We live in a world where people are forced to leave their home and move to another country just so that their families can have a shot at decent living. Those migrants then have to pay anywhere between US$5 to US$95 just to send that money home and wait up to five days for it to reach the destination. The existing money transfer pathways leave much to be desired. This is why we will soon be witnesses of today’s remittance industry disrupted by crypto.
Understanding the Remittance Industry
Simply put remittances are money sent to support a family member living abroad. In a typical situation a migrant conducts money transfers to the country of origin. However, the opposite may be the case as well as with parents supporting children studying overseas.
Conventional remittance transfers involve the sender paying local currency to a Money Transfer Operator and the recipient collecting the transferred funds in the country of destination currency. This process involves certain transfer fees and can take up to 5 days to be finalized.
Remittance transfer prices result from transaction fees (percent or a fixed rate) and foreign exchange margins. Average remittance cost on a global level is 6.75% of the transferred amount, however, it varies by region. This amount ranges from under 4% for transfers made to Mexico, to over 8% for those to South Africa and China.
These high fees and slow processing times are a direct result of legacy technology involving a large number of intermediaries. A typical transaction involves engagement of three separate banking systems: a Sender, a Corresponder and a Receiver Bank, therefore it is no surprise that fees can reach almost a tenth of the sent amount.
Global remittance is a US$700 billion industry involving over one billion people either sending or receiving remittances worldwide. It is estimated that this figure could even reach a whopping US$1 trillion by the end of 2022. Western Union holds the largest market share, followed by Wise, MoneyGram, Ria and others.
Wave of Crypto Remittance in Latin America
According to the World Bank, US$100 billion or one seventh of the global remittance market is contributed by Latin America. This part of the world has seen significant growth in cryptocurrency remittances in the past few years. Lately, many money transfer platforms were unavailable to certain markets due to the Covid-19 pandemic, geopolitical conflicts and internal economic restrictions. Therefore, people were forced to find alternative money transfer channels and crypto was an obvious choice for some.
Western Union had suspended all U.S. dollar transfers to Cuba due to newly imposed sanctions by the United States in 2020. Venezuelan economy is encountering an inflation rate which makes volatile cryptos actually more stable than their own currency and they are not the only nation in Latin America facing hyperinflation.
El Salvador has even adopted Bitcoin as a legal tender in 2021. The president Nayib Bukele has specified high money transaction fees as one of the reasons for this move as a quarter of the country’s GDP comes from remittances. The same reason was listed by Alexander Höptner, the CEO of BitMEX, for at least five additional countries moving to accept Bitcoin as a legal tender by the end of 2022. All these circumstances have incentivized more people than ever to turn to crypto for remittances.
Could Crypto Remittance Replace Conventional Money Transfers?
Crypto remittances offer faster transactions and can come with much cheaper fees than traditional money transfers. Unfortunately, cryptocurrencies still present an obscure concept for the majority of people. For those less familiar with the crypto market, there are many articles and tutorials online covering anything from how to perform peer to peer (P2P) transactions to how to buy crypto if you are under 18.
For many, the synonym for crypto is Bitcoin. Sending Bitcoin is definitely one alternative of crypto remittances, however, transaction fees for Bitcoin transfer are unpredictable as they are determined on a per-byte basis instead of a percentage. According to Coindesk, an average Bitcoin transaction costs $23, though, patient users willing to wait for lower congestion can pay $9-$11 instead. For a person sending $200, this is costlier than using traditional money transfers.
These high costs incentivized other blockchain-based projects like Ripple, Stellar and BitPesa to focus on money transfer and consequently offer substantially lower fees for remittances than Bitcoin. Some startups today provide software for crypto remittances that require no understanding of cryptocurrencies from the users. In some countries, like Venezuela, you can even hire an agent to handle crypto fiat transfers for you, for commission, ofcourse. However, despite all these incentives most people still shy away from crypto remittances due to high technological barriers perceived to buy and convert it.
Remittance Crypto Unity
People are creatures of habit and realistically, for most it is difficult to learn and adapt to a completely new payment system. This is why the announced partnership between Stellar and MoneyGram is of such importance to all money transfer users. This is not the first such cooperation as MoneyGram was initially associated with Ripple on a similar project. However, once the SEC filed a regulatory lawsuit against Ripple, the partnership was terminated.
Stellar is a blockchain-based project that is aiming to connect institutions, payment systems and individuals on its platform. The goal is to provide cheaper, faster and more secure international transactions than the ones currently in place. Its mechanism allows the funds to be transferred instantaneously worldwide.
MoneyGram is one of the largest money transfer providers in the world servicing over two hundred countries.
This partnership is currently being piloted within the U.S. and should provide an easy on and off ramp for cryptocurrencies and cash. Since millions of people worldwide trust MoneyGram with their money transfers, it is safe to assume that we will witness a gradual shift from conventional to crypto based remittances in the future.
It is a fact that money transfers from one country to another are slow and expensive today and this is all due to a large number of intermediary parties and legacy technology used. This is why we will witness the remittance industry disrupted by crypto in the years to come. It will take time, however, the world remittance service as we know it will be a thing of the past.
What is pump and dump crypto strategy?
The cryptocurrency market has appeared quite recently and continues to adopt individual components of classical financial institutions. Digital assets are increasingly compared to the stock market due to many similarities. Indeed, most of the trading and investment strategies that work on the fund apply to the crypto market.
Today we will talk about one of these strategies. It’s called a crypto pump and dump. We will try to fully reveal the very concept, essence, and methods of applying the strategy, as well as its especially negative impact on the cryptocurrency market. Well, let’s start! What is a pump and dump crypto in the usual sense? In simple terms, this is a real manipulation raised to the absolute.
How does a cryptocurrency pump-dump work?
Consider a specific example, albeit unrealistic. Pump and dump Bitcoin. There are a certain number of people united by the nickname Satoshi Nakamoto. They have a project called Bitcoin that they want to make a quick buck on. To do this, they artificially pump up the asset with pre-prepared volumes of “investments”, after which investors, delighted with the success of bitcoin, begin to invest real liquidity in the asset. Thus, the first part of the insidious plan called “pump” takes place.
Visualization of pump and dump/ photo: polygant
Participants of Satoshi Nakamoto saw that the asset rose to $60k and the price is unlikely to go further. In other words, the real investment potential that arose as a result of the artificial infusion of funds has dried up. And at this stage, all members of the Satoshi Nakamoto group begin to sell their coin holdings while the price is at its maximum. Thus, the craftsmen fix the profit or produce the second part of the insidious plan called “dump”. This is how the bitcoin pump and dump happened and this is how this procedure goes in relation to any other cryptocurrency.
In classical markets, this procedure was carried out regularly, especially during difficult economic situations and greedy liquidity providers. However, subsequently, the procedure was brought under legislative regulation and its use was significantly reduced. Pump and dump in the cryptocurrency market concerning new projects is a very common practice due to the lack of government regulation and protection of investor rights. This is a very risky thing, so if you are a novice investor or you are underage, then it is better to learn how to buy crypto if you are under 18 and forget about the pump dump procedure.
Types of “pump-dump” tactics
There are two types of artificially inflating the price of a token to get rich quickly. Short-term pump and dump target retail traders who are in the market at the current time. This is because a short-term dump and pump takes from several minutes to several hours, but not longer. The task of pampers is to create instant excitement under the guise of a certain event. On average, for a short-term pump, the organizers need about 40-70 BTC, depending on the calculation of the expected profit.
A long-term pump and dump last for several days. Usually, digital assets from the top thirty top by capitalization are used for this. Usually, pumping and dumping such large projects requires a large audience and investment infusions. The most famous pumper in the cryptocurrency environment is Elon Musk, who, at every opportunity, tweets something about the DOGE coin, and the asset price immediately soars by 10% -15%. In this case, investment trust in the entrepreneur and large audience work.
There is another example where the main role was played by the investments in the project itself. We are talking about the Cardano token, which received a huge boost in August 2021. During the month, the asset grew from $0.9 to $3.1 and secured its place in the top five projects by capitalization. Subsequently, the project failed to fully realize its long-term plans. Despite this, the pump can be considered successful, as Cardano has established itself in the top 10 crypto assets by capitalization and is successfully creating its ecosystem.
Cardano pump in August 2021/ photo: TradingView
How to identify pump and dump?
So how do you recognize the cryptocurrency pump and dump procedure and not fall for its hook? The first red flag during this procedure should be unreasonably high market activity. We are talking about sharp bullish signals on cryptocurrency technical indicators, large buy orders, and a general increase in trading volumes. That’s sorted out, but what does “unreasonable” mean? This means that the sharp growth of the project was not the result of some positive news, such as the conclusion of cooperation with a large investor. If the project took from nowhere and suddenly grew, then you have a pump-dump procedure in front of you.
It is very difficult to make money on a pump dump since the main volumes of investments are in the hands of the organizers. Only a narrow circle of people knows when to sell stocks and take profits. Usually, profit-taking goes through one wallet and other investors simply do not have time to react. Investors would not have had a chance if at one moment our familiar team of Satoshi Nakamoto took and sold 2 million coins out of 5 million BTC. And other investors would hardly have had time to take advantage of the opportunity to fix at least some part of the profit.
But you need to understand that if the project is large, then there is a chance that after the pump there will be no dump. In this case, you have a project that is trying to attract new investors with the help of pump prices. Cardano did not fully meet the expectations of short-term investors, but it cannot be said that the project is a scam.
Therefore, if you accidentally stumbled upon a “promising” project that is growing in price before your eyes, then most likely this is a local cunning action of a narrow circle of people. And in order not to become part of someone else’s enrichment scheme, it is better to bypass such projects. The main weakness of pump-dump projects is a weak information base. Therefore, try to find out as much as possible about the project, its partners, and the team before making investment decisions. Even in such a volatile market as cryptocurrency, token prices do not fall by 80% in an hour. Be careful and choose investment projects wisely.
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