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Ethereum Futures Watch: CME Group Says It’s Gauging Client Interest

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Chicago-based derivatives exchange CME Group said that it plans to gauge client interest for an ethereum futures product now that it has launched a price index and benchmark for ether, the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency.

Speaking with Bloomberg on the sidelines of an industry conference in New York, Tim McCourt, CME’s head of equity products, said that the exchange operator will test the waters to see if there is enough demand to justify the creation of an ethereum futures product, though the firm does not yet currently have plans to list contracts that track the price of ether.

“We’ll continue to gauge with them to ascertain the demand for futures,” he said. “There are no plans at the exchange to launch one currently.”

As CCN reported, CME on Monday unveiled its new benchmark Ether Reference Rate and Ether Real Time Index, each of which provides audited pricing data for ETH/USD trading pairs. Data is aggregated from cryptocurrency exchanges Kraken and Bitstamp and then calculated by UK cryptocurrency derivatives exchange Crypto Facilities.

ethereum futures
CME Group recently launched an ether price benchmark, widely seen as the first step in eventually creating a futures product.

McCourt further said that CME has identified a “clear demand” for physically-settled cryptocurrency futures. At present, both CME and fellow Chicago exchange CBOE offer futures contracts that are tied to the price of bitcoin but are settled in cash — not cryptocurrency — due to various custodial and regulatory concerns. “There’s a clear demand for it in the market; people would welcome that innovation,” he said, adding:

“With physical delivery you have to figure out what to do with the Bitcoin; are you going the custody route, are you going the private key route, those are very interesting questions and we’re looking forward to some of those solutions availing themselves in the market, but right now the community is best served by a financial contract.”

Elsewhere in the interview, McCourt hit back at claims that CME’s bitcoin futures product launch triggered the recent bear market. Noting that bitcoin peaked at an all-time high on Dec. 17 — the same day that CME listed bitcoin futures — researchers at the US Federal Reserve argued that the bear market was the result of traders taking up short positions in futures.

McCourt, though, said that although futures volume has grown considerably since the markets opened, it was far too small in December to be responsible for a full-fledged selloff.

“If you look at the notional that trades, it’s tough to say that futures were responsible for that selloff given the relatively small percentage contribution to Bitcoin trading,” he said.

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Was November the Last Big Bitcoin Sell-Off? Trader Expects Slow Grind in 2019

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By CCN.com: According to a trader and crypto technical analyst, November 2018 may have been the last sell-off of Bitcoin and a long consolidation period is expected throughout 2019.

Since experiencing a steep 13 percent drop on January 10 from $4,036 to $3,502, the Bitcoin price has been relatively stable in a tight range in mid-$3,000.

Chart from TradingView

What Does Low Volatility Mean For Bitcoin?

While it seems as if the price of Bitcoin has been volatile throughout the past two weeks, the volatility of the dominant cryptocurrency occurred in a tight range between $3,500 to $4,000.

No major movements below or above key support and resistance levels were recorded, preventing any meaningful short-term price movement.

One trader said that if the trend of relatively low volatility in a tight low price range continues, the sideways action of Bitcoin will extend throughout the year, resulting in a long consolidation period.

“The longer this sideways action takes place the more I think the bottom is in. November was one of the worst monthly candles in history. It’s very possible that was the last of the major selling and now we’ll have a consolidation period that lasts most of 2019,” the trader said.

bitcoin price
The trader is predicting bitcoin to trade sideways through much of 2019. Pic: Shutterstock.

On Sunday, Bitcoin recorded a six percent drop against the U.S. dollar in a 24-hour period from $3,700 to $3,470. The asset has since recovered above the $3,500 mark and based on the performance of the asset in the last 48 hours, Bitcoin is expected to demonstrate stability throughout the week.

Hsaka, a cryptocurrency analyst, said:

Inside Bar; Low that was taken out (3480) holding as support; Continue leaning neutral here, can’t short HTF support, will wait for a break (even moreso when confluent with that CME gap).

A slow grind upwards in the first two quarters of 2019 could allow Bitcoin to establish a proper bottom and a mid-term trend reversal. If the price of asset recovers quickly in a short time period, as seen in the major sell-off of cryptocurrencies in November 2018, it can leave the asset class vulnerable to a large short-term correction.

With events that are considered as catalysts to fuel the momentum of Bitcoin in the first two quarters of this year including Bakkt and Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) far from being materialized due to the shutdown of the U.S. government, it has become more likely for the cryptocurrency market to demonstrate a low level of volatility in the upcoming months.

How About Alternative Crypto Assets?

Historically, alternative crypto assets, especially low market cap cryptocurrencies, have tended to perform strongly against Bitcoin when the asset is in a sideways market.

However, as seen in the performance of tokens and other major crypto assets in the past 48 hours, the stability in Bitcoin is unlikely to trigger short-term rallies for assets with lower volumes and valuations due to the current conditions of the market.

Some analysts believe November to have been the last sell-off for Bitcoin and expect a several-month-long consolidation period to occur.

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Dow Futures Prep for Opening Bell Plunge as Bitcoin Price Turns Volatile

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By CCN.com: The US stock market returns to action this morning following Monday’s holiday break, and the Dow is gearing up for a triple-digit loss at the opening bell. The bitcoin price, meanwhile, experienced a jolt of volatility ahead of the US trading session to break out of what had previously been a relatively calm day for the cryptocurrency market.

Dow Futures See Triple-Digit Pullback

As of 8:29 am ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures had declined by 144 points or 0.58 percent, implying an opening-bell loss of 135.35 points. The broad S&P 500 and tech-heavy Nasdaq also steeled themselves for losses at the open, with futures for the two indices down 0.60 percent and 0.68 percent, respectively.

dow jones futures nasdaq S&P 500
Dow Jones Industrial Average (blue), S&P 500 (red), and Nasdaq (orange) futures declined on Monday and Tuesday ahead of the week’s opening bell.

With the US stock market closed on Monday in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, futures trading had nevertheless portended Tuesday declines. As CCN reported, China published its official GDP growth statistics for 2018, which showed that the world’s second-largest economy had expanded at its slowest pace in 28 years.

That data emboldened US President Donald Trump, who implored China to “stop playing around” and “finally do a Real Deal” that would end the ongoing US-China trade war.

“China posts slowest economic numbers since 1990 due to U.S. trade tensions and new policies,” the president tweeted on Tuesday. “Makes so much sense for China to finally do a Real Deal, and stop playing around!”

Hu Xijin, the editor of the China-based Global Times, responded to that tweet with a warning that Beijing won’t sign an “unequal deal,” even if the country experienced negative economic growth.

“China has hoped to reach a reasonable trade deal with the US. When China’s GDP grew at double digit rate, we wished China-US relations go well. But if the US forces China to sign an unequal deal, Beijing won ‘t yield even it is a negative growth, let alone 6.6%.”

Meanwhile, the March 1 end to the US-China tariff truce continues to inch closer, placing more pressure on the two economic superpowers to find common ground.

Bitcoin Price Turns Volatile on Tuesday

Though not on a holiday itself, the cryptocurrency market had been relatively calm on Monday following Sunday’s moderate pullback. This morning, though, bitcoin and its would-be peers have begun to regain a bit of their characteristic volatility.

bitcoin price
A relatively calm bitcoin price broke out of its slumber on Tuesday, at least for five minutes.

After range-trading between $3,550 and $3,500 for most of the day, the bitcoin price took a sudden drop shortly before 11:40 UTC, slipping as low as $3,401 before recovering above $3,520 in a whipsaw movement that took less than five minutes. As of the time of writing, the bitcoin price sat at $3,557 on Bitstamp, about $33 below its intraday high of $3,590.

Day-over-day movements were relatively muted throughout the wider cryptocurrency market. The ripple price (XRP) declined by 1.22 percent to a global average of $0.317, while ethereum, bitcoin cash, EOS, litecoin, and bitcoin sv all moved by less than 1 percent. Stellar, whose price often moves in tandem with ripple, declined 1.33 percent to $0.102, and tron outperformed the index with a 4.51 percent jump to $0.026 that was likely connected to the announcement that TRX holders would earn an airdrop when the new BitTorrent cryptocurrency arrives.

Altogether, the cryptocurrency market cap — which measures the aggregate valuations of all cryptocurrencies — stands at $119.7 billion, representing a 24-hour increase of around $100 million.

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Crypto Could Still Be ‘Global Currency of Future’: Nasdaq CEO

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By CCN.com: On route to Davos, Nasdaq CEO Adena Friedman says 2019 will be a year of disruption and innovation. Cryptocurrencies could still be a global currency if the “tremendous demonstration of genius and creativity” finds practical utility.

Pioneering, Followed by a Dose of Reality

Friedman, like others, believes the cryptocurrency space has gone through the first stage of the “classic invention lifecycle” this is:

“Marked by early pioneers, followed by hype, followed by proliferation of newcomers and then a dose of reality.”

For many, that dose of reality is a real hard hitter. Over $400 billion has been wiped off the market capitalization of cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin’s price has fallen from highs of $19,000 to lows of $3,200. Early investors may still be in profit, for those who joined the market on its way up, they are sure feeling the downside.

Cryptocurrencies Could be the Internet or Segway

The Nasdaq CEO says one of two things will happen next. Firstly, like the internet:

“The innovation finds practical utility followed by years of steady and sustainable commercial progress and integration into the economic fabric.”

Or secondly like the Segway:

“The invention fails to achieve broad adoption and its commercial applications as medium of exchange are limited.”

It’s tough seeing an industry with billions in investment, tens of thousands of credible startups, and stalwart progress towards adoption, compared to a not so successful “personal transportation device.” Even if the Segway was a precursor to technology like the hoverboard.

Nasdaq Works to Gain Investors Trust in Cryptocurrency

Friedman says:

“It is difficult to ignore the huge amount that investors, including some of the most sophisticated global investors, have poured into digital currencies in recent years.”

Adding that such a genius invention “deserves an opportunity to find a sustainable future in our economy.”

That, she says, will depend on governance and regulatory clarity both “antithetical” to a “decentralized, ungovernable” currency.

For Nasdaq, says Friedman, its about gaining investors trust in cryptocurrency by implementing its trade technology and integrity. The Winklevoss twin’s Gemini exchange uses Nasdaq’s software. Nasdaq has also contributed to Singapore’s efforts to settle tokenized assets and invested in the Wall Street ErisX crypto-exchange. It has also partnered with VanEck to roll out bitcoin futures trading in early 2019.

Venture capitalist Chris Burniske too believes cryptocurrency is going through a normal phase of market development. He says crypto is still at the “installation phase” also comparable to the internet, and even Amazon’s rise to success.

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