ICO Nonsense Tops $3 Billion

According to CoinSchedule.com ICO sales have topped $3 billion on 201 “offerings”. As far as I can tell very little is being produced by any of the entities that cashed in on this craze. Sure, there are a few companies that might make it. Two problems with all these bets:

  1. The ICO’s you are investing are long shots to make it in and of themselves
  2. The ICO’s are (for the most part) launched on Ethereum which itself isnt guaranteed to survive.

So when investing in an ICO you’re making a bet on a bet. I’m not here to say it can’t all work out. But my feeling is that you have all sorts of gunslingers out there who want to get rich quick. Most people “investing” in ICO’s are looking to get rich quick and/or think they deserve a seat on Shark Tank. Most of these ICO’s don’t even give you equity or anything like a dividend. Essentially the ICO is a donation to the enterprise launching the token.

To me this all looks like a massive wealth transfer from guys who got it early on Ethereum and aren’t satisfied. The famous saying on Wall Street is “Pigs get slaughtered” and I fear thats what will happen here.

What annoys me most about all of this is that the ICO market threatens the respectability of Ethereum. I believe that Ethereum could be a game changer, but if ICO’s draw increased scrutiny and or regulatory issues it could hurt Ethereum in a major way. Not to mention there are some very interesting, sincere projects launching tokens which are being washed out by the noise of nonsense offerings.

The market will eventually regulate itself, punishing those who tossed money at bad offerings. Who knows when that happens or at what price – but the current state of things is unsustainable.

Why Bitcoin is Going Up & Alts Are Not

Bitcoin is on the move, up around 5% today while Alts (Ethereum, Litecoin, etc) have been stuck in the mud. As you can see here in this chart of Ethereum priced in Bitcoin, Ethereum has been going down. Why is this?

Bitcoin is Outpacing Ethereum

I’m going to add my speculation – my guess is that Bitcoin will continue to move up faster than Ethereum or litecoin for the foreseeable future. Don’t be a fool and trade on my opinion.

  1. Ethereum is “all about the ICO’s”. ICO’s creating selling pressure as people buy tokens, and those tokens are transferred back into Ethereum and sold for fiat. That fiat is used by the “businesses” which issues the tokens. In my opinion this creates major selling pressure on Ethereum.
  2. Litecoin – I just don’t get why we need it. At least yet. This whole pitch of “its Bitcoins silver” makes no sense. Bitcoin is still in its infancy. Yes its the gold standard of crypto but is it really not meeting peoples needs at this point? Lets face it – Litecoin was created as a competitor to BTC and Bitcoin is kicking its @$$.
  3. No other ALT has created that “killer app” or that “must use” case. Therefore its all just speculation. Bitcoin is the household name when it comes to crypto and that’s where the money – the big money – is going to be flowing.
  4. I think the more Bitcoin outperforms the more investors will be running to it as opposed to the alts. However if Bitcoin tanks you can bet selling will happen in the alts. Inherently this boosts Bitcoin the best crypto bet.

Thats my analysis. Could be (probably) wrong, but hopefully thought provoking.

Pirate Bay Leverages Torrent Network to Mine Bitcoin – Thieves Not Happy

I have to hand it to Pirate Bay for thinking this scheme up. It makes sense for them. Hilariously the users of Pirate Bay are complaining. The people stealing digital content are unhappy they are being taxed.

Im also curious why Pirate bay wouldnt move to an ethereum model where users pay in ether what they download. Seems more inline with what they are doing versus bitcoin mining. Maybe thats stage two.

When it comes to the Pirate Bay, it’s usually movie studios, music producers and software creators that get annoyed with the site — you know, copyright and all that. But in an interesting twist it is now users who find themselves irked by — and disappointed in — the most famous torrent site in the world.

So what’s happened? Out of the blue, the Pirate Bay has added a Javascript-powered Bitcoin miner to the site. Nestling in the code of the site is an embedded cryptocurrency miner from Coinhive. Users who have noticed an increase in resource usage on their computers as a result of this are not happy.

The issue is a very new one, with users only noticing a CPU spike starting later on in the day yesterday. Needless to say, the reaction has not been good — even from the Pirate Bay’s own moderators. Over on Reddit, there are complaints about “100% CPU on all 8 threads while visiting TPB,” and there are also threads on the PirateBay Forum.

As noted by TorrentFreak, a quick delve into the HTML of the PirateBay reveals what’s going on.

An administrator and “supermod” on the PirateBay Forum, Sid is far from impressed:

ffs [That’s addressed to Winston not you lot.]

That really is serious, so hopefully we can get some action on it quickly. And perhaps get some attention for the uploading and commenting bugs while they’re at it.

He offers the following advice for anyone concerned about the latest addition:

Until it is fixed (and I would expect it to be fixed sooner rather than later) noscript will block it from running, as will disabling javascript.

Blocking/disabling javascript will compromise site functionality in several ways:

– scrolling back though pages of comments won’t work

– posting comments won’t be possible

– viewing the file list won’t work

The website for the Javascript miner even recommends against doing what the Pirate Bay is doing — that is, sneaking the miner in under the radar without telling anyone:

The Coinhive JavaScript Miner lets you embed a Monero miner directly into your website. The miner itself does not come with a UI — it’s your responsibility to tell your users what’s going on and to provide stats on mined hashes.

While it’s possible to run the miner without informing your users, we strongly advise against it. You know this. Long term goodwill of your users is much more important than any short term profits.

S&P500 and Ethereum Moving Together?

Yesterday we mentioned some interesting moves that seemed in sync from the US stock market and Bitcoin/Ethereum.Today was another curious move.

The chart below shows a good move up in the S&P500 (an Index of the US stock market) and Ethereum. Both moves occured right in the 10:11-10:12AM EST time frame. The top chart is Ethereum from GDAX and the bottom is the S&P500 (SPX).

Clearly there are good sized traders out treating Ethereum and Bitcoin as an asset class like equities…

Ethereum vs US Stock Market
The S&P500 Moved up in sync with Ethereum

 

Weird Bitcoin Ethereum Jump at US Stock Market Open

Its more than apparent that hedge funds and banks are pushing into the Bitcoin and crypto markets. Today I noticed that both Bitcoin and Ethereum prices gapped up at 9:30AM EST. Coincidentally thats when the US stock markets open for trading. Forgive the terrible notation in the GDAX charts below, I was in a rush.

Bitcoin Stock Market jump
Ethereum 930AM Stock Market Open

There is no obvious reason why the two would be linked, I suspect it has something more to do with some traders who have algorithms for the US stock markets. When their machines flip on they also have Bitcoin and Ethereum in their portfolios, so they begin trading them, too.

I don’t currently have the time to backtest this, but I wanted to post something as a reminder.

Whats a Buy/Sell Wall in Bitcoin or Ethereum?

There is a lot of action in Bitcoin and Ethereum trading – intra-day volatility can be huge. One thing that is frequent in crytpo trading is buy or sell “walls”. I great example happened today on the GDAX exchange.

You can see at the bottom  section of the chart below you have an aggregate of buy and sell volume at various prices. On the left in green is the amount in total that people are willing to buy at various prices. On the right in red is the amount sellers are wishing to unload. As you can see there is a massive amount of Ethereum for sale around $230 ETHUSD.  This is almost 8,000 ETH units for sale at $230/ETH which is roughly $1.8 million USD.

ETH SELL WALL
Ethereum Sell Wall on GDAX Exchange

For the price of Ethereum to move over $230 there needs to either be very strong buying demand to “tear down that wall”, or the large seller(s) need to pull back.

Buy and sell “walls” is something you will see frequently in crypto trading.

This BTC/ETH Price Analog Is Working

What follows below is rampant speculation. Do not take any of this as investment or trading advice.

Bitcoin vs Ethereum Price Charts

We originally posted this analogy comparing the first (2013) exponential ramp in Bitcoin to the Ethereum price ramp of the last few months. This isn’t a prediction, but I find it quite interesting. You could make a case that Ethereums price is tracking this initial run of Bitcoin.

Ethereum now vs Bitcoin 2013
Ethereum price ramp compared to bitcoin ramp.

This chart of stock market bubbles (or any investment mania, I suppose) is well known, and seems applicable here. If I had to toss a guess, we’re in the bull trap phase. Ethereum is right around ~$200 now and I’d speculate that round numbers often prove to be support areas.

Investment Mania

Another interesting thing about this analogy – the Bitcoin hard for is 20 days from now. There was 20 days between the “Bull Trap” phase and “Return to Normal” in the Bitcoin price bounce. If Bitcoin forks on August 1st that could have a major price impact on all cryptocurrencies and drive real “Fear” into the crypto market.

Bitcoin Peak to Trough vs Ethereum

We’ll keep updating this chart to keep an eye on this analogy. While I believe in Ethereum long term, the Bitcoin fork and Ethereum ICO’s it could make for a bumpy road in the short term.

Ethereum Has an ICO Problem

Initial Coin Offerings (ICO’s) are raising hundreds of millions of dollars on pretty much hopes and dreams, using an Ethereum platform which is in its infancy. (Some ICO sales even jammed up the Ethereum network). I say hopes and dreams because despite raising mounds of cash they aren’t near releasing product. Seriously, here are just a few:

  • Tezos currently raised >$200 million, and the funding isn’t over yet
  • Bancor raised $153 million
  • Block.one / EOS raised $185 million

The total amount raised in ICO’s in 2017?

>$798,251,174

That is staggering.

How Initial Coin Offerings Hurt the Ethereum Price

Raising “cash” isn’t really the right word. They’ve raised heaps of Ether, which they need to sell in order to get cash. What does this mean? You have hundreds of millions of dollars in Ether either being sold, or potentially being sold.  Its quite possible these companies only sell portions of their holdings, or even none at all. However, these companies need to use the funds to hire developers, buy computers, or just take exotic vacations. (Remember, there are no regulations in ICO land.) Its therefore a reasonable assumption that there is a good amount of Ethereum supply created from this.

The ICO’s need to start adding actual value to the ethereum network. They need to provide a service thats good enough to bring new people into Ethereum. This would raise demand for Ethereum and should raise the price. As of now this is all just a transfer of wealth from existing ETH holders to various “start ups”, with the hope that value is created at some point in the future.

Here is a beautiful graph that lays out how much has been generated by ICO’s in 2017:

ICO Sales by Month

For sake of argument, lets just say that all of the funds will be used for legitimate business purposes. Again, they need to sell Ether to get cash to buy stuff or hire people. This means you have many sellers that have a desire to get out, for which Ethereum needs aggressive buyers. If the sellers are more aggressive than the buyers, you get a price drop.

If you use google trends as a proxy for Ethereum demand, well, you can see why the price is currently ~$250 down from $400 a few weeks ago.

ETH is trending down on google.

Notice a trend? Both peaked in June 2017. What about the Ethereum price? Peaked in late May…just before the huge ICO month in June. I can’t say for certain that the two are related, but I’d speculate there is some correlation for good reason.

Ethereum Price July 2017

Short Term Ethereum Price Forecast

First, Ill state I have no clue where ethereum prices are going. I also own ethereum. Also, the short term picture is different from long term. Long term I have high hopes, but this is about the next few months.
To recap:

Where does this leave us? Hard to paint a pretty picture there. With more ICO’s coming daily there will be more ETH supply from companies needing cash. Eventually one of these will turn out to be a “killer app” or at least an app that maims. This would draw actual users to Ethereum, as opposed to speculators. Who knows when this will happen, but I suspect within the next year well see the technology start to move up towards the hype. This would in theory bring in new capital and get the Ethereum price moving in the right direction again.

 

ICO’s – the More I Know the Less I Like

A very interesting question came up on Reddit today:

What happens when one of these ICO companies get bought out?

I hadn’t thought about this. Apparently there is no equity stake involved when buying tokens.

When companies issue tokens, they collect the money generated by the tokens. But they often owe you nothing in return (you have to read each ICO whitepaper to be sure of what you get).

But what happens if they sell the company? There is no mention in the token whitepaper aka terms and agreements about equity.

Read the Unikorn whitepaper launched with Mark Cuban: Its here.

Nothing in there regarding a sale of the company, but they do clearly state that benefits are, well, speculation that the price of the token will rise:

UnikoinGold holder benefits:
1. Granted bonus UnikoinSilver when they create a crypto-wallet
2. Granted UnikoinSilver when they bet with UnikoinGold
3. Opportunity to purchase additional raffle tickets for prizes using
their UnikoinGold
4. Opportunity to bet on on the most immersive skill and spectator
esport products, some of which will be exclusive to UnikrnGold.

What will they do with the money:

Budget Allocation of ETH Raised
5% Contractors
8% Contingency
12% Marketing (mostly organic)
15% Administration
60% Platform Development

Token Distribution
Total Tokens: 1 Billion
Partnerships & Marketing: 15%
Unikrn Betting Reserve: 15%
Initial Token Sale: 20%
Unikrn Internal: 50%

So the actual investors keep most of the tokens and only roll out 20% to the general public. I’m sure as the price rises they eventual cash out. Really its 100% free capital to the company. Actually, its more than that. The investors are getting free money, too. These tokens are fabricated out of air and nothing stops them from issuing more in the future or dumping a bunch on the market, or simply exchanging their tokens for Ethereum and cashing out.

Its really a brilliant model for compaies looking to raise capital with no strings attached.