Cryptocurrencies set to finish week negative as TD Ameritrade investments in cryptocurrency exchange ErisX and Ripple launches MoneyTap in Japan
Oct 05, 2018
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- A report released by Diar finds that venture capital investment in blockchain enterprises and cryptocurrency firms has increased 280% so far in 2018. Cryptocurrency and blockchain technology firms have raised USD$3.9 billion so far from venture capitalists in 2018, a massive jump from roughly USD$1 billion in 2017. Amount of deals done between venture capitals and blockchain/cryptocurrency related firms also increased from 211 deals in 2017 to 384 deals in 2018.
- According to a report by Bloomberg, Puerto Rico’s Noble Bank International, which is known for opening customer accounts for USD-backed token Tether and cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex, is searching for a buyer. Noble Bank reportedly lost both Tether and Bitfinex as clients and is looking to sell for between USD$5 million and USD$10 million. A majority of Noble Bank’s value comes from the Puerto Rican license it possesses to practice international finance operations.
- According to Ethereum developer, Joey Zhou, the Venezuelan oil-backed cryptocurrency set to launch in November, the Petro, is a blatant copy of Dash. In explaining the reasoning, Zhou posted a picture on Twitter from the Petro’s white paper that is an exact clone of an image in Dash’s white paper where the developers explain the X11 Proof-of-Work mining algorithm used by Dash. The Venezuelan Petro will launch on November 5th.
- At Ripple’s Swell conference on Monday, Ripple announced the official launch of its xRapid platform to handle international transactions. In the announcement, CEO Brad Garlinghouse detailed that Catalyst Corporate Federal Credit Union, Cuallix, and Mercury FX would be the first companies to implement the platform into day-to-day operations. XRapid will be used to facilitate international transactions with significantly higher transaction speeds and lower transaction costs.
- Bank of America projects that the blockchain industry could be a USD$7 billion market while providing major boosts to large corporations like Microsoft and Amazon, according to a CNBC report. Bank of America research analyst, Kash Rangan, told CNBC that, “Amazon will benefit from incremental cloud service demand from blockchain implementation while improved supply chain tracking should make Amazon’s retail operations more efficient.” Bank of America did not place a time-frame on the blockchain market’s USD$7 billion valuation.
- Coinbase continued its hiring spree and added Charles Schwab advisor, Chris Dodds, to its board of directors. Dodds currently sits on the board of directors at Charles Schwab while also serving as a senior equity advisor for the firm. Coinbase also hired former Instinet CEO, Jonathan Kellner, to serve as the new managing director of Coinbase’s Institutional Coverage Group. Kellner will spearhead the firm’s institutional sales efforts that will be based out of Coinbase’s New York City office.
- Coinbase is reportedly in talks with Tiger Global concerning a USD$500 million investment that would value the US-based cryptocurrency exchange and wallet at USD$8 billion. Tiger Global is an investment management firm that was founded in 2011 and invests in global private and public markets. According to a report by technology news site Recode, half of the investment would be used to buy out existing investors while the other half would be added to Coinbase’s treasury.
- Fundstrat conducted a six-part poll to gauge sentiment between retail investors and institutions and found that institutions are more bullish on Bitcoin than retail investors. Fundstrat’s Tom Lee conducted a poll on Twitter that received almost 5,500 participants and took the same poll to a private dinner held with institutional investors. Lee compiled the responses in a report published Thursday. According to the poll, 57% of institutional investors believe Bitcoin would end 2018 above USD$15,000, compared to 40% of retail investors that think the same.
- Gemini, the cryptocurrency exchange headed by the Winklevoss twins, has obtained insurance coverage for the digital asset holdings under Gemini’s custody. In a press release Wednesday, the firm detailed that insurance coverage is being provided by global professional services firm, Aon. Gemini also maintains Federal Deposit Insurance Corporations (FDIC) insurance for dollar deposits held by the exchange.
- In a press release Wednesday morning, TD Ameritrade announced they are backing new cryptocurrency exchange, ErisX. ErisX has plans to reveal their full business plan later today, although a report by Bloomberg details ErisX will begin selling cyptocurrency futures contracts in early 2019 while also offering services for investors to trade BItcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin. TD Ameritrade currently provides retail investment services to almost 11 million clients. According to Bloomberg, high-speed trading house Virtu Financial and investing company DRW holdings are also participating in the investment into ErisX.
- Italy’s second largest bank, Intesa Sanpaolo, along with 13 other Italian banks have completed the first phase of a trial of an interbank reconciliation blockchain platform. The trial of this platform began on June 4th and was administered by ABI Lab, a research lab with backing from the Italian Banking Association. The interbank blockchain platform was built on top of Corda Enterprise, the platform developed by blockchain consortium, R3.
- JP Morgan’s recent efforts to expand blockchain technology operations is part of a larger digital technology roadmap, according to a press release published by ResearchAndMarkets.com. The press release details that blockchain technology is on the top priority of JP Morgan, while other technologies being pursued by the bank include big data, cloud operations, artificial intelligence, and robotics. JP Morgan reportedly has set aside USD$10.8 billion for technology spending in 2018, USD$5 billion of which is set to go towards fintech investments.
- MoneyTap, the Ripple-powered payments application co-developed by Ripple and SBI Holdings, has officially gone live in Japan. MoneyTap will utilize Ripple’s xCurrent payments platform to enable domestic bank-to-bank transfers between three participating Japanese banks in Japan. The three participating banks are SBI Sumishin Net Bank, Suruga Bank, and Resona Bank. As per earlier announcements, 61 Japanese banks should eventually join MoneyTap, which represents over 80% of banking assets in Japan.
- StellarX, the Stellar-based zero-fee decentralized crypto exchange, has left its beta stage and fully launched as of Friday, September 28th. StellarX is a crypto exchange that utilizes Stellar’s open-source protocol to enable cryptocurrency-to-fiat transfers while offering pairings for the US Dollar, Euro, Chinese Yuan, Hong Kong Dollar, British Pound, and others. In its announcement Friday, StellarX also revealed plans to offer digitized versions of other assets, including stocks, real estate, bonds, and commodities.
- The Brazilian Administrative Council for Economic Defense has sent a questionnaire to cryptocurrency exchanges whose bank accounts were closed by major Brazilian banks. The Brazilian antitrust regulator sent questionnaires to 10 cryptocurrency exchanges, including Bitcoin Market, Bitambio, BitcoinTrade, and Brazilex. This move by the Brazilian regulator comes shortly after launching a probe into six major Brazilian banks for the alleged unlawful closing of cryptocurrency exchanges’ bank accounts.
- The London Block Exchange announced plans to release a new stablecoin pegged to the British Pound Sterling. Dubbed LBXPeg, the stablecoin will be backed one-to-one by the British Pound Sterling by reserves of the fiat currency. The London Block Exchange calls themselves the “only London-based cryptocurrency exchange offering safeguarded UK Banking”, while offering over-the-counter trading services alongside their “College of Crypto” that teaches individuals about the cryptocurrency industry.
- The world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by daily volume, Binance, will launch a beta version of its decentralized exchange by early 2019. Binance CEO, Changpeng Zhao, believes decentralized exchanges are the future of crypto, and has detailed that Binance’s decentralized exchange will feature non-custodial wallets to enable peer-to-peer cryptocurrency trading where users have full control over their funds.
- Venezuelan President, Nicolas Maduro, appeared on national television Monday to announce the official launch of the Venezuelan state-backed cryptocurrency the Petro. President Maduro explained that the official website of the Petro has already launched while the Petro itself is set to go on sale on November 5th. The Petro will be available on six major cryptocurrency exchanges, although President Maduro did not specify which ones. President Maduro also stressed that the Petro is backed by Venezuelan oil while explaining all Venezuelan oil purchases in and out of the country must be paid in Petros.
- Brave’s CEO, Brendan Eich, drafted and sent a letter to the US Senate calling on legislators to adopt data privacy regulations similar to the ones recently implemented in Europe. The data privacy regulations adopted in Europe in 2016 strengthens privacy regulations and gives EU citizens far more control over how their personal and private data is used. In the letter, Eich explained that these regulations would make it easier for startups to enter the marketplace while protecting US consumers.
- In a speech on Monday, Ukrainian legislator, Yuriy Derevyanko, urged Ukrainian legislators to review his alternative cryptocurrency bill that would freeze taxes of cryptocurrency traders until 2030. Derevyanko is a member of the anti-corruption Movement of New Forces, a political movement founded in 2017 by Georgian politician Mikheil Saakashvili. In explaining the reasoning for this tax freeze, Derevyanko cited that cryptocurrencies could be an “engine” for a new economy in Ukraine.
- Japan’s Prime Minister has appointed a pro-blockchain politician as the country’s new Minister of Science, Technology, and IT. The appointee, Takuya Hirai, is a member of the Prime Minister’s Liberal Democratic Party and reportedly one of the individuals who helped build Japan’s cryptocurrency regulatory framework introduced last year.
- Japan’s self-regulatory cryptocurrency industry group, the Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association (JVCEA), announced that it plans to limit the amount of digital currencies that can be managed online by any Japanese crypto exchange. The measure will limit exchanges to a range of roughly 10% to 20% of customer’s deposits that can be held in “hot wallets”, while requiring exchanges hold the rest of customer deposits in offline “cold wallets”.
- Min Byung-doo, a Democratic Party lawmaker in South Korea’s National Assembly, has called on the state to “open up the road” to initial coin offerings. Byung-doo urged South Korea’s National Assembly to ease cryptocurrency regulations and legalize initial coin offerings in the country. Byung-doo believes that regulation can be pursued that strictly prohibits the negative factors of initial coin offerings, including fraud, speculation, and money laundering, while still enabling all of the positive factors of initial coin offerings.
- The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) detailed in their 2019 Annual Work Programme of a EUR 1 million budget to monitor cryptocurrencies and other fintech activities in 2019. The agency further explained that the budget is meant to protect the financial well-being of the economic bloc. The ESMA’s objective for the upcoming year is to, “Achieve a coordinated approach to the regulation and supervisory treatment of new or innovative financial activities and provide advice to present to the EU institutions, market participants, or consumers.”
- The Prime Minister of Malta, Joseph Muscat, declared in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly that cryptocurrencies are “the inevitable future of money.” The Prime Minister went on to say that blockchain technology can facilitate a more transparent and equitable society while arguing that decentralized ledger technologies will transform political, civil, and corporate systems. Muscat professed that distributed ledger technologies can ensure that “no one is deprived of legitimate property because of compromised data” and that “corporations can become more accountable to their shareholders.”
- US Congress members, Doris Matsui and Brett Guthrie, have introduced a bill to the US House of Representatives, titled the, “Blockchain Promotional Act 2018”. In an announcement Monday, Representative Matsui detailed that currently, there are several different definitions for blockchain technology depending on the situation. The Blockchain Promotional Act 2018 bill proposes the creation of a working group in the US Department of Commerce to form a standardized definition of blockchain.
- While sitting down for an interview on CNBC’s Fast Money with Bob Pisani, Chris Giancarlo, chair of the US Commodities Futures Trading Commission, said cryptocurrencies are here to stay. In the interview, Giancarlo state, “We’re very focused on the fraud and manipulation aspects of cryptocurrency markets right now. In fact, last week, we just won a big victory in Boston federal courts that certifies our authority to prosecute fraud and manipulation in the crypto space and we’ve been very active at it.”
- While taking the stage at Ripple’s Swell conference in San Francisco, former US President, Bill Clinton, warned that over-regulation could stop blockchain technology’s growth. Clinton was on-stage with Gene Sperling, one of the former president’s advisers in the White House and now a member of Ripple’s board of directors.
- A high-profile investor in Binance has invested USD$2.5 million in Australian cryptocurrency payments startup, Travelbybit. Binance and Travelbybit will collaborate to introduce a point-of-sale system in major airports around the world. The point-of-sale system has already been developed by Travelbybit. Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao said this venture is to help propel real-world cryptocurrency adoption, specifically in this case among travelers who commonly deal with hiccups in currency conversion and markup fees.
- A press release issued by Binance Labs details that Binance’s initiative has invested millions of dollars in Contentos, a decentralized digital content ecosystem. The exact amount of the investment was not disclosed. Contentos is reportedly in the process of developing a decentralized ecosystem that will offer transparency and an ability to monetize content without third-party censorship or content removal. Binance Labs is an initiative launched by Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, to invest in early-stage blockchain projects and entrepreneurs while providing mentorship and technical advice to projects and individuals.
- A report released by technology research company, ReportLinker, projects blockchain technology in the US manufacturing sector to maintain an 80% per annum growth rate and to be worth USD$566 million by 2025. The report details that the manufacturing sector stands to benefit from blockchain technology as it will simplify business processes, maintain transparency, and eliminate intermediaries in logistics and supply chains. The report also cites several growth drivers for blockchain in the manufacturing sector, including the growth of blockchain-as-a-service solutions and recent increases of venture capital investment in blockchain.
- A security report released by cryptocurrency research and independent rating agency, ICORating, ranks Coinbase Pro as the most secure cryptocurrency exchange. The report analyzes and ranks 100 global cryptocurrency exchanges with daily trading volume over USD$1 million by security. Other notable cryptocurrency exchanges ranked in the report include Binance ranked 63/100 and Bitstamp ranked 37/100.
- A team of researchers from Oxford are planning to launch the world’s first blockchain university later this year. Dubbed Woolf University, the blockchain university would educate students on a one-on-one basis while remaining cheaper than average universities. The education would cost students roughly USD$19,200/year.
- Abra, a cryptocurrency wallet provider, announced in a press release that the firm is launching a new token to offer investors further exposure to the cryptocurrency market. Abra’s Bitwise 10 Crypto Index Token (Bit10) will track the top 10 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization and rebalance monthly. Abra stressed that the new token is not a fund. Instead, the token utilizes smart contracts to peg an investor’s cryptocurrency or fiat holdings to Bit10.
- According to research by Hong Kong cryptocurrency trading platform, BitMEX, initial coin offerings (ICOs) have roughly broken even on funds sold versus funds they have raised. The research, conducted alongside crypto analytics resource, TokenAnalyst, finds that ICOs have realized close to USD$727 million in profits while ICOs have about USD$93 million in unrealized profits. This means that ICOs have not suffered much due to Ethereum’s price decline in 2018, as they have sold roughly as much Ethereum as they have raised.
- Acing, a cryptocurrency startup working specifically on the lightning network, has received USD$1.7 million in a funding round led by Serena Capital. Acing works on improving the lightning network, a network layer that sits on top of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) and enable higher transaction volume capabilities. The lightning network entered beta testing earlier this year with individuals using it to send real money, however, the technology is far from complete. Currently, 113.12 BTC are tied up in the lightning network, or USD$741,818.86.
- After getting hit with charges from US regulators, Bitcoin futures firm, 1Broker, said it will begin to allow users to access a “read only” version of its platform. The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) brought charges against 1Broker for allegedly allowing US investors to trade on 1Broker’s platform. The “read only” version of 1Broker’s website will allow users to view their account balances and transaction history
- Augur, a decentralized platform for prediction markets based on real-world events, is gearing up for its first ever major upgrade to improve user experience. Augur is a decentralized platform meant to be a hub for sports betting, election forecasts, derivative trading, and risk hedging, however, the platform has had trouble maintaining daily users. Many Augur users complain that the decentralized platform is far from intuitive and not user friendly in the slightest. Augur developers hope their version two of Augur will address these problems and help grow daily active users, which currently sits at ~100.
- Blackberry, a large software company, announced plans Thursday to develop a blockchain platform to store and share medical data. In a press release Thursday, Blackberry detailed that its “carrier-grade network operation center” would be used to support the digital ledger, which will be developed by ONEBIO, a biotech incubator. The platform would create “an ultra-secure global ecosystem” for securely storing data from patients ,labs, and monitors.
- China’s oldest technology publication, the Beijing Sci-Tech Report, has announced that it would soon begin accepting Bitcoin as payment on its platform. Starting in 2019, the Beijing Sci-Tech Report will sell its annual subscription at a cost of 0.01 Bitcoin, worth roughly USD$65. The announcement by the Beijing Sci-Tech Report comes as cryptocurrency trading and usage is strictly banned in China.
- Chinese cryptocurrency and blockchain tycoon and investor, Li Xiaolai, announced in a social media post Sunday that he will be taking a hands-off approach to future blockchain projects. Xiaolai will personally no longer invest in blockchain and crypto related projects as he appears to be dissatisfied with fraudulent actors in the blockchain industry who claimed Xiaolai was part of their undertakings. Since the uprising of initial coin offerings in 2017, a number of notable crypto and blockchain investors have been frustrated with their names appearing as advisors for blockchain projects, when in fact they have no connection.
- Chinese e-commerce giant, Alibaba, has filed for a patent through the US Patent and Trademark Office for a system that allows third-party administrators to intervene in smart contract operations in the case of illegal activity using blockchain technology. The patent describes a system that would allow authorized administrators to freeze or halt user accounts associated with illegal or fraudulent activities. Alibaba originally filed for this paten in March 2018.
- Circle Internet Financial Ltd. launched a new feature on its cryptocurrency investment application, Circle Invest, called “Collections”. The new Collections feature gives users the ability to invest in multiple cryptocurrency assets within a theme, including Platforms, Payments, and Privacy. Circle Invest rolled out a feature in May called, “Buy the Market”, which gives users a simplified way of entering the cryptocurrency market by investing in all of the cryptocurrencies Circle offers at once. Circle Internet Financial Ltd. is funded by notable investment bank, Goldman Sachs.
- Ethereum co-founder and founder of ConsenSys, Joe Lubin, has made a USD$6.5 million investment to lockdown a minority stake in DrumG Technologies, an enterprise distributed ledger startup. Reported by Forbes today, the investment will enable Lubin to join DrumG as an independent board member, ensuring that DrumG will have a “significant presence” within the ConsenSys ecosystem.
- Ethereum developers on Thursday announced a delay in the plans to launch a system-wide upgrade to the Ethereum network, Constantinople. Peter Szilagyi, team lead at the Ethereum Foundation, discussed in a tweet that the main reason for the delay is to offer more time for individuals and businesses running nodes on the Ethereum network to address vulnerabilities found in one of five Constantinople upgrades.
- Following a report by the Wall Street Journal that claims USD$9 million of “dirty money” had traded through cryptocurrency exchange, ShapeShift, CEO Erik Voorhees has refuted the claims. Voorhees details that ShapeShift had worked with Wall Street Journal reporters for about five months, but under “false pretenses”. Voorhees explained that ShapeShift has a strict internal anti-money laundering program that leverages “blockchain forensics that are far more advanced than asking someone for their ‘name and address’”.
- High levels of inflation in Argentina have caused cryptocurrency ATM firms to project a large increase in ATM installations in the country. Argentina is on pace to finish 2018 with above 40% inflation, causing Argentinians to flock to cryptocurrencies for a stable currency. As of today, there are just 2 Bitcoin ATMs in Argentina, however, Reuters projects that figure to rise to 30 by the end of 2018. US-based cryptocurrency ATM firm, Odyssey Group, has plans to install 150 cryptocurrency ATMs by the end of 2019.
- IBM has been awarded a patent by the US Patent and Trademark Office for a blockchain-based secure system. IBM first filed for this patent in September 2017. The patent details blockchain technology that can detect security breaches within a network by connecting monitors to a chain configuration. In late September, IBM was awarded a patent for the autonomous self-servicing of networked devices that would form an Autonomous Decentralized Peer-to-Peer Telemetry environment.
- In an official post on Medium.com, Block.one, the developer of blockchain protocol EOS, acknowledged claims of collusion between nodes. In the Medium.com post, CEO Brendan Blumer stated that the company is, “aware of some unverified claims regarding irregular block producer voting, and the subsequent denials of those claims.” Chinese crypto exchange, Huobi, is at the center of these claims after an alleged leaked spreadsheet surfaced from Huobi that contains a table titled, “node mutual voting table.”
- Initial coin offerings are flocking away from the United States as regulatory scrutiny continues. According to a report by blockchain analytics firm, Elementus, 17 initial coin offerings launched in Singapore this past August while only 15 launched in the US. This marks the first time since December 2017 that the US did not possess the most initial coin offerings in a given month, when Russia’s 19 initial coin offerings surpassed the United States’ 17.
- Korea Investment Partners, South Korea’s largest venture capital firm, announced Tuesday that it has invested in its first blockchain startup, Temco. Temco seeks to leverage blockchain technology to revamp South Korea’s supply chain management system, specifically for small and medium sized businesses. Korea Investment Partners has a very strong reputation in South Korea with previous early-stage investments in several billion-dollar South Korean companies, including the nation’s largest search engine and the country’s largest mobile messaging application.
- MIOTA, the cryptocurrency behind the IOTA software, ended September as the worst performer of the top 25 coins by market cap with a September return of –23.21%. MIOTA ended August on a rally to USD$0.79 but slumped to a low of USD$0.50.
- Poloniex, a US-based cryptocurrency exchange, announced Wednesday of plans to remove margin and lending products and to delist three digital assets for US customers. In the announcement, Poloniex explained that this move affecting US-based customers is an effort to ensure the crypto exchange remains within regulatory guidelines. Poloniex plans to delist the three cryptocurrencies on October 10th, and they include Synereo (AMP), Expanse (EXP), and Gnosis (GNO). Poloniex is currently the 46th ranked crypto exchange in the world by trading volume.
- Ripple (XRP) completed the month of September with a massive +79% return while setting a record for the highest 24-hour volume in a cryptocurrency on popular cryptocurrency exchange, Bitfinex. During September, Ripple also briefly overtook Ethereum as the market’s second largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization but has since returned to the number three position. It is important to note that Ripple’s September rally was largely driven by investor speculation.
- South Korean cryptocurrency exchange giant, Bithumb, announced plans to launch a decentralized cryptocurrency exchange. Bithumb has partnered with One Root Network, a blockchain firm that has already developed an Ethereum-based decentralized token transaction protocol called, R1. One Root also already operates a decentralized cryptocurrency exchange. Bithumb is currently the world’s sixth largest cryptocurrency exchange by daily trading volume.
- The Hyperledger Project and the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance announced Monday that the two enterprise blockchain firms have agreed to collaborate to bring a set of common standards to the blockchain space, enabling a wider open-source community. This is notable, as the Hyperledger Project and the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance are two of the three largest and most influential enterprise blockchain communities.
- The mayor of South Korea’s capital, Seoul, has introduced a five-year plan to develop the blockchain industry in the city. The five-year plan lays out various blockchain initiatives to be pursued through 2022 and sets aside 100 billion won (USD$88.2 million) to invest in blockchain startups in the city. The plan also details a plan to spend 60.3 billion won (USD$53.1 million) to create two business centers to house 200 blockchain companies by 2021.
- The price of Tether (USDT), the most widely used stablecoin, fell by ~1% yesterday and resulted in a premium on USDT-to-cryptocurrency trades. Tether is the cryptocurrency market’s largest stablecoin and is backed by USD$2.8 billion stored in a Tether LLC bank account in Puerto Rico. One reason for USDT’s price drop yesterday is a large selloff of USDT by investors, potentially to invest in other cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum.
- Ubisoft, a large video game company, announced at the Blockchain Game Summit in Lyon, France that the company is joining the Blockchain Game Alliance. The Blockchain Game Alliance aims to establish and develop common standards and practices for the integration of blockchain technology into video games and their communities. Along with Ubisoft, blockchain software firm, ConsenSys is a member of the Blockchain Game Alliance.
- Yale University is reportedly beginning to invest in cryptocurrencies according to an anonymous source familiar with the matter. The Ivy League school is investing in cryptocurrencies through its endowment fund, which is the second-largest among higher education funds in the world. Yale pledged an unspecified amount to a USD$400 million digital assets fund managed by Coinbase co-founder, Fred Ehrsam, former Sequoia Capital partner, Matt Huang, and ex-employee of Pantera Capital, Charles Noyes. The school’s USD$30 billion endowment fund has a target of 60% to invest in alternative investments.
*Data in Price Return and Updated Real-Time (with a delay), Source: StockDio