Cryptocurrencies are on pace to finish the week positive as the launch of Fidelity Digital Asset Services headlines the week
Oct 19, 2018
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Developments in Financial Services
- A new report by Crypto Fund Research finds that cryptocurrency funds are now responsible for ~20% of the total hedge fund launches in 2018. The report details that 90 cryptocurrency funds have already launched as of the end of 2018’s 3rd quarter and as many as 120 could launch by the end of 2018. This projection is 1.69% higher than the number of cryptocurrency funds launched in 2017 and 471% higher than the amount launched in 2016. The total 622 estimated cryptocurrency funds in existence manage roughly USD$4 billion of assets.
- A study conducted by the Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation (DTCC) finds that distributed ledger technology possesses the scaling capabilities to support the daily trading volumes of the entire US equity market. The 19-week study found that distributed ledger technology can support the US equity market’s peak volume rates of 115,000,000 daily trades, or 6,300 trades per second. The study by the DTCC was conducted in partnership with global professional services company, Accenture, and enterprise blockchain software firm, R3.
- Adam White, former head of institutional products at major US cryptocurrency exchange, Coinbase and the firm’s fifth employee, is joining Bakkt, a venture launched by Intercontinental Exchange (ICE). White will be joining Bakkt as the firm’s Chief Operating Officer. This news comes after reports broke a few weeks ago detailing that White had left Coinbase. In citing reasons for the move, White told Fortune that he believes ICE’s Bakkt venture will be a catalyst for institutional investors, “waiting on the sidelines,” to enter crypto markets.
- After Fidelity, the world’s fourth-largest asset manager with USD$7.2 trillion of assets under management, announced the launch of Fidelity Digital Asset Services earlier this week, Fidelity CEO Abigail Johnson detailed in a press release that Galaxy Digital would become the venture’s first institutional client. In the partnership between Fidelity Digital Assets and Galaxy Digital will allow clients of Galaxy Digital to invest in cryptocurrencies through Fidelity Digital Assets. Fidelity Digital Assets’ core operations will involve assisting hedge funds, pensions, and academic institutions with investing in cryptocurrencies.
- As the Reserve Bank of India is defending its ban on cryptocurrencies amidst a supreme court case to decide the ban’s legality, cryptocurrency industry members in India have been forced to find creative ways to survive. Unocoin, a cryptocurrency exchange startup in India, has turned to cryptocurrency ATMs in order to receive fiat deposits from customers. Most recently, Unocoin established an ATM at a mall in Bangalore, which allows customers to deposit fiat currency into their account without the use of a bank or credit card. Unocoin is currently investigating how they can scale their cryptocurrency ATM solution.
- Bitcoin futures trading growth shows no signs of stopping after the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) revealed that Bitcoin futures trading volume had increased 41% in 3Q2018 since the previous quarter -- open interest, which is the number of open contracts on Bitcoin futures, rose by 19%. Although Bitcoin futures trading volume showed strong growth in 3Q2018, it represented a slowdown from the 93% increase in daily volume and the 58% increase in open interest observed in 2Q2018. A recent Bloomberg report details that CME does not have plans to offer futures for any cryptocurrency other than Bitcoin in the foreseeable future.
- Cryptocurrency community members, specifically Redditors, are accusing American Express of sponsoring anti-cryptocurrency advertisements after a tweet surfaced today with a caption, “Promoted by American Express”. The advertisement reads, “The cryptocurrency industry is using more energy than all the world’s electric vehicles, researchers say,” while citing Bloomberg New Energy Finance as a source. It is important to note that, upon using a tool provided by Twitter to view the promoters of advertisement, Cointelegraph did not concretely find that American Express promoted the tweet, although the tool may not be quite reliable.
- Genesis Global Trading, an institutional cryptocurrency over-the-counter (OTC) broker, revealed that its loans spinoff has processed more than USD$500 million of loans in its first six months. Genesis went on to reveal that their current order book currently consists of USD$130 million in outstanding loans. Genesis also detailed that loans in Ethereum (ETH) have decreased in popularity while loans in altcoins increased and loans in Bitcoin (BTC) stayed consistent. In total, USD$553 million of cash flow has moved through Genesis.
- KPMG, the Big Four US consultant agency, has decided to, “refresh” its distributed ledger technology strategy, according to Arun Ghosh, KPMG’s US blockchain lead that took over in September. Specifically, KPMG will begin to look away from the pure financial services work it has most recently been doing while looking to explore more unique blockchain solutions for other industries. For example, KPMG will begin work on solutions in cross-border manufacturing and supply chain management, customs duty, and taxation. While speaking to Coindesk, Ghosh said, “You hear that supply chains have been addressed by DLT -- but have they? If you peel back the layers, these supply chain implementations are simple track-and-trace. The value is missing.”
- Mastercard and Visa are set to classify cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs) into a new “high risk” category, according to a report by financial trading news site, Finance Magnates. The new classification of these “high-risk securities merchants” will be subject to additional monitoring by the payment giants, which began on October 12th, 2018. The new classification also enables chargebacks to be executed up to 540 days after the actual transaction date, according to Finance Magnates. The new grouping seems to target businesses that operate without a license and industries that do not require them.
- MoneyMatch, a startup based in Malaysia for international money transfers, has successfully completed its first international payment using RippleNet, which also happens to be the first ever payment made from Malaysia to Spain using RippleNet. Recently, Ripple launched an expansion strategy in Asia and the Middle East that has seen the company partner with the Malaysia startup, MoneyMatch. Currently, MoneyMatch is the only fintech company in Malaysia operating with Know-You-Customer functionality, a process required by many regulators across the globe.
- Notable investor and creator of Galaxy Investment Partners, Mike Novogratz, has pulled back his forecast for Bitcoin, telling Bloomberg on Monday that he does not believe Bitcoin will surpass USD$10,000 in 2018. In explaining his forecast, Novogratz said, “I think Q1 [or] Q2  if the institutions start coming in, we’ll put in new highs.” Novogratz happened to be speaking while Fidelity Investments announced the creation of a new venture, Fidelity Digital Asset Services. In regards to Fidelity, Novogratz said, “They’ll probably be up and running in January or Q1.”
- Steven Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, announced that he has co-founded a recently launched blockchain-focused venture capital fund, EQUI Global. This announcement comes after Wozniak detailed in August of plans to become “involved” in a blockchain project. EQUI Global aims to disrupt the concept of the traditional venture capital fund by allowing non-institutional investors to invest in the fund while enabling investors to trade on cryptocurrency exchanges via EquiTokens. Equi Global will target “sophisticated” investors, according to a report by Verdict, a global business news outlet.
- US investment firm, Fidelity, has announced the launch of a new company, Fidelity Digital Asset Services. Fidelity Digital Asset Services will offer customers custody and trade execution services for digital assets, specifically targeting hedge funds, family offices, and market intermediaries -- Fidelity Digital Asset Services will not offer these services to retail customers. While explaining the decision to launch Fidelity Digital Asset Services, Fidelity cited research from Greenwich Associates that found 7-% of institutional finance executives believe cryptocurrencies will have a role in the future of the financial sector. Fidelity currently works with over 13,000 institutional clients while managing over USD$7.2 trillion of client assets.
- According to Hong Kong newspaper, the South China Morning Post, the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) is planning to introduce cryptocurrency regulation to protect investors. While speaking in an interview, Chairman Carlson Ton Ka-shing said that the regulating body is not considering an outright ban, as they do not believe it is “necessarily the right approach”. Tong Ka-shing added that crypto regulation framework is absolutely necessary and that the SFC will be careful to approach these technologies as “new technologies”, instead of classifying and treating them as securities. Chairman Carlson Ton Ka-shing is set to pass his position in the SFC on to Tim Lui Tim-leung on October 19th, 2018.
- After Bermuda’s House of Assembly enacted new crypto and blockchain regulatory framework in July, the government has awarded the country’s first certification for an initial coin offering (ICO). As per the Royal Gazette, Wayne Gaines, Bermuda’s Minister of National Security, announced while speaking at the Bermuda Executive Forum in Miami that fintech company, Uulala, was awarded the certification. Uulala aims to provide services and increase inclusion for underbanked people through providing financial services and implementing a decentralized peer-to-peer network that would “load cash into the digital economy”. Funds deposited using Uulala also allow customers access to a virtual MasterCard to participate in e-commerce and to send or receive cross-border payments.
- Elvira Nabiullina, the head of Russia’s central bank, said while speaking at finance innovation forum, Finnopolis, that he believes “crypto fever” has diminished. Nabiullina said, “Fortunately, crypto fever has begun to diminish. Technologies such as blockchain have inspired great enthusiasm, but now, as far as we can see, the approach to them is more sober.” Nabiullina went on to add that he believes initial coin offerings (ICOs) are, “perfect methods to raise funds,” but added that the fundraising method is poorly protected from fraud.
- Japan’s Tax Commission is searching for ways to simplify the country’s current cryptocurrency tax filing system in order to ensure accurate capital gains reporting by investors. The Japan Tax Commission held a general assembly meeting on Wednesday in order to discuss potential improvements to the tax filing process. According to local news outlet, Sankei, the Japan Tax Commission is planning on a system that would involve a standardized tax filing process to make it easier for tax payers to calculate capital gain profits against both fiat currencies and other cryptocurrencies.
- Speaking at an event in Dubai on Tuesday, Brian Quintenz, a commissioner of the US Commodity and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), said that smart contract coders could be held liable if they knowingly create functions using blockchain technology that are predictive and deemed as “event contracts”. While at the event in Dubai, Quintenz said, “Essentially, these contracts would allow individuals to bet on the outcome of future events, like sporting events or elections, using digital currency. If your prediction is right, the contract automatically pays you the winnings.” Quintenz went on to encourage smart contract developers to reach out and engage with CFTC staff to see if their products fall within the CFTC’s legal guidelines.
- The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) will form a dedicated focus group to tackle blockchain technology exploration of big businesses and cryptocurrency industry players. As per Indian newspaper, Economic Times, the focus group has attracted representatives from giants like MasterCard, Microsoft, and IBM. This news comes as the Indian Supreme Court is deliberating on the legality of the Reserve Bank of India’s cryptocurrency banking ban enacted this past July.
- The Responsible Finance and Investment Foundation, a UK industry group responsible for self-governance of the finance sector, revealed plans today to introduce a blockchain-powered tool to monitor firms' sustainable commitments. According to a Reuters report, the new system will allow the industry group to reduce, “greenwashing”, the practice of a firm claiming that it is more ecologically friendly or ethical than they really are. The industry group will collaborate on the development with 23 other participants with a plan to introduce the tool in 2019.
- The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced today that it is launching a new division to make it easier for fintech startups, including those launching initial coin offerings (ICOs), to understand legal standing and potential implications of their products. The Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology (FinHub) will become the central point for the SEC to interact with entrepreneurs and developers in the fintech industry. Associate Director of the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance, Valerie Szczepanik, will head the new division and said, “SEC staff across the agency have been engaged for some time in efforts to understand emerging technologies, communicate the agency’s stance on new issues, and facilitate beneficial innovations in the securities industry.”
- While speaking at the Institutional Crypto: Laying the Foundation conference in New York City hosted by Bloomberg, Gary Gensler, former chairman of the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission, said that most cryptocurrencies sold through initial coin offering (ICO) should be classified as securities. Gensler went on to say, “I think cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin need more protection, and probably more protection than even the oil markets.” When asked about blockchain technology, Gensler replied, “we should be technology-neutral.”
- Zebpay, once India’s largest Bitcoin payment processor, has announced that it would move to Malta after its business was hindered by unfavorable laws and regulation in the country. As per Quartz India, Zebpay has already set up operations in Malta. Last month, Zebpay ceased operations in India after the Reserve Bank of India instituted a cryptocurrency ban across the country. According to Zebpay’s website, the new Malta office will offer services to investors in 20 European countries, including Italy, France, and Germany.
- A report released by Moscow-based cybersecurity company, Group-IB, finds that cryptocurrency exchanges have lost USD$882 million to hackers over the last two years. The report goes on to forecast that the trend will likely increase in the future as hackers more directly target cryptocurrency exchanges. The most notable cryptocurrency exchange hack occurred at the beginning of 2018 when Japanese crypto exchange, Coincheck, was robbed of USD$532 million of NEM tokens. The report highlights that some of the ‘busiest’ hacking groups involved in orchestrating attacks on cryptocurrency exchanges include Lazarus, Cobalt, Silence, and MoneyTaker. The report goes on to detail, “In 2019, cryptocurrency exchanges will be a new target for the most aggressive hacker groups usually attacking banks. The number of targeted attacks on crypto exchanges will rise.”
- A study conducted and published by Glassdoor, a career and recruiting website, finds that cryptocurrency and blockchain related job opportunities have significantly increased in 2018 despite a bearish cryptocurrency market. Glassdoor conducted the study by analyzing a large sample of online US job postings that contained keywords closely related to blockchain, Bitcoin (BTC), and cryptocurrency. According to the report by Glassdoor, as of August 2018, 1,775 job openings existed in the US related to blockchain while, at the same time last year, that number was 446 job openings -- this represents a whopping 300% increase in blockchain and cryptocurrency related job postings.
- After he appeared to testify before the United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs regarding cryptocurrencies, Nouriel Roubini has been feuding with Vitalik Buterin, the founder of Ethereum, on Twitter. After going back and forth, Laura Shin, creator of the popular, “Unchained” cryptocurrency podcast stepped in, suggesting she moderate and host a debate on her show between the two. Roubini has since dismissed Shin, calling her a pseudo-journalist and suggesting that the moderator should have less bias. Buterin has since responded, suggest Kevin Pham as a moderator, an individual known as not being a fan of Buterin.
- After temporarily suspending fiat currency deposits last week, Bitfinex has released an update detailing that the cryptocurrency exchange is implementing a “new and increasingly robust fiat deposit system to be available in the next 24 hours.” The initial temporary fiat deposit suspension, which only affected, “certain user groups,” according to the update released today, came after an anonymous report accused Bitfinex of being insolvent. Also this weekend, Tether (USDT), the cryptocurrency market's largest stablecoin, saw price declines that sent USDT to USD$0.9252/token, a massive price drop for a cryptocurrency whose goal is to serve as a stable unit of account and store of value. Investors are unsure whether or not the two events are related.
- After temporarily suspending fiat currency deposits last week, major cryptocurrency exchange, Bitfinex, has introduced an “improved” fiat deposit system. Initially, fiat deposits were suspended for the US Dollar, Euro, Pound Sterling, and Japanese Yen, although fiat and crypto withdrawals were never halted. The new system will requires users to submit a deposit request that takes up to 48 hours to review, after which the deposit itself would be processed over the next 6-10 business days. The minimum fiat deposit amount for Bitfinex is USD$10,000 with a 0.1% processing fee.
- Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, announced that it would open its fiat-to-cryptocurrency in Uganda this week. Binance Uganda detailed in a press release that the branch would officially start accepting deposits of Ugandan shillings (UGX) on Wednesday, October 17th, 2018. The press release also notes that UGX will only be available to trade through either Bitcoin or Ethereum, but more pairs are coming soon. Binance Uganda will be the first fiat-to-cryptocurrency exchange in Uganda.
- Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, has partnered with cryptocurrency compliance provider and research company, Chainalysis, to improve Binance’s detection of suspicious activity. Binance has been rapidly expanding to different and new international markets, and it is likely the cryptocurrency exchange is facing increased regulatory pressures as a result. Binance will implement a Chainalysis solution called know-your-transaction technology, which monitors the exchange in real time to track the provenance of each transaction made on the platform.
- Bitpay, a Bitcoin payments processor, has announced that its merchants will begin accepting USD-pegged stablecoins Gemini Dollar (GUSD) and USD Coin (USDC). Previously, merchants were only allowed to accept payments in Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, physical US Dollars, and physical Euros. An important detail of this announcement is that Bitpay will not be accepting payments in stablecoin Tether (USDT) -- this is notable as just last night, Tether dipped far below its 1:1 US Dollar-peg to below USD$0.90/USDT.
- BTCC, China’s first ever Bitcoin exchange, is planning to launch trading services in South Korea. According to South Korean news outlet, The Investor, BTCC is set to launch beta services for cryptocurrency trading in South Korea later in October while planning to make its official debut this November. BTCC will offer South Koreans a trading platform, cryptocurrency wallet services, a mining pool, and a service that enables peer-to-peer customer payments. Founded in 2011, BTCC was once a top three cryptocurrency exchange in China before facing pressure from regulators prior to the Chinese cryptocurrency ban in September 2017.
- Chinese mining hardware manufactures may be affected by the United States’ most recently proposed tariffs on Chinese goods. According to analysts cited by Hong Kong newspaper, the South China Morning Post, cryptocurrency mining hardware may be impacted by the most recent round of US tariffs after the United States Trade Representative reclassified mining hardware technology to fall under a stricter tariff regime. The tariff that may affect cryptocurrency mining hardware calls for a 25% increase and would combine with the previous regime, meaning mining hardware manufacturers could face tariffs of 27.6% when exporting to the United States.
- Coinbase Pro listed its first Ethereum-based token, 0x (ZRX), earlier this week and savvy cryptocurrency traders were able to cash out on a 35% pay day as a result. After listing the token on Coinbase Pro, ZRX’s price spiked nearly 40%, a situation known as the, “Coinbase Effect”. Coinbase is by far the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the United States and is valued at USD$8 billion with millions of users -- a common side effect of listing a new token on its exchange is a double-digit price move that shortly follows. Several individuals, however, took positions just before Coinbase listed ZRX on its exchange, raising concerns of insider trading, a charge Coinbase has denied in the past.
- Cryptocurrency mining chip-maker, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is forecasting weaker demand in 4Q2018 for processors used by cryptocurrency mining hardware. While speaking in their 3Q2018 earnings call, TSMC noted that their revenue will be affected by “continued weakness” in the cryptocurrency mining market. TSMC is the main supplier for Bitmain, the world’s largest manufacturer of cryptocurrency mining hardware -- in Bitmain’s initial public offering filing submitted in late September, investors learned that 60% of Bitmain’s chip supply comes from TSMC. While speaking on the subject, TSMC CEO and Vice Chairman, C.C. Wei said, “We estimate our 2018 growth rate will be about 6.5% in US Dollar terms, which is close to the foundry industry’s growth but slightly below our 7% to 9% guidance given in the last conference.”
- DocuSign, a San Francisco-based company with over 400,000 customers, announced in a press release this weekend that it would begin to integrate the Ethereum blockchain into its electronic signature and transaction management service. DocuSign will offer customers an option to have evidence of a DocuSign agreement listed on the Ethereum blockchain. According to Ron Hirson, Chief Product Officer at DocuSign, the record on the Ethereum blockchain will act as “tamper-proof evidence for the transaction” that “enables any completed document to be validated independently.”
- Following an announcement yesterday by OKEx that the cryptocurrency exchange would list 4 stablecoins, Huobi has announced that it would soon begin listing four US Dollar-pegged stablecoins on its cryptocurrency exchange. In its announcement, Huobi detailed that it would list TrustToken’s TUSD, Circle’s USDC, Gemini’s GUSD, and Paxos’ PAX. Huobi Is currently the fourth-largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world by daily trading volume.
- G4S, a multinational security services firm based in the UK, has developed a new service for protecting cryptocurrency assets. Per a press release Thursday, G4S has unveiled an “innovative security solution” for storing cryptocurrency assets in the form of an offline, high-security storage system. According to Senior Risk Analyst at G4S, Dominic Maciver, the cryptocurrency storage solution is based on the foundation of “vault storage” that is inaccessible to cyber criminals, hackers, and armed robbers alike.
- Huboi is reporting increased trading volume in trades between Tether (USDT) and a newer stablecoin, TrueUSD (TUSD), in its US affiliate cryptocurrency exchange, HBUS. This news comes after USDT lost its peg to the US Dollar earlier in the week when it fell below USD$0.90 on some exchanges. HBUS reported that both deposits and withdrawals of USDT, “have increased by over 10x over the last two days.” Over the same time, TUSD trading volume on HBUS increased 30%.
- Huobi, a cryptocurrency exchange based in Singapore, has launched a new solution that allows users to switch between four different fiat-pegged stablecoins in the event of price volatility or market fluctuations. Huobi announced in a press release on Friday of HUSD, a medium to facilitate exchanges of different stablecoins. When Huobi users deposit, say, 10 Gemini Dollars (GUSD), they receive 10 HUSD in exchange and their GUSD is essentially placed in a pool of other users’ GUSD. When users choose to withdraw, they are debited with the stablecoin of their choice that is pulled from the pool of said stablecoin. Robin Zhu, Huobi’s Chief Operating Office, points out that the solution could potentially run into a problem if the pool is not large enough to cover withdrawals.
- Kenya’s government is planning to leverage blockchain technology to manage its government housing project responsible for 500,000 units, according to a report by Kenyan news outlet, Star. The housing project entails the construction of 500,000 housing units by 2022 and mortage assistance for Kenyans making less than 100,000 Kenyan Shillings (USD$992) who cannot afford mortgages. Blockchain technology will be used in the project to evenly distribute the housing to deserving participants.
- Large South Korean financial holding company, KB Financial Group, was awarded a patent for a blockchain-based fintech app security solution. KB Financial Group maintains roughly USD$342 billion in assets under management and is the owner of KB Kookmin Bank, South Korea’s largest domestic bank. KB’s patent details an “essential” blockchain-based security program that separates itself from individual fintech applications, meaning security is enhanced across multiple applications. KB is set to test the implementation of the new patented application in overseas markets, specifically Southeast Asia.
- LINE Corporation, a Japanese messaging application company, detailed in a press release today that it has launched its LINK (LN) token and that it is available for trading on its native cryptocurrency exchange, BITBOX. BITBOX will offer Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and Tether (USDT) as trading pairs against LN. Users will have the opportunity to spend LN tokens on LINE’s in-development decentralized application system, set to be released at some point in the future.
- Monero (XMR) is becoming the first cryptocurrency worth more than USD$1 billion to test Bulletproofs, a highly anticipated technology that makes blockchain privacy features more scalable. Designed by cryptographers Benedict Bunz and Jonathan Bootle, Bulletproofs offers a way to reduce the weight of confidential transactions. Bulletproofs is a solution Monero desperately needs, as the privacy coin has experienced “Blockchain bloat” due to the large size of its confidential transactions. The Bulletproofs solution should also help to lower transaction fees for trading XMR.
- NEM.io Foundation, a blockchain services company that promotes and runs NEM blockchain technology, is launching a new blockchain ecosystem hub in Melbourne, Australia. The new hub is reportedly set to serve as a central location for blockchain innovation where individuals can seek out members of the NEM community to better understand the basics of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency. While speaking in regards to the announcement, NEM.io Foundation's New Zealand and Australia Lead, Jian Chan, said that a NEM blockchain hub is the next logical step following NEM’s presence and recognition within the Asia Pacific.
- Peer-to-peer Bitcoin trading volume levels in Argentina, Venezuela, and Egypt have hit all-time high levels so far through October 2018. In Argentina, citizens have flocked to use Bitcoin as a result of the recent economic crisis in the country -- Argentinian regulators have even relaxed regulations to allow for more Bitcoin ATMs in the country. In Venezuela, citizens have been gearing up for the November 5th launch of the state-backed Petro cryptocurrency, although reports indicate that there is little pointing to the Petro’s existence in the country. Meanwhile, Bitcoin transaction volumes in Croatia and Switzerland have hit 2018 lows.
- Qtum, a public blockchain project, is partnering with Amazon Web Services’ China division to develop blockchain-as-a-service (Baas) solutions for enterprises and developers. According to Qtum’s Market Director, John Scianna, Qtum has been moving towards a broad technological partnership with Amazon Web Services since they listed Qtum on their marketplace in July. The partnership will allow Amazon Web Services users to develop and launch smart contracts, “quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively" using Amazon Machine Image technology.
- Ripple Labs, Inc. and digital payments firm, Coil, have partnered with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to implement Ripple’s Interledger Protocol to support, “pro-poor payment systems”. According to data from the World Bank, roughly 1.7 billion adults across the world in 2017 were technically unbanked. Most unbanked individuals are low and middle income earning individuals living in emerging markets without access to clear identification information.
- Sources familiar with the matter are reporting that the planned hard fork of Ethereum, Constantinople, is undergoing “consensus issues” and has caused the Ethereum testnet to be “not usable.” The Ethereum testnet reportedly went live with Constantinople at block 5,230,000 on October 13th, 2018, however, a “consensus issue” reportedly occurred and caused Ethereum developer, Afri Schoedon, to state in a threat of tweets that there would be “no Constantinople in 2018.” Schoedon added that the next scheduled call concerning Constantinople between Ethereum developers is scheduled for October 19th, 2018.
- Telegram, an encrypted messaging service platform, announced today that it is releasing a test version of its blockchain-based TON platform later this Fall. Once launched, users will be able to send/receive GRAM, a type of in-house cryptocurrency for TON that offers a “new way of exchanging data.” Telegram raised nearly USD$1.8 billion earlier this year via two private initial coin offering (ICO) sales.
- The Australian state of New South Wales is on pace to complete a proof-of-concept for a land registry system based on blockchain technology by the summer of 2019. As per a report by ZDNet, the proof-of-concept is being completed in partnership between the New South Wales Land Registry Services and Stockholm-based blockchain startup, ChromaWay. The blockchain land registry system will define legal ownership of both public and private land across New South Wales while requiring all property transactions to be conducted on the platform.
- The TRON foundation confirmed rumors of a partnership between TRON (TRX) and Baidu after it tweeted an official announcement on Wednesday. The partnership between TRX, a decentralized internet project, and Baidu, China’s largest search engine, will see the formation a Baidu-TRON corporation with a focus on cloud computing resources and making blockchain solutions more accessible for individual users and small businesses.
- The value of Gemini Dollar (GUSD), the Gemini-backed stablecoin, surged to an all-time high of USD$1.19/token today after Tether (USDT), cryptocurrency’s largest stablecoin, broke its US Dollar-peg and fell below USD$0.90/token earlier this week. Since losing its peg, USDT has climbed back to roughly USD0.98/token -- however, 250 million USDTs were taken out of circulation in the process, meaning the world’s largest sablecoin’s market value currently sits at USD$2.2 billion, representing nearly a 25% decline since its USD$2.9 billion market value 2 months ago.
- The world’s third largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, OKEx, announced today that they would begin listing four different stablecoins at one time -- these stablecoins include TrueUSD (TUSD), USD Coin (USDC), Gemini Dollar (GUSD), and Paxos Standard Token (PAX). All four of these stablecoins are available for trading on OKEx as of Monday, October 15th, 2018 at 5:00 PM Hong Kong Time. This news comes as Tether (USDT), the world’s second largest cryptocurrency by daily volume and largest stablecoin by market capitalization, dipped late last night below USD$0.90/token, representing more than a 10% dip from its initial 1:1 peg to the US Dollar and a catastrophic loss in value for a stablecoin.
- Ticketmaster, a large global ticketing company, has acquired Upgraded, a firm focused on innovation in the traditional ticketing industry by leveraging blockchain technology. Detailed in an October 18th, 2018 press release, Ticketmaster hopes to implement blockchain technology into its services through the partnership in order to provide more transparency and create more control over ticket distribution. Sandy Khaund, founder and CEO of Upgraded, said in regards to the acquisition that Ticketmaster is a, “perfect platform,” for the company to promote blockchain to millions of people.
- Trading volumes of the Gemini Dollar (GUSD) have skyrocketed since Tether (USDT), the world’s largest stablecoin, lost its USD$1 peg. On Bibox, the world’s ninth largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, GUSD volume spiked 96% while trading volume in USDT pairs plummeted 70%. USDT still maintains far superior trading volume compared to GUST; in the last 24 hours, USDT trading volume sits at roughly USD$2.6 billion while GUSD trading volume in the last 24 hours sits at roughly USD$11 million.
- US Marshals have announced plans to sell nearly USD$4.3 million worth of Bitcoin (BTC) in a public auction next month. The auction will sell off about 660 BTC that were forfeited in previous federal criminal, civil, and administrative cases. The auction is set to take place on November 5th, according to the US Marshals -- it is curious that this auction will take place on the same day as the deadline for the US SEC’s decision on nine Bitcoin ETF applications. In theory, these ~660 BTC are technically more valuable to investors, as they have already been repossessed and cleaned by a federal agency, compared to BTC on the market that has not been seized and cleaned, and therefore, poses a small risk of repossession if the BTC were associated with previous criminal activity.
- While speaking in an interview with Bloomberg, Galaxy Digital CEO, Michael Novogratz, said that stablecoin Tether (USDT) should do a better job of creating transparency in its operations. Novogratz said, “I think Tether didn’t do a great job in terms of creating transparency,” after which he noted, “The concept of stablecoins make sense.” Novogratz’s comments come days after USDT lost its 1:1 peg to the US Dollar and dipped below USD$0.90/token on many exchanges.
*Data in Price Return and Updated Real-Time (with a delay), Source: StockDio