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Cryptocurrencies rally early in the week but give up much of the gains by week's end

Nov 30, 2018


Top 5 Cryptocurrencies sorted by 7 Day Price Percent Change

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Name Ticker Price 1H %Chg 24H %Chg 7D %Chg Market Cap Volume
TRON TRX USD$0.01 3.28% -10.72% 6.68% USD$954,336,375 USD$135,437,934
Litecoin LTC USD$32.21 1.5% -5.98% 1.17% USD$1,912,207,699 USD$421,181,776
NEM XEM USD$0.07 0.82% -7.52% -3.17% USD$669,425,784 USD$10,851,602
NEO NEO USD$7.91 1.77% -6.26% -3.97% USD$513,958,677 USD$139,053,531
VeChain VET USD$0.0 3.04% -11.51% -4.94% USD$267,822,545 USD$10,748,887

Developments in Financial Services

  • A blockchain platform meant to facilitate and bring efficiencies to energy commodities trading if officially live, according to a tweet by the platform’s creator Vakt Global. Vakt claims that the platform is the “first enterprise grade” blockchain solution for the oil and gas market -- specifically, the platform will facilitate crude oil trading between commodity firms. Vakt Global is a consortium venture that was established by global commodity firms, including giants Shell and BP, just a year ago this month.   
  • Al Hilal Bank, a financial institution based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has announced the completion of “the world’s first Sukuk transaction” using blockchain technology. Sukuk, also known as sharia compliant bonds, are a legal instrument that allow UAE-based investors to generate returns without breaking Islamic law. According to a report by Reuters, Al Hilal Bank leveraged distributed ledger technology to, “sell and settle in the secondary market a small portion of its USD$500mm five-year Sukuk.” The Reuters report also notes that Jibrel Network, a Switzerland-based fintech company, also participated in the transaction.  
  • Anthony Pompliano, a member of Morgan Creek’s Digital Assets division, said in an interview with CNBC’s Squawk Box that he believes the price of Bitcoin (BTC) will bottom out at a level 85% lower from its previous all-time high. “85% from the all-time high is about where we’ll end up. Puts it around USD$3,000. Came close over the weekend but probably a little bit more to fall,” said Pompliano, prefacing that his prediction is based on previous experience in cryptocurrency markets. Pompliano also explained that he believes that the drop in BTC is a healthy correction driven by a drop in investor confidence.  
  • CLS, a currency trading utility unit, has gone live with its blockchain-based payment netting service, in partnership with IBM, that has been in development for more than 2 years. Among the first companies using the platform, dubbed CLSNet, at its launch are investment banking giants Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. Six other financial institutions, including the Bank of China (Hong Kong), have also committed to joining CLSNet in the next few months. “We have matched and confirmed the first transactions and successfully issued a netting report to the counterparties,” said Ram Komarraju, Managing Director for Technology at CLS.  
  • Coinbase, the notable US-based cryptocurrency exchange, has officially launched its over-the-counter (OTC) trading desk for institutional clients, as per a report by financial news outlet Cheddar. The OTC trading desk will enable institutional clients to conduct trades with each other, rather than through a typical cryptocurrency exchange. “We launched our OTC business as a complement to our exchange business because we found a lot of institutions were using OTC as an on-ramp for crypto trading,” said Christine Sandler, head of sales at Coinbase.    
  • Fundstrat Global Advisors’ Tom Lee, a prominent Wall Street cryptocurrency bull, said in a speech at BlockShow Asia 2018 that the current crypto bear market is the “golden time” to be in cryptocurrencies. Lee went on to name three reasons behind the current cryptocurrency bear market, citing Bitcoin Cash’s controversial hard fork, actions by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, and the “terrible” state of global markets.   
  • Galaxy Digital, the cryptocurrency investment bank headed by notable cryptocurrency pundit Mike Novogratz, lost USD$136mm in the first three quarters of 2018, according to a report by Bloomberg. Following Galaxy Digital’s 3Q2018 earnings announcement, which detailed that the crypto firm saw realized and unrealized lost totaling USD$41mm in the quarter, Galaxy Digital’s stock fell to record low levels and is now down 55% on the month. In addition to the cryptocurrency bear market, Galaxy attributed its underperformance in 2019 to increased competition for arbitrage opportunities.   
  • Lim Guan Eng, the Finance Minister of Malaysia, noted in his response to a question by Malaysian parliament member Dr. Tan Yee Kew that entities wishing to issued cryptocurrency in Malaysia must defer to the country’s central bank, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM). Dr. Tan Yee Kew’s initial question concerned what specific measures were being taken to assess the risks posed to the country’s financial system and local fiat currency by cryptocurrencies. In response to the question, Lim Guan Eng said, “I advise all parties wishing to introduce Bitcoin style cryptocurrency to refer first to Bank Ngara Malaysia as it is the authority that will issue the decision on financial mechanisms.”  
  • Nasdaq, a major US stock exchange, could launch Bitcoin (BTC) futures trading as early as 1Q2019, according to a report by Bloomberg. While citing two people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg reports that Nasdaq, “has been working to satisfy the concerns of the US’s main swaps regulator, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), before launching the contracts.” Nasdaq initially announced a year ago that it would roll out BTC futures trading by mid-2018 shortly after CBOE and CME Group each set a date to launch their own BTC futures trading.  
  • Nasdaq, the world’s second-largest stock exchange, is partnering with VanEck, a US investment firm, to launch a suite of, “transparent, regulated, and surveilled,” digital assets products, as per a tweet by VanEck’s director of digital asset strategy Gabor Gurbacs The joint partnership’s announcement comes just a day after Bloomberg reported that Nasdaq could launch Bitcoin (BTC) futures trading as early as 1Q2019. In his tweet, Gurbacs detailed that new products will leverage Nasdaq’s SMARTS Market Surveillance system in addition to VanEck’s MVIS digital asset pricing indices.  
  • Paul Donovan, Global Chief Economist for UBS Wealth management, reiterated his distrust for cryptocurrencies while speaking on CNBC’s Fast Money, calling Bitcoin “fundamentally flawed”. Earlier this week, Donovan published a blog post titled, “I come to bury Bitcoin, not to praise it,” where he detailed his criticisms of the benchmark digital asset. “I think anyone with a high school education in economics has been a Bitcoin skeptic right from the start,” Donovan said on Fast Money, adding, “These things were never going to be currencies, they’re not going to be currencies at any point in the future; they’re fatally flawed.”  
  • Securitize, a US-based technology platform startup that aims to enable the issuances of digital securities, has closed its Series A funding round, raising a total of USD$12.75mm. Leading the Series A funding round was Blockchain Capital, with further participation from Coinbase Ventures, Global Brain, and OK Blockchain Capital. As part of Blockchain Capital’s investment, co-founder and managing partner Brad Stephens will serve on Securitize’s Board of Directors. According to the press release regarding the funding round, the digital securities industry is worth more than USD$7tn annually. 
  • Xolaris Service KVAG, a German alternative investment fund manager, announced the launch of a private equity fund that will be dedicated to Bitcoin mining. The fund will require a minimum investment of 250,000 euros (USD$285,000) with capital first going towards the firm’s expansion. Of late, Xolaris has undertaken several expansionary measures, including opening an office in Hong Kong. “We’ve constantly received requests from professional investors to release a regulated product for the cryptocurrency sphere,” said Stefan Klaile, head of portfolio management with Xolaris, in a company press release. 



Regulatory Environment

  • A new risk assessment report published by the Financial Information Unit (FIU), a division of South Korea’s Financial Services Commission, finds that traditional banks are more vulnerable to money laundering and terrorist financing risks than cryptocurrencies. The report studies South Korea’s domestic financial sector, which includes banks, securities companies, mutual financing companies, credit card services, insurers, cryptocurrency exchanges. The report finds that, while banks have better systems to combat money laundering and financing activities, they are still more exposed to the risks than other businesses. Additionally, the report notes that cryptocurrencies are less likely to be used for terrorist financing than banks, but they are still vulnerable to the same criminal activities.   
  • According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, Ohio is set to become the first US state to accept Bitcoin (BTC) as legal tender for tax payments. Although the plan will initially only apply to businesses, the Ohio government plans to extend the option to individual tax payers in the future. The BTC tax payments will be processed by cryptocurrency payments service BitPay. As per the Wall Street Journal report, Ohio state Treasurer Josh Mandel hopes to “plant a flag” with this plan for national cryptocurrency adoption, adding, “I do see bitcoin as a legitimate form of currency.” 
  • After the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged decentralized blockchain-based assets exchange Blockvest with facilitating unregistered token sales, the US District Court for the Southern District of California has dismissed the claims. The SEC initially suspended Blockvest’s Initial Coin Offering (ICO) in October, embarking on a legal battle over whether or not Blockvest’s tokens were unregistered securities. As part of the criminal investigation, the US District Court for the Southern District of California issued a temporary asset freeze on Blockvest. The asset freeze was reversed after the US District Court for the Southern District of California dismissed the case, saying the SEC did not sufficiently demonstrate that the tokens in questions were securities.   
  • Bitstamp, one of the world’s first cryptocurrency exchanges, is rolling out its Irisium Surveillance platform that is capable of monitoring suspicious activity and market manipulation in crypto markets. This news comes after Bitstamp announced a partnership with Cinnober, a company that builds tech solutions for traditional financial markets and partial owner of Irisium. Nejc Kodric, CEO of Bitstamp, said in a statement regarding Irisium that, “Our desire is to guarantee a fair and orderly market which reflects genuine supply and demand. Exploring new frontiers in preventing market manipulation is essential for the industry to mature.” 
  • Harbor, a blockchain startup, officially launched its security token compliance platform and will offer tokens backed by a building located in South Carolina. 955 shares of the building are represented by 955 tokens, which will initially cost USD$21,000/token. Earlier this year, Harbor raised more than USD$28 million in order to develop ERC-20 tokens and an Ethereum protocol for companies who want to generate equity through way of a token offering. Josh Stein, CEO of Harbor, ensures that the company’s token sales are “compliant every time, everywhere.” 
  • Hester Peirce, a commissioner of the US Securities and Exchange Commission, appeared on the “What Bitcoin Did” podcast last weekend and confirmed the possibility of a Bitcoin (BTC) ETF. A notable pro-BTC member of the SEC, Peirce initially became a favorite of the cryptocurrency community after disagreeing the SEC’s decision to deny ETF applications by the Winklevoss twins because BTC was not, “ripe enough, respectable enough, or regulated enough to be worthy of our markets.” While speaking on the podcast this past weekend, Peirce reiterated that it is the SEC’s job to uphold regulatory framework and not to become an interventionist.  
  • Jay Clayton, the Chairman of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), appeared on CNBC Monday night and reiterated the securities regulator’s hard stance on Initial Coin Offering (ICO) compliance. While speaking in the interview, Clayton reaffirmed the need for companies to conduct ICOs within SEC guidelines. “We’ve had no ICOs register,” said Clayton in the interview while adding, “To the extent that an ICO is being conducted offshore or pursuant to a private placement exemption, fine; to the extent that you’ve conducted a public offering in an ICO, it’s non-compliant.” The cryptocurrency community is currently awaiting the highly anticipated decision by the SEC to approve or reject nine Bitcoin (BTC) ETF applications.  
  • Jon Clayton, Chairman of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) remarked while speaking at CoinDesk’s Consensus: Invest conference that he does not believe a cryptocurrency ETF can be approved until market manipulation concerns are addressed. “How that manipulation issue gets addressed, I don’t have a particular path. But it needs to be addressed,” said Clayton, adding, “The prices retail investors are seeing are the prices they should rely on, and free from manipulation -- not free from volatility, but free from manipulation.” 
  • Liechtenstein Cryptoassets Exchange (LCX), a cryptocurrency exchange focused on professional traders, has been granted a “business license” by the Liechtenstein Ministry of Economic Affairs. The license is a milestone for LCX, who is currently developing a “fully regulated blockchain ecosystem” that will target institutional and professional cryptocurrency traders, according to a company press release. In order to acquire the license, LCX increased its nominal capital from 100,000 Swiss francs (USD$100,100) to 1 million Swiss francs (USD$1.1 million). 
  • Professional boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. and music producer Khaled Khaled (DJ Khaled) have been charged with illegally advertising and promoting Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The SEC finds that Mayweather Jr. Failed to disclose promotional payments from three different ICO issuers, which included a USD$100,000 from Centra Tech, a cryptocurrency startup. Khaled, meanwhile was charged with the same, failing to disclose a USD$50,000 payment from Centra Tech. As part of the charges, Mayweather has agreed to pay USD$300,000 disgorgement, a USD$300,000 fine, and an additional USD$14,775 in prejudgment interest. Khaled, on the other hand, agreed to pay USD$50,000 in disgorgement, a USD$100,000 fine, and USD$2,725 in prejudgment interest.   
  • Singaporean parliament has tabled a new bill that would see cryptocurrency payments services, electronic wallets, and digital payment coins like Bitcoin (BTC) fall under the jurisdiction of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the country’s central bank. Called the “Payments Services Bill”, the piece of legislation would also cover both domestic and international money transfers as well as foreign exchange transactions. Under the Payments Services Bill, payment services firms would be required to apply for different licenses depending on the nature of their business in order to legally offer the services they purpose. 
  • Texas’ Securities Commissioner has issued an Emergency Cease & Desist Order (C&D) pertaining to My Crypto Mine, a cryptocurrency investment firm, and its principal Mark Steven Royer. As per a post on the state security regulator’s website, My Crypto Mine and Royer offered tokens to investors through a scheme called “BitQyk” on behalf of white-collar criminal Bruce Bise and disbarred attorney Samuel Mendez in May 2017. Royer assured investors that the token, worth USD$0.02 at the time, would rise to as high as USD$3.00, “in the indefinite future.” 
  • The Star, a Malaysian news outlet, is reporting that Malaysia will institute regulations pertaining to cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) in 1Q2019. The report quotes Malaysian Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, who said on Wednesday that the country’s Securities Commission (SC) offered him an updated timeline for cryptocurrency regulation. On Monday, news outlets quoted Eng saying, “I advise all parties wishing to introduce Bitcoin-style cryptocurrency to refer first to Bank Negara Malaysia as it is the authority that will issue the decision on the financial mechanism.” 
  • The United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) will investigate 50 cryptocurrency-related entities that are suspected of offering financial services without permission from the UK regulator, according to a report by news outlet The Telegraph. In its report, The Telegraph referenced Andrew Jacobs, a partner with Moore Stephens, who believes that the cryptocurrency price downturn is pressuring the FCA. Jacobs believes that, “The huge sums lost as a result of cryptocurrency prices falling this year will have triggered a rash of complaints to the FCA,” adding, “Now that prices have collapsed, fraud is likely to be exposed”. 
  • The United States Treasury Department announced that it sanctioned two Iranian who were allegedly involved in a Bitcoin (BTC) ransomware scheme, as per a Wednesday press release. The two individuals in question, Ali Khorashadizadeh and Mohammad Ghorbaniyan, are accused of running the ransomware scheme SamSam, which involved exchanging BTC for Iranian rials (IRR). As a result of the scheme, the US Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) placed the two individuals’ Bitcoin addresses on their sanctions list. According to the press release, the scheme negatively impacted hospitals, government agencies, and universities while targeting more than 200 different victims. 
  • The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) fintech innovation hub LabCFTC has published a “Primer on Smart Contracts” which discusses the blockchain-enabled technology’s functionalities, risks, and the CFTC’s role in the technology. The Primer on Smart Contracts is LabCFTC’s second fintech educational piece, the first of which came in October 2017 and pertained to virtual currencies. While the educational publication acknowledges the high potential of smart contracts, it goes on to discuss several risks and challenges regulators face when dealing with the technology -- specifically, the publication highlights operational, technical, and cybersecurity risks in addition to risks of fraud and manipulation. 
  • Zug, Switzerland’s cantonal court has mandated the shutdown of cryptocurrency mining firm Envion AG after they allegedly conducted an Initial Coin Offering (ICO), as per German news outlet Handelsblatt Global. Envion was initially launched as an off-grid cryptocurrency mining firm, who claimed to be decentralized, while using clean energy like hydroelectric and solar to power its mining rigs. Zug’s cantonal court has ordered the liquidation of the firm, however, due to the firm’s lack of auditing functions or board. Envion reportedly raised nearly USD$100mm through its ICO in January. 



General News

  • A class action lawsuit against Bitmain, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency firms, accuses the giant of mining cryptocurrencies for its own benefit while using customer devices unbeknownst to their owners. As per filings through the Northern District Court of California, the class action lawsuit is for USD$5mm and specifically alleges that Bitmain benefits from the lengthy “initialization” period required by its application-specific integrated circuit device, or ASIC. The filings explain further, saying, “Until the complicated and time-consuming initialization procedures are completed, Bitmain’s ASIC devices are preconfigured to use its customers’ electricity to generate cryptocurrency for the benefit of Bitmain rather than its customers.” 
  • A new report published by fintech executive Monica Eaton-Cardone finds that the market value of blockchain in the global retail industry will increase 29-fold in value over the next five years. Eaton-Cardone forecasts an increase in the total value of emerging blockchain applications in the global retail industry from USD$80mm today to more than USD$2.3bn by 2023. Eaton-Cardone's analysis attributes five major blockchain applications in retail to this increase: supply chain management, inventory management, authenticity verification, auto-renewal and subscription services, and customer data and loyalty reward programs. Eaton-Cardone is currently the co-founder and Chief Investment Officer of Global Risk Technologies. 
  • A press release published on Tuesday announces the formation of the Association for Digital Asset Markets (ADAM) to author a code of conduct of the cryptocurrency industry. So far, 10 financial and technology firms are members of ADAM, most notably Galaxy Digital, Paxos, and BTIG. As per the press release, ADAM will work with regulators to build “comprehensive standards” for members of the digital assets sector. Additionally, the comprehensive standards will aim to increase the transparency of cryptocurrency markets while working to deter market manipulation. 
  • A report published by the New York Times finds that half of Swedish retailers believe that the country will stop accepting cash by 2025 in favor of digital currencies. According to the report, Swedish commercial banks, business, and individuals are already preparing for the major change in currency as government agencies are noticing that cash activity is dwindling in the country. Stefan Ingves, governor of Sveriges Riksbank, Sweden's central bank, said on the matter, “When you are where we are, it would be wrong to sit back with our arms crossed, doing nothing, and then just take note of the fact that cash has disappeared. You can’t turn back time, but you do have to find a way to deal with change.” 
  • Amazon announced the launch of a blockchain service to assist clients with the development of blockchain networks without requiring clients to build out their own platform. Unveiled at Amazon’s re:Invent conference, the platform will enable users to build their own blockchains using either Hyperledger Fabric or Ethereum, although Ethereum has yet to launch. Dubbed Amazon Managed Blockchain, the platform falls under the umbrella of Amazon Web Services, the cloud computing unit of Amazon that powers multiple notable websites including Netflix.   
  • Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, announced on their website Monday that they are creating a new unified market for stablecoins. Although Binance did not provide details of the new stablecoin market, what is known is that stablecoin Tether (USDT) will be a part of it. It appears that Binance will denominate stablecoins on its exchange with an ‘encircled s’ symbol, as the change has already been made on the exchange to USDT. Binance explained the new stablecoin market on their website, writing, “This is to support more trading pairs with different stablecoins offered as a base pair. Please note that (USDⓈ) is not a new stablecoin; it is the symbol of Binance’s new stablecoin market.” 
  • Bitcoin Cash (BCH) rallied more than 20% Monday above USD$200/token before paring gains and falling to previous levels around USD$180/token after CoinGeek formally called for an end to the “hash war” between the Bitcoin Cash ABC network and the Bitcoin Cash SV network. Notably, CoinGeek was the largest Bitcoin Cash mining pool backing the Bitcoin Cash SV network. Initially, the Bitcoin Cash SV network indicated that it would be an all-out war between the two Bitcoin Cash networks, with Bitcoin Cash SV prepared to attack the Bitcoin ABC chain until it wavered. Now, however, the Bitcoin Cash SV network appears to be taking a more level-headed and sustainable approach, at least in the short-term.  
  • BitPay, a large cryptocurrency payments processor, published a company blog post on Monday explaining that its open-source Bitcoin (BTC) wallet Copay was compromised by malicious code. While warning wallet users that they “should not run or open the app,” BitPay’s blog post explains that the code loads malware onto the user’s device that is capable of stealing private keys. The blog post was keen to highlight that the BitPay application itself was not affected, only the CoPay open-source BTC wallet. Further, BitPay recommended that users assume their private keys compromised and that they should move holdings to a new and secure v5.2.0 wallet “immediately”.  
  • Coinbase Pro, a subsidiary of notable US-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase that is geared towards institutional trading, announced today that it added trading services for privacy coin Zcash (ZEC). Coinbase did not detail whether their retail-oriented exchange,, would offer trading services for ZEC. Coinbase Pro will not allow users to withdraw ZEC using shielded, or anonymous, addresses, saying in a blog post, “Initially, we will support deposits from both transparent and shielded addresses, but only support withdrawals to transparent addresses. In the future, we’ll explore support for withdrawals to shielded addresses in locations where it complies with laws.”  
  • Coinbase Pro, a subsidiary of notable US-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase that is geared towards institutional trading, announced today that it added trading services for privacy coin Zcash (ZEC). Coinbase did not detail whether their retail-oriented exchange,, would offer trading services for ZEC. Coinbase Pro will not allow users to withdraw ZEC using shielded, or anonymous, addresses, saying in a blog post, “Initially, we will support deposits from both transparent and shielded addresses, but only support withdrawals to transparent addresses. In the future, we’ll explore support for withdrawals to shielded addresses in locations where it complies with laws.”  
  • Coinbase Wallet, a product offered by major US-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, announced the support of Ethereum Classic (ETC) in a company blog post Tuesday morning. The blog post discusses that support for ETC will be rolled out over the “next few days”, which will enable users to send and receive ETC from their wallet address. This past June, Coinbase announced that it would begin listing ETC trading pairs, which was followed by a large spike in the price of ETC. ETC is currently the 17th largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization.  
  • Decentralized internet protocol TRON announced intentions to launch a blockchain gaming fund in a November 29th, 2018 press release. Dubbed TRON Arcade, the company will invest USD$100mm into the fund over the next three years in order to “empower developers” TRON CEO Justin Sun believes that TRON Arcade will play an integral role in growing the firm’s active user base, saying, “TRON Arcade will play a crucial role in encouraging developers to join in our mission and provide the best blockchain gaming experience to users around the world.”  
  • Decentralized internet protocol TRON announced intentions to launch a blockchain gaming fund in a November 29th, 2018 press release. Dubbed TRON Arcade, the company will invest USD$100mm into the fund over the next three years in order to “empower developers” TRON CEO Justin Sun believes that TRON Arcade will play an integral role in growing the firm’s active user base, saying, “TRON Arcade will play a crucial role in encouraging developers to join in our mission and provide the best blockchain gaming experience to users around the world.”  
  • Google searches of the keyword “Bitcoin” hit their highest levels since the first week of April 2018, according to Google’s trend explorer. As per Google’s trend explorer, individuals from Nigeria, South Africa, and Austria led the world in “Bitcoin” searches while the United States barely cracked the top 20, ranking 19th. In the past, cryptocurrency analysts have suggested that the price of Bitcoin (BTC) and its Google search trends are highly correlated -- could a further crypto price breakout be looming?  
  • In an interview with CoinDesk, Mao Shixing, the founder of the world’s third largest mining pool F2pool, revealed that the firm estimates that between 600,000 and 800,000 Bitcoin (BTC) miners have shut down their mining operations since mid-November, driven by the declining price of BTC and a falling network hashrate. F2pool came to this estimate by accounting for the total network hashrate drop and the average hash power of outdated mining rigs that have a difficult time generating profits. From November 10th's network hashrate of roughly 47mm tera hashes per second (TH/s), the total BTC network hashrate has fallen nearly 13% to 41mm TH/s as of November 20th.  
  • Intel, a global tech giant, has been awarded a patent related to efficiency in Bitcoin (BTC) mining devices. According to the US Patent and Trademark Office’s website, the patent specifies a processor that is able to conduct, “energy-efficient high performance bitcoin mining,” specifically in the SHA-256 algorithm, which is used by BTC. The patent application details further that it could increase energy efficiency by up to 15%.   
  • Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck has officially reinstated trading services for all of its listed cryptocurrencies after suffering a USD$533mm hack in January 2018. Coincheck, now owned and operated by Japan-based Monex Group achieved this feat after relaunching services for Ripple (XRP). As of today, Coincheck offers full services for nine cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Litecoin (LTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), NEM (XEM), and Lisk (LSK). Next steps for Coincheck include plans to implement leveraged transactions, Japanese Yen deposits through convenience stores, and a system to allow users to pay utility bills with cryptocurrency holdings.  
  • Microsoft’s Japanese arm is partnering with blockchain startup LayerX with an aim of accelerating uptake of blockchain technology in Japan. The partnership will leverage Microsoft’s Azure Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) solution in order to promote blockchain technology in the Japanese economy. LayerX is a joint venture between news application Gunosy and advisory service AnyPay that provides consulting services and oversees blockchain implementation on the enterprise level. “We will support the introduction process in its entirely, even down to technical support of finished implementations,” reads a joint press release.  
  • Mike Novogratz, founder of Galaxy Digital Asset Management, ex-partner with Goldman Sachs, and prominent cryptocurrency pundit, said in an interview with the Financial Times that he expects cryptocurrency to “flip next year”. In the interview, Novogratz discussed his theory that financial institutions will transition from, “investing in cryptocurrency funds to investing in cryptocurrencies proper in the first quarter of next year.” In explaining drivers for his expectation for cryptocurrency prices to turnaround next year, Novogatz cited the highly anticipated launch of Bakkt by the operator of the New York Stock Exchange and the launch of Fidelity Digital Asset Management, specifically geared towards serving financial institutions.  
  • Steemit, a startup social media platform that leverages blockchain technology to reward publishers and content managers with underlying tokens called STEEM, has laid off 70% of its staff due to the prolonged cryptocurrency bear market. Steemit CEO and founder Ned Scott directly addressed the layoff in a YouTube video, saying, “While we were building out our team over the last many months we have been relying on projections of basically a higher bottom for the market and since that’s no longer there, we’ve been forced to lay off more than 70% of our organization and begin restructuring.” 

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