Many speculate that mainstream adoption of cryptocurrency is dependent solely on improving ease of access and user experience. In reality, there’s an even bigger obstacle: a mentality shift.
Self-sovereignty and personal autonomy are the endgame of this technology, and with that goal comes a significant increase in personal responsibility for one’s funds. This is totally at odds with people’s traditional financial experience so far; the legacy system takes away your autonomy and replaces it with convenience, offering useful tools related to fraud protection and password management. By comparison, cryptocurrencies, decentralized finance and other forms of distributed technology fall on the other end of that spectrum, providing the ability to have true ownership of one’s worth.
For many crypto-beginners, the liberating elements of crypto and financial freedom are promising but intimidating since security is passed from the hands of a third party directly into the hands of the consumer. To bridge the gap between convenience and security, our industry must place greater emphasis on user experiences and familiar tools to ease a consumer’s mentality shift.
The rise of mobile and the crypto floodgate
Smartphones were supposed to open up a world of autonomy that had never been seen before. Their adoption gave people the ability to connect and transact with people all over the world, and with the launch of Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay and the coming wave of the so-called “Super Apps,” people are able to more freely engage in commerce than ever before.
This trend, however, is not permanent. Sure, mobile payments are popular, but they’ve been monopolized by a handful of companies and governments. Everyone who uses these applications does so at the convenience of stakeholders in power. And when the financial interests of those in power are misaligned with the users, the sovereignty of the users is trampled — as was the case when last month when the Brazilian Central Bank shut down WhatsApp Payments throughout the country.
It’s no small wonder then that the forward-thinking among us have turned to cryptocurrencies and decentralized tech to claw back the self-sovereignty we were promised by the mobile phone revolution. Crypto, DeFi and decentralized applications promise to fulfill the original vision of our connected future, in which users could retain absolute ownership of their funds as they transacted in a global market.
The rise of stablecoins, DeFi lending protocols and crypto ATMs across the world are signs of a growing consciousness of the potential this technology could provide to our daily lives.
Adoption of cryptocurrencies thus far has been in spite of — as opposed to because of — user experience. While some crypto mobile applications have clean user interfaces, the collective user experience remains daunting to new people joining the market.
Most of us have been raised with a reliance on third parties when it comes to securing our funds, and the notion that chargebacks, fraud protection and password resets are not possible in this new world is often a difficult reality to accept.
Many have tried to connect crypto services with centralized banking services or government-insured deposits, offering what sounds like a bridge between the present and the future. While this may be enough to some, as we further decentralize our services, the most important bridge that must be built is one of mentality: Users must feel capable of overseeing their own funds, of becoming truly self-sovereign.
Building on the familiar
The best way to empower users is to give them tools that are simple to engage with. Hardware wallets like Ledger and Trezor were groundbreaking first steps in user custodianship, but their user experience still remains tricky for crypto newbies, and more importantly, the hardware is intended for use with a desktop or laptop computer. In a world becoming rapidly more and more mobile, what good is a USB-like hardware wallet for storing my private keys offline if users will be regularly transacting on a mobile device?
Hardware wallets should be as simple as a card kept in a pocket, perhaps even resembling a familiar product like a credit card. The key here is offering familiar experiences in line with best practices in crypto security so that the difficult but absolutely necessary shift in mentality is made more palatable. The decision to be personally responsible for one’s own wealth should be a burden of diligence, not of exhausting learning experiences.
In the absence of customer service, projects should also place an increased emphasis on customer support. That being said, open channels should still be available for users to pose questions and educational resources should be abundant. Fostering helpful and welcoming communities can also serve as an incredible resource for those in need of assistance.
The fact that the industry has overcome so many obstacles is a clear sign of our space’s potential. Ownership over funds, messages and data is a desirable goal, though it’s currently difficult for the average person to achieve. As stakeholders in this industry, we must redouble our efforts to provide simple tools to make this transition as simple as possible.
The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.
Corey Petty is the chief security lead at Status. Corey started his blockchain-focused research around 2012 as a personal hobby while doing his Ph.D. candidacy at Texas Tech University in computational chemical physics. He then went on to co-found The Bitcoin Podcast Network and still serves as a host on the flagship The Bitcoin Podcast and a more technical show Hashing It Out. Corey left academia and entered the data science/blockchain security industry for a few years, attempting to fix vulnerabilities in ICS/SCADA networks before finding his fit as the head of security at Status where he remains today.
Ethereum: Is the HODLing in yet?
When it comes to the altcoin market, the past few months have shown how important a cryptocurrency Ethereum is. With DeFi growing substantially in 2020, the gains have been felt by ETH in many ways. While ETH has miles to go before it can challenge the market cap and dominance of Bitcoin, its remarkable growth thanks to DeFi and the proposed ETH 2.0 shift cannot be overlooked. With Ethereum’s use cases diversifying, users and investors within the ecosystem are reaping its benefits too.
According to recent network data provided by Glassnode, Ethereum balances on centralized exchanges have fallen substantially over the past few weeks. In fact, the aforementioned data showed a drop from over 18,750K to around 16,750K, resulting in Etherum balances on exchanges falling to their lowest level for the year 2020, at the time of writing.
While this drop may seem alarming to some, it also illustrates a silver lining of sorts for the cryptocurrency. A fewer number of users are now holding their Ethereum on exchanges. Instead, they are moving them to cold storage or cold wallets – a sign commonly associated with increased hodling sentiment. As more users hold on to their Ethereum, the price of the cryptocurrency is also likely to be positively impacted.
One of the reasons why many users are feeling inclined to do so can be due to its recent performance, as well as its ability to derive growth from a booming DeFi ecosystem that is based on its platform.
In fact, it is also interesting to note that over the same timeframe, Ethereum addresses with greater than 10 ETH have also seen a significant rise. According to network data provider Glassnode, such addresses have risen from 275K to 283K in the last three months alone.
One of the key reasons behind the aforementioned drop in Ethereum stored on exchanges ties back to increased hodling sentiment within the Ethereum community, as highlighted above. This, coupled with a rise in Ethereum locked in smart contracts (Since investors are looking to generate greater returns at a time when Etherum’s price is consolidating on the charts), bodes well for the cryptocurrency’s ecosystem.
Brace for it – Bitcoin Futures may be nearing a tipping point
What’s the tipping point for Bitcoin Futures on top derivatives exchanges like the CME, an exchange that has recorded a daily trading volume of over $300M and Open Interest of over $400M, consistently, for the past 3 months.
Well, a small shift in Open Interest or trading volume can have a cascading effect on Bitcoin Futures’ performance in the next 180 days. Such a shift will be influenced by several factors, and it begins at the tipping point. Three factors, to be more specific.
In the current phase of Bitcoin’s market cycle, these factors are more relevant for traders on derivative exchanges. This becomes more evident when the Liquidations chart for BitMEX is observed. Over the past 3 months, sell liquidations have paid for buy liquidations. However, over the last few days, this trend has been reversed, and buy liquidations have covered for sell liquidations on BitMEX.
The point here is to detect the source of the domino effect before the dominoes start falling. In the case of Bitcoin Futures, the tipping point may be closer than anticipated.
One of the top factors influencing the tipping point is the Law of the Few.
The Law of the Few states that “the success of any kind of social epidemic is heavily dependent on the involvement of people with a particular and rare set of social gifts.”
In the case of Bitcoin, institutional investors, derivatives traders, and whales fit the bill. The success of Bitcoin Futures in the global trading community heavily relies on institutional investors trading on CME. In fact, the daily trade volume and Open Interest on CME influence the trading sentiment across spot exchanges as well.
The last time a cascading effect was witnessed was when BTC Futures’ Daily Trading Volume hit $445M on CME and there was a rally all the way up to $614M. At the time of writing, the Daily Trading Volume was up 63.3%, when compared to the figures 6 months ago, and it has the potential to hit $614M with one move in the right direction.
This effect heavily relies on another key factor – The Stickiness Factor.
Back in 2017, when Google search results for “Bitcoin” and “Crypto” broke the record, the trading community witnessed a historic Bitcoin bull run and altcoin rally. Institutional interest and growth of Bitcoin derivative products ensued. A similar event transpired when Bitcoin Futures’ aggregated daily volume hit $184B on 27 July 2020. This event was a unique occurrence, and it made Bitcoin Futures stick in the portfolio of the average institutional investor and the derivatives trader.
The aggregate trade volume hasn’t dropped to pre-July 2020 levels since then. Despite drops in Bitcoin’s price on spot exchanges, Futures contracts continue to trade at a premium and there is more optimism. Volume is not directly impacted by Bitcoin’s price and when the spot market is riddled with bearish sentiment, long contracts continue feeding shorts on BitMEX. This stickiness is a driver of the aforementioned tipping point.
Inching closer to the tipping point, the powerful context is the rise of stablecoins and their instrumental role in lowering the barrier to entry on spot and fiat-crypto exchanges.
Over the past three months, stablecoins like USDT have added $100M in volume every day and their market capitalization and dominance have risen tremendously. In fact, Tether has also crossed a market capitalization of $15B.
This directly influences the tipping point for Bitcoin Futures as it makes Futures trading more accessible to traders. Bitcoin held on exchanges has nearly doubled over the past month, corresponding to an increase in Tether’s market capitalization and circulation. This resonates with derivatives traders who opt for physically-settled Bitcoin Futures contracts on exchanges like Bakkt. In fact, on Bakkt, the daily trade volume was upwards of $80M for the past week, while the Open Interest has been consistently above $10M.
All of these factors are highlighting a shift in derivatives traders’ strategy, while also underlining increased activity on derivatives exchanges. The race to the tipping point has begun – An increase in aggregate trading volume on physically-settled Futures contracts or CME may trigger the much-awaited domino effect.
Tron, Synthetix, VeChain Price Analysis: 19 September
Tron was observed to have hit a strong zone of resistance, before being rejected and pushed to the downside, at the time of writing. In fact, such bearish momentum appeared likely to continue for TRX. At a time when Ethereum was increasingly being criticized for high Gas fees and a congested network, it could have been Tron’s moment to shine, but things didn’t pan out that way at all.
TRX was seeing oversold conditions a few days ago when its RSI hit a low of 23, before ascending just past 50. However, the RSI was unable to remain above 50, and its drop beneath the level highlighted the fact that TRX’s recent 12% surge from $0.263 to $0.296 was merely a bounce.
TRX found a zone of strong resistance at $0.3 and looked likely to drop towards the support at $0.265.
Interestingly, a recent Reddit post has raised questions about JustSwap’s vetting process, claiming that the Tron Foundation has whitelisted a DeFi project that has since pulled a $2 million exit scam. This, despite DappRadar listing the project as “high-risk.”
Synthetix underlined the possibility of dropping lower on the charts. The Directional Movement Index did not yet show a strong trend, but ADX (yellow) was inching towards 20 and could move further north. Also, the rising -DMI (pink) denoted a bearish trend.
Over the past week, every SNX bounce off the level of support has been overwhelmed by selling pressure. This can be expected to continue. With the price registering lower highs, the way down remained the path of least resistance for SNX.
The next level of support after $4.23 lay at $3.36, representing a 20% depreciation.
VeChain showed bullishness in the market after a period of consolidation. The Bollinger Bands expanded to indicate heightened volatility, while the price broke out towards the upper band. At the time of writing, the price was staying above the 20-period moving average, a moving average that could be tested as support as VET steadily climbs toward its resistance around the $0.158 zone.
The breakout was also accompanied by high trading volumes, legitimizing the breakout.
Ethereum: Is the HODLing in yet?
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