Sentiment high as Bitcoin scratches $10k surface: Saudi and UAE are all in

February 15, 2018 3:30 pm

Bitcoin remains more than 30% lower for the year, though up about $3,000 from two-month lows hit last week, and the market mood is singing the refrain: “Don’t worry, be happy.”

Regulatory fears have eased.

The climb to $10,000 is on as of time of publishing, and Bitcoin is heading to the $11,000-$14,000, as per experts.

Saudi and the UAE threw their crypto hats in.

Crypto robbers are still game, but that’s someone else’s problem.

Crypto elevator up to $9,000

Bitcoin currently accounts for 35% of the total cryptocurrency market value, according to

According to CNBC, Bitcoin topped $9,000 level to hit a key level and reach a 10-day high on Wednesday amid buoyant sentiment about regulatory crackdowns easing.
“The cryptocurrency climbed 9.7% to $9,346, its highest since Feb. 4,” according to CoinDesk’s price index.

Bitcoin hit a day high of $9,919 as AMEinfo was writing this report.

“Sentiment has changed. The Senate hearing a week ago was positive. That definitely helped to create a more optimistic view,” Nick Kirk, data scientist at Cypher Capital, a cryptocurrency trading firm, told CNBC.

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South Korean regulators have also toned down their harsh rhetoric on closing down cryptocurrency exchanges, with reports surfacing that government authorities are looking at additional regulation similar to the “BitLicense” in New York.

Folowing more than 200,000 South Korean citizens signing an official petition denouncing the proposed ban, South Korea’s minister of Governmental Policy Coordination, Hong Nam-ki, said the government would look at making cryptocurrency trading more transparent, instead of banning it outright, as previously feared, Markets Insider quoted Bloomberg as reporting.

To appease fears, government officials will be taking action against illegal activity in cryptocurrency trading.

Next levels

Bespoke Investment Group said the next level to watch is $11,000 adding they expect selling pressure to come in at the $11,000 level.

They told CNBC: “But if $9,000 isn’t able to hold in the coming days/weeks, Bitcoin could “easily move right back down to support at $6,000 again.”

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The final upside target is the $13,500 to $14,000 range, Bespoke said, which represents a roughly 45% increase from Wednesday’s levels.

Fortune Magazine reported that while European banking officials warned consumers about the highly volatile nature of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple and other cryptocurrencies, Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank, said no ban or regulation was forthcoming.

Gains made

According to Fortune, Bitcoin’s recent rise to over $9,000 added $7.7bn in market capitalization, after last week’s upward bounce added over $19bn in market cap.

Ethereum was up 5.8% and Ripple gained 4%, while Litecoin, soared 38% on Wednesday.

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Saudi makings Ripples

According to Coindesk, distributed ledger startup Ripple has struck a deal with Saudi Arabia’s central bank SAMA on a pilot program that will see banks in the country try the company’s cross-border payments technology with end-to-end tracking.

“This marks the second central bank to work with the startup, coming after the Bank of England began working with Ripple last year,” said Coinbase.

“Participating banks from the [Kingdom of Saudi Arabia] will use xCurrent (which does not rely on Ripple’s XRP token) to instantly settle payments sent into and out of the country, with greater transparency and lower costs,” Ripple said.

Ripple has partnerships with over 100 financial institutions.

The coin Telgraph reported Dilip Rao, Ripple’s global head of infrastructure innovation as saying: “Central banks around the world are leaning into Blockchain technology in recognition of how it can transform cross-border payments, resulting in lower barriers to trade and commerce for both corporates and consumers.”

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Crypto action in the UAE too

UAE Exchange, a major remittance company in the United Arab Emirates, had signed on to use the startup’s RippleNet product to manage cross-border payments.

There are reports Western Union is also piloting the startup’s tech and testing payments using XRP.

“We are looking especially in the processing settlement and working capital optimization, also in the regulation part, on the compliance part on the blockchain capabilities,” Western Union CEO Hikmet Ersek was quoted as saying by Bloomberg. “And we do have some tests with Ripple.”

Also Bloomerg reported that Dubai gold trader Regal RA DMCC is the first company in the Middle East to get a license to trade cryptocurrencies, quoting the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) .

“The company will be able to store Bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies in a vault located in DMCC headquarters in Almas Tower in Dubai,” the DMCC said in a statement.

“The vault won’t be connected to a network and all physical devices are fully insured for the crypto-commodities market value against theft, hacking or natural disaster,” it added.

Tyler Gallagher, chief executive officer of Regal Assets, which owns Regal RA, said in the statement. “We have developed what we believe is the number one most secure way of investing in Bitcoin, Ethereum and other crypto-commodities.”

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Millions stolen again

Investors in cryptocurrencies are “reluctant” to store large amounts of the coins in online wallets and exchanges due to the risk of hacking, identify theft and malware.

Fortune said that for years, hackers have robbed Bitcoin investors, emptying their cryptocurrency wallets without fear of being caught thanks to the relative anonymity of the blockchain.

Cisco’s Talos cybersecurity team reported has exposed Coinhoarder which has stolen more than $50 million in cryptocurrency from users of, one of the most popular providers of digital currency wallet.

“They did this buying Google ads on popular search keywords related to cryptocurrency “to poison user search results” and snatch the contents of crypto wallets,” said Fortune.

This meant people Googling terms like “blockchain” or “bitcoin wallet,” saw links to malicious websites masquerading as legitimate domains for wallets.

How the Coinhoarder hackers robbed their victims’ cryptocurrency wallets. Diagram courtesy of Ukraine Cyberpolice


Hadi Khatib
By Hadi Khatib
Hadi Khatib is a business editor with more than 15 years' experience delivering news and copy of relevance to a wide range of audiences. If newsworthy and actionable, you will find this editor interested in hearing about your sector developments and writing about it.