Do you see it? did you notice it or did it simply creep up on you without you noticing?
Looking back between the peak, which took place in January and 1 April, the total value of the cryptocurrency market plummeted more than 70%, from $835B to $243B. Over the course of the last few weeks, while the world focused on tariffs and gas attacks and cruise missile strikes and the potential of a widening of the Syrian conflict, the cryptocurrency market cap almost unnoticeably regained more than $100B in value. If history proves to be any sort of indicator, in the next couple of years, we’re going to see a gradual (but hopefully unstoppable) pattern emerging one that is far more stable (over say the next 5 years), and therefore sustainable, than the pattern that has defined the crypto market for the last few years, particularly in the last 18 months or so.
The other issue that is moving gradually unnoticed is the SEC moving to, as I’ve warned about before, as defining cryptos as “a security”. Arguments are now been raised that as the crypto coin/token develops (or moves in a different business direction) then it must be defined as it evolves or because it is evolving, as a security. I would say because the evolution of the business is not know, it will end up been defined as a security. Its certainly not a commodity if it continues to evolve. The obvious example is how Google started out versus what the company has developed into today, it was never just an internet search or ad company, nor did it turn out that way. We will keep an eye on this story but I think this will be something that will develop. It’s certainly only just starting as a debate.
I will give you just a few sentences now, which start to show the reach of crypto and blockchain around the world. If you even just notice where in the world this news comes from you will see how much crypto and blockchain is challenging the world, but also its useful to note that this time around (by that I mean before the internet!) alot of major companies have taken to early research and adoption. It may also prove useful for other investments you hold
outside the crypto sphere to see if the company you have made an investment in has made any progress with blockchain or made any blockchain preparations.
So for example, Brazil’s largest brokerage house, XP Investimentos SA, is planning to enter in the cryptocurrency trading space. Retail giant, Walmart, is planning to use a blockchain-powered platform to secure its payment data. The incoming head of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, John Williams, stated that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies cannot replace the US Dollar because they do not satisfy the basic condition of a currency. (All I will say about this particular point is Mike Novogratz, in an interview, I’ve seen, has set out the points crypto must meet to become lendable and a currency. So is it possible? Is this where his focus will be? Is this what his rumoured “Bank” will look to set in motion. That’s all guess work on my part, but worth keeping an eye on to see how crypto will develop towards what some people see as cryptos ultimate development).
The Supreme Court of Russia has ordered a court in the city of St. Petersburg to consider an appeal against Bitcoininfo.ru, a cryptocurrency information website that was blocked in 2016. Iran’s central bank has prohibited banks from dealing in cryptocurrencies in their country, amid concerns over money-laundering issues. MoneyToken Financial Services welcomes the CEO and COO of Bitcoin.com, Roger Ver, onto the advisory board. The platform, aimed at miners, projects that made their token sales, traders, investors and exchanges, will allow holders of crypto assets to gain access to loan-based financial services, using cryptocurrency as collateral. The partnership between MoneyToken and Bitcoin.com will bring new benefits to the Bitcoin Cash community; BCH will be available as accepted collateral on the MoneyToken lending platform. Other countries such as Malta are using blockchain to create a new wave of industry opportunities for its population.
Bitcoin (BTC) Price 16 to 20 April
On Monday Bitcoin was trading at $8,364.99 a coin. Bitcoin recorded a weekly gain of over 7% and closed on Friday at $8860.00 a coin. The price of bitcoin took a dive on Tuesday, falling by more than $200 is less than 20 minutes, which could have been the result of a single seller who unloaded a sizeable amount of the digital currency. The balance of wallet, an anonymous digital account which is valued at $1.49B fell by 6,500 bitcoin Tuesday, with the average sale price sale being $8,146.70, a total value of just over $50M, according to bitinfocharts. The sale comes a day after the
third-largest wallet, which famously purchased over $400M in bitcoin in February, let go of 6,600 bitcoin at an average price of $8,026. All told, the two whales dumped over $100M of bitcoin within 24 hours. Over the weekend, Bitcoin continued its upward trend and the virtual currency surpassed the psychologically important $8,500 mark. Bitcoin Cash prices rallied and closed at $1,121.69 a coin, after the digital asset service provider, Bitpay, permitted traders to accept Bitcoin Cash payments via its Pos application. Adding to the positive sentiment, Bitcoin Gold surged over 50%
last week, while Ripple registered a weekly rise of over 40%.
At present, the total market value of all cryptocurrencies is $392.10B, with Bitcoin accounting for $150.25B.
Bitcoin Opening Price $8,364.99 Close $8,860.00 High $8,920.90 Low $7,830.98
China, Japan, Korea and Australia
There is a trial underway in northern Australia, to see if blockchain technology can be used to track the quality of mangoes as they travel from Top End farms to southern markets. With funding from the CRC for northern Australia, it is hoped the trial will shed light “into some of the dark areas” of the mango supply chain. SBI Bank, a Russian commercial banking subsidiary of Japanese financial giant SBI Holdings, has announced that it is joining the New York-based blockchain consortium led by R3, CoinDesk reported.
Samsung is looking to transform their supply chain and logistics operations using blockchain and, save 20% in shipping costs. According to Bloomberg, the Korean tech giant might soon use the blockchain to manage its global supply chain network. Samsung is considering a blockchain ledger system to keep track of global shipments worth tens of billions of dollars a year, according to Song Kwang-woo, the blockchain chief at Samsung SDS Co, the group’s logistical and information and technology arm.
The head of the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (Hong Kong SFC) said during a speech on “New Technologies and Asset Management” that the type of fundraising conducted through ICOs is better suited to venture capital funds. Leung notes that although the Hong Kong SFC in its role as a securities regulator sees new technologies like Blockchain as beneficial, she underlines that embracing this new technology comes with some important caveats: “While we acknowledge that innovative technologies such as Blockchain have the potential to improve efficiency and financial inclusion, that does not entitle anyone to conduct fundraising from the public in violation of securities law”.
BitFlyer, has denied reports concerning the identity verification process in its platform. Last week, a Nikkei report claimed that BitFlyer had made it easy for customers to start trading after submitting copies of their identity cards. According to the report, users were able to trade on the Bitflyer platform after 24 hours of opening an account. Based on Nikkei’s report, Japan’s Financial Service Agency (FSA) raised concerns about BitFlyer’s verification process.
South Korea’s Bithumb exchange, the country’s largest with a daily trading volume of US $476M, has released an audited report showing it holds $6B in cryptocurrency assets on behalf of customers. A subsidiary of publicly traded company BTCKorea, Bithumb is required to publish its audited accounts. Bithumb, South Korea’s leading cryptocurrency exchange, has recently revealed plans to issue its own token, Bithumb Coin, in an Initial Coin Offering (ICO), local news outlet TokenPost reported on 19 April. According to the report, the Bithumb token sale will be conducted in Singapore since ICOs are banned in South Korea.
USA, South America and Canada
Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has acquired Cipher Browser to boost its decentralized mobile browser and ethereum wallet. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. JP Morgan Chase is facing legal action over its extortionately ‘Sky High’ interest rates and fees when customers use credit cards to buy and sell cryptocurrencies. JP Morgan, alongside other major banks, have moved to ban the use of banking and credit cards in purchasing cryptocurrencies. But a Federal Court has since accused JP Morgan of taking on underhanded methods to prevent its customers from becoming involved with cryptocurrencies. Credit Card users have had their purchases treated as cash advances as opposed to purchases.
Chinese cryptocurrency mining hardware manufacturer Bitmain has been given the approval to set up mining facilities in Walla Walla County, a county located in the US state of Washington. The Port of Walla Walla, the county’s economic development agency, unanimously agreed to embark on a land lease and purchase option for 10 acres to be used for crypto mining project by Bitmain subsidiary Ant Creek LLC.
Venezuela Localbitcoins users traded a record 2.7 trillion bolivars in the week ending 14 April, new data shows. Coming just after the debt-ridden country’s parliament formally approved a law requiring all government institutions to accept its Petro cryptocurrency by July, the astonishing numbers dwarf any other week since records began in 2013. By comparison, the previous week saw $35M change hands, while for the last week of March, the numbers totalled around $18M. As Bitcoinist reported Saturday, the highly controversial Petro will now become enforced legal tender across various sectors of the ailing Venezuelan economy, despite multiple sources, including some in the country’s parliament, labelling it a corruption scam.
TRAC Intermodal has joined the Blockchain in Transportation Alliance (BiTA), an organization for the development of blockchain standards and education for the transportation industry, with the goal of bringing together leading companies that are committed to developing blockchain technology.
Austin’s mayor, Steve Adler, told TechCrunch that, “at a high level, [the test] is trying to figure out how to solve one of the challenges we have in our community related to the homeless population, which is how to keep all the information of that individual with that individual.”. Sly Majid, Austin’s Chief Services Officer explained that identity issues should be a priority for the residents. According to a census conducted in 2018, about 2,000 people are homeless in Austin, with several thousand being at different levels of transition. The local authorities want to provide better services for this group of people, and thus they deal with issues like identity verification and creating a personal history for each individual.
Los Angeles-based DNAtix, also known as the ‘genetic blockchain company’ has successfully performed the world’s first DNA sequence transfer on the Ethereum Blockchain. The complete genome sequence of the Enterobacteria phage phiX174 sensu lato virus was transferred in a proof of concept test on the Ethereum blockchain and is believed to be the world’s first single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) virus to ever be stored in this manner.
US-based cryptocurrency exchange Kraken will stop its trading services in Japan, citing rising operational costs. Kraken, one of the world’s longest-operating cryptocurrency exchanges, had been allowed to operate in Japan without a license. It tentatively plans to cease all its services. San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has not been resting on its laurels and has announced the acquisition of Earn.com in a $120M deal. Pantera Capital Management says bitcoin hit a bottom at the $6,500 level and is on its way back up, probably to a new record high in the next
year. In a letter to clients, the large cryptocurrency hedge fund says a turning point was hit when bitcoin recently moved back above its 200-day moving average.
Eric Schneiderman, Attorney General of the State of New York, decided to launch an inquiry into largest cryptocurrency exchanges, including GDAX, Bitfinex, and Binance. On Tuesday, Schneiderman announced the launch of his “Virtual Markets Integrity Initiative”, claiming that it is aimed at improving transparency and accountability of major cryptocurrency trading platforms in order to protect virtual currency investors. Schneiderman’s Office sent a letter to 13 crypto exchanges, requesting to disclose their operations, use of bots, conflicts of interest, outages and other key issues, the official statement reads.. “With cryptocurrency on the rise, consumers in New York and across the country have a right to transparency and accountability when they invest their money”.
There are two different associations to be formed by a different set of cryptocurrency exchanges. The largest cryptocurrency exchanges namely Mercado Bitcoin, Bitcointrade, Foxbit and others joined hands to build a cryptocurrency association named Associação Brasileira de Criptoeconomia (ABCripto). On the other hand cryptocurrency exchanges, such as Fintech are creating a rivalry association named Associação Brasileira de Criptomoedas e Blockchain (ABCB).
Garcia further iterated that their association will start working with other cryptocurrency exchanges of the country and beyond. A number of Chilean cryptocurrency exchanges have sought to appeal the recent decision by several Chilean banks, including state-owned Banco del Estado de Chile, to suspend the accounts of cryptocurrency exchanges. Cryptocurrency exchange platforms, Buda, Orionx, and Cryptomkt, have successfully sought to have their cases heard by an appeals court – the Court of Defense of Free Competition (TDLC).
At a time when the ‘big nations’ are busy dragging their feet concerning the favourable regulation of the virtual currency industry, Bermuda, the self-governing British overseas territory island nation is putting the finishing touches to its crypto regulation plans. According to The Royal Gazette, the regulatory body declared its determined to make sure the bill encompasses a vast array of blockchain-based virtual currency related activities.
UAE’s banking giant Emirates NBD is spearheading blockchain initiatives in the region and has become the first to go-live at scale with Cheque Chain. Cheque Chain integrates blockchain technology into cheques to strengthen their authenticity and minimize potential fraud using a QR code printed on each cheque.
The Israel Securities Authority (ISA) is sending requests for clarification to Israeli companies that had previously provided announcements related to cryptocurrency. This move shows that the regulator is not easing its control over crypto-oriented companies listed on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) despite the bearish trend of the crypto market.
South East Asia
The Hanoi Department of Industry and Trade has prohibited organizations and individuals involved in e-commerce business in the city from using bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. This follows a directive signed by the country’s prime minister intended to strengthen the legal framework of cryptocurrencies. The Hanoi Department of Industry and Trade announced on Saturday that it has sent document No. 1638 / SCT-QLTM to “organizations and individuals directly or indirectly related to e-commerce business in Hanoi to not use bitcoin and other virtual currencies cryptocurrencies) to settle e-commerce transactions online”. Citing that if violations are detected, “they shall be strictly dealt with according to the provisions of the law,” the regulator wrote. The document reiterates, “bitcoin and other similar virtual currencies are not legal means of payment in Vietnam; The issuance, supply, use of bitcoin
and similar virtual currency is prohibited in Vietnam”. Furthermore, as of January this year, issuing and using cryptocurrencies “may be subject to criminal prosecution”.
Digital currency trade Huobi has declared that it is setting up a London-based office as it looks to extend itself outside of Asia. Chern Chung, Huobi’s senior business advancement administrator for Europe, said that London was the favoured area for the venture into the West, including: Indeed, even with vulnerability encompassing Brexit, London remains the best area for organizations to move to.
Boerse Stuttgart, Germany’s second-largest stock exchange, will be launching a cryptocurrency trading application later this year. Sowa Labs, a FinTech subsidiary of Boerse Stuttgart, unveiled the app on Friday, called Bison, the app is expected to be released September.
In a bid to explore how blockchain technology can be used for intellectual property (IP) rights enforcement, European Union (EU) agencies are organizing a “Blockathon” event in Brussels, Belgium, in June. The first-ever blockchain hackathon event is organized by the European Union of Intellectual Property (EUIPO), through the European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights.
Mastercard, the global financial services provider is hiring 175 new employees in Dublin. The company is trying to increase its presence in Ireland and improve their services. Among the specialists that the company is searching for we can find Blockchain experts. According to the Irish Tech News, Mastercard announced that it will be increasing its presence in Ireland by hiring new employees.
The UK banking system is among the most exposed to disruption from blockchain technologies, according to a report published today by an influential credit ratings agency. Cross-border claims from banks in the UK to counterparts in others are equivalent to more than 90 per cent of GDP, according to Moody’s Investors Services, underlining the City’s place at the heart of the international financial system. However, the implementation of
blockchain technologies for clearing and settlement of transactions could cut out the need for middlemen in trillions of pounds worth of transactions, disrupting a large part of the City’s financial services. A Moody’s managing director, said the UK “stand[s] out as having a lot of cross-border claims” relative to other nations, with only the much smaller economies of Luxembourg and Hong Kong more exposed.
Marsh, a global insurance brokerage and risk management firm, announced the first commercial Blockchain solution for proof of insurance, Business Wire reported on 16 April. With this application of Blockchain technology, Marsh aims to transfigure the certificate of insurance process “from complicated and manual to streamlined and transparent”.
Lithuania to establish blockchain-based share register for non-EU companies to establish a blockchain-based system for overseas businesses to remotely register and manage their company in the EU. The plan, which would allow ‘Virtual Limited Liability Companies’ to gain access to Lithuania’s innovation-friendly sandbox regulatory system, is endorsed by the country’s central bank. Initiative to create virtual companies on the blockchain is a move towards even more ambitious goal – creating LTChain, i.e. moving relevant public services on blockchain.”. The ability to remotely
establish and manage a company in the EU is on the wish-list of many fintech companies.
IMF chief Christine Lagarde has dedicated her latest two blog posts on the official IMF website to cryptocurrencies. In her latest post, she outlines multiple benefits of crypto and envisages a large-scale shift away from government-issued currencies towards cryptocurrencies.
Mark Karpelès, the CEO who presided over Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox until it went bankrupt in 2014, has had a hard time finding work for the last four years. And while Karpelès ended up finding 200,000 of the Mt. Gox Bitcoins—and authorities believe the other 650,000 were stolen by outside hackers—he’s currently on criminal trial in Japan for charges of embezzlement, manipulation of electronic data, and breach of trust. He’s the new chief technology officer of London Trust Media, a Denver-based company that boasts the world’s largest paid virtual private network (VPN) service.
Cognizant and a consortium of leading Indian life insurers, comprising SBI Life Insurance, Max Life Insurance, Canara HSBC OBC Life Insurance, Edelweiss Tokio Life, IDBI Federal Life Insurance, Birla Sun Life Insurance, HDFC Life, Kotak Life, Tata AIA Life, PNB MetLife, IndiaFirst Life Insurance, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance, Bharti AXA, Aegon Life, and SUD (Star Union Dai-ichi) Life Insurance have announced that they have developed a blockchain solution to facilitate cross-company data-sharing. Built on Corda, a distributed ledger platform developed by R3 and hosted on Microsoft’s Azure infrastructure, the solution will help these insurers reduce their reliance on data intermediaries and aggregators in obtaining customer and policy details for a wide range of critical purposes, such as know-your-customer due diligence, financial and medical underwriting, risk assessment, fraud detection, and regulatory compliance.
Indian bitcoin exchange Coinsecure has announced its plans to repay the users who lost their funds in the recent theft on its platform. Last week, Coinsecure announced that 438.318 bitcoins (approx $3.3M) were stolen from its bitcoin wallet.
Russian police have initiated criminal investigations against two entrepreneurs for illegal crypto mining, RIA56 reports, citing Irina Volk, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation (MIA RF). The two created a mining farm on the site of an abandoned industrial rubber goods plant in Orenburg. They deployed a crypto farm with a productive capacity of about 8M kWh on the site of a now non-operating industrial rubber goods plant, and privately mined digital coins with stolen electricity. While investigating the crime scene, police officers
discovered over 6,000 pieces of operating mining equipment with power cables connected to the electric power substation located nearby.
Crimes and Viruses
Renwick Haddow exchanged his Mediterranean home for a New York jail cell and is looking at two charges of wire fraud, the U.S. Department of Justice announced. Haddow, 49, is accused of syphoning off over $36M from clients who were suckered into investing in his two outfits, Bitcoin Store and Bar Works. According to the SEC, Haddow funneled around 80% of the funds to his own accounts, and sent $1M to a bank account in Morocco and over $4M to bank accounts
in Mauritius. The director of the SEC’s New York Regional Office, Andrew M. Calamari, explained, “As alleged in our complaint, Haddow created two trendy companies and misled investors into believing that highly-qualified executives were leading them to quick profitability”. A Taiwanese Bitcoin miner has been shot by gangsters after an argument about mining profits went wrong, local media reported on 15 April. According to Liberty Times, a Bitcoin miner known only by the name Wu accepted 10M Chinese yuan, equal to almost $1.6M, from two “local gangsters” in order to turn Bitcoin mining profits for them.
One of Coinsecure’s key executives is being accused of involving himself in stealing investor funds, making it the latest in a long line of cryptocurrency exchanges that have lost investor funds in what looks to be an inside job. Dr Amitabh Saxena, the Coinsecure Chief Strategy Officer (CSO), has been accused by the Indian cryptocurrency exchange of being involved in the huge loss of 438 Bitcoins worth $3.3M.
Ian Balina, respected cryptocurrency investor and YouTube influencer have stated on his social media pages that he has been hacked of over $1M. While Balina remains uncertain about the actual cause of the hack, he stated that the only clue he has was that he’s requested to change his college email after receiving notification that it was compromised.
Even a James Patterson Novel might think twice about including a story about a prisoner in Iceland suspected of masterminding the theft of about 600 computers used to mine bitcoin to then manage to escape custody and flee the remote North Atlantic nation on a passenger plane. But its true, Police said surveillance footage showed a suspect they identified as Sindri Thor Stefansson boarding a passenger plane to Sweden on Tuesday morning. Stefansson was among 11 people arrested earlier this year for allegedly stealing the powerful computers. Icelandic media have dubbed the country’s biggest theft the “Big Bitcoin Heist”.
Police in China’s northwestern city of Xi’An have arrested the founders of a claimed nationwide cryptocurrency pyramid scheme that allegedly amassed 86 million yuan ($13 million) from over 13,000 people. According to a report from local media source Huashang News, Wednesday, the scheme launched on 28 March this year after months in preparation by a primary suspect who has takes surname Zheng, as well as three other accomplices.
A woman allegedly wanted the wife of her lover dead, and she went to the dark web to make it happen, according to prosecutors. Police in DuPage County, Illinois started investigating after getting a tip last Thursday that a woman was the subject of a murder-for-hire plot, the Daily Herald reported. Authorities found that in January, Tina Jones, of Des Plaines, allegedly paid a “dark-web” company more than $10,000 in bitcoin. The “dark web” is part of an online space that conceals the identity and location of the user, according to CNBC.
The Australian Border Force (ABF) announced the arrest of the woman on Friday on suspicion she imported MDMA (aka Ecstasy), as well as opioids Fentanyl and Oxycodone. Dark web currencies also include privacy coins like Monero, but also Litecoin, an asset used for everyday transactions with increasing merchant adoption. The ABF issued a warning that “people shouldn’t assume the dark web is invisible to Australian agencies” adding that the accused “used a dark web portal and cryptocurrency Bitcoin to order, pay and organize multiple shipments of illicit drugs from the United Kingdom”.
Ripple O $0.694 C $0.924 H $0.937 L $0.649
TenX will soon produce a debit card in the name of the two company’s. Charlie lee stated on twitter that another debit card for Litecoin is about to be produced courtesy of Wirex. “Seems like another Litecoin debit card in the works. With about 1.5 million users in over 130 countries, the crypto wallet provider is linked with physical and virtual VISA debit cards.
LTC O $132.78 C $155.59 H $156.69 L $124.80
London Trust Media is also increasingly investing in cryptocurrency: It was an early investor in Zcash, a privacy-focused digital coin, and has also backed Purse, a startup allowing people to buy Amazon items with Bitcoin.
Zcash O $232.68 C $282.00 H $285.51 L $219.55
IOTA, has today announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with InnoEnergy Scandinavia (InnoEnergy), an innovative firm responsible for sustainable energy across Europe. The partnership, which was made possible due to the involvement of InnoEnergy in IOTA’s Data Marketplace initiative, according to Wilfried Pimenta’s (head of Biz Dev at IOTA) statement on medium, was directed towards advancement of “smart community solutions and business model nnovation”.
IOTA O $1.67 C $1.97 H $2.02 L $1.537
Smart contracts platform Cardano rose 10% on 15 April after the China-based cryptocurrency exchange Huobi announced it would add its ADA token. Cardano, which founder Charles Hoskinson confirmed had debuted on the exchange, sparked fresh enthusiasm among traders this month after developer IOHK committed to a host of major upgrades.
ETH O $533.72 C $617.00 H $621.50 L $500.91
Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
BCH O $720.09 C $1121.69 H $1149.00 L $739.60
DASH O $383.50 C $459.97 H $466.00 L $353.08
MONERO O $201.03 C $271.19 H $273.02 L $188.57
This blogpost represents the views of the author. It is not checked for accuracy.