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Utility tokens vs. equity tokens: Key differences explained

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Investors familiar with the concept of equity investing will find equity tokens to be an extension of the same thought process as initial public offerings while those with a riskier appetite can venture into plonking their capital on the utility tokens in which they believe.

One glaring difference between utility and equity tokens is the fact that the former is not regulated as they provide access to a service rather than a specific investment in an asset or company as do equity tokens. 

However, for those asking the question of whether utility tokens can be traded, the answer is that they are similar to equity tokens in this aspect and are available for trading on various exchanges. 

To answer whether utility tokens are good investments though, any money put into a utility token needs to be weighed against the prospects of the service being offered by the issuing company and the potential rise in its demand to generate returns for token holders.

On the other hand, equity tokens are regulated and issued by existing firms that are already in business and provide token holders with voting rights that allow them to participate in the working of the company. 

For novice crypto investors, it seems more prudent to invest in equity tokens as they are an extension of equity shares on the traditional stock market and are an easier concept around which to wrap oneself. 

However, if you believe in the prospects of a blockchain project like XRP and want to gain an early mover advantage, it may be more beneficial to put your money on a utility token ICO and ride the demand wave to generate handsome returns in the process. 

Do remember that utility tokens are not treated as a security and therefore, will have a higher risk involved when investing. Either way, it is important to read all the terms and conditions before investing money and understand the applicable fees that are levied on redemption or while trading these tokens on the various exchanges available in the crypto market.





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Bitcoin miner ‘capitulation event’ may have already happened — Research

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Bitcoin (BTC) miners may have already sparked a “capitulation event,” fresh analysis has concluded.

In an update on June 24, Julio Moreno, senior analyst at on-chain data firm CryptoQuant, hinted that the BTC price bottom could now be due.

BTC price bottom “typically” follows miner capitulation

Miners have seen a dramatic change in circumstances since March 2020, going from unprecedented profitability to seeing their margins squeezed.

The dip to $17,600 — 70% below November’s all-time highs for BTC/USD — has hit some players hard, data now shows, with miner wallets sending large amounts of coins to exchanges.

This, CryptoQuant suggests, precedes the final stages of the Bitcoin sell-off more broadly in line with historical precedent.

“Our data demonstrate a miner capitulation event that has occurred, which has typically preceded market bottoms in previous cycles,” Moreno summarized.

Miner sales have been keenly tracked this month, with the Bitcoin Twitter account even describing the situation as miners “being drained of their coins.”

“For miners, it’s time to decide to stay or leave,” CryptoQuant CEO, Ki Young Ju, added in a Twitter thread last week.

The situation is tenuous, but the majority of miners remain active, as witnessed by network fundamentals dropping only slightly from all-time highs of over 30 trillion.

Bitcoin network fundamentals overview (screenshot). Source: BTC.com

Mixed signals over buyer interest

When it comes to other large BTC holders, however, the picture appears less clear.

Related: ‘Foolish’ to deny Bitcoin price can go under $10K — Analysis

After whales bought up liquidity near $19,000, CryptoQuant’s Ki this week heralded the arrival of “new” large-volume entities.

Outflows from major United States exchange Coinbase, he noted, reached their highest since 2013.

Trader and analyst Rekt Capital, nonetheless, reiterated doubts about the strength of overall buyer volume, arguing that sellers were conversely still directing market movements.

Bitcoin’s 200-week moving average (MA), a key support level during previous bear markets, has yet to see significant interest from buyers despite the spot price being around $2,000 below it.

“Current BTC buy-side volume following the extreme sell volume spike is still lower than the 2018 Bear Market buyer follow-through volume levels at the 200-week MA. Let alone March 2020 buy-side follow-through,” he told Twitter followers.

BTC/USD annotated chart. Source: Rekt Capital/ Twitter

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.



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Buy Bitcoin or start mining? HashWorks CEO points to ‘attractive investment yield’ in BTC mining

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Recently, bad news has abounded, and the resulting fear is real. DeFi is looking dead, altcoins completed their lifecycle by returning back to $0 (I guess that’s a joke), and Bitcoin’s (BTC) price fell lower than even the smartest brains in the room expected. 

A unifying theme of the most recent bull market appears to have been greed. Everyone got too confident and too greedy, and it shows by the amount of debt and leverage that is being unwound as 3AC, Celsius, BlockFi and Voyager contend with the real threat of going belly up.

It seems Bitcoin miners and BTC mining companies also were not immune to the sentiment of over-exuberance and the belief that “up only” was a fact until Bitcoin’s price hit the long-awaited $100,000 target most analysts stuck to.

Historically, Bitcoin miners are an elusive species that are quiet and unwilling to spill the sauce to the public, but Cointelegraph had some success in securing a moment with HashWorks CEO and founder Todd Esse to discuss the current state of the mining industry and his predictions on where the market might head over the next year.

Cointelegraph: Bitcoin is trading below the realized price, and it is also below the miners’ cost of production. The price is also below the previous all-time high and the hash rate is dropping. Typically on-chain analysts pinpoint these metrics hitting extreme lows as a generational purchasing opportunity, thoughts?

Todd Esse: I do believe that current prices represent an investment opportunity as current prices likely don’t reflect profitable mining margins as the industry is currently structured. In our opinion though, prices may continue to remain under pressure as the mining industry and associated leverage around it is reset or re-configured.

CT: What is the state of the BTC mining industry right now? We’ve heard that leveraged miners are going bust, sub-optimal, inefficient miners are turning off, gear could be in the process of being seized or liquidated at firesale. Listed miners’ stock price and cash flow is also looking pretty bad right now. What’s happening behind the scenes and how do you see this impacting the industry of the next six months to a year?

TE: In our opinion, mining still offers an attractive investment yield for those who are selective about approach and have long term goals. Much of the mining capacity currently installed is with ASICs in the sub 85 TH/s range and with energy contracts that haven’t been managed as a traditional large scale energy consumer would.

We’ve seen this movie before, right? Easy money + poor discipline = unbalanced risks. We could easily see a protracted period here where the mining industry consolidates and allows different investment capital to enter into the market.

Related: Friday’s $2.25B Bitcoin options expiry might prove that $17.6K wasn’t BTC’s bottom

CT: Exactly why is now a good or bad time to start mining? Are there particular on-chain metrics or profitability metrics that you’re looking at or is it just your gut feeling?

TE: Typically periods of distress and shifts in the accepted paradigm will offer advantages to new entrants. Our sole focus is to take advantage of these emerging opportunities.

CT: If I have $1 million in cash, is it a good time to set up an operation and start mining? What about $300,000, $100,000, $10,000? At the $40,000 to $10,000 seed fund range, why might it not be a good time to set up an at home or industrial-sized mining farm?

TE: If you had $1 million cash, it might be a good time to opportunistically pick up some BTC. Fully loaded production prices for the major miners aren’t far from these levels. I see it as difficult to maintain these levels until ASICs drop further in value. I think the time for home mining has largely passed as a result of new dynamics in the energy industry.

I would encourage those looking for yield to seek mining opportunities with companies like Compass Mining or other “cloud” miners whose equipment and energy contracts may yield an attractive investment as these dynamics change.

We believe as a result of current and expected disruptions in the market as well as greater acceptance of immersion solutions, there will continue to be attractive opportunities to build mining operations at scale.

CT: Does Bitcoin price dropping below its previous all-time high for the first time ever have any significant future ramification on the fundamentals of the asset and industry?

TE: In our opinion, no. Historical comparisons are difficult to rely on when dealing with an emerging commodity, and transformative technical asset such as BTC. Miners are producing BTC, given a set of inputs (computing power, access to capital, and energy) and the output price doesn’t always reflect the cost of production at all.

Mining BTC at scale, fundamentally, isn’t very different from producing oil and gas or other commodities. Improvements in drilling technology transformed North America’s position in global energy markets.

When oil and gas prices crashed during the early stages of the pandemic, no one questioned whether or not we needed to drive cars or heat our homes anymore. Mining supports the blockchain, and proof-of-work computing will prove to offer our grid the ability to transition to a renewable energy future.

We are committed to being an innovative and constructive participant in this industry as it continues to mature.

Disclaimer. Cointelegraph does not endorse any content of product on this page. While we aim at providing you all important information that we could obtain, readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company and carry full responsibility for their decisions, nor this article can be considered as an investment advice.



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Voyager Digital cuts withdrawal amount as 3AC contagion ripples through DeFi and CeFi

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The Singapore-based crypto venture firm Three Arrows Capital (3AC) failed to meet its financial obligations on June 15 and this caused severe impairments among centralized lending providers like Babel Finance and staking providers like Celsius.

On June 22, Voyager Digital, a New York-based digital assets lending and yield company listed on the Toronto Stock exchange, saw its shares drop nearly 60% after revealing a $655 million exposure to Three Arrows Capital.

Voyager offers crypto trading and staking and had about $5.8 billion of assets on its platform in March, according to Bloomberg. Voyager’s website mentions that the firm offers a Mastercard debit card with cashback and allegedly pays up to 12% annualized rewards on crypto deposits with no lockups.

More recently, on June 23, Voyager Digital lowered its daily withdrawal limit to $10,000, as reported by Reuters.

The contagion risk spread to derivatives contracts

It remains unknown how Voyager shouldered so much liability to a single counterparty, but the firm is willing to pursue legal action to recover its funds from 3AC. To remain solvent, Voyager borrowed 15,000 Bitcoin (BTC) from Alameda Research, the crypto trading firm spearheaded by Sam Bankman-Fried.

Voyager has also secured a $200 million cash loan and another 350 million USDC Coin (USDC) revolver credit to safeguard customer redemption requests. Compass Point Research & Trading LLC analysts noted that the event “raises survivability questions” for Voyager, hence, crypto investors question whether further market participants could face a similar outcome.

Even though there is no way to know how centralized crypto lending and yield firms operate, it is important to understand that a single derivatives contract counterparty cannot create contagion risk.

A crypto derivatives exchange could be insolvent, and users would only notice it when trying to withdraw. That risk is not exclusive to cryptocurrency markets, but is exponentially increased by the lack of regulation and weak reporting practices.

How do crypto futures contracts work?

The typical futures contract offered by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) and most crypto derivatives exchanges, including FTX, OKX and Deribit, allow a trader to leverage its position by depositing margin. This means trading a larger position versus the original deposit, but there’s a catch.

Instead of trading Bitcoin or Ether (ETH), these exchanges offer derivatives contracts, which tend to track the underlying asset price but are far from being the same asset. So, for instance, there is no way to withdraw your futures contracts, let alone transfer those between different exchanges.

Moreover, there’s a risk of this derivatives contract depegging from the actual cryptocurrency price at regular spot exchanges like Coinbase, Bitstamp or Kraken. In short, derivatives are a financial bet between two entities, so if a buyer lacks margin (deposits) to cover it, the seller will not take the profits home.

How do exchanges handle derivatives risk?

There are two ways an exchange can handle the risk of insufficient margin. A “clawback” means taking the profits away from the winning side to cover the losses. That was the standard until BitMEX introduced the insurance fund, which chips away from every forced liquidation to handle those unexpected events.

However, one must note that the exchange acts as an intermediary because every futures market trade needs a buyer and seller of the same size and price. Regardless of being a monthly contract, or a perpetual future (inverse swap), both buyer and seller are required to deposit a margin.

Crypto investors are now asking themselves whether or not a crypto exchange could become insolvent, and the answer is yes.

If an exchange incorrectly handles the forced liquidations, it might impact every trader and business involved. A similar risk exists for spot exchanges when the actual cryptocurrencies in their wallets are shorter than the number of coins reported to their clients.

Cointelegraph has no knowledge of anything abnormal regarding Deribit’s liquidity or solvency. Deribit, along with other crypto derivatives exchanges, is a centralized entity. Thus, the information available to the general public is less than ideal.

History shows that the centralized crypto industry lacks reporting and auditing practices. This practice is potentially harmful to every individual and business involved, but as far as futures contracts go, contagion risk is limited to the participants’ exposure to each derivatives exchange.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk. You should conduct your own research when making a decision.



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