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Cryptocurrencies set to finish week with deep losses as Switzerland's FINMA issued the country's first cryptocurrency asset management license and the US SEC sets a November 5th deadline for decision on nine Bitcoin ETFs

Oct 12, 2018

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Top 5 Cryptocurrencies sorted by 7 Day Price Percent Change

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Name Ticker Price 1H %Chg 24H %Chg 7D %Chg Market Cap Volume
TRON TRX USD$0.02 -1.15% 2.33% -0.41% USD$1,508,810,089 USD$187,854,132
Bitcoin BTC USD$6300.33 -0.13% 0.18% -4.31% USD$109,112,792,393 USD$4,206,340,929
Qtum QTUM USD$3.47 -0.93% -2.41% -7.79% USD$308,387,539 USD$116,206,919
Litecoin LTC USD$53.08 -0.64% 0.7% -8.78% USD$3,115,169,451 USD$289,459,892
Cardano ADA USD$0.07 -1.22% -2.0% -9.12% USD$1,931,538,332 USD$50,774,037

Developments in Financial Services

  • 1Broker, the Bitcoin futures firm charged with violating US securities laws, announced today that they would reopen the window for withdrawals starting Thursday. 1Broker is accused of acting as an unregistered security-based swaps dealer and violating money laundering laws. 1Broker opened its website to read-only mode earlier in October so investors could see their account balances. The company stressed in the announcement that they have enough funding to cover the balances of all their customers, but they needed permission from federal law enforcement before enabling the function.   
  • A patent filed for and won by Mastercard details a proposed system that would allow for multiple kinds of blockchains to facilitate transactions in multiple currencies. The patent calls for a need to store different types of transactions on a single platform, which is currently a difficult feat on a single blockchain. The patent lays out a solution that ensures different blocks on a permissioned blockchain store different types of transaction data.   
  • Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by daily trading volume, announced they would be delisting four tokens from their platform. The four tokens Binance is delisting are Bytecoin (BCN), ChatCoin (CHAT), Iconomi (ICN), and Triggers (TRIG). In a press release concerning the delisting, Binance detailed that these tokens were delisted in order to keep clients and users safe. The delisting by Binance sent all four of these coins’ prices crashing, with Chatcoin falling 30%, Bytecoin dropping 22%, Triggers tanking 49%, and Iconomi dropping 9%.   
  • Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, will begin to disclose all cryptocurrency listing fees while donating all fees earned to charity. Announced in a blog post Monday, Binance detailed that the exchange will allow token projects to propose their own listing fees. 100% of listing fees will go towards Binance’s new charity division, the Blockchain Charity Foundation. According to Binance CEO, Changpeng Zhao, this move comes in order to increase transparency in Binance’s operations.   
  • Bitfinex, the Hong-Kong-based cryptocurrency exchange, has refuted claims that the firm is insolvent providing crypto wallets addresses that hold over USD$1.5 billion in digital assets as proof. The claim that Bitfinex is insolvent was made in a Medium article published on Saturday that urged users to withdraw their assets. Bitfinex called these allegations, “a targeted campaign based on nothing but fiction.”  
  • Coinbase has added its first Ethereum-based token to its professional trading platform, Coinbase Pro, according to a blog post Thursday. Trading for the 0x Protocol Token (ZRX), which is an ERC-20 token that runs off of the Ethereum network, began 12 hours after the blog post. As a result of the announcement, ZRX spiked as high as 13% for the day. ZRX trading is rolling out in four stages; transfer-only, post-only, limit-only, and full trading.   
  • Cryptocurrency exchange, Bitfinex, has temporarily suspended the deposits of fiat currencies into accounts for the Euro, US Dollar, Japanese Yen, and Pound Sterling. This development comes after reports broke on October 8th claiming that Bitfinex was insolvent or facing banking issues -- reports that Bitfinex has responded to by saying, “complications continue to exist in the domain of fiat transaction” while emphasizing that it is an issue most crypto-related institutions have to deal with. Bitfinex stressed while announcing the temporary suspension that deposits are expected to resume within the week.   
  • Cryptocurrency exchange, eToro, announced a massive slash in transaction fees for trading digital assets on their platform. This is part of an ongoing effort by eToro to increase awareness of the potential of cryptocurrencies and to make investing in digital assets more accessible to retail investors. While speaking in regards to the transaction fee cut, eToro EO, Yoni Assia, expressed that he wants to make it, “as simple and accessible as possible”, for investors to trade cryptocurrencies.   
  • GMO, a Japanese IT giant, announced Tuesday that it has begun preparation for launching a stablecoin pegged to the Japanese Yen, called GMO Japanese Yen (GJY). GMO plans to issue its stablecoin across Asian markets via, a cryptocurrency exchange subsidiary launched by GMO, beginning in 2019.   
  • Large South Korean cryptocurrency exchange, Bithumb, has been sold to a Singapore entity for 400 million won (USD$353 million). The purchaser, BK Global Consortium, has previously held a minority stake in Bithumb as the fifth largest shareholder. According to Korean news outlet, Naver, BK Global Consortium plans to develop and release new services and stablecoins. The News Asia also reported that Bithumb received an USD$880 million valuation in February, raising questions about the lower valuation in today’s acquisition.    
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) announced Monday a partnership with Cred, a decentralized lending platform, to provide technology expertise in the launch of Cred’s US Dollar-backed stablecoin. PricewaterhouseCoopers promised to ensure a, “valuable perspective on how standards can be enhanced”, to provide, “a more transparent set of reserve functions”. PricewaterhouseCoopers also noted that their participation in the partnership adds useful insights into governance, security, and risk management in launching the US Dollar-backed stablecoin.   
  • Singapore’s first fiat-to-cryptocurrency exchange, EurekaPro, has launched its open public beta attracting 8,000 signups in the first week. Singapore’s first fiat-to-cryptocurrency exchange will allow users to purchase cryptocurrencies with different Asian fiat currencies, including the Singapore dollar, Malaysian ringgit, Indonesian rupiah, and others. In August, Singapore’s Monetary Authority partnered with Deloitte, NASDAQ, and Anquan to develop solutions for simultaneous exchange and the final settlement of digital currencies and security assets.   
  • Within the last month, four major cryptocurrency hedge funds with over USD$100 million of funding have debuted. All four of these large hedge funds have received backing from institutional investors and high-profile investors. The most recently announced hedge fund is Dragonfly Capital Partners, which is made up of executives from Bain Capital Ventures and Ceyuan Ventures. Cryptocurrency enthusiasts believe that these large players entering the cryptocurrency market despite cryptocurrencies being in the midst of a bear market is a strong sign.  
  • XDEX, a cryptocurrency exchange launched by the largest investment firm in Brazil, XP Investimentos, is accepting pre-registrations while noting that users will not have an ability to send Bitcoin to and from their personal wallets. XDEX promotes their website as a platform where investors can take part in commission-free trading of Bitcoin, however, it notes that there are fees for trading other cryptocurrencies like Ethereum. XDEX also boasts of a built-in transfer recognition system that connects it directly to banks and ensures speed and reliability when transferring from fiat currency to cryptocurrencies. The launch of XDEX comes amidst an investigation by Brazil’s antitrust watchdog, the Administrative Council for Economic Defense, into the country’s banks allegedly wrongfully closing the accounts of cryptocurrency exchanges and wallets.  
  • Zaif, the Japanese cryptocurrency exchange that was hacked for digital assets worth 6.7 billion yen (USD$59.7 million), announced a plan to offer victims of the hack financial support. The plan details that Zaif operator, Tech Bureau, is working to develop a joint support plan alongside Fisco Digital Asset Group. As part of the agreement, Tech Bureau is transferring Zaif and all of its operations to Fisco Digital Asset Group. According to the plan announced today, victims will be compensated 60% in crypto assets and 40% in fiat assets.   

Regulatory Environment

  • A recent joint investigation between Yahoo Finance and Decrypt Media reveals that the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is expanding its crackdown on initial coin offerings (ICOs), reportedly putting hundreds of projects at risk. Yahoo Finance and Decrypt Media held conversations with more than 15 industry sources, many of which include crypto-related startups subpoenaed by the SEC. According to an anonymous source subpoenaed by the SEC, “everybody’s holding their breath” while waiting for the new SEC rules, however, the SEC still applies the, “same laws, the same statues, the same rules, to stocks and bonds and everything else.”  
  • A researcher from the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), Li Liangsong, published an op-ed piece on Tuesday arguing that China should increase its research efforts in the area of stablecoins. Titled, “A Brief Analysis of Stablecoins”, the article discusses global developments of stablecoins and specifically talks about stablecoins backed by regulators, including the Gemini Dollar (GUSD) and Paxos Standard. Li Liangson argues that USD-backed stablecoins will strengthen the dominant role of the US Dollar in global markets while having a negative effect on other fiat currencies.  
  • According to Central Asian-focused news outlet, Trend News Agency, IBM and the Central Bank of Azerbaijan are working on a deal to implement blockchain technology in the country’s economy. A report by Trend News Agency details that Farid Osmanov, Director of the Department of Information Technology at the Central Bank of Azerbaijan, announced a 5-year program to digitally transform the country’s economy at the Azerbaijan-Germany Business Forum on Energy and ICT. Osmanov added that the country will work directly with IBM to focus specifically on blockchain technology in implementing “fairly large” changes.   
  • According to multiple employment advertisements, the People’s Bank of China is looking to recruit blockchain technology experts to assist in the research and development of a central bank digital currency. The employment advertisements detail four engineer positions with experience in system architecture, chip design, blockchain development, and cryptography. Other job postings detail two experts in finance and economics with expertise in economic theory and identifying regulatory risks.   
  • According to the Vanuatu Daily Post, the small Pacific island nation of Vanuatu has requested the assistance of Malta in forming blockchain and cryptocurrency regulatory framework -- a request Malta has since accepted. While speaking at a meeting with Malta’s Prime Minister Dr. Joseph Muscat, Vanuatu’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ralph Regenvanu, discussed the importance of adopting appropriate regulatory practice for the blockchain industry and initial coin offerings. The report by the Vanuatu Daily Post also details that Regenvanu has suggested the formation of a, “Commonwealth of Blockchain Islands”, for establishing regulatory standards.   
  • Chair of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), Steven Maijoor, told European Parliament's economic affairs committee that some ICOs resemble financial instruments and should fall under a specific set of regulatory frameworks. Currently, initial coin offerings under question in Europe are handled on a case-by-case basis. The ESMA is set to make a final decision on ICO rules by 2019.   
  • Citizens in Dubai will be able to purchase goods, services, and utilities with digital currencies after the Dubai Department of Economic Development and blockchain payment providers, Pundi X and Ebooc Fintech & Loyalty Labs, LLC, agreed to a new partnership. The partnership entails the development of terminals to facilitate a point of sale payments system across the country. Ebooc and Pundi X plan to roll out 100,000 terminals over the next three years that would utilize Emcash, the cryptocurrency stablecoin pegged to the United Arab Emirate’s fiat currency, the Dirham.   
  • During a US Senate hearing before the US Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, economist, Nouriel Roubini, and Director of Research with Coin Center, Peter Van Valkenburgh, testified with Roubini taking a harsh stance against cryptocurrencies and Valkenburgh advocating for cryptocurrencies. In his opening statement, Roubini said, “Crypto is the mother and father of all scams... [and] blockchain is the most overhyped technology ever and is not better than a glorified database.” Valkenburgh’s testimony involved him admitting that blockchain and cryptocurrencies are not perfect, however, they are a significant step in improving the financial situations for millions.   
  • Forbes, an international business media outlet, has announced a partnership with blockchain-based platform, Civil, to publish its content on Civil’s decentralized network. Forbes is integrating Civil’s software into its own content management system that will allow journalists to upload articles to the Civil network while posting on Forbes simultaneously. A report by US news outlet, Axios, indicates that Forbes will only initially apply this new process to cryptocurrency related articles.   
  • India’s government is reportedly set to explore a state-backed cryptocurrency, according to a report by Quartz. In its report, Quartz cites a senior government official who is part of an inter-governmental panel tasked with reviewing and proposing regulations for cryptocurrencies. According to Quartz, the senior official said, “We are evaluating the government-backed cryptocurrency and crypto-token.” This report comes just weeks after the Reserve Bank of India refuted claims of a cryptocurrency and blockchain internal research unit.   
  • Jason Hsu, known as Taiwan’s, “crypto congressman”, proposed an amendment to Taiwan’s Money Laundering Control Act that would effectively see the existing piece of legislation cover cryptocurrencies. Hsu’s amendment proposal will allow for the creation of new rules to specifically address cryptocurrencies while attempting to educate the general population about the emerging asset class. In a statement, Hsu stressed that this move was in support of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies.   
  • Legal Director at British law firm, Reynolds Porter Chamberlain (RPC), Jeff Kaufmann, believes that the introduction of cryptocurrency regulation in the United Kingdom could take two years. As per an RPC press release published Thursday, Kaufmann cited that only recently has the House of Commons Treasury Committee begun proposals concerning cryptocurrencies, and if past precedents are any indicator, even minor changes to regulation could take years. RPC is a three-time UK Law Firm of the Year, with over 720 employees including 330 lawyers.   
  • Mike Lempres, Chief Policy Officer at Coinbase, said in an interview with the Nikkei Asian Review that the process of getting a license through Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) is, “going well”. Lempres also added that Coinbase is, “committed to getting it done”, which will, “certainly be in 2019”. Coinbase initially announced plans to enter the Japanese cryptocurrency market in 2016. Since then, Coinbase has appointed Nao Kitazawa, former Morgan Stanley Japan employee, to the head of its local Japanese office. This year, Japan’s FSA has yet to approve any of the 16 applications it has reviewed for cryptocurrency exchange licenses. Two large-scale cyber hacks occurred to Japanese cryptocurrency exchanges this year, including Coincheck in January and Zaif in September.  
  • Ofcom, the United Kingdom’s national telecoms regulator, received a GBP700,000 (USD$912,000) grant, issued by UK's Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy, to explore blockchain technology solutions for UK landline telephone management. In an official statement, Ofcom detailed that industry participants will be asked to “trial the porting and management of millions of telephone numbers using blockchain and ledger technology.” In a blockchain telephone management system, groups of telephone numbers are placed on blocks and issued to telecom operators who are then responsible for assigning them to consumers.   
  • Singapore’s central bank, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), has revealed that they are working with domestic banks to ensure cryptocurrency startups receive domestic banking services. Ravi Menon, Managing Director of the MAS, detailed in an interview with Bloomberg that this is part of an effort to boost fintech development in the country. Domestic Singapore-based banks have been reluctant to open bank accounts and provide services for cryptocurrency startups because some of the aspects of the industry appear, “obscure and dangerous”.  
  • Switzerland’s Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) has officially issued the first cryptocurrency asset management license in the country to a cryptocurrency investment fund. According to Swiss news outlet, Swissinfo, Crypto Fund, a subsidiary founded by Crypto Finance AG in 2017, is the recipient of the license. The newly issued license will allow Crypto Fund to offer and provide the same investment consultancy services to institutional clients that traditional investment funds do. Swissinfo detailed that following the issuance of this license, plenty of rival crypto funds are lining up to receive approval and a license from Switzerland’s FINMA.  
  • The Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority (ESCA) has approved and is planning to introduce initial coin offerings (ICOs) to capital markets in 2019. According to a Reuters report, initial public offerings in the United Arab Emirates have been negatively impacted by “weak” equity markets and low oil prices, and regulators see this as a way for companies to diversify funding. The Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority also announced that they are working with the Abu Dhabi and Dubai stock markets to develop ICO trading platforms.   
  • The South Korean Government is set to make a final decision in November regarding the legality of initial coin offerings (ICOs) in the country. While speaking to lawmakers during the National Assembly’s annual audit on government actions, South Korea’s head of the office for government policy, Hong Nam-ki, said that regulators in the country have been reviewing the topic of ICOs in recent months. Nam-ki also added that South Korea's Financial Services Commission has been conducting surveys on ICOs since September.  
  • The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has established a time line to review proposed rule changes for a series of applications to list and trade different Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Nine separate Bitcoin ETFs have been proposed by three different applicants. The applications include two proposals from ProShares, five from Direxion, and two from GraniteShares. The United States SEC has set a deadline of November 5th for the decision.   
  • Thursday on Capitol Hill, notable economist, Nourel Roubini, and Coin Center Director of Research, Peter Van Valkenburgh, are set to testify before the US Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs in a hearing titled, “Exploring the Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Ecosystem”. Roubini is known best for his predictions about the 2008 financial crisis. According to Roubini’s prepared remarks, which were published Wednesday, he plans to come out firing against cryptocurrencies, saying they are not a viable unit of account, means of payment, or store of value.   

General News

  • A Chinese Bitcoin miner has been arrested after admitting to stealing 104,000 yuan (USD$15,000) worth of electricity from a train system. So Xu Xinghua was running 50 Bitcoin mining rigs and 3 electric fans 24 hours a day between November and December of 2017.  Xinghua mined roughly 3.2 Bitcoin, worth as much as USD$63,000 during peak prices.   
  • A combination of slow news cycles and lack of trading volume has led Bitcoin’s volatility to hit a 17-month low. Within the past month, Bitcoin has fluctuated between USD$6,200 and USD$6,800, representing an unpresented level of stability. Within the last week, Bitcoin’s price has remained within USD$6,500 and USD$6,600. Many investors are taking this as a sign that cryptocurrency markets are beginning to mature.   
  • A cyber threat report published by researchers from Unit 42 identifies a cryptojacking malware that conceals itself through a fake Adobe Flash update window. The malware steals computers’ processing power in order to mine Monero by installing an XMRig cryptocurrency miner. Unit 42, the research unit that discovered the cryptojacking malware, is a threat intelligence team for Palo Alto Networks.   
  • A report by cryptocurrency news outlet, Diar, suggests that cryptocurrency mining in 2018 has become less profitable while favoring larger mining conglomerates. The report details that Bitcoin mining profit in the first three quarters of 2018 has reached USD$4.7 billion, USD$1.4 billion more than in 2017. The report goes on to say that rising electricity costs in 2018 have lowered mining profitability, and in-turn, pushed small miners out of the industry. Small miners often are forced to pay retail prices for electricity while larger mining pools are given sort of “bulk discounts”.   
  • A report published by technology news site, The Information, reveals that multiple ivy league schools and other prestigious universities have invested in at least one cryptocurrency fund. While citing an unnamed source, the report detailed that Harvard University, Stanford University, Dartmouth College, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of North Carolina have all invested funds into the cryptocurrency space. Earlier this week, Yale was revealed to have invested funds from their endowment into cryptocurrencies.   
  • A report published by the Financial Stability Board indicates that international central banks and financial officials do not believe that cryptocurrencies pose a significant threat to the global economy’s stability. The report, titled, “Crypto-asset markets: Potential channels for future financial stability implications”, details that cryptocurrency’s total market value of USD$210 billion is miniscule, equaling just 2% of the total global value of gold. The Financial Stability Board is an international agency made up of 68 local institutions and central banks, watchdogs, and ministries of finance. The agency’s main goal is to prepare recommendations for global financial systems.   
  • A study conducted by Chainalysis, a blockchain research firm, concludes that ‘whales’ are not the cause of volatility in Bitcoin. The study looked at the 32 largest Bitcoin wallets, which combined hold roughly 1 million Bitcoin (USD$6.3 billion). Chainalysis’ study revealed that only about 1/3 of Bitcoin ‘whales’ are active traders. The study reads, “Bitcoin whales are a diverse group, and only about 1/3 of them are active traders. And while these trading whales certainly have the capability of executing transactions large enough to move the market, they have, on net, traded against the herd, buying on price declines.   
  • A study conducted by Juniper Research forecasts that the cryptocurrency market could “implode”, highlighting that transaction volumes are steadily decreasing. The report, “The Future of Cryptocurrency: Bitcoin & Altcoin Trends & Challenges 2018-2023", notes that Bitcoin daily transaction volumes have fallen from an average of roughly 360,000 transactions per day at the end of 2017 to about 230,000 in September 2018. Total transaction values have fallen as well, dropping from USD$3.7 billion at the end of 2017 to USD$670 million in September 2018. The report by Juniper highlights problems cryptocurrencies have faced in 2018, including regulatory developments, exchange failures, hacker attacks, and blockchain forking.   
  • According to a report by airline focused magazine, Airport World, data from SITA Lab indicates blockchain technology attracted the most research attention in the airline industry in 2018. SITA, a technology research company that collaborates with airlines, airports, and global technology specialists, believes distributed ledgers and blockchain platforms are more efficient and provide advantages in airline services such as passenger identification, ticketing, and more. SITA’s data also reveals that both airlines and airports have found relevant uses for blockchain technology in frequent flyer programs and e-ticket programs.   
  • Blockstream’s Liquid Network sidechain went live on the Bitcoin blockchain on September 27th, 2018, according to an announcement from Blockstream on October 10th, 2018. The Liquid Network sidechain project was announced initially in 2015 as a way to allow for better liquidity between different Bitcoin exchanges and brokers. In Blockstream’s post announcing the launch, Blockstream detailed that 23 cryptocurrency industry members are taking part in the Liquid Network sidechain to take advantage of faster transaction speeds between business and individuals.   
  • Host of CNBC show Cryptotrader, Ran Neuner, claimed in a tweet this weekend that Bitcoin’s price, “is about to explode”. Neuner believes that a surge in Bitcoin’s price is near, citing the US Security and Exchange Commission’s upcoming decision regarding nine Bitcoin Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) applications. Neuner went on to add that he believes Bitcoin’s rally in 2017 from USD$6,692 on November 11th to USD$20,000 on December 17th was driven by expectations of the launch of cash settlement Bitcoin futures contracts.  
  • IBM is officially moving its food-tracking blockchain platform into production while signing European supermarket giant, Carrefour, to become a user of the blockchain. IBM’s IBM Food Trust will allow large companies as well as small and medium-sized enterprises in the food supply chain industry to join the platform for a monthly subscription fee ranging from USD$100 to USD$10,000. Carrefour, the first user of IBM Food Trust, currently operates 12,000 stores across 33 countries.   
  • In the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) World Economic Outlook, the body cautioned of the global economy becoming more “vulnerable” as cryptocurrencies continue to grow. The outlook reads, “cybersecurity breaches and cyberattacks on critical financial infrastructure represent an additional source of risk because they could undermine cross-border payment systems and disturb the flow of goods and services.” The outlook also added that continued growth in cryptocurrencies could reduce demand for fiat currency and that international regulation is “inevitable”.   
  • Mark Friedenbach, a Bitcoin protocol developer, has reportedly introduced a new method for Bitcoin scaling that will not require a hard fork while speaking at the Scaling Bitcoin workshop in Tokyo, Japan. The on-chain capacity boost involved an alteration of proof-of-work that is achieved via soft fork and use of alternative private ledgers. According to Friedenback, this proposed method would increase transaction volume by 3,584x its current levels.  
  • Millennial males are by far the most prominent demographic trading cryptocurrencies, according to a study by cryptocurrency startup, Circle. According to the study, 18% of millennial males have plans to invest in cryptocurrencies within the next year, compared to just 7% of millennial women. The survey sifted through over 3,000 respondents over the age of 18 and found that over a quarter of millennials plan to invest in cryptocurrencies over the next year, compared to just 10% of generation x and 2% of baby boomers.   
  • OKEx, one of the world’s largest digital asset exchanges, has participated in the initial coin offering of Bidooh, a real-time, real-audience, digital billboard advertising platform. On top of participating in the initial coin offerings, OKEx has agreed to promote Bidooh to prospective token purchasers and has endorsed Bidooh by displaying its own advertisements on Bidooh’s advertising platform. Following OKEx’s initial coin offering participation and endorsement, Bidooh has received overwhelming support from the cryptocurrency and blockchain community.   
  • Pantera Capital’s digital asset hedge fund saw YTD returns of -72.7%, underperforming Bitcoin and the general cryptocurrency market. Pantera Capital’s digital asset hedge fund is one of the largest in the world. In August alone, the hedge fund was down 22.3%. Since its inception in December 2017, the fund has lost 40.8% of its total value.   
  • Researchers from Princeton University and Florida International University have published a new report, titled, “The Looming Threat of China: An Analysis of Chinese Influence on Bitcoin”. The report takes a deep dive into China’s increased control over the Bitcoin network and outlines the risks associated with the country’s influence on cryptocurrencies. Researchers highlighted that China is, “the most powerful potential adversary to Bitcoin”, while warning of a, “variety of salient motives for attacking the system and a number of mature capabilities”, that China possesses.   
  • Rojava, a Northern Syrian region also known as the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria, is beginning to look towards cryptocurrencies as a way to subvert economic sanctions. The region home to 4 million Syrians has been at war for its territory for the last 6 years and only recently has established an extremely fragile peace. However, the region now faces economic sanctions from Turkey, Iran, Syria, and Iraq. With its newfound peace, the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria has been developing self-governing communities and technologic academies – these technologic academies will reportedly have a heavy emphasis on cryptocurrencies and cryptography.  
  • The Thai Ministry of Commerce is conducting feasibility studies focused on the use of blockchain technology in copyrighting, agriculture, and trade finance. Pimchanok Vonkorpon, an official from Thailand’s Trade Policy and Strategy Office, told the Bangkok Post that a study is being conducted alongside the British embassy in Bangkok. According to Vonkorpon, the study is specifically focusing on blockchain’s feasibility in processing digital IDs, registering and managing IPs, and maintaining security through use of smart contracts.  
  • Tiberius Group AG, the Swiss-based commodities asset manager who was set to launch a precious metals-backed cryptocurrency, has delayed the launch of the cryptocurrency due to high fees from credit card companies. Dubbed, Tiberius Coin, the metal-backed cryptocurrency’s price would be tied to metals like copper, aluminum, nickel, cobalt, tin, gold, and platinum. The mix of metals that have purposes for stability, technology, or electricity, was meant to make the metal-backed coin more diversified and stable. Tiberius Group stressed in a press release that all clients who took part in the pre-sale of Tiberius Coin in September would have their money refunded in 30 days. 
  • Venezuela’s Vice President, Delcy Rodriguez, announced in a press conference Friday that Venezuelans will only be able to pay passport fees with the country’s new state-backed cryptocurrency, the Petro. According to Rodriguez, Venezuelans will be charged 2 Petros to receive a new passport and 1 Petro for an extension. A Bloomberg report notes that the average monthly minimum wage in Venezuela is four times less than the cost of the raised passport fee.  
  • While speaking at the joint annual meeting between the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank president, Jim Yong Kim, discussed the, “huge potential” of blockchain. These comments come after President Kim oversaw the creation and launch of the world’s first blockchain bond in August of this year. President Kim also discussed the importance of, “embracing technology” while admitting that, “We are the World Bank Group have had to admit that we’re not keeping up with the latest developments and we’re not doing it in a way that would help our clients take advantage of the great things that are coming out.” 

*Data in Price Return and Updated Real-Time (with a delay), Source: StockDio