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Bitcoin Reclaims $42,000 for the First Time in 10 Weeks

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The crypto market consolidated further by 2.5 per cent to close at $1.62 trillion as of 10am IST fuelled by Bitcoin’s (BTC) upward trajectory in the last 24 hours. Investors were brewing with confidence as trade volumes across exchanges rose by a significant 17 per cent.

BTC finally broke above the $41,000 mark yesterday after being range bound for more than 2 months. BTC gained 4.8 per cent in the last 24 hours to close at $41,700. Bears managed to hold BTC to between $38,000-$40,000 in the past few days. However, the bulls stepped in as trade volumes saw a dramatic increase of over 32 per cent reversing the trend from the previous day. BTC flipped the major resistance level of $41,000 to support.

Ethereum (ETH) continued its upward momentum to break through major resistance at $2,410 and now stands at $2,450 gaining a moderate 1.5 per cent. ETH’s support levels are forming at $2,280 and $2,350. ETH has rallied 35 per cent over the past two weeks ahead of its London Hard fork event which is slated to go live on August 4.

Among top 20 cryptocurrencies, Polkadot (DOT), Uniswap (UNI), and Litecoin (LTC) gained by over 5 per cent. Chainlink (LINK) was the top gainer by 10 per cent while Polygon (MATIC), Ripple (XRP) and Cardano (ADA) dipped marginally.

BTC broke the 100-day moving average yesterday indicating bullish sentiment as it looks to test the next resistance levels at $44,700 and $47,000 in the upcoming days.

Top Gainers today:

  1. Flow (FLOW): 44.3%
  2. Neo (NEO): 22.5%
  3. Helium (HNT): 18.6%

Top Loser today:

  1. Synthetix (SNX): – 4.7%
  2. Quant (QNT): -2.8%
  3. Theta (THETA): -2.3%

The analysis includes the top 100 coins only as of 9 am IST

Source: CoinMarketCap

Crypto News at a Glance:

  1. The President of Ukraine signed the bill titled “On Payment Services” into law that allows the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) to issue a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). NBU had partnered with the stellar blockchain protocol earlier this year to experiment with CBDC.
  2. Wealthfront, an US investment giant, has announced to provide its nearly 400,000 clients with the option to get Bitcoin exposure upto 10 per cent of their portfolio through Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC).
  3. Global exchange Binance has been served a public reprimand by Malaysian Securities Commission to cease all operations within 14 days in the country for illegally operating a Digital Asset Exchange (DAX). Binance CEO has promised to work with the regulators as the exchange giant continues to face regulatory challenges in some countries.
  4. US state Virginia has presented a new Bitcoin and cryptocurrency bill named ‘The Digital Asset Market Structure and Investor Protection Act’ in the U.S. Congress. The legislation seeks to integrate digital assets into the financial structure of the state.

DISCLAIMER: Views expressed are the author’s own, and Outlook Money does not necessarily subscribe to them. Outlook Money shall not be responsible for any damage caused to any person/organisation directly or indirectly.



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Cryptocurrency industry fears big tax hit in infrastructure bill

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They see the new reporting requirements as potentially damaging the economic viability of cryptocurrency markets, which have seen a rapid expansion in new users during the pandemic.

Given how much new tax revenue could be at stake and the amount of progress that has been made on the bill, many doubt the language will be eliminated, so they are focused on efforts to make what they see as improvements.

Industry groups including the Blockchain Association, Coin Center and the Association for Digital Asset Markets outlined their opposition to the requirements in statements on Thursday, taking particular note of provisions in the draft version that could lead to targeting of individual users.

Perianne Boring, founder and president of the Chamber of Digital Commerce, said in an interview on Friday that her group proposed amending the bill language to “tighten the definition” of what constitutes brokering activity to exclude artificial intelligence platforms or business transmitters.

“The idea of shoving this into a congressional mandate or as a as a revenue-generator for something completely unrelated, is not the preferred way or the right way to get the best policy,” Boring said, noting that ADAM and others have repeatedly asked for more guidance from the IRS on how to enforce existing laws.

ADAM’s CEO, Michelle Bond, said “it is critically important for the industry to be at the table to provide technical assistance for proposals of this magnitude.”

Tax compliance is considered a major problem with cryptocurrencies, and lawmakers are hungry for the $28 billion their proposals are said to raise to help finance their big-ticket spending plans.

The issue is complicated, potentially affecting banking and securities law. It also crosses jurisdictions in Congress, from the tax committees to banking panels.

The move to boost cryptocurrency reporting requirements comes after Republicans killed a plan to boost IRS enforcement by greatly expanding the agency’s budget — something Democrats are expected to tackle in a separate tax-reconciliation package.

IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig has repeatedly asked lawmakers for more power to improve tax compliance in the cryptocurrency industry, where many market participants are unaware of their obligations or are outright cheating.

Though industry officials vow to fight the proposals, they’ll likely face an uphill battle.

The plan is headed for a quick vote in the Senate, and lawmakers will be loath to blow a hole in the infrastructure proposal after struggling for weeks over how to defray its cost of the plan.

The fact that few lawmakers understand cryptocurrencies and their relationship to taxes means that any lobbying effort will require a major educational campaign. Congress’s most expert member on the issue, Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), happens to be one of the main authors of the broader infrastructure package.

Much of the proposal is designed to replicate the reporting regime imposed when people sell stocks in companies like Apple or Ford.

Brokers would be required to report people’s so-called basis, or the price at which they bought cryptocurrencies, as well as their gross proceeds — which would make calculating their tax bills much easier. Studies have long shown that when people know someone else is independently reporting their income to the IRS, they are far less likely to skirt tax obligations.

Lawmakers also want to include anti-money laundering provisions sought by the Treasury Department that would require transactions worth more than $10,000 to be reported to the government.

Behind the scenes, lawmakers have debated language that would expand the definition of broker to include decentralized exchanges, without traditional middle men, and peer-to-peer transactions, though some say the language of the proposal is broad enough to sweep in others like cryptocurrency miners.

“The extension of the definition of ‘broker’ is a surprise,” said Lisa Zarlenga, a partner at the firm Steptoe & Johnson LLP who works on cryptocurrency tax issues.

Another source of contention: provisions that could potentially go beyond cryptocurrencies to other types of digital assets like non-fungible tokens.

The Treasury Department had already been working on rules to tighten reporting requirements on brokers like Coinbase, but having Congress’s imprimatur would help head off any potential legal challenges to the agency’s authority to issue new regulations.

Industry officials are vowing a fight.

Blockchain Association Executive Director Kristin Smith expressed frustration with the last-minute scramble to write the legislation, saying it could impose new requirements on “all sorts of different actors in the ecosystem.”

“We think it would have the effect of potentially driving a lot of these actors and businesses and individuals involved in crypto overseas and really stifling the innovation in this space here in the United States,” she said.

Though the plan is said to raise $28 billion, that’s highly uncertain and the estimate immediately raised some eyebrows.

While Congress’s budget forecasters can predict with confidence the cost of tax changes that are similar to ones lawmakers have made before — such as expanding the child tax credit — they invariably have a harder time for more novel policy proposals.

Cryptocurrencies present a particularly difficult challenge because their valuations can fluctuate wildly, it’s hard to know how many people are buying and selling the assets, and forecasters have to make guesstimates about the tax rates they likely pay.

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MicroStrategy Q2 Financials Reflect Losses Due to Crypto Market Crash

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BeInCrypto –

MicroStrategy’s second-quarter financial results show a loss in its bitcoin investments, but the company will continue to amass the cryptocurrency.

Business intelligence firm MicroStrategy has published its financial results for the second quarter of 2021, logging a revenue growth of 13%. The company saw some losses in its bitcoin holdings, brought on by the market’s slump in the second quarter. MicroStrategy, which has grown in the public eye for its investments in bitcoin, saw its shares drop by 3.35% today.

This story was seen first on BeInCrypto Join our Telegram Group and get trading signals, a free trading course and more stories like this on BeInCrypto

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Crypto recovers, disasters strike, and China’s crackdown moves to other sectors – Cointelegraph Magazine

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This weekly roundup of news from Mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong attempts to curate the industry’s most important news, including influential projects, changes in the regulatory landscape, and enterprise blockchain integrations.  

It was a tumultuous week in China outside the financial world with severe flooding hitting Zhengzhou and typhoon In-Fa lashing into cities around Shanghai. Even worse, a COVID-19 Delta-variant outbreak in Nanjing is now threatening to disrupt the relatively open lifestyle that residents have enjoyed since strict anti-infection measures got the initial outbreak under control in early 2020. 

 

Shanghai
Shanghai city skyline (Pexels)

Trouble in paradise?

Inside the Chinese financial world, government regulations on tech and education companies sent the local stock markets tumbling, which may have had an indirect role in the sharp rebound for cryptocurrency prices. The reminder that regulators can suddenly crush an industry might hurt the confidence of A-shares investors, driving more money back to alternative investments like Bitcoin. In any event, there is a lot on the government’s plate, so cryptocurrency shouldn’t be a huge focus these days.

Selling the rumors in advance

The volumes certainly supported this trend as Huobi and OKEx saw increases for the second week in a row. Despite rumors that more crackdowns might be on the way for exchanges, things have been quiet on the regulatory front. The platform tokens for both OKEx and Huobi recovered impressively. HT, which had dropped around 80% since mid-May, suddenly rebounded around 45%, making investors question whether the worst of the regulatory action was behind them. If nothing else, the rumors are becoming more and more priced in by this point, meaning there is less to fear from new announcements. 

As one of the catalysts for the news, Huobi hinted at their upcoming PrimePool, which should allow users to mine the tokens of new projects using HT or other tokens. The Axie token AXS remained a popular asset to trade as it stayed in the top five on Huobi for most of the week. NFT gaming has yet to really take off in China, although projects like Polygon are still actively pushing the metaverse trend in the region. 

Wiping the slate

On July 27, Huobi announced its China-based entity had been dissolved. As nearly all operations have gone overseas, this decision could be a step towards becoming disentangled with Chinese regulators. Huobi stated that it was the entity registered in Beijing all the way back in 2013 and that it was not the current operating entity of Huobi Global. According to the same article, OKEx is also in the process of dissolving a previously-used registered company.

With miners and exchanges now mostly abroad and out from under the control of Beijing, future policies can only really target the retail trading and usage of cryptocurrencies. Bobby Lee, who founded one of the earliest Bitcoin exchanges in China, discussed the possibility of an outright ban, saying it could happen in 4-5 years. Lee is now the CEO of wallet company Ballet and remains an active figure in the cryptocurrency space.

Looking for greener pastures

Binance’s CZ  revealed in an interview with SCB 10X that he is looking for a new Binance CEO who he hopes will have a “very strong regulatory background.” CZ first disclosed his departure earlier this year when he said he hoped to step down as CEO in the next two to five years to fully focus on developing the BNB and Binance Smart Chain ecosystem and now his plans to “step down” seem even more accelerated.

 

Vitalik Buterin makes a virtual appearance at World Blockchain Conference (Source: Ben Yorke)

Happening in Hangzhou

This developing tech region of Hangzhou was the stage as the World Blockchain Conference took place on July 24 and 25. This is one of the larger events on the blockchain calendar and with a focus on blockchain technology and technical development, received the support of local government organizations. The event had a lot of hype preceding it, due to digital keynotes from speakers like Vitalik Buterin and Sam Bankman-Fried. However, the close proximity of Typhoon In-Fa resulted in a lower turnout and more subdued activities. Buterin laid out his future vision for Ethereum, painting an ambitious picture of upcoming developments. A number of projects held side events in Hangzhou, including leading DeFi wallet ImToken and smart contract protocol Avalanche.

Top it up with CBDCs

Shenzhen residents can now use the e-CNY on buses and subways, according to a story on People.cn. Citizens are encouraged to actively use the central bank digital currency on public transportation for what is being called “green” travel. Citizens scan the code in the local transportation app and scan it when entering or exiting the vehicle or station. At the same time, citizens can use the e_CNY to top up their local travel cards.

This news will not be welcomed warmly by President of ASI Rich Checkan, who earlier this week suggested that CBDCs were “concocted in hell by Satan himself.” His strong words are likely aimed at countries like China, where government plays a strong role in both financial institutions and the tech sector. 



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Is Bitcoin a religion? If not, it soon could be – Cointelegraph Magazine

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Hass McCook is a respected Sydney-based civil engineer who has worked on some of the most spectacular buildings in the world, from Munich’s Allianz Arena to Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands.

He also considers Bitcoin to be his religion.

Better known on Twitter as Friar Hass, the 35-year-old had a religious epiphany about Bitcoin in 2017.

In a tale reminiscent of the Bible’s The Trials of Job, McCook bought Bitcoin three years earlier at $1,000 a coin and watched it lose 90% of its value. He then lost a substantial proportion of the remaining sum when the Bitfinex exchange was hacked.

“That sent me down into the psychological and spiritual gutter,” he says. “And I came out of that with a religious experience.” He’s not being ironic.

“They always say in times of tragedy and trauma, people turn to God. That is sort of what happened with me. It’s tough to describe the experience, but basically, the best way I can describe it is I went to Bitcoin.”

As a member of the Bitcoin Mining Council and friendly with MicroStrategy’s Michael Saylor, McCook views Bitcoin as a form of energy, and as Einstein was fond of pointing out that when it comes down to it, everything in the universe is energy.

 

 

“It was the culmination of all of my learning, experience and trauma — it was the realization that you and I, in long-term equilibrium, are just Satoshi,” he says. “Every atom in the universe through heat and energy transfer, one day will become literally Bitcoin.” He adds:

“It’s a very, very powerful thing, like we get buried into the ground, we go into the ground, become worm food, circle of life and eventually it ends up in the grid. You literally end up in Bitcoin.”

When this feature was first commissioned, it was intended to be a fun exploration of the idea that the culture around Bitcoin is metaphorically a bit like a religion. But, it turns out that some people are starting to view it as a literal religion — or at least an ideology or even a cult that has the potential to turn into one.

It sounds crazy — maybe it is crazy — but there’s more substance to the idea than you might expect.

 

Hass McCook
Hass McCook

Bitcoin Holy Capitol

The religious echoes seemed pretty obvious to many observers of the recent Bitcoin 2021 conference in Miami.

The New York Times article was titled “Thousands descend on Miami to glorify Bitcoin” and quoted the convention center’s owner Moishe Mana saying: “The more you fight religion, the more holy it becomes and the stronger the movement becomes,” he said. 

Media outlet Paradox described how a “ten-thousand-plus legion of devoted believers” came together with “followers of Bitcoin maximalism” to listen to the high priests of the movement:

“Before thousands of wide-eyed attendees like Joel Olsteen preaching at a megachurch, prophets like Michael Saylor called Bitcoin the ‘apex’ of human achievement, while architects of the Holy Capitol blatantly acknowledged the asset as a full-fledged religious movement.”

And just like followers of a religion, Bitcoiners believe, with some justification, that they’re on a righteous mission to change the world. Twitter’s Jack Dorsey told the crowd: “I don’t think there is anything more important in my lifetime to work on.”

Established 2012

The concept dates back to at least late 2012 when Bitcointalk forum user Crazy-rabbit posted:

“I’m sure people have noticed how eerily similar to religion Bitcoin is becoming. The mythical founder, the email disciples, the followers… So why doesn’t someone just do it already and register the Church of Satoshi? There is certainly enough philosophy here.”

As it happened, a satirical Bitcoin Church had commenced operations a month earlier, urging followers to “Praise Bitcoin” and “Honor the Blockchain.” A more sincere effort called The Church of Bitcoin was established in August 2017 by Henry Romp, urging members to ”Distribute our scripture, the whitepaper written by Prophet Satoshi Nakamoto.”

 

 

The chief narrative officer at Qi Capital, Jonny Qi, tells Magazine that as a spiritually inclined person, he began to notice parallels soon after he got into crypto in 2017.

“You have this charismatic leader who disappeared, Satoshi, and then you have a white paper which acts as a holy paper, and if you kind of go against it, you’re basically not part of their religion anymore and they’re going to attack you. So all the basic fundamentals to build a religion are there.”

 

Darren Gleason Twitter

The commandments

Bloomberg’s Joe Weisenthal neatly laid the parallels out in an article earlier this year, calling Bitcoin “the first true religion of the 21st century.”

He noted Bitcoin’s first block was called the Genesis block and that Satoshi appears to have been self-sacrificing and benevolent, having departed this world before he sold a single coin. He likened the white paper to the Bible, Hal Finney to a saint, Bitcoin Pizza Day and the Halving to religious holidays and the Bitcoin Cash fork to a religious schism. Weisenthal also wryly noted that “orthodox” Bitcoiners adhere to a diet of meat only.

“Prophets, apostles, holidays, dietary customs, sacred texts, schisms, sayings and more. Bitcoin isn’t like a religion. This is just what a religion is.”

 

Bitcoin and religion
Source: The Passion of the Believers, Hass McCook

 

While the article was tongue in cheek, the metaphor runs surprisingly deep. Bitcoiners go out into the world and proselytize the tenets of the faith: Anti-inflationary hard money, decentralization and uncensorable transactions, which will help good win against evil (bankers). They demonstrate their faith by hodling, participating in rituals such as “buying the dip” and telling nonbelievers (nocoiners) of the miracles in which the poor transformed pennies into Lambos in Bitcoin’s version of transubstantiation.

Many Bitcoiners believe in an apocalyptic-style scenario when the existing fiat-based financial system finally collapses. In a blog, McCook described “Judgment Day” as a forthcoming period: “Viewed by many Bitcoiners as a devastating economic event, the death of fiat.”

“Ultimately, this will lead to total civilizational collapse or the phenomenon of ‘hyperbitcoinization,’ effectively when all global trade is conducted in Bitcoin, and its market capitalization is in the dozens of trillions, if not hundreds.”

Cointelegraph Magazine contributor Elias Ahonen, a former seminarian, wrote an entire chapter about the similarities in his book Blockland.

“I actually spent a semester at a Bible college before university,” he says. “It constantly blows me away how similar crypto and especially the Bitcoin movement is to a charismatic religion. I would dare to say that unless you’ve experienced it, you can’t understand how absurdly similar they are, to the point that they are indistinguishable.”

Bitcoin fixes everything

Bitcoin maximalists are the fundamentalists — the hardline lay preachers who keep the flock from worshiping those who they believe to be false idols, or blaspheming by purchasing shitcoins. McCook says he’s comfortable with the comparison.

“Yes, because we do have fundamentals,” he says. “There are fundamental, ethical and moral principles to Bitcoin.” While many Bitcoiners just think of it as a fun way to make money and maybe stick it to the banks, some maximalists view it more like a righteous crusade. They believe:

Bitcoin fixes this.

By which they mean, Bitcoin fixes everything.

“If you’re an actual environmentalist and if you don’t have Bitcoin, you’re not a serious environmentalist. You know, if you want to end poverty and you don’t hold Bitcoin, you’re not serious about ending poverty,” says McCook, adding:

 

“Because the root cause of all of our problems is basically money printing and capital misallocation as a result of that. So, the only way the whales are going to be saved, or the trees are going to be saved, or the kids are going to be saved, is if we just stop the degeneracy.”

 

Qi has an altogether darker view of maximalism, which he believes is a stifling form of moral superiority:

“Morality is the essence of every maximalism, a belief that somehow their system is morally superior to every other system. Bitcoin maximalists are more interested in moral superiority than sound money.”

 

Roger Ver
Roger Ver seeks immortality through cryonics.

 

The Bitcoin Jesus himself, Roger Ver — now the leader of the breakaway BCH sect — tells Magazine that Bitcoiners are really the only community in crypto that behaves this way.

“You see that mainly from the BTC camp,” he says. “They hate every other coin that’s not BTC. Whereas I see the Ethereum guys, they like lots of different coins, the Bitcoin Cash people like lots of different coins. Most coins are okay with other coins, but there just seems to be a pretty large contingent of people that think that BTC is the one and only true religion or one true and only cryptocurrency, and I think that’s foolish.”

Define religion then

The Oxford Dictionary defines religion in part as “A pursuit or interest followed with great devotion.” While Mirriam-Webster defines it as “a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs and practices” and “commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance.”

McCook points to those two definitions and says religions don’t need to be based around a god, citing Buddhism and Taoism.

Torkel Brekke, a professor in religious studies at Oslo Metropolitan University and the author of Faithonomics: Religion and the Free Market, agrees that “it’s absolutely reasonable to say that you can have a religion without a strong concept of a divine being.”

Brekke says that what all religions do share is a strong social aspect. “They feel they have a very strong sort of sense of being a community that is something special, different from other communities,” and followers perform rituals such as prayer or singing to create strong emotions.

 

 

He notes that many established religions now conduct these gatherings and rituals online. Could Crypto Twitter be the place where the Bitcoin faithful congregate to feel the elation as the price rises and the crushing disappointment when it falls? (Technically speaking, hodlers shouldn’t care about short-term price movements if they’re not going to sell, but a price increase seems to validate their faith while a price plunge tests it.)

Professor Torkel Brekke

I describe the similarities between Bitcoin and religion to him, along with McCook and Qi’s perspectives, expecting him to shoot the idea down. But he says some aspects, especially the “end of times” story “where everything is going to collapse in terms of the financial system and they are going to remain as a select group that saw the light” makes it seem as if the comparison might actually be plausible.“

The more you talk about it now, makes me think that there’s definitely something to this,” he says.

No, the whole idea is silly

One person who thinks the comparison is overblown is crypto enthusiast, filmmaker and speaker Kirby Ferguson (This Is Not a Conspiracy, Everything is a Remix). He says that anyone who worships Bitcoin or follows it religiously is going way too far.

“I think it’s super misguided,” he says. “It’s simply not a religion. There’s nothing metaphysical about it. There’s nothing supernatural about it. Satoshi Nakamoto is just some guy.”

 

“It just seems like a real limited religion, if you want to look at it that way. Like I just don’t see — aside from value outside of economics and finance and technology — I’m just not sure what it can really offer you. I would be surprised if many people think that way. And honestly, I’d be surprised if it grows. It seems like a joke to me.”

Decline of religion

One hypothesis, brought up by a number of interviewees, is that the ideology around Bitcoin could be acting as a sort of substitute belief system as traditional religions lose influence. This is an idea gaining traction in relation to a range of different ideologies and movements separate from Bitcoin.

The decline of organized religion has been a seismic transformation across Western cultures —  but especially so in the traditionally God-fearing United States of America. Twenty years ago, around 70% of Americans belonged to a church, synagogue, or mosque. That fell to just 47% in 2020, according to Gallup.

Over the same period, the number of people with no religious affiliation nearly doubled, with the proportion higher among younger age groups, including 31% of Millennials and 33% of Generation Z. These are also the age groups most interested in Bitcoin.

 

Bourbonic plague

 

James M. Patterson, research fellow at the Center for Religion, Culture and Democracy, argued in the National Review that young people are embracing alternative forms of belief. He cited Ross Douthat’s book Bad Religion as evidence that “Attempts to scrub religion from American public life have failed; alternative belief systems have rushed in to fill the void.” He suggested that critical social justice movements are one manifestation.

McCook sums the concept up. “You have to believe in something, it doesn’t have to be God” and points to the popularity of Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life, at the other end of the political spectrum, to illustrate the same point. He adds:

“You need some compass in your life or you’re just going to be lost and destructive.”

Even QAnon, with its mysterious prophet Q and its Judgment Day-style prophecies of the conspiracy theory “The Storm,” could be a way of fulfilling people’s need to believe. “People are sublimating, they’re redirecting, they’re channeling these kinds of impulses in other directions and I think QAnon definitely fits the bill there,” Ferguson says.

Religion is hardwired

Kirby Ferguson

Many scientists think the human brain is hardwired for religion — or at least there’s a propensity for people to believe in something bigger than themselves.

“I think it’s just really common, even among people who are like hardcore atheists, often they’ll have some other belief system that is really strong,” says Ferguson, adding: “It certainly could be Bitcoin but in lots of cases its environmentalism, its progressivism, its libertarianism, its conservatism, whatever.”

What unites these substitute belief systems is that they’re trying to make the world a better place, whether by eliminating racism, sexism, saving the environment, or reforming an unfair and unjust financial system.

The unfortunate flip side of belief systems with such devoted followers was noted by lawyer and civil liberties champion David French recently:

“That really animates people and gives them a sense that what they’re doing, they’re on the right side of something really important and really good. But as with so many fundamental ‘isms’, it is so entirely intolerant of dissent and so entirely intolerant of disagreement it often ends up oppressing in the name of liberation.”

Ideologies or religions?

Apart from QAnon, these movements are more commonly referred to as ideologies rather than religions. But, Ferguson says it’s sometimes hard to tell where one ends and the other begins.

“Any sort of belief system, whether you’re a libertarian or a progressive or whatever, it’s a bit like a religion. It’s a kind of philosophy, it influences your decisions, it molds your moral take on issues. There’s a kind of blurry boundary.”

 

 

“Bitcoin I do see as a libertarian style belief system. But clearly, it’s not an actual religion. It’s more of an ideology,” adds Ferguson. Meanwhile, Brekke thinks that it may be less clear-cut.

“It has ideological aspects to it, but it has a lot of other aspects that I would say are religious-like — they are cult-like. If I was pressed for an answer, I would say, yeah, this looks like a cult with religious dimensions. To say whether or not it is a real religion. I would need to wait another 50 years.”

 

Bitcoin Hermit

 

Qi believes the way events are transpiring means Bitcoin, or something like it could really become a formal religion in the future. “We have to see it from the aspect of the next 100 years: All spiritual ways will kind of die off and people will be more and more merged with the digital world — they’re losing basically the reality part of their life,” he says, adding that “When you see it from that perspective, you need to have a religion which fits that reality. You need to have a digital religion.” Qi then concludes:

“All these elements are in place to build the first basically worldwide digital religion. I think it’s already there. That’s what I believe: It’s a digital religion. It’s gonna be huge. I don’t think anybody can stop it.”

 

 

 

 



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Unique Bitcoin-backed home loan refinancing deal in California

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One of Southern California’s largest independent escrow companies, Glen Oaks Escrow, has announced its first property refinancing with a Bitcoin-backed loan.

The company stated that this is the first time a refinancing has been completed using Bitcoin as collateral. In the July 28 announcement it added that it has previously facilitated a number of real estate transactions that used BTC as the form of payment.

Glen Oaks Escrow, which started accepting Bitcoin payments in 2018, views the transaction as proof that Bitcoin’s value proposition is becoming clearer to debtors and creditors. Company Chief Operating Officer Joe Curtis commented:

“Seeing a lender use cryptocurrency for a refinance shows us that this payment method is continuing to grow in how it’s used and who it’s used by.”

He added that seeing the lender rather than the home buyer using BTC in a real estate transaction “tells us that this technology has the potential to continue becoming more prominent, even if it is still considered new to our industry.”

In another crypto related real estate development, a Dogecoin aficionado from the U.S. state of Utah has offered a 10% discount on his property if the buyer pays in DOGE.

On July 27, a local TV station reported that the owner listed the $389,000 home for sale and will accept seven cryptocurrencies but prefers Dogecoin due to his belief the 10% discount would quickly be made up for by Dogecoin price appreciation. After applying the discount, the amount of DOGE required to make the purchase would be around 1.7 million tokens at current prices.

Way back in 2017, Cointelegraph reported on the first-ever BTC real estate transaction which occurred in Texas.

Related: 5 Cities That Let You Buy Real Estate with Bitcoin

These two new stories are the latest positive developments in the real estate sector. On July 23, Cointelegraph reported that an increasing number of real estate firms are accepting payments in cryptocurrency.

CEO and founder of The Crypto Realty Group, Piper Moretti, told Cointelegraph that many buyers purchasing real estate with digital assets are taking loans out against their cryptocurrency, so they can still benefit from holding coins while putting the value to work.

In May, it was reported that buyers could even use Dogecoin to make a property purchase in Portugal. FNTX Capital Suisse partnered with Portugal-based property developer 355 Developments to offer condos for crypto in the capital, Lisbon.

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Grayscale Bitcoin Trust Discount Narrows as ‘Unlocks’ Pass

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Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) shares have narrowed their discount relative to the underlying cryptocurrency held in the fund – possibly a sign that buyers are using the vehicle to bet on the recent recovery rally in digital-asset markets.

The GBTC shares traded at a discount of 6.6% to net asset value (NAV) on Tuesday, the smallest margin since June 22, based on data provided by the crypto derivatives research firm Skew. The discount had widened to 15% in mid-June.

“The discount seems to have narrowed due to a surge in buying interest in GBTC following weekend’s bitcoin price rally,” Rahul Rai, co-head of Market Neutral at BlockTower Capital, said.

Related: Love Bitcoin? Mine Your Values

Bitcoin crossed above the critical 50-day average resistance level at $35,000 over the weekend and climbed past $40,000 on Monday. At press time, the cryptocurrency was changing hands at around $40,200, up for an eighth straight day in its longest winning streak since December.

Some investors may have snapped up GBTC shares in hopes that the discount will evaporate with a bull revival in bitcoin. In that scenario, the buyers would reap any price gains on bitcoin while pocketing extra profit from a narrowing of the discount. (Grayscale Investments, which manages the trust, is a unit of Digital Currency Group, which also owns CoinDesk.)

“The GBTC discount could be narrowing from investors increasing purchases of GBTC for their tax-advantaged accounts on the belief that BTC will continue to rise with the recent run in price,” Martin Gaspar, research analyst at CrossTower, said.

Related: Israeli Bill Would Force Crypto Investors to Report Holdings Above $61K

Under the rules of the Grayscale trust, accredited investors – typically institutions or rich people – can buy GBTC shares at net asset value by depositing bitcoin or U.S. dollars into the trust and agreeing to hold the shares for at least six months. There was a strong incentive to do so last year and into early 2021, because the shares consistently traded at a premium; investors would lock up bitcoin, get GBTC and liquidate shares at the premium six months later, pocketing extra profit. The trust witnessed record inflows in the December-January period as the premium swelled to 40%.

The shares, however, fell into discount in early February, taking the shine off what was known as the Grayscale carry trade. Inflows into the trust have since dried up and the trust won’t be releasing any shares over coming months. That could be another reason for the narrowing of the discount.

“The main factor is the fact that we don’t have any unlocks occurring in the foreseeable future,” Vetle Lund, an analyst at Arcane Research, said. “Over the last months, massive unlocks have occurred, leading to constant and massive selling pressure of GBTC shares.”

The trust unlocked some 40,000 shares in July. That represents potential selling pressure, because investors have an option to liquidate holdings in the secondary market. However, that selling pressure no longer exists; data from the firm Bybt shows there are no more unlockings at least until early 2022.

Existing GBTC investors may be holding on to their shares – reducing selling pressure from the market – while new investors may be snapping up shares at the discount in hopes that the trust will be converted into an exchange-traded fund (ETF) in the future. Such a conversion might cause the shares to trade more regularly in line with the value of the trust’s bitcoin.

“There may also be speculators buying GBTC in the hopes of profiting off the discount if GBTC is able to convert into an ETF,” CrossTower’s Gaspar said.

Grayscale Investments said in April it was committed to converting the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust into an ETF. The world’s largest digital-assets manager recently hired the New York-based bank BNY Mellon to handle accounting and administrative services for GBTC starting in October. The trust said the relationship will eventually morph into transfer agent and ETF services provider for the GBTC ETF, when and if that is approved by regulators.

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Market Wrap: Bitcoin Stalls After Short-Squeeze Rally

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Bitcoin took a breather on Tuesday after a near-20% price rally over the past few days. The cryptocurrency declined from $40,000 resistance as Amazon denied rumors it will accept bitcoin payments. Bitcoin was trading around $37,000 at press time and is down about 4% over the past 24 hours. 

Technical data suggests lower support around $34,000 could stabilize the current pullback. 

“Going forward, we expect bitcoin to keep pushing higher and test the upper end of the $30,000-$42,000 trading range,” wrote Pankaj Balani, CEO of Delta Exchange, in an email to CoinDesk. “We expect to see similar moves in altcoins, too, led by ether.”

Latest prices

  • Bitcoin (BTC) $37,896.6, -3.95%
  • Ether (ETH) $2,244.3, -4.27%
  • S&P 500: 4401.5, -0.47%
  • Gold: 1799.2, +0.1%
  • 10-year Treasury yield closed at 1.238%, compared with 1.293% on Monday

“Only a conclusive break above $50,000 in BTC would attract fresh flows and signal a change in the broader direction for the market,” Balani wrote.

Some analysts expect further upside in bitcoin as institutional buyers find value opportunities across cryptocurrencies. 

“As institutional investors have been waiting on the sideline to take positions, the current market move could be sustained during the week” wrote Elie Le Rest, partner at crypto hedge fund Exo Alpha, in an email to CoinDesk.

The short-squeeze rally triggered the most active trading session this quarter in crypto markets, according to data from Skew.

Bitcoin spot – aggregated daily volumes
Source: Skew

The increase in volumes has been driven by large buyers, typically institutions that have waited for a more directional trend on bitcoin since the end of May, according to Le Rest.

Brief return to profitability

Over 2 million BTC have returned to profitability based on their realized price after bitcoin rallied over the past few days, according to data from Glassnode. 

“This indicates that 11.2% of the circulating supply has an on-chain cost basis between $29K and $38K,” Glassnode tweeted Monday.

Bitcoin: Total Supply in Profit
Source: Glassnode

Bitcoin drawdown

Bitcoin’s drawdown, or the percentage decline from the peak near $63,000, narrowed to around 40% over the past week. Typically, drawdowns exceeding 50% indicate the start of a bearish trend, similar to 2014 and 2017-2018. 

The current drawdown suggests bitcoin’s intermediate-term downtrend is stabilizing given the sharp price bounce over the past few days. However, drawdowns can last much longer towards 70%-80%, which previously occurred near bear market troughs.

Source: Koyfin

Options less bearish

Bitcoin’s one-month put-call skew, which measures the cost of puts, or bearish bets, relative to calls, or bullish bets, has come off sharply to 2% from 13% late last week, according to data provided by crypto derivatives analytics firm Skew. The one-week put-call skew has declined from 13% to 5%.

The narrowing of the spread between prices for puts and calls essentially means investors are no longer seeking downside hedges in anticipation of an extended price drop, wrote CoinDesk’s Omkar Godbole.

The put-call skew on the bitcoin options market has become less bearish.
Source: Skew

Bitcoin futures back in contango

“After Monday’s short squeeze, some unregulated futures are back in a 10% contango, but the basis varies across the various venues, and the institutional traders still seem cautious,” according to a Tuesday report by Arcane Research.

Contango, a term used to describe the bullish arbitrage, occurs when the bitcoin futures price is higher than the spot price. Since April, bitcoin’s contango has narrowed as bullish sentiment waned.

“We’re still far away from the extreme contango of 50% from mid-April, but it is concerning that the traders in the unregulated offshore futures once again outpace the CME traders,” Arcane wrote.

“The growing contango occurs as traders with a short bias are reluctant to re-enter short positions after Monday’s massive short squeeze.”

Source: Arcane Research

The Tether put

With largest stablecoin, USDT, in the news again for inauspicious reasons, worried perma-bears might now be searching for the crypto market equivalent of a credit default swap – a derivatives instrument that allows buyers to bet on another trading counterparty’s creditworthiness. 

The answer to that might be a put option on tether, essentially a bet that the stablecoin’s price will fall below its ostensible redemption value of $1. Some traders have been actively scouting around for such a trade, according to some players in digital-asset markets. 

Although market makers have seen demand for a tether put, fulfilling that demand is difficult, wrote CoinDesk’s Omkar Godbole. Currently, there is no active market for put options on tether. Exchanges don’t find a business case there because, technically, there is no exposure to offset. Participants fearing a tether collapse need to find a put seller in over-the-counter (OTC) markets or approach market makers. That’s a costly affair. 

The solution may be dealing in a tether put at a much lower or out-of-the-money strike below $1.00. That would cost relatively less than buying a put at $1.00. 

Altcoin roundup

  • Senator Warren fires on crypto again: Longtime crypto skeptic Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is urging the U.S. government yet again to form a regulatory strategy to “mitigate the growing risks that cryptocurrencies pose to the financial system.” In an open letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on July 26, Warren urged the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) Yellen leads to bring about a “coordinated and holistic” response to the risks of crypto. Warren cited decentralized finance (DeFi), crypto-enabled cyber attacks and unique threats posed by stablecoins as risks to the financial system.
  • Eco raises $60M for high-yield USDC savings app: Eco is raising another $60 million to propel its early hit stablecoin crossover as regulators turn up the pressure on the sector. Eco is part of a wave of fintechs hawking bank-like services to a fiat audience – but one of the few with a crypto back-end: It generates returns on clients’ deposits by lending them out to institutions in the form of stablecoin USDC. That model may come under scrutiny as world regulators probe the stablecoin sector with new force, reports CoinDesk’s Danny Nelson. 
  • Solana’s Saber Labs Raises $7.7M: Saber Labs, a core contributor to a cross-chain stablecoin exchange bearing its name and built on Solana, has raised a $7.7 million seed round. The funding was led by Race Capital with participation from Chamath Palihapitiya’s Social Capital, Jump Capital, Multicoin Capital and Solana Foundation, among others. 
  • DeFi Insurance Platform Goes Live on Polygon: Tidal Finance, an insurance offering aimed at the growing DeFi space, has launched its mainnet and token reward system for participants providing capital to its reserve pools. Announced Tuesday, Tidal Finance goes live on Ethereum layer 2 network Polygon with a handful of initial clients for its subscription-based insurance model, including StaFi, Xend Finance, Marlin, EasyFi and bZx.  

Relevant News:

Other markets

Most digital assets on CoinDesk 20 ended lower on Tuesday. In fact, everything was in the red except for dollar-linked stablecoins.

Notable losers of 21:00 UTC (4:00 p.m. ET):



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Bitcoin price seeks higher low as trader forecasts $45K breakout within weeks

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Bitcoin (BTC) traded steadily on Tuesday after a surge above $40,000 resulted in higher levels broadly holding.

BTC/USD 1-hour candle chart (Bitstamp). Source: TradingView

All eyes on Bitcoin higher lows

Data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro and TradingView showed BTC/USD hovering near $37,000, around 8.8% below the peak of Monday’s gains.

Its first trip above $40,000 in six weeks, Bitcoin price action is now attempting to consolidate and form support at a higher low, Cointelegraph contributor Michaël van de Poppe said.

“Bitcoin rejects at the range high, which isn’t strange,” he explained in a Twitter update Tuesday.

“The market has made a new higher high and is in search of a higher low. The levels that I’m watching are $34,500–35,800 and the area around $32,500.”

A look at buy and sell levels on major exchange Binance confirmed the significance of those price points, with buyer support significantly in evidence only below $36,000. Sellers, on the other hand, remained clustered at $40,000 and above.

BTC/USD buy and sell levels (Binance) as of July 27. Source: Material Indicators/Twitter

The area immediately after $40,000 remains a decisive hurdle to overcome for Bitcoin bulls, with analysts arguing that doing so would unleash the bull market continuation that so many continue to wait for.

“Did people really expect 45-48k in one day?” popular trader Pentoshi reasoned.

“You broke the downtrend on high volume, you broke back into the range and made a HH on the daily. You teleported to resistance, it could take 2 or 3x to break it but that’s coming in the next weeks imo. Dips are for buying.” 

That scenario would place BTC/USD on track to reach $47,000 in August, the minimum — if controversial — monthly close predicted by stock-to-flow model creator PlanB.

Trader: “Most” altcoins have bottomed

Bitcoin’s comedown from local highs, meanwhile, spelled problems for altcoins.

Related: Price analysis 7/26: BTC, ETH, BNB, ADA, XRP, DOGE, DOT, UNI, BCH, LTC

Ether (ETH), the largest altcoin by market capitalization, dipped 11% following a copycat move to highs of its own at $2,432 on Bitstamp.

ETH/USD 1-hour candle chart (Bitstamp). Source: TradingView

Many major altcoins fared likewise, with 24-hour losses of 10% or more not uncommon at the time of writing.

“The great part is that altcoins are following suit with Bitcoin and will most likely run towards their other side of the range too,” van de Poppe nonetheless added in a hopeful forecast, repeating previous conviction about the altcoin market.

“This means 80–150% run from the lows. I think most of them are bottomed.”