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First Mover: Buying Bitcoin’s Dip, Betting Against Tether and Weighing the Jobs Report

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You’re reading First Mover, CoinDesk’s daily markets newsletter. Assembled by the CoinDesk Markets Team and edited by Bradley Keoun, First Mover starts your day with the most up-to-date sentiment around crypto markets, which of course never close, putting in context every wild swing in bitcoin and more. We follow the money so you don’t have to. You can subscribe here.

HOLIDAY NOTICE: First Mover will publish next on Tuesday, Sept. 8. Happy Labor Day to our U.S. readers.

Price Point

Bitcoin (BTC) was up in early trading to $10,500, rebounding after Thursday’s 11% tumble, the biggest single-day decline since March. 

The sell-off, which took prices as low as about $10,000, coincided with a rout in U.S. stocks, rekindling long-simmering discussions over whether the largest cryptocurrency was a safe haven like gold or merely another risky asset. Prices for ether (ETH), the native token of the Ethereum blockchain, slid 13%, potentially a sign of an unwind of the recent fervor in decentralized finance, or DeFi. U.S. 10-year Treasury yields fell and the dollar gained in foreign-exchange markets, indicating a flight to safety by traditional investors. 

Joe DiPasquale, CEO of the cryptocurrency-focused hedge fund BitBull Capital, told First Mover in an email that “$10,000 still stands as a strong support and has absorbed selling pressure fairly well in the last two instances.” John Kramer, a trader at crypto over-the-counter firm GSR, told CoinDesk’s Daniel Cawrey that “many investors will see this as an opportunity to buy the dip.”

Market Moves

After years of debating whether tether (USDT) is fully backed 1-for-1 with U.S. dollars, the  stablecoin’s critics and defenders alike can now put their money where their mouths are.

Opium, a derivatives exchange, has introduced credit default swaps (CDS) for USDT. The product, launched Thursday, insures the buyer in the event of default by Tether, the issuer of the world’s largest stablecoin and fifth-largest cryptocurrency overall. 

As Opium’s blog points out, USDT is the lifeblood of the borderless cryptocurrency marketplace. The oldest stablecoin, USDT remains the largest such cryptocurrency by market cap and a top-five coin overall with $13.8 billion  in issuance. Traders often use it to move money in and out of exchanges quickly to take advantage of arbitrage opportunities.

“You can use it to protect yourself against (or speculate on) a systemic failure of the most widely used stablecoin in crypto,” Opium said of the new CDS contract, in a blog post to be published Thursday.

Chart showing USDT’s fast growing in 2020 and dominance among dollar-backed stablecoins.
Source: Coin Metrics

There are nagging questions about the issuer’s creditworthiness. The firm behind USDT is under investigation by the New York Attorney General’s office for alleged misappropriation of funds, and Tether revealed in April 2019 that only 74% of USDT was backed by “cash and cash equivalents.” 

Paolo Ardoino, chief technology officer at Tether, said through a spokesman: “Tether is solvent. Therefore, this solution is not really interesting to us or our community.” 

Read More: New Crypto Derivatives Let You Bet on (or Against) Tether’s Solvency

The solution might be interesting to traders who just want a little extra assurance.  

Bitcoin Watch

skew_btc_25d_skew-6-2
Bitcoin’s put-call skew.
Source: Skew.com

Bitcoin’s options market has flipped bearish with the cryptocurrency registering its first double-digit decline in six months on Wednesday. Prices fell to a low of $10,006 before recovering to $10,500.

  • The one- and three-month put-call skews that measure the cost of puts relative to that of calls have surged above zero, a sign of investors adding bets (put options) to position for a more profound price drop. 
  • Joel Kruger, a currency strategist at LMAX Group and macro trader at MarketPunks, who had warned earlier this week when prices were closer to $12,000 that a correction might be looming, also sees scope for additional price declines on the back of risk aversion in equity markets. 
  • “The next key support comes in the form of the June low at around $8,900,” Kruger told CoinDesk in a Telegram chat and added further that bitcoin would eventually realize its potential as store of value.

Read More: V-Shaped Recovery From Bitcoin’s Biggest Drop Since March Unlikely, Say Analysts

Token Watch

Ether (ETH): Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum, released an ” improvement proposal” to address soaring transaction fee rates as network congestion rises. 

Bitcoin (BTC): “Supercycle” thesis from Stack Funds predicts breach of $14K in next 100 days.

Tether (USDT), USD Coin (USDC): Stablecoins are the closest thing to digital cash that exists today, Castle Island’s Nik Carter writes for CoinDesk. 

Chainlink (LINK), Tezos (XTZ): BitMEX plans futures on LINK and XTZ, the first new coins to appear on the exchange in over two years.

Gnosis (GNO): Investment firm Arca calls for tender offer of prediction market’s tokens as market value trades at 0.3% of project’s treasury balance, the Block reported. 

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CoinDesk Research’s latest Monthly Review features 15 charts that highlight bitcoin’s performance relative to macro assets, its relationship to the dollar and other fiat currencies, and Ethereum’s growing congestion problem. Download the report.

What’s Hot

Failure to coordinate stablecoin rules internationally may bring “confusion and regulatory fragmentation,” Bank of England governor says. (CoinDesk)

Binance, world’s biggest centralized crypto exchange, noses into DeFi with launch of automated market maker pools. (Binance)

DeFi users are “mostly crypto nerds or early adopters” with their own jargon and maximalist dogma, says William Mougayar (CoinDesk)

Vitalik Buterin and Ethereum’s developers are shifting focus back to “Eth 1” to tackle congestion that caused fees to spike over 600% in a month (CoinDesk)

The SEC will have a tough task regulating DeFi, says Hester Peirce (Decrypt)

Analogs

The latest on the economy and traditional finance

U.S. jobs increased by 1.4M in August, in line with expectations, though slowing from July’s pace, report shows. Unemployment rate drops to 8.4% from 10%, report shows.

U.S. presidential election in November could bring “incredible fireworks” in market volatility based on VIX futures premiums. (Bloomberg) 

HSBC strategist says China to let yuan strengthen versus dollar in bid to “promote yuan internationalization.” (Reuters) 

Wall Street investment banks are cashing in on fees from arranging emergency loans to companies as Federal Reserve props up credit markets. (WSJ)

Easy central bank monetary policies in Europe pushes interbank lending rates down further into record (negative) territory. (WSJ)

Tweet of the Day

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Disclosure

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.



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Apple to Debut Faster Watch with Temperature and Glucose Testing Capabilities, AAPL Stock Slightly Up

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Beyond the company’s move in seeking advancement in its smartwatch, it is also working assiduously to explore new areas, notably in the Apple car pursuits.

American multinational technology company Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL) is set to debut a faster model of Apple Watch as the tech giant seeks to beat competitors in terms of product performance. Per a Bloomberg report citing people close to the company’s plans, the proposed new Apple Watches will also brandish the abilities to check temperatures and user’s blood glucose levels.

The Apple Watch was debuted in 2015 and has grown to become a vital part of the Cupertino-based company’s product suite. While the watches have seen bigger upgrades in times past, the currently scheduled boost will place it at the echelon of smartwatches with unique capabilities in the market. The temperature check feature became a necessity following the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the increased demand for handy temperature checkers.

As against the usual format for checking blood glucose levels, the feature designed into the Apple Watches will not involve pricking fingers for traces of blood. Instead, the Apple technology will analyze the blood without being invasive, according to the Bloomberg report. The new model dubbed the Apple Watch Series 7 also has a faster processor, improved wireless connectivity, and an updated screen. 

The Apple Watch with the temperature capability may not be hitting the market until the next year 2022, while that designed to check blood glucose may take a couple more years before it is available commercially.

Apple stock is currently trading at $127.79 in the pre-market, representing a growth of 0.35% from the previous close.

Beyond Apple Watch, the Company Is Expanding Its Product Suite

One of the major tenets of the top technology companies including Apple is the ability to innovate and match with the competition. Beyond the company’s move in seeking advancement in its smartwatch, it is also working assiduously to explore new areas, notably in the Apple car pursuits.

While the details of the Apple self-driven car production remain sketchy, CEO Tim Cook once confirmed the firm is building its tech in autonomous systems. Per his word;

“We’re focusing on autonomous systems. It’s a core technology that we view as very important. We sort of seeing it as the mother of all AI projects. It’s probably one of the most difficult AI projects actually to work on.”

Many have attributed this comment to the proposed self-driven cars which have been spotted on many occasions being tested by the company on the streets of California. The latest update from the Apple cars involves the potential pursuit of a partnership with either Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. (CATL) and BYD Ord Shs A (SHE: 002594) for Lithium Iron phosphate batteries supply, according to an earlier Coinspeaker report.

The deal has neither been confirmed by either Apple or the two companies, however, people close to the matter noted the conditions to set up a plant in the United States set by the former is of disinterest in CATL. The cost considerations and the unrest between Washington and Beijing are the major considerations to pull the deal through.

Apple’s ties with Chinese firms are well engrafted as the assembling of the proposed upgraded main Apple Watch will be done by Luxshare Precision Industry Co Ltd (SHE: 002475). The Apple Watch SE is billed to be assembled by Foxconn Technology Co Ltd (TPE: 2354) alongside Taiwan’s Compal Electronics Inc (TPE: 2324).

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Benjamin Godfrey is a blockchain enthusiast and journalists who relish writing about the real life applications of blockchain technology and innovations to drive general acceptance and worldwide integration of the emerging technology. His desires to educate people about cryptocurrencies inspires his contributions to renowned blockchain based media and sites. Benjamin Godfrey is a lover of sports and agriculture.



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El Salvador Becomes First Country to Accept BTC as Legal Tender, Its Cogress Approves Bitcoin Law

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President Bukele said the country may explore Bitcoin mining as a way to put its geothermal energy option to full use.

Latin American nation, El Salvador has made history as the first country to accept premier digital currency, Bitcoin (BTC) as a legal tender. Per a Coindesk report, a supermajority in the country’s legislative arm voted in favor of the Bill proposed by President Nayib Bukele to officially recognize the cryptocurrency as an official currency to complement the United States Dollar it currently uses.

Bitcoin has come a long way from when it was first introduced by Satoshi Nakamoto with the publishing of the currency’s Whitepaper in 2008, and the eventual launch of the currency in 2009. Since then, the coin has been tossed around in many scenarios, some encouraged its growth, and others largely held it bound. Government regulations, energy consumption criticisms to mention a few accounts for the latter, however, events in the past year seeing multinational corporations begin to invest and acquire the digital currency stirred the changes we are seeing today.

While many governments are exploring means to clamp down on crypto and Bitcoin activities, in particular, the El Salvadoran legislature has teamed up with Bukele to back the coin for its uniqueness. The vote that passed the bill came with 62 members voting in favor, 19 voting against, and 3 abstentions. The nation’s move is against the norm and there are plans for government officials to go explain the plans of the new law to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Bitcoin Is a Legal Tender in El Salvador: Here’s What to Expect

With Bitcoin becoming an official legal tender – as will be finalized when President Bukele signs it into law – businesses are now mandated to accept the cryptocurrency for payments. Beyond payments, all forms of taxes can be paid using BTC, transactions or investments involving Bitcoin will not be subjected to a capital gains tax.

The acceptance of Bitcoin as a legal tender is not targeted at offsetting the role of the Dollar in the country’s payment ecosystem and will serve as the reference point for the new form of money. The issue of volatility is also going to be addressed through a Trust that will be opened at the Development Bank of El Salvador. This trust is going to help mitigate the risks associated with price fluctuations as it will help merchants in the conversion of their Bitcoin holdings to Dollar in real-time. An initial allocation of $150 million will be made into the new Trust.

“If there’s an ice cream parlor, he doesn’t really want to take the risk, he has to accept bitcoin because it’s a mandated currency but he doesn’t want to take the risk of convertibility, so he wants dollars deposited in his banking account, when he sells the ice cream, he can ask the government to exchange his bitcoin to dollars,” said President Bukele in a Twitter Space conversation hosted by Nic Carter of Castle Island Ventures. “Of course he can do that in the markets also but he can ask the government to do it immediately.”

In addition, President Bukele said the country may explore Bitcoin mining as a way to put its geothermal energy option to full use.

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Benjamin Godfrey is a blockchain enthusiast and journalists who relish writing about the real life applications of blockchain technology and innovations to drive general acceptance and worldwide integration of the emerging technology. His desires to educate people about cryptocurrencies inspires his contributions to renowned blockchain based media and sites. Benjamin Godfrey is a lover of sports and agriculture.



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Robinhood IPO on Horizon with $30 Billion Valuation Expected

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Robinhood IPO will offer over 22 million Class A shares, whereby they will be priced at $16-$19 per stock.

Robinhood Markets Inc, an America-based fintech company, has inched its way towards a $30+ billion IPO deal following immense growth in the past year. Its rapid development is attributed to its trading platform’s user-friendliness and simplicity, making it popular among the younger generation. Currently, it boasts of about 13 million users and a net value of over $11 billion having experienced a revenue ascent to around $260 million in 2020 from around $110 million in 2019.

Nevertheless, Robinhood has faced heavy backlash and lawsuits in the past year. The iconic Berkshire Hathaway investor Warren Buffett discredited the company’s reputation for easy trading by saying that it promotes a casino-like behavior. His partner Charles Munger backed him up saying it makes the stock market a gamblers’ ground and it makes money in “dirty ways”.

Additionally, a complaint was filed by Massachusetts regulators against Robinhood. Accusations ranged from their gamification of trading and use of aggressive methods to failure in preventing disruptions and outages in their trading platform. Rich Repetto, a brokerage analyst from Piper Sandler, reported that the company’s “zero commission” statement was true, however, its order flow payments and high trading volumes did more than cater for the revenue gap.

Furthermore, multiple class-action lawsuits have hit the company following their trading outages last year. Many users reported being locked out of the trading platform during major moves. Recently also, users reported restrictions from purchasing volatile stocks and unresponsive customer service.

Robinhood reacted to critics, saying that their users preferred the new way of trading compared to traditional methods. The company also reiterated its transparency and distanced itself from any conflicts of interest in its business model. More recently, the company has improved their customer service one of their customers committed suicide.

Amidst the chaos, Robinhood’s iOS downloads increased exponentially and more than $3 billion was raised by venture capitalists.

Bigger Picture on Robinhood IPO

Robinhood completed all requirements for its $30+ billion IPO offering, with Nasdaq as its stock exchange preference. It also widened its executive team to include Silicon Valley and Wall Street veterans such as Amazon’s Jason Warnick.

Silicon Valley’s unicorn has continued to express its novelty by allowing non-professional investors access to its shares before its IPO debut. Robinhood IPO will offer over 22 million Class A shares, whereby they will be priced at $16-$19 per share. Consequently, Robinhood users can now purchase the company’s shares on the Robinhood app. This move is intended to decentralize investment by making it accessible to people of diverse financial status rather than professional traders and the wealthy few.

To encourage both novice and experienced investors, Robinhood has provided prospectus with detailed information on its IPO including its business model, administrative personnel, and risks of investment.

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A financial analyst who sees positive income in both directions of the market (bulls & bears). Bitcoin is my crypto safe haven, free from government conspiracies.
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