will have more market depth across exchanges, hence more suitable for short-term trading-focused strategies.
Third, from traditional investment perspective, it is critical to assess digital asset investing from valuation and fundamental perspectives, such as business model, future growth, economic return vs. person’s risk tolerance and investment objectives. For major coins, especially Bitcoin itself with its longest history among all the digital assets, have started to provide certain payment function similar to fiat currencies in certain countries. Hence, there are more interesting dynamics to the Bitcoin investing based on one’s view of Bitcoin usage over mid-term horizon and the relative valuation vs its production (mining cost) especially with the price down to 3,500–3,650 USD. For security-type or utility tokens, the performance over short-to-medium term really comes down to combination of intrinsic value of underlying blockchain projects and token economics. Similar to Internet in 1990s, blockchain technology projects are still at the early stage of development and looking for meaningful and applicable use cases to bring real economic benefit from the economics and business model perspective, so it becomes very difficult to apply traditional finance valuation and assess the real intrinsic value of those projects. Recent market crash has brought many of those tokens down to near zero value. So the investment in those tokens are extremely high risk and everyone should be really careful and prudent in the evaluation of any specific projects for the decision-making and risk protection.
What is the story behind BitMax? Who are the foundefounders? When it was founded?
Q1 2018, Dr. George Cao and I founded Global Digital Mercantile (GDM), global operator of digital asset platforms, including BitMax.io based on Singapore for overseas markets and North America’s trading platform aiming for the first half of 2019. BitMax.io started public beta testing mid July, 2018, and was officially launched later mid August. On November 18th , we launched our mining mechanism, the industry very first transaction-mining & reverse-mining mechanism, which has made us the industry leading third-generation cryptocurrency exchange — after first generation of traditional exchanges like Binance, Gemini, Coinbase, etc. and 2nd generation of transaction-mining ones like FCoin, Bitthumb, etc.
Just a quick introduction of my partner. Dr. Cao studied Computer Science in the University of Science and Technology of China, and earned his PhD degree from the University of Chicago. Dr. Cao was the Founder and the Chief Investment Officer of Delpha Capital Management, LLC., New York, specializing in trading equity, ETFs and commodity future products in all major exchanges across the globe. He is also the founder and managing partner of Whitestone Investment Group, a New York based venture fund that invests in a large variety of startup companies that are in the high tech, fintech, big data and medical area. Before founding Delpha Capital, Mr. Cao worked at the Equity Division of Barclays Capital in both the New York and London offices. During that period, he oversaw equity electronic trading in the U.S., European and Asian markets. Prior to Barclays, he researched and traded U.S. equity as a Portfolio Manager at Knight Capital Group.
For me, I have built more than 18-year extensive experience in strategic planning, business development, financial risk management and regulatory implementation across major trading asset classes (Equity, FX, and Fixed Income) at several top global banks. Previous to jumping into digital asset trading, I ran USD liquidity and investment product for top financial institutions and corporate clients at tier-one global investment bank. Before that, I ran US Broker Dealer as COO and head of Business Development for Germany 2nd largest bank. Earlier from 2007 to 2012, I was global equity trading COO across Lehman Brothers and Barclays Capital, building out trading franchise and market making businesses globally. I have four degrees — graduated top of class from Nankai University with two Bachelor degrees in Finance and English Literature and got my MBA from NYU and Master of Mass Communication from University of Georgia.
Where is Bitmax located? Are you a distributed team or do you have an office to work together? How many people work for Bitmax?
Our global team of 50 members are based off two main location — New York with 20 members, including all the founding members, and Beijing with 30 members.
Would you be so kind to introduce briefly the core team members?
Both George and I are very proud of our 10-member founding team. Similar to us, they are all from Wall Street top firms like Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Bloomberg, and top high-frequency hedge funds with deep experience in the fields of financial engineering research and development of large-scale quant trading infrastructure. Our educational background span across multiple prestigious institutions including Columbia University, University of Chicago, Carnegie Mellon University, and New York University in the United States, as well as Peking University and Tsinghua University in China. So one special thing about BitMax.io is that very few exchanges in the crypto trading space are built by solid team like ours with strong traditional finance mindset and trading background.
You’ve started BitMax during market downtrend in pretty competitive environment. What is your value proposition? Why traders should switch to BitMax?
I think BitMax.io is actually very special in this market, and our team is very proud of what we have built in the short period of six months. There are at least three reasons I think traders should chooseBitMax.io:
Second, our quant-driven tech platform. Our development members were all from high frequency and quantitative systematic trading shops. They definitely make sure the platform was resilient and it can actually handle billions of volume during the design and build. The platform resilience and scalability were fully being tested when we launched the transaction mining and reverse-mining. The first day, we actually had, within the first 24 hours, the trading volume of 1.6 billion in notional; and our system didn’t flinch, didn’t slow down, and didn’t shut down. This is very rare in any of today’s exchanges where you can frequently see the slowdown, the crash, and very slow user responses, especially with transaction mining exchanges.
Third, what we are extremely proud of and all the users can see, is our 24/7 customer services built upon the core Wall Street client-centric concept. Besides our customer support team who never sleep, George actually stands behind the platform almost 24/7 answering questions from the customers, seeking solutions for their issues, and providing the most responsive customer service for the entire crypto trading space.
BitMax CEO, George Cao, is often seen in official Telegram group answering different questions.
We constantly remind our team: customer first. When we design a product, when we launch a system, and when we look at user needs, we all look from customers’ perspective, from how we can protect the users. When we look at primary listing, we only select the high-quality projects because we want our users to have the best investment and trading experience on BitMax.io.
Are you satisfied with the current results of BitMax? Is transaction mining model giving expected volume? What is the % of traders using this model?
We are very pleased with current business development and delivery results from client acquisition and trading perspectives.
On the business development side, we completed the global setup for both 50-member team organization and comprehensive legal entity structure from Asia to North Americas in 2018, which laid down foundation and paved way for 2019 business expansion especially with US.
Since our platform launch in mid Aug, we successfully started Industry FIRST transaction mining and reverse-mining exchange and built out the most active global communities and users within four months in the bear market, with registered users more than 95k; average daily active traders more than quadrupled since the start of transaction mining; average daily trading volume of $465mm through the month of January and February in 2019. Those are extremely promising under this tough market condition.
From the composition of trading volumes, there are two parts — transaction mining which grows exponentially; second is organic, the regular trading which has experienced healthy increase as well because of all the listing activities and all the incentives we have. The regular trading takes about 5% of total trading volume, which is very good for an exchange which was launched in August and running right into the bear market.
What are the key factors that drive the value of the token/coin?
From traditional finance /investment view token economics is really a balance act between business / economic model and exchange market force, driven by three factors: intrinsic value and sustainability, supply and demand, and liquidity and depth.
First, from a traditional finance perspective, we need to look at the intrinsic value, the economic valuation behind a project. How does this project make money? Do they really have fundamentals? Do they really have a viable business model? Do they really have a solid user base for future growth? For example, our exchange business model is very simple. We are exchange; People trade on our platform. The more they trade, the more transaction fee the exchange collect — the revenue source. The exchange will last when people keep trading on the platform and the transaction revenue generated covers the operating cost of running an exchange.
Second, it is the supply and demand of token on the market — who will buy and for what purpose; who will sell and under what scenarios. For major currency coins like Bitcoin, people might buy and sell for potential investment or use in actual payment processing. For other types of token, it is more driven by short-term trading pattern and profit taking. So it is extremely important to set up certain token mechanism to support the equilibrium of supply and demand like how Central Banks manage the supply of currency in circulation through monetary policies.
Third, when the market force comes in, it comes down to the liquidity and depth. Exchange is about liquidity and market depth. That means there has to be enough of trading volumes at each pricing level for each token. For BitMax.io, we have very sophisticated market making model that is similar to Designated Market Maker model of New York Stock Exchange. We focus on providing liquidity and maintaining a fair and orderly market for those token listings who agree to engage our market making services.
Every exchange is looking for good projects in order to become a premiere market for this new asset. Can you name some projects that impressed you recently (even if you are not discussing possible listing with them)?
BitMax.io has strict listing requirements in order to identify high-quality projects for our users. Very proud that we have listed five industry star projects in the last several weeks, with more in the pipeline. All of them have the following attributes that made them successful — viable and profitable business model, growing user bases, strong community support, and comprehensive funding sources.
One of the shining examples is European project named LTO Network listed mid Jan. Its price has been steadily rising since then, as more and more people get to know their business model and more project support comes into the market place to buy the tokens — It uses blockchain technology to streamline a lot of legal processing for one of EU governments, which is very easy to understand its economic value from a revenue perspective. This is simply what people need to see eventually, clean and clear from business economic model perspective.
Let’s imagine a crypto market in 5 or 10 years. Can you make any prediction what the market will look like? What customers will expect from exchange in 5–10 years?
Based off my long-time experience in traditional trading, especially how equity market evolved last twenty years, I would imagine maturing market structure and entrance of institutional investors are key mandatory and healthy development of digital asset market.
First, As the market develops and expands globally, traditional institution participation is a must, in order to upgrade and strengthen the overall market structure and maturity, making it more transparent and resilient, and most importantly enabling the real broad-base adoption of digital assets. Most institutional investors, such as mutual fund, pension fund and other financial institutions, hold the majority of world investment assets, not individual retail investors. Only when those big guys join the market, will there be real revolutionary improvement and expansion of the digital asset just like any other financial markets.
Second, I would expect the market to become more structured with major building blocks for transparent trade life cycle processing and separate risk analytics supporting services. Current crypto trading market is very fragmented with exchanges taking on different roles of trading, wallet management, custodian, etc. Also the lack of clear and consistence regulation on market structure has led to many aspects of market inefficiency — inconsistent liquidity and depth, wide spread, high transaction cost, high volatility, speculation, etc. This definitely hampers the broader adoption of digital assets from institutional investors.
Forward looking, multi-tier structure under some level of regulatory framework with clear guidance is required for future maturing market. Similar to security market, there should be at least three layers of different and independent roles: the role of broker dealer to handle the client relationship with good KYC/ AML processes, retail clients, other financial institutions, blockchain players and to take client order as agent or dealer; the role of exchange to focus on listing and trading — liquidity provision and order matching; the role of clearing house to provide clearing and settlement and custodian on custody of assets with proper control and independence. It is very clean and clear with good check and balance in place.
What are the key challenges for 2019?
During our 2018 business planning, we clearly view 2019 to continue being full of challenges with market uncertainty from both asset price and valuation as well as regulatory development globally. In prep for that and further growth of our platform, we have laid out the following four main strategic objectives and they are all well underway:
With current market crash or correction, there are two possibilities from trading perspective — recovery depending on whether this is a V down or U curve. The U curve occurs when the market collapses, it takes a longer time for market to find the bottom and struggle to rise up. The V down is like a quick collapse — dropping down very fast and reaching the bottom, and then, with some catalyst event, either catalyst from market structure, or catalyst from the market expansion itself, suddenly it gives a boost and bounces right back up.
For market recovery, besides all the investment and economics elements I’ve discussed above, I believe one critical factor is the regulatory development especially clear guidance from key regulatory bodies of those major financial markets such as US, UK, EU, etc. on those key building blocks I mentioned in the maturing market structure. Once those in place, more traditional institutional investors will be ready to get in and hence boost the liquidity and valuation of the digital assets. That is the new beginning of digital assets being accepted as part of Main Street investment globally.
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What is Zcoin?
Zcoin, also referred to as XZC or Zerocoin, is an open source decentralized cryptocurrency that provides privacy and anonymity for its users when making transactions.
To achieve its privacy and anonymity, Zcoin uses zero-knowledge proofs via the Zerocoin protocol, which is at this moment in time one of the most cited cryptography papers.
According to Wikipedia, in cryptography, a zero-knowledge proof or zero-knowledge protocol is a method in which one party proves to another party (the verifier) that a given statement is actually true.
In other words, in a transaction with Bitcoin or Ethereum or something similar, your transaction history is always linked to your coins by default, leaving you vulnerable. All it takes is one link to your personal information or IP to find out the origin of the coins.
However, when you trade with Zcoin’s Zercoin feature, your transaction history is not linked to the actual coins. Only the receiver and sender know that the funds have actually been exchanged.
How Does Zcoin Work?Zcoin works on the Zerocoin protocol by enforcing Zero-knowledge proofs. Here are the components of Zcoin to explain how it works.
Mint: When sending a private transaction with Zcoin, all you need to do is select the number of coins you want to mint. Post that your normal Zcoin balance would reduce automatically and you will be credited with new coins and no transaction history. In essence, your old coins are burned cryptographically, which prevents anyone else from using them again and being directed to your transaction history. You get credited with new coins with no history, while the total supply is maintained.
For now, you can only mint in denominations of 1, 10, 25, 50 and 100. If you choose ‘100’ coins to be minted, for instance, you will instantly be credited with 100 new Zcoins with no history attached to them.
Zcoin’s VisionZcoin seeks to improve things that Bitcoin hasn’t been able to so far, some of which include fungibility, privacy and miner’s centralization.
Users of Zcoin can enjoy full fungibility and privacy along with demolishing miner’s centralization by implementing a better proof of work algorithm called MTP.
Total Zcoin supply
Only 21 million units of Zcoin will ever be produced. Currently, there are about 3.4 million units in circulation, with the rest yet to be mined.
But the total supply has increased by 388450 XZC units after a Zcoin code bug, which the team refused to roll back due to economic reasons, which is why the total supply stands at approximately 21.4 million.
Every 10 minutes, a Zcoin block is mined and 50 coins are generated, making 72,000 Zcoins per day.
Market cap of Zcoin
According to CoinMarketCap, the total circulating supply of Zcoin is 5,757,841 XZC and the current unit price is $9.6. That makes the market cap approximately $55 million*.*
How To Buy Zcoin CryptocurrencyIf you are looking to get some Zcoin, here is a list of resources where it can be bought from.
Zcash is a decentralized and open-source peer-to-peer cryptocurrency that provides strong privacy protections. It was created as a fork of Bitcoin and, like bitcoin, it also has a hard limit of 21 million coins. Unlike bitcoin, however, Zcash offers total privacy for its users maintaining the absolute anonymity behind each transaction along with the parties and the amounts involved in it.
PIVX, which stands for Private Instant Verified Transaction, is an open-source, decentralized form of digital online money that uses blockchain technology. This makes it easy to transfer all around the world in an instant with low transaction fees with market leading security & privacy. PIVX focuses on privacy, security, anonymity, and instant transactions.
Monero is a fast, private, secure and untraceable digital currency system that uses a special kind of cryptography to keep all its transactions 100% unlinkable and untraceable. With Monero, you are your own bank. You can spend safely, knowing that others cannot see your balances or track your activity.
Some Zcoin misconceptions
There are some misconceptions regarding Zcoin:
Zcoin’s Future & RoadmapZcoin’s future is quite promising and worth watching based on these interesting milestones on their roadmap:
Zcoin Team & ProgressZerocoin is a cryptocurrency proposed by professor Matthew D. Green, a professor of Johns Hopkins University, and graduate students Ian Miers and Christina Garman. It was proposed as an extension to the Bitcoin protocol that would add true cryptographic anonymity to Bitcoin transactions.
Zerocoin was first implemented into a fully functional cryptocurrency and released to the public by Poramin Insom, the lead developer, as Zcoin in September 2016.
Some of the notable dev members of the team are listed below.
Founder and Core Developer
Poramin Insom created what was the world's 4th most valuable cryptocurrency in February 2014. He is also the world's first person to implement stealth addresses in QT-Wallets, improving cryptocurrency anonymity. He earned a master’s degree in Information Security from Johns Hopkins University, where he wrote a paper on a proposed practical implementation of the Zerocoin protocol.
Alexander N. aka Aizensou is a full-stack developer who has experience in many programming languages (C++, C#, Python, Perl, Java etc.) and has been involved in the cryptocurrency space since 2013. He has a broad development portfolio from low level APIs in Python and C++ to Android native applications in Java. In addition to his involvement in cryptocurrencies, Alexander was doing his P.h.D. in machine learning at a German university from 2012 to 2016.
Saran Siriphantnon is the CTO of Satang.co/Satoshift, a fintech company focusing on creating an open financial system for Southeast Asia. He served as President of the Computer System Administrator Group at King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Ladkrabang.
Tadhg Riordan is a 24 year old Software Developer from Wexford, Ireland. He recently completed his MSc from Trinity College Dublin, where he worked with Blockchain privacy mechanisms, focusing particularly on Zero-Knowledge Proofs and the Ethereum platform. He is a strong advocate for the adoption of cryptocurrency and for complete financial privacy.
Apart from these, their team comprises of other developers, community managers, support personnel and advisors who maintain the required balance.
Advisors:Aram Jivanyan (Cryptography Advisor): Co-Founder at Skycryptor & KMSchai
Torphop Korgtadam (It Security Consultant): Senior Vice President, Head Of Internal Audit Strategy, Innovation and Decision Science at United Overseas Bank Limited
Alexander N. aka Aizensou (Advisor)
Unique/Key Features Against Its Competitors:
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Asset Manager Stone Ridge Files SEC Prospectus For Bitcoin Futures Fund Another Bitcoin futures product is booting up, according to a Stone Ridge Asset Management filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The company filed a prospectus for a cash-settled Bitcoin futures fund — dubbed the NYDIG Bitcoin Strategy Fund — with the regulator on Wednesday, Oct 2. Based in New York City, Stone Ridge has some $15 billion in assets under management, serving clientele in both the United States and China. Founded in 2012, the firm offers portfolio management and advisory services.
Bithumb Looking To Build A Regulated Bitcoin Exchange In India Bithumb Global is looking to build a regulated Bitcoin exchange in India, the South Korea-based cryptocurrency exchange said. Bithumb Global will engage with Indian regulators to build the exchange, it said, even as the Supreme Court is hearing a case where Bitcoin operators have questioned a move by the Reserve Bank of India to restrict banking channels for virtual currency transactions. A government panel has also recommended a ban on cryptocurrency trade in the country. The company is looking to expand in India by partnering with local cryptocurrency exchanges, fund Indian cryptocurrency startups, and introduce new initiatives for Indian traders, said co-founder and managing director Javier Sim.
US State Of Ohio Suspends Service For Paying Taxes With Bitcoin Ohio Treasurer Robert Sprague announced the immediate suspension of the OhioCrypto.com website that allows businesses to pay taxes with Bitcoin (BTC). In an Oct. 2 press release, Sprague announced that according to an internal review, approval by the Board of Deposit was required before Ohio launched the website that allowed businesses to pay taxes with digital currencies. Furthermore, the State Board of Deposit has asked Attorney General Dave Yost to further research the legalities of how the crypto portal was set up and whether BitPay, the third-party processor that powered the service, constituted a “financial transaction device.”
Libra Association Publishes Roadmap; Expects 100 Partners To Run Libra Nodes The Libra Association has published its first roadmap detailing the milestones the Calibra team plans to meet prior to the mainnet launch of Libra network. For the first milestone, the Libra Association expects to bring on five partners deploying full nodes on the network. By the launch of the Libra mainnet at milestone four,, the Libra Association expects 100 partners to run Libra nodes. According to the Libra Association, “one method we use for tracking the project’s success is how many of the deployed nodes are managed by different partners.” The Libra Association notes that each Libra node will “run on a mixture of on-premises and cloud hosted infrastructure” adding that “wider diversity of infrastructure will provide more resiliency to the Libra network.”
Encrypted project calendar（October 03, 2019）
ETC/Ethereum Classic: The 2019 Ether Classic (ETC) Summit will be held in Vancouver on October 3–4 ANT/Aragon: Aragon (ANT) is the AGP for the new mandatory community review period, with a deadline of October 3.
Encrypted project calendar（October 04, 2019）
KNC/Kyber Network: Kyber Network (KNC) will update the maxGasPrice parameter in the Kyber Network contract from 100 gwei to 50 gwei within 2 weeks after October 4.
Encrypted project calendar（October 05, 2019）
Ontology (ONT): Ony Ji will attend the blockchain event in Japan on October 5th and explain the practical application based on the ontology network. BNB/Binance Coin: The Binance Coin (BNB) Oasis Game Hackathon will be held on October 5th in Bangalore, India, and will be hosted by Binance Labs, Matic Network, Cocos-BCX, Celer Network, Marlin Protocol.
Encrypted project calendar（October 06, 2019）
SPND/ Spendcoin: Spendcoin (SPND) will be online on October 6th
Encrypted project calendar（October 07, 2019）
GNO/Gnosis: Gnosis (GNO) will discuss the topic “Decentralized Trading Agreement Based on Ethereum” will be held in Osaka, Japan on October 7th. Kyber and Uniswap, Gnosis and Loopring will attend and give speeches.
Encrypted project calendar（October 08, 2019）
BTC/Bitcoin: The 2nd Global Digital Mining Summit will be held in Frankfurt, Germany from October 8th to 10th.
Encrypted project calendar（October 09, 2019）
CENNZ/Centrality: Centrality (CENNZ) will meet in InsurTechNZ Connect — Insurance and Blockchain on October 9th in Auckland.
Encrypted project calendar（October 10, 2019）
INB/Insight Chain: The Insight Chain (INB) INB public blockchain main network will be launched on October 10. VET/Vechain: VeChain (VET) will attend the BLOCKWALKS Blockchain Europe Conference on October 10. CAPP/Cappasity: Cappasity (CAPP) Cappasity will be present at the Osaka Global Innovation Forum in Osaka (October 10–11).
Encrypted project calendar（October 11, 2019）
OKB/OKB: OKB (OKB) OKEx series of talks will be held in Istanbul on October 11th to discuss “the rise of the Turkish blockchain.”
Encrypted project calendar（October 12, 2019）
BTC/Bitcoin: The 2019 Global Mining Leaders Summit will be held in Chengdu, China from October 12th to 14th.
Encrypted project calendar（October 14, 2019）
BCH/Bitcoin Cash: The ChainPoint 19 conference will be held in Armenia from October 14th to 15th.
Encrypted project calendar（October 15, 2019）
RUFF/RUFF Token: Ruff will end the three-month early bird program on October 15th KAT/Kambria: Kambria (KAT) exchanges ERC20 KAT for a 10% bonus on BEP2 KAT-7BB, and the token exchange reward will end on October 15. BTC/Bitcoin: The Blockchain Technology Investment Summit (CIS) will be held in Los Angeles from October 15th to 16th.
Encrypted project calendar（October 16, 2019）
BTC/Bitcoin: The 2019 Blockchain Life Summit will be held in Moscow, Russia from October 16th to 17th. MIOTA/IOTA: IOTA (MIOTA) IOTA will host a community event on the theme of “Technology Problem Solving and Testing IoT Devices” at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles on October 16. ETH/Ethereum: Ethereum launches Istanbul (Istanbul) main network upgrade, this main network upgrade involves 6 code upgrades. QTUM/Qtum: Qtum (QTUM) Qtum main network hard fork is scheduled for October 16.
Encrypted project calendar（October 18, 2019）
BTC/Bitcoin: The SEC will give a pass on the VanEck/SolidX ETF on October 18th and make a final decision HB/HeartBout: HeartBout (HB) will officially release the Android version of the HeartBout app on October 18.
Encrypted project calendar（October 19, 2019）
PI/PCHAIN Network: The PCHAIN (PI) backbone (Phase 5, 82 nodes, 164, 023, 802 $ PI, 7 candidates) will begin on October 19. LINK/ChainLink: Diffusion 2019 will be held in Berlin, Germany from October 19th to 20th
Encrypted project calendar（October 21, 2019）
KNC/Kyber Network: The official online hackathon of the Kyber Network (KNC) project will end on October 21st, with more than $42,000 in prize money.
After bitcoin failed near the $8,500 resistance, there was a downside correction against the US Dollar. The BTC/USD traded below the $8,400 and $8,300 levels. Moreover, there was a break below the $8,200 level. However, the 100 hourly simple moving average acted as a support and a low was formed near $8,175. Recently, the price started a fresh increase and traded above the $8,300 level.
There was a break above the 50% Fib retracement level of the last decline from the $8,536 high to $8,175 low. The price climbed above the $8,350 level and tested the $8,400 resistance. It seems like the 61.8% Fib retracement level of the last decline from the $8,536 high to $8,175 low is currently acting as a resistance. If there is an upside break above $8,400, the price is likely to retest $8,500.
If the bulls manage to surpass the $8,500 barrier, there are chances of more upsides. The next stop for them could be near the $8,800 level. The next key resistance area is near the $9,000 level. On the downside, there is a decent support forming near the $8,250 and $8,200 levels. Moreover, there is a new connecting bullish trend line forming with support near $8,300 on the hourly chart of the BTC/USD pair.
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News by Coindesk: Max Boonen
Carrying on from an earlier post about the evolution of high frequency trading (HFT), how it can harm markets and how crypto exchanges are responding, here we focus on the potential longer-term impact on the crypto ecosystem.
First, though, we need to focus on the state of HFT in a broader context.
Conventional markets are adopting anti-latency arbitrage mechanismsIn conventional markets, latency arbitrage has increased toxicity on lit venues and pushed trading volumes over-the-counter or into dark pools. In Europe, dark liquidity has increased in spite of efforts by regulators to clamp down on it. In some markets, regulation has actually contributed to this. Per the SEC:
“Using the Nasdaq market as a proxy, [Regulation] NMS did not seem to succeed in its mission to increase the display of limit orders in the marketplace. We have seen an increase in dark liquidity, smaller trade sizes, similar trading volumes, and a larger number of “small” venues.”Why is non-lit execution remaining or becoming more successful in spite of its lower transparency? In its 2014 paper, BlackRock came out in favour of dark pools in the context of best execution requirements. It also lamented message congestion and cautioned against increasing tick sizes, features that advantage latency arbitrageurs. (This echoes the comment to CoinDesk of David Weisberger, CEO of Coinroutes, who explained that the tick sizes typical of the crypto market are small and therefore do not put slower traders at much of a disadvantage.)
Major venues now recognize that the speed race threatens their business model in some markets, as it pushes those “slow” market makers with risk-absorbing capacity to provide liquidity to the likes of BlackRock off-exchange. Eurex has responded by implementing anti-latency arbitrage (ALA) mechanisms in options:
“Right now, a lot of liquidity providers need to invest more into technology in order to protect themselves against other, very fast liquidity providers, than they can invest in their pricing for the end client. The end result of this is a certain imbalance, where we have a few very sophisticated liquidity providers that are very active in the order book and then a lot of liquidity providers that have the ability to provide prices to end clients, but are tending to do so more away from the order book”, commented Jonas Ullmann, Eurex’s head of market functionality. Such views are increasingly supported by academic research.
XTX identifies two categories of ALA mechanisms: policy-based and technology-based. Policy-based ALA refers to a venue simply deciding that latency arbitrageurs are not allowed to trade on it. Alternative venues to exchanges (going under various acronyms such as ECN, ATS or MTF) can allow traders to either take or make, but not engage in both activities. Others can purposefully select — and advertise — their mix of market participants, or allow users to trade in separate “rooms” where undesired firms are excluded. The rise of “alternative microstructures” is mostly evidenced in crypto by the surge in electronic OTC trading, where traders can receive better prices than on exchange.
Technology-based ALA encompasses delays, random or deterministic, added to an exchange’s matching engine to reduce the viability of latency arbitrage strategies. The classic example is a speed bump where new orders are delayed by a few milliseconds, but the cancellation of existing orders is not. This lets market makers place fresh quotes at the new prevailing market price without being run over by latency arbitrageurs.
As a practical example, the London Metal Exchange recently announced an eight-millisecond speed bump on some contracts that are prime candidates for latency arbitrageurs due to their similarity to products trading on the much bigger CME in Chicago.
Why 8 milliseconds? First, microwave transmission between Chicago and the US East Coast is 3 milliseconds faster than fibre optic lines. From there, the $250,000 a month Hibernia Express transatlantic cable helps you get to London another 4 milliseconds faster than cheaper alternatives. Add a millisecond for internal latencies such as not using FPGAs and 8 milliseconds is the difference for a liquidity provider between investing tens of millions in speed technology or being priced out of the market by latency arbitrage.
With this in mind, let’s consider what the future holds for crypto.
Crypto exchanges must not forget their retail rootsWe learn from conventional markets that liquidity benefits from a diverse base of market makers with risk-absorption capacity.
Some have claimed that the spread compression witnessed in the bitcoin market since 2017 is due to electronification. Instead, I posit that it is greater risk-absorbing capacity and capital allocation that has improved the liquidity of the bitcoin market, not an increase in speed, as in fact being a fast exchange with colocation such as Gemini has not supported higher volumes. Old-timers will remember Coinsetter, a company that, per the Bitcoin Wiki , “was created in 2012, and operates a bitcoin exchange and ECN. Coinsetter’s CSX trading technology enables millisecond trade execution times and offers one of the fastest API data streams in the industry.” The Wiki page should use the past tense as Coinsetter failed to gain traction, was acquired in 2016 and subsequently closed.
Exchanges that invest in scalability and user experience will thrive (BitMEX comes to mind). Crypto exchanges that favour the fastest traders (by reducing jitter, etc.) will find that winner-takes-all latency strategies do not improve liquidity. Furthermore, they risk antagonising the majority of their users, who are naturally suspicious of platforms that sell preferential treatment.
It is baffling that the head of Russia for Huobi vaunted to CoinDesk that: “The option [of co-location] allows [selected clients] to make trades 70 to 100 times faster than other users”. The article notes that Huobi doesn’t charge — but of course, not everyone can sign up.
Contrast this with one of the most successful exchanges today: Binance. It actively discourages some HFT strategies by tracking metrics such as order-to-trade ratios and temporarily blocking users that breach certain limits. Market experts know that Binance remains extremely relevant to price discovery, irrespective of its focus on a less professional user base.
Other exchanges, take heed.
Coinbase closed its entire Chicago office where 30 engineers had worked on a faster matching engine, an exercise that is rumoured to have cost $50mm. After much internal debate, I bet that the company finally realised that it wouldn’t recoup its investment and that its value derived from having onboarded 20 million users, not from upgrading systems that are already fast and reliable by the standards of crypto.
It is also unsurprising that Kraken’s Steve Hunt, a veteran of low-latency torchbearer Jump Trading, commented to CoinDesk that: “We want all customers regardless of size or scale to have equal access to our marketplace”. Experience speaks.
In a recent article on CoinDesk , Matt Trudeau of ErisX points to the lower reliability of cloud-based services compared to dedicated, co-located and cross-connected gateways. That much is true. Web-based technology puts the emphasis on serving the greatest number of users concurrently, not on serving a subset of users deterministically and at the lowest latency possible. That is the point. Crypto might be the only asset class that is accessible directly to end users with a low number of intermediaries, precisely because of the crypto ethos and how the industry evolved. It is cheaper to buy $500 of bitcoin than it is to buy $500 of Microsoft shares.
Trudeau further remarks that official, paid-for co-location is better than what he pejoratively calls “unsanctioned colocation,” the fact that crypto traders can place their servers in the same cloud providers as the exchanges. The fairness argument is dubious: anyone with $50 can set up an Amazon AWS account and run next to the major crypto exchanges, whereas cheap co-location starts at $1,000 a month in the real world. No wonder “speed technology revenues” are estimated at $1 billion for the major U.S. equity exchanges.
For a crypto exchange, to reside in a financial, non-cloud data centre with state-of-the-art network latencies might ironically impair the likelihood of success. The risk is that such an exchange becomes dominated on the taker side by the handful of players that already own or pay for the fastest communication routes between major financial data centres such as Equinix and the CME in Chicago, where bitcoin futures are traded. This might reduce liquidity on the exchange because a significant proportion of the crypto market’s risk-absorption capacity is coming from crypto-centric funds that do not have the scale to operate low-latency strategies, but might make up the bulk of the liquidity on, say, Binance. Such mom-and-pop liquidity providers might therefore shun an exchange that caters to larger players as a priority.
Exchanges risk losing market share to OTC liquidity providersWhile voice trading in crypto has run its course, a major contribution to the market’s increase in liquidity circa 2017–2018 was the risk appetite of the original OTC voice desks such as Cumberland Mining and Circle.
Automation really shines in bringing together risk-absorbing capacity tailored to each client (which is impossible on anonymous exchanges) with seamless electronic execution. In contrast, latency-sensitive venues can see liquidity evaporate in periods of stress, as happened to a well-known and otherwise successful exchange on 26 June which saw its bitcoin order book become $1,000 wide for an extended period of time as liquidity providers turned their systems off. The problem is compounded by the general unavailability of credit on cash exchanges, an issue that the OTC market’s settlement model avoids.
As the crypto market matures, the business model of today’s major cash exchanges will come under pressure. In the past decade, the FX market has shown that retail traders benefit from better liquidity when they trade through different channels than institutional speculators. Systematic internalizers demonstrate the same in equities. This fact of life will apply to crypto. Exchanges have to pick a side: either cater to retail (or retail-driven intermediaries) or court HFTs.
Now that an aggregator like Tagomi runs transaction cost analysis for their clients, it will become plainly obvious to investors with medium-term and long-term horizons (i.e. anyone not looking at the next 2 seconds) that their price impact on exchange is worse than against electronic OTC liquidity providers.
Today, exchange fee structures are awkward because they must charge small users a lot to make up for crypto’s exceptionally high compliance and onboarding costs. Onboarding a single, small value user simply does not make sense unless fees are quite elevated. Exchanges end up over-charging large volume traders such as B2C2’s clients, another incentive to switch to OTC execution.
In the alternative, what if crypto exchanges focus on HFT traders? In my opinion, the CME is a much better venue for institutional takers as fees are much lower and conventional trading firms will already be connected to it. My hypothesis is that most exchanges will not be able to compete with the CME for fast traders (after all, the CBOE itself gave up), and must cater to their retail user base instead.
In a future post, we will explore other microstructures beyond all-to-all exchanges and bilateral OTC trading.
Fiber threads image via Shutterstock
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Bitcoin was created in 2009, since then a whole industry has emerged around it. One major group of players in the industry are the crypto exchanges. Even though it did not roll out in 2009 with Bitcoin, this sector is responsible for a lot of the development that has happened around Bitcoin and crypto. By taking a look at the growth of crypto exchanges, you will understand how the entire industry has evolved.
First of all, let us consider the existing crypto exchanges and how they have evolved over the years. Here is a list of some of the major exchanges and their launch dates (year):
Exchange Launch Dates (By Year)
2013 Was an Important Year in the History of Cryptocurrencies
The year 2013 has the highest number of new exchanges that came to life. This is the year that we can attach to the initial boost in the awareness of Bitcoin. Even the infamous Mt Gox, which started in 2010, became very popular in 2013. By this time, it was handling over 70% of all Bitcoins worldwide.
Bitcoin’s first attempt at the $1,000 mark was also in 2013. It was after this rise that it entered into the first crypto winter which lasted until the second half of 2016. That was when the biggest boom kicked in, dragging us through 2017 until an all time high price was achieved in January 2018.
A lot of other exchanges that are not listed above have also come into existence, especially after the 2017 exceptional price surge. Having coincided with the ICO boom era, the price surge happened when many projects were still in incubation. Among them were also a lot of exchanges.
New Generation Exchanges
Between 2017 to date, what we will choose to call a new generation of exchanges have made their presence known and contributed to the growth of crypto exchanges. Some of them include LAToken, Shortex, Bitforex, BitMax and many others. What these exchanges have been able to achieve is expansion in the industry and increased accessibility to users across the globe.
As many as they are, even as their primary goal is to provide access for users in the industry, the kind of services that the exchanges provide vary. It is the uniqueness of their services that determine the class of customers that particular exchanges attract. Some of them offer margin trading services, while others don’t. Some are strictly cryptocurrency exchanges, while others allow fiat transactions. The variations are too numerous to mention and can be confusing to users at times.
The good thing today is that platforms like tap have found solutions that harmonize the activities of the numerous exchanges and allow users to access them from a single point. Be it crypto-to-crypto trading, or crypto-to-fiat transactions, all can be executed on fiat.
The crypto-enabled transactions and other related services that tap offers cannot be exhausted in this post. However, it is interesting to note that for traders, or those who make use of the tap prepaid MastercardⓇ, the platform ensures that the best prices are provided for them. This is achieved through a software that scans through multiple exchanges to select the most competitive price whenever a trade or transaction is initiated.
Innovations such as this, and many more that we are seeing today all contribute to the growth of crypto exchanges and the expansion of the industry at large.
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