The most important part of any investment is planning and conducting due diligence. When being invested in a volatile or speculative market, any information is helpful. Over the past years, there have been lots of research firms providing reports for retail and institutional investors. The growing number of research firms is also an indicator that the market is filling the gaps of inefficiencies in the crypto market. Analysts and researchers monitor and analyze the Bitcoin and crypto market to provide a wealth of information for their readers. Over the years, we have noticed many research firms from traditional markets entering this niche. However, considering this market is unique and different from other traditional markets, we decided to review research firms with years of experience that are solely researching Bitcoin and crypto market.
Since many sites offer cryptocurrency research, we made a list of 5 websites that provide unique coverage angles and provide quality content in their reports. The list below are the top Bitcoin and cryptocurrency research sites for retail and institutional investors: (No particular order to the list below.)
Top 5 Cryptocurrency Research Sites
Bitwise Asset Management is a pioneer when it comes to Bitcoin and cryptocurrency research. Bitwise is known for a variety of reasons, from submitting reports to regulatory agencies to providing Bitcoin research reports. If you are interested in subscribing to their research report, you also have the advantage of reading their previous Bitcoin reports for free. That’s not all! They are also known for providing indexes. You can monitor four of their indexes for free: Bitwise 10 Large Cap, 20 Mid Cap, 70 Small Cap, and 100 Total Market indexes. Institutions can contact Bitwise for their premium service that offers research, education, and due diligence.
The Cryptocurrency Investment Research Corporation (CIRCO) provides comprehensive Bitcoin reports for investors and institutions. CIRCO offers a free Crypto Economic Index (CEI) report for Bitcoin every month. Some of the content to expect on the CEI report is research and analysis on the network activity, geographic activity, and market correlation. CIRCO is also the developer and creator of the Network Volatility Index indicator. They offer investors Analytics to monitor the BTC market using metrics such as the NVI indicator, sentiment, and more. CIRCO is also known for accurately warning investors in their CIR Report before the November 2018 crash happening. Retail and institutional investors can contact CIRCO for more information about their premium CIR Report.
Incrementum, Crypto Research Report
Incrementum, Crypto Research Report is a great and persistent provider for quarterly reports. They offer free quarterly cryptocurrency reports for users to read. Each quarterly report covers different crypto-assets each time. Some things to expect in the research are exclusive interviews, insights, and statistical analysis. They offer a directory to review research on different subjects relating to cryptocurrencies. Incrementum was one of the first to cover the XRP Securities Case in their July 2019 quarterly report. All quarterly reports are free; however, you can also subscribe to receive early access to those reports.
Delphi Digital is a research firm that offers research and analysis reports on the digital asset market. They also provide a premium members portal for paying subscribers. But if you are looking to read some of their content first, they offer free sample reports for Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Decentralized Finance (Defi). If you are interested in research covering decentralized apps (dapps) or monthly market calls to help make your investment decision, then Delphi Digital is worth a check. The type of content to expect are comprehensive research reports, outlook reports, insights, analyst calls, and commentaries. Outside of Delphi Digitals free sample reports, they offer several premium members packages that start from $25/month.
Smith and Crown
Smith and Crown is a cryptocurrency and blockchain, research provider since 2013. Many known publications such as Bloomberg and more have mentioned their research content. If you’re seeking research coverage on a diverse selection of crypto-assets, then Smith and Crown will not disappoint you. That is not all! They also offer a dashboard platform on their website called Smith + Crown Intelligence. The platform provides free research and crypto market metrics for investors. Crown and Smith do not indicate any paid premium packages, but if you cannot find what you’re looking for, then feel free to contact them.
If your focus of research is irrelevant to investments or the list above does not satisfy your needs, more sites offer research on different subjects of cryptocurrencies. For educational purposes, Lopp provides a variety of thesis papers on Bitcoin. If you’re in compliance or law enforcement, be sure to check Cipher Trace or Chainalysis for more details. There are many more sites that offer research on Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, and you might be wondering why other websites were not listed above. The top 5 are listed based on three factors, independence, trial, comprehensive relevance. Independency: They are independent and do not seem affiliated with exchanges or digital asset members, and there have been no reports on bias promotions. Trial: They provide free reports or free sample reports for users to read, before making any purchases. Comprehensive Relevance: The quality of content they offer covers all factors that are related to investments and the crypto-market.
Invest responsibly with a wealth of knowledge first.
Being involved in the crypto-market, and having a website that offers the majority of the cryptocurrencies is very convenient. The ability to find a screener that provides metrics for any cryptocurrency makes life easy. Since many sites offer this service, we made a list of 5 websites that are different than the rest and go beyond your typical metrics and charts.
(No particular order to the list below.)
Top 5 Free Crypto-Market Screeners
Coinpaprika offers a detailed liquidity feature for all the cryptocurrencies. This feature offers the market depth that measures 1% or 10% sections of the order book. What makes this feature useful is that they provide a liquidity historical market depth chart for all the cryptocurrencies!
Live Coin Watch
Live Coin Watch has come a long way over the years. If you have not visited the website recently, then you're in for a beautiful surprise. They offer +/- 2% market chart for all the cryptocurrencies. That's not all! You have the option of viewing the market depth charts. (1) You can see it separately with each exchange. (2) Or view the aggregate of all the exchanges. (3) And also a quick overview as a spark chart with all the cryptocurrencies.
Coin360 offers several features that make it different than the rest. They offer a liquidity book feature to view all the bid and ask orders coming from exchanges from an overview perspective for all the cryptocurrencies. That is not all; their known for offering a heat map for cryptocurrencies, and exchanges!
Coinlib offers a beautiful and simple user interface for investors. The cryptocurrency overview page provides baseline charts instead of a simple line spark chart. However, something that makes Coinlib different than the rest is its 24-hour flow chart! The flow charts show you crypto-assets flowing from and to the cryptocurrency you are viewing.
CoinGecko is a popular website for tracking cryptocurrencies. CoinGecko does its best to tackle fake volume by offering a "Trust Score" for exchanges. If that is not enough, they also provide historical volume charts for each exchange! There is more! If you're a derivatives trader, you will love coingecko! They offer detailed metrics such as open interest, funding rates, and more.
You might be wondering why CoinMarketCap is not on the list. This list focuses on features that make the websites above different than the rest. (If you have never heard of CoinMarketCap, be sure to visit their website). While there are many more websites out there, we decided to choose 5 of the best sites that offer detailed analytics/metrics, but most of all, offer something different and unique from the rest.
Every new market comes with innovations, but also new obstacles. Recently there has been lots of focus on regulation surrounding the cryptocurrency market. Some see these developments as positive, but some see it as unfavorable. However, many seem to dismiss technical developments due to lack of knowledge, and the high number of different cryptocurrency projects that needs researching. When shifting the focus from market maturity to network maturity, the long-term potential starts to become more apparent.
The most effective way to narrow down your research is to seek developments that are attempting to tackle threats that most cryptocurrencies currently face. Solving problems focused on minimizing potential vulnerabilities and attack vectors is typically a long-term initiative. Such an effort is also related to the cryptocurrency's objectives and motives.
Cryptocurrency market participants and network operators may have heard the term "51% attack". Currently, this is a possible threat to cryptocurrencies; however, it might not be a problem now, yet it is still a valid risk that cryptocurrencies could face in the future. When understanding the full scope of decentralization, the severity of a 51% attack becomes more serious. A 51% attack is a method of attack on the cryptocurrency's underlying asset, the blockchain, which enables a group of miners to control more than 50% (or majority) of the hash rate. The hash rate is the strength and computing power of the network; having such control could potentially disrupt the ecosystem if the group of miners decides to do so. Claiming a cryptocurrency is decentralized goes beyond transacting without a middleman. The roots of a decentralized network are components of its crypto-economics, such as the process and the distributed consensus. Fair distribution produces efficient long-term results. As a cryptocurrency's valuation increases, conducting a 51% attack becomes more difficult. For example, the highest valuation is currently Bitcoin (BTC), and performing such an attack would be difficult due to the increase in cost, risk, and time. However, in any case, a 51% attack on a cryptocurrency could also be orchestrated by numerous miners coming together to perform a mutual malicious attack. If a malicious attack were to be successful, it would enable the group to disrupt and manipulate the network by invalidating transactions and altering transactions to duplicate the cryptocurrency, or otherwise controlling the strength of the network.
On November 30th, 2019, Monero (XMR) will be conducting a scheduled network upgrade. (Some call it a fork, however, we will be calling it a scheduled network upgrade to avoid possible confusion with a chain-split. This network upgrade will not introduce another cryptocurrency.) Monero undergoes planned network upgrades every six months. The reason Monero schedules their upgrades is to take advantage of patching, bug fixes, and reduce vulnerability gaps in the newer update.
The idea behind the scheduled upgrades is to force users to update also. Why is that? Let us take a smartphone or laptop as an example. If you notice at times, your device randomly makes an update to applications or operating systems. If you keep delaying the updates, it becomes a critical update, and in the case of those devices, they will possibly force the upgrade to happen on its own. The updates ensure that the software is secure. Just like companies take extensive measures to ensure you are protected, the developers found this method to be adequate to increase security. This upcoming scheduled network upgrade will introduce a new Proof-of-Work algorithm called RandomX. Monero developers and researchers have conducted extensive audits, research, and testing on RandomX, and the long-awaited update will be functional on November 30th, 2019. RandomX is a Proof-of-Work algorithm that uses cryptographic functions to increase the complexities against mining operators to achieve long-term resistance against network mining centralization.
On October of 2018, Princeton University and Florida International University released a research study expressing their concern about cryptocurrency mining, they stated "At the time of writing, 74% of the hash power on the Bitcoin network is in Chinese-managed mining pools. Pool miners cannot be directly controlled by China, but the managers are located within China and as such are subject to Chinese authorities." The intent for a malicious attack might not be there, but having such congestion in mining dominance gives the advantage to orchestrate a malicious attack on the network. Sometimes the case is not necessarily a 51% attack, but the ability to attack a cryptocurrency's ecosystem. On November of 2018, Cryptonaire Research Firm released a research report days before the crypto-market crashed, stating, "Another related concern is the actions of these mining entities are unprofessional and pose a network security risk. Mining operators have been expressing harmful intent towards damaging some crypto-asset networks." Sometimes the miners are not positive affliates of eachother, and will attempt to cause a "mining-war" against one another by indirectly joining one appalling motive. When considering developments for a cryptocurrency concerning the mining network, it is vital to view all long-term solutions. Turning a blind eye on the lack of diversity in the mining network will only decrease the potential in a balanced network, which leads to a reduction of use for the cryptocurrency. The crypto-market might be full of speculation at the moment; however, in the future, when inefficiencies and insecurity become evident to the average user, the market will react based on the user's experience.
Crypto-assets are an emerging market, and some find it difficult to understand the technicals of cryptocurrencies. The trust falls on the developers to ensure the users of its product are satisfied and secure both short-term and long-term. Sometimes a crypto-asset can have excellent user experience due to its simplicity or easy-to-use interface. Although, that does not mean the network is ready for extreme growth. When prioritizing future developments, the team of developers must keep the crypto-assets vision in mind. Problem-solving must be both effective and efficient. For example, Moneroj ability to achieve privacy by default also enables digital fungibility by default. If one crypto-asset becomes tainted due to its historical activity, why should another user down the chain be punished for possessing the same crypto-asset. The user that initially caused the tainted transaction is the suspect, not the victimized individual innocently and unknowingly possessing a tainted crypto-asset. In the past year, we've seen lots of regulatory development, and that is not expected to stop. Establishing a solution for centralized mining will ensure the cryptocurrency avoids all sorts of future critical problems. If there is no solution to a possible attack vector, then removing the incentive of orchestrating the attack is another option. It is considering the valuation of the crypto-market and Bitcoin's dominance being well over 50%, which leaves the majority of the decentralized minable crypto-assets at risk.
If cost and time is the risk of conducting a malicious 51% attack on a cryptocurrency, then mining hardware that reduces cost and time will only enable the possibility for such an attack vector. The rise of custom hardware that is designed to process a specific task has become a possible threat to the cryptocurrencies networks. Instead of a processing unit such as a CPU or GPU, which is processing things like a regular computer or laptop, some miners are running FPGA (Field-programmable Gate Array) and, more notably, ASIC (Application-specific Integrated Circuit) miners. There has been a tremendous increase of miners using ASIC hardware, and due to its characteristics poses a possible threat to the network in the future. However, Monero has found a way to tackle these issues by introducing RandomX. According to the Open Source Technology Improvement Fund, "They will either be significantly slower, too costly to build due to complexity or too expensive to run compared to general purpose hardware (in electricity costs)." As mentioned before, the higher a cryptocurrency's valuation, the higher the costs and time consumption to conducting a malicious 51% attack or merely operating as a bad actor on the network. That may not solve the issue with botnets on the network; nonetheless, understanding the difference between an entity as a bad actor and automation as a bad actor is another example of excellent development prioritization. Botnets follow a set of rules coming from diversified mining outputs types (e.g., GPU, CPU, ASICs); therefore, they are not directly considered bad actors on the network. Monero took the initiative to reduce those possible attacks now by securing the network with the new Proof-of-Work algorithm, RandomX. By solving the problem to make the algorithm more complex for specific-tasked processors such ASIC's, and to effectively create equality and fairness in cryptocurrency mining and the network.
Monero is changing the way people view decentralization and mining. This upcoming upgrade is a turning point for future technical developments for all decentralized cryptocurrencies and mining operators. Therefore, Monero will soon achieve a significant milestone in its development that will enable a balanced ecosystem and a secure decentralized network.
With many speculating the recent surge of the price of Bitcoin (BTC) on October 25, 2019, there is a reason to believe that there have been regulatory approvals that could soon put Bitcoin in front of the 11 million investors that total more than $1 trillion in assets through TD Ameritrade.
With the recent news of President China, Xi, stating that China should “seize opportunity” and embrace blockchain, this had recent headlines relating this statement to a recent price reversal. It is evident that such a statement is beneficial and will create openness to blockchain projects, although the keyword is blockchains, not cryptocurrencies. However, due to the high speculation in the crypto-market, these headlines contributed to the price surge. Although, there have been developments in the background which hints an upcoming major onramp for Bitcoin in the United States.
On the day of the price surge, two Bitcoin-related products have been filed and certified by the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). One of the Bitcoin product filings was ErisX Bitcoin Futures. The filing stated, “Eris Exchange, LLC (“Eris Exchange” or the “Exchange”) hereby notifies the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (the “Commission”), pursuant to Commission Regulation § 40.2, of its listing of Physically Delivered Bitcoin Futures (the “Contracts”) on Eris Exchange’s electronic trading platform, anticipated to begin on or after December 1, 2019.” On the CFTC Trading Organization Products webpage, the date of the filing indicates the same day of the surge, October 25, 2019. ErisX is backed by TD Ameritrade, as mentioned on their website, “As an investor, you’re always looking for opportunities. And as a firm we are, too. That’s why TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation has invested in ErisX—an innovative company that plans to offer traders access to cryptocurrency spot contracts, as well as futures contracts, on a single exchange.” TD Ameritrade announced this investment in 2018. However, there have been no hints as to when they will be offering cryptocurrency trading until now. Considering ErisX provides the trading product solution to institutions such as TD Ameritrade, ErisX’s recent Bitcoin Futures filing is one step closer. Also, another filing push is the amendments made on ErisX rulebook, which covers Cryptocurrency Trading, not just futures. The recent ErisX Rulebook filing indicates, “Eris Exchange, LLC (“Eris Exchange” or the “Exchange”) hereby submits for self-certification to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (the “Commission”), under Commission regulation 40.6(a), the following amendments to Eris Exchange Rulebook. The proposed changes will become effective on November 11, 2019.”
Cryptocurrency trading services from ErisX and its affiliates could be around the corner. When asked when cryptocurrency trading will start, TD Ameritrade indicates, “Crypto trading will be dependent on when ErisX completes its product development and obtains regulatory approval.” With the recent regulatory filings taking effect on December 1, 2019, and the recent Rulebook amendments taking effect on November 11, 2019, there is a high possibility institutions like TD Ameritrade might offer cryptocurrency trading in the upcoming months.