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Purpose of this post
This post is directed towards community members who wish to rapidly access information on current developments surrounding the Dash cryptocurrency. Lately we've noticed how the pace of events picked up significantly within the Dash project due to many years of hard work coming together and pieces falling into place ("Evolution" is finally here. It's called Dash Platform). For the purpose of keeping these many pieces of information together, however, singular Reddit submissions are insufficient. Thus we decided to maintain a pinned thread collecting blog posts, interviews, articles, podcasts, videos & announcements. Check back regularly, as this thread will always feature the latest news around Dash, while also serving as a mid-term archive for important announcements and developments. Journalists looking for news and contact opportunities wrt Dash, please bookmark:
Review: The most thrilling 24 hours in Bitcoin history
From 12:00 on March 12th to 12:00 on the 13th, Bitcoin, the most influential currency in the cryptocurrency industry, suffered two major declines, and its price fell from a maximum of 7,672 USD to a minimum of 3,800 USD (data from Huobi, the next Same), the decline was 50.4%, which means that the price of Bitcoin has achieved a fairly accurate "half price" in these 24 hours. Previously, Bitcoin's "halving market" was mostly considered to be an increase in market prices caused by Bitcoin's halving production, although many people have questioned the "halving market" as " The price is halved ", but when bitcoin walks out of the current bad market, it still surprises most investors. First plunge The bad 24 hours started at 12 o'clock on March 12. Due to the rapid spread of the new crown epidemic in Europe and the United States, the global financial markets have been raining for several days. After several adjustments, the price of Bitcoin has hovered up and down within the range of $ 7600-8200 in the previous three days. However, after 12 o'clock on the 12th, Bitcoin The price fell below $ 7,600 for the first time, breaking the psychological expectations of many investors, entering a rapid decline channel, and dropping to about $ 7,200 at around 18 o'clock. At this time, the decline of Bitcoin is still around 7%, which is a common occurrence in the history of Bitcoin. However, after 18 o'clock that day, the market turned sharply, and the price of bitcoin plunged again in a short period of time. It fell to US $ 5,555 within tens of minutes, a drop of 28%, and the amount of contractual positions on each platform exceeded US $ 2 billion. During the decline, most major exchanges such as Huobi, Binance, and OKEx experienced systemic freezes of varying degrees. Many users complained for a long time that the exchange app could not properly display the homepage, market page, and transaction page, and added positions, stops, and withdrawals. Obstacles such as cash withdrawal and cash withdrawal operations have also shown that this situation also highlights that mainstream exchanges still fail to address the ability of their trading systems to respond to extreme conditions. For this decline, the collective sell-off of large Bitcoin holders is considered to be the main reason. For example, Grayscale Investment, the world's largest crypto asset fund management company, was sold and sold 40,000-50,000 Bitcoins. News from the exchange said that Bitcoin sold 400,000. For a long time, bitcoin has been called "digital gold" by the blockchain industry, and has good risk aversion properties. During the tense situation between the United States and Iran in January this year and the global stock market fell, Bitcoin rose from $ 7,200 all the way to more than $ 10,000. Bitcoin's safe-haven attributes have been widely recognized in history, but this time caused by the new crown epidemic Under the risk of the global economic downturn, the decline in the price of bitcoin has become the asset with the largest depreciation among various mainstream financial assets, and its high-risk nature will most likely collapse. Some analysts believe that bitcoin should be further classified as an alternative asset. At a time when liquidity shortage is extremely serious, as a high-risk alternative investment asset with the highest volatility in the world, funds will naturally be drawn from the market by investors. Looking for safer, more liquid assets, prices plummet. "Everyone in the future will realize that Bitcoin is not digital gold, but" an amplifier of risk. " Its value cannot be anchored. Unlike other asset prices, which are affected by costs and prices, Bitcoin has no normal market value range. As of now, it does not have any convincing valuation basis, more like a swaying boat. Without the anchor, its value fluctuates greatly, and the impact of halving the market and supply and demand on it is far less important than psychological factors. "Said Cai Kailong, senior researcher at the Institute of Financial Technology of Renmin University of China. However, some people in the industry hold different opinions. "BTC is still the most powerful currency in the history of mankind. It provides liquidity 24 hours a day. This is something that other markets simply can't imagine, but because liquidity is too good, this time it just happened to happen in other markets. When funds are scarce, the first choice for selling supplementary funds has also led to the decline of gold. Of course, the amount of BTC that is currently much lower than gold is certainly unstoppable in a short period of time. "A Weibo blogger" "fhrp". In addition to the sell-off of large institutions, some mortgage lending platforms have also passively become an important boost for this downturn. In the past six months, the Defi concept has been particularly hot in the blockchain industry, and many cryptocurrency-based cryptocurrency lending platforms were born. As a result, a large number of large Bitcoin users will pledge the Bitcoin in their accounts to third-party lending platforms and use the USDT to borrow cash to purchase cash, which is equivalent to increasing leverage. However, these platforms are not mature in terms of mortgage rate setting and liquidation mechanisms. Users who increase the mortgage rate of assets have a slower transfer speed on the chain. As a result, during this period of rapid decline in the market, a large number of mortgage orders have lower mortgage assets than loans. As a result, the amount of bitcoin out-of-market positions this time was far more than in the previous period of large market volatility, which further exacerbated the selling pressure of the bitcoin spot market. From 19:00 on the 12th to the early morning of the 13th, the price of Bitcoin hovered in the range of 5800-6200 US dollars, and the market began to prepare for the next stage of the trend. Second plunge On the evening of the 12th, the stock markets of mainstream countries in Europe and the United States successively opened and collectively fell, and the stock markets of at least 11 countries, such as the United States, Canada, and the Philippines, melted down. At the close of the morning on the 13th, both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S & P 500 Index had the largest single-day percentage decline since the 1987 stock disaster. The Dow closed down about 2352 points, the largest drop in history. The bad performance of the stock market quickly passed to the currency market. Beginning at 7 o'clock on the 13th, the price of bitcoin plunged from the position of $ 5,800 once again, dropping all the way, and successively fell below $ 5,000 and $ 4,000. For the rapid decline of the market, many people in the industry believe that the main factor is not only the panic selling of the market, but also the mutual stepping on of contract investors. Weibo blogger "AlbertTheKing" pointed out that most of the long positions in Bitcoin leverage are in the BitMEX perpetual contract market. The long positions caused by the decline in bitcoin prices caused a series of short positions, which in turn caused arbitrage spreads and spot arbitrage. The party rushed in to open multiple orders and sell spot arbitrage at the same time, thinking it was okay. As a result, I did not expect Bitcoin to fall more and more fiercely, and his own arbitrage and long positions also burst. So at first, the leveraged bulls stepped down on each other, and later became the arbitrage party. . "Fhrp" also pointed out that because BitMEX only has BTC margin, ETH's permanent liquidation also needs to be undertaken by btc. The profit portion of the hedge order cannot be included in the margin, and BTC is not sufficient because of the card being in serious shortage. The exploding warehouse order was opaque, so that no one dared to pick up the corpse later, fearing that it would become a corpse. Of course, the key is the lack of a fusing system, so that the market can slowly wait for liquidity to keep up. Under the interweaving of many risks, the price of bitcoin is about 10:15. It has fallen below 3,800 US dollars in many exchanges such as Huobi and OKEx, which is 38% lower than the price of 0 on the day and 50.4% lower than 24 hours ago. This is the highest record in the 24-hour drop since the birth of Bitcoin. Such a precise decline cannot be doubted as the bad taste of the bookmaker behind the exchange, if the bookmaker does exist. Of course, it is not excluded that this situation is due to the tacit understanding among the main market participants, or a purely natural phenomenon. But judging from objective facts, there is indeed some evidence that the situation is unnatural. After bitcoin hit a low of $ 3,800, its price quickly rose in the next 20 minutes, rising by 59% to $ 5,250, but then fell rapidly. At the turning point of $ 3,800, which is 10:16, the BitMEX trading system, the largest bitcoin exchange in the cryptocurrency industry, suddenly stopped until 10:40. It can be seen that the time point when the Bitcoin price stopped falling rapidly and stopped rising rapidly was close to the time point when BitMEX went down and returned to normal. This shows that BitMEX has a huge influence on the secondary market, and it also makes a lot of One suspects BitMEX is manipulating the market. Sam Bankman-Fried, chief executive of Derivatives Exchange FTX, tweeted that he suspects BitMEX may have intentionally closed transactions to prevent further crashes and to avoid using exchange insurance funds. Mining company BitPico also tweeted yesterday, "According to our analysis, BitMEX Research has closed its long position of $ 993 million with its own robots and capital. Today the manipulation of the bitcoin market is caused by an entity and the investigation is ongoing. " In response to this incident, BitMEX responded that there was a hardware problem with the cloud service provider, and in a subsequent announcement, it was pointed out that the DDoS attack was the real cause of the short-term downtime. Why the downtime of the BitMEX trading system is difficult to verify, but from its objective impact, its short-term downtime plays a vital role in curbing the further decline in the price of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, which has eased investment to a certain extent. The panic sentiment created by this has created space for the rebound and correction of cryptocurrency prices such as Bitcoin. Sam Bankman-Fried even speculated that if BitMEX did not go offline because of a "hardware problem" this morning (February 13), the price of Bitcoin could fall to zero. If compared with the traditional financial market, the effect of this BitMEX outage event is quite similar to the "fuse" mechanism of the stock market. Trading is suspended for dozens of minutes at the moment when investor sentiment is most panic, so this outage event Also aroused the emotions of many people in the industry. "BitMEX has helped the currency circle" melt out, "otherwise the chainless stepping will not know where to fall. After the fuse, everyone calmed down and the market returned to normal. Weibo blogger "Blockchain William" posted a blog saying, "The market is not afraid of falling, and it is not afraid of stepping on it. That is why. This is why the global stock market has melted down because investors panic. It is a bottomless pit. Once out of control, there is no bottom Now. " Of course, the factors that cause the market situation to reverse are not limited to this. According to the feedback from multiple users on social platforms, BitMEX and Binance's major exchanges forced the short positions of multiple accounts to close positions at 10 o'clock on March 13th, that is, the automatic lightening mechanism was in effect. According to the BitMEX platform mechanism, when investor contracts are forced to close out, their remaining positions will be taken over by BitMEX's strong closing system. However, if a strong liquidation position cannot be closed in the market, and when the marked price reaches the bankruptcy price, the automatic lightening system will lighten the investor holding the position in the opposite direction, and the order of lightening is determined according to the leverage and profit ratio . Specifically, due to the sharp fluctuations in the price of bitcoin, a large number of long single-series bursts and the scarcity of market liquidity. In order to control the risk, the platform will automatically place some short orders with high profit ratios and high leverage on the market, increasing market flow. It also avoids the risk to the platform caused by the inability of the short-selling order to be executed in a timely manner. According to BitMEX's announcement, about 200 positions were automatically closed by the system. And Twitter blogger Edward Morra said, "On BitMEX alone, short positions worth about $ 500 million have been liquidated." If this data is true, it means that BitMEX's strong liquidation operation has brought more than 5 to the contract market. The market price of 100 million US dollars has a significant positive effect on the market that is being sold out. However, as a compensation, BitMEX also stated that it would contact each damaged user and compensate them according to the maximum potential profit that the investor obtained during the automatic liquidation. In any case, through the operation of exchanges such as BitMEX, the price of bitcoin has entered a recovery channel, and it is still hovering at the $ 5,000 mark, while driving the entire cryptocurrency market to pick up. After this thrilling 24 hours of bitcoin, the ideal "halving market" has disappeared. The real and brutal "halving market" is coming. Perhaps many investors and investment institutions have expressed their confidence in the crypto assets represented by bitcoin. The understanding will change in this regard, and the confidence of the entire industry needs to be rebuilt. This depends on the application value of bitcoin to be deepened.
Exchanges The best way to support XRP is to buy/sell XRP directly with your local currency, not with USDT, ETH, LTC, or BTC. Available XRP pairs - AUD, BRL, CAD, CNY, EUR, GBP, IDR, INR, JPY, KRW, MXN, PHP, RUB, THB, TRY, UAH, USD, ZAR. You can find the complete list of XRP exchanges and supported XRP/fiat pairs Here.
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW - THIS WEEK IN CRYPTO (02.08.19 – 02.15.19)
Total Market Cap, as of 02.15.19 at 3:00pm (PST): $120,400,220,614 (-1.38% from last week)
STORY OF THE WEEK
● Skeptics turned adopters. JPMorgan releases JPM Coin, a cryptocurrency to settle transactions between clients within the firm to reduce settlement time.
CRYPTOCURRENCY TRADING SERVICES
● Coinbase Wallet launches Google Cloud and iCloud backups for private keys. ● QuadrigaCX accidently transfers 103 Bitcoins (~$500K USD) to in-accessible cold wallets. Canadian firm continues to lose credibility. ● Binance aims to launch the test-net of Binance Chain on February 20th. The main-net will enable the decentralized exchange being developed by the firm. ● Coinsquare acquires decentralized exchange StellarX. A move acquiring talent and infrastructure.
● Indonesian regulator (BAPPEBTI) announces strict requirements for cryptocurrency futures trading. Traders must maintain $5.7M USD in accounts and have $7M USD in paid-up capital. Exchanges must maintain $70.9M USD in accounts and have 56.7M USD in paid-up capital.
● UnionBank, one of the largest commercial banks in the Philippines launched a cryptocurrency ATM. The 1st machine in the nation, with more to come based on usage. ● NASDAQ adds Bitcoin and Ethereum indexes, Bitcoin Liquid Index (BLX) and Ethereum Liquid Index (ELX). Firm plans to launch a Bitcoin futures platform in Q1 2019.
● HSBC announces a 25% in operational costs when using its blockchain-based software “FX Everywhere” to settle foreign exchange trades conducted by firm. ● Status releases new hardware wallet called “The Keycard”. The size of a visa card, supporting BTC, BCH ,LTC, XRP, ETH, ERC-20 tokens and can sign transactions by taping card on a mobile device. ● Chinese internet giant Baidu launches operating system for DApp development. New OS will relieve high data storage and expedite development offering pre-built DApp templates.
● Digital Asset, a distributed ledger technology company for financial services loses its CTO/CIO James Powell. ● Coinbase, a San Francisco based cryptocurrency exchange hires LJ Brock, previously HR lead at Citadel Trading - one of Chicago’s biggest hedge funds.
● @jerrybrito – “If JPM Coin is a cryptocurrency, then so is Fortnite V-Bucks.” ● @code_jide – “Blockchain for employment history. No need for resumes again. Just check the chain.” ● @felixge – I herby start a new #blockchain consulting business: 1. You ask me if X will be revolutionized by blockchain technology. 2. I charge you $100k. 3. I say no. 4. You save millions of dollars. First customer gets 10% discount. Contact me now.
https://preview.redd.it/hj213pg9i3j31.png?width=860&format=png&auto=webp&s=5f170802f499c617d21c300abcfc2358c6458697 George Harrap is CEO and co-founder of Hong Kong based Bitspark, a bankless money transfer ecosystem focused on Asia and Africa. This essay is presented as a part of No Closing Bell, a series leading up to Invest: Asia 2019 focused on how the Asian crypto markets are interacting with and impacting global investors. To keep the conversation going in person, register forInvest: Asia 2019coming up in Singapore on Sept. 11–12. Stablecoins are prevalent at all levels of crypto transactions these days, from the largest spot markets on exchanges like Binance to the trading pair of choice by many Hong Kong and mainland China OTC desks. The reason for the demand is simple: stablecoins provide a bridge between the fiat and crypto worlds. However, not all stablecoins are the same. From currency peg to counterparty risk, there are two competing models duking it out at the moment: trusted and trustless stablecoins, with each referring to different levels of counterparty collateral risk. We prefer trustless stablecoins as that model eliminates the counterparty risk of needing to trust a company, auditor, bank and humans in general. The top 5 stablecoins in the market are all pegged to the US dollar and while USD is a reserve currency, that market is quite saturated already. In contrast, the opportunity in the other 180 fiat national currencies used by the majority of the world has barely been realised. That’s where the next frontier for stablecoins is. In operating Bitspark in many emerging markets we have heard first hand from individuals, NGOs and companies how bank collapses are somewhat common and trust in government and banking is rock bottom. Access to digital cash that’s publicly visible and under the ownership of the individual would eliminate these problems and this is what Bitspark has been pioneering with PHP, IDR, VND pegged stablecoins for our remote money exchange agents.
Unique trading opportunities
There are interesting trading opportunities here too. Exotic currencies around the world almost always depreciate against the US dollar with recent examples found in Venezuela, Argentina, Turkey, Zimbabwe and Iran. A good trade here would be to short those currencies via placing a dollar stablecoin as collateral to back the issuance of these currencies and then selling them for dollars. Bitcoin traders, merchants, and individuals need to use these currencies everyday anyway, so there is a market of buyers to which issuers can sell to. Over time as the issued currency depreciates, the collateral value backing it becomes more valuable relative to the issued currency, enabling the issuer to withdraw or exchange excess collateral. Having already sold their issued coins on Day 1, they have effectively shorted the exotic currency without having to deal with any questionable local custodian — that’s almost impossible to do within traditional financial services At Bitspark, we are creating trustless stablecoins for every currency in the world having recently launched an exciting product with Stable.PHP, a stablecoin pegged to the Philippine Peso backed by BitUSD (the first and oldest stablecoin in existence) using the Bitshares protocol. I will be discussing more about some of the trading opportunities in taking short positions on Stable.PHP at this year’s Invest.Asia conference in Singapore. For example, when your collateral is BitUSD and you are issuing an exotic currency like Stable.PHP, you can take a leveraged position long or short. Our set of exotic stablecoins will only be expanding through the year enabling more people to access a digital financial system in their local currency. Abacus image via Shutterstock
In case you missed it: Major Crypto and Blockchain News from the week ending 12/14/2018
Developments in Financial Services
A cryptocurrency exchange-traded product (ETP) that trades on Switzerland’s Six Exchange saw record trading volumes on Thursday and Friday last week, suggesting that institutional investors may be buying the dip in cryptocurrencies. Four major cryptocurrencies underlie the HODL ETP, including Bitcoin (BTC), Ripple (XRP), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), and Bitcoin Cash (BCH). While HODL ETP’s one-month average daily trading is 20,000 shares, on Thursday, December 6th, and Friday, December 7th, 53,233 shares and 62.986 shares were traded, respectively.
A report published last week by global anti-money laundering policymaker, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), indicates that cryptocurrency exchanges in the United Kingdom pose a, “low risk,” for money laundering and terrorist financing activities. The report, however, does highlight that such activities on UK cryptocurrency exchanges are an, “emerging risk,” although there is not yet enough evidence to suggest that these activities are occurring through cryptocurrency exchanges. In its report, the FATF urged UK regulators to, “Continue to develop an understanding of emerging risks (such as virtual currencies) and intelligence gaps, and take appropriate action.”
Andreas Utermann, CEO and CIO of Allianz Global Investors, called on global financial regulators to ban cryptocurrencies while speaking at a panel discussion in London. According to a report by Reuters, Utermann said, “You should outlaw it,” while participating in a panel alongside Andrew Bailey, the head of Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority. Bailey responded by saying that Utermann’s comments were, “quite strong,” before adding that cryptocurrencies have, “no intrinsic value.”
Basis, a major US-based stablecoin project, is shutting down its operations and returning most of its funds to investors, according to a report by crypto news outlet The Block. The report by The Block cited, “multiple people with direct knowledge of the situation,” in claiming that the algorithmic stablecoin project, which generated UDS$133mm of funding through private investments in April, will return funds to investors. According to the Co-Founder and CEO of competing stablecoin project Nevin Freeman, Basis’ shutdown is due to regulatory concerns around one of its token types. Freeman explained, highlighting that algorithmic stablecoins implement a “secondary token”, known as a “bond token”, to help maintain the primary token’s peg. In many cases, regulators like the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) consider these secondary tokens to be securities.
Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by daily trading volume, announced that it has added Circle’s US dollar-pegged stablecoin, USD Coin (USDC), to its combined Stablecoin Market. Circle, a company backed by Goldman Sachs, first released its stablecoin in September of this year. Binance’s combined Stablecoin Market features other notable stablecoins, like Tether (USDT), that trade against cryptocurrencies as interchangeable base pairs.
Coinone, a South Korea-based cryptocurrency exchange, has officially launched Cross, a cross-border payments application that leverages Ripple’s xCurrent product to increase efficiencies. The application, released by Coinone’s payments subsidiary, Coinone Transfer, targets unbanked or underbanked South Koreans by enabling the transfer of funds to Thailand or the Philippines at a low cost.
Gemini, a cryptocurrency exchange heralded by the Winklevoss twins, released an official company blog post this weekend announcing that the firm will support Bitcoin Cash (BCH) custody and trading. The exchange will support only the Bitcoin Cash ABC network at this time, adding that they, “are continuing to evaluate Bitcoin SV over the coming weeks or months, and we may or may not choose to support withdrawals and/or trading of Bitcoin SV in the future.” Additionally, the company detailed that its listing of BCH is pending regulatory approval by the New York State Department of Financial Services.
Gemini, the cryptocurrency trading platform founded by the Winklevoss twins, announced the launch of a mobile crypto trading application in an official blog post today. Accompanying the launch of the crypto trading app is a new investment vehicle, dubbed, “The Cryptoverse,” that is comprised of a basket of cryptocurrencies weighted by market capitalization. While speaking to Bloomberg today, Cameron Winklevoss said that, “A lot of our decisions have perhaps given off a perception that we’re more institutional-based. The reality of the situation is that we have a diverse customer base. And the retail story is just beginning.” The Winklevoss twins went on to detail of a goal to expand reach to Asian markets by 2019’s end.
Good Money, a US neo-banking platform, has closed its Series A investment round that generated USD$30mm led by cryptocurrency-focused merchant bank Galaxy Digital and the founder of EOS (EOS) Block.one. Good Money aims to provide a variety of banking service and certain financial instruments to US account holders while exploring innovative changes to traditional banking practices. “Modern banking is a primary driver of so many issues we as a society face – from economic inequality, institutional racism, environmental destruction to political corruption,” said Good Money founder Gunnar Lovelace. Specifically, Good Money eliminates ATM fees while offering each bank user equity in the company.
Kraken, a notable cryptocurrency exchange, is seeking to raise funding with a USD$4bn valuation for the company and a USD$100,000 investment minimum, according to CoinDesk. In an email to investors, Kraken CEO Jesse Powell wrote, “There is presently a limited time opportunity available to a very small select number of clients to purchase shares.” The email goes on to detail that the exchange will close its offer on December 16th.
OKEx, the second-largest cryptocurrency exchange by daily trading volume, will begin listing Bitcoin Cash ABC under the original Bitcoin Cash ticker (BCH), as per an official announcement Tuesday. Additionally, OKEx will change the Bitcoin Cash SV ticker from BCHSV to BSV. The announcement by OKEx comes after other notable cryptocurrency exchanges have made the same switch, including Coinbase and Gemini.
PayPal, an online payments portal, has launched its own internal private blockchain platform that will allow staff to trade and exchange tokens while generating ideas and participating in programs to foster innovation, as per a report by news outlet Cheddar. The private blockchain network, which was built by 25 PayPal employees in just 6 months, will allow employees to earn more for enrolling in learning and development programs. The PayPal tokens are not tradeable, or worth anything for that matter, outside PayPal’s blockchain.
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), a big four consulting firm, is partnering with Bitfury Group, a large blockchain software and mining firm, to develop a blockchain accelerator specific to Russian businesses. As per an official press release by PwC, the partnership will leverage Exonum, Bitfury’s open source framework to build blockchain applications, for educational courses and seminars. The partnership aims to meet the, “current needs,” of PwC’s enterprise clients in Russia.
Revolut, a digital banking alternative with an in-application cryptocurrency exchange, announced that it has been awarded a European banking license. Seeking to become the, “Amazon of banking,” the license will allow Revolut to offer traditional banking services alongside its current cryptocurrency offerings to European customers. Nikolay Storonsky, Founder and CEO of Revolut, said in regards to the newly acquired license that, “With the banking license now secured, commission-free stock trading progressing well, and five new international markets at final stages of launch, we are living up to our reputation as the ‘Amazon of Banking’. Our vision is simple: one ap with tens of millions of users, where you can manage every aspect of your financial life with the best value and technology.”
Shinhan Bank, the second-largest commercial bank in South Korea, is launching a new project to implement blockchain technology in its internal processes with a goal of eliminating human error. According to a report by news outlet The Korea Times, Shinhan also recently completed a training program for its staff to increase their knowledge of blockchain technology across various applications. After Shinhan implemented blockchain technology for interest rate swap transactions on November 30th, South Korea’s second-largest bank is now aiming to apply the technology in its record-keeping process to enhance overall efficiencies.
SolarisBank, Germany’s second-largest and Europe’s ninth-largest stock exchange, is partnering with Stuttgart Exchange Group, a German fintech company, to jointly develop a cryptocurrency exchange. As per a report by Cointelegraph Germany, the joint cryptocurrency exchange venture, “is scheduled to launch in the first half of 2019.” This news comes after SolarisBank announced plans to launch a zero-fee cryptocurrency trading application this past May.
The Canadian city of Calgary is becoming the first city in Canada to launch a digital version of its local currency, according to a report by the Global News. Dubbed as the Calgary Digital Dollar, the digital currency will be exclusive to Calgary and operate alongside the country’s Canadian Dollar. Calgary-based businesses will now be required by law to accept at least 10% of a payment in digital currency, although they are allowed to accept up to 100%.
The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) is launching a pilot of its Global Payment Initiative (GPI) to combat growing blockchain and fintech solutions, according to an official announcement last week. Currently, the SWIFT Network is used by global financial institutions to conduct global financial payments and cross-border transfers of fiat currency. Although the project is still in its early stages, the GPI pilot hopes to, “build the foundation of a new integrated and interactive service that will significantly improve efficiencies in the payments process and which will ultimately be made available to all 10,000 banks across the SWIFT network.”
The United Arab Emirates’(UAE) central bank is partnering with the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) to develop a cryptocurrency to facilitate cross border transactions between the two countries, according to a report by news outlet GulfNews. In a meeting pertaining to global banking standards and regulation in the Arab region, Mubarak Rashed Al Mansouri, the governor of the UAE’s central bank, said, “This is probably the first time ever that witnesses the cooperation of monetary authorities from different countries on this topic and we hope that this achievement will foster similar collaboration in our region.” The prospective digital currency will be used by both central banks and financial institutions in the countries.
TokenSoft, a security token offering (STO) startup, has acquired a 20% stake in regulated broker-dealer Marpine Securities LLC in order to launch its own regulated broker-dealer. After acquiring the 20% stake, TokenSoft will launch its new regulated broker-dealer entity, called TokenSoft Global Markets, that will be registered through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). The new regulated broker-dealer entity will allow TokenSoft to advise token issuers through every step of the Initial Coin Offering (ICO) process. Additionally, TokenSoft will now be able to legally operate in services related to insurance and management.
Tom Lee, co-founder of Fundstrat Global Advisors and a notable cryptocurrency pundit, believes that the current fair value of Bitcoin (BTC) is between USD$13,800 and USD$14,800, according to a note published on Thursday. Lee arrived at this valuation by taking into account the number of active wallet addresses, usage per account, and other supply and demand metrics. Additionally, Lee forecasted that the fair value of BTC will reach USD$150,000/coin once BTC wallets account for 7% of Visa’s 4.5bn account holders.
UAE Exchange, an exchange based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is partnering with Ripple to launch a blockchain-based cross-border remittances platform by 1Q2019, as per a Reuters report on Thursday. The report details further that Finablr, a payments and foreign exchange company that owns UAE Exchange, observes a high level of remittance inflows from expatriate workers in the Middle East region. “We expect to go live with Rippel by Q1, 2019 with two other Asian banks,” said Finablr CEO Promoth Manghat, adding, “This is for remittances to start with, from across the globe into Asia.”
De Nederlandsche Bank, the Netherlands’ central bank, will soon require domestic cryptocurrency providers to obtain a license from the regulator to operate, as per a report by Dutch news outlet DeTelegraaf. The Netherlands' central bank is taking these measures in the hope that it will, “prevent such cryptocurrencies from being used to launder money obtained through crime or to fund terrorism.” In order to receive a license, cryptocurrency firms must maintain Know-Your-Customer procedures and report any suspicious activity to the Dutch central bank.
Eddie Hughes, a conservative member of the United Kingdom’s Parliament, suggested that Bitcoin (BTC) should be accepted as legal tender for tax and utility payments, according to news outlet Express.co.uk. The article discusses that Hughes, who is a self-described, “crypto enthusiast with amateur knowledge,” recently met with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, which accepts cryptocurrency donations. This news comes after the US state of Ohio announced that it would begin accepting BTC as legal tender for tax payments.
Following a case in Canadian courts that resulted in a ruling ordering mistakenly sent crypto funds to be returned to their owner, a blog post from the University of Oxford Faculty of Law is noting that there could be repercussions with the case potentially setting a precedent for lost or stolen cryptocurrency claims. The Canadian court case’s ruling will require defendant Brian Wall to return USD$370,482 worth of Ethereum (ETH) tokens to the plaintiff, Copytrack. The blog post from the University of Oxford Faculty of Law reads, ‘This precedent may have major repercussions for the enforcement of claims regarding lost or stolen cryptocurrencies,” adding that the ruling allows the plaintiff to recover tokens, “in whatsoever hands those Ether Tokens may currently be held.”
Japan’s government is considering plans to ease cryptocurrency taxes in an effort to revitalize the domestic cryptocurrency and blockchain industry. This week, Japanese Congressman Takeshi Fujimaki proposed four significant changes to taxation requirements pertaining to digital assets, which include: a reduction on the cryptocurrency gains tax from 55% to 20%; elimination of taxes on crypto-to-crypto payments; elimination of taxes on miniscule cryptocurrency payments; and an adjustment that would allow cryptocurrency investors to carry forward losses across quarters and years, effectively until cryptocurrencies are ‘cashed’ out.
Jay Clayton, Chairman for the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (US SEC), said during a speech that Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), “can be effective,” for fundraising, but that, “securities laws must be followed.” Clayton went on in his speech to comment on the US SEC’s work regarding distributed ledger technology (DLT), digital assets, and ICOs, saying that it is an, “area where the Commission and staff have spent a significant amount of time,” and, “that this trend will continue in 2019.”
Jay Clayton, the Chairman of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), expressed his optimism for distributed ledger technology’s potential impact on traditional financial markets in a testimony before the US Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs yesterday. According to a transcript published on the SEC’s website, Clayton said, “I am optimistic that developments in distributed ledger technology can help facilitate capital formation, providing promising investment opportunities for both institutional and Main Street Investors.” Additionally, Clayton highlighted that the SEC is, “Focusing a significant amount of attention and resources on digital assets and initial coin offerings (ICOs).”
Maxim Akimov, the Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, announced that no significant changes will be made to the draft of a bill concerning cryptocurrency regulation in the country, as per news outlet Finmarket. The bill was already approved by Russia’s parliament, the State Duma, in May 2018, although the bill has generated substantial discussion since. Since approval of the bill, all cryptocurrency and token-related terminology have been removed and replaced with the term “digital rights”. At the beginning of December, Pavel Krasheninnikov, Chairman of Russia’s State Duma, said that the bill needed to be, “significantly,” changed.
Pan Gongsheng, a deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China, highlighted that Security Token Offerings (STOs) in China are illegal while speaking at a summit in Beijing. As per a report by news outlet the South China Morning Post, Gongsheng told the summit that, “illegal financing activities through STOs and ICOs were still rampant in the mainland despite a nationwide clean-up of the cryptocurrency market last year.” In citing reasoning for the continued ban on STOs, Gongsheng explained that, “Virtual money has become an accomplice to all kinds of illegal and criminal activities.”
Pantera Capital, a blockchain and cryptocurrency-focused investment firm and hedge fund, is warning investors that as much as a quarter of their ICO project could potentially be violating US securities laws, according to a Bloomberg report. In a newsletter to clients, Pantera Capital warned, “While we believe the vast majority of the projects in our portfolio should not be affected, approximately 25% of our fund’s capital is invested in other projects with liquid tokens that sold to US investors without using Regulation D or Regulation S”
Russia has no intention of implementing Venezuela’s state-backed digital currency, the Petro, into commercial operations, according to a report by news outlet RIA Novosti. While speaking to reporters this week, Russian Deputy Finance Minister Sergey Storchak said, “Representatives from our tax service and central bank... got acquainted with the cryptocurrency Venezuela is introducing,” adding, “But no more than that. As for payments, they’re not happening yet.”
South Korea’s representative body, the National Assembly, held its first official meeting with seven of the country’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges on Monday. The purpose of the meeting was to debate cryptocurrency regulation between stakeholders of South Korea’s cryptocurrency industry. Cryptocurrency exchanges Bithumb, CobitCoin, Coinone, Upbit, Gopax, Coinplug, and Hanbitco were among the attendees of the debate, which reportedly focused on Anti-Money Laundering (AML) customer protections and Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures.
The United Kingdom’s Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an intergovernmental financial security body, is calling on the country’s government to increase monitoring of cryptocurrency markets. According to an official report last week, the UK must overhaul its Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and combat terrorist financing (CFT) efforts in order to prevent illicit activities with cryptocurrencies. “Virtual currency exchange providers are not yet covered by AML/CFT requirements,” the report details, adding, “this is an emerging risk and there is not yet evidence to suggest that broad scale ML/TF is occurring in the UK through this relatively small sector.”
The United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is interested in learning more about the Ethereum (ETH) network, its technology, and the markets build around it. On Tuesday, the CFTC published a Request for Input (RFI) that requests the public’s feedback on different questions concerning Ethereum. The RFI explains that its goal is to inform the CFTC about Ethereum and similar emerging technology, saying, “The input from this request will advance the CFTC’s mission of ensuring the integrity of the derivatives market as well as monitoring and reducing the systematic risk by enhancing legal certainty in the markets. The RFI seeks to understand the similarities and distinctions between certain virtual currencies, including here ether and bitcoin, as well as ether-specific opportunities, challenges, and risks.”
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (US SEC) is ordering that cryptocurrency asset manager CoinAlpha Advisors LLC pay a USD$50,000 fine, alleging that the firm conducted an unregistered securities sale. After forming in October 2017, CoinAlpha raised more than USD$600,000 from investors to invest in digital assets. In an official release, the US SEC said that CoinAlpha did not file a Notice of Exempt Offering of Securities, meaning that the firm breached securities laws by soliciting securities investors. Additionally, the firm allegedly did not adhere to proper know-your-customer procedures to verify that investors were accredited.
Venezuela is reportedly beginning to convert its citizens’ monthly pension payments into Petros, Venezuela’s controversial state and oil-backed cryptocurrency, according to a report by local economics blog the Caracas Chronicles. The conversion of Venezuelan pensioners’ payments into Petros came after the country already sent pensioners their monthly payment in the form of a check for Venezuelan Bolivars -- normally, upon receiving their check, pensioners would deposit their funds into a bank account where they could then withdraw fiat from local branches. The Venezuelan government, however, converted pensioners’ fiat payments into the Petro upon their deposit into a bank. In the first few weeks of the Petro’s existence, its value has risen from 9,000 to more than 15,000.
Warren Davidson, an Ohio Congressman and notable advocate of blockchain and digital assets, is floating blockchain technology as a solution to fund US President Donald Trump’s prospective US-Mexico border wall. While interviewing with NPR, Congressman Davidson suggested, “the American people, or whomever should choose to donate,” could pay for the border wall, adding, “you could do it with sort of like a crowdfunding site or you could do a blockchain and you could have WallCoins.”
“The long-term value of Bitcoin (BTC) is more likely to be USD$100 than USD$100,000,” says Kenneth Rogoff, a former Chief Economist for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the current Harvard University Professor of Economics and Public Policy. While writing an article for major UK news outlet The Guardian, Rogoff highlighted that, because BTC’s use is limited to transactions, it makes the digital asset more vulnerable to a bubble-like collapse. Rogoff also cited that BTC’s energy-intensive verification processes is, “vastly less efficient,” than systems that leverage, “a trusted central authority like a central bank.”
A new report by PeckShield, a blockchain security company that monitors various cryptocurrency ecosystems, details that decentralized applications (DApps) on the EOS (EOS) blockchain have lost as much as USD$1mm in hacks since July 2018. The report details further that DApps on the EOS network have sustained 27 breaches since July, which are responsible for the up to 400,000 EOS that have been compromised from hacks. Guo Yonggang, a blockchain security expert cited in a report on the matter by crypto media firm Blockchain Truth, believes that the hacks can be attributed to security problems with the DApps themselves, rather than with the EOS network.
A new study published by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance on Wednesday finds that the number of unique ID-verified cryptocurrency users nearly doubled in in the first 3 quarters of 2018. The study details that total ID-verified users increased to 35mm in the first three quarters of 2018 from 18mm at the end of 2017, representing an increase of 94%. As per an analysis of the study by Bloomberg, the growth of crypto’s userbase despite the market decline, “could signal that an eventual recovery could be coming.”
Amid the continued cryptocurrency sell-off, only two cryptocurrency mining machines remain profitable, according to real-time data from ASICMinerValue.com. ASICMInerValue.com, which calculates the profitability of Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) miners, indicates that only indicates that only the Ebank Ebit E11++ and ASICminer 8 Nano 44Th mining models are profitable for mining cryptocurrencies based on the SHA-256 hash function -- notable cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) use this has function.
Bitmain, a large Chinese cryptocurrency mining firm, announced that it is closing its development center in Israel, citing current cryptocurrency market conditions. In closing Bitmaintech Israel, the crypto mining giant was forced to fire all 23 employees. Among the employees let go is Gadi Glikberg, head of Bitmain’s Israeli branch and Vice President of International Sales, who said on the recent market turmoil, “The crypto market has undergone a shake-up in the past few months, which has forced Bitmain to examine its various activities around the globe and to refocus its business in accordance with the current situation.”
Busan, a major South Korean city, will be the beneficiary of the South Korean government’s plan to spend 4bn Korean won (USD$3.5mm) to establish a blockchain-enabled virtual power plant (VPP). As per a report by South Korean news outlet Yonhap News Agency, the project will be angled as a national competition in 2019, hosted by South Korea’s largest electric utility, Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO). The VPP will integrate the idle capacities of multiple energy resources through a cloud-based distributed ledger in order to optimize power generation and decrease costs.
Church’s Chicken, a large international fast food franchise, is partnering with Dash Venezuela to accept cryptocurrencies in its Venezuelan locations. According to an official press release, 13 Church’s Chicken establishments will begin accepting Dash (DASH) as payment following, “extensive and rigorous days of training,” staff to understand cryptocurrencies. With the addition of Church’s Chicken, more than 2,200 establishments in Venezuela accept DASH as payment.
Crypto.com, a Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency payments platform, announced the appointment of former PayPal executive Tyson Hackwood to serve as the firm’s Vice President and Head of Global Merchant Acquisition in an official press release today. Crypto.com aims to increase cryptocurrency adoption by both merchants and consumers through their point-of-sale (PoS) transaction terminals. Crypto.com CEO Kris Marszalek believes that Hackwood will be integral in furthering this goal, saying, “As we develop the Crypto.com Chain to fulfill the current industry need to pay and be paid in crypto, Tyson will play an important role in expanding the number and quality of merchants that are part of our network.”
Hyperledger, a notable blockchain consortium, is continuing its robust expansion after announcing the addition of 16 new members at the Hyperledger Global Forum in Basel, Switzerland. Among the notables to join the consortium are, Alibaba Cloud, Citigroup’s Citi Ventures arm, and Deutsche Telekom. The latest addition of 16 members brings the total membership of Hyperledger to more than 260 different companies. In a public statement, Hyperledger Executive Director Brian Behlendorf said that, “The growing Hyperledger community reflects the increasing importance of open source efforts to build enterprise blockchain technologies across industries and markets. The latest members showcase the widening interest in and impact of DLT and Hyperledger."
Jeremy Henrickson, the former Chief Product Officer at Coinbase, has departed the US-based cryptocurrency exchange after serving since July 2016. “Jeremy’s contributions to Coinbase over the past two years were invaluable,” said a Coinbase spokesperson, adding that, “he helped to build our scrappy startup team into a high-functioning product and engineering organization -- overseeing a 5x+ growth of the team.” Henrickson’s departure comes after long-term Coinbase executives Adam White and Hunter Merghart left the US-based cryptocurrency exchange in recent months.
LinkedIn’s, “2018 U.S. Emerging Jobs,” report released on Thursday ranks the role of blockchain developer as the fastest growing job in the United States. The report by LinkedIn indicates that blockchain developer jobs have increased 33-fold in the past 12 months alone. San Francisco, New York City, and Atlanta are among the cities with the highest demand for blockchain developer jobs.
Orbs, a unique hybrid blockchain platform, raised more than USD$15mm in cryptocurrencies to fund its development of a public blockchain, according to a company blog post. South Korean application provider Kakao lead the fundraising efforts with a representative telling CoinDesk that the company, “always seeks to invest and support innovative startups, and Orbs is a good example.” In total, Orbs raised 139,000 Ether (ETH) and 892 Bitcoin (BTC), amounting to roughly USD$15.4mm. Orbs aims to build a public blockchain with this funding that is, “universal,” and, “scalable,” for decentralized applications (DApps) with the, “liquidity of a base layer.”
Samsung has reportedly filed patent applications for three different blockchain-related trademark requests that all pertain directly to smartphones, according to news outlet Galaxy Club. Specifically, the patents named “Blockchain KeyStore”, “Blockchain Key Box”, and “Blockchain Core” all pertain to cryptocurrency custody capabilities on smartphones. This news comes amid the release of HTC’s Exodus 1 and Sirin Labs’ FINNEY, both of which are being marketed as blockchain smartphones with cryptocurrency custody capabilities.
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