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Cybersecurity firm uses encrypted hard drive with Bitcoin to test applicants

Cybersecurity firm uses encrypted hard drive with Bitcoin to test applicants

Researchers wishing to apply to New York-based Red Balloon Security have to complete an unusual technical interview as part of their application process: unlocking a hard drive containing crypto.

According to a report from Business Insider, Red Balloon sends the hard drives to certain candidates for cybersecurity research positions at the firm. Anyone who has the “the skills and passion” to crack the encryption would be able to claim 0.1337 Bitcoin (BTC), or roughly $4,800 at the time of publication. Applicants who are able to access the coins are told to purchase a ticket to New York City for the next step.

“We’re one of the few companies in the world that do this, outside of various intelligence agencies,” said Red Balloon CEO Ang Cui. “We’re a small company, we’re looking for a very niche type of security person, and we don’t have the massive amount of human energy to waste on screening through every single resume.”

Cui said that the cybersecurity firm sent the test packages to almost every applicant, but the success rate was roughly 1%. Red Balloon currently has 29 employees, 6 of whom have reportedly joined in the last year.

He added:

“If I send out 150 to 200 pounds of hard drives [with Bitcoin], I will typically get back one human team member. It’s a worthy investment.”

Founded in 2011, the firm has apparently taken this unique approach to technical interviews for some time. At least one Crypto Twitter user claimed to have received similar instructions to retrieve Bitcoin five years ago, while others pointed out Red Balloon had challenged programmers to unlock hard drives with crypto as part of the Defcon hackers’ conference in 2017:

3 reasons why the price of Curve DAO Token (CRV) tripled in a week

Over the past two weeks the entire DeFi sector has been in a strong uptrend and many of the top market cap tokens rallied by double and triple-digits.

Curve DAO’s governance token CRV has been a standout performer, coming off a low at $0.54 on Jan. 11 to a 2021 high at $1.78 on Jan. 17.

CRV/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: Tradingview

Three reasons for this latest surge in volume and price for CRV are a new collaboration with the (YFI) ecosystem, positive regulatory developments in the U.S. and an increase in engagement boosting the total value locked on the platform. collaboration

The noticeable uptick in trading volume for CRV began on Jan. 14 after creator, Andre Cronje, tweeted a gif that read:

“ presents, in collaboration with Yearn.Finance, permissionless pool creation. Stablecoin pools in 3 clicks.”

Similar to the days when any partnership or integration announcement from Chainlink (LINK) would provide an immediate boost in volume and price, collaborations with YFI have tended to casue sharp breakouts in DeFi token prices. Take for example, Cream Finance and SushiSwap, which both rallied by more than 100% after partnership announcements.

CRV’s trading volume increased from $59 million to $350 million following the Cronje’s tweet and a follow-up tweet on Jan. 15 provided an update on the progress of the collaboration stating, “ updated; Permissionless pool creation added, anyone can create a curve pool that can swap to DAI, USDC, or USDT.”

This pushed the 24-hour trading volume as high as $478 million and boosted the price to $1.23.

CRV price vs. Reported trading volume. Source: TheTIE

Crypto friendly regulation creates opportunity for Curve

A second reason CRV has more than tripled since the beginning of 2021 relates to the recent stablecoin announcement from the United States Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

According to the OCC, banks will be able to “use new technologies, including INVNs and related stablecoins, to perform bank-permissible functions, such as payment activities.” Banks will soon be able to utilize various blockchain platforms to conduct stablecoin transactions as well as provide custody services for those assets, and this means a trusted stablecoin ecosystem and oracle provider is needed.

The Curve DAO platform is one of the larger decentralized exchanges for stablecoins that uses an automated market maker (AMM) to manage liquidity so as this shift occurs, more people may look to the platform as the preferred option.

Increasing user activity and total value locked boost fundamentals

A key factor in the success of any cryptocurrency project is the engagement of its community. For CRV, this is represented by metrics such as total value locked (TVL) on the platform and the volume of transactions per day.

Total value locked on Curve.Finance. Source: Defi Pulse

Data from defipulse shows that the TVL on Curve received a noticeable increase since Jan. 4 after remaining relatively flat throughout December. has also seen a steady increase in the total volume per day transacted on the platform as shown in the following chart from Dune analytics.

Daily volume on Source: Dune Analytics

Another positive development for Curve was the Jan.17 announcement that “cross-asset swaps via are now live.”This kicked off another wave of high volume trading volume and hours after the announcement CRV hit its 2021 high at $1.78.

As the total value locked on Curve reaches new highs and daily volume soars, future collaborations such as these are likely to be met with similar enthusiasm.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

US crypto regulations will return Bitcoin to its digital cash origins

The United States Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN, recently proposed a series of new regulations applying to financial institutions dealing with digital currencies, such as Bitcoin (BTC). To summarize the proposed regulations, exchanges would essentially be required to file a report with FinCEN when a customer makes a purchase in excess of $10,000, and gather Know Your Customer information any time a transaction of $3,000 or greater is conducted using a non-custodial wallet. 

This means that if a customer buys $3,000 worth of Bitcoin and withdraws it to a wallet they control, they would have to not only prove ownership of that wallet but also provide their name and physical address, along with additional identifying information.

Personally, my life stands to change very little. I’ve been living entirely off of cryptocurrency since 2015, unbanked since 2016, and have never used a centralized exchange, receiving all of my coins as compensation for goods and services. But as few live as I do, we will likely see a significant impact on how most cryptocurrency users conduct their business. I would hazard a guess that most users have interacted with a centralized platform requiring KYC.

For the rest of cryptocurrency users, the newly proposed regulations would put a significant friction point on deposits and withdrawals. At present, a user signs up to an exchange, submits KYC documents for approval, and can buy and withdraw Bitcoin to a wallet they control, including a hardware wallet for cold storage. When wishing to realize gains, they can then move the funds back onto the exchange and sell for spending money in the bank.

In the future, however, they may be required to prove ownership of the wallet to which they withdraw, including providing their physical address, and similarly, prove the origin of the funds when moving back on to an exchange. This may lead many users, including the privacy- and autonomy-conscious (of which there are many in the Bitcoin world), to seek other, less intrusive ways of using their digital funds. Making payments directly for the goods and services they desire, rather than first selling for fiat currency, avoids the headache of passing through the regulation-induced friction point every time.

The “centralized exchange closed-loop” experience Bitcoiners will wake up from

There’s a reason why relatively few people have engaged in regular transactions and purchases with Bitcoin — they haven’t needed to. The average user signs up for an exchange account, buys crypto, and may sell to realize some gains. Some of the more hardcore users may even buy a hardware wallet and transfer funds to it from an exchange, which could be an infrequent transaction of significant amounts with no real requirement for speed or particularly low fees. The basic process of buying for investment purposes, and occasionally selling to realize gains or to spend, is relatively smooth with centralized exchanges, which is why so few have ventured far out of this closed loop so far.

Many Bitcoiners have opted to stay inside this closed loop for exactly the same reason they may soon seek to exit it — avoiding friction. Sure, many will simply deal with the extra regulatory steps, but many more, particularly thought leaders and longtime community staples, will choose to stay closer to the cypherpunk ethos.

Bitcoin’s adoption ecosystem will get the push it needs

Bitcoin was born and bred for decentralized digital payments. At some point, this use case took a backseat to a digital store-of-value, and the tools necessary for it to reclaim this purpose haven’t adequately developed yet — foremost among these, of course, is scaling.

Bitcoin chose to pursue off-chain scaling solutions (Lightning Network) and on-chain transaction optimizations (SegWit). Both of these have seen lackluster development over the past several years, with SegWit transactions making up less than half of daily transactions over three years, and Lightning Network growth similarly stagnating, with very few exchanges or other major ecosystem players having integrated it at this point. As noted above, this hasn’t been that much of an issue with the current state of things.

However, when the average user gets direct exposure to the Bitcoin network as it functions today, they’re in for a rude awakening that will either prompt them to disengage entirely or will place pressure on wallets and service providers to prioritize SegWit and Lightning. In a free market, which the cryptoverse largely is, consumer demand drives innovation to meet its needs. If enough Bitcoiners start demanding that Bitcoin work seamlessly for small and efficient transactions (beyond simply posting about it on Twitter), the market will seriously push for the ecosystem to develop to meet its needs.

Hungry competitors line up to take over the digital cash role

Of course, Bitcoin is far from alone in the competition for cryptocurrency for direct purchases. Since its transition to a more digital gold-focused role starting in 2016 or 2017, quite a few hungry competitors have emerged. In the forefront of people’s minds are, naturally, the main Bitcoin forks, Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Bitcoin SV (BSV). Both have pursued an on-chain scaling approach and have the capacity to field a large number of transactions cheaply, but neither has achieved a compelling enough differentiator yet to fully take over Bitcoin’s share of the payments market. Bitcoin Cash has the clear advantage in terms of integrations into valuable services such as but lost significant momentum due to repeated forks, each one taking with it a portion of the community and mindshare. Bitcoin SV has quite a few innovations going for it, including social media platforms and rudimentary human-readable username systems. But with a market ranking firmly outside of the top 10 and with far fewer major integrations than Bitcoin Cash, there’s certainly an uphill battle ahead. Additionally, the mark of Craig Wright has soured the project in the eyes of much of the greater cryptoverse, making partnerships and publicity difficult.

Bitcoin Cash has the clear advantage in terms of integrations into valuable services such as but lost significant momentum due to repeated forks, each one taking with it a portion of the community and mindshare. Bitcoin SV has quite a few innovations going for it, including social media platforms and rudimentary human-readable username systems. But with a market ranking firmly outside of the top 10 and with far fewer major integrations than Bitcoin Cash, there’s certainly an uphill battle ahead. Additionally, the mark of Craig Wright has soured the project in the eyes of much of the greater cryptoverse, making partnerships and publicity difficult.

Litecoin (LTC) presents an interesting case as the longest-running payments-focused Bitcoin alternative, but so far, it has not yet managed to come into its own. From 2014 to 2017, itstransaction volume trended downward, only to rebound significantly as Bitcoin’s scaling issues began to arise. Since then, it has served as a testnet for Bitcoin of sorts, as well as an off-chain scaling solution. Litecoin’s own scaling path seems to be uncertain, as its own Lightning Network implementation found even less success than Bitcoin’s, while its current 4x on-chain capacity compared to Bitcoin still leaves plenty of growing room. Will Litecoin remain as a substitute until Bitcoin or another project evolves to fully take the payments lead, or will this be the opportunity it needs to take over the digital cash role? Either way, its fate seems to be inexorably tied with that of Bitcoin.

The dark horse in this division may very well be Dash, whose name is literally an abbreviation of “digital cash” and has competed for this use case longer than any other alternative except Litecoin. And despite steady growth in transaction numbers, regardless of a bull or bear market, it has largely gotten lost in an increasingly crowded field of payments coins, some with crypto celebrity backers, especially after the realignment from a privacy focus to an everyday payments focus.

Unlike its competitors, however, Dash has spent years working on quite a few real improvements to the payments experience, including instant transaction settlement and anti-51% attack protection, making a Dash transaction arguably more secure in seconds than what its competitors could achieve in minutes or even hours — an experience that’s particularly useful for in-person retail payments. This, combined with the recent release onto testnet of the long-awaited “Evolution” upgrade, which not only provides human-readable usernames and contact lists but also fully-decentralized digital identities, could make 2021 an interesting year for the crypto payments space. It remains to be seen whether the combination of instant payments with protocol-level ease of use will be enough to catch the attention of an industry with a notoriously short attention span.

The new U.S. regulations regarding non-custodial wallets may push more cryptocurrency users to skip the exchanges altogether and use their coins to directly buy and sell goods and services. Will this be enough to push Bitcoin to reclaim its peer-to-peer digital cash purpose by finally getting scaling solutions, such as the Lightning Network, developed enough so that they’re easily usable by the average person? Or will one of its children choose this time to shine, taking over the payments space while Bitcoin holds down the investment use case?

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.

Joël Valenzuela is a veteran independent journalist and podcaster, living unbanked off of cryptocurrency since 2016. He previously worked for the Dash decentralized autonomous organization and now primarily writes and podcasts for the Digital Cash Network on the LBRY decentralized content platform.

Grayscale holds the key to Bitcoin hitting $40K, says JPMorgan

Grayscale Investments, the world’s largest digital-asset manager, could hold the key to Bitcoin’s (BTC) short-term price outlook, according to JPMorgan Chase. 

As Bloomberg reports, strategists led by Nikolas Panigirtzoglou believe Bitcoin could lose its luster over the short-term unless it can “break out” above $40,000. The flagship cryptocurrency breached that key level on two occasions this month, once in the lead-up to new all-time highs near $42,000 and the other just last week.

The strategists determined that the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust, which currently has $23 billion in assets under management, will play a crucial role in whether BTC returns to that level or not.

They wrote:

“The flow into the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust would likely need to sustain its US$100 million per day pace over the coming days and weeks for such a breakout to occur.”

If BTC fails to re-take $40,000, trend-following traders “could propagate the past week’s correction,” the analysts said. That means the path of least resistance could be lower.

Since breaching $20,000 in December, the Bitcoin price more than doubled in just three weeks. The digital currency has been rangebound in recent weeks as traders look for the next major catalyst.

In the meantime, Grayscale continues to exert considerable influence over the cryptocurrency market. Average weekly inflows into Grayscale’s digital-asset products reached $250.7 million in the fourth quarter, marking a new all-time high. The Bitcoin Trust generated $217.1 million in weekly inflows, on average.

As Cointelegraph reported last week, Bitcoin’s price rose sharply after Grayscale reopened its services to new investors on Jan. 13.


Investors are beginning to worry that Bitcoin’s (BTC) uptrend could be in peril after the top-ranked cryptocurrency failed to pull above the $40,000. Some traders are afraid that a repeat of the crushing 2018 bear market is on the cards again if BTC fails to find bullish momentum.

However, a study of both the bull markets shows distinct differences that are noteworthy. Research from Pantera Capital found that after the current bull move, 86% of the crypto market’s value is concentrated in Bitcoin and Ethereum, largely because institutional funds have flowed into each cryptocurrency.

In 2017, the top two coins only held about 52% of the value, with the rest being held in several altcoins that turned out to be “non-functioning” coins. In the current bull market, retail investors seem to be largely absent so the type of speculation witnessed in 2017 has yet to appear in 2021.

Daily cryptocurrency market performance. Source: Coin360

Guggenheim Partners’ chief investment officer Scott Minerd recently said that his long-term Bitcoin price target of $400,000 remains and his recent tweet asking his followers to “take some money off the table” was based on the short-term price movement.

Although Minerd has not included Bitcoin in his mutual fund portfolios, he said purchases have been done in some private funds managed by Guggenheim.

While Bitcoin consolidates after the recent bull phase, select altcoins are extending their up-move. Can this continue? Let’s analyze the charts of the top-10 cryptocurrencies to find out.


Bitcoin is attempting to rebound off the 20-day exponential moving average ($34,380) but the weak bounce suggests a lack of urgency among bulls to accumulate on dips. As the price is stuck inside a symmetrical triangle, technical traders may wait for the price to break out of the pattern before buying.

BTC/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingView

If the price does not rise to the resistance line of the symmetrical triangle, the bears may smell an opportunity and will try to sink the price below the triangle. If they succeed, the BTC/USD pair may drop to the 38.2% Fibonacci retracement level at $29,688.10.

This is an important level to watch out for because, if the bears sink the price below this support, the drop could extend to the 50-day simple moving average ($26,932). The deeper the fall, the longer it is likely to take for the uptrend to resume because every rise will be met with a wave of selling by traders who are stuck at higher levels.

Another sharp correction could be avoided if bulls thrust the price above the triangle. The all-time high at $41,959.63 may act as a stiff resistance but if the bulls can drive the price above it, the pair could reach $50,000.


Ether (ETH) remains in a strong uptrend and is currently consolidating near the $1,300 to $1,349.10 overhead resistance. The upsloping moving averages and the relative strength index (RSI) near the overbought zone suggest the path of least resistance is to the upside.

ETH/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingView

The ETH/USD pair formed a Doji candlestick pattern on Jan. 17 and again today, indicating indecision between the bulls and the bears. If the uncertainty resolves to the upside and the bulls push the price above the overhead resistance, the uptrend could resume. The next target is $1,420 and then $1,675.

On the contrary, if the price turns down from the current levels and breaks below $1,152, the pair could drop to the 20-day EMA ($1,079). A strong rebound off this support will suggest accumulation at lower levels and the bulls will again try to resume the uptrend.

However, if the bears sink the price below the 20-day EMA, the decline could deepen to $1,000 and then to $900.


Polkadot (DOT) is in a strong uptrend and the momentum picked up after the altcoin broke above the $10.68 resistance on Jan. 13. The up-move reached $19.40 on Jan. 16, recording a 143% rally in four days.

DOT/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingView

Some short-term traders may have booked profits after the sharp rally, but the shallow correction suggests that the majority of the traders are not panicking. If the bears fail to pull the price below the 38.2% Fibonacci retracement level at $14.7259, the uptrend could resume.

If the bulls can push the price above $20, the DOT/USD pair could rally to $24 and then to $30. However, if the bears sink the price below $14.7259, the pair may consolidate the recent gains for a few days before starting the next trending move. The bears will signal a comeback if they can sustain the price below the 20-day EMA ($11.47).


The bears have been defending the 20-day EMA ($0.297) for the past few days but they have not been able to capitalize on the weakness and sink XRP below $0.25, which suggests a lack of sellers at lower levels.

XRP/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingView

The bulls will now attempt to push the price above the 20-day EMA. If they succeed, the XRP/USD pair may rally to $0.385. The bears are likely to defend this resistance aggressively.

If the price turns down from this resistance, the pair could extend its stay inside the range for a few more days. On the other hand, if the bulls push the price above the range and the 50-day SMA ($0.406), a new uptrend could begin.


Cardano (ADA) soared above the downtrend line on Jan. 16, signaling the resumption of the uptrend. The bulls pushed the price near the overhead resistance at $0.40 on Jan. 17, which may act as a stiff barrier.

ADA/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingView

However, the upsloping moving averages and the RSI in the overbought zone suggest that bulls are in command. If the bulls do not allow the price to dip and sustain below $0.34, the likelihood of a break above $0.40 increases. The next target on the upside is $0.50.

Contrary to this assumption, if the bears sink the price below $0.34, it will suggest aggressive profit-booking at higher levels. The ADA/USD pair could then drop to the 20-day EMA ($0.288).

A strong rebound off the 20-day EMA could keep the uptrend intact but a break below it may signal a short-term top.


The bulls and the bears have been battling it out near the 20-day EMA ($144) for the past few days. The buyers are currently trying to push Litecoin (LTC) above the 61.8% Fibonacci retracement level at $157.6904.

LTC/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingView

If they succeed, the LTC/USD pair could rally to $170 and then to $185.5821. A breakout of this resistance could open the doors for a rally to $225.

However, the bears are unlikely to give up without a fight. They will pose a stiff challenge at $157.6904. If the price turns down from this resistance, the pair may remain range-bound between $130 and $160 for a few days.

The trend will turn in favor of the bears if they can sink and sustain the price below the 50-day SMA ($118).


The bears are defending the $515.35 resistance but they have not been able to sink Bitcoin Cash (BCH) below the uptrend line. This shows the bulls are buying on dips.

BCH/USD daily chart. Source: TradingView

If the bulls can push and sustain the price above the $515.35 to $539 resistance zone, the BCH/USD pair could rally to $631.71. The bears may defend this level aggressively but if the bulls can propel the price above it, the uptrend could reach $833.

The upsloping moving averages and the RSI in the positive territory suggest the path of least resistance is to the upside.

Contrary to this assumption, if the price turns down from the overhead resistance and breaks below the uptrend line, it will suggest the sentiment has turned negative and traders are closing their positions on a rally. This could result in a fall to $370.


Chainlink (LINK) is in a strong uptrend, making a new all-time high at $23.767 on Jan. 17. The upsloping 20-day EMA ($16.91) and the RSI near the overbought territory suggest bulls are in control.

LINK/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingView

However, bears are not willing to give up easily. They had attempted to stall the rally on Jan. 16 as seen from the long wick on the day’s candlestick and they are again trying to pull the price down today. The bears will have to sink and sustain the price below $20.1111 to gain the upper hand.

But if the LINK/USD pair rebounds off $20.1111, it will suggest the level has flipped to support and may act as a floor during future declines. If the bulls can push the price above $23.767, the uptrend could reach $27 and then $30.


Stellar Lumens (XLM) has been trading inside the $0.26 to $0.325 range for the past few days, but the upsloping 20-day EMA ($0.257) and the RSI in the positive territory suggest bulls have the upper hand.

XLM/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingView

If the buyers can push the price above $0.325, the XLM/USD pair may rally to $0.409 and if this level is also scaled, the up-move may reach $0.50. The longer the time spent in the range, the stronger will be the breakout from it.

Contrary to this assumption, if the bears sink the price below the range and the 20-day EMA, it could attract profit-booking by traders and the pair could drop to the 50-day SMA. Such a move will indicate advantage to the bears.


Binance Coin (BNB) rose to a new all-time high on Jan. 17 and followed it up with another new high today at $46.8888. However, the bulls are struggling to sustain the higher levels, which suggests some traders are booking profits.

BNB/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingView

The BNB/USD pair has formed an ascending broadening wedge pattern and the RSI is also showing signs of a bearish divergence. Both these suggest the bullish momentum may be weakening.

However, in a strong uptrend, bearish developments get negated as bulls resume their purchases after a break. Traders can watch the price action near the 20-day EMA ($40) because, if this support cracks, the bears will try to sink the price below the wedge.

But if the BNB/USD pair rebounds off the 20-day EMA, it will suggest that traders continue to buy on dips. Such a move could resume the uptrend with the next target at $50.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk. You should conduct your own research when making a decision.

Market data is provided by HitBTC exchange.

First Hyperledger-based cryptocurrency explodes 486% overnight on Bittrex BTC listing

A little-known altcoin known as Metacoin (MTC) surged to 486% gains in just 24 hours on Jan. 18, after Bittrex announced it would be listing the coin against Bitcoin (BTC).

Metacoin is built on the Hyperledger network, an umbrella project of open-source technologies focused around building permissioned blockchain ecosystems for large cross-industry enterprises. Metacoin became the first cryptocurrency of Hyperledger’s to achieve mainnet status when it went live in 2018.

Hyperledger was founded by the Linux Foundation, and is overseen by a host of “premium members”, comprising leading technology and finance companies, such as IBM, J.P. Morgan, Fujitsu, Hitachi, and more.

On Jan. 15, the Bittrex Global cryptocurrency exchange announced that it had opened its Metacoin wallet for deposits of MTC, and that trading against Bitcoin would soon follow.

Little over 48 hours after the announcement was made, the value of each MTC coin had more than quintupled. From a starting price of $0.026540 on Sunday night, the dollar value of the coin increased more than fivefold, climbing to a brief peak of $0.155600 by Monday afternoon – a 486% increase.

Metacoin (MTC) gained 486% during a tumultuous day of trading. Source:

Metacoin trade volume hit an all-time high of $482,000 on the day, all emanating from a single BTC trading pair on the Liquid exchange. This just exceeds the $444,000 volume recorded in August 2020, during the coin’s first two weeks on the open market.

Notably, despite the surge following hot on the heels of the announcement by Bittrex Global, no trading data for Metacoin yet exists on the site, and the BTC/MTC pair was still signalled as being “offline”.

Taking Hyperledger’s cross-industry modular toolkit as a starting point, Metacoin acts as a multi-function blockchain platform where tokens for businesses and commerce can be issued on-chain. The platform also plays host to a number of DApps, including ColdBank, a crypto custody service which utilizes IBM’s LinuxONE technology, as well as blockchain gaming apps.

DeFi lending and borrowing, explained

Lending and borrowing, within the realm of traditional as well as crypto finance, entails the act of one party providing monetary assets — be it fiat or digital currencies — to someone else in exchange for a steady income stream.

The concept of “lending and borrowing” has been around for ages and is one of the core aspects of any financial system, especially the “fractional banking” setup that is predominantly used across the globe today. The idea is extremely straightforward — i.e., lenders provide funds to borrowers in return for a regular interest rate, and that’s quite literally it. Also, traditionally, such deals are usually facilitated by a financial institution such as a bank or an independent entity such as a peer-to-peer lender.

In the context of cryptocurrencies, lending and borrowing can be facilitated via two primary routes — via a centralized finance institution, such as BlockFi, Celsius, etc., or through the use of decentralized finance protocols such as Aave, Maker and so on.

CeFi platforms, though decentralized to a certain extent, work in pretty much the same way as most banks, whereby they take custody of one’s deposited assets, eventually loaning them out to third parties — such as market makers, hedge funds or other users of their platform — while providing the original depositor with steady returns. And though on paper this model looks and works quite well, it could be prone to a number of issues, such as thefts, hacks, insider jobs, etc.

DeFi protocols, on the other hand, allow users to become lenders or borrowers in a completely decentralized fashion, such that an individual has complete control over their funds at all times. This is made possible via the use of smart contracts that operate on open blockchain solutions such as Ethereum. In contrast to CeFi, DeFi platforms can be used by anyone, anywhere without them having to hand over their personal data to a central authority.

Yearn.Finance eyes new all-time high — Can YFI price reach the next $66K target?

As Bitcoin’s (BTC) price has been consolidating in recent weeks, many other crypto assets started to show strength. This was largely expected since altcoins generally do better once BTC cools down. 

Lower volatility in Bitcoin means higher volatility for altcoins as the money flows from Bitcoin to altcoins. Ether (ETH), for example, is now looking to break its all-time high almost a month after Bitcoin’s surpassed its own milestone. 

However, one of the biggest gainers in recent days is (YFI), which is approaching its own all-time high at $47,000, and whose rally is also being boosted by the launch of a new upgrade, namely v2 Vaults.

Let’s take a look at the technicals and see if the all-time high may get broken in the next few days. 

The $44,000 ATH could break in the near future

YFI/USDT 1-day chart. Source: TradingView is showing strength in the USD pair, approaching a new all-time high. However, the current resistance is the final hurdle before this level can be broken.

The chart in itself shows a clear support/resistance flip of the $18,250 level. This support/resistance flip generated further momentum toward the $30,000 barrier.

This $30,000 barrier finally broke at the beginning of January 2021, as the price of YFI accelerated to the $40,000 resistance zone. As long as the $30,000 level sustains support, for now, further upside is likely.

A potential rally to $66,000 is on the horizon

YFI/USDT 1-day chart. Source: TradingView

I’ve recently discussed the Fibonacci extension tool as a magnificent indicator to use for further projections of price movements. This indicator can be used on Yearn.Finance as well, as YFI’s price might continue running into price discovery.

Price discovery can be hit once it breaks the crucial $40,000 resistance area. However, the next pivots can be found via the Fibonacci extension tool at $55,000 and $66,000.

These areas are determined through the 1.618 Fibonacci level, with $66,000 being the most pivotal area. This level of interest is defined by the entire corrective move from $44,000 to $7,500.

If the 2.618 Fibonacci level is used to determine the upside target (and this level is also often used, depending on the strength of the market), then $100,000 or higher is achievable for

The BTC pair has a lot to regain

YFI/BTC 1-day chart. Source: TradingView

The daily chart of against BTC shows a clear downwards pattern similar to most altcoins in recent months.

Most of them are consolidating in the BTC pair while accelerating heavily in the USD pair. Some are reaching new all-time highs in USD value, while the BTC pair is still hovering around the current cycle lows.

Therefore, a bullish outlook for YFI/BTC is questionable at this point. First of all, the 1.12 BTC level needs to break through the upside, which means the next resistance zone is at 1.40-1.65 BTC.

At 1.40-1.65 BTC, the resistance zone is the critical resistance to break and could be classified as the accumulation range high. As long as moves between 0.68 and 1.40 BTC, the cryptocurrency is in accumulation mode.

YFI/BTC 4-hour chart. Source: TradingView

The 4-hour YFI/BTC chart shows a breakthrough of the 0.96 BTC level. However, the 1.12 BTC level is currently acting as resistance.

This level has to break to see more upside toward the next pivotal resistance area at 1.40-1.65 BTC. If this level fails to break for resistance, the 0.96 BTC area has to sustain support to justify further tests of the 1.12 BTC resistance area.

However, if weakness is shown and 0.96 BTC fails to hold for support, more downside is likely, and a renewed retest of the 0.68 BTC level could happen.

In that regard, YFI/BTC would still be acting inside the accumulation range until Bitcoin starts to consolidate, and more money flows into altcoins.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk. You should conduct your own research when making a decision.

Biden team announces pick to lead SEC

President-elect Biden’s team recently unveiled additional folks it plans on nominating for various positions after the inauguration on Wednesday. 

One key pick is Gary Gensler as Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, according to a statement from Biden’s transition team on Monday. On Jan. 12, Reuters reported on anonymous sourcing forecasting Gensler as Biden’s choice. Today’s statement from the Biden team confirms the President-elect’s expected choice.

“Gary Gensler served as chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission from 2009 to 2014,” the statement said. Coming immediately after the financial crisis, Gensler’s term at the CFTC saw him enforcing the provisions of the nascent Dodd-Frank Act in commodities markets. 

Formal nomination will have to wait until Biden actually takes office, and will further need confirmation from the U.S. Senate. January run-off elections in Georgia, however, secured the Senate for the Democrats. 

Gensler also taught classes on blockchain and crypto at MIT. Having someone knowledgeable on the crypto and blockchain industry leading the SEC could pave the way for educated regulation and guidelines. The SEC has been critical for its role in regulating the initial coin offering market, which has quieted down significantly since the commission began treating many ICOs as unregistered public securities offerings

Crypto Chi: The future (and energy) of money and technology

Throughout 2020, we saw a consistent flow of news about legacy finance, major investment companies and large corporations looking to enter the digital assets industry. The value proposition for investing in Bitcoin (BTC) and other digital currencies started to move beyond just a store of value or thinking of Bitcoin as a commodity like digital gold.

In 2021, we’ll see the market’s understanding of Bitcoin maturing even further. The narrative will shift from a store of value to a powerful and appreciating currency. In 2020, Bitcoin was a commodity that institutions felt pressure to own. In 2021, Bitcoin and crypto will morph from a curiosity (2017) to a commodity (2020) to real money (2021).

Related: What lies ahead for crypto and blockchain in 2021? Experts answer

The dramatic reduction of the dollar’s purchasing power during the COVID-19 pandemic will stay with people for a long time. Depreciation has a psychological effect, one that MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor calls “financial energy.” The experience of watching purchasing power vanish is a drain on people’s emotional and financial energy.

Heading into 2021, consumers and investors are looking for ways not only to protect their purchasing power but increase their peace of mind. Consumers want sound money. Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies can make people feel powerful.

Updating Saylor’s concept, I call this psychological effect “Crypto Chi,” for the eternal circulating life force that exists in everything, according to Chinese philosophy. Crypto can act as something that enhances your financial life and overall health.

Investing and using crypto can reconnect people to the notion that they control their destiny and can harness and channel their energy (whether that is in the form of money, actions, relationships, etc.) in positive ways.

The idea that Bitcoin is digital gold is becoming obsolete as it reaches beyond its 2017 high. By making that leap, Bitcoin becomes the catalyst for a new idea — that fiat currencies will have digital cousins. It’s possible that major fiat currencies like the U.S. dollar, euro, yen, British pound, Swiss franc and Australian dollar will have a group of digital cousins trading in the cryptocurrency market. In the foreign exchange market, daily turnover is roughly $6 trillion per day. It’s a massive market relative to crypto.

This idea of crypto increasing personal health and financial power can lead cryptocurrency investors to think beyond just Bitcoin. Just as kung fu master Bruce Lee had a wide variety of ways to fend off an attack, investors now have a variety of digital currencies to invest in to protect their purchasing power and, ultimately, make their lives better — not just materially but spiritually as well.

Bitcoin, Ether (ETH), Dash and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) are used as payment methods in the emerging market world. Contrary to popular belief, we see governments taking a positive outlook toward cryptocurrencies. If 2021 is a more challenging economic environment than 2020, governments may look to crypto to help their citizens in a way they can’t. That could be why the director of National Intelligence recently urged U.S. regulators to create a more favorable environment for the expansion of crypto in the United States.

As you delve into crypto research, you can see the vast potential. For example, if you research how Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies and decentralized finance can empower people, you will see a wide variety of opportunities. For example, the big technology companies — Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google — are like mature redwood trees in a crowded forest. How much bigger can they get? In contrast, the altcoin world is like a bright green shoot popping up through fertile soil created by the Bitcoin rain. They are just getting started, and only the sky is the limit.

Technology is now intricately tied to finances, which, for better or for worse, has a deep impact on our lives. When our idea of money can be elevated to a spiritual level, we can see just how important it is to invest in the things that bring us joy.

This article does not contain investment advice or recommendations. Every investment and trading move involves risk, and readers should conduct their own research when making a decision.

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.

William Noble is the chief technical analyst of Token Metrics — an AI-driven digital assets research company. Noble is a 20+ year veteran of finance with experience at Goldman Sachs, Charles Schwab and Morgan Stanley, who’s brought his market analysis expertise to the cryptocurrency space. He has the rare ability to synthesize the crypto and traditional markets in a way that surfaces insightful trends.