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Gold: Worst- & Best-Case Scenarios In 2019

Gold prices hit a 1-week high today and steady they go. Since the price made a low of $1,046 back in 2015, it has never looked back. As of today, it is trading at $1,248. Having said this, the price is down by -4.05% year-to-date, but the daily chart shows that the trend is still skewed to the upside. The primary reason we saw some losses in 2018 was the hawkish monetary policy adopted by the Federal Reserve Bank.

The Fed has increased the interest rates three times so far this year and another rate hike is firmly on the cards when the Fed meets on Wednesday. Another hike will push the interest rates in the U.S. to their highest level in a decade. These interest rates hikes have pushed the dollar index towards its peak point (97.71) for the year. In other words, the dollar index has had one dominant trend this year- the uptrend.

The greenback and gold have an inverse relation. The reason we have not seen strength in the inverse relationship between the yellow metal and the dollar is mainly because of the feeble world economic growth. The tumult in Paris, the Brexit chaos and the trade war between Washington and Beijing have crippled optimism among investors.

 

Going into 2019, the yellow metal is likely to shine more as cracks have started to surface in the U.S. economy. The U.S. equity markets are on track to record the worst performance in a decade. Trump can no longer brag about this. The housing market, a leading indicator to gauge the economic health of the country, is showing some serious concerns.  Business investment has dried up in the third quarter and effects of tax cuts by Trump administration have almost vanished.

Can the U.S. economy end up in recession in 2019?

This is the question that many will be asking. Under the current circumstances, it may not be far stretched to say that if the recession doesn’t see the daylight in 2019, it is likely to see it in 2020. Having said this, it is vital to look back at history and see how they have dealt with a similar situation. The below chart shows that the Fed has hardly increased the interest rate when the equity markets are soft.

Fed has hardly increased the interest rate when the markets don't perform wellSOURCE: BLOOMBER, THINKMARKETS, TWITTER:@NAEEMASLAM23

Investors and the Fed will be observing the economy very prudently and this will dictate the volatility for the gold price. Looking at the historical chart of gold, it shows that volatility is ready to pop. The explosion in yellow metal’s volatility is due for some time as it is currently sitting at a historical low level. Investors are already worried about global growth and if these concerns change into a global recession, the above scenario can easily come in to play.

Gold's 90-day volatility shows that it can explode anytimeSOURCE: BLOOMBERG, THINKMARKETS, TWITTER:@NAEEMASLAM23

All in all, it is highly likely that we will see an uptrend for gold and factors such as feeble economic growth, escalation in the geopolitics in Europe, the Middle East and stronger threats to Trump’s presidency could drive the price way above the $1600 mark in 2019. However, a controlled Fed policy and a stable economic growth may only push the price towards $1400.

 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/naeemaslam/2018/12/19/gold-worst-best-case-scenarios-in-2019/#503b7a116c5f

Gold off half-yearly tops, around $ 1265 ahead of US data

Gold (futures on Comex) moved-off six-month highs reached at 1270.20 in the US last session and now consolidates near 1265 region, awaiting fresh trading impetus for the next push higher.

The 1%+ rally seen in the yellow metal a day before was mainly driven by an increased flight to safety, as the investors shunned risk after Fed’s hawkish twist aggravated US economic slowdown concerns and knocked-off the greenback amid a potential yield-curve inversion. The Fed hiked the interest rates for the fourth time this year on Wednesday while signaling “some further gradual” hikes.

The fears over US recession triggered a sell-off in the global equities which further boosted the demand for the traditional safe-haven gold. Moreover, in evidence of increased investor confidence in gold, holdings of the SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund (ETF), jumped to their highest level in four months this week.

Looking ahead, the broader markets sentiment will continue to play a key role in gold’s price-action while markets await the US durable goods, core PCE price index and Michigan consumer sentiment data for further trading momentum, as volumes thin out into the Xmas holiday break.

Gold Technical Levels

XAU/USD

Overview:
    Today Last Price: 1260.62
    Today Daily change: -24 pips
    Today Daily change %: -0.0190%
    Today Daily Open: 1260.86
Trends:
    Previous Daily SMA20: 1236.62
    Previous Daily SMA50: 1228.2
    Previous Daily SMA100: 1215.4
    Previous Daily SMA200: 1230.39
Levels:
    Previous Daily High: 1266.5
    Previous Daily Low: 1241.8
    Previous Weekly High: 1250.85
    Previous Weekly Low: 1233
    Previous Monthly High: 1237.4
    Previous Monthly Low: 1196.4
    Previous Daily Fibonacci 38.2%: 1257.06
    Previous Daily Fibonacci 61.8%: 1251.24
    Previous Daily Pivot Point S1: 1246.27
    Previous Daily Pivot Point S2: 1231.69
    Previous Daily Pivot Point S3: 1221.57
    Previous Daily Pivot Point R1: 1270.97
    Previous Daily Pivot Point R2: 1281.09
    Previous Daily Pivot Point R3: 1295.67

European Banks Are Pushing the Adoption of Blockchain Technology

From the advent of the first blockchain technology, those within the financial sector knew things were about to change. Since the introduction of blockchain technology in 2008, it was often said that banking institutions around the globe were about to face a fairly tough time, that could even make them completely redundant and impractical. Consequently, several voices began to denounce the blockchain as the bank's enemy No. 1.

However, it appears that for every person with a conservative mindset, there was also a forward thinker exploring the promising opportunities that were given to him. As IBM found in 2016, banks are adopting distributed ledgers much faster than anyone expected. Absolutely justifiably, since a wide adoption could save banking institutions up to $27 billion annually by 2030, according to a recent study by Juniper Research.

The disruptive advancement that is called blockchain is conquering the financial sector. Let's find out what's happening and what role the Europeans have in it.

Europeans are pushing forward.

Until the end of 2017, "pretty much everything had been experimental and prototypes. Production was something small and safe in the corner," said David Treat, head of Accenture's capital markets blockchain practice. But, since the beginning of 2018, it seems like the banking sector got down to business and actually started using the promising technological advancement.

On May 14 this year, the banking giants HSBC and ING made the first real transactionon a blockchain between two banks. The purpose of this transaction was the trading of agricultural goods and it is considered a milestone for cross-border trading.

We also saw a group of European banks completing the first test stage in a blockchain interbank reconciliations trial in October. Led by Italy-based Associazione Bancaria Italiana, 14 banks, including BNP Paribas, contributed two months of data to a Corda-based blockchain network. The original press release, delivered in Italian, mentions the establishment of the first phase as a "basis for subsequent synergistic implementations of DLT technologies," which also includes a form of smart contracts that will regulate the transfer of data.

With ABI Labs at the helm overseeing a million test transactions between the banks involved, reports show that the performances were satisfactory, which will allow the process to move forward to the next phase. This cooperation between European banks comes on the heels of a project led by the Polish bank PKO Bank Polski, in partnership with the tech company Coinfirm, that will see blockchain technology utilized to notify customers about changes to product terms. The project, titled Trudatum, was described as a "breakthrough on a global scale" by Pawel Kuskowski, President of Coinfirm.

All those success stories inevitably attracted the attention of the European Union. The association already announced in April that its members are invited to team up to research and experiment with blockchain technology in the so-called European Blockchain Partnership (EBP). Just a few weeks ago, the EU established a new blockchain forum that also invited at least five major European banks, such as Santander and BBVA. The EU Blockchain Roundtable's goal is "Bringing industries together for Europe to lead in blockchain technologies."

There is an industry-wide reluctance to change.

The financial sector is renowned for its slow implementation of technology, with many pointing to that hesitancy as one of the primary reasons for why it has fallen so far behind the curve. It could be possible that the real progress within the blockchain banking sector may be led by a platform outside of the traditional banking establishments. One such project is set to begin opening client accounts in December.

Founded by former bankers of HSBC, Credit Suisse, Bank of New York and UBS, EQIBank is looking to turn the banking sector as we know it on its head, by offering the traditional services of a fully licensed, regulated bank in conjunction with the opportunity to manage traditional and crypto assets all within a single banking relationship. Services will include trading, lending, custody, settlement and clearing.

At the official launch of EQIBank, CEO Jason Blick said that "there is a lot of market speculation about the delivery of a new generation of bank -- one that can bridge the worlds of crypto and national currencies. However, EQIBank is the only licensed, regulated bank that is operational and ready to receive applications for accounts."

This falls in line with novel blockchain legislationcoming from Bermuda. This piece of legislation officially enables native banks to deal with new financial technologies. As Huhnsik Chung, a partner at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP, with more than 25 years of legal experience in the financial services industry, put it in reference to the recent initiative: "It is often the case with new technologies and new lines of business, first movers will be well-positioned to attract a lion's share of the burgeoning fintech market."

Banking is competitive.

Since the introduction of popular cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, banks around the globe obviously figured out that something needs to change. We have seen them form five international blockchain consortia and several other initiatives that all aim to push forward the trade finance sector. Yet, those advancements would often not affect the banking customers itself, although there certainly are some benefits that consumers might be interested in. With the recent news from Bermuda and real banking alternatives like EQIBank, the global banking industry might have a new, serious competitor that could completely disrupt their business in the near future.

 

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/324006

Blockchain And Crypto Leaders Share Their 2019 Industry Predictions

Following the ICO boom in 2017, along with Bitcoin’s all time high of nearly $20k last December, the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry has gone down a rocky road. As the crypto world is full of surprises, it’s difficult to predict what’s in store for the future. Yet it’s interesting to hear what industry insiders and some of the biggest influencers in the space have to say about their expectations for the crypto and blockchain industry over the next 12 months and beyond.

Cryptocurrency:

I am sticking to my original prediction – Bitcoin will hit 250k by 2022.” – Tim Draper, American Venture Capitalist, Author, Founder of Draper Associates, DFJ and Draper University

As one of the leading cryptocurrencies, Ether will see its price reach the $500 mark by mid 2019. The fact still remains that most blockchain projects across the world are being done in Ethereum. As its use cases increase and improve globally, we'll see it continuing to gain more solid ground as a smart contract protocol." – David Drake, Founder and Chairman of LDJ Capital

2019 will be an exciting year. We will see several great products shipped to market, especially from our Binance Labs incubation program, now taking place on five continents. The projects and teams who are focused on building and achieving product-market fit will bring more real use cases to our lives. This will open the gateway to the mass adoption of crypto." - Ella Zhang, Head of Binance Labs

The first legitimate national cryptocurrency will be launched, linked to a fiat currency from a G-20 nation. This digital asset will be in high demand for combining the benefits of a digital asset with the stability of a government-backed currency. Mark Zuckerberg's 2018 New Year's resolution to "study cryptocurrencies" will result in one being integrated into Facebook for payments. The only question is whether they will use an existing cryptocurrency or a new one created by Facebook.” - Mitch Liu, Theta Labs CEO

Blockchain:

2018 was a tough year, but we have a longer term outlook for our industry. The builders have been building in 2018, so for 2019, I think we will see a lot of real products and real applications coming into the market.” – Changpeng Zhao (CZ), Binance CEO and Founder

I have been involved in the blockchain space since 2013, actively developing with Ethereum since January 2015. During this time I have experienced many ups and downs. Many times I heard how "Blockchain is over.” However, the fact is that the underlying technological innovation continues to evolve and to get better. We have more tools today, documentation, tutorials, and users than ever before and this will continue to grow as the user interfaces become better and more seamless. In 2019 we will continue to live the aftermath of 2017. ICOs have been in winter sleep for most of 2018, following the ICO madness we experienced, which was initiated by my ERC-20 standard. Nevertheless, this doesn't change the fact that ICO's are a great fundraising mechanism, for those projects in which a coin offering makes sense. However, many past token projects were only using ICOs as an opportunity to collect money without a truly decentralized and functioning token economy in the background. We need to regain the trust that was lost, and proposals like my Reversible ICO shows how technology can be the transaction mechanism and the regulator at the same time. Fabian Vogelsteller, LUKSO CEO and Ethereum developer responsible for co-creating the ERC-20 Token Standard

You'll see blockchain companies with differentiated business models separating themselves from the pack. For the industry to mature and gain legitimacy, the 2018 shakeout had to happen. As you've seen with the rise of the internet, e-commerce and just about every other big-thought thing that's happened in the last 50 years, the gold rush days come to an end, rules get created and people settle down to do real business. That's why we’ve kept our focus, powered forward and invested in building our vision for the next iteration of the web. For TRON, 2019 will be a year of many innovations. We're the largest decentralized content ecosystem in the world, and 2019 will be about showing people what that means. We're beginning the year with our first summit, in San Francisco, where we'll reveal big details about how we plan to integrate blockchain with BitTorrent's peer-to-peer technology. And we'll follow that by offering our 100 million monthly BitTorrent users incentives to create and share more freely and often, delivering an economy of goods and services within the network.” – Justin Sun, TRON CEO and Founder

2019 will be a historic year for the Blockchain industry. Malta will issue the first license for operators in this sphere to be able to operate in a regulated environment. Thus, 2019 will see the materialization of The Blockchain Island, firmly putting Malta at the epicenter of this industry. We are aware where the compass is pointing, which is why blockchain technology will be incorporated into our ecosystem. In turn, we will soon start witnessing change in the landscape of how sectors as we know today operate. In fact, as a Government, we’re looking at using blockchain technology in the public sector to better the experience of our citizens. 2019 will be an even more exciting year for Malta. The smallest EU member state will be amongst the top 10 nations with a National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence. This will open doors for the exploration of new economic niches such as esports, gaming and Fintech. Malta’s agility and flexible approach will ensure that we will remain innovators in the digital economy.” – The Honorable Silvio Schembri, Malta’s Junior Minister for Financial Services, Digital Economy & Innovation

We hope to see some more progress happening towards the setting up of a true interoperability standard for optimal communication between different types of blockchain networks. We believe that there will be some more hybrid deployments involving the joint use of permissionless and permissioned blockchain networks, with a focus on real world use cases where the use of blockchain technology can truly move the needle forward.” - Nimit Sawheny, Voatz CEO

Blockchain communities and open source communities will see their lines blurred, as the two become synonymous with one another. Open source has traditionally been on the cutting edge of innovation and has garnered massive interest because of its ability to deliver security through transparency. Decentralization is the latest cutting-edge technology and it shares that same foundational principle of transparency. A platform cannot be decentralized if it is proprietary, as the organization that owns the software code ultimately becomes the central point of failure.” - Ben Golub, Storj Interim CEO and Executive Chairman

 

Tokenization:

A quadrillion dollar market is unfolding, driven by the emergence of security tokens. As currencies are tokenized, as bonds are tokenized, as equities are tokenized, as currencies and real estate and energy are tokenized -- We are watching the birth of a quadrillion-dollar market. Also, Qualified Opportunity Zones (QOZs) are going to deliver over $100B of capital into places where economic stimulus is needed in the U.S. We are also going to see the first Dapps (decentralized applications) that hit a million users a day sometime next year. Because we’ve now had our “Netscape” moment, we now have scalable blockchains that have no friction (meaning anyone can access it without having tokens) low latency (meaning it’s fast and scalable and can be by many people) with EOS as the first general protocol with many to come. It’s the equivalent of when the first IPhone launched in the App Store.” – Brock Pierce, American Entrepreneur, Venture Capitalist, Chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation and co-founder of EOS Alliance

I think that the main trend will be securities tokens. The combination of the power of a distributed ledger with more standardized securities will open lots of doors in capital creation. Privacy will continue to be important. There will be an increasing gap between those with solid technology and those with weak, captive networks.” - Bruce Fenton, Founder and Managing Director of Atlantic Financial, Board member of the Bitcoin Foundation and co-founder of the Bitcoin Association

The ability to fractionalize illiquid assets will allow institutions to offer unique portfolio positioning that suit the preferences of the investor. Given the transparency involved in a correctly-designed token, there will be new ways to visualize risk and returns. This will unleash a new wave of investing that has been bottled up because of asymmetry of information. Ultimately, tokenization will greatly flatten that asymmetry, which is what this is all about." – Sam Tabar, Fluidity Co-Founder

Venture Capital:

2019 is going to be another year of building. We're squarely in the phase in which the crypto space is developing the companies, products, and infrastructure to support the wild valuations we saw in 2017. I expect we'll see more consolidation, as both companies and funds struggle to raise capital. While this might sound gloomy, I think it's actually quite healthy. As technology and valuations start to converge at rational levels again, the stage will be set for the industry to enter the next phase of maturity.” – Arianna Simpson, Venture Capitalist and Managing Director at Autonomous Partners

We should not forget that token issuers are startups and they have an even higher burn rate than that of traditional startups. With over $10 billion raised by those crypto startups in 2017-2018, the conversion to fiat currencies is inevitable. In addition, all the crypto services and talent have been twice as expensive as for traditional startups. Once billions of dollars are liquidated to pay bills, it is normal for the prices of the major crypto currencies to drop. This of course had a snowball effect: the panic starts and hundreds of entrepreneurs need to sell crypto to secure capital for product development. Even cryptofunds whose market capitalization is $10 billion tend to have focused on equity deals recently. They’ve liquidated part of their crypto portfolio and hold fiat. In addition, we shouldn’t forget that the main reason the Bitcoin and Ethereum networks exists are because of the miners. Miners had to sell as well to maintain their facilities. They’ve overmined Bitcoin in 2017, assuming the price would keep going up.” – Natalia Karayaneva, Propy CEO and Founder

FinTech:

Digital remote voting will be more widely adopted. After the successful pilot program in West Virginia of the Voatz digital remote voting application, which allowed overseas voters to vote in the November election in a secure way, more states will look to re-enfranchise their overseas voters. Expect lots of supply chain applications to debut, providing more surety by both sellers and purchasers of the providence of goods. What VinX is doing in the wine business and GrainChain in the grain business, others will do in variety of industries. And watch out Wall Street. Fintech will continue to be a major focus for blockchain use cases. Some will finally get into production and begin to revolutionize the ways securities trade. Blockchain will continue to be hyped as a panacea. Companies caught in this hype will waste money trying to use blockchain, where a good old-fashioned database does just fine.” - Jonathan Johnson, President of Medici Ventures and Overstock.com Board Member 

In the world of ledger technology, the woman’s role is very significant in terms of creativity and innovation. Our company gives a voice to women, whom are usually the minority, although women with intuition are able to detect what the market wants. For instance, Multibuy has linked e-commerce and travel to cryptocurrency, making this field more attractive and accessible to all genders. I can proudly say that I have brought my company to a versatile level that is interesting and secure for everyone. MB8 coin has a usable value, as it can be spent on the Multibuy website for ecommerce. Our huge ecommerce platform is expected to launch in February 2019. Additionally, I have encouraged the union between Multibuy and Blockchain technology, as I strongly believe we give an added touch to the Blockchain: we let people spend cryptocurrency within our e-commerce platform. Quality products and brands make the MB8 coin super attractive and 2019 will be bright for e-commerce platforms that accept cryptocurrency.” - Dr. Kirby Raneri, Co-Founder and Business Development Manager of MB8 Coinand Multibuy Chief Operating Officer

 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/rachelwolfson/2018/12/20/blockchain-and-crypto-leaders-share-their-2019-industry-predictions/#7bb0399155ee

Five Signs Blockchain Could Help Your Business

Thinking of integrating blockchain into your business? I don’t blame you.

Blockchain is primed to reshape many industries, promising huge rewards in efficiency, time and cost. This year, blockchain startups have received over $1.3 billion in funding from venture capitalists, with few signs of slowing.

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