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Rahm Emanuel, Chicago Mayor and once Chief of Staff for ex-President Barack Obama, spoke in the city of Chicago regarding the future of cryptocurrency, reports Forbes.

A Decentralized Future

On March 18th, Emanuel commented on cryptocurrency, blockchain, and Chicago’s FinTech future. The soon-to-be-stepping-down politician didn’t come at this so much from a technological perspective, but a political one.

To start, the Mayor commented on countries across the world that are turning to crypto to solve their economic issues:

“Nation states are falling apart, or receding. City states are emerging, so the political structures we all grew up under are changing. One day, somebody’s going to figure out – whether that’s Argentina, ten years from now, five years from now – how to use cryptocurrencies to stay alive when [they’re] facing a financial crisis, and then you’re going to find out that this moment has arrived.”

The politician went on, claiming that while he doesn’t know a ton about the technology, “the trend lines are affirmative for its future”. This could be a decade or two, but he knows that crypto is “an alternative way to trade,” and he has to learn about it.

That said, the Mayor doesn’t buy Bitcoin (BTC) or any other cryptocurrencies himself. “My kids will figure out how to get their hands on it,” he asserts.

Chicago is an up and coming tech center. Chicago’s Advancement

Chicago is known for being an up and coming city regarding technology. While spaces like Silicon Valley in California have often lead the United States on that front, the rise of the internet has enabled that to change. “I think we have something really unique and special here in Chicago,” claims Emanuel.

In fact, according to a study done under the current mayor alongside researched lists from The Economist, IBM, and A.T. Kearney, Chicago is the “second most competitive economy in North America and either ninth, eighth, or seventh worldwide.”

Of course, Emanuel will be no longer be Mayor in a couple of months. But he wanted to share his thoughts on innovation with the world, and hopes to instill that into his successor:

“I came here because I want to encourage all of you to come together, work together. The city, under my tenure, will be a partner in that effort, and I will stress it to the next mayor that they have to do that as well.”

David Carman, the co-founder of Business Network Chicago, echoes Emmanuel’s sentiments:

“We want Chicago to be recognized as the global leader of the FinTech revolution. That’s going to take a lot of work, but you have artificial intelligence, big data analytics, blockchain, cryptocurrency, cyber security, insurtech, lending, payments, wealthtech, augmented virtual reality, regtech, on and on it goes, and they’re all, at a minimum, billion-dollar markets, and some I think are going to be trillion-dollar markets, not just crypto.”

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John McAfee, a popular cryptocurrency personality and creator of the virtual security software of the same name, has revealed via Twitter that he will no longer be working with SkyCoin as their advisor.

Battle of the Claims

In retaliation, SkyCoin’s lead developer, who goes by his online alias, “Synth”, tweeted that these cut ties are due to McAfee’s “irresponsible tweets about whaling fucking.”

SkyCoin, a project that hopes to bring a “new internet that is global” and decentralized, and McAfee have worked closely together since the Malta Blockchain conference last year, according to a blog post from “Skyfleet”, a blog that monitors the state of the project:

“McAfee started serving on the Skycoin advisory board following a public debate with Synth at the Malta Blockchain conference in 2018 at which Mcafee became so impressed with Skycoin that he had the logo tattooed on his back and entertained the team at his private island. He further vowed to use the Skycoin BBS as the platform for his presidential campaign if the Libertarian party was to nominate him again.”

The post goes on, claiming that McAfee often works with and then drops projects for no reason. “This list includes such notables as Digibyte, Verge, Tron, Stellar Lumens, Syscoin and DogeCoin,” it says. Interestingly, the project BeatzCoin announced a partnership with McAfee today, so these claims must have some truth.

A Fan-Fueled Backlash

The SkyCoin community seems to back the decision. At the time of the partnership, some noted that McAfee is a “loose cannon”. That and the fact that he “doesn’t add value to anything he touches”. These fans were worried that McAfee would ruin the brand’s reputation.

SkyCoin is one of the older projects in the crypto industry. Having been in development since 2012, its test net proudly boasts close to 10,000 active nodes.

The blog also notes a quote from an anonymous insider within SkyCoin, who claims that McAfee’s “drug fueled demanding demeanor [is] not meant for business”.

Regardless, this news shouldn’t come as too surprising. McAfee is a bit of a loose cannon, and it’s understandable why some companies wouldn’t want to work around that.

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Binance, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, recently published a report on the correlation between altcoins, Bitcoin (BTC), the U.S. dollar, and more. These results cover not only 2019, but the previous year in cryptocurrency.

Drifting Apart

Of course, there are obvious marks of correlation between Satoshi’s currency and those that followed. But, this report notes that these connections are fading. These assets may soon stand apart from one another.

To start, the study notes that while the top 30 cryptocurrencies regarding market cap were “highly correlated” over the last three months, Bitcoin had the strongest correspondence with them all. Unsurprisingly, this makes the first digital currency the leader of the pack.

However, “the correlation of crypto asset returns based on BTC prices (i.e., Bitcoin-adjusted returns), highlights significantly lower correlations among cryptoassets relative to correlations among the same coins in USD returns,” continues the report. Essentially, altcoins are starting to form their own trends rather than react directly to Bitcoin’s price.

Conversely, the correlation between altcoins and USD has actually increased. This is partly due to the amount of dollar-backed stablecoins that have come out in the past year. No longer must investors buy Bitcoin to trade into other assets. This market trend will continue as more USD-based trading pairs come to fruition.

These assets may no longer be so tied together. Third-Party Changes

Some third-party factors affect correlations as well. One listed factor is the “Binance Effect”. This term refers to the fact that cryptocurrencies listed on Binance “oftentimes have higher correlations among themselves”. This is thanks to Binance being one of the most-used exchanges out there.

The other factor is consensus mechanisms:

“The type of consensus mechanism could impact the correlation between returns of cryptoassets (e.g., returns of PoW coins exhibited higher correlations amongst themselves than with non-PoW coins.)”

Keep in mind that digital assets have only been around for ten years, with a majority of these currencies popping up over the past few years alone. It will take time for the market to mature and stabilize. That said, we can be certain that more currencies will begin to grow independent from Bitcoin. From there, we will see a truly successful market full of assets that can exist of their own accord.

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Augur is facing a huge problem- an ‘invalid market’ scam that could make it update its smart contracts to avoid fraudsters profiting by exploiting the system. The blockchain-based marketplace is designed for prediction betting and allows any user to create a market on any subject. The token holders have to arrive at a consensus over the outcome of the bet in a market. The system of smart contracts then distributes winnings. This system is being conned by attackers.

Augur needs to solve its problems, now!

The decentralized betting protocol Augur has a serious situation. If it doesn’t bring a major update to its platform soon, fraudsters will be making profits by gaming the system, and the developers won’t be able to do anything about it. The fraud actors are creating invalid markets in large numbers, which fools the system and makes it distribute profit mistakenly to the attackers. The community is concerned that scammers are taking over the platform, forcing Augur co-founder Joey Krug to address these concerns.

An invalid market looks exactly like a regular market and encourages users to bet their tokens on a particular outcome. However, these fraud markets usually expire before the event being bet upon is triggered. This makes the system distribute profits incorrectly even though the attackers make incorrect bets. The Augur community terms these as “invalid” markets and the attackers usually bet on impossible outcomes and vote to make the market invalid.

What is Augur doing for the problem?

Augur tried to fix the problem using “validity bonds” that work as collaterals making Augur confiscate winnings if users cheat the market. Hard Fork talked to co-founder Krug about the problem. He said,

“With validity bonds, the idea is you lose money if you create an invalid market. But right now, the formula to calculate them isn’t working properly.”

Augur developers are having a hard time deciding the money lost via these invalid markets as the algorithm that decides it hasn’t been configured correctly. However, changing it won’t be a small patch. Users will have to wait for Augur 2.0 as it demands change to the Augur smart contract code.

“Right now, they don’t lose much, and the system is supposed to raise that amount over time until the number of invalid markets decreases, but that’s buggy, so that will be fixed,” said Krug.

Krug also said that they have another fix for the time being- allowing trading on whether a market is valid or not. This will make the attacker bid constantly and trigger a UI filter to alert users. However, it can’t be done if an on-contract update is not made available.

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XRP is one of the most curious coins on the crypto market. It is the third largest cryptocurrency, and it even managed to take over Ethereum’s second spot on the list of largest coins by market cap several times and for several months, before it was finally overthrown. It is also a coin that is now considered a remittance coin due to its major use case.

XRP mainly serves to fuel products developed by its parent company, Ripple Labs. The company aims to create products that would make international payments cheap, easy, and instant. To achieve this, the company has already developed payment channels such as xRapid, xCurrent, and more. However, it does not offer them directly to the community, but instead — it chose to deliver them to banks and financial institutions.

While XRP has suffered a lot of criticism for its connection with Ripple and all of its partner banks, the coin is also viewed by many as a bridge between the crypto world and traditional financial institutions.

Add several controversies to the equation, and it is easy to see why XRP is so volatile, as well as why some people are willing to buy XRP while others think it a scam.

Meanwhile, XRP is just a coin attempting to grow, achieving moderate success, only to be brought back down whenever it makes some progress. For example, back in late September 2018, the coin surged from $0.25 to over $0.56, when most other coins were still seeing drops in value due to the crypto winter. However, the surge was followed by a sharp correction which was only stopped by a support at $0.40.

Then, the coin attempted to breach another resistance at $0.48, and it even managed to do so in early November. However, its efforts were, once again, rewarded by a price drop. It should be mentioned that the cause of this drop was a second market crash which affected the entire crypto market, but XRP suffered from it just as much as any other coin.

The drop forced it to break multiple supports that attempted to hold it, such as the ones at $0.48, $0.40, $0.35, and even $0.32. The coin was nearing its major support at $0.24 when the bears suddenly withdrew, which was the first time that the bear market openly showed signs of weakening. XRP took this opportunity to surge once again, and it breached resistances at $0.32, $0.35, and even $0.40, although only briefly. This was the last time that XRP saw such high a price, as the coin quickly crashed down towards $0.35, where its price remained until the end of 2018.

XRP drops again in 2019

In the early days of 2019, XRP was still fluctuating between $0.32 and $0.40, mostly remaining around $0.35. This changed on January 10th, when the bearish influence brought it closer to its support at $0.32. The coin was almost stuck to this level, but it managed to remain above it until January 20th. At this point, the support was broken, and it turned into a resistance that held XRP from growing back up ever since.

Source: CoinMarketCap

As February arrived with its bull runs, XRP attempted to grow like other coins, although it was mostly unsuccessful. Each time when it managed to breach the $0.32 resistance, it was pushed back down, remaining just below it. The situation has not changed much since January 20th to this day, with XRP struggling to breach this roadblock for the better part of 2019.

The roadblock made XRP relatively stable, and its price at the time of writing sits at $0.317759. Despite seeing minor gains of around 0.48%, XRP is not strong enough to breach its major barrier, and it is likely that the coin will remain where it is for some time, unless something happens that would affect either the entire market, or XRP price directly. However, there are still no signs that something like that might happen, making it difficult to predict what might happen in following days.

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After a long 2018, Bitcoin finally sees some positive development. The coin is currently seeing gains once more, albeit small ones, with its daily growth less than 1% after the coin surged past the $4.000 mark. Breaching this resistance level has been something that Bitcoin tried to do for several months now, ever since it dropped down to $3,200 back in November.

This level proved to be the coin’s largest support, which kept it from going further down for four months, at this point. Bitcoin price did come close to it once or twice, but the support held and allowed the coin to finally find a bottom, after about 11 months of uncertainty.

After reaching its bottom, however, Bitcoin’s main concern was with climbing back up, and its first major barrier — the one that the coin struggled with since December 2018 — was at $4,000. At first, the coin seemingly started its recovery after BCH hard fork in mid-November.

The second market cap was strong, but it may have exhausted the bear market faster. In fact, as soon as the situation with BCH calmed down, BTC price started growing up from $3,200, leading many to believe that the crypto winter was over. With this mindset, it is hardly surprising that people were once again willing to buy Bitcoin, especially after what happened during the previous bull run, back in 2017.

However, after reaching $4,000, the Bitcoin price also hit a barrier — one that it struggled to surpass for months to come. It should be mentioned that Bitcoin did breach the $4k resistance several times, but it never managed to remain above it for long. Further, any venture that took the coin above this mark was followed by a price rejection, and the Bitcoin price had to go through corrections.

Most of the time in 2019, the coin was protected from dropping too deep by its $3.600 resistance. However, after one of its unsuccessful attempts at breaching the $4k mark in late December and early January, the coin temporarily lost its strength, and the bears returned. On this occasion, the $3.600 support was broken, and BTC once again threatened to drop to new depths. It was stopped by a support at $3,450, and while this support was breached as well at some point, it lasted just long enough for February to bring a series of smaller bull runs.

Bitcoin finally grows in February and March

The bull runs made a significant mark on the crypto space. Not only did they allow Bitcoin to start gaining value once again, but they also included pretty much the entire market with it. The first such surge came on February 8th, allowing BTC to breach the resistance at $3,600. It remained at this level for about ten days, until February 18th, when the second surge brought the coin up to $4,000.

Source: CoinMarketCap

This was still Bitcoin’s largest resistance at the time, and the coin struggled to breach it for about a week when the third surge hit on February 23rd. Bitcoin finally breached the resistance, climbing to new heights. However, that’s when the twist came, and the bears re-emerged, forcing Bitcoin price back down, below the 4k mark.

BTC did not go too far down, however, as it discovered a new strong support at $3,840. This level allowed the coin to stick around its major barrier, and wait for another bull run to arrive. Bitcoin then waited for about three weeks for this to happen, until it finally did on March 15th. The new surge brought the coin back to the $4k mark, and it finally successfully breached it on March 16th.

Source: CoinMarketCap

This breach, however, appears to be a permanent one, as the $4k level currently acts as a support, meaning that BTC is now free to pursue new heights. It already attempted to breach its next resistance at $4,100, albeit unsuccessfully for the time being. At the time of writing, BTC is still the largest coin on the market, with a price of $4,077.54 and a market cap at $71.7 billion.

In following days, another bull run might take the coin further up, but a strong bearish impact might even force it to break its new resistance. Some experts believe that the coin will yet drop deeper than ever before, but that seems more unlikely as the time passes by.

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Avnet, a technology company with a stake in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC), has announced that it will allow customers to pay for its offerings in the first digital currency alongside Bitcoin Cash (BCH). These transactions will be made through payment processor BitPay, the “largest Bitcoin payment processor in the world.”

Big-Time Acceptance

Vice President of the Fortune 500 company, Sunny Trinh, spoke on the change to Bitcoin Magazine:

“Our customers have been asking to pay in cryptocurrency, and we listened,. Bitcoin gives our customers added flexibility, and we are excited to offer our customers the option to pay with bitcoin or bitcoin cash”.

“We recognized that cryptocurrency would help our customers overcome the competition and challenges they face every day in taking their ideas from design to production,” he continued. As two of the top ten cryptocurrencies, this claim will probably prove to be true.

Cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology work to streamline payments on a global scale. With multiple big-time companies such as Microsoft and Dell accepting Bitcoin, it’s only a matter of time before smaller, yet still prevalent, businesses follow suit. If we want any sort of mainstream adoption, this is how it has to start.

Chief Commercial Officer at BitPay, Sonny Singh, also commented on the situation:

“I predict Avnet will attract many new blockchain-focused customers from around the world that want to take advantage of paying with bitcoin”.

BitPay helps businesses easily set up crypto payments. Testing The Tech

Trinh also told Bitcoin Magazine that Avent has already “closed several multi-million-dollar transactions” using these digital assets. There is obviously some good experience here.

In other spaces around the world, Swiss-based Digitec-Galaxus has recently started to accept crypto payments as well. Oliver Herren, CEO of Digitec, feels similarly to Avnet regarding crypto:

“Cryptocurrencies are fascinating and could become a relevant means of payment in e-commerce. We would like to support this development. We wanted to do that for a long time. Or because you cannot turn them into real money [since] your bank does not accept it. Or maybe just because you … like to try new things.”

Hopefully, this year will see more and more name-brand companies accepting this technology. While blockchain and crypto still have a ways to go, the more people who get on board, the more likely we’ll see these digital assets succeed in the long run.

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Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter and outspoken crypto fanatic, has announced his intention to bring on new engineers for his payment application, Cash App.

Innovation On A Mainstream Level

Released in March 2015, Cash App performs similarly to Venmo in that it enables users to transfer money to one another via their account and a connected bank account or debit card. In 2018, the app moved on to support Bitcoin (BTC) as well.

Of course, Dorsey wants to expand the project even more. According to a set of Tweets, he’s looking to hire “3-4 crypto engineers and 1 designer to work full-time on open source contributions to the bitcoin/crypto ecosystem”. Essentially, he’s pushing Cash App’s head company, Square, further into the world of decentralized currency. Dorsey also claims that the company will even pay in Bitcoin.

The CEO’s reasoning here is quite simple:

“Last week I was considering my hack week project, and asked @brockm: “what is the most impactful thing we could do for the bitcoin community?” His answer was simple: “pay people to make the broader crypto ecosystem better.” This resonated with me immediately, so we’re doing it.”

Dorsey also wants to give back to the “open-source community” that helped Cash App achieve its current standing. For example, allowing users to buy Bitcoin.

A young Jack Dorsey. Giving Back To Those That Helped

His desire to bring on a designer is an interesting but useful choice. Of course, with the early state of blockchain applications, the user experience tends to be lacking. It’s hard enough to build these applications, let alone ensure the mainstream can use them properly. Dorsey wants to solve that issue.

In an additional tweet, Dorsey reveals that this move isn’t so much focused on Square’s “commercial interests”. Instead, it’s these new hires will “focus entirely on what’s best for the crypto community”. He ends this by revealing that all of their work will be “open and free”.

This is a bold but necessary move to move the industry forward. With so many big-time companies accepting cryptocurrencies lately, we are getting many steps closer to mainstream adoption. Square’s Cash App was Jack Dorsey’s first step, and now he’s doing what he can to push his these ideas even further.

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eToro, an app that streamlines the investing process for stocks, cryptocurrencies, commodities, and more, announced that it would offer zero commissions on its stock trading platforms for customers that reside in the United Kingdom.

Standing Against The Competition

What’s interesting about this isn’t so much the lack of fees – other companies are doing this as well – but it’s that eToro isn’t trying to cover up another change. According to financemagnates.com, while competitors are also removing commission fees, they are having investors pay more on the spread. In actuality, these customers are paying more in overall charges than beforehand. eToro is removing the initial commissions without altering the spread or making any other changes.

Iqbal V. Gandham, eToro’s UK Managing Director, spoke on the change:

“We’re on a mission to get Britain investing. First step, make it far more affordable. If I’m a first time investor wanting to buy a few stocks, how can you justify charging me 3% to do so? Either the new investor baulks at the outset, or is stung later down the line when they discover the cost. It’s an instant barrier to investing. So we’re making it simple – no transaction fees, no mark-up on spreads, no custody charge, and no stamp duty.”

This alteration will make eToro one of the cheapest stock trading platforms in all of the United Kingdom. That’s right. Investors could save up to 50% on fees in comparison to other exchanges in the country. This is also thanks to eToro’s policies, however.

Serving The Customer

To start, eToro takes on the cost of the Stamp Duty Reserve Tax, which is charged on every British stock trade. Also, the platform doesn’t have a quarterly charge or an administration fee. It provides the most to its customers without extra costs. These savings add up as well.

gbi2, an investment marketing consultancy, did some research into the UK stock market. Here, it was discovered that some platforms charge investors double what they’ll pay at eToro for the same services.

In light of this, Gandham articulated more on eToro’s future goals:

“As an industry we need to get people excited about investing. Price is a great starting point but alone is not enough. We need to show people how they can invest in their passions and the brands they care about. Investing should not be seen as the preserve of the wealthy or something that is too complicated for the average man on the street. We need to get Britain investing.”

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Even though in the US market 191 companies went public through 2018, the number does not do justice to what could have been a golden year for IPOs, and especially considering that some of the hottest names of Silicon Valley were planning on going public that same year.

Volatility became present in the market since the first quarter of the year, when a massive selloff in the fixed income market triggered heavy sells in equities, causing fear and panic selling that lasted till mid-April.

From there the market saw a period of relief until the idea of the federal reserve putting an end to its Quantitative Easing model made investors more cautious, culminating with a heavy market drop caused by the fear of global economic slowdown and the active trade war between the US and China.

Many important names in the Tech industry that have been waiting for a long time to go public and that had already scheduled and filled during that year ended up postponing for 2019 or until the markets went back on their bullish tracks.

Concerns surrounding economic slowdown in the US market and some of the major world economic powers haven’t been eased, and still, many companies are deciding to jump into the water and become public this year.

Top 10 IPOs you should not miss in 2019: 1. Uber

The company filed its confidential prospectus to the SEC in December of last year, becoming the most anticipated and considered by many as the most important IPO of the Year and probably the most valuable one.

The most recent valuation of the company was $76 Billion but its IPO price is calculated to be in excess of $120 Billion.  As of today Uber does an average of 15 million trips worldwide and counts with 75 million riders and 3 million drivers in the world. The date for the specific IPO is still to be confirmed but it is expected to be at least 3 weeks apart from LYFTs.

2. Lyft

If this was a boxing match, UBER vs Lyft would be the fight of the decade and probably would hit records or pay per view. The two companies filled their IPO documentation the exact same day, creating even more pressure for both of them to prove their value against their biggest competitor.

LYFT will be the first one to go public on March 28th under the ticker of the same name (LYFT) and it is expecting an IPO in excess of $18.5 billion.

3. Airbnb

Just like Uber changed the way people commute around the world, Airbnb changed room listings and hotel services forever.

At a possible valuation of more than $31 Billion, Airbnb is expected to become a real contender as a growth name in the market. Since 2016 the company has presented positive Ebitda which is a rarity with most of the big tech names, or at least at their early stages.

4. Slack

With a solid $10 Billion possible valuation, Slack is another hot tech name out of San Francisco. The small corporate messaging app has now more than 8 million active users and 3 million paying subscribers as of January of 2019.

In late 2018 it was reported that Slack hired Goldman Sachs to take the company public in 2019.

5. Palantir Technologies

Known for their discretion and secretive at the time of doing business, Palantir Technologies is a top-heavy IPO for this year.  With an estimated valuation of over $41 Billion, the company will surely catch more attention from the media as the process for the public offering becomes formal.

You might have never heard about this company, but their implications in data mining, analytics, and artificial intelligence put them on the first spot of their sector and industry.

6. Robinhood

If you are reading this article it means that you might at least have some interest in investing and trading securities, and most probably you know about Robinhood already. The company changed the world of trading by offering a millennial brokerage model, offering its users the possibility to trade with zero fees, bringing the financial markets closer to the general public.

It is certainly not the best broker in the US, but it has its own group of followers and more than three million active accounts.

Robinhood has an estimated valuation of $5.6 Billion.

7. Pinterest

Pinterest was one of the IPOs that were expected to occur in 2018 but were reschedule due to market conditions. It still has not scheduled a final date but it’s expected to take place as early as April according to Bloomberg Reports.

With 250 million active users, a 50% growth in revenue year over year,  the company is looking at raise of $12.3 Billion with its IPO. Pinterest has been a rarity between social media and tech due to its strength in both growth and user engagement.

8. Postmates

The food delivery industry has been a thriving sector over the past couple of years and Postmates has been a strong key player, competing against giants like UberEats and GrubHub.

With a $1.2 Billion valuation, Postmates is one of the smallest names of this list.

9. WeWork

WeWork is a startup that specializes in shared office space, leasing working spaces to small, medium and even large businesses alike. The company has received heavy investments by Softbank, giving them a valuation of more than $42 Billion.

Financially WeWork is a possible growth stock that is still fighting to make their business model profitable.

10. CrowdStrike

The good problem with CrowdStrike is that while the company is still pushing forward with the filling of documents to get its IPO before the second quarter of the year, there are several offers to buy the entire company before the IPO takes place.

The CEO of this CyberSecurity company has made it clear to the market that several companies, one of them including Amazon, have been actively biding privately for the entire company. CrowdStrike IPO is estimated to be Around $5.2 Billion.

Bottom Line

The number of IPOs issued in one year tend to be a good indicator of the economy in terms of growth and expansion. Historically speaking, investing in IPOs could present a great opportunity to become part of a growing company at a still early stage, but it also brings to the table a whole context full of complications that come with a new company under public scrutiny for the first time.

It is recommended to understand completely the business model and also the financial health of a company before thinking of buying its IPO.

If you understand the company, believe in the business and its management and have done all the research needed to think about long term investing then buying an IPO its a choice with a lot of upside potential if you have the patience to see the company growing and your investment with it.

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