There were no new developments in the cryptocurrency ecosystem to substantially move markets in the last 24 hours. The price of a single bitcoin touched a low of $7,884.71 this morning but mostly kept within the $8,000 to $8,500 range. At 14:15 UTC, it was trading at $8,332.51, an increase of 1.34% in the last 24 hours.
Movements within the top 10 most-traded cryptocurrencies mostly mimicked those from yesterday. With a 15% increase in its price from 24 hours ago, Ripple’s XRP was the biggest gainer. But it still has to cover much ground in order to reach its valuation at the start of this year.
NEM fell out of the top 10 most-traded list and IOTA, a cryptocurrency for the so-called Internet of Things, took its place. IOTA, which uses a Tangle network system instead of a blockchain, announced an open source platform earlier this week to entice developers to create new apps on its platform.
The overall market capitalization for cryptocurrencies was $407 billion, up roughly 4% from 24 hours ago, at 14:23 UTC.
Binance Is Up Again
Binance, a Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency exchange that is among the world’s largest, was down for a period of approximately 34 hours until this morning. Binance clocks $500 million in trading volumes on a single day and boasted of signing up as many as 200,000 users in a single hour, according to earlier reports.
Given the Coincheck fiasco recently, there was much discussion about whether it was hacked. But the exchange quelled those rumors. It is currently offering a 70% trading fee discount until February 24 to all users as “gratitude” for their patience during the upgrade process. (See more: Coincheck May Have Suffered The Worst Hack In Cryptocurrency History.)
The more interesting aspect of its downtime was the effect it had on cryptocurrency prices, which is to say none. In fact, prices for most cryptocurrencies have either remained flat or risen after Binance went offline.
The current reaction of crypto markets to Binance's downtime contrasts with its response to the exclusion of overheated South Korean exchanges by CoinMarketCap back in January. That event tumbled cryptocurrency valuations. (See also: How CoinMarketCap Contributed To Cryptocurrency Price Valuations.)
Bitcoin Shorts Multiply
The recent slide in bitcoin’s price has attracted the attention of shorting traders, who have reversed their positions from last year. According to a Bloomberg report, 90 percent of all bets at British firm IG Group, which trades in Contract for Differences (CFD), were long on bitcoin’s price in January 2017. This year, however, more than a quarter are short its prospects.
CFDs allow investors to speculate on the price of an instrument, whether it is a security or commodity, with an investment firm. According to IG Group’s CEO Peter Hetherington, the firm is one of the largest bitcoin futures traders at CME and Cboe. The report does not mention the overall number of CFDs. This is important because bitcoin shorts can only have an effect on its price if they are executed in large numbers.
Based on data from the platform, traders are enthusiastic about Ripple’s XRP, a cryptocurrency which has been hammered recently and is off by 66% from its price at the start of 2018. Ripple, the company behind XRP, has made a slew of positive announcements and business deals since the start of this year. (See also: Why Some Claim Ripple Isn't A Real Cryptocurrency).
Investing in cryptocurrencies and other Initial Coin Offerings ("ICOs") is highly risky and speculative, and this article is not a recommendation by Investopedia or the writer to invest in cryptocurrencies or other ICOs. Since each individual's situation is unique, a qualified professional should always be consulted before making any financial decisions. Investopedia makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy or timeliness of the information contained herein. As of the date this article was written, the author owns small amounts of bitcoin.