Coronavirus disrupts financial markets around the world

As the Coronavirus has become more widespread in Europe and North America, stock markets have reacted. Last week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite all fell more than 10% resulting in stocks posting their biggest weekly declines since October 2008 during the financial crisis.

The effects of the new outbreaks have been felt mostly in tourism with supply chain disruptions and weakening demand. The sharp fall resulted in the OECD revising the global economic growth for 2020 to 2.4% (from 3%) — the lowest projection since the financial crisis. This number could be lowered further as cases rise in more countries.

The New York Times reports that many factories in China are still closed following the shutdowns in the country, which began in late January. The OECD says that China accounts for 17% of global GDP, 11% of world trade, 9% of global tourism and over 40% of global demand of some commodities, which shows the ripple effect in global supply chains.

According to the New York Times, China’s National Bureau of Statistics reported figures over the weekend that could signal a decline in its manufacturing economy.

In Europe the most worrying case so far is Italy. “Italy is the obvious one most at risk for two reasons, because the outbreak is taking place there and because it’s the weakest economy in the region,” said Ángel Talavera, head of Europe economics at Oxford Economics.

Beyond Europe, specialists warn about risks for African countries given the close economic and commercial connections to China and the more fragile healthcare infrastructures. Just a few days ago, Nigeria was the first sub-Saharan country to confirm a Coronavirus case. Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country and authorities have said they are increasing efforts for a more effective response to the virus.

As of Monday evening, the figures showed that the virus has infected more than 90,000 people across 73 countries and territories. The European Union’s alert level was raised from moderate to high, said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Monday.

Market Reactions

Over the last week, stock markets took a drastic hit performing the worst since 2008. The impact was felt across all industries with some sectors being more drastically affected. In the U.K., the FTSE 100 index fell 11.1% at the end of last week.

The International Air Transport Association released its assessment of the impacts of the virus outbreak showing a potential 13% full-year loss of passenger demand for carriers in the Asia-Pacific region, which could translate to an estimated loss of $27.8 billion (€25 billion) in 2020. Airline stocks are taking a serious hit. Market watchers are looking at American Airlines, which saw a 31% drop in its share price in the last month.

In the other direction, pharma companies and medical supplies groups have seen surges in price as demand for face masks have exhausted supply. Nasdaq reported that shares in Alpha Pro Tech (APT), a maker of surgical masks, rose over 500% last week.

“More so than the health effects, investors are watching for how long the supply chain and corporate earnings will be affected. Will it just be one quarter or even two quarters? You don’t know, and that causes uncertainty,” said Joe Saluzzi, co-head of equity trading at Themis Trading, for Market Watch.

From CNBC, 2 March 2020

After the financial shock seen in market activity last week, the markets have started this new week in expectation that governments and international institutions are going to act to mitigate economic and financial impacts of the outbreak.

According to Reuters, the G7 is due to release a statement today or tomorrow to pledge to work together to mitigate the damage to their economies from the fast-spreading epidemic.

Market Rebound or Dead Cat?

Some analysts are more positive about potential gains to the market during this coming week as a rebound against the declines. CNBC market proposes a scenario of gains to come, according to historic data. It reports that previous market declines of 10% or more over five trading days since 1990 have shown that equities tend to rebound in the weeks to follow, according to data provided by hedge-fund tool Kensho.

On Monday The Dow Jones index rose 5%, and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite both went up more than 4%.

The positive sentiment may come from the fact that investors believe that, amid such circumstances, central bank and government interventions will take place in an attempt to stabilise losses and uncertainty.

On Monday, Asian markets were rising after the Bank of Japan, the country’s central bank, said it “will strive to provide ample liquidity and ensure stability in financial markets through appropriate market operations and asset purchases.”

Investment Opportunity?

A good rule of thumb for investments is to buy low and sell high, and this might be the opportunity for saviour investors who managed to cash before the crash to buy back at lower prices. So, what are the best investment strategies when the market feels so uncertain?

LA-based Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives said: “that times like these in the market represent “golden buying opportunities” for stocks that could be winning in the long term.” His bet is to look into tech stocks.

“Our long standing view during this last decade… is that we are in the midst of a unprecedented tech bull market with themes such as the enterprise move to cloud computing, a transformational 5G super cycle, EV auto demand inflection, streaming cord cutting paradigm shift, and cyber security all representing some of the major game changing trends poised to change the consumer and enterprise landscape for the next decade,” Ives wrote on Sunday. Among his choices are: Microsoft, Tesla, DocuSign and Uber.

BNP Paribas advised investors to keep an eye on companies based in other Asian countries beyond China as they are less exposed to the impact of the virus outbreak and still considered a safe option to invest. “India is the first one that comes to mind,” the analysts said.

British serial entrepreneur and founder of global financial website ADVFN (www.advfn.com) Clem Chambers believes we are only half-way into the market crash.

Coronavirus disrupts financial markets around the world

As the Coronavirus has become more widespread in Europe and North America, stock markets have reacted. Last week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite all fell more than 10% resulting in stocks posting their biggest weekly declines since October 2008 during the financial crisis.

The effects of the new outbreaks have been felt mostly in tourism with supply chain disruptions and weakening demand. The sharp fall resulted in the OECD revising the global economic growth for 2020 to 2.4% (from 3%) — the lowest projection since the financial crisis. This number could be lowered further as cases rise in more countries.

The New York Times reports that many factories in China are still closed following the shutdowns in the country, which began in late January. The OECD says that China accounts for 17% of global GDP, 11% of world trade, 9% of global tourism and over 40% of global demand of some commodities, which shows the ripple effect in global supply chains.

According to the New York Times, China’s National Bureau of Statistics reported figures over the weekend that could signal a decline in its manufacturing economy.

In Europe the most worrying case so far is Italy. “Italy is the obvious one most at risk for two reasons, because the outbreak is taking place there and because it’s the weakest economy in the region,” said Ángel Talavera, head of Europe economics at Oxford Economics.

Beyond Europe, specialists warn about risks for African countries given the close economic and commercial connections to China and the more fragile healthcare infrastructures. Just a few days ago, Nigeria was the first sub-Saharan country to confirm a Coronavirus case. Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country and authorities have said they are increasing efforts for a more effective response to the virus.

As of Monday evening, the figures showed that the virus has infected more than 90,000 people across 73 countries and territories. The European Union’s alert level was raised from moderate to high, said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Monday.

Market Reactions

Over the last week, stock markets took a drastic hit performing the worst since 2008. The impact was felt across all industries with some sectors being more drastically affected. In the U.K., the FTSE 100 index fell 11.1% at the end of last week.

The International Air Transport Association released its assessment of the impacts of the virus outbreak showing a potential 13% full-year loss of passenger demand for carriers in the Asia-Pacific region, which could translate to an estimated loss of $27.8 billion (€25 billion) in 2020. Airline stocks are taking a serious hit. Market watchers are looking at American Airlines, which saw a 31% drop in its share price in the last month.

In the other direction, pharma companies and medical supplies groups have seen surges in price as demand for face masks have exhausted supply. Nasdaq reported that shares in Alpha Pro Tech (APT), a maker of surgical masks, rose over 500% last week.

“More so than the health effects, investors are watching for how long the supply chain and corporate earnings will be affected. Will it just be one quarter or even two quarters? You don’t know, and that causes uncertainty,” said Joe Saluzzi, co-head of equity trading at Themis Trading, for Market Watch.

From CNBC, 2 March 2020

After the financial shock seen in market activity last week, the markets have started this new week in expectation that governments and international institutions are going to act to mitigate economic and financial impacts of the outbreak.

According to Reuters, the G7 is due to release a statement today or tomorrow to pledge to work together to mitigate the damage to their economies from the fast-spreading epidemic.

Market Rebound or Dead Cat?

Some analysts are more positive about potential gains to the market during this coming week as a rebound against the declines. CNBC market proposes a scenario of gains to come, according to historic data. It reports that previous market declines of 10% or more over five trading days since 1990 have shown that equities tend to rebound in the weeks to follow, according to data provided by hedge-fund tool Kensho.

On Monday The Dow Jones index rose 5%, and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite both went up more than 4%.

The positive sentiment may come from the fact that investors believe that, amid such circumstances, central bank and government interventions will take place in an attempt to stabilise losses and uncertainty.

On Monday, Asian markets were rising after the Bank of Japan, the country’s central bank, said it “will strive to provide ample liquidity and ensure stability in financial markets through appropriate market operations and asset purchases.”

Investment Opportunity?

A good rule of thumb for investments is to buy low and sell high, and this might be the opportunity for saviour investors who managed to cash before the crash to buy back at lower prices. So, what are the best investment strategies when the market feels so uncertain?

LA-based Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives said: “that times like these in the market represent “golden buying opportunities” for stocks that could be winning in the long term.” His bet is to look into tech stocks.

“Our long standing view during this last decade… is that we are in the midst of a unprecedented tech bull market with themes such as the enterprise move to cloud computing, a transformational 5G super cycle, EV auto demand inflection, streaming cord cutting paradigm shift, and cyber security all representing some of the major game changing trends poised to change the consumer and enterprise landscape for the next decade,” Ives wrote on Sunday. Among his choices are: Microsoft, Tesla, DocuSign and Uber.

BNP Paribas advised investors to keep an eye on companies based in other Asian countries beyond China as they are less exposed to the impact of the virus outbreak and still considered a safe option to invest. “India is the first one that comes to mind,” the analysts said.

British serial entrepreneur and founder of global financial website ADVFN (www.advfn.com) Clem Chambers believes we are only half-way into the market crash.

Markets start to welcome cannabis projects as regulations soften around the world

As more countries become more open-minded in adopting the use of cannabis for multiple applications, particularly medical treatment, markets in North America and Europe are witnessing an unprecedented inflow of companies and projects working with hemp products.

Cannabis-derived plants can offer a multitude of uses. Hemp, a ‘softer’ plant of the cannabis species, is a very useful crop that can be turned into everything from clothes to shoes, paper, animal feed and building insulation.

But the current cannabis market craze is largely focused on the area of medical and healthcare products. Cannabis-related products are used for preventing Alzheimer’s, decreasing anxiety symptoms, treating effects of autism and epilepsy, relieving arthritis, reducing nausea and even helping prevent cancer.

According to data compiled by Mordor Intelligence, the global cannabis market was valued at USD 7.7 Billion in 2016 and is expected to reach USD 65 Billion by 2023.

Sales of hemp products in the US reached $1bn (£760m) in 2018, according to New Frontier Data, with the US having legalised the cultivation of hemp across the US just before Christmas ̶ welcome news for farmers.

Furthermore, the data from New Frontier shows forecasts for US sales of hemp products reaching $2.6bn by 2022. At the same time, it predicts global hemp industry sales to jump to $5.7bn by 2020 — from $3.7bn in 2018.

The hype is indeed real, so much so that a university in the US is now offering a degree in Marijuana studies, within its Chemistry school.

A success story: Canada

The flagship of cannabis market prosperity is Canada. The country legalised recreational cannabis use in October last year and since, the market has witnessed impressive growth and companies moving towards the sector.

Just a couple weeks ago, the FT reported that the Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index fund has grown to $1.3bn in assets, making the world’s first cannabis exchange traded fund set to become the second most profitable ETF in Canada, after returning more than 50 per cent so far this year.

Canada is also home to the leader in the global cannabis industry, Canopy Growth Corp., with a market value north of $16 billion.

Carol Pepper, advisor at Pepper International, told CNBC that legalisation of pot in Canada had “blown through expectations”. The numbers impressed investors and bankers around the world, which seem to inspire a European wave of openness towards cannabis projects.

Market Opportunity in Europe and the UK

In light of the massive growth in Canada, markets in Europe and the UK are welcoming the inflow of so-called “pot stocks”. According to Bloomberg, cannabis medical companies have shown significant interest in listing in European markets, including the UK.

In the region, the medicinal cannabis market in 2028 will be valued at Euro 55 billion, with the recreational cannabis market worth 60 billion Euros across both primary and secondary services to the cannabis industry, assuming that all European countries have passed legislation by 2023.

In November 2018, the UK government gave the go-ahead for specialist doctors to start prescribing cannabis-based medicines. This led to the opening of the UK’s first cannabis clinic in the Greater Manchester area earlier in March, offering treatments for patients suffering from chronic pain and other serious neurological or psychiatric conditions.

If cannabis stocks are ̶ for the moment ̶ a niche market, loosening in regulation in the UK has been seen as positive for the markets and offers the chance for pot stocks to go mainstream.

At the moment, the biggest marijuana company is London’s Sativa Investments Plc at about 26.8 million pounds ($33.6 million) on the NEX Exchange, but this scenario is set to change throughout 2019.

It has recently been reported that Jacana, which grows medical-use cannabis in Jamaica, is considering a stock market float on AIM later this year. The company raised $20m (£15.08m) in private investment in 2018.

Other companies showing plans to list are European Cannabis Holdings, responsible for helping in the arrival of the first legal shipment of marijuana in Britain earlier this year, and Emmac Life Sciences.

Nick Davis, chief executive of law firm Memery Crystal, which is advising cannabis companies to enter the London market, said to This is Money that there are many companies targeting both the main market and the AIM.

‘I think this will be the year that there are a significant number of listings — though it’s predicated on no change to regulation here. ‘I’d be surprised if there weren’t a dozen companies across AIM and the main market by the year-end,’ he commented.

Bloomberg also hints at other European companies that are signalling to make an early move into the cannabis scene: Paris-based Gour Medical AG, which plans to produce medical cannabis products for animals; StenoCare A/S from Denmark and Dermapharm Holding SE from Germany both focusing on medical and pharmaceutical cannabis applications.

Markets start to welcome cannabis projects as regulations soften around the world

As more countries become more open-minded in adopting the use of cannabis for multiple applications, particularly medical treatment, markets in North America and Europe are witnessing an unprecedented inflow of companies and projects working with hemp products.

Cannabis-derived plants can offer a multitude of uses. Hemp, a ‘softer’ plant of the cannabis species, is a very useful crop that can be turned into everything from clothes to shoes, paper, animal feed and building insulation.

But the current cannabis market craze is largely focused on the area of medical and healthcare products. Cannabis-related products are used for preventing Alzheimer’s, decreasing anxiety symptoms, treating effects of autism and epilepsy, relieving arthritis, reducing nausea and even helping prevent cancer.

According to data compiled by Mordor Intelligence, the global cannabis market was valued at USD 7.7 Billion in 2016 and is expected to reach USD 65 Billion by 2023.

Sales of hemp products in the US reached $1bn (£760m) in 2018, according to New Frontier Data, with the US having legalised the cultivation of hemp across the US just before Christmas ̶ welcome news for farmers.

Furthermore, the data from New Frontier shows forecasts for US sales of hemp products reaching $2.6bn by 2022. At the same time, it predicts global hemp industry sales to jump to $5.7bn by 2020 — from $3.7bn in 2018.

The hype is indeed real, so much so that a university in the US is now offering a degree in Marijuana studies, within its Chemistry school.

A success story: Canada

The flagship of cannabis market prosperity is Canada. The country legalised recreational cannabis use in October last year and since, the market has witnessed impressive growth and companies moving towards the sector.

Just a couple weeks ago, the FT reported that the Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index fund has grown to $1.3bn in assets, making the world’s first cannabis exchange traded fund set to become the second most profitable ETF in Canada, after returning more than 50 per cent so far this year.

Canada is also home to the leader in the global cannabis industry, Canopy Growth Corp., with a market value north of $16 billion.

Carol Pepper, advisor at Pepper International, told CNBC that legalisation of pot in Canada had “blown through expectations”. The numbers impressed investors and bankers around the world, which seem to inspire a European wave of openness towards cannabis projects.

Market Opportunity in Europe and the UK

In light of the massive growth in Canada, markets in Europe and the UK are welcoming the inflow of so-called “pot stocks”. According to Bloomberg, cannabis medical companies have shown significant interest in listing in European markets, including the UK.

In the region, the medicinal cannabis market in 2028 will be valued at Euro 55 billion, with the recreational cannabis market worth 60 billion Euros across both primary and secondary services to the cannabis industry, assuming that all European countries have passed legislation by 2023.

In November 2018, the UK government gave the go-ahead for specialist doctors to start prescribing cannabis-based medicines. This led to the opening of the UK’s first cannabis clinic in the Greater Manchester area earlier in March, offering treatments for patients suffering from chronic pain and other serious neurological or psychiatric conditions.

If cannabis stocks are ̶ for the moment ̶ a niche market, loosening in regulation in the UK has been seen as positive for the markets and offers the chance for pot stocks to go mainstream.

At the moment, the biggest marijuana company is London’s Sativa Investments Plc at about 26.8 million pounds ($33.6 million) on the NEX Exchange, but this scenario is set to change throughout 2019.

It has recently been reported that Jacana, which grows medical-use cannabis in Jamaica, is considering a stock market float on AIM later this year. The company raised $20m (£15.08m) in private investment in 2018.

Other companies showing plans to list are European Cannabis Holdings, responsible for helping in the arrival of the first legal shipment of marijuana in Britain earlier this year, and Emmac Life Sciences.

Nick Davis, chief executive of law firm Memery Crystal, which is advising cannabis companies to enter the London market, said to This is Money that there are many companies targeting both the main market and the AIM.

‘I think this will be the year that there are a significant number of listings — though it’s predicated on no change to regulation here. ‘I’d be surprised if there weren’t a dozen companies across AIM and the main market by the year-end,’ he commented.

Bloomberg also hints at other European companies that are signalling to make an early move into the cannabis scene: Paris-based Gour Medical AG, which plans to produce medical cannabis products for animals; StenoCare A/S from Denmark and Dermapharm Holding SE from Germany both focusing on medical and pharmaceutical cannabis applications.

Markets start to welcome cannabis projects as regulations soften around the world

As more countries become more open-minded in adopting the use of cannabis for multiple applications, particularly medical treatment, markets in North America and Europe are witnessing an unprecedented inflow of companies and projects working with hemp products.

Cannabis-derived plants can offer a multitude of uses. Hemp, a ‘softer’ plant of the cannabis species, is a very useful crop that can be turned into everything from clothes to shoes, paper, animal feed and building insulation.

But the current cannabis market craze is largely focused on the area of medical and healthcare products. Cannabis-related products are used for preventing Alzheimer’s, decreasing anxiety symptoms, treating effects of autism and epilepsy, relieving arthritis, reducing nausea and even helping prevent cancer.

According to data compiled by Mordor Intelligence, the global cannabis market was valued at USD 7.7 Billion in 2016 and is expected to reach USD 65 Billion by 2023.

Sales of hemp products in the US reached $1bn (£760m) in 2018, according to New Frontier Data, with the US having legalised the cultivation of hemp across the US just before Christmas ̶ welcome news for farmers.

Furthermore, the data from New Frontier shows forecasts for US sales of hemp products reaching $2.6bn by 2022. At the same time, it predicts global hemp industry sales to jump to $5.7bn by 2020 — from $3.7bn in 2018.

The hype is indeed real, so much so that a university in the US is now offering a degree in Marijuana studies, within its Chemistry school.

A success story: Canada

The flagship of cannabis market prosperity is Canada. The country legalised recreational cannabis use in October last year and since, the market has witnessed impressive growth and companies moving towards the sector.

Just a couple weeks ago, the FT reported that the Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index fund has grown to $1.3bn in assets, making the world’s first cannabis exchange traded fund set to become the second most profitable ETF in Canada, after returning more than 50 per cent so far this year.

Canada is also home to the leader in the global cannabis industry, Canopy Growth Corp., with a market value north of $16 billion.

Carol Pepper, advisor at Pepper International, told CNBC that legalisation of pot in Canada had “blown through expectations”. The numbers impressed investors and bankers around the world, which seem to inspire a European wave of openness towards cannabis projects.

Market Opportunity in Europe and the UK

In light of the massive growth in Canada, markets in Europe and the UK are welcoming the inflow of so-called “pot stocks”. According to Bloomberg, cannabis medical companies have shown significant interest in listing in European markets, including the UK.

In the region, the medicinal cannabis market in 2028 will be valued at Euro 55 billion, with the recreational cannabis market worth 60 billion Euros across both primary and secondary services to the cannabis industry, assuming that all European countries have passed legislation by 2023.

In November 2018, the UK government gave the go-ahead for specialist doctors to start prescribing cannabis-based medicines. This led to the opening of the UK’s first cannabis clinic in the Greater Manchester area earlier in March, offering treatments for patients suffering from chronic pain and other serious neurological or psychiatric conditions.

If cannabis stocks are ̶ for the moment ̶ a niche market, loosening in regulation in the UK has been seen as positive for the markets and offers the chance for pot stocks to go mainstream.

At the moment, the biggest marijuana company is London’s Sativa Investments Plc at about 26.8 million pounds ($33.6 million) on the NEX Exchange, but this scenario is set to change throughout 2019.

It has recently been reported that Jacana, which grows medical-use cannabis in Jamaica, is considering a stock market float on AIM later this year. The company raised $20m (£15.08m) in private investment in 2018.

Other companies showing plans to list are European Cannabis Holdings, responsible for helping in the arrival of the first legal shipment of marijuana in Britain earlier this year, and Emmac Life Sciences.

Nick Davis, chief executive of law firm Memery Crystal, which is advising cannabis companies to enter the London market, said to This is Money that there are many companies targeting both the main market and the AIM.

‘I think this will be the year that there are a significant number of listings — though it’s predicated on no change to regulation here. ‘I’d be surprised if there weren’t a dozen companies across AIM and the main market by the year-end,’ he commented.

Bloomberg also hints at other European companies that are signalling to make an early move into the cannabis scene: Paris-based Gour Medical AG, which plans to produce medical cannabis products for animals; StenoCare A/S from Denmark and Dermapharm Holding SE from Germany both focusing on medical and pharmaceutical cannabis applications.

Challenges and issues in cryptocurrency trading: beyond the controversies

Cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology are often portrayed as the big challenger to the current financial system, promising to fight corporate red tape, increase financial inclusion and create a more just and transparent economy. While all this is true, it’s not always rainbows and unicorns in the crypto world.

Different cryptocurrency exchanges can offer various types of cryptocurrencies and have different terms, policies, payment methods, and fees. Exchanges also differ on aspects such as security, user-friendliness, functionality, and design. These factors can all play a significant part when choosing the most suitable exchange.

Talks over regulation of digital currencies and crypto exchanges are a way to help the market become healthier and more transparent. Cryptocurrencies and exchanges indeed have many issues to address and challenges to overcome. Here, we highlight some of the main concerns and recent issues that are preventing the crypto revolution from progressing to its next stage.

Security

The biggest problem currently in the crypto market is the lack of security. Indeed, with news of hackings and breaches often making headlines, users are demanding more protection over their assets and data.

It is important to remember that as technology becomes more sophisticated, so do hackers. Exchanges are essentially so vulnerable to hacks because they centralise the risk, so further decentralisation can be an option in the pursuit for maximum security.

Security is indeed an urgent and weighty matter. Coin Desk reports that each day, $2.7 million is stolen from exchanges, with the amount of cryptocurrency taken in 2018 having increased 13 times compared to the previous year. This amounts to $2.7 million in crypto assets being stolen every day, or $1,860 each minute.

Transparency

Indeed, it is a well-established fact that the majority of ICOs end up unsuccessful — some of them even fraudulent. Furthermore, many expensive crypto projects often make a case for themselves claiming they are decentralised, when in reality, data from Token Analyst for Yahoo Finance showed that nearly 80% of the top 50 coins are held by the top 20 wallets. In 16 cases, the 20 biggest wallets held more than 90% of total token supply.

Much like in the more traditional economy, power dynamics also underline the negotiations and collaborations set in the crypto sphere, and the nuances of marketing strategies can mislead users and investors.

The lack of transparency, accountability and professionalism from renowned institutions can poison the benefits of digital currencies and undermine the strength and influence of blockchain adoption in different industries beyond finance. True blockchain believers call for an end to sketchy practices in the financial system and market structures, promoting widespread professionalism and ethical standards.

Credibility

Initial Coin Offerings are a great way to attract investors, but part of them resulted to be scams. Exchanges need to be careful and strict enough only to list those crypto coins which are reliable and ensure that the right assessment is performed.

Trading fees

Some exchanges charge a single flat fee, for example, 0.2% of the transaction value, on all trades. But many exchanges split their trading fees into two separate fees: the maker fee and the taker fee.

In some cases, maker fees can be higher than the taker because the maker adds liquidity to the market, so the exchange ‘rewards’ the trader.

Liquidity

Liquidity is a vital element for any of the market. A lack thereof creates an imbalanced environment, and things go out of control. Due to the decreased liquidity, orders are not placed/executed on time, and the doors are open for large holders to manipulate prices. Additionally, with a lack of liquidity, markets become more volatile and see more price slippages.

A secondary issue of reduced liquidity is that it puts the power into the hands of cryptocurrency exchanges with large liquidity. Some major exchanges now charge up to $1 million to get tokens listed, essentially selling liquidity to the token projects.

Price manipulation

Currently, the majority of crypt exchanges are only lightly regulated, leaving room for sometimes shady or abusive manoeuvres. It is reported that crypto exchanges use bots to manipulate the prices of coins. Last September, cryptocurrency trader and analyst Alex Kruger exposed a promotion on Bithumb which inflated the trading volume on the exchange.

“There currently are $250 million [in] fake volume traded at [the] Korean crypto exchange Bithumb, every day at 11 a.m. Korean Time, since Aug. 25. Bithumb offers 120 percent payback of trading fees as an airdrop. Trading fees are 0.15 percent taker. To collect the full KRW 1 billion rebate, a wash trader must thus trade KRW 278 billion. That is $250 million in daily fake volume. Notice how 31K Bitcoin is traded at exactly 11 a.m,” Kruger explained.

Transaction Delays

While cryptocurrency transactions are known for being fast, delays can happen and can be a way to protect users from hackings or fraudulent transactions. Exchanges sometimes delay transactions if they suspect the user did not authorize the transactions.

Regulation

In light of these flaws and loopholes, and continuing cases of hacks and breaches of exchanges, regulations would be welcomed if tailored to ensure transparency and consumer protections.

Crypto experts have anticipated 2019 is on track to be the year of crypto regulations

This year started with stronger calls for rules and regulations all around the world. In January, two major European regulatory bodies, the European Banking Authority (EBA) and the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) have publicly called for better assessments of crypto technology and its impacts to develop appropriate regulations.

In the US, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is applying their regulatory guidance to cryptocurrency projects as it considers another form of securities.

Recent controversies over exchanges ’ lack of professionalism and transparency are likely to prompt exchange regulations to be in place soon.

Decentralisation

Over the last few months, we have been seeing more moves from centralised exchanges towards decentralisation. Binance, for example, announced earlier this month that it is about to launch its decentralised exchange, Binance DEX, for public testing.

There various advantages to decentralisation. A DEX ensures the poor and unbanked can participate in the global economy: anyone can store and transfer wealth to anyone anywhere in the world, almost at no cost. Another benefit of decentralised exchanges is that users are fully in control of their data as there is no central authority storing or managing it.

How does the future look like?

While centralised crypto exchanges have been the tradition so far, they have somewhat given way to the decentralised crypto exchanges. The main objective behind bitcoin and blockchain is decentralisation and thus, both the CEX’s and DEX’s should come together to develop a hybrid model which benefits all of the crypto ecosystem.

Hybrid crypto exchanges can represent a viable option that bridges the gap between the benefits of a centralised exchange and those of a decentralised exchange. This is the way to gain the trust of numerous users and the cooperation of huge investors, while eliminating the element of subordination to a third-party and ensuring reliable storage.

If there is one thing we can learn from the recent developments and news, it is to look at the shortcomings of the so-called transparent crypto sphere, realise there is plenty of work to be done in this realm, and use the combination of technology, knowledge and accountability to fight these flaws. For the blockchain & crypto revolution to produce its best outcomes, it is important to address the factors that undermine its integrity.

Keep an eye out for a special episode on Financial Fox about crypto exchanges and the challenges to overcome. Follow us on @cassiopeia_ltd and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Special guests: the crypto evangelist Chico Crypto @chicocrypto & Alexander Fred, Technology Researcher and Writer of @beincrypto, the truly independent bitcoin & cryptocurrency news.

Challenges and issues in cryptocurrency trading: beyond the controversies

Cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology are often portrayed as the big challenger to the current financial system, promising to fight corporate red tape, increase financial inclusion and create a more just and transparent economy. While all this is true, it’s not always rainbows and unicorns in the crypto world.

Different cryptocurrency exchanges can offer various types of cryptocurrencies and have different terms, policies, payment methods, and fees. Exchanges also differ on aspects such as security, user-friendliness, functionality, and design. These factors can all play a significant part when choosing the most suitable exchange.

Talks over regulation of digital currencies and crypto exchanges are a way to help the market become healthier and more transparent. Cryptocurrencies and exchanges indeed have many issues to address and challenges to overcome. Here, we highlight some of the main concerns and recent issues that are preventing the crypto revolution from progressing to its next stage.

Security

The biggest problem currently in the crypto market is the lack of security. Indeed, with news of hackings and breaches often making headlines, users are demanding more protection over their assets and data.

It is important to remember that as technology becomes more sophisticated, so do hackers. Exchanges are essentially so vulnerable to hacks because they centralise the risk, so further decentralisation can be an option in the pursuit for maximum security.

Security is indeed an urgent and weighty matter. Coin Desk reports that each day, $2.7 million is stolen from exchanges, with the amount of cryptocurrency taken in 2018 having increased 13 times compared to the previous year. This amounts to $2.7 million in crypto assets being stolen every day, or $1,860 each minute.

Transparency

Indeed, it is a well-established fact that the majority of ICOs end up unsuccessful — some of them even fraudulent. Furthermore, many expensive crypto projects often make a case for themselves claiming they are decentralised, when in reality, data from Token Analyst for Yahoo Finance showed that nearly 80% of the top 50 coins are held by the top 20 wallets. In 16 cases, the 20 biggest wallets held more than 90% of total token supply.

Much like in the more traditional economy, power dynamics also underline the negotiations and collaborations set in the crypto sphere, and the nuances of marketing strategies can mislead users and investors.

The lack of transparency, accountability and professionalism from renowned institutions can poison the benefits of digital currencies and undermine the strength and influence of blockchain adoption in different industries beyond finance. True blockchain believers call for an end to sketchy practices in the financial system and market structures, promoting widespread professionalism and ethical standards.

Credibility

Initial Coin Offerings are a great way to attract investors, but part of them resulted to be scams. Exchanges need to be careful and strict enough only to list those crypto coins which are reliable and ensure that the right assessment is performed.

Trading fees

Some exchanges charge a single flat fee, for example, 0.2% of the transaction value, on all trades. But many exchanges split their trading fees into two separate fees: the maker fee and the taker fee.

In some cases, maker fees can be higher than the taker because the maker adds liquidity to the market, so the exchange ‘rewards’ the trader.

Liquidity

Liquidity is a vital element for any of the market. A lack thereof creates an imbalanced environment, and things go out of control. Due to the decreased liquidity, orders are not placed/executed on time, and the doors are open for large holders to manipulate prices. Additionally, with a lack of liquidity, markets become more volatile and see more price slippages.

A secondary issue of reduced liquidity is that it puts the power into the hands of cryptocurrency exchanges with large liquidity. Some major exchanges now charge up to $1 million to get tokens listed, essentially selling liquidity to the token projects.

Price manipulation

Currently, the majority of crypt exchanges are only lightly regulated, leaving room for sometimes shady or abusive manoeuvres. It is reported that crypto exchanges use bots to manipulate the prices of coins. Last September, cryptocurrency trader and analyst Alex Kruger exposed a promotion on Bithumb which inflated the trading volume on the exchange.

“There currently are $250 million [in] fake volume traded at [the] Korean crypto exchange Bithumb, every day at 11 a.m. Korean Time, since Aug. 25. Bithumb offers 120 percent payback of trading fees as an airdrop. Trading fees are 0.15 percent taker. To collect the full KRW 1 billion rebate, a wash trader must thus trade KRW 278 billion. That is $250 million in daily fake volume. Notice how 31K Bitcoin is traded at exactly 11 a.m,” Kruger explained.

Transaction Delays

While cryptocurrency transactions are known for being fast, delays can happen and can be a way to protect users from hackings or fraudulent transactions. Exchanges sometimes delay transactions if they suspect the user did not authorize the transactions.

Regulation

In light of these flaws and loopholes, and continuing cases of hacks and breaches of exchanges, regulations would be welcomed if tailored to ensure transparency and consumer protections.

Crypto experts have anticipated 2019 is on track to be the year of crypto regulations

This year started with stronger calls for rules and regulations all around the world. In January, two major European regulatory bodies, the European Banking Authority (EBA) and the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) have publicly called for better assessments of crypto technology and its impacts to develop appropriate regulations.

In the US, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is applying their regulatory guidance to cryptocurrency projects as it considers another form of securities.

Recent controversies over exchanges ’ lack of professionalism and transparency are likely to prompt exchange regulations to be in place soon.

Decentralisation

Over the last few months, we have been seeing more moves from centralised exchanges towards decentralisation. Binance, for example, announced earlier this month that it is about to launch its decentralised exchange, Binance DEX, for public testing.

There various advantages to decentralisation. A DEX ensures the poor and unbanked can participate in the global economy: anyone can store and transfer wealth to anyone anywhere in the world, almost at no cost. Another benefit of decentralised exchanges is that users are fully in control of their data as there is no central authority storing or managing it.

How does the future look like?

While centralised crypto exchanges have been the tradition so far, they have somewhat given way to the decentralised crypto exchanges. The main objective behind bitcoin and blockchain is decentralisation and thus, both the CEX’s and DEX’s should come together to develop a hybrid model which benefits all of the crypto ecosystem.

Hybrid crypto exchanges can represent a viable option that bridges the gap between the benefits of a centralised exchange and those of a decentralised exchange. This is the way to gain the trust of numerous users and the cooperation of huge investors, while eliminating the element of subordination to a third-party and ensuring reliable storage.

If there is one thing we can learn from the recent developments and news, it is to look at the shortcomings of the so-called transparent crypto sphere, realise there is plenty of work to be done in this realm, and use the combination of technology, knowledge and accountability to fight these flaws. For the blockchain & crypto revolution to produce its best outcomes, it is important to address the factors that undermine its integrity.

Keep an eye out for a special episode on Financial Fox about crypto exchanges and the challenges to overcome. Follow us on @cassiopeia_ltd and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Special guests: the crypto evangelist Chico Crypto @chicocrypto & Alexander Fred, Technology Researcher and Writer of @beincrypto, the truly independent bitcoin & cryptocurrency news.

Digibyte’s 5-year journey and what lies ahead

DigiByte’s 5-year journey and what lies ahead

On January 10th, DigiByte celebrated its 5th anniversary and completed 8.000.000 blocks and has become the largest, fastest and most secure blockchain in current existence. DigiByte has a history of constant improvement, living up to its motto of the forward-thinking coin.

Over its 5-year journey, DigiByte has repeatedly improved, setting itself apart from other cryptocurrencies with multiple blockchain firsts such as SegWit, MulitAlgo Mining and DigiShield.

“I’d argue that the DigiByte we have today is the most advanced blockchain in the world , with the most steadfast secure set up,” said DigiByte founder Jared Tate in a reflection of the coin’s five years of development.

DigiByte has one of the strongest use cases in the cryptocurrency market: DGB can support over 48 million transactions a day: 10 times the current transaction capacity of the top 50 blockchains by market cap.

Over recent months, we have seen significant progression for DigiByte, such as the implementation of ASIC Protection for Next-Generation Blockchain Mining to further decentralise the DGB network, as well as the listing on Bitfinex, one of the largest and most important crypto exchanges.

Strong community

Throughout these five years, DigiByte has attracted more and more followers because of its genuine intention to create a financial system centered around people and social value. The community-driven effort and the tremendous faith that all those involved in DGB have in the project are the key factors that make DGB so unique and compelling.

DigiByte today has one of the most connected and engaging communities in the crypto space. DGB followers have set up foundations and networks to spread the word about the mass adoption potential of DigiByte.

Last November, DigiByte enthusiasts based in the UK and Europe had the chance to meet each other for the first time and talk to Jared himself at the first UK DigiByte Event,held in central London.

Decentralisation at the heart of DigiByte

More than a cryptocurrency, DigiByte offers the most reliable blockchain structure to support transactions at an uninterrupted global level.

In fact, the ultimate objective for DigiByte is to re-build the infrastructure of the internet today. Founder Jared Tate believes that an efficient blockchain can solve 90–95% of the security vulnerabilities in the internet today. The centralised databases which support the current system, such as Facebook, Google and YouTube, act as a catalyst for single points of failure. When all the valuable information is stored in one single place, vulnerabilities to hacks and breaches increase, as well as allowing surveillance and data control from central institutions.

The solution to fix the current system would, therefore, be to build a decentralised architecture for the internet, supported by sophisticated and advanced blockchain structures. A decentralised framework is user-centered, not relying on intermediary platforms to connect users and services.

In order to support this new internet model, DigiByte is built in 3 blockchain layers:

- Applications layer: The top layer of DGB to be used in everyday, real-world applications, such as DApps and Smart Contracts

- Digital Asset Layer/ Public Ledger Layer: The layer in which all DGB transactions are stored in an immutable public ledger, providing maximum security.

  • Core Protocol Layer: The bottom layers, made of decentralised nodes across the planet, where all communication and operation procedures occur.

What’s next?

The DGB community has plenty to look forward to into the near future. The first global DigiByte Summit will take place in Amsterdam on 19th April 2019. The theme of the Summit is ‘The Power of Decentralisation’ and its agenda will expand on the multitude of possibilities and uses enabled by decentralised technologies.

Stefania Barbaglio, Director at Cassiopeia Services — official PR for DigiByte commented: “Cassiopeia is thrilled to be organising and hosting the first ever DigiByte Summit next April. DigiByte represents the true power of decentralised technologies: It offers top security, performs transactions faster than any other crypto and has one of the strongest use cases in the crypto market. Blockchain technology has unlocked a new era where decentralised networks and markets empower individuals and change society and the global economy.”

Registrations are open to DigiByte Global Summit here

In the long-run, DGB investors can be cheerful as crypto analysts say that Digibyte has the potential to reach $1 as the coin develops and its features become more sophisticated over time.

More than that, we are likely to see the increasing deployment of DigiByte platform to projects such as Antum and V-ID, which power blockchain to provide verification and digital identity services.

Keep an eye out for the upcoming exclusive interview on FinancialFox news with Josiah Spackman, DigiByte Foundation Ambassador. Follow us on @cassiopeia_ltd and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Digibyte’s 5-year journey and what lies ahead

DigiByte’s 5-year journey and what lies ahead

On January 10th, DigiByte celebrated its 5th anniversary and completed 8.000.000 blocks and has become the largest, fastest and most secure blockchain in current existence. DigiByte has a history of constant improvement, living up to its motto of the forward-thinking coin.

Over its 5-year journey, DigiByte has repeatedly improved, setting itself apart from other cryptocurrencies with multiple blockchain firsts such as SegWit, MulitAlgo Mining and DigiShield.

“I’d argue that the DigiByte we have today is the most advanced blockchain in the world , with the most steadfast secure set up,” said DigiByte founder Jared Tate in a reflection of the coin’s five years of development.

DigiByte has one of the strongest use cases in the cryptocurrency market: DGB can support over 48 million transactions a day: 10 times the current transaction capacity of the top 50 blockchains by market cap.

Over recent months, we have seen significant progression for DigiByte, such as the implementation of ASIC Protection for Next-Generation Blockchain Mining to further decentralise the DGB network, as well as the listing on Bitfinex, one of the largest and most important crypto exchanges.

Strong community

Throughout these five years, DigiByte has attracted more and more followers because of its genuine intention to create a financial system centered around people and social value. The community-driven effort and the tremendous faith that all those involved in DGB have in the project are the key factors that make DGB so unique and compelling.

DigiByte today has one of the most connected and engaging communities in the crypto space. DGB followers have set up foundations and networks to spread the word about the mass adoption potential of DigiByte.

Last November, DigiByte enthusiasts based in the UK and Europe had the chance to meet each other for the first time and talk to Jared himself at the first UK DigiByte Event,held in central London.

Decentralisation at the heart of DigiByte

More than a cryptocurrency, DigiByte offers the most reliable blockchain structure to support transactions at an uninterrupted global level.

In fact, the ultimate objective for DigiByte is to re-build the infrastructure of the internet today. Founder Jared Tate believes that an efficient blockchain can solve 90–95% of the security vulnerabilities in the internet today. The centralised databases which support the current system, such as Facebook, Google and YouTube, act as a catalyst for single points of failure. When all the valuable information is stored in one single place, vulnerabilities to hacks and breaches increase, as well as allowing surveillance and data control from central institutions.

The solution to fix the current system would, therefore, be to build a decentralised architecture for the internet, supported by sophisticated and advanced blockchain structures. A decentralised framework is user-centered, not relying on intermediary platforms to connect users and services.

In order to support this new internet model, DigiByte is built in 3 blockchain layers:

- Applications layer: The top layer of DGB to be used in everyday, real-world applications, such as DApps and Smart Contracts

- Digital Asset Layer/ Public Ledger Layer: The layer in which all DGB transactions are stored in an immutable public ledger, providing maximum security.

  • Core Protocol Layer: The bottom layers, made of decentralised nodes across the planet, where all communication and operation procedures occur.

What’s next?

The DGB community has plenty to look forward to into the near future. The first global DigiByte Summit will take place in Amsterdam on 19th April 2019. The theme of the Summit is ‘The Power of Decentralisation’ and its agenda will expand on the multitude of possibilities and uses enabled by decentralised technologies.

Stefania Barbaglio, Director at Cassiopeia Services — official PR for DigiByte commented: “Cassiopeia is thrilled to be organising and hosting the first ever DigiByte Summit next April. DigiByte represents the true power of decentralised technologies: It offers top security, performs transactions faster than any other crypto and has one of the strongest use cases in the crypto market. Blockchain technology has unlocked a new era where decentralised networks and markets empower individuals and change society and the global economy.”

Registrations are open to DigiByte Global Summit here

In the long-run, DGB investors can be cheerful as crypto analysts say that Digibyte has the potential to reach $1 as the coin develops and its features become more sophisticated over time.

More than that, we are likely to see the increasing deployment of DigiByte platform to projects such as Antum and V-ID, which power blockchain to provide verification and digital identity services.

Keep an eye out for the upcoming exclusive interview on FinancialFox news with Josiah Spackman, DigiByte Foundation Ambassador. Follow us on @cassiopeia_ltd and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

NeuroTrader: Harnessing biodata to optimise real-time trading performance

There are many factors one should consider before making decisions in the trading process. Whereas research about company performance, market outlook and stock trends are certainly important, there is also a psychological element that is very often overlooked by investors, which holds them back from gaining better returns from their trading activities.

Trading activity, often assumed to be based on logical and analytical behaviour in order to balance out the inherent risk and possible gains, is often strongly impacted by the trader’s state of mind. Stress, excitement and overstimulation are among the many variables which can lead to risky trading decisions and potential losses. The forces affecting trading decisions are indeed multifactorial but directly impact the outcomes.

Very often, financial losses can be attributed to poor decision making arising from fear, trepidation and anxiety, each of which show specific biological patterns. When investors get too emotionally involved with trading, they are more apt to take greater risks, which quite possibly lead to less favourable returns. Financial gains, on the other hand, tend to result from clarity and optimism, which have their own biological patterns, better known as “biomarkers”.

Emotions such as fear and greed are common in a trader’s daily life. Stocks and markets are, after all, fluid systems and bad news is bound to crop up. however, these emotions are misleading and as result, compromise trading performance. In order to ensure better results, traders should discipline themselves to override their instincts and move past the emotional response. This reflects on the figures; only 5% of traders make a profit at the end of the year.A reliable solution to prevent emotions from hindering optimal trading performance is a tool which provides insights into the trader’s neurosystem, informing smarter decisions. But is there such a solution without resorting to algorithms or robots?

NeuroTrader is a suite of software applications which can enhance traders’ decision-making effectiveness with wearable technology. Based on the concept of trading as a peak performance sport, NeuroTrader is creating the science of optimal decision making.

Real-time monitoring of the traders and their biodata provides an opportunity to mitigate risk, optimise performance and create stable and consistent rates of return as a function of the traders’ biological responses to price and market sentiment.

NeuroTrader is the system to help investors make better choices based on clinical analysis and objectivity. By analysing biodata collected via wearable technology, NeuroTrader can discern different human performance states and therefore inform trading decisions based upon the biological state of the trader, providing an advanced risk-management tool for every trade.

Neurotrader is initiating its pilot program in February next year, in which it will be monitoring 100 traders globally over a 6-month period. The NeuroTrader team, with 10 years of research and testing in the field, expect the platform to mitigate on average 20% of trading errors.

The industry has already taken the route of eliminating humans from trading and using machine learning to improve trading results, but the problem for financial institutions is that they have misunderstood the limitations of these technologies.

“There is a perfect middle ground where machines assist human performance; this is a paradigm-shift where machines serve people to achieve greater heights, not to make them redundant,” says Ken Medanic, the creator and founder of NeuroTrader.

NeuroTrader promises to be one of the first technologies to improve behavioural patterns in trading activity — suitable for both individuals and institutional investors. Hear more about this exciting tool in person. Don’t miss NeuroTrader’s presentation at Cassiopeia Investor Symposium! Register here