Cryptocurrencies mostly higher for the week with Bitcoin Cash (BCH) spiking 26% this week ahead of hard fork
Nov 09, 2018
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Developments in Financial Services
- Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, is launching a new division, Binance Research, to produce “institutional-grade” research reports. As detailed in a press release published on Thursday, Binance Research aims to increase transparency and improve the quality of information in the cryptocurrency industry. So far, Binance Research has published two research reports on its website; one that discusses Loom, a layer-2 scaling solution for Ethereum, and another that analyzes Gochain, a scalable decentralized blockchain that supports smart contracts and distributed applications.
- Bitfury, a large Bitcoin mining provider, has closed a fund-raising round that generated USD$80 million of capital, according to a Bitfury press release on Tuesday. The fund-raising round was led by European venture capital fund, Korelya Capital, and generated interest from other notables, including Galaxy Digital Asset Management, Macquarie Capital, and Dentsu Japan. According to Bitfury Executive Vice Chairman, George Kikvadze, the new capital will broaden the company’s strategic financial options and ideally position Bitfury for its next phase of growth.
- Bithumb, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in South Korea, is partnering with Qoo10, an Asian e-commerce giant, to offer cryptocurrency payment services. The partnership will see Bithumb’s cash payment services expand as a global payment method while employing Bithumb Cache, a password settlement services that allows Bithumb users to convert funds for payment using only their password. The new partnership will enable users to purchase products from Qoo10 using Bithumb Cache. Earlier this summer, eBay acquired Qoo10 for USD$573 million.
- Bitstamp, a large European cryptocurrency exchange, is entering a partnership to implement Cinnober’s TRADExpress Trading System, a trade matching engine that will increase matching speed by 1,250x and increase throughput by 400x. According to Bitstamp CTO David Osojnik, the new technology will allow Bitstamp to develop an institutional trading service. Cinnober, the trading solution company that developed TRADExpress Trading System, was acquired by Nasdaq in September 2018.
- Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) analysts are reporting that Bitcoin (BTC) futures trading on the exchange hit record low volatility levels in October, directly contrasting with global equity markets. Kevin Davitt, senior instructor for The Options Institute at CBOE Global Markets, discussed that average weekly volatility for the week ending October 26th, 2018 for XBT-CBOE Bitcoin Futures was just 3%, the lowest level since CBOE launched Bitcoin futures trading on December 10th, 2017. On a broader scale, the entire month of October saw average volatility levels of 6.6% in XBT-CBOE Bitcoin Futures trading.
- Citizens of the United States have elected two pro-cryptocurrency candidates to governor positions in the country’s mid-term elections yesterday. In California, Democratic candidate Gavin Newsom received 59% of the state’s electoral votes to seal the governorship, while in Colorado, Democratic candidate Jared Polis received 51.6% of the state’s electoral votes to become Colorado’s governor. In the past, Governor Jared Polis served in the House of Representatives and advocated for cryptocurrency legislation -- Polis campaign website has a page devoted entirely to blockchain policy while his campaign accepted cryptocurrency donations in Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) through Bitpay.
- Deltec Bank & Trust, the financial institution to recently partner with controversial stablecoin Tether (USDT), is allegedly under investigation by Brazilian and Bahamian law enforcement for suspicious transactions. Currently, Brazil’s Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office is pursuing Paulo Vieria de Souza, a former director of the Sao Paulo road infrastructure company DERSA, for bribery charges related to the Odebrecht case -- US government officials have called this case, “the largest foreign bribery case in history.” A transaction of 25 million Swiss francs, worth about USD$25 million, allegedly ended in an account belonging to Deltec Bank & Trust and is under question in relation to the case.
- Galaxy Digital Capital Management, the cryptocurrency investment bank headed by Mike Novogratz, has hired ex-Goldman Sachs banker Ian Taylor to head the company’s advisory-services arm. Taylor worked at Goldman Sachs for nearly 19 years before accepting the new position with Galaxy Digital Capital Management. Novogratz himself was a partner of Goldman Sachs before he began to woo top-executives away from his former employer -- in April 2018, Novogratz also hired Goldman executive Richard Kim to serve as COO of Galaxy Digital.
- J. Christopher Giancarlo, a Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), said that he believes distributed ledger technology (DLT) can be leveraged to automate various regulatory processes -- specifically, Giancarlo highlighted potential applications in “quantitative regulation”. Automation in regulatory processes would allow regulators to more efficiently oversee markets while cutting costs. Primarily, DLT would allow regulators to more effectively interpret real-time data.
- JP Morgan Chase, one of the world’s largest investment banks and financial services firms, identified three public companies who stand to benefit the most from their applications of blockchain technology. In a note issued to its clients, JP Morgan Chase highlighted US-based content delivery network and cloud service provider, Akamai Technologies Inc. (AKAM), US-based tech and digital transaction management services firm, DocuSign (DOCU), and cloud-based platform provider for the mortgage finance industry, Ellie Mae (ELLI) as public companies set to benefit the most from blockchain applications. Also, in its note, JP Morgan Chase recommended that investors, “should be looking to identify where the opportunity to replace a middleman is the biggest, or where trust is needed where none exists, or what companies are best positioned to offer blockchain as a service (BAAS).”
- Kaleido, a blockchain startup launched by ConsenSys, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) officially launched their full-stack platform geared at helping enterprises build and implement blockchain solution, as per a press release on Thursday. Dubbed Kaleido Marketplace, the platform, “eliminates 80% of the custom code,” typically required to build a blockchain platform by providing enterprises with an array of tools and protocol meant to, “plug-and-play." Kaleido is reportedly already working with trade and finance network Komgo, who works alongside global financial institutions like Citi, ING, and Societe Generale.
- PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the global consulting and accounting firm, is exploring the best use cases and practices for issuing stablecoins, as part of an initiative with non-profit Loopring Foundation. William Gee, PwC’s leader for risk assurance in emerging technology in China and Hong Kong, discussed the studying, saying, “There’s a need for enhanced trust, so we are asking how things would look inside a regulated context; what are the standards, protocols, best practices, and how would they fit?” Last week, PwC announced of a partnership with decentralized lending platform, Cred, to advise the company in their creation of a US dollar-pegged stablecoin.
- Shinsei Bank, a Japanese financial institution, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with US blockchain software company ConsenSys to widen the exploration of blockchain technology’s application in finance. The MoU describes a business partnership between the two companies, Hong Kong-based Nippon Wealth, and Singaporean private equity fund Tribay Capital. The partnership will explore ways to leverage decentralized applications (DApps) and smart contracts to develop new financial products and services -- Nippon Wealth will specifically head the partnership’s exploration of blockchain infrastructure in the banking sector.
- Spanish banking giant BBVA has successfully completed a test that involved placing a USD$150 million syndicated loan on a blockchain. The syndicated loan is for Red Electrica, Spain’s national electric grid operator. Other co-lenders participating in the syndicated loan include Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and BNB Paribas. BBVA intends to test other blockchain pilots for syndicated loans in the future.
- Square, a popular merchant payment service provider that utilizes mobile card readers and applications, announced its CY3Q2018 financial that included USD$43 million in revenue from Bitcoin (BTC) transactions. Square reported a 68% y/y revenue increase with BTC transactions making up ~5% of total revenue. The USD$43 million of BTC transactions generated about USD$500,000 of profit, a 20% increase in BTC transaction profit since the previous quarter.
- The Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation (DTCC) is moving forward with a testing phase of its main blockchain project with 15 global banks. Among the 15 global banks testing the DTCC’s blockchain project, Barclays is the most notable while the other 14 were not named. The DTCC’s blockchain project is a cloud-based distributed ledger platform built to facilitate trading for its credit derivatives Trade Information Warehouse. This testing phase is one of the last steps before the DTCC launches a live platform -- testing is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2019.
- The Financial Services Commission (FSC) of the Republic of Mauritius released a draft of regulatory framework for cryptocurrency custodian services. The FSC’s draft regulation details that custodians will require a custodian service license in order to operate as a holder of digital assets and a safe keeper of digital assets. The draft regulation also requires that custodians uphold anti-money-laundering (AML) and counter-terrorism-financing (CFT) standards. Custodians in the Republic of Mauritius will also be required to hold at least 500,000 of Mauritian rupees in reserves, worth about USD$14,000.
- The Korean Bar Association, membership of which is required by all South Korean lawyers, is lobbying the government to take action and expedite a legal framework for cryptocurrency regulation in the country. In a press conference, Korean Bar Association President Kim Hyun said, “We urge the government to break away from negative perceptions and hesitation and draw up bills to help develop the blockchain industry and prevent side effects involving cryptocurrencies.” The Korean Bar Association’s call on the South Korean government comes as South Koreans anxiously await the government’s decision on whether or not to repeal the country’s ban on initial coin offerings (ICO), which was originally enacted in November.
- A research study and report conducted by the Bank of Israel recommends against the creation of a state-backed cryptocurrency, dubbed the Digital Shekel. The Bank of Israel launched its research study towards the end of 2017 and finds that a Digital Shekel would be unsuitable to fit the needs of a large number of Israelis in multiple locations across the country. The study did not rule out the issuance of a Digital Shekel indefinitely, however, it does discard the possibility of a Digital Shekel in the immediate future.
- Anatoly Aksakov, the chairman of Russia’s State Duma Committee on Financial Markets, said that if Russia pursues a state-backed stablecoin, it would be the complete equivalent to Russia’s fiat ruble. Aksakov further elaborated, saying, “For example, you bring 100 thousand rubles to a bank and get 100 thousand crypto rubles, one to one for fiat money. You can use these funds to buy goods fixed in the blockchain.” Aksakov went on to say that a digital Russian ruble would replace the fiat ruble, “as soon as blockchain begins to occupy a significant place in our economy.” Last week, Aksakov discussed in a press conference that the Russian government is considering the launch of a state-backed cryptocurrency pegged 1:1 to the Russian ruble.
- Anatoly Aksakov, the Chairman of Russia’s State Duma Committee on Financial Markets, has claimed that the Russian entity is considering the launch of a state-backed cryptocurrency pegged to the Russian ruble. Aksakov detailed in a press conference that the Russian government would back a cryptocurrency, “but it will be a ruble-pegged cryptocurrency.” The state-backed ruble-pegged cryptocurrency will be backed 1:1 by Russian rubles held in reserves by a Russian banking institution, Aksakov detailed.
- Switzerland’s Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) is requiring banks that deal in cryptocurrency assets to apply a risk weighting of eight times their market value when calculating loss-absorbing capital buffers. A confidential letter from the FINMA, acquired by swissinfo.ch, details that the regulator is also imposing a 4% limit on cryptocurrency holdings as a percentage of total assets. Switzerland’s FINMA cited market and credit risks in its confidential letter explaining the new cryptocurrency capital controls.
- Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan, the country’s highest legislative body, has approved amendments to existing laws that will enable the country’s regulator to combat anonymous cryptocurrency transactions. Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan announced changes to the country’s Money Laundering Control Act and Terrorism Financing Prevention Act on Friday that will ensure the country’s Financial Supervisory Commission ability to gather KYC information from investors participating on domestic cryptocurrency exchange platforms. Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan detailed further, saying that the country’s regulator will, “now demand that operators of virtual currency platforms implement real-name systems that require users to register their real names, according to new provisions.”
- The French lower house of parliament, the Assemblee Nationale, is reportedly backing a proposed plan from the country’s finance commission that will lower the taxes on Bitcoin (BTC) gains to that of other capital gains taxes in the country. According to French news site Le Figaro, the proposed plan would see the tax lowered on BTC capital gains from 36% to 30%. In order to become official, the plan must pass through France’s general legislative session and be included in the country’s 2019 budget.
- The People’s Bank of China, China’s central bank, is extending its regulatory scrutiny to cover token airdrops. According to the central bank’s 2018 Financial Stability report published on November 2nd, 2018, token airdrops are “disguised” initial coin offerings (ICOs) and a form of “illegal” fundraising that exposes investors to risks of fraud and pyramid schemes. The People’s Bank of China warns investors that a continued rise in airdrops and related initiatives may result in a negative societal impact.
- The People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank, is calling on Chinese government officials to strengthen supervision into “speculative” financing and investments in the blockchain sector. In its working paper published on Tuesday titled, “What can a blockchain do and cannot do?”, The Research Bureau of the People’s Bank of China called on Chinese government agencies to enhance supervision of financing into the sector, saying, “Currently, the bubble in the blockchain investment and financing sector is obvious. Speculation, market manipulation, and even violations of laws and regulations are common, especially for token projects involving public offering transactions. Relevant government departments should strengthen supervision and prevent finical risks.”
- The Texas State Securities Board issued an emergency cease-and-desist on Tuesday against Automated Web Services Mining (AWS Mining), a cloud mining company based in Australia that allegedly was selling unregistered securities. According to the cease-and-desist, AWS Mining allegedly promised investors a return of 200% on any purchases of its mining power contracts. AWS Mining has 31 days to request a hearing on its charges.
- The Thai Revenue Department is planning to leverage blockchain technology and machine-learning in order to track tax payments. Ekniti Nitithanprapas, director-general of the Revenue Department, discussed with reporters that blockchain technology will be used to verify the validity of paid taxes and to speed up the tax refund process while machine learning technology will be used to uncover tax fraud and establish more transparency. The Thai Revenue Department did not disclose a timetable to begin testing blockchain and machine learning technology.
- The Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the country’s top securities regulator, will approve, “at least one,” initial coin offering (ICO) portal for legal operation in the country, according to a report by the Bangkok Post. Secretary General of the Thai SEC, Rapee Sucharitakul, told the local news outlet that he could see ICOs themselves begin to be approved as soon as December of this year. This step by the Thai SEC is one of the final steps in a push to regulate the country’s cryptocurrency market that began in May with the issuance of a royal decree.
- The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will clarify when and how cryptocurrencies will be classified in the United States, according to the SEC’s Director of Corporation Finance, William Hinman. While speaking at the D.C. Fintech Week Conference, Hinman discussed that the SEC plans to release, “plain English,” guidance for developers to refer to when planning initial token offerings (ICOs), and other token offerings like it. Hinman did not specifically detail when the guidance would be published.
- The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (US SEC) has charged Zachary Corburn, the founder of crypto token trading platform EtherDel, with illegally operating an unregistered securities exchange. EtherDel was a notable secondary exchange where users could buy and sell ERC20 tokens through an order book that employed smart contracts, also known as a decentralized exchange. In its 18-month lifespan, EtherDel processed more than 3.6 million orders, some of which involved what the US SEC considers securities. Coburn neither refuted or admitted to the charges, however, he cooperated with the investigation and agreed to pay USD$300,000 in unlawful profits, USD$13,000 in prejudgment interest, and a USD$75,000 penalty.
- Venezuela will present the country’s state and oil-backed cryptocurrency, the Petro, to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) for its use as the digital currency for oil transactions worldwide. Venezuela will wait to present the Petro to OPEC until the first quarter of 2019, according to a tweet from the President of the country’s state-owned oil company PDVSA, Manuel Quevedo. Quevedo hopes that global adoption of the Petro in oil markets will drive economic growth and prosperity in Venezuela.
- Venezuela’s Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) is requiring the country’s national institute to pay indemnities in the country’s oil-backed Petro after one of its employees suffered a workplace injury. In making this ruling, the TSJ cited the country’s decree on, “Cryptoassets and the Sovereign Cryptocurrency Petro,” which was approved in April and establishes the, “basis for the management of these alternative mechanisms in financial and commercial activity.” As per the TSJ’s ruling, Maria Elena Matos will receive 266 Petros, worth about USD$15,960.
- A joint study conducted by Hesse and Saxony, two German states, of over 1,000 citizens finds that young Germans are more receptive to cryptocurrencies than older Germans. The study finds that 28% of people surveyed between the ages of 18 and 29 believe that purchasing cryptocurrency is “conceivable”. More than 50% of people surveyed between the ages of 30 and 39 consider cryptocurrencies to be a “dangerous” investment.
- Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) reports on its website today that the semiconductor manufacturer is partnering with 7 major technology companies to produce 8 new cryptocurrency mining rigs. Under the “AMD and Blockchain Technology” section of AMD’s website, the company details different rigs that will feature “ultimate stability”, “24/7 performance”, and “enterprise-level quality”. This news comes after AMD reported “negligible” blockchain-related GPU sales in its third quarter 2018 financial report.
- After Poloniex, a cryptocurrency exchange operated by Goldman Sachs-backed blockchain firm Circle, launched pre-fork trading of two Bitcoin Cash (BCH) variants, early indicators are signaling that investors favor Bitcoin ABC to Bitcoin SV. Bitcoin ABC is the more established version of Bitcoin Cash’s software and has generated roughly 4x the trading activity of Bitcoin SV. Although pre-fork trading only began earlier today, BCHABS (the pre-fork token for Bitcoin ABC) is trading at roughly USD$465.10/token while BCHSV (the pre-fork token for Bitcoin SV) is trading at USD$112.51/token.
- Apple has reportedly removed Anthony Pompliano’s, “Off the Chain,” podcast that was ranked 4th in podcasts under the “investing” category on the US iTunes store. In a tweet about the podcast’s removal, Pompliano said, “Last week we released a podcast discussing the ultimate argument for Bitcoin. It exploded and ranked #4 in US investing category before mysteriously being taken down by Apple. We had no warning. We don’t know why. They took down our podcast, but they can’t take down Bitcoin!” Pompliano is currently a partner at Morgan Creek Digital Assets.
- Bancor, a decentralized liquidity network, is partnering with EOS to conduct cross-blockchain token swaps, according to a press release on Monday. Bancor uses its decentralized application (DApp), BancorX, to enable cross-token conversion between Ethereum-based and EOS-based tokens. The move is the first of its kind and it will pave the way for, “vastly more blockchains,” according to Bancor’s press release.
- Bit.ly, a URL shortening service, is being criticized after reportedly blocking more than 200 links from Andreas Antonopoulos’ upcoming “Mastering Ethereum” book that is due for publication in 4 weeks. Antonopoulos is known for writing several guides to Bitcoin and publishing three other cryptocurrency books before the upcoming “Mastering Ethereum” title. On Twitter, Antonopoulos reached out to Bit.ly, saying, “Why are you blocking http://bit.ly links to crypto-currency sites,” and adding, “I’m about to publish my 4th book and it has about 200 http://bit.ly links in it. If you are going to block links, I will need to remove all 200 and replace them with a competitor.”
- Bitcoin (BTC) trading in Venezuela reached record levels last week, signaling continued adoption of cryptocurrencies in a country that just launched a state-back digital currency. For the week ending November 3rd, 2018, Venezuelans traded 1,075 BTC on peer-to-peer trading platform Localbitcoins. Prior to the week ending November 3rd, 2018, Venezuelans set two additional all-time highs for BTC trading on Localbitcoins for the week ending October 20th, 2018 and the week ending October 13th, 2018, signaling growing levels of adoption.
- Bitcoin Cash’s (BCH) value surged almost 21% on Sunday after Binance, now the world’s second largest cryptocurrency exchange by daily volume, announced that it would support BCH’s upcoming hard fork. Scheduled for November 15th, 2018, the upcoming BCH hard fork is part of a bi-annual scheduled hard fork of protocol upgrades that is also supported by US cryptocurrency exchange, Coinbase. On news of Binance’s and Coinbase’s support of the hard fork, BCH trading volume increased sevenfold to about USD$1.3bn.
- Bitmain, a cryptocurrency mining giant, is rushing to roll out 90,000 units of its new Antminer S9 machines in Xinjiang, a western Chinese region, in time for the November 15th, 2018 Bitcoin Cash (BCH) hard fork. Bitmain is allegedly strategizing amid an upcoming computing “power war” by contacting local mining farms in the region of Xinjiang. Bitmain has reportedly been in talks with these local mining farms since early October and has successfully persuaded the farms to incorporate nearly 90,000 of its new Antminer S9 units in their farms. According to an unnamed source familiar with the matter, Bitmain has sent “half of its market staff to Xinjiang to talk with local mining operators about deploying its equipment.”
- Bitmain, one of the world’s largest Bitcoin mining companies, announced in a tweet that it is releasing two new 7nm (nanometer) “Antminer” cryptocurrency mining devices. The two new 7nm Antminer machines are the next line of Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) chips from Bitmain. This announcement comes after Bitmain made headlines last week, when the company announced it would soon roll out its “Overt AsicBoost” update to all of its mining machines, which supposedly increases the mining effectiveness of Bitmain’s mining devices.
- Blockchain.com, a cryptocurrency wallet provider, announced that it will fully support Stellar (XLM) in a blog post Tuesday. Along with its support of XLM, Blockchain.com will conduct a significant airdrop of USD$125 million worth of XLM tokens to its user base. Blockchain.com is promoting the upcoming airdrop as the largest in the history of crypto and the largest consumer giveaway ever. Blockchain.com detailed in its blog post today that its reason for choosing XLM is because the Stellar network is, “built for scalability”.
- Blockstream has released a new tool, dubbed the Blockstream Block Explorer, that allows users to track transactions on its Liquid Bitcoin sidechain. The Blockstream Block Explorer is now available online and offers support for SegWit and bench32. The release of Blockstream Block Explorer allows any user to conduct peer-to-peer transactions using the Liquid sidechain with an option to implement “confidential transactions”, which hide private data associated with the transaction.
- Coinbase, a US-based cryptocurrency exchange and wallet provider, has launched full trading services for the Basic Attention Token (BAT) on its website as well as on Android and iOS applications. BATs are the native token of Brave, an open-source web browser developed by Brave Software, Inc. Coinbase initially announced that it would begin offering trading services for BATs in a post last week, sending the value of BATs 20% as a result.
- Cryptocurrency exchange Gate.io was forced to remove its web analytics tool, StatCounter, from their website after cybersecurity firm ESET reported a breach. ESET issued a security notice about suspicious behavior on Gate.io’s StatCounter traffic stat services, causing Gate.io to remove its StatCounter. Since removing its StatCounter, Gate.io has scanned its website with 56 antivirus products and found no traces of suspicious behavior -- Gate.io has still left the StatCounter off its website in order to protect users’ holdings.
- Cybersecurity experts from Japan Digital Design Co. (JDD), a subsidiary of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) have allegedly discovered potentially incriminating evidence against hackers of Zaif, a Japanese cryptocurrency exchange. In mid-September, Zaif was hacked for 6.7 billion yen (USD$59 million) worth of crypto assets. A statement issued today by JDD details that cybersecurity experts from the company have successfully tracked 5 of the transactions associated with the hack of Zaif -- JDD has already turned over relevant information to authorities.
- eToro, a global cryptocurrency and fiat trading platform, announced the release of its own cryptocurrency wallet that will feature support of four digital assets. In October, eToro became the first cryptocurrency exchange to offer a fiat trading paid for Binance’s Binance Coin (BNB). Initially, the wallet will support Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH), and Litecoin (LTC).
- IBM and Seagate, a data storage company, have announced a partnership that will use blockchain technology to tackle the problem of counterfeit hard drives. Specifically, the joint initiative will leverage IBM’s Blockchain Platform to allow manufactures, business partners, and integrators to authenticate the validity of hard drives. Seagate will also implement its “Certified Erase” solution, which, “employs cryptographic erasure technology to produce a digital certificate of data purge, which is electronically signed by the device under the Seagate Secure public key infrastructure (PKI) and stored on the blockchain for compliance management with emerging global data privacy laws.”
- IBM, the global technology giant, is applying for another blockchain patent -- IBM's latest blockchain patent concerns augmented reality (AR) gaming and a way to prevent from AR gamers from intruding on undesirable locations. Dubbed as Big Blue, the patent details a blockchain-powered system of interactions between a mobile device running an AR game and a locational database to maintain safe boundaries between AR objects and real-world locations. According to the patent, a distributed ledger would maintain a list of constantly updated undesirable locations.
- Jeffrey Berns, the CEO of Blockchains LLC and a cryptocurrency millionaire, purchased 67,000 acres of land in Nevada for USD$170 earlier this year for an unknown reason -- earlier in the week, Blockchains LLC announced plans to build a smart city with a decentralized, public blockchain infrastructure that underlies all interactions. According to the announcement, every member of the city will have voting powers and ownership rights recorded on a public, transparent blockchain, immune to manipulation. The announcement also details that other innovative technologies will be focused on in the city, including nanotechnology, AI, and 3D printing.
- Kathryn Haun, a former US federal prosecutor and current cryptocurrency venture capitalist, took part in a debate on cryptocurrencies with Nobel-prize winning economist, Paul Krugman, where she said that cryptocurrencies are in the “dial-up days”. Hosted by Mexican technology company, KIO Networks, the debate saw Huan, who is also a board member at Coinbase, argue for the advantages of cryptocurrencies while Krugman, who is also a professor at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, argue that Bitcoin’s (BTC) use cases were still unclear despite 10 years of existence.
- Mike Novogratz, founder and CEO of Galaxy Digital Capital management and prominent cryptocurrency industry member, revealed in an interview with the Financial News that he believes that cryptocurrency prices, specifically Bitcoin (BTC), will reach all-time highs in 2019. Novogratz cited FOMO, or fear of missing out, from institutional investors that will arise in 2019. Novogratz speculated in the interview that, “By the end of the first quarter [of 2019] we will take out USD$10,000 and after that we will go back to new highs -- to USD$20,000 or more.”
- Nine substantial shipping companies and terminal operators have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to launch a prospective open and digital global shipping network based on distributed ledger technology (DLT). The MoU also aims to create a consortium of shipping industry members, called the Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN). CargoSmart, a Hong Kong-based firm that specializes in shipping and logistics, will develop the software solution for the prospective shipping network.
- NRI SecureTechnologies, a subsidiary of Japan’s Nomura Research Institute (NRI), unveiled a new blockchain security alert tool in a press release while also announcing that it is partnering with US blockchain software company ConsenSys. The blockchain security alert tool, dubbed, “Blockchain Security Monitoring Service,” will inform operators of blockchain networks about “vulnerabilities” in the system. According to the press release, the first target of the Blockchain Security Monitoring Service will be smart contract weakness. NRI SecureTechnologies will work with ConsenSys in order to expand the offerings of its Blockchain Security Monitoring Service.
- Perkins Coie LLP, a US-based law firm, has hired Kari Larsen, a former executive at LedgerX and previous counsel for the Commodity Future Trading Commission (CFTC), to serve as partner for the firm’s Blockchain Technology and Digital Currency industry group. J. Dax Hansen, the industry group’s chair, said in a statement about Larsen, “Kari brings to bear a deep knowledge of derivative exchange platforms and the commodities sector to represent traders and CFTC registered entities focused on launching innovative products, including cryptocurrency products.”
- Poloniex, a cryptocurrency exchange operated by Goldman Sachs-backed Circle, is the first cryptocurrency exchange to offer trading for the upcoming Bitcoin Cash (BCH) hard fork. This will be the first time Poloniex offers trading of a cryptocurrency ahead of a possible fork. In a blog post, Poloniex discussed that this move is part of a wider strategy to improve customer experience. Two pre-fork variations of BCH will be available, including Bitcoin Cash ABC (BCHABC) sand Bitcoin Cash SV (BCHSV) -- both pre-forked variations of BCH will trade against Circle’s stablecoin, USD Coin (USDC).
- Salesforce, a global software giant, has been awarded a patent for the use of a blockchain-based platform to prevent spam and other unwanted emails from arriving in people’s inboxes. According to the patent application published by the US Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday, a blockchain platform can be used to filter emails after they are sent through a custom matching system -- Salesforce claims that the blockchain-based system is more efficient than currently existing protocols. The blockchain-based system can also, “help ensure that messages and attachments to those messages have not been modified during transit over a network,” according to the application.
- Short Bitcoin (BTC) positions on notable cryptocurrency exchange, Bitfinex, fell to the lowest level in 3 months, signaling growing positive sentiment surrounding cryptocurrencies. In the last 8 days alone, BTC short positions have fallen 33% to 21,434 total positions -- over the same time, BTC long positions grew 10% to 24,410 total positions, a 3-week high.
- South Korea’s government will allocate USD$35 million in next year's budget in order to pursue and develop blockchain technology and distributed ledger technology (DLT) solutions. In a meeting between various South Korean government agencies that included the country’s Ministry of Science and ICT, Ministry of Information and Communication, and the Democratic Party of Korea, government officials agreed to increase the budget for blockchain and DLT initiatives to USD$35 million, a threefold increase from the prior year’s budget. This year alone, South Korea’s Ministry of Science and ICT received 72 blockchain project applications from 41 different South Korean institutions -- only 6 of the projects were selected for implementation in the public sector.
- The Blockchain Transparency Institute has published its November 2018 Exchange Rankings Report that highlights Binance as the top cryptocurrency exchange in the world. After controversy developed around the way Coinmarketcap.com collects exchange volume data last week, the Blockchain Transparency Institute employed a new exchange ranking methodology that draws on different metrics to provide a more accurate representation of true exchange volumes. The Blockchain Transparency Institute also emphasized Bitstamp, Coinbase, and Kraken as cryptocurrency exchanges to make the biggest moves towards the top of their list.
- The research arm of BitMEX, a major Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency derivatives platform, announced plans to launch a network monitoring tool for Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH), specifically aimed at monitoring the cryptocurrencies during network upgrades, or forks. Dubbed ForkMonitor.info, the tool is connected to multiple nodes on both the Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash networks to help users detect potential consensus bugs in the upgrades. ForkMonitor.info will release on November 15th, 2018, the same date as Bitcoin Cash’s scheduled network upgrade.
- Trading platform, eToro, announced in a press release on Wednesday plans to launch a blockchain-driven social project to address global wealth inequality, called GoodDollar. The press release details that eToro has already invested USD$1 million of funds into GoodDollar with the trading platform seeking additional partners to join the project. In October, eToro made headlines when it became the first cryptocurrency trading platform to offer a fiat trading pair against Binance Coin (BNB).
- US law enforcement is considering “SIM swapping” as one of its “highest priorities” in its battle to fight cryptocurrency fraud, according to a post by KrebsonSecurity. In an interview with KrebsonSecurity, Samy Tarazi, a police sergeant in Santa Barbara and supervisor of the REACT Task Force (a unit dedicated to combatting cybercrime), said that SIM swapping occurrences has increased dramatically as of late. SIM swapping involves an individual remote hijacking the SIM card of another person’s mobile phone, giving the hijacker full control over the device. One type of data that has been prominently targeted by SIM swappers is cryptocurrency login details and crypto wallet passwords.
*Data in Price Return and Updated Real-Time (with a delay), Source: StockDio