Liechtenstein lending institution Bank Frick now offers “direct investment” and cold storage of five cryptocurrencies, it announced in a press release Feb. 28, noting it is the “first” financial instituion in the country to do so. Aimed primarily at “professional market participants and financial intermediaries,” according to Frick, investment and storage is offered for Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Ripple and Ether. The bank, which was founded in 1998, has sought to stand out from competition in the tiny European country, introducing a crypto investment and storage service that is “in demand” beyond its borders, it says. “Our services are in demand from companies across the whole of Europe,” chief client officer Hubert Büchel commented in the release. Despite Bank Frick being previously active in crypto-based products, the move appears to copy neighboring Switzerland, where institutions Vontobel and Falcon Private Bank have been offering exposure to crypto investments since as far back as 2016.
There’s never a bad time to be sending and receiving bitcoin, but right now is especially good. Fees are at the lowest in 18 months, with the average transaction value now under a dollar. This contrasts starkly with the latter quarter of last year, when rising fees peaked at $34. There’s a primary reason why fees have been dropping since then: with bitcoin too expensive to send, people simply stopped using it as currency. It’s not just the USD/BTC market that oscillates: bitcoin’s fee market follows suit. Due to various factors ranging from network usage to Segwit adoption and hashrate, fees can rise and fall significantly. Throughout 2017, that trajectory was largely an upward one, culminating, in December, with fees becoming infeasible. Transaction fees have been mercifully declining since then, hitting an 18-month low as of February 21, but given that daily transaction volume has halved in the same period, that’s not surprising. A standard six-block transaction can now be pushed through for as little as 15 cents. Bitinfocharts calculates a median fee of 52 cents, versus just over 1 cent for bitcoin cash. This reduction in transaction fees will not be felt by all bitcoin users however. Anyone withdrawing from an exchange will still be hit with standard fees. Binance and Kucoin, for example, set a flat rate of 0.001 BTC, or around $10.60 at current prices. As Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao pointed out in a recent tweet, though, exchanges have a case for charging above the base rate for the service they’re supplying. Whether they can justify charging upwards of $10 a time is a matter for debate though.
ShapeShift, a cryptocurrency exchange, has been pulled into the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) versus bitcoin (BTC) debate by partnering with the @BitcoinCom wallet that exchanges BTC for BCH. ShapeShift has stated via a tweet there was a miscommunication in its latest announcement concerning its partnership with the @BitcoinCom Wallet. ShapeShift stands by its offering to provide its API integration services for the wallet, but it also stands by its position to refer to bitcoin as bitcoin, and not Bitcoin Core. Some have criticized the marketing practices of Bitcoin.com regarding BCH. Two days ago, ShapeShift announced that it has integrated its full API to support Bitcoin.com wallet user exchange between BTC and BCH and vice versa. It noted the Bitcoin.com wallet app became available in mid 2017 and more than 1.7 million wallets have been created on the platform. The ShapeShift integration expands the features in allowing the wallet’s users to exchange BTC for BCH. Bitcoin.com, which provides a free wallet, states on its website that the Bitcoin Core network is in trouble due to high fees and slow transaction times, and that Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the upgrade that solves these problems, and provides a guide for people to learn more about Bitcoin Cash. The website clearly states that it supports both BTC and BCH.
The Bitcoin price rode a bullish wave this week, rising as high as $10,300 after trading below $8,000 as recently as Feb. 11. On Friday, though, the Bitcoin price dipped back below $10,000. As of the time of writing, Bitcoin was valued at $9,793 on Bitfinex, which translates into a $166.9 billion market cap and represents a slight increase over its previous-day level.
The decline correlated with the start of Chinese New Year but it is unclear to what extent the events are linked, given that Bitcoin surged in advance of the holiday. Conventional wisdom, though, suggests that the holiday could lead to some downward pressure on the markets, as regional investors exchange their cryptoasset holdings for fiat to finance their holiday spending.
While the majority cryptocurrencies in the market recorded a 1 to 3 percent decline or increase in price, the value of Bitcoin Cash skyrocketed by 25 percent, leading traders in the cryptocurrency community to suspect a short-term pump. Over the past few weeks, throughout the large correction, cryptocurrencies in the global market moved on a similar trend led by bitcoin and Ethereum. Apart from several rare instances wherein small market cap cryptocurrencies like FunFair increased for a brief period of time, the majority of cryptocurrencies in the market moved up and down simultaneously. However, in the past 24 hours, the price of Bitcoin Cash increased from $995 to $1,250, with volume heavily concentrated on OKEx, the Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency exchanges operated by OKCoin, formerly the largest cryptocurrency exchange in China prior to the country’s cryptocurrency trading ban in September 2017.