Cryptos lower this week as Bitcoin Cash (BCH) hard forks
Nov 16, 2018
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Developments in Financial Services
- A judge has ruled in favor of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) in a dispute concerning a USD$19.6 million sum with Canada’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, QuadrigaCX. In October, the CIBC froze five accounts belonging to QuadrigaCX’s payment processor, Custodian Inc., and its owner, Jose Reyes, because it reportedly could not identify the funds’ owners. While QuadrigaCX argued to have the funds unfrozen, claiming they were the undisputed owner of large part of the funds, Judge Glenn Hainey ruled in favor of the CIBC, agreeing that the owner of the funds was not clearly established.
- A report conducted by French financial markets regulator AMF details that France is a minor player in the global initial coin offering (ICO) market while the United States leads the industry. As per the report, the global ICO market has seen 19.4 billion euros (USD$21.8 billion) since 2014 -- France has accounted for just 89 million euros (USD$100 million) through 15 ICO projects. The financial markets regulator details further in the report that the ICO industry needs appropriate regulation in order to maintain investor protection through the adoption of anti-money laundering requirements.
- American Express has filed for a patent that details a blockchain system to capture and transfer the image of a receipt, as per the US Patent and Trademark Office’s website. The patent was filed under American Express’ travel subsidiary and is titled, “Linking digital images with related records,”. The patent describes a system that allows users to capture an image of a receipt using their mobile device -- the system then uses “optical character recognition,” to decipher the image and match it with related records like transaction history.
- Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization’s (CSIRO Data61 division, along with the Commonwealth Bank of Australian (CommBank) announced the completion of a successful trial of a prototype blockchain application that makes money “smart”. Dubbed Making Money Smart, the blockchain project trial saw participation from 10 members of Australia’s National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) with reports of lower administration costs and less required paperwork. The application leverages smart contracts to allow participants to execute payments based on pre-defined conditions using a blockchain token. The two organizations reported that the application could improve the management of insurance payouts and budgeting.
- Bitcoin Group SE, a German holding company that operates the country’s only regulated cryptocurrency exchange, has acquired 100% of Tremmel Wertpapierhandelsbank GmbH, a German investment bank. Bitcoin Group SE operates Bitcoin Deutschland AG (Bitcoin.de), the country’s only regulated cryptocurrency exchange -- the acquisition of Tremmel will allow Bitcoin Group SE to use the investment bank’s banking license. According to a company press release, the banking license will enable Bitcoin Group SE to expand its crypto product offerings and operate cryptocurrency ATMs in the country.
- CIMB Group Holdings Bhd, a Malaysian lending giant, is joining Ripple’s (XRP) RippleNet network, a large cross-border payments network. CIMB will implement Ripple’s XCurrent product for its “SpeedSend” remittance product, as per a Bloomberg report today. Ripple’s RippleNet platform aims to replace the current cross-border money transfer solution used by global financial institutions, SWIFT -- when asked about a potential Ripple/SWIFT partnership at the Singapore Fintech Festival 2018 this week, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse said, “Swift is owned by banks, Ripple is here to help the banks. What we are doing on a day-to-day basis is, in fact, taking over SWIFT. We’ve signed well over 100 banks, some of the world’s largest SWIFT-enabled banks are now using Ripple’s technology.”
- CLS Group, a forex exchange settlement giant, will launch an IBM blockchain-powered netting service in the next couple of days, as per Chief Strategy Officer Alan Manquard. CLS Group settles an average of USD$5 trillion in payment transactions daily, working with notable financial institutions like Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Barclays, and Citigroup. The blockchain netting service will offset and determine the value of multiple positions or payments due between parties while taking into account factors like currency volatility caused by different time zones. According to a whitepaper released by CLS and IBM, the platform will be able to process up to 2.9 million daily transactions.
- GMO, a Japanese IT giant, published its CY3Q2018 financial report that details a, “historical performance,” of its cryptocurrency-related sectors despite, “the harsh external environment.” GMO’s mining businesses generated 2.6 billion yen (USD$22.8 million) of revenue in CY3Q2018 after launching a year ago. GMO also reports that its GMO Coin platform, the company's cryptocurrency exchange platform, saw 208,000 users trade about 89 billion yen (USD$781 million) just in October -- GMO Coin’s profits in CY3Q2018 rose 34.4% y/y.
- GoverMedia Plus Canada, a Canadian holding firm, will acquire EXMO, a UK-based cryptocurrency exchange, as per a joint announcement published today. GoverMedia and EXMO have signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) to exclusively negotiate the transaction over the next 180 days. GoverMedia CEO Roland J. Bopp discussed the transaction, saying that completion of the “business combination,” will result in more than 2 million active users -- Bopp also discussed a potential expansion into Europe, North America, and Asia.
- Guido Buhler, the CEO of Swiss startup SEBA Crypto AG, said in an interview with Swiss news outlet Cash that five, “large asset managers,” from both Germany and abroad have shown interest in their cryptocurrency bank. Buhler went on to detail in the interview that he expects the firm to receive a banking and securities dealer license from FINMA, the Swiss financial markets regulator, by the first half of 2019. In September, SEBA Crypto AG raised USD$103 million to establish a bank that offers cryptocurrency-related services. As per Buhler, SEBA intends to raise additional capital of up to 200 million francs (USD$206 million) through an initial coin offering (ICO).
- Japanese IT giant GMO announced a CY3Q2018 loss of 640 million yen (USD$5.6 million) for its cryptocurrency mining business segment, as per the company’s quarterly financials release. The CY3Q2018 loss for the firm’s cryptocurrency mining business represents a 77.8% decline from its loss of 360 million yen (USD$3.2 million) in CY2Q2018. GMO highlighted that the loss from its cryptocurrency mining business was offset by gains generated from its cryptocurrency exchange business.
- KuCoin, a Hong Kong-based global cryptocurrency exchange, generated Series A funding worth roughly USD$20 million lead by IDG Capital, Matrix Partners, and Neo Global Capital, as per a Wednesday press release. The Series A capital will be used to facilitate the development and launch of KuCoin’s 2.0 platform, research, expansion into new markets, and more. The funding and future expansion of KuCoin comes as the cryptocurrency community continues to observe a harsh divergence between Hong Kong’s flourishing cryptocurrency industry and mainland China’s increasingly draconian cryptocurrency sector.
- Major global oil companies BP, Shell, and Equinor have come together with large banks and trading houses to launch Vakt, a blockchain-driven energy platform to facilitate energy commodity trading. Notable banks that are a part of Vakt include ABN Amro, ING, and Societe Generale while notable trading houses that are a part of Vakt include Gunvor, Koch Supply & Trading, and Mecuria. Initially announced in November 2017, Vakt eliminates “cumbersome” paperwork by using smart contracts to increase trading efficiency and reduce time spent on operations.
- Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG), the large Japanese bank holding and financial services company, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that outlines the use of Ripple (XRP) in the creation of a new cross-border payments services to Brazil. MUFG will build this service in partnership with Brazil’s Banco Bradesco, who also signed the MoU. In March 2017, MUFG joined Ripple’s Global Payments Steering Group -- in the announcement detailing the new partnership, MUFG reiterated its faith in Ripple’s technology.
- Point95 Global, a Shanghai-based digital asset management firm, is reportedly planning to launch a new multi-strategy cryptocurrency-quantitative fund in partnership with a yet-to-be-named licensed asset manager in Hong Kong, as per news outlet China Knowledge. The unconfirmed private crypto fund will leverage complex algorithms to identify and capitalize on arbitrage trading opportunities across different facets of the cryptocurrency sector. The fund size is expected to cap at around USD$30 million. According to the report by China Knowledge, Point95 Global will act as the fund’s sub-advisor while the unnamed Hong Kong-based licensed asset manager will serve as the fund manager and distributor.
- Raiffeisen Bank International’s Russian subsidiary is partnering with Russian state-owned oil giant Gazprom Neft to issue a bank guarantee on blockchain, as per Russian news outlet Kommersant. Raiffeisen issued its first bank guarantee on blockchain in order to facilitate a trade finance transaction involving Raiffeisen, Gazprom Neft, Mozyr Oil Refinery, and Priorbank of Belarus. According to Tatyana Ivashkova, Raiffeisen Russia’s head of documentary transactions and trade finance, blockchain allows deals to be finalized as soon as payments are made due to blockchain’s ability to allow users to access documents simultaneously.
- Rob Sluymer, an analyst for Fundstrat Global Advisors, said that it will take, “weeks, if not months,” to repair the, “technical damage,” that caused the recent fallout of Bitcoin (BTC). According to an article by Bloomberg, Sluymer made these comments in a recent note issued by Fundstrat to its clients. Sluymer concluded in the letter that BTC will be able to support a, “multi-month rally,” but only after it overcomes significant damage done to technical indicators this week. As a result of yesterday’s cryptocurrency sell-off, stocks of companies involved in the cryptocurrency market, including SBI Holdings and Monex Group, took a hit.
- Singapore’s central bank and the country’s primary stock exchange have made a blockchain breakthrough, successfully developing an automated method that enables the rapid settlement of tokenized assets. In an announcement on Sunday, the Singaporean government announced the development of a Delivery versus Payment (DvP) mechanism that uses smart contracts to settle tokenized assets across different blockchain planforms. As per the announcement, the DvP prototype platform successfully, “demonstrated that financial institutions and corporate investors are able to carry out the simultaneous exchange and final settlement of tokenized digital currencies and securities assets on different blockchain platforms.” The DvP platform was developed in partnership Deloitte and Nasdaq.
- The Lightning Network, a second layer solution implemented on the Bitcoin mainnet, has surpassed 4,000 total nodes for the first time, setting an all-time high record for network capacity. As of the time of this writing, 4,036 total nodes exist on the Lightning Network, creating a network capacity of 122.97 BTC (USD$775,286.79). On Monday, Alex Bosworth, Lightning Network infrastructure lead at developer Lightning, revealed that the community has agreed on improvements to implement in the Lightning Network, as a result of meetings at a September summit in Australia. Meanwhile, Stellar (XLM) has pledged to add Lightning Network capabilities before the end of 2018.
- X8AG, a Switzerland-based fintech company, has been awarded a certification from the Shariyah Review Bureau (SRB), a consultancy and audit firm licensed by the central bank of Bahrain, to create an Ethereum-based stablecoin. The SRB maintains a presence in 12 different countries while holding market share of more than 13% of Saudi Investment Companies that are licensed by the country’s Capital Markets Authority (CMA). X8AG’s stablecoin would be backed by seven fiat currencies and gold in an attempt to subdue volatility.
- A joint report by the Bank of England, the Bank of Canada, and the Monetary Authority of Singapore identifies central bank digital currencies as one of the potential solutions to challenges faced when making cross-border payments. As per the report, central bank digital currencies offer strategic advantages like 24-hour availability, anonymity, and the elimination of counterparty credit risk. The report outlines three models of wholesale-central bank digital currencies that could potentially be implemented based on geographical reach or acceptability.
- A new Chinese blockchain alliance has been established that will focus on promoting synergy and innovation in the development of blockchain technology. Dubbed the Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macao Dawan District Blockchain Alliance, the industry group consists of 54 different companies and will cover blockchain technology applications in finances, funds, and trading. According to an article by China News, the alliance will initially develop four different blockchain platforms.
- Ahead of an initial coin offering (ICO) round aimed towards raising funds for an opposition political movement in Malaysia, Fahmi Fadzil, a Malaysian lawmaker, urged the government to delay the ICO in due to a need for proper regulation and guidelines in the cryptocurrency space. While speaking to a crowd of reporters, Fadzil said, “The anonymous nature of cryptocurrency may open us up to some issues, and we need to wait for guidelines from Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) in regard of cryptocurrency.” Specifically, Fadzil believes that clearer guidelines need to be outlined concerning crypto-based political funding, which happens to be the main purpose of this ICO funding.
- As per a report by the Wall Street Journal, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (US SEC) has opened a probe into cryptocurrency loans company Salt Lending Holdings, a venture once associated with crypto industry leader Erik Voorhees. According to the report, the US SEC’s probe concerns Salt Lending’s 2017 USD$50 million token sale -- specifically, the probe will assess whether or not the token sale complied with US securities laws, how the tokens were used, and through what system Salt Lending employees received tokens. Founded in 2016, Slat Lending leverages clients’ cryptocurrency holdings as collateral against fiat currency loans.
- Benoit Coeure, an Executive Board member of the European Central Bank (ECB), had some harsh comments on Bitcoin (BTC) calling it the, “evil spawn of the  financial crisis,” while at the Bank for International Settlements in Basel. Further, Coeure went on to discuss international monetary authorities and their pursuit of cryptocurrency tokens and distributed ledger technology, saying, “there is broad agreement that a central bank digital currency, in whatever form, is unlikely to be issued within the next decade.”
- Binance, currently the world’s second largest cryptocurrency exchange, is advising its Iranian users to withdraw their funds in an effort to comply with international sanctions. “If you have an account with Binance and fall into that category, please withdraw your assets from Binance as soon as possible,” reads an email sent by Binance to Iranian users. Initially, Binance was shutting down wallets connected to Iranian passports provided as part of the exchange’s know-your-customer (KYC) system -- now, however, Binance is requesting that all users connected to an Iranian IP address withdraw their funds. This news follows an renewed sanctions on Iran by the United States, which took effect November 5th, 2018.
- Brad Garlinghouse, CEO of Ripple, discussed that the introduction of regulation will drive adoption of blockchain and cryptocurrency with Ross Leckow, Deputy General Counsel of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Garlinghouse’s comments came while participating in a discussion at the Singapore Fintech Festival that pertained to regulatory frameworks that are emerging in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) -- some nations included in the ASEAN are Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines. In the discussion, Garlinghouse said, “Regulatory clarity has a huge ability to drive digital asset and blockchain adoption. It is surprising how many markets still have uncertainty.”
- Christine Lagarde, managing director and head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in a speech at the Singapore Fintech Festival today that the international community should consider endorsing central bank issued digital currencies. In her speech, Lagarde said, “I believe we should consider the possibility to issue digital currency. There may be a role for the state to supply money to the digital economy.” Lagarde’s speech comes just one day after the IMF published a report examining the pros and cons of central bank issued digital currencies, which notes that central bank issued digital currencies could satisfy public safety goals, facilitate financial inclusion, add security and consumer protections, and create privacy in payments.
- Hilda Heine, the President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, narrowly survived a no-confidence vote that largely stemmed from plans to introduce a national state-backed digital currency. According to a report by the Nikkei Asian Review, the Marshallese parliament's vote was split 16-16, falling just one vote short of the votes required to encourage Heine to resign from the Presidency. Marshall Islands’ Finance Minister Brenson Wase declared that the government will move forward with the launch of a state-backed digital currency, dubbed the Sovereign (SOV), following the failed no-confidence vote.
- Maksim Zaslavskiy, the suspect at the center of the United States’ first initial coin offering (CIO) fraud case, is pleading guilty and sending the case to its final stages. As per a Bloomberg report yesterday, Zaslavskiy could face up to 37 months in prison after defrauding investors who injected capital into two different ICOs last year. Zaslavskiy’s charges concern ICOs REcoin and Diamond Reserve Coin, two tokens that claimed to be backed by real estate and diamonds, respectively. “I, along with others, made these false statements to obtain money from investors,” said Zaslavkiy, adding, “We had not yet purchased any real estate, we had not purchased any diamonds.”
- Stanley Yong, global lead for central bank digital currency solutions at IBM, said in an interview with CNBC’s Squawk Box that central bank issued digital currencies could contribute to mitigating some risks that caused the 2008 financial crash. Yong, who is also the Chief Technical Officer of BIM Blockchain for Financial Services, said in the interview that central bank issued digital currencies are, “the only way you can have the certainty of settlement that is required for financial services, especially when you think about the kinds of risks that came about during the Lehman crisis of 2008.” Yong went on to suggest in the interview that the 2008 crisis was triggered by a lack of confidence in the delivery versus payment mechanisms available at that point in time, and that a blockchain system could alleviate that risk.
- The Central Bank of Azerbaijan (CBA) ruled out the possibility of the monetary authority issuing a central bank digital currency. While speaking to reporters in Baku, CBA first Chairman Alim Guliyev said that the CBA believes cryptocurrencies, digital currencies, and similar financial instruments, “come with great risks.” Specifically, Guliyev cited concerns of money laundering as the major reason for the CBA’s aversion to the possibility of a central bank digital currency.
- The International Monetary Fund (IMF) will use its ongoing research and experimentation with blockchain technology as an “anchor” for future blockchain and cryptocurrency policy, according to comments made on a panel. While participating in a panel at the Singapore Fintech Festival 2018, IMF Deputy General Counsel Ross Leckhow detailed three different areas that the IMF has been active in concerning blockchain technology and cryptocurrency -- these three areas include artificial intelligence (AI), distributed ledger technology (DLT), and cryptoassets. Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse also participated in the panel.
- The New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) issued the state’s 14th BitLicense to the New York Digital Investment Group (NYDIG), which will allow the firm to offer cryptocurrency services in the state of New York. As per a press release by the New York State DFS, the virtual currency license will allow NYDIG to offer liquidity and asset management services to New York residents. Additionally, the license extends to NYDIG Trust Company, a subsidiary of NYDIG, which will allow NYDIG Trust Company to offer trade execution and custody services to New York residents -- initially, services will be offered for Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH), Ripple (XRP), and Litecoin (LTC).
- The Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (Thai SEC) has told cryptocurrency exchange Q Exchange to cease advertising while warning citizens not to use the cryptocurrency due to legal uncertainty. Q Exchange, a joint Thai and South Korean crypto exchange venture, has not officially been endorsed by the Thai SEC as it may not fall within the framework of the country’s new cryptocurrency laws. As per a Thai royal decree issued in May this year, cryptocurrency exchanges and businesses must seek permission from and register with Thai authorities beginning operations in the country.
- Warren Davidson, a Congressman from Ohio, is planning to introduce a bill that would allow Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) to “sidestep” securities laws in the United States. As per a report by news outlet the Washington Examiner, the bill would propose that ICOs be treated as products, rather than securities, effectively eliminating the US Securities and Exchange Commission's oversight of the industry. The report by the Washington Examiner goes on to mention that officials in the Trump administration have hinted that the department may move forward with its own cryptocurrency policy ideas -- the report specifically mentions Craig Phillips, senior adviser to US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
- A legal battle between XRP investors and Ripple is moving to the next phase after attorneys for Ripple Labs and its affiliated defendants motioned to move the consolidated class-action lawsuit to the US District Court, Northern District of California. Ripple’s attorneys also hinted at their defense strategy for the federal case, writing, “Plaintiffs do not allege that they lacked information about the nature of these transactions. Nevertheless, Plaintiffs claim that they were somehow injured because the Defendants were allegedly required to register XRP as a ‘security’ with the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) but failed to do so.” Plaintiffs in the lawsuit are requesting that Ripple pays USD$167.7 million in damages after “thousands” of individuals lost money after buying XRP.
- A new poll conducted by Russian payment service Yandex.Money in partnership with the Moscow Information Technology Department (ITD) reveals that 5% of Moscow residents who use non-cash methods of payment are open to using cryptocurrencies. The poll surveyed 1,000 Moscow residents by way of phone. Of the Moscow residents who already use non-cash forms of payment, just 1% already use cryptocurrencies. Ivan Buturlin, ITD’s head of analytics, provided some context to the survey, saying, “34% of Moscow residents use primarily non-cash methods of payment, wherein 63% conduct electronic transactions at least once a day.”
- A new report published by Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) finds that the number of inquiries by Japanese investors about cryptocurrencies declined in the third quarter of 2018. The report details that the Japanese financial watchdog received 1,231 inquiry requests in 3Q2018, down 23% from 1,602 inquiries in 2Q2018. The report goes on to detail that, of the 1,231 inquiry requests, 34% concerned general questions, 32% were related to individual transactions and contracts, and 34% were miscellaneous. In the first quarter of 2018, the FSA received a whopping 3,559 inquiry requests from Japanese investors.
- Accenture, a global management consultancy firm, has launched a distributed ledger (DLT) platform to manage and track software licenses, as per a Monday press release. Accenture developed the platform in partnership with Digital Assets, a US-based firm that provides DLT solutions and products for financial institutions. Accenture believes that the DLT platform will help companies avoid risks of violating licensing laws while increasing transparency in the distribution and use of software.
- According to a report by Insikt Group, North Korea has been targeting cryptocurrency exchanges in South Korea to circumvent sanctions imposed on the country while administering illicit initial coin offerings (ICOs) to fund the regime. In its report, Insikt Group says, “We discovered that North Korea’s ruling elite are technologically savvy, use a full range of older and cutting-edge computers, phones, and devices, use the internet as a tool for sanctions circumvention, and recently shifted to embrace Chinese social networking services over Western ones.” North Korea is currently isolated from the SWIFT network, the global financial system used by international banks to process cross-border payments.
- Ahead of the upcoming Bitcoin Cash (BCH) hard fork on November 15th, it appears that Bitcoin SV maintains more hash power than Bitcoin ABC. As per data from Coin Dance, at least 63% of BCH miners are supporting Bitcoin SV while at least 18% of miners are supporting Bitcoin ABC. In public statements, CoinGeek, SVPool, BMG Pool, okminer, and mempool have all announced support of Bitcoin SV -- combined, these mining pools control at least 73% of the BCH network hashrate. Notable BCH developer Craig Wright has also suggested that he would support destroying a Bitcoin ABC implementation of BCH if the network splits, which could be done by mining empty blocks on the network if Bitcoin SV miners control more than 51% of the network hash power.
- Amazon has been awarded two patents for a system that protects the integrity of digital signatures and a system that improves distributed data storage. As per patent applications published on the US Patent and Trademark Office website, the first patent application was filed in April of this year and details a “signature delegation” method for “protecting the integrity of digital signatures and encrypted communications” through one-time-use cryptographic keys. The second patent application was first filed in December 2015 and proposes a “grid encoding technique,” using shards, where each shard represents data stored across a given grid.
- Binance, currently the world’s second largest cryptocurrency exchange by adjusted daily volume, announced in a blog post today that it would begin listing USD Coin (USDC), Circle’s USD-pegged stablecoin, with deposits and trading beginning immediately. USDC, which was announced in May and launched in September of this year, will trade against Bitcoin (BTC) and Binance Coin (BNB). In its blog post, Binance detailed why it chose to list USDC, saying, “For increased transparency, USDC has engaged a top-ranking auditing firm to release monthly balance attestations of the corresponding USDC and USD balances held/issued.”
- BTCC, a Hong Kong-based Bitcoin (BTC) exchange, has indefinitely closed its mining pool business, BTCC Pool Limited, after operating for four years in Hong Kong. BTCC Pool Limited will shut down all mining servers on November 15th, 2018 while ceasing operations indefinitely beginning on November 30th, 2018. BTCC Pool Limited did not provide any particular reason for the indefinite shutdown of operations, apart from saying it was due to, “business adjustments.”
- Cryptocurrency mining farms’ operations in Chinese provinces Xinjiang and Guizhou were abruptly suspended to allow the government to conduct a “very strict,” tax inspection and real-name registration checks, as per local news outlet Cong News. The abrupt shutdown, which began on November 5th, has caused mining farms to lose about 1 million yuan (USD$143,700) per day. While the inspection has since been completed, it remains unclear whether Chinese officials have restored electricity to the farms.
- EOS (EOS) faced mounting criticisms on Friday after evidence emerged on social media that shows an EOS moderator reversing transactions after they had already been confirmed. Allegedly, a dispute involving a ‘phished’ EOS account was reported to a moderator, who then made the decision to reverse transactions that occurred through the account without the owner’s permission. The situation reignited past criticisms of EOS that the cryptocurrency lacks decentralization -- in an interview last month, EOS CTO Daniel Larimer confirmed, “Decentralization isn’t what we're after,” adding, “what we’re after is anti-censorship and robustness against beings shut down.”
- Ethereum (ETH) mining using a graphics processing unit (GPU) is no longer profitable as a result of falling hashrates and a lingering bear market, as per an analysis by US-based trading and technology firm Susquehanna. Profits per month for ETH miners that use a GPU system hit USD$0 on November 1st of this year, down from nearly USD$150 in July 2017. Although in July 2017 ETH’s price was trading below what it is now, a lower network hashrate has caused unprofitable ETH mining.
- Great Lakes Science Center, a major museum in Cleveland, Ohio, has become the third major US museum to accept Bitcoin (BTC) as a payment method, as of today, November 13th, 2018. Two other US museums, the Museum of Coastal Bend in Texas and the St. Petersburg Museum of History in Florida, already accept BTC as a payment method, according to SpendBitcoins USA. Great Lakes Science Center’s acceptance of BTC as payment comes two weeks before Cleveland will host an inaugural Blockland Solutions Conference. Great Lakes Science Center will process BTC payments using BitPay, a notable cryptocurrency payments processor.
- Herman Gref, CEO of Russian state-owned Sberbank, predicted that blockchain adoption on the industrial scale will happen within the next one to two years. In explaining his prediction, Gref said, “The hype around the technology [blockchain] is now over, and the technology is entering the stage of industrial. It needs a year or two to be implemented at the industrial scale.” Gref went on to add that he does not believe global markets are ready for large-scale commercial adoption of blockchain, as the technology is still in its infancy.
- IBM has filed for another blockchain-related patent, this time related to the use of a blockchain platform in open scientific research. In its patent application, IBM describes a system where a blockchain represents an experiment with individual blocks comprised of project components, including steps like research data, data analysis, and post-data analysis. IBM initially filed the patent application at 2017’s year-end. In the past, the scientific research industry has faced issues involving lack of transparency in data collection tied to the data analysis process.
- Kin, the cryptocurrency being developed by popular messaging application Kik, is leaving Ethereum (ETH) for good after initially launching kin on the Ethereum blockchain. As per a company announcement, Kik will close kin’s atomic swap with Ethereum, although the company did not specify a date. While reiterating his goal to make kin the most used cryptocurrency in the world, Kik CEO Ted Livingston said in the press release, “One Kin on one blockchain. That’s our vision, and our strategy continues evolving as we work toward building an infrastructure that supports this.”
- McAfee Labs, an internet security provider and research lab, is warning the cryptocurrency community of a new malware that secretly uses consumer devices to mine Monero (XMR). The malware, dubbed WebCobra, originates from Russia and uses the processing power of corrupted devices to generate coins for the owners of the malware. According to a blog post published by McAfee Labs, the crypto malware runs nearly without a trace, with the only noticeable difference in the device being reduced hardware performance. Malware attacks have increased nearly 500% so far in 2018 since the previous year’s total.
- Microsoft, the US-based software giant, has released a serverless blockchain-powered Azure development kits, dubbed the “Azure Blockchain Development Kit”. The product aims to increase the capabilities of Microsoft’s Azure Blockchain WorkBench, containing features like off-chain identity and data, messaging application programming interfaces (API), and monitoring to be used in blockchain-based applications. As per a Microsoft press release, the initial release of Azure Blockchain Development Kit will focus on addressing core goals such as connecting interfaces, integrating systems and data, and deploying smart contract capabilities on blockchain networks.
- Myongji Hospital, one of South Korea’s largest hospitals, is partnering with BiCube, a local Korean tech company, to develop a medical services platform that leverages blockchain technology. The two parties have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to use blockchain technology in building a healthcare information exchange platform. The platform will allow patients to share medical documents and data with hospitals and medical institutions upon authorization, without requiring the data to be stored centrally.
- New Economy Movement (NEM) reached a nine-week high after spiking 25% today following the announcement that Tokyo-based cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck is re-enabling trading of NEM on the exchange for the first time since being hacked on January 26th, 2018. Trading volume of NEM over the last 24 hours reached more than USD$45.6 million while its price peaked at USD$0.114/token, its highest value since September 5th, 2018.
- OKCoin, the parent company of the current largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world, OKEx, has launched fiat-cryptocurrency trading services in Argentina, as per a tweet today. Argentinian users can deposit fiat Argentine pesos (ARS) as early as today with the exchange already offering trading services for popular cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Litecoin (LTC), Ripple (XRP), Cardano (ADA), Stellar (XLM), Zcash (ZEC), and 0x (ZRX). OKCoin also revealed plans today to launch services across Latin America in, “the coming months,”.
- OKEx, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, announced in a Wednesday press release that they are rolling out early delivery of Bitcoin Cash (BCH) futures contracts. Detailed in the announcement, all BCH futures contracts stopped trading on OKEx at 9:05 AM CET followed by delivery at 10:00 AM CET -- the reason for the trading stop was to avoid market manipulation ahead of BCH’s scheduled hard fork tomorrow, citing a desire to avoid losses for clients.
- The government of Austria will support Lancor Scientific, a UK cancer research company using blockchain technology to detect the disease, as per a November 10th, 2018 press release. Lancor Scientific uses an in-house developed system that can detect multiple cancer types and record screening results using smart contracts on a blockchain. Lancor Scientific plans to open a research laboratory in the Austrian city of Graz while partnering with local universities including the Technical University of Graz, the Medical University of Graz, and the Sigmund Freud University Vienna.
- The government of Gyeongbuk, a South Korean province, is launching a Blockchain Special Committee with a focus on developing a blockchain hub for the region, as per a report by local news outlet Daily News. The government of Gyeongbuk has invited 40 domestic and foreign experts to consult on the development of the blockchain hub. In explaining the goals of the blockchain hub, Lee Cheo-uoo, a former member of National Assembly of South Korea and governor of the Gyeongbuk province said, “In order to nurture the blockchain industry, we will work with the special committee, composed of domestic and international experts, to preemptively respond and establish strategies.” This past summer, the Gyeongbuk province announced plans to issue its own local cryptocurrency, called the Gyeongbuk Coin.
- The long-anticipated Bitcoin Cash (BCH) hard fork has been activated with activity indicating that neither side of the hard fork will compromise with the other, leading to two competing implementations of the BCH network. The last true BCH block, #556,766, was mined by SVPool while Bitcoin.com, who supports the Bitcoin ABC implementation, has mined a new block -- this signals that there are two separate and competing networks of BCH. Currently, the future outlook of the Bitcoin Cash community remains undetermined.
- The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has fined a Bitcoin (BTC) trader for more roughly USD$1.1 million and sentenced him to jail for up to 15 months in jail after he was found guilty of running a fraudulent BTC and Litecoin (LTC) scheme. Arizona resident Joseph Kim, the man in question, admitted to defrauding investors of hundreds of thousands of dollars after he misappropriated over USD$600,000 from his previous employer’s funds. After being let go from his previous employer, Kim went on to fraudulently obtain about USD$545,000 from five different individual customers between December 2017 and March 2018.
- Tim Draper, a venture capital investor, stood by his prediction that the price of Bitcoin (BTC) will reach USD$250,000 by 2022 in a panel discussion at the Web Summit conference last week. Draper made the USD$250,000 BTC price prediction in April 2018 after he successfully predicted in 2014 that BTC’s price would surpass USD$10,000 in 2017. When asked at the Web Summit conference whether or not he still thinks that BTC’s price would experience a 40x return over the next four years and reach USD$250,000, Draper responded, “Yes. We are talking 5% of market share to get to USD$250,000. That seems like a drop in a bucket.”
*Data in Price Return and Updated Real-Time (with a delay), Source: StockDio