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Top Stories This Week

Facebook Reportedly Acquires Blockchain Startup in First Blockchain-Related Acquisition

Social media network Facebook has reportedly acquired blockchain startup Chainspace in its first apparent blockchain-related acquisition. According to news outlet Cheddar, the acquisition is considered an “acquihire,” or an acquisition of a company made in order to get the skills or expertise of its staff, as opposed to the company’s service or products. According to Cheddar, four of the five researchers that worked on Chainspace’s academic white paper will be joining Facebook. Facebook had told Cheddar that it had not acquired any of Chainspace’s technology.

Leaked Mt. Gox Info Purports to Show $318 Million in Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash on BitPoint

According to leaked documents reportedly showing the rehabilitation proceedings of defunct cryptocurrency exchange Mt. Gox, the trustee for the process has sold around $318 million in  Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) on trading platform BitPoint. The information, which purportedly comes from the Tokyo District Court, shows incomplete scans of transaction at BitPoint, reportedly confirming that Mt. Gox trustee Nobuaki Kobayashi sold coins on a major exchange to repay creditors. CEO of United States exchange Kraken Jesse Powell has previously noted that Kraken’s suggestions for selling coins in an auction or with an OTC broker were not acted on.

Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter and Square

Venezuela’s New Crypto Legal Framework Comes Into Force, Doesn’t Mention Petro

Venezuela’s new crypto legislation, which establishes a legal framework for the industry, officially came into force at the end of January. The official set of rules, which makes no mention of the national cryptocurrency Petro, was initially approved by the Constituent National Assembly — an alternative to the country’s Parliament, created in 2017 — in November 2018. The bill lets the national crypto watchdog inspect crypto-related commercial activities in the country. Also this week, Bitcoin trading reached an all-time high in the country amid the hyperinflation and ongoing presidential crisis, above 2,000 BTC on the week.

QuadrigaCX Controversy Continues as Securities Regulator Begins Investigation

As research this week has alleged that major Canadian crypto exchange QuadrigaCX may not have the cold wallet reserves that it had reported, the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) has initiated a probe into the situation. The exchange had filed for creditor protection after the death of its founder in late December, Gerald Cotten, who allegedly controlled all of the exchange’s funds. Roughly 115,000 customers are without access to their funds, and a court-ordered lawyer will receive the encrypted laptop — which allegedly contains the crypto reserves — from QuadrigaCX representatives as per a court order. Moreover, the crypto exchange’s lawyers are considering selling the company to cover the debts.

BitTorrent Token Sales Sells Out in Under 15 Minutes, Makes Over $7 Million

The BitTorrent token (BTT) sale on the Binance Launchpad platform that concluded earlier this week net $7.1 million with the sale of 50 billion tokens in under 15 minutes. The BTT is based on a Tron TRC-10 token and will be used in order to transact computing resources between BitTorrent clients and other service users. Each token was priced at $0.00012, and were sold on the Binance Launchpad in two simultaneous sessions, one for those using Binance’s native token and the other for those using Tron (TRX).

Winners and Losers

The crypto market has seen a slight uptick at the end of the week, with Bitcoin trading at around $3,654, Ripple at about $0.30 and Ethereum at around $117. Total market cap is at about $120 billion.

The top three altcoin gainers of the week are Guaranteed Ethurance Token Extra, Nullex and MMOCoin. The top three altcoin losers of the week are Ultra Coin, bitqy and DOWCOIN.

Winners and Losers

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

Most Memorable Quotations

“I only have bitcoin,”

Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter and Square

“Amazon will have to issue a currency sooner or later.”

Changpeng Zhao, CEO of Binance

Changpeng Zhao, CEO of Binance

“There are 2,000 cryptocurrencies out there, 95 percent of them are useless and will die a painful death. The sooner that happens, the better.”

Matt Hougan, Global Head of Research at Bitwise Asset Management and president at

“Eventually, do I think someone will satisfy the standards we’ve laid out there? I hope so, yes, and I think so.”

Robert J. Jackson Jr., the SEC’s only Democratic commissioner, speaking about Bitcoin exchange-traded funds

“Thus, transparency and instantaneity are the true strengths of the blockchain, and should generate not only significant time savings and increased security, but also significant [financial] savings.”

Béatrice Collot, Head of Global Trade and Receivable Finance at multinational banking giant HSBC

“We need a change in our laws and that requires more interaction with lawmakers and regulators. We need to make Switzerland open and easy for companies to invest in blockchain projects.”

Daniel Haudenschild, recently elected president of the Swiss Crypto Valley Association

FUD of the Week

US Lawsuit Alleged Investment Group Duped Investor Into $2 Million Token Purchase

A U.S. lawsuit this week has alleged that New York-based investment group Blue Ocean Capital Group Inc. had misled plaintiff Lijun Sun to purchase $2 million of the cryptocurrency MCash. The lawsuit notes that the MCash token was not properly registered with the U.S. securities regulators, and that the investment materials provided to Sun did not accurately represent the token or its terms of purchase. Sun has asked for a return of his investment as well as damages worth $6 million.

Zcash Discloses Already Fixed Vulnerability That Permitted Unlimited ZEC Counterfeiting

An official blog post from Zcash reported this week on the patching of a vulnerability that could have allowed an attacker to create infinite Zcash (ZEC). According to the post, the vulnerability was discovered in March 2018 by one of the Zcash developers. A solution for the problem was covertly included (in order to prevent exploitation by bad actors) in the Sapling network upgrade that was adopted last October. Since the variant of zk-SNARKs that contained the bug was implemented by other projects, Zcash noted that these projects have also taken appropriate actions.

Matt Hougan, Global Head of Research at Bitwise Asset Management and president at

Winklevii vs. Shrem: Judge Rules Twins Must Pay $45,000 in Shrem’s Legal Fees

A judge has ruled that Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss must pay $45,000 of crypto entrepreneur Charlie Shrem’s legal fees as part of an ongoing lawsuit. In the proceedings, the Winklevoss twins have previously instigated an investigation and asset freeze on Shrem after accusing the entrepreneur of failing to pay back 5,000 BTC from a 2013 trade deal. Shrem’s lawyer has denied the accusations, and a judge has removed the asset freeze. According to media reports, the lawsuit will cover new ground in June.

Best Cointelegraph Features

‘The NEM Foundation You Knew Before Is Gone,’ What Is Next?

After the NEM Foundation released an announcement this week about the state of their funds, revealing that they only had about a month of operations left, the crypto community has been questioning how things got to this point. Cointelegraph looks at the history of the Foundation and how this financial disaster could have come about.

Forbes ‘Fintech 50’ List, Reviewed: New Players, Veterans and Startups Which Didn’t Make the Cut

Forbes’ latest edition of “Fintech 50” has been released, this time with only six crypto and blockchain companies, as opposed to last year’s 11. Cointelegraph examines what made these companies stand out even amid the crypto bear market.

QuadrigaCX Is Filing for Creditor Protection Amid Liquidity Crisis, Community Remains Largely Skeptical

As the controversy around embattled Canadian crypto exchange QuadrigaCX deepens, Cointelegraph gives a rundown of the exchange’s legal history, current legal problems, and some of the questions raised concerning the death of its founder and the locations of its cold wallet reserves.

How We Will Remember the Year of the Dog? ICO Market Decline, Trend Toward Compliance and Other Takeaways

And happy Chinese New Year to all our Hodler’s who celebrated this week! We here at Cointelegraph looked at all of the major events that have taken place during the Year of the Yellow Mountain Dog.



New York-based research company Fundstrat Global Advisors has released its 2019 crypto outlook on Friday, Feb. 8. The analysts describe incremental improvements that will purportedly support higher prices for cryptocurrencies.

Tom Lee, Fundstrat’s co-founder and pro-crypto Wall Street analyst, commented on the study in his Twitter. He posted an introduction to the study and infographics that trace key market tendencies from 2017 to now.

“We see 9 incremental improvements in the landscape that ultimately support higher prices,” Lee’s tweet states.

The preview of the introduction chapter provides a brief assessment of 2018, which, according to Fundstrat, has brought a lot of disappointment.

The analysts state that negative headwinds, such as the initial coin offering (ICO) post-hangover, adverse regulatory developments and excessive exuberance have reversed some of crypto’s achievements, including the launch of the Lightning Network and wallet growth. As a result, the year was more like a “morning after sobering”, the report reads.

However, in 2019, the situation will slowly start to change. Fundstrat believes it is still too early to talk about mass adoption, but notes that cryptocurrency prices will likely see a visible recovery:

“Is 2019 the mainstream breakout year? Nope. But that is not necessary for crypto prices to eventually bottom in 2019, and by the end of 2019, we expect prices to be staging a visible recovery.”

At a macro level, the report names the expected weakening of the United States dollar as a first reason behind Bitcoin (BTC) price recovery. Fundstrat’s analysts also believe that emerging market equities will outperform U.S. stocks and bonds, thus creating a friendly environment for crypto.

The outlook further states that much anticipated institutional investments will also increase in 2019 due to the developments in custody solutions and over-the-counter (OTC) trading, thus contributing to the crypto price recovery.

Moreover, Fundstrat mentions that the overall interest in crypto might be stimulated by Binance’s recent decision to support credit card crypto purchases, along with the rumors that major companies like Bitfury and Bitmain might consider conducting initial public offerings (IPO).

The release of the report coincided with a market recovery that started Friday, Feb. 8. Bitcoin broke the $3,600 price point and has managed to stay above it for three days in a row at press time, while other major currencies saw double-digit gains on that day.

Late in 2018, Tom Lee announced that he will no longer give any further predictions on Bitcoin’s price. However, the analyst still thinks that $25,000 is a fair price for the world’s top currency, noting that the coin’s fair value could even reach $150,000.м



Happy Chinese New Year! As the Year of the Yellow Mountain Dog has drawn to a close, it is time to look back at what happened.

While there was a promising start in January 2018, when most altcoins were enjoying their all-time highs, the bear eventually took over, and the market delved into the so-called “Crypto Winter.” Nevertheless, there was good news, too: The United States regulators expressed their desire to stick to “positive regulation,” while big league investors poured some funds into a number of promising, compliant crypto projects (mostly stablecoins).

Here is what was happening month-by-month, along with the main takeaways.

January 2018

Japanese crypto exchange Coincheck was hacked, overtaking the infamous 2014 Mt.Gox collapse — an industry-record-breaking $532 million worth of NEM tokens was stolen this time.

Despite the amount of damage, Coincheck has managed to steadily rebound from the security breach. Soon after the incident, the platform announced plans of working toward refunding all 260,000 victims. Coincheck also closely followed the orders of Financial Services Agency (FSA), the domestic watchdog, and eventually secured a license to operate, becoming a fully compliant agent.

February 2018

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the the Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), America’s two main regulators when it comes to crypto, made positive remarks about the industry before the Senate, making wide adoption and constructive regulation more possible for the market.

On Feb. 6, Jay Clayton and Chris Giancarlo, respective heads of both agencies, held a joint meeting, where they argued that “virtual currencies mark a paradigm shift in how we think about payments,” but remained worried about the uncontrolled nature of ICOs. Giancarlo went as far as to explain the term “HODL” to the Senate.

March 2018

Big tech companies proceeded to prohibit crypto-related advertisements on their platforms. While Facebook had already introduced its ban back in January, social media giants Twitter and Google followed suit in March, introducing similar action.

The blanket bans did some damage to the market. Not only did they deprive industry players of promotional tools, but the also contributed to the stigmatization of cryptocurrencies as a whole.

Crypto Year 2018 / Q1

April 2018

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced that the bank will no longer provide services to any person or business that deals with cryptocurrencies in what seemed like a de-facto ban introduced within a major market. Although there were some signs of recovery since then, the harsh, Chinese-like regulation has stayed.

May 2018

In what seemed like an unexpected twist for a blue chip institution, Goldman Sachs executive Rana Yared told The New York Times that Bitcoin “is not a fraud,” and unveiled plans to trade cryptocurrency. That marked an important step on Wall Street’s path to the crypto market.

June 2018

Jay Clayton, the chair of the SEC, confirmed that Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) are not securities since they act as a replacement for sovereign currencies. That comment suggested that the agency won’t investigate into the latter’s initial coin offering (ICO) and deem it as unregistered, which would potentially result in large fines and penalties.  

Crypto Year 2018 / Q2

July 2018

July proved to be an important month for regulation in the crypto industry, as two separate U.S. congressional hearings centering the matter were held: One by the House Agriculture Committee, and the other by the House Financial Services Committee.

The meetings struck completely different tones: While the latter echoed some of the most conservative sentiments regarding the realm of crypto — with the obligatory call for a blanket ban — the former appeared more positive, as the board of experts provided the regulators with collected considerations bothering the industry.

August 2018

Crypto market experienced a major plunge, delving into a full-on bear mode, which still stays as of press time. On Aug. 14, ETH alone shedded as much as 20 percent of its value, while BTC lost its $6,500 support.

September 2018

The SEC requested more comments on its decision about the listing and trading of a BTC exchange-traded fund (ETF) created by New York-based firms VanEck and SolidX, which was regarded as one of the top candidates among the community.

Essentially, the regulator showed it wasn’t going to make any decisions on BTC ETFs in 2018, therefore prolonging the hypothetical arrival of Wall Street’s money.

Crypto Year 2018 / Q3

October 2018

Major U.S. crypto exchange Coinbase launched the stablecoin USD Coin (USDC) in collaboration with Goldman Sachs-backed startup Circle, making it the first stablecoin for trade on the platform.

Overall, stablecoins attracted a lot of institutional capital throughout 2018 because of their immunity toward volatility, one of conventional institutions’ main fears regarding the crypto market.

November 2018

A Bitcoin Cash (BCH) network update resulted in a complex battle, and its blockchain was split into two as a result, with BCH ABC and BCH SV being located on opposing corners of the ring.

The latter’s proponents, represented by the likes of Roger Ver and Bitmain’s Jihan Wu, stood for the idea that the basic structure of BCH “does not need any radical change.” BCH SV allies, on the other hand, lead by Craig Wright, the self-proclaimed Satoshi Nakamoto, attempted to restore “the original Satoshi protocol.”

The BCH ABC camp eventually secured the original “BCH” ticker on the majority of digital assets platforms, winning the so-called “hash wars.” Nevertheless, Bitcoin SV lived on as well, and is currently the 11th-largest currency as of press time, according to data from CoinMarketCap.

December 2018

Bloomberg reported on Facebook’s potential expansion into the stablecoins market. More specifically, according to the news agency, the social media giant is developing a stablecoin for WhatsApp users. The cryptocurrency will reportedly be used for money transfers made within the messaging app and will focus on the Indian market.

The move seems somewhat controversial for Facebook, given that the platform has banned cryptocurrency-related ads across its network and then partly backpedaled on it in the past. Nevertheless, if Facebook confirms the news, the crypto market is expected to gain a lot of relevance for the mainstream financial world.

Crypto Year 2018 / Q4

January 2019

The start of 2019 was not optimistic, as the crypto winter continues. On Jan. 28, Bitcoin lost its $3,500 support and stayed mostly below that line for the next week. However, around Feb. 9, it climbed up above the $3,600 mark, while the rest of the market also turned green, showing strong signs of reversal.

Crypto January 2019

Now let’s take a look at the main things that happened in separate parts of the market — from ICOs to mining.

ICO market might have died — or at least went into a coma

The ICO market, which was famously booming throughout 2017, took a serious hit.

Even though ICOs raised the record amount in 2018 — $8.27 billion, which is twice as much as in the previous year — the number of coin offerings has been falling since Q1. Moreover, the majority of gathered funds were secured by just two projects: blockchain protocol EOS ($4.2 billion) and messaging app Telegram ($1.7 billion).

There might be a number reasons for the decline. First, the regulators stepped in and questioned the legitimacy of ICOs as a fundraising model. As a result, there has been a “cascade of uncertainty,” associated with the ICO token classification. According to a December statement from the SEC Chairman Jay Clayton, ICOs are currently operating in a way that grants significantly less investor protection compared to more traditional markets.

Indeed, according to a joint investigation published by Yahoo Finance and Decrypt Media in October 2018, the SEC had expanded its crackdown on ICOs, putting “hundreds” of projects at risk. The watchog reportedly found that a great deal of startups had violated securities laws during the fundraising stage, and pressured them to “quietly agree” to refund investors’ money and pay fines.

Total Funds Raised in ICOs in 2018

Also, ICOs have been somewhat stigmatized by the big tech companies, which chose to ban ICO-related ads on their platforms this year. Facebook was first, having prohibited coin offering ads back in January. Later, social media giants Twitter and Google followed suit.

Moreover, ICOs seem to be heavily cashing out as the year comes to a close. As per data from software development firm Santiment, ICO startups had been transacting ETH at breakneck speed, with over 400,000 ETH moving out of wallets during late November to early December.

In a December interview with Bloomberg, Michael Novogratz declared that “the ICO market is pretty much dead right now.” He added, however, that “the SEC doesn’t want to kill this innovation” and that he expects a market for regulated security tokens in the U.S.

He explained that security tokens “aren’t things that go from $1 to $1,000” but are instead “things that yield 14 percent” that will be sold to qualified buyers. “That sounds a heck of a lot less sexy, but you’re going to see that business grow,” he concluded. Indeed, more regulation-oriented fundraising models, like initial public offerings (IPOs), might be next to carry the torch.

Mining became a big boy’s business

In December, AMD’s popular Radeon RX580 graphics processing unit (GPU), which has been widely used by crypto miners, was reported as being sold for $179.99. In comparison, the same GPU unit cost $550 in February, meaning that it has seen a 67 percent price drop throughout the bearish year. Similarly, Nvidia experienced a massive sell-off of its shares in Q4 2018, cutting the stock price by 54 percent due to the drastic decrease in crypto mining’s profitability.

Indeed, as Cointelegraph previously reported, the year-long bear market has had a significant effect on the crypto mining industry, with dramatic drops in revenue forcing many miners to quit the industry and sell off their equipment. Some miners have even started selling mining devices by the kilogram in an effort to recoup losses as their rigs reach “shutdown prices.”

Bitcoin Mining Profitability in 2018

Mining industry professionals switched over from GPU to custom ASICs (as per December, just two mining rigs remain profitable), and large mining pools akin to the Chinese outfit Bitmain and European mining firm Bitfury have taken over smaller-scale miners. Both of the mining companies are now looking to go public and hence further cement their position within the industry.

Compliance became cool

During the Year of the Dog, the market started its steady shift from the unregulated, Wild West-like era to a regulated ecosystem recognized by large financial institutions.

While most countries are still struggling to roll out definite regulatory frameworks or concrete central bank digital currency (CBDC) projects, the SEC and CFTC came in with an iron fist and started to prosecute bad actors.

Having recognized that the rules have changed, new projects on the crypto market are being designed to comply with the law from the very start. Thus, some of most anticipated announcements in the industry include approval of ETFs, which could push crypto toward broader recognition on Wall Street and arrival of Intercontinental Exchange’s (ICE) virtual currency platform Bakkt.

Similarly, stablecoins, which tackle volatility — one of the cryptocurrencies’ chief dilemmas — without compromising their core values ensured by blockchain, seem to attract a significant portion of investment from big league players such as IBM, Andreessen Horowitz and Peter Thiel. Even Facebook is rumored to be developing its own stablecoin at this point.

“Blockchain over Bitcoin” became the traditional market’s favorite view toward crypto

As the compliance trend is steadily squeezing out the concept of anonymity, with its Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) requirements, the tech has begun to outshine the underlying cryptocurrency. Consequently, “Blockchain before Bitcoin” has become the go-to policy for countries like China and South Korea, which have either applied strict regulations on crypto trading or banned it altogether, but attempted to create blockchain-friendly infrastructure for fintech startups.

Similarly, financial institutions and large corporations have also been hopping on the blockchain wagon for the past year, with primary examples being Amazon and Facebook, which focused on their blockchain arms this year, as well as Santander, a Spain-based bank that experimented with its blockchain-powered payment network for cross-border payments.

However, as the word “blockchain” itself became overhyped, according to a November report published by Forrester Research, some companies are, in fact, ceasing their use of the term “blockchain” in favor of “distributed ledger technology” (DLT). The study also suggested that many firms are overhyping the usefulness of blockchains or using the name of the technology to repackage existing services, a practice the paper describes as “blockchain washing.”

Further, the report made some predictions regarding blockchain, suggesting a slowdown in the its adoption or a so-called “blockchain winter,” noting that while the technology is making headway, it is still a “cautious progress”:

“On the tools and services side, we’ll witness steady but cautious progress. ‘Cautious’ because DLT hasn’t proven to be a significant, reliable revenue stream for software and service providers, and 2019 won’t be any different.”

Power struggles within the market: XRP vs. ETH, BCH vs. itself, EOS vs. the people

While Bitcoin (BTC) is still king when it comes to market dominance, other cryptocurrencies have been fighting for their spots in the top 10. Most noticeably, Ripple (XRP) has managed to knock Ethereum (ETH) out of its second place during the bear market, while Bitcoin Cash (BCH) has split into two assets, both of which are currently featured in the top 10 as well.

In regard to newcomers, the most noticeable player is EOS, which finished its historically expensive ICO and launched its mainnet in June 2018, swiftly building up its market cap and eventually entering the top 5. However, the relatively new project still has to live up to its hype — EOS has been numerously criticized by decentralization pundits.



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.

The market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange.

Over the past few days, we saw individual cryptocurrencies charting their own course, deifying the absolute leadership of Bitcoin (BTC).

Tron (TRX) and Binance Coin (BNB) are two of the major cryptocurrencies that leaped ahead while Bitcoin continued to languish in a tight range. This shows that the traders are not waiting for Bitcoin to lead the market out of its crushing bear phase.

Bitcoin has been trading in a tight range for the past few weeks, with many speculating that it will eventually break down, as it did in mid-November of last year.

However, positive comments by Robert J. Jackson Jr., the United States Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) only Democratic commissioner, on the possibility of a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) getting the green light from the regulator have soothed sentiment.

Meanwhile, Bitcoin’s hash rate rose to its highest level in three months, which could have prompted a few bears to book profits, resulting in a sharp spike.

Most of the gains of today’s top performers came on Feb. 7. Let’s ascertain whether the sudden spurt has changed the trend, or it is only a dead cat bounce that will fizzle out in a few days.


The investors cheered the news of Litecoin (LTC) Foundations’ partnership with software development firm Beam to explore a new protocol called “Mimblewimble” that will improve privacy and scalability.

Litecoin jumped to the fourth position by market capitalization following the spike on Feb. 8. Has the cryptocurrency turned the corner and is on its way up, or is this just a flash in the pan that will die down quickly? Let’s look at the charts to find out.


The sharp uptick in the price has pushed the LTC/USD pair above the first resistance of the downtrend line. It is currently at the 20-week EMA, above which it will face selling at $47.246. A break out of this is likely to carry the pair to the 50-week SMA at $82.

If the bulls sustain above $47.246, it will indicate that the markets have rejected the lower levels and the downtrend is over.

The digital currency might either consolidate or extend its recovery. We shall wait for a price to sustain above $47.246 and for a new buy setup to form, before recommending long-term positions. Short-term traders can stay on the long side of the markets.

Our bullish view will be invalidated if the bears defend the overhead resistance of $47.246. In such a case, a correction towards $33 will be probable.


After the successful sale of the BitTorrent (BTT) token that closed within a few minutes, Binance has announced the sale of the Fetch.AI (FET) token on Feb. 25.

All the lucky BTT investors are currently sitting on huge gains. Hence, the interest in the next sale of the FET tokens is likely to be similarly high. Is this a sign of revival of the initial coin offering (ICO) market? It is too early to confirm, but it is certainly a positive sign.

How do we expect the Binance Coin to react to these developments? Let’s analyze the charts.


We had recommended a buy on a close (UTC time frame) above the 20-week EMA in our previous analysis. However, with this week’s surge, the BNB/USD pair has reached close to the overhead resistance zone of $10–$12. Initiating long positions at the current levels doesn’t give us a good risk-to-reward ratio.

Currently, the digital currency is trading inside an ascending channel. If the bears defend the resistance line of the channel, we can expect a minor dip next week. The traders can use that dip to initiate long positions with a target objective of $12–$15.

Our bullish view will be invalidated if the bears sink the cryptocurrency below the channel and the support level at $5.50. Therefore, the stop loss for the trade can be kept at $5.  


The investors are favoring select cryptocurrencies and EOS is one of them. It has risen by about 17 percent this week, taking the spot of the third-best performer.

Although it is difficult to pinpoint the exact reason for the spike, there have been some positive developments in the cryptocurrency. A new scaling solution called “LiquidApps” is expected to be a game changer for EOS.


The EOS/USD pair has been trading in a tight range for the past six weeks. The bulls are attempting to form a higher low around $2.1733. On the upside, the zone of $3.2081–$3.8723 is likely to act as a stiff resistance. The 20-week EMA is also located in this zone.

If the bulls scale this area, we anticipate a change in trend. The pair is likely to enter into a range and gradually move up to $6.8299. The 50-week SMA is close to this level. The traders can wait for the price to sustain above $3.8723 and initiate long positions with the stop loss placed below $2.1733.

However, if the price turns down from one of the overhead resistances, it will remain range bound. The pair will weaken below $2.1733 and will resume its downtrend below $1.55.


Dash has also seen some of the largest gains after the sudden spurt in crypto prices. Does the rise change the trend, or is it just another bull trap that investors should be careful about?


After making a yearly low of $56.214, the DASH/USD pair has been attempting to hold above $64 for the past four weeks. A couple of attempts to break the support level have failed. We now expect the bulls to stage a small recovery.

If the bulls sustain above $74, a move to $87 will be likely. Above this, the pullback can extend to the resistance zone of $103.261–$113, the upper bound being the 20-week EMA. We expect the pair to pick up momentum after breaking above the 20-week EMA.

Conversely, if the price fails to break out of the overhead resistance, it might remain range bound. It will weaken below $64 and resume its downtrend below $56.214. As the price is still very close to the lows and is not showing any reliable buy setups, we remain neutral on the pair.


Riccardo Spagni, also known as FluffyPony on Twitter, the lead developer of Monero and the CTO of Tari, has defended the basic human right to privacy of every individual. However, he also said that Monero (XMR) can be audited, if the wallet owner wants to do so. Moreover, he advised people to use the cryptocurrency as a currency, rather than an investment vehicle. What should the traders do?


The XMR/USD pair has been trading in a tight range near the yearly lows. The bulls have been trying to form a base before attempting a rally.

The critical level to watch on the upside is $60.147, while on the downside it’s $38.5. A breakdown of the range will resume the downtrend.

Nevertheless, if the bulls break out of the range, a rally to $81 will be probable. The 20-week EMA might offer a minor resistance, but we expect it to be scaled. However, $81 might act as a stiff resistance. If the cryptocurrency breaks out of it, we can expect a rally to $150.

Market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange. Charts for analysis are provided by TradingView.



Sunday, Feb. 10 — while Bitcoin (BTC) is managing to stay above the $3,600 price point for the third day in a row, other major cryptocurrencies are mostly in the red as the markets gradually roll back after short recovery, Coin360 data shows.

Market visualization from Coin360

Market visualization from Coin360

BTC has been trading sideways during the last 24 hours, but the coin is still above over its psychological threshold of $3,600 at press time. As Cointelegraph previously reported, the top currency gained over $200 in value on Friday, Feb. 8, hitting $3,691 at some point during that day.

Also this week, BTC daily transaction volume almost reached levels it had not seen since January 2018, when world’s top cryptocurrency was worth close to $20,000.

Bitcoin 7-day price chart

Bitcoin 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Ripple (XRP) — currently the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency — has seen almost a 3 percent decline and is now trading around $0.3. Its market capitalization has shrunk in last 24 hours to a total of $12.5 billion in comparison to yesterday’s $12.7 billion.

Ripple 7-day price chart

Ripple 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

However, XRP still surpasses Ethereum (ETH), the next largest crypto, by market cap. ETH has also lost over 2 percent in price throughout the day and is hovering around $115. Its market cap is now around $12.3 billion after reaching $12.5 billion at some point on Saturday, Feb. 9.

Ethereum 7-day price chart

Ethereum 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

The total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies, which peaked at over $122 billion at some point on Feb. 9, has also gone down to approximately $120.1 billion, according to CoinMarketCap. The daily trading volume for the last 24 hours is around $18 billion.

Total market capitalization 7-day chart

Total market capitalization 7-day chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Binance Coin (BNB) and Maker (MKR) are the only gainers among the top 20 cryptocurrencies on the day. BNB, currently the 10th largest coin by market cap, has been continuously growing since Feb. 6. The currency has been up almost 7 percent and is trading at about $9.2 as of press time. MKR, in its turn, is up 3.2 percent on the day and is hovering around $450.

Other major currencies are mostly in the red, seeing slight to visible losses. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Tron (TRX) have lost the most, both down about 4 percent, according to CoinMarketCap.

In industry news, the CEO of the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) Jeff Sprecher has said he expects the firm’s much anticipated digital asset platform Bakkt to launch later in 2019.

Moreover, the commissioner of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission Heister Peirce, who is labeled “Crypto Mom” for her attitude to the industry, spoke out on the regulation issues in U.S in a recent speech. She believes that the lack of clear legal framework for crypto allows technology to come into its own.



Moshe Hogeg, the Israeli entrepreneur behind blockchain firm Stox (STX), has denied misappropriating investors’ funds in a response to the lawsuit filed against him. Online newspaper The Times of Israel reported the development on Saturday, Feb. 9.

As Cointelegraph wrote earlier in January, Chinese investor Zhewen Hu has sued Stox and its founder for $4.6 million. Hu claims to have invested a total of around $3.8 million worth of Ethereum (ETH) in an open source, Ethereum-based prediction market platform.

According to the lawsuit, Hu’s anticipation was that the successful development of Stox’s prediction market platform would boost the value of the native STX token. However, the plaintiff believes that only $5 million of successfully raised $34 million went to fund Stox.

Moreover, Hu alleges that Hogeg used the rest of the amount to invest in other initial coin offerings (ICO) such as messaging app Telegram’s ICO, which was conducted in April 2018.

Nonetheless, in a response to the suit filed on Feb. 5, Hogeg’s lawyers wrote that the Stox white paper is of “a descriptive nature only and not binding.” That said, the document did not present any obligatory program and therefore confers no legal responsibility on its issuers, Hogeg’s attorneys concluded.

According to the The Times of Israel, Hogeg has denied any wrongdoing, describing the lawsuit as an “extortion attempt.” He argues that the STX token is not a security and does not grant any ownership rights in the company, apparently citing Stox’s contribution terms.

In addition, as STX Technologies Limited is a Gibraltar-based entity, Hogeg believes Israel is not the proper jurisdiction to proceed with the case.

Hogeg is known for his involvement in several crypto-related ventures: he founded blockchain smartphone developer Sirin Labs, along with serving as chairman of LeadCoin, a blockchain-based decentralized lead-sharing network.

The Times of Israel notes that Hogeg has spent several million dollars on different projects within the last few months. For instance, the entrepreneur bought Beitar Jerusalem, one of Israel’s top soccer clubs, for $7.2 million late August. He also made a $1.9 million donation to Tel Aviv University in order to establish the “Hogeg Institute for Blockchain Applications.”

Cointelegraph has reported that the Stox ICO was promoted by professional boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. In a separate case, the boxer faced charges from the United States Securities and Exchange Commission for unlawful promotional activities around crypto startup Centra Tech’s ICO in September 2017. The boxer agreed to pay $300,000 in disgorgement, a $300,000 penalty and $14,775 in prejudgment interest.



A commissioner of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said Friday, Feb. 8, that the delay in establishing crypto regulation may allow more freedom for the industry to move on its own.

Heister Peirce, who is widely known as the “Crypto Mom” in the community for her dissent against the SEC’s decision to reject a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) proposed by the Winklevoss twins, made the comments in a speech on the issues of state regulation at the University of Missouri School of Law.

Discussing the current delays in delivering a clearer legal framework for crypto, Peirce said that ambiguity is not that bad. She further explained:

“We might be able to draw clearer lines once we see more blockchain projects mature. Delay in drawing clear lines may actually allow more freedom for the technology to come into its own.”

The commissioner noticed that the process of regulating a new industry might be lengthy, and stressed that the SEC has to act appropriately in order to enable the industry to evolve without compromising the current laws:

“If we act appropriately, we can enable innovation on this new frontier to proceed without compromising the objectives of our securities laws — protecting investors, facilitating capital formation, and ensuring fair, orderly, and efficient markets.”

On the other hand, however, overregulation sometimes takes place, Peirce lamented. She stated that enforcement actions are not her preferred method for setting expectations for crypto investors. Moreover, she added that some crypto projects are simply unable to make any progress within existing framework, because “securities laws make them unworkable.”

Peirce also believes that the SEC is sometimes too hesitant in dealing with crypto projects, and that investors willing to raise money might be deluded by this excessive caution:

“We rightfully fault investors for jumping blindly at anything labeled crypto, but at times we seem to be equally impulsive in running away from anything labeled crypto. We owe it to investors to be careful, but we also owe it to them not to define their investment universe with our preferences.”

Peirce concludes that the U.S. Congress might resolve the ambiguities related to crypto by simply requiring that at least some digital assets should be treated as a separate asset class.

As Cointelegraph previously reported, such an initiative has already been introduced to the House of Representatives in late December 2018. In the bill, two U.S. representatives seek to exclude digital currencies from being defined as securities by amending the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Act of 1934.

Earlier this year, Peirce had admitted trying to convince her colleagues “to have a bit more of an open mind” when it comes to crypto adoption, but warned that it might take a long time. Back then, she also urged investors not to hold their breath waiting for a BTC ETF, as in her opinion, it might happen tomorrow or in 20 years.



As part of the closing statements in an open announcement to the NEM community, the NEM Secretarial Office, which represents the voice of the NEM Foundation’s executive committee and council, said in “one final message for all” that the NEM Foundation community members knew before “is gone.”

The announcement was made in an effort to stay true to their commitment of transparency and pulled back the curtain on a number of sensitive issues, including an acknowledgement that the foundation is facing severe financial difficulties and a realization that the previous organizational structure failed.

A financial audit was reportedly done after the current NEM Foundation leadership team took office on Jan. 1, 2019, which revealed that they are running low on XEM (the native currency of the NEM blockchain platform) and fiat funds.

NEM Foundation’s financial situation has deteriorated to the point where they only have one month’s operational funding left in reserves, as of Jan. 1, 2019.

Since the announcement was made, concerned community members and investors posted questions to the executive committee to try to get to the bottom of what happened. With information coming through sporadically, current NEM Foundation President Alexandra Tinsman confirmed to one particularly vocal community member, Jelin1984, that they have to cover all their bases legally before releasing additional information.

“Please know I understand how confusing things look and we are working to communicate all information to you and the community in a timely manner. Part of this means we have to take extra steps to ensure we are legally and correctly sharing information — this takes time to do.”

NEM Foundation background

The NEM foundation was started in 2017, two years after the launch of NEM (XEM), an out-of-the-box, enterprise-grade blockchain platform. It is based in Singapore and in charge of developing and promoting NEM. According to its website, the sole purpose of the foundation is to introduce, educate and promote the use of the NEM blockchain technology platform on an international scale to all industries and institutions.

NEM co-founder Lon Wong was the founding president of the NEM Foundation until his resignation in early April 2018.

Since April 2018, Kristof Van de Reck served as the interim president of the NEM Foundation until Alexandra Tinsman was voted in as president on Dec. 14, along with newly elected members of the executive committee and council.

Only eligible NEM members can vote in NEM council elections. To become eligible, individuals need to be a minimum of 21 years old, pay the annual membership fee ($50 for individuals/$500 for corporations with fewer than 25 employees/$1,000 for corporations with 25 or more employees) and comply with certain Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements.

The 2018 NEM Foundation election process didn’t go smoothly either, as confirmed in a post-election message from then-Interim President Kristof Van de Reck.

Only 202 membership accounts were white-listed to vote, the most common reason for membership applications failing being KYC issues and tainted memberships. Some membership applications were refused to due to human error, there were issues with the registration site not being able to accept new membership application sign-ups, the NEM Medium account (where most of the election guides were housed) was suspended midway through the voting process, and there were issues with the Ledger Nano wallet that forced some members to vote manually.

Of the 202 eligible voters, only 148 voted, due in part to the issues mentioned above.

Although Tinsman repeatedly stated that the NEM Foundation operates as a separate entity to the NEM blockchain platform, the actions of the NEM Foundation have an undeniable impact on the price of XEM, as pointed out by community member Dan_V.

“I understand that the Foundation is not NEM, however it seems to have an uncanny ability to cripple most parts of it – whether that is through infighting, unprofessional behaviour by representatives of the council or just lack of direction for NEM as a whole.”

The announcement on Jan. 31, 2019 wiped more than $65 million from the XEM market cap in one day.

NEM (XEM) Price and Market Cap

How did the NEM Foundation get into such deep financial difficulty?

The announcement touched upon some surface level reasons that led to the foundation’s current financial problems, including misaligned goals from key staff members, efforts being duplicated, inconsistent success metrics, little accountability for funds and a questionable return on investments (ROI). As a result, the foundation burned through 9 million XEM per month (approximately $350,000).

The “Crypto Winter” was another given reason, pointing to the long cryptocurrency bear run that saw billions being wiped off the crypto market as a whole since January 2018. However, community members took a more accusatory tone.

Jelin1984 accused ex-NEM Foundation President and NEM co-founder Lon Wong of taking some of the funds to develop another crypto project called ProximaX. The accusation is complicated by the fact that NEM and ProximaX continue to have a very close working relationship. In additional information released by the NEM Foundation, it also came to light that 80 million XEM (approximately $3.1 million) was spent between December 2017 and January 2019. Wong was president of the foundation for four of those months. Both Tinsman and Wong deny the accusations.

In a separate blog post, Wong addressed the whole issue:

“During my term as NEM Foundation President, I, along with the rest of the NEM Foundation Council, managed our funds prudently. We requested for only 50% of the fund that was approved to be spent for 2017.”

Tinsman addressed the accusation directly in the community forums.

“No one is accusing Lon of taking funds. Please don’t spread this misinformation. Lon Wong was a co-founder and the first President of the NEM Foundation which started in early 2017, two years after the launch of NEM. Lon left the NEM Foundation in April of 2018. Since that time he has been focusing on a project called ProximaX, in which is he the President. The NEM Foundation wishes Lon and ProximaX success in the future.”

Another community member, Jleony, accused foundation staff of using funds for personal enjoyment and profit:

“So sad, people [NEM Foundation employees] were using the fund for personal enjoyment and profit without regards to the project’s success.”

Again, Tinsman was forced to address the accusations:

“Hi, this is not true. No one was using the funds for personal enjoyment. There weren’t effective policies put in place in 2017 and 2018 that captured all data spend BUT from the records we do have, we can see that funding was mainly spent on marketing, events, salaries, travel and trainings. We have shared complete transparency with the devs on all the auditing from 2018. This is why the new NEM Foundation restructure was immediately put into place. The new policies and moving to a product-focused structure offers complete transparency to the community on how funds will be spent and allocated.”

“We can solve this.”

The good news, according to the announcement, is that the NEM foundation’s current financial and operational problems are fixable.

To do this, they have proposed a number of drastic changes to how the foundation is run and what its operational focus should be:

“So here’s where we currently stand. We have completely rebuilt the Foundation’s operating structure and mission. We are hitting refresh and starting from scratch. This means a new focus under this new leadership and a NEM Foundation that truly exists to serve and support its powerful community.”

They are changing from a decentralized promotional organization, with regional teams that had a great deal of freedom, to a product-focused organization with more traditional lines of reporting. Foundation employees and contractors will now have to report to one of the seven product heads — which include a chief technology officer, chief of product management, chief financial officer, chief business development officer, chief operations officer, chief marketing officer and chief revenue officer.

In the spirit of transparency and accountability, the product heads will then have to report metrics and deliver ROI directly to the council and community. All funds spent will reportedly flow through the head of finance (CFO) and adhere to accounting standards.

The foundation will also be making drastic budget cuts, which include reducing the previous burn rate of 9 million XEM per month by 60 percent, putting all partnerships and projects on hold until further notice, and reducing the 150-strong staff headcount through planned layoffs.

All the changes are in an effort to move the foundation from promotional driven organization, including marketing and training, to a more traditional, centralized business model, driven by revenue and product development.

Plans have also been revealed to raise additional funding of 160 million XEM (approximately $6.2 million) through a proposal to the community — i.e., asking the NEM community to plug the funding gap.

NEM Foundation President Alexandra Tinsman has confirmed that a full report of the restructure and funds being requested is in its final stages of preparation and will be released to the community as soon as the core developers and legal teams have had time to review the proposal and audits.



Представитель Газпромбанка разъяснил Forbes ситуацию со счетами венесуэльской нефтяной госкомпании PDVSA, о переводе которых в российский банк из-за санкций США сообщило агентство Reuters .

«Информация агентства Reuters не соответствует действительности», — сообщил Forbes в воскресенье, 10 февраля, представитель банка. 

В российском банке подчеркнули, что PDVSA в качестве одной из крупнейших нефтяных компаний мира уже имеет отрытые счета во многих крупных мировых банках. Несколько лет назад PDVSA в рамках своего взаимодействия с российскими компаниями-клиентов также открыла свои счета в Газпромбанке. «Однако мы подчеркиваем, что что никакие новые счета не открывались и не планируются банком к открытию», — сказал представитель Газпромбанка. 

Утром, 10 февраля, агентство Reuters сообщило, что венесуэльская нефтяная госкомпания Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA) переводит банковские счета своих совместных предприятий в Газпромбанк. Агентство ссылается на информированный источники и внутренние документы PDVSA. 

О переводе счетов проинформированы клиенты PDVSA. Они проинструктированы, как переводить средства от продажи нефти в долларах и евро на новые счета в Газпромбанке.

Газпромбанк имеет с PDVSA совместное предприятие Petrozamora. Осенью прошлого года СМИ упоминали банк в связи с коррупционным делом исполнительного директора PDVSA по финансовому планированию Абраама Ортеги. Ортега в рамках американского расследования дела о похищении и отмывании $1,2 млрд признался в получении взятки. В октябре прошлого года Минюст США раскрыл показания Ортеги — он получил взятку в $2 млн в обмен на преференции в отношении неназванного русского банка. Банк в сообщении Минюста назван не был — лишь уточнялось, что он имеет совместное предприятие с PdVSA и владеет там миноритарной долей. Агентство Reuters сообщало, что речь идет о Газпромбанке. В банке свою связь с этим делом отрицали.

Санкции на фоне политического кризиса

В Венесуэле с января этого года продолжается политический кризис. Временным президентом страны объявил себя Хуан Гуаидо — лидер оппозиционного действующему президенту Николасу Мадуро парламента, Национальной ассамблеи. Большинство западных стран и стран Южной Америки выступили за Гуаидо, в то время как Россия официально объявила о поддержке Мадуро. На фоне политического кризиса в Венесуэле США ужесточили санкции против нее — в конце января PDVSA попала в американский санкционный список SDN (Specially Designated Nationals). Минфин США объяснял, что PDVSA — основной источник дохода Венесуэлы и поступлений в страну долларов и евро. Смягчение санкций, говорил глава американского Минфина Стивен Мнучин, может произойти в случае оперативной передачи власти временному президенту и проведения демократических выборов.

Попадание в SDN-лист означает запрет на ведение бизнеса с его фигурантом для американских граждан и компаний. Фигуранты списка фактически оказываются отрезанными от американской финансовой системы и не могут вести расчеты в долларах США, поскольку любые долларовые транзакции проводятся через коррсчет в американском банке и должны быть им заблокированы. Взаимодействие с неамериканскими контрагентами для попавших под санкции SDN также затруднено — для таких контрагентов появляется риск попадания под вторичные санкции. В то же время, Минфин США предусмотрел некоторые послабления в санкционном режиме для венесуэльской компании. Американская нефтеперерабатывающая «дочка» PDVSA, компания Citgo, сможет работать в прежнем режиме при условии, что полученные ей деньги будут направляться не венесуэльским властям, а на специальный заблокированный счет. Американские власти также будут выдавать временные лицензии на некоторые транзакции с PDVSA. 

В существовании в условиях санкций, по сведениям СМИ, помощь PDVSA окажет российская «Роснефть». Как сообщила The New York Times со ссылкой на двух нефтетрейдеров и двух осведомленных партнеров венесуэльской компании, «Роснефть» согласилась предоставлять PDVSA «жизненно важные нефтепродукты» в обмен на сырую нефть. Издание отмечает, что это позволит PDVSA функционировать, даже будучи изолированной от международной банковской системы. Представитель «Роснефти» заявил NYT, что компания преследует в Венесуэле исключительно бизнес-интересы, отказавшись комментировать бартерные сделки c PDVSA.

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У рынка предметов искусства и коллекционирования есть одно приятное свойство: он не истеричен. И в 2018 году, для мировой экономики в целом не лишенном волнений, он чувствовал себя неплохо. Причина его относительной автономности во многом связана с его особенностями, которые создают своего рода дополнительную плоскость опоры.

Так сложилось исторически. Во-первых, коллекционирование — один из самых старых инвестиционных инструментов, международно признанный способ сохранения и приумножения капитала. У коллекционирования хорошая репутация, в него верят (верят в принципе, как в идею, которую в глобальном смысле крайне сложно дискредитировать). Во-вторых, это единственный рынок, который храним сантиментами. Я не шучу. Стабильностью рынок обязан эмоциям: коллекционеры покупают не только по расчету, но и по любви. Даже если то или иное направление начинает показывать отрицательную динамику, никто не начинает массово «сбрасывать» произведения искусства или предметы из своих коллекций. И наоборот, нередки случаи, когда коллекционер готов приобрести нравящийся ему предмет, даже зная о том, что впоследствии он, вероятно, не сможет продать его за те же деньги (чего не скажешь о ценной бумаге). Среди уже куда менее лежащих на поверхности причин стабильности рынка назову его отношения с массмедиа. В отличие от отчетов по другим рынкам, рисующих более или менее полную картину, здесь мы традиционно слышим только об успешных, исключительно выгодных сделках. Это подогревает интерес аудитории: узнавая о рекордах, люди охотнее вкладывают деньги, а чем больше денежная емкость рынка, тем более он устойчив к стрессам.

Все перечисленное — своеобразная третья нога рынка предметов искусства и коллекционирования, придающая ему устойчивость. Но, разумеется, несмотря на свою обособленность, на поведение других рынков он все же реагирует — просто делает это несколько флегматично.

Опыт предыдущих кризисов показал, что вслед за падением финансовых рынков сектор искусства и коллекционирования также имеет тенденцию провисать (хоть и, в силу указанных причин, более плавно). Соответственно, нужно иметь в виду, что, если падение на финансовых рынках уже началось, у продавца дорогого предмета есть время на то, чтобы попытаться продать его за хорошие деньги (потом рынок просядет, и, скорее всего, аппетиты придется умерить).

Еще один индикатор скорого понижения — проседание среднего сегмента. Если более половины не самых дорогих лотов в каталогах остаются непроданными либо продаются по нижнему эстимейту или даже по цене резерва (так называется минимальная сумма, на которую согласен продавец, обычно она на 10–30% ниже эстимейта), это один из предвестников скорого снижения и средних цен, и денежных оборотов внутри рынка. В такой ситуации у владельца дорогого лота есть от полугода до восьми месяцев, чтобы подготовиться повыгоднее реализовать свой предмет. А кто-то, наоборот, может сыграть на падении средних цен и пополнить свою коллекцию с меньшими затратами (закон «покупай дешево, продавай дорого»).

Своеобразная плавность этого рынка связана еще и со спецификой аукционных процессов. Даже при резких изменениях валютных котировок аукционные дома зачастую имеют финансовые гарантии и ценовые обязательства перед комитентами, предоставляемые в момент подписания контрактов. Дело в том, что на торгах «двигателями» цен обычно выступают самые дорогие лоты (если на аукционе был установлен ценовой рекорд, то, вероятнее всего, остальные лоты каталога будут проданы дороже, чем могли бы). Поэтому аукционные дома, особенно крупные, уровня Sotheby’s и Christie’s, борются за то, чтобы именно на их торгах выставлялись самые качественные и дорогие предметы.

Для привлечения таких предметов (особенно это касается живописи) существует практика гарантийной цены и иногда даже частичных авансовых выплат. Чтобы добиться контракта на продажу того или иного лота (с оценкой, как правило, в несколько десятков миллионов долларов — нижнего ценового сегмента эта практика касается в меньшей степени), аукционный дом гарантирует определенную цену продажи, например $50 млн. И владелец лота может быть уверен, что как минимум эту сумму он в любом случае получит — либо от покупателя, либо, если покупателя не найдется, от самого аукционного дома. До 2008 года аукционные дома нередко выплачивали «гарантийные» деньги из своих средств, но кризис превратил большие обязательства в большие проблемы, и современная практика — для обеспечения гарантий привлекать третьих лиц (это могут быть как частные дилеры и крупные галереи, так и просто инвесторы).

Вернемся к лоту. Если он будет продан дороже упомянутых $50 млн, то, по условиям контракта, гарант может получить 50% от разницы или даже ее всю плюс часть комиссии аукционного дома. Если лот не продан, то он переходит к гаранту за указанную сумму. Подобные договоры подписываются обычно за несколько месяцев до торгов, а это значит, что даже если в целом люди начнут покупать меньше и дешевле, упомянутый лот будет куплен по гарантированно высокой цене. И по инерции остальные лоты аукциона будут проданы лучше, чем могли бы.

Вернемся к итогам минувшего года. Отмеченные особенности рынка во многом объясняют его иммунитет к мировым событиям. Политико-экономические катаклизмы 2018-го не отбили желания покупать (у Sotheby’s, например, около трети всех покупателей 2018-го — новички, впервые принявшие участие в аукционах), год порадовал рекордами, но сам ландшафт рынка мало изменился. Можно даже утверждать, что все лидировавшие в течение года направления утвердились на своих позициях еще в 2017-м.

В живописи по-прежнему лидирует сектор современного и послевоенного искусства (Contemporary & Post-War Art). Более того, впервые за долгое время (по ряду оценок, со времен кризиса 2008 года) мы имеем устойчивый рост сразу и по общему обороту, и по числу продаж, и по средней стоимости сделки. То есть вполне уверенно себя чувствует не только сегмент сверхдорогих продаж, но и средний сегмент. Это позволяет предположить, что как минимум в ближайшие полгода направление продолжит рост. Рынок импрессионистов и модернистов (Impressionist and Modern Art) можно отнести скорее к стабильным, чем к растущим, несмотря на несколько громких рекордов.

Аналогично и в секторе русского искусства. Интересно вспомнить прогнозы, которые делались в начале года по поводу сегмента старых мастеров (Old Masters Art): одни говорили, что после сенсационной продажи «Спасителя мира» да Винчи рынок непременно пойдет вверх, другие считали, что большого влияния на общие цифры сделка не окажет. Правы были скорее вторые. В наступившем году, полагаю, либо будет возвращение к показателям 2017 года (если в верхнем ценовом сегменте появится достаточно работ высокого качества), либо сохранится уровень 2018-го.

Среди других категорий коллекционирования лидируют автомобили, показывая наилучшие результаты на долгом горизонте. Начиная с 2001 года рынок классических автомобилей растет быстрее, чем S&P 500, а с 2013­-го актив, по заявлениям экспертов HAGI (это всемирно известная компания, изучающая рынок классических автомобилей), является лучшей инвестицией, чем золото. Это воодушевляет неопытных инвесторов, зачастую чрезмерно: отдельные рекорды не отражают того, что при общем позитиве рынок в целом уже с 2015 года снижает обороты (в среднем сегменте динамика вообще отрицательная).

Паники нет, эксперты утверждают, что перегретый рынок коллекционных автомобилей проходит некий детокс, остывает, поскольку уходят игроки, охотящиеся за быстрой прибылью, но ситуация стабильна, просто продажи занимают больше времени. Индекс HAGI, следящий за рынком с 1980 года, показывает, что в начале 1990-х после такой же здоровой коррекции перегретого рынка восстановление заняло около пяти лет — чем не повод в ближайшее время присмотреть себе классический автомобиль, который после энного количества лет владения может принести до 300% прибыли?

Наименее волатильны из всех сегментов коллекционирования ювелирные украшения и драгоценные камни (стабильный рост в течение последних 15 лет), и, надо полагать, в 2019-м рынок останется непоколебим. Интересный момент: в минувшем году активнее всего росли в цене предметы с жемчугом (обычно лидируют украшения ар-деко и послевоенного времени).

Вторичный рынок вина и коллекционного алкоголя сравнительно молодой с инвестиционной точки зрения, серьезно наблюдают за ним примерно с 2000 года, когда была основана крупнейшая в этой области биржевая платформа Liv-ex. Пока он находится в стадии неторопливого подъема. Но этот рынок, по сути своей, цикличен: скачок роста цен на сорта бордо произошел после Второй мировой войны, потом случился небольшой спад, такие же циклы были в 1970–1980-х годах, а пять лет назад снова начался подъем. Если через несколько лет произойдет падение, оно не будет значительным.

Мировые события на этот рынок влияют по-разному: кризис 2008 года, например, ему не слишком навредил (начавшееся падение остановили китайские покупатели, к 2009-му как раз ворвавшиеся на арену), а вот Brexit и ослабление фунта стерлингов придали рынку некоторую нервозность.

В прошлом году было поставлено два рекорда (предыдущим более 10 лет), но существенно повлиять на общую картину они не могут. Хотя один из них — продажа шестидесятилетнего Macallan 1926 года — запустил едва ли не аукционный сериал: после нашумевшего аукциона Bonhams подобная бутылка появилась на Sotheby’s и Christie’s, а в 2019-м уже снова ожидается на Bonhams. Рекорд пока не побит, но прогнозировать рост молотка в арифметической прогрессии уже можно.

И, наконец, об антигероях. Если есть цель потерять деньги, лучше вкладывать не в криптовалюту или рискованные стартапы, а в китайскую керамику, в том числе в фарфор. Некогда один из самых растущих рынков с 2017 года показывает отрицательную динамику. При этом новости об очередной громкой продаже появляются почти ежегодно. Прошлым летом это была, например, редкая фарфоровая ваза династии Цин (€16 млн). Возможно, когда отношения США и Китая нормализуются и агрессивный маркетинг введет китайскую керамику в моду, можно будет говорить о восстановлении рынка.

Пока же с передариванием (и перепродажей) китайских ваз лучше повременить, смотрите на это как на долгую инвестицию, которая со временем может принести вам, как в лучшие годы, порядка 10% годовых, в отличие от антикварной мебели, рынок которой вряд ли покажет положительную динамику.

Рекордсмены 2018-го

Аукционные рекорды минувшего года по лидирующим сегментам рынка искусства и коллекционирования.


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