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The third-largest digital on the market, XRP, has hit a two-week high after surging more than 6% in late Monday trading.

Having traded around the $0.43 mark for the better part of yesterday’s session, XRP saw a big price jump in late trading, rising to as high as $0.459. This was immediately followed by a sizable correction, which saw the digital coin closing at $0.448. Still, this close was significantly higher than XRP’s opening level of $0.427.

XRP has declined further today, with its price tumbling to as low as $0.433 during the morning portion of the session. While the coin seemingly stabilised in more recent trading, it continues to be in the negative territory. At the time of writing, the XRP price was hovering around the $0.435 mark, according to data from digital currency tracker Coinmarketcap.

MoneyGram deal

XRP’s Monday price surge came after news that major money transfer company MoneyGram signed a strategic partnership with Ripple, the San Francisco-based start-up that developed the crypto token and its underlying technology. Under the terms of the agreement, MoneyGram will be able to use Ripple’s cross-border payment solution xRapid, which utilises XRP. Meanwhile, Ripple has made a $30 million investment in the money transfer company, with the option of investing up to $20 million more in the future.

“I’m extremely excited about Ripple’s investment in MoneyGram and the related strategic partnership,” Alex Holmes, chairman and chief executive officer of MoneyGram, said in a statement published yesterday. “Through our partnership with Ripple, we will also have the opportunity to further enhance our operations and streamline our global liquidity management. Since our initial partnership announced in January 2018, we have gotten to know Ripple and are looking forward to further leveraging the strengths of both of our businesses.”

Ripple’s chief executive Brad Garlinghouse described the partnership as “a huge milestone in helping to transform cross-border payments”.

In today’s trading, the Ripple price stood at $0.435, as of 16:23 BST. The digital currency has gained just over 1% in the past 24 hours. The coin’s total market cap currently stands at $18.5 billion.

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The post XRP pulls back from two-week highs in Tuesday trading appeared first on Best Bitcoin Exchange.

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The Bitcoin price (BTC/USD) has seemingly managed to secure a break above the $9,000 level after some intense trading in the past couple of sessions.

The original cryptocurrency enjoyed strong trading over the weekend, especially on Sunday morning, when the coin broke through the $9,000 barrier. The coin had moved within striking distance of that level on Saturday, closing that session at $8,838.38, well above its opening price of $8,689.75. BTC continued its advance during the opening hours of yesterday’s session, when its price surged to as high as $9,335.87, which was its highest level since May 10, 2018. The digital coin saw some big price swings in subsequent trading, including a drop below the $8,900 mark towards the end of the session. Eventually, BTC finished the day at $8,994.49.

Bitcoin managed to recapture the $9,000 level at the start of today’s session and, while the coin hasn’t been able to reach its yesterday highs, it has been trading comfortably above the $9,100 mark. At the time of writing, the Bitcoin price was hovering around the $9,150 level, according to data from digital currency tracker Coinmarketcap.

Bitcoin’s break above $9,000 comes days after The Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook had secured the backing of major companies such as Visa and Mastercard for its cryptocurrency project, which is expected to be unveiled later this week. Also last week, Bakkt, the upcoming Bitcoin platform backed by Intercontinental Exchange, announced that it would begin “user acceptance testing” for its two Bitcoin futures contracts on July 22.

In today’s trading, the Bitcoin price stood at $9,152.17, as of 10:50 BST. The digital coin has gained 0.3% in the past 24 hours, Coinmarketcap data shows. The coin’s total market cap currently stands at $162.5 billion, which represents 57.1% of the combined value of all digital currencies.

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Bakkt, the upcoming Bitcoin platform of Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the company that owns the New York Stock Exchange, has revealed more details about its planned launch of BTC futures.

Testing begins in July

In a recent blog post, Bakkt’s chief operating officer Adam White said that the platform would commence “user acceptance testing” for its two Bitcoin futures contracts on July 22. The Bitcoin futures – a daily and a monthly contract – will be listed and traded at ICE Futures U.S. and cleared at ICE Clear US.

“This launch will usher in a new standard for accessing crypto markets,” White wrote in the June 13 blog post. “Compared to other markets, institutional participation in crypto remains constrained due to limitations like market infrastructure and regulatory certainty. This results in lower trading volumes, liquidity, and price transparency than more established markets”.

Solving existing challenges

Bakkt has identified a number of challenges currently limiting the scope and scale of crypto futures markets and are working on finding appropriate solutions. Those include providing an “end-to-end regulated environment offering qualified custody of bitcoin with contracts traded on federally regulated markets”; applying strict anti-money laundering and know-your-customer requirements and extensive screening to ensure that Bitcoin and market participants are not affiliated with unlawful activities. The new platforms offerings also differ from rival Bitcoin futures products in that they are physically-settled contracts rather than cash-settled. This means that participants receive Bitcoins, instead of fiat money, on the contract’s expiration.

Bakkt is also aiming to create an environment that customers are used to see when dealing with established markets. To that end, the platform will offer features such as block trades; a fee holiday through the end of the year to encourage trading; market maker incentive programs to encourage liquid markets; and integrations with ISVs and regulated brokerage platforms.

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Facebook Inc has attracted more than a dozen companies to back its cryptocurrency project, The Wall Street Journal has reported.

While the US social media giant hasn’t officially announced the project, multiple media reports have in recent months suggested that the company is developing its own stablecoin – a type of cryptocurrency that is pegged to a fiat currency. Some have speculated that Facebook has been looking for outside investors, as it reportedly wants to raise up to $1 billion to use it as collateral for the coin.

According to a June 13 report in The WSJ, Facebook has already convinced a number of financial and e-commerce companies, venture capitalists and telecommunications firms to back the project. Among the backers reportedly are Visa Inc, Mastercard Inc, PayPal Holdings Inc and Uber Technologies Inc. Stripe Inc, Booking.com and Argentina-based e-commerce website MercadoLibre have also backed the project, according to the report.

Each firm would invest around $10 million into a consortium that would govern the coin, The Journal said, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter. According to the sources, the money will be used to fund the development of the coin that will be pegged to a basket of fiat currencies, rather than to a single currency like the US dollar.

The latest information on the project appears to be in line with previous reports suggesting that Facebook will not directly control the stablecoin. Individual members of the consortium will also have no direct control over the coin, according to the WSJ report. Some members could serve as nodes in the payment system Facebbook is creating.

Facebook is expected to unveil the cryptocurrency next week and to start testing the stablecoin by the end of this year. The official launch of the coin will happen in the first quarter of 2020, according to reports.

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The largest US digital currency exchange, Coinbase, is expanding its Visa debit card service to more countries in Europe, CNBC has reported.

Having launched the service in the UK in April, the San Francisco-based company announced earlier today that Coinbase Card was now available in Spain, Germany, France, Italy, Ireland and the Netherlands. This means that Coinbase users in those countries will be able to use the card to shop with cryptocurrencies in stores and online at any merchant that accepts.

According to Zeeshan Feroz, chief executive officer of Coinbase UK, the card was aimed at making it easier for people to pay with crypto.

“You can buy groceries on bitcoin and then coffee on litecoin right after,” Feroz said in an interview with CNBC.

The chef executive also indicated that the coin had enjoyed a strong reception in the UK. While he did not provide specific figures, he said that the company “blew past” the initial 1,000 cards it offered users for free.

The coin is available as a mobile app that syncs with Coinbase accounts and also as a physical contactless card that can be used to withdraw cash from ATMs, CNBC notes. When a user decides to use the card for payment, the company converts a cryptocurrency of their choice to fiat money, charging a fee for the service.

Other blockchain companies have also taken steps to improve the accessibility of crypto payments and trading. For example, Binance, which is one of the largest digital currency exchanges in the world by trading volume, earlier this year partnered with fintech firm Simplex to offer a similar debit and credit card service.

Coinbase is looking to expand its debit card service to other markets, but for this to happen the company needs to find the right banking partners. Feroz told CNBC that the US is part of the company’s plans for the service.

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The Litecoin price (LTC/USD) has hit a new 2019 high less thanks to a strong jump that occurred in late Tuesday trading.

Following a strong Monday session, during which Litecoin rose above $125 for the first time this year, LTC’s advance experienced a bit of a pause on Tuesday. The digital coin spent large portions of the session hovering below its Monday close of $129.07. However, the situation changed dramatically in the latter stages of the session, when the coin experienced another big surge and broke above the $130 level. The coin rose to as high as 138.15, before finishing the day at $136.03.

LTC tried to extend its advance during the opening hours of today’s session, but it had already started to show signs of slowing down. Still, the coin managed to rise to $140.70, which was its highest price level since May 17. The coin has since pulled back to slightly lower levels and is currently hovering around the level of its Tuesday close, according to data from digital currency tracker Coinmarketcap.

Litecoin’s recent rally has likely been driven by excitement over the upcoming halving of mining rewards, which is scheduled for early August. The event will reduce mining rewards – the amount of Litecoins miners receive for every block they mine – to 12.5 LTC, from 25 LTC currently. The Litecoin price gained more than 500% in the three months prior to the previous halving, which took place on August 25, 2015. The current price levels mean that Litecoin has gained over 30% over the past week. The coin is up more than 300% year to date.

In today’s trading, the Litecoin price stood at $139.30, as of 15:56 BST. The digital coin has gained 8.8% in the past 24 hours. Its total market capitalisation currently stands at $8.6 billion.

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South Korea’s largest bank, KB Kookmin, has teamed up with blockchain start-up Atomics Lab to develop a digital asset custody offering, industry website Coindesk has reported.

According to a report from Condesk Korea, the two companies signed a strategic business agreement on June 10. The firms want to develop solutions that combine Atomics Lab’s technology, which focuses on securing digital assets, and the bank’s internal control infrastructure and information protection technologies. The companies’ collaboration will involve developing digital asset protection technology and smart contract applications. Kookmin and Atomics Lab also want to explore new businesses in the digital assets space and there could also be cooperation on a blockchain network.

“We hope that the two companies will grow together by discovering innovative services in the field of digital asset management,” a spokesperson for Kookmin said, as quoted by Coindesk. “We will continue to cooperate with various technology companies in the digital ecosystem to expand our offerings.”

The involvement of a reputable financial institution in crypto could have a major impact on the sector, the report notes. The crypto market has already received significant boosts in recent months on the back of reports about J.P. Morgan and Fidelity Investments’ crypto projects. Fidelity’s crypto arm, Fidelity Digital Asset,s started its own custody solution for Bitcoin in March and will reportedly start a BTC trading service later this year.

South Korea is one of the most important regions for the digital currency sector. During the cryptocurrency boom in 2017, Korean traders were among the most active on the market, while exchanges operating in the country, such as Bithumb and Upbit, were among the leading crypto trading platforms in terms of trading volume. The growing crypto fever prompted regulators to impose stricter rules on the sector, in an effort to reduce speculation and crypto related money laundering.

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The Litecoin price (LTC/USD) has hit its highest level in more than a year thanks to a big surge that occurred in Monday’s trading.

Following a lacklustre morning session, the fourth-largest digital currency on the market experienced a sharp price jump on Monday afternoon, which allowed it to surge past the $120 mark. The coin rose to as high as $129.71, which was its highest price level since May 22, 2018. LTC finished the day at $129.07, well above its opening price of $115.00.

Litecoin experienced a small dip in today’s early session, with its price falling to as low as $127.20.  However, it has managed to avoid further losses in subsequent trading. The coin even managed to recapture the $129. At the time of writing, the Litecoin price was hovering around the $129.10 mark, according to data from digital currency tracker Coinmarketcap.

Litecoin’s rally was likely driven by the upcoming halving which will reduce the rewards for Litecoin miners to 12.5 LTC, from 25 LTC, currently. The event is scheduled for August 6.

Halving

As noted by industry website Coindesk, the digital currency gained more than 500% in the three months prior to the previous halving, which took place on August 25, 2015. The online publication noted in a recent article that the Litecoin price had surged from around $1.5 in May 2015 to $7.00 in July of that year. It pulled back to $3 following the halving.

“If history is a guide, LTC continues to rise over the next four weeks before witnessing a bout of profit taking ahead of the Aug. 6 event,” the website said.

In today’s trading, the Litecoin price stood at $129.10, as of 09:55 BST. The digital coin has gained 10.3% in the past 24 hours, Coinmarketcap data shows. The coin’s total market capitalisation currently stands at just over $8 billion.

Featured image: Visual Generation / Shutterstock.com

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Ripple, the San Francisco-based start-up that developed the XRP crypto token and its underlying technology, has opened an office in Brazil as part of a plan to expand across Latin America, industry website Cointelegraph has reported.

According to a Cointelegraph Brazil report published earlier today, Ripple is expected to officially announce the move during the CIAB Febraban conference that will take place in Sao Paulo from June 11 to June 13. The new office will reportedly be Luiz Antonio Sacco, who joined Ripple in March 2019. The US fintech company hopes that the expansion would help it expand the reach of its blockchain-powered payment network RippleNet, which already has more than 200 customers, including three – Santander Brasil, BeeTech Global and Banco Rendimento – based in Brazil. Currently, only five of those clients are using XRP in cross-border payments.

XRP market performance

With regards to XRP, the cryptocurrency has experienced a price uptick on Monday, following some difficult trading over the weekend. Having opened at $0.423 on Saturday, the digital coin incurred significant losses in both weekend sessions, with the decline culminating in late Sunday trading, when its price hit a two-week low of $0.379. The coin eventually closed the Sunday session at $0.388, which was still well below its opening price of $0.412.

While XRP enjoyed some positive price action on Monday morning, it seemed like the coin didn’t have enough momentum to attempt recapturing the $0.40 level. The situation changed in the afternoon, when the token saw a sharp increase that lifted its price to as high as $0.404. The coin has pulled back to lower levels in more recent trading, but it has remained above the $0.40 mark.

As of 16:34 BST, the XRP price stood at $0.400, according to data from digital currency Coinmarketcap. The digital coin has gained 0.9% in the past 24 hours and its total market cap currently stands at $16.9 billion.

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Bitcoin’s bull run this year may have been driven by improving fundamentals, industry website Coindesk has suggested, pointing to a new metric.

In a new report, published earlier today, the online publication noted that an experimental metric called the Transaction Amount to Active Addresses Ratio (TAAR) had hit a 28-week last Saturday. The metric is used to gauge the quantity and quality of activity on the Bitcoin network, Coindesk said.

“[TAAR] divides bitcoin’s 24-hour adjusted transaction volume (USD) by the number of its active addresses to identify how much each active address spends in transactions per day on average,” the website said.

Coindesk further explained that if the metric is high, it means that each user was transacting in high notional values. This in turns to high network “quantity” (how much is being spent) per the “quality” (how many users are spending the funds) of the network.

Historical data gathered since April 2013 shows that then the quality and the quantity of the network is high it is usually accompanied by a positive market reaction and vice versa.

Bitcoin has enjoyed big gains in the past four months and especially in May, when it increased its value by some 60%. However, the coin experienced a significant correction during the first two sessions of this week, when its price plunged below the $8,000 mark. The digital currency has since managed to weathered the storm, but still lacks the necessary momentum to reclaim the $8,000 level.

In today’s trading, the Bitcoin price stood at $7,714, as of 16:00 BST. The digital coin has lost 0.5% of its value in the past 24 hours, according to data from digital currency tracker Coinmarketcap. The coin’s total market capitalisation currently stands at $136.9 billion, which represents 55.7% of the combined value of all digital currencies.

Featured image: Visual Generation / Shutterstock.com

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