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Venezuela Launches Free Cryptocurrency Training Course For Citizens

The Venezuelan government has launched a free cryptocurrency training course to teach its citizens how to buy, sell and mine digital currencies, particularly the oil-backed Petro that has been recently issued by the state, local news outlet Telesur TV reported on Saturday, Feb. 24.

The opening of the “Granja Laboratorio Petro” in Caracas takes place days after the launch of the oil-backed national cryptocurrency of Venezuela Petro (PTR) on Feb. 20.

Carmen Salvador, a teacher of cryptocurrency trading at the newly established training course, comments that the school offers “a completely free training,” noting that “in any international market a trading course cost more than $500 to $800.”

Many of our young people here find it impossible to have this amount of resources, [but] the Venezuelan state is guaranteeing that all can participate through these plans,” Salvador said.

Venezuela launched its own oil-backed cryptocurrency in order to attract foreign investors, bypassing the economic sanctions that are enforced against the country by the United States and the European Union.

Since the beginning of the pre-sale (ICO) of Petro on Feb. 20, at least $735 mln worth of investments have allegedly been secured, according to a tweet posted by president Nicolás Maduro. Another report by the Venezuelan news outlet Actualidad claims that a total of $1 bln has been raised in the first two days of the Petro sale.

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Crypto Markets Continue Experiencing Slump, BTC Dips Below $10,000

Crypto markets have continued their slump, with Bitcoin (BTC) briefly dipping below $10,000 today, Feb. 22, and altcoin Ethereum (ETH) edging closer to $800, according to data from CoinMarketCap.

Total market cap is down as well, around $430 bln by press time, down from last week when it broke $500 bln.

Bitcoin is currently trading a little over $10,000, down almost 7 percent over a 24-hour period by press time. Cointelegraph reported Wednesday that Bitcoin’s tolerance had seen a monthly high of 34.9 percent, a high barely broken today with CoinMarketCap data showing a 39.5 percent BTC dominance.

BTC

Ethereum is down 4 percent over a 24-hour period, trading around $810 by press time.

ETH

Altcoin Ripple (XRP) has seen a large dip this week as well. After Saturday, Feb. 21’s, high of $1.21, Ripple is currently trading at around $0.93, down almost 10 percent over a 24-hour period by press time.

XRP

After the Feb. 20 launch of Venezuela’s oil-backed government cryptocurrency, the Petro, Twitter user dark pill pointed out that the unrelated and “abandoned” cryptocurrency PetroDollar (XPD) briefly saw a price rise on CoinMarketCap potentially due to a similarity in name.

XPD is now down by a little more than 34 percent over a 24-hour period by press time, trading for around $0.03.

XPD

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Petro: Stable Coin for Crypto Economy or Illegal Oil Futures?

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

Starting in late 2017 Venezuela’s President Nikolas Maduro began expanding heavily into media space in an attempt to promote a new payment instrument– the government-issued cryptocurrency Petro.

On Feb. 20 the pre-sale of Petro was launched and has already raised $735 mln, according to Maduro’s Twitter. Total amount of PTR issued for sale is 100 mln and is worth $6 bln. The pre-sale will end on March 19.  

The following questions are raised by this controversial project: what is Petro in an economic context and what would be its possible real use in the global economy? Is it a cryptocurrency, a stable coin, oil futures, new government debt instrument or something else? What is its possible economic impact? Which legal issues could follow?

Having carefully studied the Petro white paper and other data available, we present below the results of the analysis.

Venezuela now

According to Maduro, Petro being backed by the Venezuelan crude oil is one of the best ways to use new technologies to restore the financial condition of Venezuela. For many years, the country has been suffering from hyperinflation by thousands of percent per year, while US sanctions cut off Venezuela from international capital markets.

A huge deficit of US dollar monetary supply has led to the absence of basic goods and a tenfold price discrepancy between official and black market currency exchanges for the Venezuelan bolivar and US dollar. That said, this financial catastrophe coincides with Venezuela’s status as possessing the largest volume of readily retrievable proved oil reserves as assessed by OPEC, being well ahead of well-known oil producers such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and others.

But it seems even more alarming news are boiling up. The US administration was urged to impose a full embargo on Venezuelan oil in the near future. According to export statistics, US is the main market for Venezuelan oil and a primary source of ‘hard currency’- US dollars. The excluding of the market from the oil export structure could lead to an even more dramatic economic situation in the country.

The idea of issuing cryptocurrency by the government has been suggested before (Japan, UAE, Russia, and some others), but has so far fallen short of authorization by top officials and practical implementation.

Petro has received official recognition from the Venezuelan government. President Maduro has signed a white paper clearly specifying the conditions and dates of the tokensale. Its activity is aimed at both internal and external markets and carried out at ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America) and OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) levels as well.

El Petro white paper

The original white paper, published on the official website of Venezuela’s government describes the process of issuing Petro. The initial disbursement will be made on the Ethereum platform as a standard ERC20 token. It also states that the Petro price will be correlated with one barrel of Venezuelan crude oil.

The Real Coas Of Petro

The basic items of Petro are mentioned in the white paper as follows: (all the information in this table is the white paper summary and the details are stated as they are in the original document):


Petro: general information

Petro is not solely a token equal to the raw oil barrel price. They are looking at more broad functioning:

  • A transitory asset for exchange to goods and services, and also fiat money
  • A digital platform for emittance and trade of stable crypto assets backed up by raw minerals
  • A store of savings and an investment tool

Unfortunately, the Whitepaper is drafted in common language without any detail on an assumed technological base to launch a full-stack digital platform. Plans to develop such a platform are also absent.


Petro: initial emission and distribution information

100 mln coins will be emitted at launch. Their initial distribution is planned as follows:

  • 38.4% presale
  • 44% public sale
  • 17.6% will be stored in possession of Venezuela’s Superintendence of Cryptocurrencies and Related Activities (SUPCACVEN)

El Petro’s minimum unit is called the ‘mene’ and equals 10-8 Petro. ‘The total emission of El Petro is to be carried out at the initial coin offering,’ further down in the document we find that ‘an additional emission can be made as per the result of El Petro holders vote: 1 coin equals one vote.’


Petro: economic use cases

The project’s architecture is aimed at El Petro’s maximum involvement into settlements between economic agents. The main use cases are as follows:

  • As means of payment for Venezuelan oil via direct exchange of cryptocurrency to real oil dispatch
  • As a legal means of payment on the territory of Venezuela, which allows for tax payments, exactions, duties and official acceptance as the settlement by individuals and businesses. To intensify the use there is a special discount index (Dv)**:

Acceptance price of petro = PriceOil/Bolivar*(1-Dv)

**Dv will be at least 10%

Apparently, this means that paying taxes and any other settlements with state bodies would be at least 10 percent cheaper in El Petro at the current exchange rate than in traditional currency (i.e. in Bolivars).

In the future, the use of Petro is planned to be expanded into other payment markets promoting its use in the world as a stable currency backed up by a real resource.


Petro: legal aspects

As the document states, Petro will fully comply with Venezuela’s legislation. However, the opposition in the National Assembly publicly claimed that issuing Petro was illegal. Some operations with Petro, such as initial sales, subsequent exchange to oil and other assets at ‘authorized exchange sites’ will be carried out in strict compliance with KYC/AML, yet the standards for these are not stated in the document.


Overall the document goes well beyond the scope in which Petro was covered by the media in late December and early January. Earlier it was considered to be simply a cryptocurrency backed up by oil. However, over the course of deeper investigation into the white paper, one could see that it also announces future creation of a platform for e-commodities (digital representation of goods/raw materials), greatly expanding the concept.

At the same time, some parts of the Whitepaper lack fine details, and some statements are not backed by any sufficient explanation. Some items feature information that could seem contradictory. A more thorough white paper with extra technical details would probably spark much more interest and trust in global crypto community.

Economic aspects

Petro could be described as ‘a legal payment instrument’ or ‘a legal tender’ applicable by the government. The concept raises the question of determining the use of a single currency as a legal payment instrument for goods and services to businesses, individuals and the government. This leads to several basic assumptions:

  • Any individual or business must accept this medium of settlement as payment in a private or public transaction
  • All taxes, levies, duties and excise duties as well as other payments to state bodies can be made solely in this currency (currencies)

In the case of Petro, the government, businesses, and individuals can (but are not obliged) to accept it as the currency for all the payments and levies. Despite the fact that the whitepaper declares the maximum intensification of Petro use – up to the discount index, which actually makes it more beneficial for use on the market compared to the Bolivar – we still cannot confirm that Petro fully corresponds to the concept of a legal means of payment. It is a payment instrument that has the attributes of a legal means of payment but is not necessarily such.

In reality, the value of emitted currency is to be ‘secured’ by the liability of Venezuelan government on providing the goods, i.e. the oil, and by its acceptance as the payment to state bodies. In theory, Petro looks more like the currency of the gold-standard period that is technically implemented by virtue of Blockchain technology.

Petro concept

The concept of Petro seems to be both simple and complicated. Up until now, there has been no precedent of issuing cryptocurrencies with such broad functionality to the mass market by the government. Petro is the ‘intersection’ of several familiar concepts from the world of conventional finance.

In Venezuela, Petro stands close to the concept of a legal settlement medium, and in global trade, it is basically a conditionally-stable crypto asset (oil also has specific volatility) that is in fact an oil future without a specific delivery date. Petro could also be assessed as an instrument for tax and levies payment with discounts in a concrete jurisdiction (in the ICO world: a token discount on the unique goods or service of the project). From the investors perspective, at the time of running the crowd sale, the purchase of future oil delivery (the futures) is made with the nominal discount.

New monetary aggregate

That being said, Petro can be conventionally viewed as a new monetary aggregate in the structure of Venezuelan monetary mass. Unlike the Bolivar, it is expected to be easily converted into the US dollar as well as other currencies, which will help Venezuela in export trade.

Therefore, it all comes down to ‘a special monetary aggregate for international payments’. Since it is planned to issue 100 mln coins with each coin equal to one oil barrel (~$60), its total capitalization will amount to $6 bln.

This cost will be actually created during the initial offering with the Venezuelan government receiving several billion of real US dollars from investors. Taking into account the correlation with the oil price and based on the price range starting from 2008 ($30-$150 BBL), we could claim that this monetary aggregate will amount to somewhere between $3 bln and $15 bln. The white paper doesn’t have any grounding on why this specific amount of coins is issued. However, this amount should probably be calculated according to the country’s demand in US dollars and foreign trade transactions.

Payment in Petro

From now on by order of Nicolás Maduro the oil state corporation PDVSA is obliged to carry out transactions in Petro. Moreover, all public and private services like hotels or services of the Venezuelan consulates can now legally accept Petro as means of payment. At the same time, the circulation of digital currency has not even started yet, but Maduro is already preparing a full-fledged legislative and actual infrastructure for future acceptance of Petro.

Questions arise

Many questions arise upon scrutinizing the project, and finding answers to them might clear up the future of Petro. Here we’d like to list some major concerns:

  1. Is it a currency or an oil future? And to what extent is it legal? Taking into account Venezuela’s condition under economic sanctions, it’s highly unlikely that this monetary tool will be easily accepted by the global community. And if it is not, Petro investors and users could get into trouble with the law in jurisdictions outside Venezuela.
  2. Whats are the risks of money laundering through Petro? There’s a clear possibility that it could be purchased with the funds that were received illegally at crypto exchanges or privately, and then exchanged to oil that can be ‘laundered’ and documented to eventually be sold under above-board business practices in various jurisdictions.
  3. Taking into consideration the political and economic situation in Venezuela and the level of corruption, it’s very likely that KYC/AML could become a rather byzantine procedure. Another question is whether major crypto exchanges would agree to list a token that is contradictory in terms of legal compliance.
  4. The project is initially issued at a digital platform. However, there is zero information on the technical parameters of the future blockchain system.
  5. What is the discount index going to be like? The white paper states that ‘no less than 10 percent’ will be available. This could be a point of leverage for Petro’s popularity in the country.
  6. It should be noted that introduction of Petro could put Venezuelan national currency Bolivar into even more miserable condition.
  7. The issue of additional issuance is not fully transparent. If it is done with consideration to holders’ votes, then apparently the government will profit from accumulating >50 percent of the coins and sooner or later start disseminating whichever amounts it chooses. On the one hand, it is useful for Venezuela’s economy: it could actually put into full swing the printing of ‘hard currency,’ on the other hand, a trust issue could arise.

To be continued…

Petro has set a precedent of bringing a cryptocurrency to the market which was created by and government and secured by a physically tangible resource. This instrument features broad functionality that is close to regular money and conventional financial instruments.

However, at the moment the project raises a lot of concerning questions and provides few answers. It still looks more like a beautifully crafted concept than a real and viable financial instrument which could operate worldwide.

It should be noted that initially, the cryptocurrency world is in the state of postindustrial economy, i.e. an economy of communities which independently emit the values determining cost on their own. Therefore, any attempt to secure the cost by virtue of some kind of liabilities is pretty risky.  As history shows, the emitters of money like to renege on financial liabilities. Taken Venezuela’s negative reputation on world financial markets, one might think twice about the promise of Petro.

So the big question is still there: is Petro a stable coin for the world’s crypto economy or merely an illegally emitted oil future? It remains to be seen.

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After Releasing Oil-Backed Petro, Venezuelan President Hints At Gold-Backed ‘Petro Oro’

After the launch of the Venezuelan government-backed cryptocurrency the Petro on Feb. 20, President Nicolas Maduro has already hinted at second government cryptocurrency soon to be released, according to government-sponsored news outlet TelSsur.

This time, the government-backed cryptocurrency will be backed not by oil, but by gold. During a Patria Para Todos [Fatherland For All] party event at the National Theater in Caracas, Maduro announced,

“The petro is a cryptocurrency unique in the world that is supported by oil, and I have a surprise that I will launch next week, the Petro Oro [gold], backed by gold, even more powerful.”

Since the petro’s Initial Coin Offering (ICO) opened on Feb. 20, $735 mln has allegedly been raised, according to Maduro’s Twitter. No official numbers for the ICO had been released by press time.

Some Venezuelans on Twitter have used the hashtag, “#AlFuturoConElPetro,” [the future with the petro], to support the release of the coin. User José David Cabello R wrote,

“#AlFuturoConElPetro against any meddling, against the economic war, against the blockade. For the peace and Venezuela.”

Before the launch, foreign investors from Brazil, Poland, Denmark, Honduras, and Norway had reportedly said they were open to receiving the petro, which is backed by one barrel of oil per coin, for goods and services.

Venezuela is currently facing hyperinflation of more than 4,000 percent in the last year, with the national currency, the Bolivar, having lost around 96 percent of its value.

The president’s decision to launch a cryptocurrency was at odds with the views of the country’s opposition-backed parliament on crypto, which declared the petro an illegal currency on Jan. 9. Critics in parliament see the petro as a way for Maduro to avoid the financial sanctions imposed by the West on Venezuela.

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‘Anonymous Sources’: Telegram Launches ‘Secret’ Second Presale, $850 Mln To Be Raised

Encrypted messenger service Telegram is reportedly raising a further $850 mln in a “secret second presale” of its TON token before launching the yet to be officially announced world’s biggest ICO.

As Verge reports citing “exclusive” reports from four anonymous sources, Pavel Durov’s platform is attempting to get accredited investors on board to double the $850 mln it already received in the ‘first’ presale.

In total, Telegram stands to raise around $1.6 bln before its TON token sale becomes publicly available.

The figures mean this ICO easily beats any other token offering in terms of USD value, with Block.One’s $700 mln result from 2017 coming a lonely second.

Telegram’s path to capital has already seen difficulties due to its increasingly prominent public profile. Fake ‘versions’ of the ICO which appeared on social media following the original announcement in January managed to illicitly accrue funds for TON tokens that did not yet exist.

Controversy centered even on documentation, with a white paper for TON attracting mixed reviews regarding its authenticity when it leaked online.

Durov himself had also publicly come out warning of individual scams linked to the ICO.

Meanwhile, number-three spot Tezos also hinted last week that the nine-month stalemate over its tokens and platform would soon end, co-founder Kathleen Breitman stating a prospective launch could occur within weeks at a UCLA conference Feb. 17-18.

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Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Ripple, Stellar, Litecoin, Cardano, NEO, EOS: Price Analysis, February 21, 2018

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

The market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange.

The financial world seems not to have made up its mind yet about cryptocurrencies.

Paul Singer, founder of investment management firm Elliott Management called cryptos “one of the most brilliant scams in history” whereas Tim Draper, a prominent venture capital investor, has held on to his Bitcoin, and, when asked if he is going to sell them, said: “Why would I sell the future for the past”.

Meanwhile major exchanges Coinbase and Bitfinex are aiming to implement the Segregated Witness (SegWit) scalability upgrade into their systems, which will significantly cut fees and transaction time for the users.

Will this news turn out to be bullish for Bitcoin and the other top digital currencies? Let’s find out.

BTC/USD

Yesterday, February 20, Bitcoin reached our second target objective when it met the resistance line of the descending channel. Traders following us should have sold out their positions around $12,000. What should they do now?

BTC/USD

The BTC/USD pair has almost doubled from its recent lows, therefore some profit booking is to be expected at the current levels. However, it remains bullish as long as it trades inside the ascending channel.

If the bears break down below the support line of the ascending channel, a fall towards the 20-day EMA at $10,000 and below that to the horizontal support line at $9,500 is possible.

Our bearish view will be invalidated if the cryptocurrency breaks out of $12,200 and rallies towards $13,000.    

ETH/USD

The stop loss suggested by us in our previous analysis triggered yesterday, February 20. Ethereum has now broken below the 20-day EMA, which is a bearish sign.

ETH/USD

On the downside, we expect the ETH/USD pair to fall to between $780 and $772 levels, which is a strong support zone.

Our bearish view will be invalidated if the bulls push the digital currency back above the 20-day EMA, towards $1,000 levels. However, the probability of such a rally is low.

BCH/USD

Our recommended stop loss of $1,400 triggered today, February 21. Bitcoin Cash has not performed according to expectations. It failed to gain momentum and move towards the 50-day SMA.      

BCH/USD

The bears have broken below the 20-day EMA, which is a bearish sign. There is one final support at $1,350. If this support breaks, the BCH/USD pair can correct towards $1,200 levels once again.

Our view will be negated if the bulls break out of the trendline and move up to $1,600.   

XRP/USD

After trading in a tight range from February 15 to 19, Ripple broke down of this range yesterday, February 20.. It has also fallen below the 20-day EMA; this indicates weakness. Our suggested stop loss of $0.95 has not yet been breached. But unless the bulls quickly climb above the 20-day EMA, a fall to $0.87 is likely.

XRP/USD

The XRP/USD pair will gain strength only if it breaks out and sustains above $1.23. We expect the cryptocurrency to remain range bound between $0.87 and $1.2 over the next few days.         

XLM/USD

Stellar has turned down and has broken below the critical support of $0.41. Currently, it is taking support at the channel line; unless it breaks above $0.41 quickly, it might turn negative.

XLM/USD

Our stop loss is way lower at $0.30. As most top coins are showing weakness, we should raise the stop loss on the XLM/USD pair to $0.35 on a daily closing basis (UTC).

If the cryptocurrency again enters the channel, it will mean bearish development, and this will raise the chances of a breakdown below $0.30 levels.  

LTC/USD

We had previously anticipated a rally to $270, but Litecoin could only touch the $256.818 levels yesterday, February 20. Higher levels attracted profit booking, resulting in a pullback.

LTC/USD

The LTC/USD pair is stronger compared to the other top coins as it is trading above both the 20-day EMA and the 50-day EMA. The moving averages are also forming a bullish crossover, which is another positive sign.

The price might find support at the trendline, around the $214 mark. Nevertheless, if all the cryptocurrencies fall, Litecoin positions will not be damaged. Therefore, we recommend raising the stop loss on the remaining position to $210.

The digital currency will gain momentum if it reverses direction and sustains above $240.

ADA/BTC

Our bearish view on Cardano has played out according to our forecast. The cryptocurrency has been falling for almost 10 days. This has pushed the RSI into oversold territory and also increases the possibility of a pullback to the overhead resistance level of 0.00004070.

ADA/BTC

The falling 20-day EMA is also close to this level. We won’t be surprised to see the ADA/BTC attempting to rise in the next couple of days. However, the trend remains down and we expect the price to fall to the next support level of 0.0000246.

NEO/USD

The bulls tried to break out of the descending triangle pattern on February 19 and 20, but were unsuccessful in settling at higher levels. NEO reversed direction yesterday, February 20 and reentered the descending triangle.   

NEO/USD

Today, the NEO/USD pair is trying to hold on to the critical support of the moving averages and $120.33. If this support zone breaks, a fall to $100 is likely.

We will turn bullish if the cryptocurrency breaks out and sustains above $140.

EOS/USD

EOS did not reach our buy levels of $11. It turned down from the downtrend line and the 20-day EMA, which is a bearish sign.

EOS/USD

The EOS/USD pair has support at $7.91. If this support breaks, the price might fall to $7. On the upside, a breakout above $10.50 will indicate a possible shift in trend.

The market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange. The charts for the analysis are provided by TradingView.

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‘Zen Master’ Steven Seagal Confirms He Is Face Of New ‘Superior’ Coin Bitcoiin2Gen

“Zen Master” and Hollywood actor Steven Seagal has announced that he is the new brand ambassador for Bitcoiin2Gen (B2G), a new cryptocurrency that claims to be a “superior or more advanced version of [Satoshi Nakamoto’s] Original Bitcoin”, in a tweet Feb. 20.

Bitcoiin2Gen published a press release on Feb. 12 announcing that due to Seagal’s beliefs that “the development of the physical self is essential to protect the spiritual man,” the actor is “obvious as brand ambassador” for the new cryptocurrency, adding emphatically:

“Steven Seagal has become a believer of Bitcoiin2Gen.”

Bitcoiin2Gen uses the Ethereum Blockchain and a P2P payment system that is the same as Bitcoin’s, according to their website. Their whitepaper does not explain these systems, claiming doing so would be redundant, since “it has done by Vitalik Buterin […] and by Satoshi Nakamoto.”

The whitepaper’s “About Bitcoiin2Gen” section explains that the coin differs from Bitcoin in that it has “its own eco-system, its own wallet, its own mining machines and the ability to exchange the coin to popular altcoins or fiat currencies.”

Actor and aikido black belt Seagal, the first foreigner to operate a aikido dojo in Japan, is known for his 90s films, “Hard to Kill,” “Marked for Death,” and “Out for Justice.” He allegedly got his first role in a Hollywood film after putting on an aikido demonstration for the Warner brothers.

Seagal has also dabbled in music, releasing an album in 2007 entitled, “Songs from the Crystal Cave.” His more recent movies include “The Asian Connection,” “The Perfect Weapon,” “End of a Gun,” “Contract to Kill,” and “China Salesman.”

Seagal tweeted his involvement in the new cryptocurrency only yesterday, Feb. 20, which coincided with the release of another Bitcoiin2Gen press release on “clarify[ing] allegations” made by Coindesk, TNW, CNET, Mashable, Business Insider, and Fortune that accused the cryptocurrency of being a pyramid scheme, scam, and MLM company.

In an attempt to dispel fears of any association they might have with a pyramid scheme, Bitcoiin2Gen responded to the media’s allegations by elaborating that their four level pyramid-like commission structure, where potential investors can earn money by promoting B2G by word of mouth, will only exist during the Initial Coin Offering (ICO).

ICO

The B2G ICO was launched in January 2018 and the official launch of the cryptocurrency is scheduled for March, 2018. The B2G white paper reveal predictions for the coin’s price to hit $388 per coin by December.

The Feb. 20 press release writes that there “shouldn’t be any problem if Mr. Steven Seagal is promoting a cryptocurrency,” as it is normal for celebrities to promote brands. The company adds that:

“Nobody should link this endorsement as investment advice as neither he nor we ever advised so.”

Although Bitcoiin2Gen admits that Seagal’s endorsement has brought them popularity, the company also insists “most assuredly Bitcoiin2Gen’s being self-sufficient coin is the only reason enthusiasts are participating in ICO or becoming part of the Bitcoiin2Gen”.

The press release concludes confidently:

“To summarize, we would like to inform the community that we are not an MLM company or a Pyramid Scheme or any Scam.”

Twitter user Jonathan Matias commented on Seagal’s tweet announcing his brand ambassadorship:

“Damnit Steven I was just about to Tweet you to warn you that someone was using your name and likeness to promote some Sh***coin without you knowing, and here we are. Dump this and run!”

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Petro Ignited: Venezuela Launches Pre-Sale Of Oil-Backed National Cryptocurrency

The Venezuelan government launched the pre-sale of the world’s first national, oil-backed cryptocurrency Petro (PTR), Financial Times reports Tuesday, Feb. 20.

82.4 million Petros are already available for purchase for fiat currencies and top cryptocurrencies, although not for Venezuelan Bolivars.

The government intends to attract foreign investors from countries like Poland, Denmark and Norway, as well as skirt the US and EU sanctions, according to Venezuela’s Minister of Foreign Trade and International Investment José Vielma Mora.

Previously, President Nicolas Maduro had ordered the issue of 100 million Petros with the value of a single barrel of oil each. The president hopes to raise a total of just over $6 billion via the sale of PTR.

To buy and trade in Petro, investors need to download a digital Petro wallet, developed by the Venezuelan government. Once acquired it will generate an address you can provide to anybody who wants to transfer PTR to you.

The catastrophic drop in the value of the Bolivar made the country’s government search for alternative ways to save the economy from a meltdown. In the last 12 months, the inflation in Venezuela totaled 4,115 percent and the Bolivar lost up to 96 percent of its value, which sent the country’s economy into a downward spiral.

What do you think? Will Venezuela be able to outperform the entire ICO market of 2017 by securing $6 bln during the sale of Petro?

Ana Heide

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Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Ripple, Stellar, Litecoin, Cardano, NEO, EOS: Price Analysis, Feb. 19

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

The market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange.

After failing to stem the rising popularity of cryptocurrencies through their warnings, the central banks have stooped down to funding anti-crypto campaigns. This move will only reduce the confidence in the central banks and encourage new investors to enter the crypto world.

At the same time, the Venezuelan government is planning to launch a new cryptocurrency called the petro. Each new coin will supposedly be backed by one barrel of oil. However, there is a big question on the central bank’s credibility that is issuing the petro. Analysts believe that the petro is most likely to end up not bringing the expected results.

On the other hand, Bitcoin continues to attract big-ticket investments. After the recent fall, there are reports of a trader buying about $400 million worth of Bitcoin between Feb. 09 to Feb. 12.

People are gradually turning positive on Bitcoin once again. Shark Tank’s Robert Herjavec believes that Bitcoin will top its 2017 mid-December high of about $20,000 in the short-term.

Let’s see what does the chart pattern forecast?

BTC/USD

Traders who follow us are carrying long positions that triggered on Feb. 15. We had recommended booking 50 percent profits at the 50-day SMA, and most traders should have sold when Bitcoin rallied to an intraday high of $11,348.99, yesterday, Feb.18.

We had also recommended trailing the remaining positions with a suitable stop loss. As every trader has a different trading strategy, we did not provide any specific trailing stop loss.

BTC/USDThe BTC/USD pair is trading inside an ascending channel. As long as it trades above the support line of the channel, it can reach $12,000 levels.

In case of a fall, the support line of the ascending channel and the 20-day EMA will be acting as strong support. If these two levels break, the price might fall to $8,400. Therefore, traders who are still left with 50 percent positions should keep the stop loss at $9,800.

We did not recommend closing the complete position because Bitcoin will become positive once it sustains above the descending channel.    

ETH/USD

Ethereum rallied close to the 50-day SMA yesterday, Feb. 18, reaching an intraday high of $979, close to our target objective of $1,000. Hope traders would have book profits on 50% positions.

ETH/USDFor the past four days, the ETH/USD pair has been taking support at $900 levels. Therefore, we recommend raising the stop loss on the remaining position from $775 to $900. The target objective is a move to the resistance line of the descending channel.

If the bulls succeed in breaking out of the channel, a move to $1,200 is likely. On the other hand, if the bears break down below $900, there might be a fall to $780 levels.

BCH/USD

Our target objective on Bitcoin Cash was a rally to the 50-day SMA, close to $1,800 levels, however, yesterday, Feb.18, it turned down from $1,639.251 levels.     

BCH/USDOur initial stop loss was placed at $1,100. We want to raise this stop loss to $1,400 because if most cryptocurrencies turn down from their resistances, the BCH/USD pair might follow suit.

So let’s not lose money on it.

On the upside, please book partial profits above $1,750 and hold the rest with a trailing stop loss for a target objective of $2,000.  

XRP/USD

Contrary to our expectation, Ripple continues to trade in a tight range. It has not participated in the pullback like the other top cryptocurrencies. The only consolation is that it is sustaining above the 20-day EMA for the past four days.

XRP/USD

We had suggested an initial stop loss of $0.86, but we should raise this stop higher because if the top currencies turn down, the XRP/USD pair will also fall sharply. Please raise the stops on the complete position to $0.95.

If the tight range resolves on the upside, please book profits on 50 percent position at $1.45. Trail the remaining position for a second target objective of $1.74.         

XLM/USD

Stellar also has been stuck in a tight range for the past four days. It is trading close to our suggested buy levels of $0.45.

XLM/USD

We anticipate a move to the upper end of the range at $0.63. But for that, the XLM/USD pair will have to break out of the 50-day SMA.

On the downside, supports lie at the 20-day EMA, the horizontal line at $0.41, and the channel line at $0.38.

For now, please maintain the stop loss at $0.30 on a daily closing basis (as per UTC). We need to consider raising it in a couple of days.

LTC/USD

In our previous analysis, we had recommended to book profits on 50 percent positions at $240, and Litecoin reached an intraday high of $239.5 on Feb. 16. We hope that the traders would have sold half of their positions established at $180.

LTC/USD

For the past four days, the LTC/USD pair has been trading in a range of about $208 to $240. A breakout of this range will be a positive move, and we anticipate a rally to $270 and then to $307.

Our stop loss is currently at breakeven. We want to reduce our risk and pocket some of the paper profits. That’s why we should raise the stops on the remaining 50 percent long positions to $200.

ADA/BTC

We have been bearish on Cardano for the past few days because it has broken down of the bearish descending triangle pattern. Though a pullback to the breakdown levels of 0.00004070 is possible, the cryptocurrency remains negative as long as it trades below the downtrend line of the descending triangle.

ADA/BTC

The ADA/BTC pair is likely to slide to the next support level of 0.0000246. Our bearish view will be invalidated if the digital currency breaks out of the downtrend line, because a failure of a bearish pattern is a bullish sign.

NEO/USD

As NEO is trading inside a descending triangle pattern, we had recommended a quick trade with a long at $121 and a target objective of a rally to the downtrend line of the descending triangle pattern.   

NEO/USD

The NEO/USD pair reached our target objective on Feb. 17, reaching a high of $138.35, where the traders must have closed their positions.

An attempt by the bears to sink the cryptocurrency failed Feb. 18. It is currently trying to break out of the downtrend line of the descending triangle, which will invalidate the bearish pattern. If the bulls sustain the breakout, we might see a rally to $169.

On the downside, the moving averages and the horizontal line at $120.33 might act as strong support.

EOS/USD

As expected, EOS turned down from the downtrend line yesterday, Feb. 18. The 20-day EMA is at $9.76, and the 50-day SMA is at $10.8.

EOS/USD

We believe that the bulls will face stiff resistance in the zone of $9.76 to $10.8. Therefore, traders can initiate long positions above $11, if the EOS/USD pair sustains the level for four hours. The target objective on the upside is a rally to $15 levels.

The stop loss can be placed at $8.8.

The market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange. The charts for the analysis are provided by TradingView.

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Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Ripple, Stellar, Litecoin, Cardano, NEO, EOS: Price Analysis, Feb. 23

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

The market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange.

Sanction-hit Venezuela started the pre-sale of its oil backed cryptocurrency Petro on Feb. 20. Just a day later, President Nicolas Maduro’s twitter handle reported raising $735 million. The Venezuelan government plans to raise a total of $6 billion through the sale of 100 Million Petros.

Iran, which is also facing US sanctions is also considering developing its own cryptocurrency.

If these nations successfully bypass the effects of sanctions using cryptocurrencies, this might lead to some strong steps by the regulators in the developed nations led by the US.

Despite this and a few other small issues that can be handled, cryptocurrencies offer a huge opportunity that is attracting the traditional investors. Bitwise Asset Management Vice President of Research and Development Matt Hougan is one such investor who is dumping the ETF industry to go all in on cryptocurrencies.  

BTC/USD

In our previous analysis, we had forecast that if Bitcoin breaks the support line of the ascending channel, it can fall to $9,500 levels and that is what happened. Today, Feb.23, the price hit a low of $9,736.32.

BTC

The bounce from the critical support level is encouraging. This shows that the market participants are keen to buy on dips. The first test for the bulls will be the $11,200 mark where the rally is likely to face resistance from the 50-day SMA and the support line of the ascending channel.

If this level is crossed, the final litmus test will be $12,200 level. Above it, the BTC/USD pair will become positive.

Aggressive traders can use dips to $10,300 to initiate long positions with a stop loss of $9,400. 50 percent of the positions can be closed if the cryptocurrency struggles to break out of $11,200. Remaining positions can be held with a suitable stop loss for a rally to $12,000. This is a risky trade, hence, should be attempted with less than 50 percent of the usual position size.

The bears will gain strength only if they are able to sink Bitcoin below $9,500 levels.     

ETH/USD

Our expectations of a fall to $780 levels on Ethereum also turned out to be correct. Today, Feb. 23, it hit a low of $787.

ETH

The move from the critical support levels has been encouraging, but the ETH/USD pair is likely to face stiff resistance at the 20-day EMA and the 50-day SMA.

The aggressive traders can use dips to $850 to $830 levels to initiate long positions with a stop loss of $770. Though the target objective is $1,000, traders should closely watch the price action at the $900 mark.

If the cryptocurrency struggles to break out of the resistance, the stops should be raised to breakeven, and 50 percent of the positions should be closed.

This is a risky trade and therefore should only be considered with less than 50 percent of the usual position size.

BCH/USD

Bitcoin Cash also fell according to our expectation. It broke below $1,200 and fell to an intraday low of $1,168.3636.      

BCH

The bulls are trying to defend the critical support level of $1,150. If this level breaks, a fall to $854 is likely.

A bounce from the current level will face resistance at $1,400 from the 20-day EMA and above it at $1,680 levels from the 50-day SMA and the trendline.

The BCH/USD pair has been an underperformer in the past few weeks, so we should stick to trading the stronger cryptocurrencies.   

XRP/USD

Ripple broke below our stop loss of $0.95 and hit an intraday low of $0.85112. The $0.87 level is critical support. Below this line, we might see a retest of the lows.

XPR

Any attempt to bounce from the current levels will face resistance at the 20-day EMA and at $1.22961 levels.

Unless the XRP/USD pair breaks out of these two resistances, it remains vulnerable to bear attacks. Another possibility is that the cryptocurrency will consolidate in the range of $0.87 to $1.23 for a few days. Currently, we don’t find any buy setups on it.         

XLM/USD

Yesterday, Feb. 22, our stop loss on Stellar was hit as it closed at $0.34884075 (UTC). The bulls are aiming to defend the support zone between $0.30 to $0.35.

XLM

If the XLM/USD pair re-enters the channel, it will be a bearish development. On the upside, the bulls are likely to face strong resistance at $0.41, the 20-day EMA, and at the 50-day SMA.

We need to turn bullish and look for buying opportunities on a breakout above the $0.48 levels. Until then, it’s better to remain on the sidelines.  

LTC/USD

Litecoin hit our trailing stop loss of $210 on Feb. 22. Today, Feb.23, it fell to an intraday low of $184.577.

LTC

However, as mentioned in our previous analysis, the LTC/USD pair is one of the strongest cryptocurrencies. It continues to trade above both the 20-day EMA and the 50-day SMA, and both are forming a bullish crossover, which means positive development.

The current bounce is likely to face resistance at the trendline. Any fall towards the $200 mark should be used as an opportunity to build long positions with a $170 stop loss. On the upside, if the cryptocurrency breaks above the trendline resistance, it can rally to $240 and then to $260.

ADA/BTC

As the RSI is in oversold territory, we had forecast a possibility of a bounce in our previous analysis. Our expectation proved wrong, and Cardano remained stuck in a tight range for the past two days.

ADA

If the ADA/BTC pair breaks down of 0.00003033, it is likely to extend its decline towards the next support of 0.0000246.

Yet, if 0.00003033 holds, a pullback towards 0.00004070 might take place. Aggressive short-term traders can attempt this trade by initiating long positions once the cryptocurrency breaks out of 0.000033 levels, but please keep the position size less than 50 percent of usual.

NEO/USD

NEO broke below the critical support of $120 and fell to an intraday low of $107.97, today, Feb. 23. However, the bulls aggressively purchased the dip, and the cryptocurrency is showing signs of recovery.   

NEO

There is stiff resistance at $120 from the 20-day EMA and the horizontal line. Above this, the 50-day SMA and the downtrend line at about $125 levels are likely to act as another strong resistance.

Once the NEO/USD pair breaks out of the $120-$126 resistance zone, it is possible to become positive and rally towards $140 and to $170 after that.

If the cryptocurrency fails to break out above the resistance zone, it might fall to $100 levels.

Traders can enter long positions once the price sustains above $126 levels for four hours.

EOS/USD

EOS continues to trade inside the bearish descending triangle pattern, which will complete on a breakdown below $7.5 levels.

EOS

The EOS/USD pair has taken support close to $7.5 levels both yesterday, Feb. 22 and today, Feb. 23. If this level breaks, a fall to $5.7917 and then to $3.4 is likely.

Our bearish view will be invalidated if the cryptocurrency pair breaks out of the resistance line of the descending triangle and the 20-day EMA at $9.27.

The cryptocurrency will turn positive once it starts to trade above $9.5. Until then, it remains weak.

The market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange. The charts for the analysis are provided by TradingView.

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Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Ripple, Stellar, Litecoin, Cardano, NEO, EOS: Price Analysis, Feb. 26

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

The market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange.

Goldman Sachs funded, Circle, a cryptocurrency-focused financial-services firm, has purchased the US-based cryptocurrency exchange Poloniex for $400 million. This shows that large financial institutions are looking for opportunities to grow business in the crypto world. This move, while prices have been in a downswing, might boost positive sentiment.

While a number of nations are looking at ways to regulate crypto trading, the Venezuelan government believes that cryptocurrency is an easy way out of its troubles. After the launch of its oil-backed cryptocurrency, Petro, the government has started free cryptocurrency trading courses for its citizens.

Still, the success of the Petro is a big question mark for the future.

Meanwhile, let’s look at the top cryptocurrencies and see if we can find any profitable trading opportunities.

BTC/USD

In our previous analysis, we had suggested long positions for the aggressive traders in Bitcoin, but it did not move according to our expectation. It turned down from $10,770.23 on Feb. 24 and fell to a low of $9,502.25 yesterday, Feb. 25, but remained above our suggested stop loss of $9,400. The bears were not able to capitalize on the weakness and break below the critical support.

BTC/USD

Today, the bulls have seized the opportunity and have broken out of the downtrend line and the 20-day EMA, which is a bullish sign. They have one more major hurdle in the way of the 50-day SMA at $10,745. Once the price breaks out of the $10,745 to $10,770 resistance zone, it should move towards the resistance line of the descending channel at $11,500.

There is no change to our recommended stop loss of $9,400, but if the traders find that the cryptocurrency is unable to break out of $10,700, they can raise the stops to breakeven. Let’s play it safe.      

The BTC/USD pair will be out of the woods once it clears the $12,200 mark. We also see an inverted head and shoulders pattern forming, which should complete in a few days. If this happens, it will indicate a change in trend and traders can expect higher levels.

Our bullish view will be invalidated if the bears break down below $9,400 levels.

ETH/USD

Traders who follow us would have entered long positions in Ethereum around the $830 mark, as suggested in our previous analysis.  

ETH/USD

Currently, the price is at the 20-day EMA, which may offer strong resistance. But we like the way the ETH/USD pair sustained above the $808 mark on the previous two days, Feb. 24 and Feb. 25, and did not challenge the lows formed on Feb. 22 and Feb. 23. This shows that demand is at higher levels.

Once Ethereum breaks out of the 20-day EMA, it is likely to rally to the resistance line of the descending channel close to the $965 mark.

We find an ascending triangle developing, which will complete on a breakout and close above the $1,000 levels. This is a bullish sign. Therefore, traders can book partial profits at $965 and trail the rest with a suitable stop loss to ride the next up move.

But if the price breaks down to $780 levels, our bullish view will be proved wrong.

BCH/USD

We don’t find any buying interest in Bitcoin Cash at the moment. It is struggling to stay above the critical support level of $1,150.       

BCH/USD

Any recovery attempt will face resistance at the 20-day EMA and the 50-day SMA. The BCH/USD pair will show first signs of strength once it stays above $1,600 levels.

Currently, we don’t find any buy setup, and that’s why we don’t recommend any trade on it.   

XRP/USD

The bulls have defended the $0.85 levels for the past five days. Ripple can now remain range bound between $0.85 and $1.22961 for the next few days.

XRP/USD

The next leg up will start once the XRP/USD pair breaks out of the range and the 50-day SMA at $1.23. Until then, price action will most likely remain range bound and volatile.

We don’t find any buy setups inside the range; hence, no recommendation on trade so far.        

XLM/USD

The bulls have hung on to the critical support zone of $0.32 to $0.35 for the past few days. But they have not been able to push prices higher. As a result, Stellar continues to languish near its recent lows.

XLM/USD

If the bears succeed in breaking down below $0.32, it may push the XLM/USD pair towards $0.22 levels.

However, if the bulls assert their supremacy, a range bound trading between $0.32 to $0.47 is likely to ensue. We are not certain about the next price move; therefore, we have provided our view on both possibilities to the traders.  

LTC/USD

We had recommended traders to build long positions on Litecoin close to the $200 mark with a target objective of $240 and $260. We assume traders would have entered long positions on Feb. 24.

LTC/USD

For the past four days, the LTC/USD pair has been facing stiff resistance at the trendline. Currently, $240 is a critical resistance level; we can see a move to $270 and higher from there.

Traders can hold their positions and trail their stops higher to break even. We think it’s better to wait and not lose money on the trade.

The target objective on the upside is a rally to $270 where 50 percent positions can be closed. Remaining positions can be carried with a trailing stop loss with a target objective of $300.

Our bullish view will be invalidated if the cryptocurrency breaks below $175.

ADA/BTC

We had suggested a short-term trade on Cardano in our previous analysis. Though the price broke out of 0.000033, yesterday, Feb. 25, it never reached our target objective of 0.00004070. It turned down from 0.00003520 levels. Traders can close their positions at the current levels with a marginal loss.

ADA/BTC

The ADA/BTC pair continues to be weak as it is below both the 20-day EMA and the 50-day SMA. If the price breaks down of 0.00003033, it can slide to the next support level of 0.0000246.

On the upside, the zone between the 20-day EMA and 0.00004070 is likely to act as stiff resistance.

NEO/USD

Today, NEO has broken out of a slew of resistances. It has also triggered our buy level, recommended in the previous analysis. Traders who have entered long positions on our suggestion can keep their stop loss at $105.   

NEO/USD

A failure of a bearish pattern – a descending triangle pattern in this case – is a bullish sign. On the upside, $140 is critical resistance; the NEO/USD pair should quickly rally to $170 levels above this level.

On the downside, the cryptocurrency might find support at $120 levels.

EOS/USD

EOS has held on to its critical support of $7.5 for the past five days. Though it had formed a bearish descending triangle pattern, it did not break down of it, and the price has reached the apex of the triangle. The pattern now stands invalidated.  

EOS/USD

If the EOS/USD pair breaks out of the downtrend line and the 20-day EMA, it is likely to reach the 50-day SMA. We don’t find any reliable setups on it. Hence, we can’t recommend any trade on it.

We’ll turn positive on it once it starts to trade above $11 levels.

The market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange. The charts for the analysis are provided by TradingView.

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New Cryptocurrency Debit Card Harnesses AI To Give Customers The Best Deal

The increasing ability to pay for products and services using cryptocurrency debit cards is a physical representation of the rise in crypto popularity. However, they are still relatively rare and at times complex; with so many cryptocurrencies available in conjunction with market volatility, it can be difficult for traders to know how best to utilize the contents of their cryptowallets when making purchases.

Amon is a financial cryptocurrency platform that looks to solve this issue using their unique payment card which utilises artificial intelligence (AI) to ensure that users get the best value from their cryptowallets with every purchase. Their whitepaper claims that they are the only platform which enables users to use their most valuable cryptocurrencies for purchases in real time. Amon also offers their own unique Amon tokens (AMN).

Three purchase methods

Amon card holders will have three purchase methods to choose from. The simplest is to instruct the wallet to allows pay with a single currency (for example, someone who is only interested in Bitcoin). The second is to personally select which of your currencies to use after swiping the Amon card. The third brings into play the unique Amon Artificial Intelligence Aystem (AAIS) which will select the best currency to use in real-time on a per transaction basis.

Amon’s whitepaper uses the scenario of buying a coffee using the Amon card as an example. The AAIS algorithm will analyze the user’s cryptowallet and decide the current best performing cryptocurrency, taking into account factors such as historical data and user risk profile. The algorithm displays to the user the crypto with the highest value to them at that point. The user can then decide to accept the suggestion or pick another currency to purchase the coffee with.

Partnership and tokens sale

When it comes to security, traders can be assured by Amon’s partnership with established cloud platforming company Ixonn and audits by Econocom Group. Amon has also partnered with Daneel, which runs webcrawls to assist traders in investment decision, and CognitionBox, a trading algorithm company helping to develop AAIS.

Amon also claims that they are set apart from the competition by their 24/7 ‘premium’ customer service; something that they claim is sadly lacking in the cryptocurrency industry as a whole.

The Amon private ICO will begin on March 1 2018 for 24 hours (1 AMN = $0.05), but in order for traders to take part they must subscribe to the whitelist by Feb. 2. Joining the whitelist will also give traders a 25 percent AMN token bonus, and a free Amon Gold Card . The first public ICO will follow on March 4, where the token bonus will be reduced to 15 percent.

Looking further ahead, Amon are looking to release the Amon wallet to the public in Q2 2018, followed by obtaining an e-money license and wallet decentralisation in Q3. Their aims for market share are to have 3 percent, 5 percent or 7 percent (negative, realistic or positive estimates respectively) control during the first year.

The team behind Amon are diverse in background and experience. Amon’s four co-founders are from Italy and Australia, and also have team members from France, Spain, Ukraine, and the US. CEO Daniele Izzo previously co-founded another platform for the legal marketplace, AvvocatoFlash, with two of Amon’s other Italian founders, Valerio Sudrio (CMO) and Cristian Izzo (CTO). AvvocatoFlash has thrived in the Italian marketplace, with over 5000 lawyers involved and more than 20,000 legal cases dealt with per year.

Disclaimer. Cointelegraph does not endorse any content or product on this page. While we aim at providing you all important information that we could obtain, readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company and carry full responsibility for their decisions, nor this article can be considered as an investment advice.

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Crypto Market Slightly Grows, Some Altcoins In The Red

The cryptocurrency market continues a slight uptrend with half of top 10 coins by market capitalization in the green on Tuesday, Feb. 27.

Total Capitalization

Bitcoin (BTC) has slowed its advance but still managed to increase by 3.79 percent over a 24-hour period with a current trading value of $10,812.50.

Among the top 10 coins, IOTA has seen the highest change of 8.21 percent over the last 24 hours, and is now trading at $2.04.

IOTA Charts

A number of other altcoins are growing as well. NEO has increased by 7.24 percent, trading at $144.98 at press time, while Ethereum (ETH) showed a little growth of 1.51 percent over a 24-hour period.

Conversely, some altcoins are currently in the red. Ripple (XRP), Litecoin (LTC), and Cardano (ADA) are down with a respective decrease of 0.24, 2.15, and 1.11 percent.

The total market cap hovers above $460 bln after a small sell-off yesterday at $420 bln.

The average Bitcoin transaction fee is at its lowest multi-month levels of about $2.4 per transaction, likely contributing to the cryptocurrency’s growth over the past couple of days.

Yesterday, Feb. 26, Cointelegraph reported on the milestone release of the 0.16.0 version of the Bitcoin Core client, which now fully supports the Segregated Witness (SegWit) scaling solution, designed to reduce transaction fees and confirmation times in the Bitcoin network.

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‘These Guys Just Need Money’: What Do Venezuelan Users Think of Petro?

When the Petro was unveiled to the world by Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro, he led the cheering squad about what a groundbreaking and successful idea it would be. A government-backed, oil-pegged, cryptocurrency that would aid the ailing Venezuelan nation in their time of crisis with a hyper-inflated currency.

However, the pomp and promise of the Petro has quickly been dissected and seen through as the feeling coming from those in Venezuela, as well as those who have been exiled or left on their own accord, see the Petro as one big scam.

Maduro continues to plug and push his digital currency, inviting OPEC countries to join in and beginning the presale. But, as the rest of the world and especially the US, continue their tirade against it, it is important to see how it is going down among the Venezuelan community.

Trouble brewing

It is important to understand the political and socio-economic situation in Venezuela before delving into a purely financial and economic outlook, especially based around cryptocurrencies; state-backed or otherwise. Politically, it is very complicated, but essentially, there are two factions in Venezuela, the Chavistas, the name given to the followers of the socialist policies of the late President Hugo Chavez, and those who cannot wait to see an end to the 18 years in power of his United Socialist Party.

Maduro follows the socialist policies and the spirit of his predecessor but has not been able to hold sway like Chavez, leading to a bubbling undercurrent of discontent. Thus besides the economic collapse and hyperinflation, the country resides in permanent political crisis for several years. Many have reported on how this crisis has seen a stepping up in cryptocurrency usage to counteract the failing currency and also shown a boom in mining, but according to the those who are there or have witnessed the collapse, cryptocurrencies are only available for a small minority.

Limited crypto opportunity

Ostensibly there is a trend of support for the Petro. However, there are many who are calling this a paid-for propaganda campaign on platforms like Twitter. The hashtag #AlFuturoConElPetro, which means ‘To the Future With Petro’ has been used by governmental agencies and supporters alike, including the President.

Speaking to Cointelegraph, ‘Ricardo’ who admits he has recently been exiled from Venezuela explains that cryptocurrencies and those making it work in the country with digital currencies account for small percentage:

“Nowadays, at least 80 percent of the population lives under the poverty line. Only a very small percentage of the population may possess the economic resources needed to use a crypto as a currency for everyday transactions; to have access to a smartphone, at least, and an even smaller percentage from the previous group possess the technical savviness to actually understand and use a cryptocurrency. Therefore, as a substitute for the failed Bolivar, this is far from being a solution for the people.”

However, with this small group that is trying anything to make it work, Ricardo can see them taking the plunge with the Petro is there is any chance of turning a profit. “You bet they will [invest / speculate with the Petro], as long as they see a decent chance for profit,” Ricardo explained, but also reiterating that it is a tiny portion of the population that will have a chance to do so:

“Venezuelans may take sides when it comes to politics, and nowadays the great majority of the country rejects the Maduro regime. However, Venezuelans are spontaneous opportunists when it comes to prospects for personal benefit, especially economic. Add to that cultural trait the fact that the country is undergoing the worst economic, social, and political crisis of its entire modern history, and you got a catalyst for a very appealing use case of the Petro for regular Venezuelans.”

Ricardo goes on to explain that within this tiny subset of crypto users in Venezuela, those who do decide to have a go with the Petro will not be putting all their efforts into this cryptocurrency.

“By no means they will put all of their assets into the Petro. If there is something that the majority of the country knows by now, is that the Maduro regime has the only intention of eternalizing power through any means. And along that way, we have seen it all already, the high-volume propaganda, the archaic economic measures, currency controls, and financial schemes that have served only to enrich high-ranking government officials, while controlling the masses through hunger and fear.”

Petro propaganda

Following on from what Ricardo said, another Venezuelan who spoke to Cointelegraph, ‘Luis,’ reiterated the point that there is not enough of a youthful, tech-savvy population left to be buying into the Petro:

“There’s not much word in the streets at all. Given the huge exodus, anyone who has a degree or is young enough already left. What you will see in the streets are the ‘left behind’ people, these are not very tech-savvy.”

However, the reports have been that Venezuela was a mining mecca because of its cheap electricity and because of the need for cryptocurrencies to replace their failing local currency. But, according to Luis, the cryptocurrency miners have faced some dire times.

“You can check that Antmain used to sell a huge gap of their gear to Venezuelans. It all went wrong when the police started tracking down and arresting, robbing, kidnapping the ones that would have mining farms.”

Venezuela has seen reports of miners being arrested since 2016, but with the announcement of the Petro, there was a dramatic U-turn in those policies as the country’s newly-dubbed ‘cryptocurrency superintendent’ Carlos Vargas confirmed that citizens mining Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies were not breaking the law. But, according to Luis, this is not the case, and he even admits that he had contracts himself to search mining farms:

“I had contracts myself to search farms for army officials, dangerous business… I’m not proud, but here you either smile and do it, or get shot. Maduro said he would support miners, but it got even worse. There’s are tweets from his supporters denouncing cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin to the public. Then came the Petro. It’s all now about the Petro; there’s no word about cryptos in general. Their propaganda only says they are bigger than Bitcoin.”

Dodging sanctions

Another Venezuelan, ‘Rómulo’ believes that the Petro is just another way to avoid the sanctions which have dogged the oil-rich country for so long, a tool in the hands of corrupt officials:

“The Petro is a way of running away from economic sanctions and to in debt to country. It is not transparent; it is not decentralized, nobody knows what the total supply is. How anybody can say that this is a cryptocurrency if does not comply with this main characteristics?”

A lot of the issues facing the people of Venezuela come down to the political strife and policies. As mentioned before, there is a real divide, and the opposing side is getting bigger and louder. ‘Alemacgo’ has aimed at Maduro and his policies in this state-backed cryptocurrency procurement.

“I am appalled at the fact that some in the crypto community appear to be taking the word of a totalitarian dictator and helping him fund the oppression of my fellow citizens. Venezuelans are starving because of Maduro’s communist policies. For those that think that this can be an opportunity to shift the economy around, the government has been in power for 20 years, and all they’ve done is leave us poor and hungry.“

Dodgy coin

Some of the citizens have even taken a hard look at the makeup of the coin, putting in context of the creators, the under-fire government, questioned its so-called oil pegging. “Alexander’ explains:

“This Petro news and all the trash that comes with it… baked on oil for example, which is not true, has no relation with China, Russia or other governments in the world. It has nothing to do with Venezuelan people, and nothing to do with oil or precious metals…these guys just need this money to keep the fallacy of socialism alive and stay in power to continue stealing. Just read the whitepaper and you will find a lot of inconsistencies, and remember that what starts badly never ends well.”

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Marshall Islands Plans To Launch National Cryptocurrency And ICO, Gov’t Officials Report

The Republic of the Marshall Islands will release its own cryptocurrency complete with an ICO and free trading, according to two government officials that spoke with Bloomberg Wednesday, Feb. 28.

The two officials, one of which is house speaker and senator Kenneth Kedi, said that the Pacific nation’s parliament this week endorsed the creation of the currency, which will be called the Sovereign (SOV).

The Marshall Islands currently uses the US dollar as its official currency, and once issued the Sovereign will circulate alongside the dollar. The Sovereign will be distributed via an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) subject to final approval by council, with a rejection “unlikely,” Kedi told Bloomberg.

David Paul minister-in-assistance to the president told Bloomberg that the new state-issued coin should appear before the end of 2018, adding it would be “specifically targeted for the long-term needs of the country.”

The move comes at the same time as Venezuela launches its oil-pegged cryptocurrency Petro, while across the globe in Iran and Turkey lawmakers also made known they are considering a national coin.

Sovereign will meanwhile address “needs” on a comparatively smaller scale — those of the islands’ 53,000 citizens. According to the report, some cash raised from the ICO will go towards healthcare for citizens who fell victim to consequences of nuclear testing by the US in the past.

“This is a historic moment for our people, finally issuing and using our own currency, alongside the USD. It is another step of manifesting our national liberty,” President Hilda Heine meanwhile said in separate comments on the plan.

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Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Ripple, Stellar, Litecoin, Cardano, NEO, EOS: Price Analysis, Feb 28

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

The market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange.

Bill Gates, a world-famous businessman and philanthropist and Microsoft corporation principal founder stated in an AMA session on Reddit yesterday, Feb. 27, that cryptocurrencies led to deaths “in a fairly direct way.” And even though crypto investors have become victims of kidnapping and robbery, this still should not overshadow the true potential cryptocurrencies and the blockchain technology can bring to the society.

As our readers might have seen over the past few months, cryptocurrencies should be traded cautiously. If one makes the right decision and trades using the chart patterns, trades can be profitable with a calculated risk.

BTC/USD

In our previous analysis, we had forecast Bitcoin to reach the resistance line of the descending channel at $11,500, after breaking out of the 50-day SMA. Today, the cryptocurrency reached an intraday high of $11,147.99.

BTC/USD

We believe that the zone between $11,400 and $12,200 will act as stiff resistance. Therefore, the aggressive traders should book profits on 50 percent of their positions at the current levels and hold the rest with a trailing stop loss.

A breakout of the $12,200 levels will complete an inverted head and shoulders pattern, which can propel the BTC/USD pair back towards the $18,000 levels.

The bears will gain strength once the digital currency breaks down of $9,400 levels. Until then, it is bulls advantage.

ETH/USD

We had expected Ethereum to break out of the 20-day EMA and rally towards the resistance line of the descending channel. However, for the past two days, the bulls have failed to break out and settle at the moving average.  

ETH/USD

If the ETH/USD pair turns down from the 20-day EMA and breaks below the trendline of the ascending triangle formation, it will be a bearish development. On the downside, $770 to $780 is likely to act as strong support.

Therefore, traders can raise their stops to breakeven on half position and keep the stops at $780 on the other half position. Let’s reduce our risk.

BCH/USD

We still don’t find signs of a recovery for Bitcoin Cash. For the past six days, the price has been stuck in a tight range of $1,150 to $1,355. Both the 20-day EMA and the 50-day SMA are turning down, which shows that the bears have an upper hand.      

BCH/USD

If they succeed in breaking down of the $1,150 support levels, a fall to $854 is likely. On the other hand, if the bulls breakout of $1,355, a move towards $1,600 is likely.

We are not sure whether the next move will be up or down. Therefore, we have provided both possibilities, and we do not recommend any trade on the BCH/USD pair at the moment.   

XRP/USD

We had forecast a range bound trading action in Ripple in our previous analysis and the price action supports our view. However, instead of trading in a large range, the cryptocurrency is stuck inside a very tight range, with resistance on the upside at $0.98669 and support on the downside at $0.85.

XRP/USD

If the bears break below this tight range, a fall to $0.72 is likely. If the bulls break out of the range, a move towards the 50-day SMA is likely. Until then, the XRP/USD pair is likely to remain range bound.        

XLM/USD

Stellar is struggling to move up. This shows lack of buying even at the current levels. When the price fails to bounce off strong support levels, it is a sign of weakness.

XLM/USD

Both the moving averages have also turned down, which shows that the bears are in command. If the XLM/USD pair breaks down of the $0.32 support, a fall towards the $0.22 levels is likely.

On the upside, the bulls will face resistance at the 20-day EMA and the 50-day SMA. We remain neutral to bearish on the cryptocurrency as long as it trades below $0.48.  

LTC/USD

Litecoin went down from the overhead resistance of $240 on Feb. 26. Currently, it is trading close to the 20-day EMA, which should provide support.

LTC/USD

We like the LTC/USD pair because the moving averages have completed a bullish crossover and the 20-day EMA is above the 50-day SMA, which is a positive sign.

But if the cryptocurrency breaks down of the 20-day EMA, it can fall to the 50-day SMA. We shall retain our stop loss at breakeven because we don’t want to carry a risk when the overall sentiment is bearish.

On the upside, Litecoin will gain momentum above $240. Our target objective remains a rally to $270 and $300.

ADA/BTC

We had suggested closing our aggressive long positions for Cardano in our previous analysis, and it turned out to be the right decision.

ADA/BTC

The ADA/BTC pair has broken down of the 0.000030 levels and is on its way towards the next support level of 0.0000246.

The only silver lining is that the RSI is showing signs of positive divergence. However, we shall not venture to buy it until the price climbs above the 20-day EMA and the downtrend line.

NEO/USD

Traders who follow us are long on NEO at $126 levels, as recommended. Yesterday, Feb.27, the currency broke out of the critical overhead resistance at $140, but it did not sustain the breakout.     

NEO/USD

We continue to put our trust in the NEO/USD pair because it has broken out of a bearish pattern and is sustaining above both the 20-day EMA and the 50-day SMA.

Our target objective on the upside remains a rally to $170. The stop loss can be retained at $105 for now. Traders can raise the stop loss to breakeven as soon as the cryptocurrency climbs above $150.

EOS/USD

EOS broke out of the downtrend line yesterday, Feb. 27, but could not climb above the 20-day EMA. It has formed a symmetrical triangle. The next leg of the uptrend or downtrend will start once the price breaks out or breaks down of the triangle.   

EOS/USD

If the EOS/USD pair breaks down of the $7.5 levels, a retest of the Feb. 06 lows, $5.7917, is likely; though the pattern target is way lower.

On the other hand, a breakout of the symmetrical triangle will push the price towards $10.119 levels. We only should turn bullish on it after it sustains above the 50-day SMA.

The market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange. The charts for the analysis are provided by TradingView.

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Japan: 132 Crypto Investors Sue Hacked Exchange Coincheck, Seek Reimbursement

132 crypto investors have filed a lawsuit against the Japanese-based crypto exchange Coincheck, seeking 228 mln yen (around $2 mln) in damages, local news outlet Sankei reported Tuesday Feb. 27.

Coincheck suffered a major hack in late January that resulted in the theft of more than 523 mln NEM, worth around $530 mln at the time. The exchange has since promised to refund all of its customers in full at a rate of about 82 cents per token.

Despite the company’s refund promise, ten crypto traders had already filed lawsuits against Coincheck on Feb. 15 at the Tokyo District Court over the company freezing crypto withdrawals. Coincheck began allowing yen withdrawals on Feb. 12, which settled one of the claims against the exchange.

At the time of the Feb. 15 lawsuit, the traders’ lawyer, Hiromu Mochizuki, told Reuters that a new lawsuit to claim damages for the hack may be forthcoming. This newest lawsuit with 132 claimants seeks payment in 13 types of currency, including yen, Sankei reports.

Mochizuki’s Twitter bio describes him as the “Secretary General of Coincheck Damage Counterparty Lawyer,” and he often links to the Twitter page of the so-called “Coincheck Damaging Countermeasure Defense Team.”

According to their Twitter, the Coincheck Damaging Countermeasure Team filed the Feb. 27 lawsuit on behalf of the 132 defendants. A video from TV Asahi posted Feb. 27 shows Mochizuki blaming the hack on Coincheck’s “neglected security measures”.

The “Coincheck Damaging Countermeasure Team” recently posted on Twitter that the amount being sought in the case is more than twice that which was reported by Sankei. On February 27, they stated that the amount of damages exceeded 490 mln yen (more than $4 mln).  

Since the January hack, Japanese regulators have begun conducting inspections of unregistered Japanese crypto exchanges, including Coincheck, verifying their computer safety measures and evaluating the management of customer assets.

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IOTA: Weekly Price Analysis

Weekly Price Analysis is a column where our readers decide which coin will be analyzed. Make sure to follow our social media not to miss the next questionnaire.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

The market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange.

IOTA is the tenth largest cryptocurrency in terms of market capitalization. While a few coins in the top 10 are attempting to recover from their recent lows, IOTA continues to struggle.

The ugly spat between the IOTA team and a group of external security researchers is not helping matters either. Some believe that the IOTA founder and his team handled the whole episode immaturely, raising questions on the capability of the team to take the project further. Nevertheless, IOTA’s price has not slumped, which shows that the investors have not given up on the team completely.

Now, let’s look at the technical picture of the IOTA/USD pair.

Weekly chart

IOTA

IOTA remained range bound from mid-June to mid-November of last year. From early November to early December, the cryptocurrency rallied from a low of $0.33870 to a high of $5.59, which is a 1550 percent return within five weeks.

After that, the cryptocurrency remained volatile but range-bound near the highs for five weeks. It broke below the range and slumped to a low of $1.2 in early February. Since then, this is the fourth week of consolidation near the lows.

The previous consolidation had lasted only for five weeks. So, with the other coins attempting a pullback, can we expect an up move in the IOTA/USD pair?

Let’s look at the daily charts to identify the levels that will confirm that the consolidation has ended.

Daily chart

IOTA

The cryptocurrency is attempting to hold the 78.6 percent retracement of the entire rally from $0.33870 to $5.8. It has largely remained range-bound between $1.5 to $2.2117 since Feb. 02 of this year.

Additionally, we find a symmetrical triangle formation at the lows with price attempting to break out of it.

The moving averages are turning down, but IOTA has risen above the 20-day EMA. The 50-day SMA is close to the upper end of the range at $2.2418.

If the price breaks out and closes (UTC) above the range, it has a pattern target of $2.9234. Visibly too, the major resistance is at $3 with only minor resistance at $2.62.

On the other hand, if IOTA breaks down and closes below the range, it has a pattern target of $0.7883. At the same time, the support zone between $1.1 to $1.2 is likely to attract buying.

So, what should traders do?

We don’t find any trade setups inside the range. However, once the price breaks out and closes above $2.23, long positions can be initiated with a suitable stop loss. If the bulls succeed in breaking out of $3, a rally to $4 is possible. Traders should avoid bottom fishing if the virtual currency breaks down of the range.

The market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange. The charts for the analysis are provided by TradingView.