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Wendy McElroy: Privacy Is the Virtue That Sparked the American Revolution

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21 1068x1068 Wendy McElroy: Privacy Is the Virtue That Sparked the American Revolution



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The Satoshi Revolution: A Revolution of Rising Expectations.
Section 2: The Moral Imperative of Privacy
Chapter 6: Privacy is a Prerequisite of Human Rights

Privacy is the Virtue that Sparked the American Revolution, Chapter 6, Segment 2

A general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy. While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when once they lose their virtue then will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader.

— Samuel Adams

Many people are under attack from an internal invader: their government. Fortunately, history reveals a powerful weapon against the invasion.

Privacy is the revolutionary virtue that caused American colonists to slam the door in the face of British officials, both literally and figuratively. The Third Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibits the then-widespread practice of quartering soldiers in private homes, even during peace time, without the consent of owners. The Amendment sounds antiquated to modern ears. But correction of this travesty’s violation of privacy and property was important enough for revolutionaries to rank third in the list of liberties declared by the Bill of Rights. It follows the First Amendment (freedom of speech and religion) and the Second Amendment (the right to bear arms.)

Why? Because the Third Amendment asserted the right of domestic privacy against government intrusion into the most personal of realms – the home. It is the only language in the Constitution that addresses the relationship of the individual to the military, in both war and peace, and it gives priority to the individual. As outmoded as the Amendment may seem, it takes no great leap to apply its underlying principle to the current wars conducted by militarized law enforcement against terrorism and on “treasonous” crimes, such as money laundering. The individual comes first.

The Fourth Amendment also champions privacy. It opens by defending “[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” In terms of crypto-privacy, the important word is “papers.” The reference can be easily extrapolated into the 21st century to cover emails and other computer data. Moreover, the disparate history of how the law has treated “papers” and “effects” reiterates the message of the Third Amendment. When it comes to “papers,” individual privacy prevails. That is, it has until recently.

The Fifth Amendment also asserts the right to privacy by delineating the right of an individual not to bear “witness against himself” in criminal cases.

Fifty-six colonists signed the Declaration of Independence. They knew it was an act of treason, which was punishable by death. If the revolution failed, they would lose their lives, their fortunes, and endanger their families. Even when it succeeded, some paid a terrible price. “Five signers were captured by the British and brutally tortured as traitors. Nine fought in the War for Independence and died from wounds or from hardships they suffered. Two lost their sons in the Continental Army. Another two had sons captured. At least a dozen of the fifty-six had their homes pillaged and burned.” That’s how important the signatories–now called Founding Fathers–viewed the principles of the revolution, including the virtue of privacy.

Privacy was a revolutionary virtue worth dying for.

[Note: this discussion focuses on the U.S., but the principles expressed easily cross national borders and cultures. Also, I do not whitewash the many abuses of the American Revolution; I do not dispute that Loyalists were also colonists; I mean merely to highlight the pivotal role of privacy in the Revolution’s dynamic.]

What a Difference a Word Makes

When government confiscates or surveils smart phones and computers, the purpose is to snatch private information from those devices. In 18th-century parlance, the government seizes your “papers.” Compliant citizens obediently surrender the information on those devices; some even defend the intrusion on the grounds of “security.” Such people have every right to do so; it is their personal information to share or not. But they have no right whatsoever to require anyone else to comply with invasive laws and bureaucrats; they are morally wrong to demonize those who choose not to share. Yet those who say “no” to the gang rape of their privacy are literally treated as criminals.

Happily, history exists. Its invaluable lesson: things were not always this way, and it does not have to be this way now.

The world is experiencing what has been called a “technological crisis in modern legal doctrine.” Namely, the old rules do not always fit the new situation.  Physical-evidence rules do not cleanly apply to digital evidence, and inconsistent rulings by the courts on cryptocurrency further confuse the situation. No one definitively knows the legal status of your crypto-wallet or your private keys. A solution to the growing legal mess may lie in a word within the Constitution, upon which few people remark — “papers.”

Listen to history.

Again, the Fourth Amendment states, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Aspects of the Amendment are clear. The government assumes the burden of proof before it can legally violate an individual’s privacy and property, for example. One aspect is commonly overlooked, however. It is the deliberate distinction between “papers” and “effects,” between personal information/expression and personal goods. The common law, upon which Western jurisprudence is based, has traditionally granted far greater protection to “papers.”

Law professor Donald A. Dripps opens his pioneering 2013 essay, “Dearest Property”: Digital Evidence and the History of Private “Papers” as Special Objects of Search and Seizure , with two  questions. “Why does the Fourth Amendment distinctly refer to ‘papers’ prior to ‘effects’? Why should we care?”

Dripps asks because he wishes “to ground special Fourth Amendment rules for digital evidence” within statute law in order to protect “the volume of innocent and intimate information that must be exposed [or demanded] before the criminal material is discovered.” Fortunately, a path forward can be found in the past. In the 1760s, the American colonies reflected “a great controversy over general warrants, libels, and seizure of papers that erupted in England.” The controversy resulted in a complex analysis of privacy.

Returning to the Revolutionary Role of “Papers” in America’s Birth

In 1761, the lawyer James Otis Jr. represented several dozen colonial merchants before the Massachusetts Superior Court. The case challenged the Writs of Assistance used by customs officials. The hated Writs were indiscriminate search and seizure warrants that instructed all local law enforcement to assist customs officials in searching private property for contraband or smuggled goods. The warrants expired only upon the death of the issuing authority, and they were often transferrable.

Otis took the case pro bono. Before a packed crowd, he rose in the Massachussetts State Court House to denounce King George III, the British parliament, and the entire English nation for oppressing American colonists. An impressionable young man in the audience was galvanized by Otis’ five-hour oration and by its passionate message. According to future President John Adams, Otis’ courtroom performance sparked the American Revolution:

“Otis was a flame of Fire!….American Independance was then and there born…. Every man of [the]…crowded Audience appeared to me to go away, as I did, ready to take up Arms against Writts of Assistants [sic]. Then and there was the first scene of the first Act of Opposition to the arbitrary Claims of Great Britain. Then and there the child Independance [SIC] was born. In fifteen years, i.e. in 1776, he grew up  to manhood, declared himself free.”

But colonial politics did not focus upon “papers”–letters, diaries, business records–which were not taxable items under customs law. English politics did.

In the 1760s, warrants for “papers” began to issue in Britain against authors and publishers who were suspected of “libel”–that is, sedition. Entick v. Carrington (1765) was, perhaps, the most influential legal case of the day. The presiding judge, Lord Camden, offered the famous dictim: “If it is law, it will be found in our books. If it is not to be found there, it is not law.” The government’s “right” to seize papers was not in the statutes. Therefore, it was not law.

The bare facts of the case: John Entick was the publisher of a paper that vigorously opposed the Crown. In 1762, the King’s Chief Messenger, Nathan Carrington, and three other officers broke into Entick’s home. They stole hundreds of papers in a search for evidence of sedition. Entick sued. Entick won.

Subsequent analysis of the Entick case revealed four aspects of the government’s action to be legally obnoxious. The warrant was indiscriminate, both in terms of the premises to be searched and the papers to be seized; the seizure expropriated the papers and denied use of them to the plaintiff; the warrant was unregulated because there was no neutral oversight or avenue of appeal; the seizure was inquisitorial because it gave the government information about the private workings of Entick’s mind. The latter point had special weight. Serjeant Glynn, counsel for Entick, declared: “[N]o power can lawfully break into a man’s house and study to search for evidence against him; this would be worse than the Spanish inquisition; for ransacking a man’s secret drawers and boxes to come at evidence against him, is like racking his body to come at his secret thoughts.”

American colonists paid close attention to Entick and to similar lawsuits in Britian. Penning the Fourth Amendment was not far behind.

“Papers” Versus “Effects” Plays Out in Law

Dripps explains, “Although the reception of English law in the newly independent American states was not automatic or uniform, a basic pattern emerged. The Americans adopted the English common law together with statutes in force at the time of Independence, unless the English rule conflicted with a natural right or a state constitution’s declaration of rights.” In short, any judge who considered issuing a warrant for papers ran up against the previously quoted principle of Entick‘s presiding judge; if it wasn’t in the statute books, it didn’t exist under law. Moreover, warrants on “papers” ran afoul of an increasing number of state constitutions.

Dripps continues, “America inherited the common law ban on searches for papers, adopted constitutional provisions that mentioned papers distinctly, and refused to modify the common law ban by statute until the Civil War.” The Civil War cost money, and the excise tax became the federal government’s major source of funding; tax evasion ran rampant. A unique statute was passed. An  opinion in the ensuing Boyd v. United States lawsuit stated, “[This] act of 1863 was the first act in this country, and we might say, either in this country or in England, so far as we have been able to ascertain, which authorized the search and seizure of a man’s private papers, or the compulsory production of them, for the purpose of using them in evidence against him in a criminal case, or in a proceeding to enforce the forfeiture of his property.” Seizure of “papers,” or compelled discovery, was now embedded in statute law.  Apparently, war was not the proper time to debate Constitutional protections.

The issue of “papers” versus “effects” legally zigzagged since the end of the Civil War. Arguably, the most important zig came in 1886, when Boyd was decided by the United States Supreme Court. “The story of the Boyd case,” Drips writes, “properly begins with a statute authorizing customs officers to seize the books and papers of importers suspected of evading taxes.”

Fast forward to an incident at the Port of New York. Customs officials seized 35 cases of plate glass for non-payment of import tax. The government required E.A. Boyd & Sons to produce the relevant invoice in order to fortify its case against the company. Boyd did so under protest, saying the involuntary disclosure was a form of self-incrimination that was prohibited by the Constitution; it also constituted unreasonable search and seizure. In short, the violation of “papers” denied due process. When a lower court backed the government, the case went to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court ruled in Boyd’s favor. It stated:

“The principles laid down in this opinion affect the very essence of constitutional liberty and security. They reach farther than the concrete form of the case then before the court…; they apply to all invasions on the part of the government and its employees of the sanctity of a man’s home and the privacies of life. It is not the breaking of his doors and the rummaging of his drawers that constitutes the essence of the offense; but it is the invasion of his indefeasible right of personal security, personal liberty, and private property, where that right has never been forfeited by his conviction of some public offense, it is the invasion of this sacred right which underlies and constitutes the essence of Lord Camden’s  judgment.”

The Boyd ruling reinstated greater Constitutional protection to “papers” than to “effects.” It also bears directly upon digital “papers” or information. The protection was never absolute, however, and it has been severely eroded in the last several decades.  Dripps explains, “[D]uring the last quarter of the twentieth century, the Supreme Court began effectively to equate ‘papers’ and ‘effects’. Another line of modern cases established ‘bright-line rules’ that  gave the same constitutional treatment to all ‘effects’.” In short, “papers” not only lost their special status under common and Constitutional law, they also became legally interchangeable with every other “effects.” Nevertheless, the precedent of Boyd prevailed for almost a century, and it is not toothless now.

Conclusion

Digital information was born into a new age of inquisition, in which privacy is viewed as guilt. Dripps observes, “Today, federal agents may obtain warrants to seize and carry away entire troves of digitally stored private papers and peruse those files at remote locations, one by one….[What] the common law condemned as a relic of the Star Chamber, and what no American legislature authorized for the first eighty years of Independence, has become standard law enforcement procedure.” Extracting private information used to require torture or other flexing of muscle. Today, the violation is so politically sanitized that it can be invisible and easy to ignore.

Don’t.

It has not always been this way, and it does not have to be this way.

Government wants people to believe that privacy is the antechamber of crime, a refuge for miscreants, and a danger to the innocent. The opposite is true. Privacy is a virtue upon which due process, freedom, and personal lives are built. Privacy is at the core of what it means to be human, because the essence of privacy is the individual mind as it assesses and experiences life.

The surest protection of privacy is to do exactly what government fears. Assert it; celebrate it; understand its pivotal importance to freedom. Do not respond to the spine-chilling demand — “Your papers!”

[To be continued next week.]

Reprints of this article should credit bitcoin.com and include a link back to the original links to all previous chapters


Wendy McElroy has agreed to ”live-publish” her new book The Satoshi Revolution exclusively with Bitcoin.com. Every Saturday you’ll find another installment in a series of posts planned to conclude after about 18 months. Altogether they’ll make up her new book ”The Satoshi Revolution”. Read it here first.



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Strip Clubs, Lambos and Hackers: A Tale of Two Bitcoins

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When one imagines a networking event for a professional conference, the most well-known and over-the-top strip club in Miami probably isn’t the venue that comes to mind.

Yet that’s exactly where The North American Bitcoin Conference decided to host it. “Join us at E11even for some networking and R&R. Or dancing,” the description read.

There was a lot of dancing.

Not your nerdy friend’s crypto

Over the course of 2017, cryptocurrency experienced an unprecedented explosion.

After years of quietly languishing below $1,000, the price of a bitcoin began to increase rapidly and public attention along with it. But it wasn’t alone. At the same time, bitcoin’s so-called dominance index, the size of the bitcoin market cap relative to all other cryptocurrencies, shrunk.

The cause? Other established cryptocurrencies like ethereum and litecoin were making their own explosive gains, while scores of entirely new and tokens were created out of thin air en masse with shocking overnight valuations.

An influx of new investors wanted in on this digital gold rush, buying into these new initial coin offerings or “ICOs” as fast as they could be created. Suddenly, everyone was making it big. Self-professed expert blockchain investors and traders were springing up everywhere overnight.

Cryptocurrency was no longer the domain of just cypherpunks, anarchists and radical libertarians. In fact those early groups all but quickly disappeared from the public spotlight in favor of this newer, shinier, get-rich-quick crypto culture.

Fortunes were being made after all, and tales of overnight success are much better media stories than the ongoing and abstruse technical debates about the real use cases, limitations and challenges facing blockchain technology.

Delicately balancing network throughput and decentralization? That’s boring. Making outrageous money fast, and showing it off with Lamborghinis (“Lambos” for short) and extravagant strip club parties? Now that’s exciting.

As the spotlight grew so did the influx of buyers, creating a self reinforcing cycle of irrational exuberance and the ultimate bull run. The problem? No one had any actual idea what exactly it was that they were buying.

Screen Shot 2018 02 23 at 2.59.51 PM Strip Clubs, Lambos and Hackers: A Tale of Two Bitcoins

Blockchain was simply the newest and coolest buzzword. The biggest takeaway seemed to be that anything it was attached to could make you rich, even if that thing was iced tea.

F.O.M.O.

But there was one problematic fact: In cryptocurrency you are far more likely to buy into an effective scam than “the next bitcoin.”

Anyone can create and market a generic blockchain-based token with little or no added unique functionality. The barrier to entry for creating a new coin is nearly non-existent, and new investors suffering from FOMO (fear of missing out) don’t have the expertise to vet them.

By leveraging pseudo-scientific buzzwords and exploiting these new low-information investors, projects with unsound fundamentals and total scams alike can quickly reach dizzying heights.

A notable example is tron, which at its peak sported a valuation higher than that of Twitter, placing it within the top 10 cryptocurrencies by market cap. What is tron? A standard ethereum-powered token with no special functionality, and a white paper with more questions than answers. Not only is there zero deployed infrastructure or uniquely developed technology behind tron, but the white paper as it turns out was largely unoriginal at best, or totally plagiarized at worst.

Even more alarming than a simple lack of education or due diligence, however, is the fact that perhaps many new cryptocurrency investors don’t actually care.

Take Ponzicoin, the self-proclaimed scam jokingly launched as an outright ponzi-scheme. It raised over $25,000 on the ethereum platform in eight hours before its developer pulled the plug as best he could given the irreversible nature of blockchain smart contracts. Similar openly advertised Ponzi scheme PoWH coin sold $1 million-worth of coins in three days before later being hacked, perfectly encapsulating everything sour about ethereum smart contracts.

These events shows us many new crypto investors seem to be perfectly happy to invest in outright fraud and vapor, so long as they think they believe they won’t be the ones left holding the bag.

Because in the end, who cares? Fortunes were being made, which was in turn attracting even greater amounts of new money to keep the party going. It’s no surprise then that the North American Bitcoin Conference featured so many ICOs and new coins that it could easily be considered a “bitcoin conference” for marketing purposes only.

As it turns out Miami was the perfect outlet for the this newer, flashier and carefree type of crypto.

The signal in the noise

While the cypherpunk and hacker ethos of bitcoin and cryptocurrency have received palpably less attention during the late last year, it’s hardly because it has disappeared.

It’s actually this group that has proven to be the most consistent aspect of the cryptocurrency communities in general and bitcoin’s in particular. Regardless of media attention or short-term market performance their mantra remains the same: cypherpunks write code.

Douglas Oscar and Drew Carey are the founders of Bitstop, a Bitcoin ATM provider based in South Florida. The same week as the North American Bitcoin Conference they hosted their annual Miami Bitcoin Hackathon.

Their motivation?

“All the change and progress is going to come from the developers, not the Lambos and marketing fluff. … All of that stuff that happens at the conference is only possible because of the kind of work people do here,” said Douglas.

You’re unlikely to find a “Lambo” at the hackathon, and for the Douglas that’s a good thing.

But beyond the presence of Lambos, there were other differences noted by attendees of both events.

Software developer and co-founder of development shop Bushido Labs Sam Abassi remarked on his impression of the various ICOs and projects on display at The North American Bitcoin Conference:

“There’s a lot of nonsense, too much hype and no one is deliberating whether or not what they’re doing makes a lot of sense. In the next six months, many of these companies are going to fail when they figure out they can’t deliver. … I felt like the smartest person at the conference. Here I was the dumbest.”

The shared disdain of attendees for the wild speculation in the larger cryptocurrency ecosystem was clearly reflected in the second place winner of the Hackathon: an app called Pump and Dump.

By using the Binance API, Pump and Dump allows you to choose whether to diversify into a large basket of alternative cryptocurrencies, or reconsolidate it back into bitcoin with a simple interface that cuts through all the rhetoric.

Team member Nathan Milian explained it simply: “You press one button ‘Pump’ if you want to just buy a bunch of shitcoins, and ‘Dump’ to sell it all back for bitcoin.”

Drilling down

So, if attendees were in agreement regarding the pervasive nature of distractions in the space, were they in agreement on where research and development efforts were best focused? Not quite.

For their part Abassi and Bushido Labs are dipping their toe into cryptocurrency development for the first time with Kim-Jung Coin, an ethereum-based token in the vein of the popular game CryptoKitties.

“Bitcoin is the OG, but ethereum is just very developer friendly. We just jumped right in and started looking at these other contracts out there and were able to start writing our own,” he said.

Unlike The North American Bitcoin Conference however, the rules of the Bitcoin Hackathon itself strictly limits participation to bitcoin-related projects. “Anything you can do on ethereum you can do with bitcoin,” explained Bitstop co-founder Drew Carey.

Indeed, several developers took this literally, with multiple teams experimenting with the ethereum virtual machine, the component that compiles smart contracts, on top of bitcoin using the the Rootstock and Counterparty platforms. These technologies allow developers to write smart contract functionality using Solidity, while leveraging the network and enhanced security of bitcoin.

Others like SetOcean developer Bernie Garcia decided to take the plunge into the still-nascent layer two technology, the Lightning Network.

“I wasn’t able to get very far since I had problems with setup. … I had issues with the package documentation but the LND (Lightning Network Daemon) documentation itself is really good,” he explained.

“It’s obviously still very early, there’s still a lot of setup you need to do manually. But it’s looking good and I’m excited to get deeper into it. Next step will be just getting more familiar with the software on testnet, and creating a small network of payment channels with coworkers and family,” he said.

A general consensus

If there was one thing Hackathon participants agreed on besides their ire for the speculative frenzy represented by the nearby conference, it’s the need for sound education to counter it.

“Speculation is killing education,” vented Jesus Najera of SetOcean, a sentiment echoed by Bushido’s Abassi. “Were hitting a bottleneck, there’s all this interest but just not enough people doing actual development,” he explained. “Education is key.”

It’s little surprise then that the first place prize for the Hackathon went to Evan Martinez and his online learning portal, Bitcoin Institute of Technology.

Created from scratch, the homepage promotes learning courses for everyday use, finance and development categories. Due to the Hackathon’s limited time, Martinez chose to focus on the development category, an area of exploding demand in the space. It featured a code editor in the browser where students could write code to pass tests that are integral to learning about how blockchain functions on the software level.

Giving his thoughts on the wider cryptocurrency ecosystem and why he chooses to focus his efforts on bitcoin, Evan explained:

“Bitcoin I think is the purest coin in terms of technology. It aligns the best with my ideals as an open source programmer. It’s simple, and decentralized. It does one thing and it does one thing really well. … I want to help people learn about and understand that.”

While the opinions of developers in the space differ as to how the future may look, there is consensus on one thing. Ignore prices, and don’t succumb to the fear of missing out.

“It’s still incredibly early,” says Douglas. “People just need to take the time to stop and actually learn.”

Image via Chris Tsiolis Twitter

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Bitcoin Faces Pivotal Support as Bulls Exhaust Buying Pressure

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After seeing a rally to the $11,000s, bitcoin has managed to pull back to the $9,000 range and has left many bullish investors confused. The initial bullish rally seemed promising as it broke the macro, descending channel that governed much of the market over the last two months:

Figure 1 Ly51qaK.original Bitcoin Faces Pivotal Support as Bulls Exhaust Buying PressureFigure 1: BTC-USD, 6-Hour Candles, Descending Channel

The breakout of the descending channel (red dotted channel) gave hope to many bullish investors as it seemingly signaled the end of the downtrend and perhaps the beginning of a sustained bullish reversal. The volume was increasing and the price was pushing full steam ahead. However, after a few days of strong bullish movement, the price took a sharp turn downward and broke the governing channel that outlined the bullish rally from the $6,000s:

Figure 2 30mins.original Bitcoin Faces Pivotal Support as Bulls Exhaust Buying PressureFigure 2: BTC-USD, 30-Min. Candles, Bullish Channel

As noted in the previous BTC-USD market analysis, there was a possible distribution trading range (TR) under way, and I mentioned that a breakout above the TR was likely. However, if the market managed to break out and return back inside the TR, that would possibly mark the beginning of a sustained move downward:

Figure 3 qulGtMZ.original Bitcoin Faces Pivotal Support as Bulls Exhaust Buying PressureFigure 3: BTC-USD, 30-Min Candles, Distribution TR

Yesterday, the market saw a strong push below the TR, where it managed to find a bottom around the $9,600 range. After finding a local bottom, the market returned to the TR from the bottom side and was ultimately rejected from the TR, marking a possible last point of supply (LPSY) for the TR. Currently, the market is hovering just below the TR and is on the tipping point of breaking strong support. If we manage to break the strong support around the 38% retracement values (shown in Figure 3), I expect to see widespread capitulation that will lead to a return to the bearish channel shown in Figure 1. It is entirely possible that we could see a return to the TR once more, so I’m not ruling out the possibility of a short-term bullish rally.  However, I have very little hope at the moment for a resumption of the macro uptrend.

If we manage to push new lows, I expect to find support in the low $9,000s as this marked the breakout of the current, failed rally. From there we will have to reassess the market conditions, but for now, I have very little confidence in a bullish continuation.

Summary:

  1. After a strong uptrend, and after a breakout of the bearish descending channel, the market saw a strong pullback.
  2. The strong pullback marks a potential distribution trading range on the 30-minute candles.
  3. New lows may be in store for bitcoin as it decides whether the bulls are too exhausted to keep the buying pressure aloft.

Trading and investing in digital assets like bitcoin and ether is highly speculative and comes with many risks. This analysis is for informational purposes and should not be considered investment advice. Statements and financial information on Bitcoin Magazine and BTC Media related sites do not necessarily reflect the opinion of BTC Media and should not be construed as an endorsement or recommendation to buy, sell or hold. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results.



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Nano Goes Giga in Down Week for Crypto Prices

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Having struggled to find acceptance above the $500 billion mark, the total value of all cryptocurrencies is set to end the week at a moderate loss.

The figure hit a low of $422 billion Friday as bitcoin, the world’s largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, fell to an eight-day low of $9,593.

Meanwhile, the total market capitalization stands at $445 billion – still down 8.26 percent from last Friday’s high of $485 billion. Further, the total value has dropped 14.32 percent from the weekly high of $519.42 billion (seen on Feb. 18).

Out of the top 25 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization, the majority are reporting losses on a weekly basis. That said, small caps like nano, ethereum classic and vechain have managed to etch out gains.

Top performers

Nano

Nano Nano Goes Giga in Down Week for Crypto Prices

Weekly performance: +9.02 percent
All-time high: $34.40
Closing price on Feb. 16: $9.64
Current market price: $10.51
Rank as per market capitalization: 23

Nano (formerly known as raiblocks) is a bitcoin competitor claiming infinite scalability and no fees. The cryptocurrency clocked a 10-day high of 0.00010955 BTC today. Nano wallet for Android went live in beta this week, although it’s unclear if the news has driven prices higher.

Ethereum classic

ethereum classic Nano Goes Giga in Down Week for Crypto Prices

Weekly performance: +6.88 percent
All-time high: $47.70
Closing price on Feb. 16: $35.03
Current market price: $37.44
Rank as per market capitalization: 14

ETC, the native currency of the ethereum classic blockchain, rose to $42.85 on Bitfinex earlier this week – its highest level since Jan. 15. The cryptocurrency fell to $29.95 yesterday, amid a general market drop. However, the dip was short-lived, and ETC has appreciated by more than 10 percent in the last 24 hours.

An ethereum classic hard fork called “callisto” (CLO) is reportedly due next week and holders of ETC at the time of the fork will receive CLO coins at a ratio of 1:1.

Thus, the lure of making free money just by keeping the cryptocurrency in a blockchain wallet could keep it solidly bid in coming days.

Vechain

Vechain Nano Goes Giga in Down Week for Crypto Prices

Weekly performance: +2.64 percent
All-time high: $9.45
Closing price on Feb. 16: $5.69
Current market price: $5.84
Rank as per market capitalization: 15

Vechain’s VEN token is the third biggest gainer among the top 25 cryptocurrencies for the second week. It was also the best performing cryptocurrency in January.

A look at the VEN/BTC chart shows, the cryptocurrency is beginning to capitalize on the bull flag breakout witnessed on Feb. 15.

Bottom performers

Lisk

Lisk Nano Goes Giga in Down Week for Crypto Prices

Weekly performance: -30.52 percent
All-time high: $39.30
Closing price on Feb. 16: $32.01
Current market price: $22.24
Rank as per market capitalization: 17

Lisk (LSK) topped out at $33.79 on Feb. 17, according to Bittrex, and fell sharply after the team behind the blockchain relaunched the project on Feb. 20.

The cryptocurrency had rallied sharply in the run-up to the relaunch date, and the losses may be merely part of the wider market dip.

Bittrex data shows the cryptocurrency is currently trapped between the 50-day moving average ($24.89) and the 100-day moving average ($18.96).

NEM

NEM 1 Nano Goes Giga in Down Week for Crypto Prices

Weekly performance: -23.12 percent
All-time high: $2.09
Closing price on Feb. 16: $0.568887
Current market price: $0.437345
Rank as per market capitalization: 13

NEM’s XEM token is trading below the 200-day moving average on Bittrex and ranks second on the list of losers among the top 25 cryptocurrencies. The cryptocurrency was also the second biggest loser last week.

And this might be no surprise given the news narrative, it was notably involved in a theft when hackers stole over $500 million-worth of the digital asset from Japanese crypto exchange Coincheck, though prices suffered little as a result.

Since then, it’s even been rumored to be the underlying platform for Venezuela’s new cryptocurrency, the Petro, though this, too, has done little to boost the markets.

Tron

Tron Nano Goes Giga in Down Week for Crypto Prices

Weekly performance: -18.02 percent
All-time high: $0.30
Closing price on Feb. 16: $0.052449
Current market price: $0.042997
Rank as per market capitalization: 16

Coming bottom in the top 25 this week is tron, which registered an 18 percent drop.

As of writing, though, Tron (TRX) is up 4 percent against the US dollar and the hourly chart (prices via Bittrex) shows the bullish price-relative strength index (RSI) divergence is behind the recovery from the weekly low of $0.03825.

Price data correct as of 13:00 UTC.

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Bitcoin Is Back Over $10K, But Rally Looks Weak

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Bitcoin is witnessing a minor corrective rally Friday, but the bulls may have a tough time regaining control, the technical charts suggest.

CoinDesk’s Bitcoin Price Index (BPI) fell to $9,592.96 at 01:59 UTC – the lowest level for one week. As of writing, the BPI is seen a little higher at $10,090.

It is worth noting that the global average price calculated by CoinMarketCap is holding around $200 higher, largely due to the “Kimchi premium” – that is, BTC is changing hands above $11,000 on Korean exchanges Upbit, Bithumb, and Coinone. Meanwhile, across western exchanges, the world’s largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization is trading closer to $10,000.

The cryptocurrency has depreciated by 1,86 percent in the last 24 hours, CoinMarketCap indicates.

So, it appears a relief rally has gathered pace, a move indicated by the bullish relative strength index (RSI) divergence seen on the chart (prices as per Coinbase) below.

1-hour chart

1hour chart 1 Bitcoin Is Back Over $10K, But Rally Looks Weak

BTC is stuck inside a falling channel, creating lower lows and lower highs. However, the RSI continues to diverge in favor of the bulls, so the corrective rally could be extended further towards $10,250 (falling channel resistance).

However, only a daily close (as per UTC) above $11,228 (38.2 percent Fibonacci retracement of the sell-off from the record highs), would signal a revival of the rally from Feb. 6 lows below $6,000.

Moreover, the odds are stacked against the bulls as, with the backdrop of the bearish “gravestone” doji reversal on the daily chart reported yesterday, BTC is more likely to extend the decline towards $8,800 (1-hour head and shoulders breakdown target as per the measured height method).

Additionally, as seen in the chart above, the 50-hour moving average (MA), 100-hour MA and 200-hour MA have topped out in favor of the bears. The chart also shows a bearish 50-hour MA and 200-hour MA crossover, as well as a bearish 50-hour MA and 100-hour MA crossover.

View

  • 12-hour view: BTC could rise to $10,250 (falling channel resistance) and possibly to $10,300 (head-and-shoulders neckline resistance), courtesy of the bullish RSI divergence.
  • Longer-term gains appear unlikely, though, and BTC looks set to test $8,800 over the weekend.
  • A daily close above the 10-day moving average (currently seen at $10,378) would signal bearish invalidation.
  • Only a daily close (as per UTC) above $11,228 (38.2 percent Fibonacci retracement of the sell-off from the record highs) would signal a bullish reversal.

Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which has an ownership stake in Coinbase.

Bitcoin image via shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is an independent media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. Have breaking news or a story tip to send to our journalists? Contact us at [email protected].

Disclaimer: This article should not be taken as, and is not intended to provide, investment advice. Please conduct your own thorough research before investing in any cryptocurrency.



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