Thriving on bitcoin’s bust

Thriving on bitcoin's bust

Thriving on bitcoin’s bust

As a growing number of cryptocurrency ventures struggle for funding, cut staff or shut down, all is well in one small corner of the industry: lending.

Creditors focusing on the crypto arena say they’re finding strong demand from borrowers who don’t want to sell their virtual coins at depressed prices, as well as from big investors eager to borrow coins for short selling. It’s putting lenders on both sides of bitcoin’s bust – helping believers pay their bills while awaiting a rebound, and also enabling bets by people who think the drop has further to go.

New York-based BlockFi says its revenues and customer base have grown 10-fold since June, when Michael Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital Ventures invested $52.5 million. Aave, which owns online crypto-lending marketplace ETHLend, just opened an office in London, plans to enter the US soon, and is nearing profitability. And Salt Lending, which already employs 80 people, said it’s hiring more every month as its revenue ticks higher.

Most lenders in the crypto industry set up shop in 2017, initially offering enthusiasts a way to borrow cash without having to sell down their stockpiles of bitcoin or other crypto assets they believed would soar even higher. But when prices crashed in 2018, lenders pivoted into new roles and continued to flourish. The lending niche, it seems, may fare even better in bad times than good.

Bear market fuelling growth

“The bear market has certainly helped – at least has fuelled the growth,” says Genesis Capital CEO Michael Moro.

Genesis, which launched in March to let institutional investors borrow virtual coins by depositing US dollars, has already issued $700 million of loans. It now has about $140 million in loans outstanding with an average duration of six weeks, according to Moro. Genesis plans to more than double its staff in the coming year to as many as 12 people, and is looking at growing in regions such as Asia.

“We’ve been profitable from day one,” says Moro. “We’ve certainly proven that there is market demand, that there’s product fit and that it’s time to invest even more in this side of the business.”

The company typically requires customers to deposit around $1.2 million in fiat to take out $1 million of crypto. It charges an annual rate of between 10% and 12% to borrow bitcoin, for example.

Companies that accept cryptocurrencies as collateral for cash loans usually demand much larger buffers to ensure they don’t get burned by falling prices. BlockFi typically requires customers deposit $10 000 of digital coins to take out $5 000 in fiat, according to CEO Zac Prince.

Low-risk lending

When collateral drops in value, customers face margin calls, often starting with a warning that their holdings may be sold off soon. At BlockFi, margin calls are triggered if the price of the crypto collateral falls by 35 to 60% from the time the loan was granted. Price says about 20% of the start-ups’ loans faced margin calls last year. Many more borrowers added collateral when warned.

“We’ve never had a loss of principal,” he says. “It’s a low-risk type of lending, assuming you are able to manage that liquidity and track the volatility.” The company’s interest rates start at 7.9%.

Lenders aren’t entirely immune to the turmoil so common in the crypto world. The Securities and Exchange Commission has been scrutinising Salt’s initial coin offering – a fundraising in which start-ups sell virtual coins to investors – and whether the sale amounted to an unregistered securities offering, the Wall Street Journal reported in November, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter. The company declined to comment.

Magic’ in bust

“From a consumer perspective, we will start to look like a diversified fintech company – that started with loans,” says Prince. “Similar to a company like SoFi, who started as just a student lender and expanded to mortgages, wealth management, and now deposit accounts.”

BlockFi is, in fact, planning to offer more credit products, including a bitcoin interest-bearing savings account and a loyalty card earning crypto. ETHLend is working to provide its technology to other lenders in Switzerland and Australia, so they can also accept crypto collateral.

“Everything flies in the bull market, but true magic happens when it does well in a bear market,” Aave CEO Stani Kulechov said in a phone interview. “The crypto-backed lending model is one of the rarest.”


© 2019 Bloomberg L.P

Heiko Closhen, Entrepreneur

Bitcoin Price Watch – BTC Primed To Break 4K

Bitcoin Price Watch - BTC Primed To Break $4Ktext

Bitcoin Price Watch – BTC Primed To Break $4K

Key Points

  • Bitcoin price is grinding higher and it recently broke the $3,900 resistance against the US Dollar.
  • There is a key ascending channel formed with support at $3,850 on the hourly chart of the BTC/USD pair (data feed from Kraken).
  • The price may decline a few points before it makes an attempt to clear the $4,000 resistance.

Bitcoin price is showing positive signs above $3,800 against the US Dollar. BTC remains well supported on the downside for more gains above $4,000.

Bitcoin Price Analysis

Yesterday, we discussed that bitcoin price remains buy on dips near the $3,700 level against the US Dollar. The BTC/USD pair remained in a nice uptrend and it moved above the $3,820 and $3,900 resistance levels. The price traded as high as $3,923 and it is currently correcting lower. It broke the $3,900 support, but it is placed well above the 100 hourly simple moving average.

At the outset, the price is testing the 23.6% Fib retracement level of the recent wave from the $3,646 low to $3,923 high. More importantly, there is a key ascending channel formed with support at $3,850 on the hourly chart of the BTC/USD pair. Should there be a downside break below the channel support, the price may test the $3,780 support. It represents the 50% Fib retracement level of the recent wave from the $3,646 low to $3,923 high. Therefore, if the price corrects lower in the short term, buyers may appear near $3,850 or $3,780. On the upside, a break above the $3,900 and $3,930 levels may push the price towards $4,000.

Looking at the chart, bitcoin price is trading nicely above the $3,780 support. If there are more declines, the next key support is near the $3,750 and the 100 hourly SMA.

Looking at the technical indicators:

Hourly MACD – The MACD for BTC/USD is slowly moving in the bearish zone.

Hourly RSI (Relative Strength Index) – The RSI is placed nicely above the 50 level.

Major Support Level – $3,780

Major Resistance Level – $3,930




Heiko Closhen, Entrepreneur

Fred Wilson’s 2019 outlook – Crypto will enter new bullish wave after seeing bottom

Fred Wilson's 2019 outlook - Crypto will enter new bullish wave after seeing bottom

Fred Wilson's 2019 outlook – Crypto will enter new bullish wave after seeing bottom

Venture capital investor, Fred Wilson starts the new year by posting his prediction on what’s going to happen in 2019 on his website.

His prediction covers many aspects from politics, global economy, stock market, tech business, including cryptocurrency, quoting what he said, “Any set of predictions for 2019 from me on this blog would not be complete without some thoughts on crypto.”

He started by predicting the fall of President Trump due to the reaction of the House towards the report of Robert Muller about his illegal activities.

The “Washington drama” somehow will impact the US economy severely, starting with the capital markets to interest rates, which results in a weaker economy.

That said, the man behind various Web 2.0 investment, such as Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare, Kickstarter and MongoDB is convinced that the crisis will not be experienced by the startup/tech economy.

Wilson believes the macro trend will not impact the startup/tech economy as it’s driven first and foremost by technical and creative innovation.

As for the crypto industry, he said, “I think we are in the process of finding the bottom on the large, liquid, and lasting crypto-tokens. But I think that process could take much of 2019 to play out.”

Furthermore, he added, “I expect we will see some bullish runs, followed by selling pressures taking us back to retest the lows. I think this bottoming out process will end sometime in 2019 and we will slowly enter a new bullish phase in crypto.”

Wilson thinks the next bullish phase is triggered by the fulfilment of promises of some projects from 2017, such as Filecoin and the Algorand project.

He also mentioned his expectation to see a number of “next gen” smart contract platforms that will challenge Ethereum, followed by Ethereum’s defending its leadership through a number of important system improvements.

Aside from that, the Union Square Ventures co-founder expects to see a wider adoption of cryptocurrency, particularly in developing countries through stablecoins, NFT/cryptoassets/cryptogaming, and earn/spending opportunities.

Having such bullish predictions towards crypto industry, Wilson stated that he still has some concerns about it, particularly related to the actions of “misguided regulators” that will “harm” high quality projects.

Moreover, the dark side of crypto, such as scams, failed projects, and losing investments will still exist in 2019, which he said, they could be “a drag on the sector.”

However, he also mentioned that it’s always the case with new emerging technology that allows anyone to set up shop and get going.

“Permissionless innovation produces the greatest gains over time but also comes with the inevitable bad actors and actions,” he said.

“Do I sound pessimistic? I suspect I do, but I am not. I am incredibly optimistic… It is going to be a doozy,” he closed his 2019 prediction.



Heiko Closhen, Entrepreneur

Bitcoin BTC Technical Analysis – Bull carries coin to green pastures

Bitcoin [BTC] Technical Analysis - Bull carries coin to green pastures

Bitcoin [BTC] Technical Analysis – Bull carries coin to green pastures

As the year comes to an end, Bitcoin [BTC] marks the end with a little slip. BTC, at the time of press, had slipped by 2.38% over the past 24 hours.

The coin was valued at $3,792.32 with a market cap of $66 billion. The coin registered a 24-hour trade volume of $4.7 billion with a fall of over 9% over the past seven days. The coin is still falling with a slip of 1.10% over the last hour.


As per the one-hour chart of BTC, the coin observed a downtrend from $4034 to $3748.09, after which the coin shot up to $3736.51 to $3884.71. The coin then fell from $3914.04 to $3799.26. The coin is offered support at $3727, with immediate resistance at $3845.

Parabolic SAR hints towards a bearish as the markers align above the candlesticks.

Awesome Oscillator indicates a bearish momentum emerging, but as per the previous trend, it might be a short-lived one.

Chaikin Money Flow points above zero, marking a bullish market.


The one-day chart of the coin points towards a massive fall from $7359.99 to $6511.88, which further continues to $6259.35 to $3829. A miniscual uptrend was noticed from $3184.28 to $3576.12, with a resistance marked at $4075.33. BTC was offered support at $3184.28.

Bollinger Bands appears to be at a converging point, indicating a decreased volatility in the market. The moving average line is under the candlesticks, thus marking a bullish market.

MACD line is above the signal line hinting towards a bullish market.

Relative Strength Index indicates that the buying and selling pressures are evening each other out.


According to the indicators, Awesome Oscillator and Parabolic SAR a bearish market is predicted. However, Chaikin Money Flow, Bollinger Bands, and MACD point towards a bullish market.


Published 1 min ago on January 1, 2019 By Namrata Shukla

Heiko Closhen, Entrepreneur