In early trading Friday, bitcoin skidded precariously close to the $8,000 mark, down nearly 60% from highs set in December. While the No. 1 cryptocurrency pared earlier losses to trade higher by Friday afternoon, bitcoin still hadn't reached above the $10,000 benchmark it last saw March 8.
According to Coindesk technical analysis, if bitcoin finishes the day above its 10-day moving average it could be a signal that the selloff from the recent $11,700 high has come to a close. To reach above that moving average, bitcoin would have to reach $8,964.
As investors head into the weekend, these are the headlines they can't miss in crypto for Friday, March 16.
New York to Hike Rates
The New York State Public Service Commission announced that upstate municipal power authorities will be allowed to charge higher electricity use rates for cryptocurrency mining businesses starting this month. The Commission said it will "allow municipal power authorities to create a new tariff focusing on high-density load customers that do not qualify for economic development assistance and have a maximum demand exceeding 300 kW and a load density that exceeds 250 kWh per square foot per year, a usage amount far higher than traditional commercial customers." The decision came following a petition from the New York Municipal Power Agency claiming that New Yorkers would see their power bills increased from crypto mining, but that the mining did little to bring forth economic development in the area.
Alt Coins in the Spotlight
As bitcoin struggled to maintain much momentum this week, alternative coins fared far better. The total value of all cryptocurrencies fell to $316 billion this week, down about 61% from a record high of $830 billion set in January, according to data from Coinmarketcap. While most of the highest-market cap cryptocurrencies fell throughout the week, some of the lesser-known coins earned gains. According to a report from Coindesk, Binance Coin, VeChain and NEM were all higher this week. All three of those cryptocurrencies don't make the cutoff as top-ten in market cap. As of publication, there were 1,564 cryptocurrencies trading, per Coinmarketcap data.
Crypto Makes Congress Report Debut
A 2018 Joint Economic Report from Congress has dubbed 2018 "the Year of Cryptocurrencies." In the report, lawmakers dedicated an entire section to blockchain and cryptocurrency in what appears to be the first mention of the technology in such an update. In addition to outlining its significant rise to prominence over the last year, the report offers a number of recommendations for cryptocurrency. It states that blockchain could be a useful tool in deterring cybercrime, suggesting both lawmakers and their constituents learn more about the technology and its "wide range of applications in the future." The report also says, "These new innovations and markets presented America's regulatory and legislative institutions with unique challenges as well as technology that could revolutionize the world's digital landscape and economy."
Bitcoin Losing Hackers' Favor
In a Congressional hearing Thursday, experts told lawmakers that bitcoin has fallen out of style to a degree with hackers, who have started to favor ethereum and other lower-priced coins, Forbes reported. As bitcoin exchanges have fallen under intense scrutiny from U.S. regulators, cyber crime on the platforms has become increasingly difficult. Part of the move away from now relatively mainstream bitcoin is also due to its comparably less anonymous nature. Crooks have reportedly found it easier to evade identity exposition when using lesser-known coins, as transferring bitcoin into cash leaves them more prone to unmasking.
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