Cryptocurrencies mixed this week as DX Exchange partners with Nasdaq to offer tokenized stocks trading
Jan 04, 2019
Top 5 Cryptocurrencies sorted by 7 Day Price Percent Change
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Developments in Financial Services
- Circle’s over-the-counter (OTC) cryptocurrency trading desk processed USD$24bn in 2019, according to an official Medium blog post by the company. Circle, the notable cryptocurrency finance firm backed by Goldman Sachs, executed 10,000 individual OTC trades from 600 different counterparties in 2018. With these statistics, Circle claimed in the blog post to have become a, “core liquidity provider to the entire crypto ecosystem.” Circle also discussed its outlook for 2019 in the blog post, writing, “This year, we anticipate further incremental growth in institutional adoption catalyzed by stablecoin usage, advancements in institutional custody solutions, increasing regulatory clarity particularly in the United States, and improvements and innovation in core crypto infrastructure.”
- Coinbase, the notable US cryptocurrency exchange, has yet to give users their Bitcoin SV (BSV) from the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) hard fork that occurred on November 15th, 2018. Although Coinbase has told users it will supply regular updates on the state of users’ BSV holdings, the crypto exchange has yet to do so. From its all-time high of just over USD$200, BSV has fallen more than 50% as it currently trades just under USD$90.
- Vaishali Mehta, a former senior employee at US-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, has departed the company to join stablecoin issuer TrustToken as its Head of Compliance. Mehta served as a Senior Compliance Manager at Coinbase for just over a year prior to his departure. Trust Token’s TrueUSD (TUSD) is the crypto industry’s third-largest stablecoin by market capitalization. Prior to joining Coinbase, Mehta had served at Deutsche Bank, Mitsui Trust Bank, and KPMG in various compliance roles.
- DX Exchange, an Estonian-based digital trading platform, confirmed that it will begin to offer tokenized stocks on the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain using Nasdaq’s Financial Information exchange (FIX) protocol in a press release Thursday morning. Additionally, DX Exchange is partnering with MPS MarketPlace Securities Ltd. to purchase shares on behalf of users. “Digital stocks combine the best of both worlds: blockchain technology and traditional stock investments,” the company said in its press release, adding that, “Digital stocks are backed 1:1 by real-world stocks traded on conventional stock exchanges.”
- Lenders in the cryptocurrency industry are among the few to weather the recent crypto bear mark, as per a Bloomberg report. The Bloomberg report highlights that crypto industry lenders are, “finding strong demand from borrowers who don’t want to sell their virtual coins at depressed prices, as well as from big investors eager to borrow coins for short selling.” The report goes on to highlights BlockFi, a crypto industry lender who, since receiving a USD$52mm investment from Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital in June, has grown tenfold.
- The Philippines Securities and Exchange Commission (PSEC) has postponed its deadline for issuing final Initial Coin Offering (ICO) regulation, according to local news outlet The Philippine Star. The regulator had previously set a deadline for ICO regulation by the end of 2018. In its draft regulatory guidelines, the PSEC concluded that tokens created during an ICO may be classified as securities, and, “therefore, these should be registered with the Commission and necessary disclosures need to be made for the protection of the investing public.”
- A working regulatory group dedicated to cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology has been established by the South African government, according to a report by news outlet BusinessLive. In a written reply to a parliamentary question by Freedom Front Plus MP Wouter Wessels, Tito Mboweni, South Africa’s Finance Minister, said, “It is anticipated that, following broad industry comment and participation, the crypto assets regulatory working group will be ready to release a final research paper on the subject during the course of 2019.” Additionally, Mboweni detailed that cryptocurrencies will be included in the country's tax forms next year.
- Saudi Arabian customs authorities have successfully completed a pilot that links its cross-border trade platform, FASAH, with IBM and Maersk’s TradeLens blockchain platform, according to an official press release. Created in August 2017, TradeLens is meant to serve as a platform for digital supply chains -- nearly 100 entities took part in the platform’s pilot after its launch. Ahmed Alhakbani, Saudi Arabia’s Customs governor, said in the release that, “The pilot comes in line with our strategy that aims to facilitate trade and enhance security levels, while working to establish the kingdom as one of the world’s premier logistics hubs.”
- Bakkt, a digital assets platform venture launched by the owner and operator of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), announced that it secured USD$182.5mm in its first funding round. Launched by Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), Bakkt aims to create an institutional investor-centric digital assets trading platform. Notable firms to fund Bakkt include Galaxy Digital, Microsoft’s venture capital arm, Pantera Capital, and Boston Consulting Group. Bakkt detailed further in its announcement that, “We have filed our applications and the timing for approval is nor based on the regulatory review process.” Bakkt detailed in a separate announcement today that it will provide an updated launch timeline in early 2019.
- Huobi Group is planning to launch a cryptocurrency exchange that will be entirely dedicated to EOS (EOS) in 1Q2019, according to an official press release. The exchange will specifically be launched by Huobi Pool, Huobi Group’s mining arm. The launch of an EOS exchange is the, “next logical step in our support,” as an EOS Block Producer (BP), according to Huobi Pool CEO Cao Fei. Huobi’s EOS exchange will offer several trading pairs against EOS, although the company did not detail specific trading pairs in its announcement.
- Visa Inc. has announced the acquisition of Earthport Plc, a payment network for cross-border transactions that is a part of RippleNet, according to a Reuters report last week. Visa, the American payment services giant, paid 198mm pounds (USD$251mm), or 30 pence (USD$0.38) per share to acquire Earthport -- the acquisition price represents a 4x premium for the Ripple partner. Earthport shares have fallen 28% YTD prior to the acquisition.
- The executive branch of the government of Ireland, The Cabinet, has approved a bill that recognizes the European Union (EU) Fifth Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Directive, a change in legislation that impacts cryptocurrencies. The new AML legal framework establishes a precedent for financial watchdogs extend AML laws to cryptocurrency platforms and wallet providers. The EU is requiring its member states to implement the AML framework by January 20th, 2020.
- Overstock.com, a large US online retailer, announced on its website today that it will begin to pay part of its business taxes in Ohio using Bitcoin (BTC). Overstock.com will use the recently launched cryptocurrency taxpayer platform, OhioCrypto.com, in order to pay its taxes in BTC. Overstock.com CEO and Founder Patrick Byrne said in the company release that government adoption of cryptos paired with friendly legislation is, “the best way to ensure the US does not lose our place at the forefront of the ever-advancing global economy.” In 2014, Overstock.com became the first major company to begin accepting BTC as payment through a partnership with Coinbase.
- Indian police in the state of Jammu and Kashmir issued a public statement that warns citizens of investing in cryptocurrencies, according to a report by Business Standard. “The general public is informed not to make any type of investment in cryptocurrencies,” said the police branch’s inspector general, adding that, “virtual currencies such as Bitcoin because there is a real and heightened risk associated with them.” India and its central bank are currently enforcing a ban on banks providing services to firms with crypto-related activities.
- The Chilean General Treasury of the Republic (TGR), which is responsible for tax oversight in Chile, has launched a blockchain platform to process payments. Launched in December, the blockchain platform is in its pilot phase. The blockchain platform aims to facilitate tax payments or patent fees on a blockchain network and requires all nodes involved in the process to approve a transaction before it is confirmed.
- New York State Assemblyman and Chair of the state’s Subcommittee on Internet and New Technologies, Clyde Vanel, announced the formation of the country’s, “first,” cryptocurrency task force. In a Facebook post on Thursday morning, Vanel detailed that the crypto task force will study the regulation, use, and definition of digital currency. Last month on December 21st, 2018, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill, “The Digital Currency Study Bill,”, resulting in the creation of the crypto task force.
- Mike Novogratz, a former Goldman Sachs partner and founder of Galaxy Digital, has upped his stake in the crypto-focused merchant bank, according to a report by Bloomberg. Novogratz reportedly increased his ordinary share holdings from 213.7mm to 221.2mm, increasing his total stake in Galaxy Digital from 79.3% to 76.6%. The 7.5mm shares acquired by Novogratz cost him roughly CAD$7.2mm (USD$4.8mm). Galaxy Digital is currently listed and trades on Canada’s TSX Venture Exchange.
- Lamassu, the oldest Bitcoin (BTC) ATM company in the world, has announced the move of its headquarters to Lucerne, Switzerland. Commonly referred to as, “Crypto Valley”, the city of Lucerne aims to be a global cryptocurrency haven. “Crypto Valley is alive and kicking and we’re excited to be in an area so rich in crypto development and blockchain events,” wrote Lamassu in an official Medium blog post.
- HitBTC, a notable cryptocurrency exchange, is facing mounting criticism after deliberately freezing account withdrawals on January 1st, just days before Trace Mayer’s Proof of Keys event.Proof of Keys is a call to action started last month that urges crypto investors to move their coins from third-party platforms in order to take control of their own private keys. The reason for the Proof of Keys event is to empower crypto investors to stop relying on middlemen while educating themselves about the industry.
- The United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is still in the process of probing 18 companies pertaining to the use of cryptocurrencies, according to a report by news outlet the Telegraph. The UK FCA revealed this in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOI) request from the Telegraph, although it stressed that the regulator has closed a vast majority of its investigations into crypto-related businesses since May 2018. According to the Telegraph, 49 of 67 crypto-related inquiries have come to an end, be it through a confession of wrongdoings, a warning to individuals/companies involved, or due to a lack of sufficient evidence. The FCA refused to comment on any of the 18 ongoing probes.
- The Indian government is reportedly approaching cryptocurrency regulation with caution, as detailed in a report by tech magazine Quartz. An article published Monday quotes Pon Radhakrishnan, India’s Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Shipping, who said, “In absence of a globally acceptable solution and the need to devise a technically feasible solution, the department is pursuing the matter with due caution. It is difficult to state a specific timeline to come up with clear recommendations.” Currently, the Indian government enforces a ban on banks offering services to cryptocurrency-related operations.
- The Ethereum (ETH) network intends to switch to a proof-of-stake validation protocol in 2019 that will supposedly cut energy consumption by 99%. Amid claims that proof-of-work validation protocols currently used by major coins like ETH and Bitcoin (BTC) are overall bad for the environment, the Ethereum Network is in the process of developing a new proof-of-stake-system. Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin discussed the difference between proof of work and proof of stake, saying that, “Proof of work necessarily operates on a logic of massive power incentivized into existence by massive rewards. Proof of stake breaks this symmetry by relying not on rewards for security, but rather penalties.”
- BitTorrent, a peer-to-peer torrent client, has launched its own token, BitTorrent (BTT), that is based on the TRON protocol, as per an official press release. The token aims to optimize network speed and enable faster downloads by allowing users to exchange the token. BitTorrent, which serves more than 100 million users, was acquired by TRON for an undisclosed amount roughly 6 months ago. Non-US based investors can already trade BTT tokens on Binance’s Launchpad program, which will selectively distribute airdrops later in the month.
- Deutsche Bahn AG, Germany’s largest train operating company, is partnering with Unibright, a German blockchain solution developer, to tokenize the ticketing process for several of Deutsche Bahn’s services. On top of train operations, Deutsche Bahn offers taxi, restaurant, and hotel services. Marten Jung, CEO of Unibright, discussed the partnership, saying, “One goal of the workshop concept was to define better, which players can be a part of an ecosystem around Deutsche Bahn and to make proposals on how this ecosystem can be built. The result should feel natural to the customer and provide tangible advantage.”
- Thailand’s National Electronics and Computer Technology Center (NECTEC) has developed blockchain technology to be implemented in e-voting, according to a report by the Bangkok Post. Head of the Cybersecurity Laboratory at NECTEC, Chalee Vorakulipat, said on the blockchain technology, “Nectec developed blockchain technology for e-voting that can be applied to national, provincial, or community elections, as well as business votes such as the board of directors. The goal is to reduce fraud and maintain data integrity.”
- Cryptocurrency exchange HitBTC is dismissing allegations that the exchange deliberately froze users’ accounts prior to Tracer Mayer’s Proof of Keys event, according to an email sent by the company to Cointelegraph. In responding to a request for comment, Peter Swen, a representative from the HitBTC’s marketing team, denied any alleged link between the account freezes and the Proof of Keys event. On Wednesday, Proof of Keys organizer Trace Mayer and crypto industry proponent John McAfee publicly alleged a link between HitBTC’s account freezes and the Proof of Keys event.
- “Few tangible uses for Bitcoin (BTC) and its underlying blockchain technology have emerged,” said the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) in its recent article, “Crypto’s 2019 Goal: Technology People Can Use”. As part of a larger documentary on the crypto industry in Japan and Hong Kong, the WSJ published this article highlighting that cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology did not find many, if any, practical use cases in 2018. The article quotes Andy Bromberg, founder of Coinlist, who said, “Bitcoin and the hundreds of other digital currencies that have popped up over the years and are still largely usable only by developers.”
- The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Technology Review published an article Wednesday arguing that 2019 will be the year that blockchain technology becomes normalized.The article discusses that blockchain technology is, “a revaluation that was supposed to disrupt the global financial system,” in 2017, but that it disappointed in 2018. Despite this, the article highlights that, “many innovative-sounding projects are still alive and even close to bearing fruit,” while projecting that 2019 will be, “the year that blockchain technology finally becomes normal.”
- After rallying 87% from a low of USD$83/token on December 15th to a high of USD$149/token in today’s trading, Ethereum (ETH) has retaken the spot as the crypto industry’s largest altcoin. ETH has appreciated 9.52% in the last 24 hours while it trades with a market capitalization of roughly USD$15.5bn, more than USD$0.5bn above Ripple’s (XRP) market capitalization. The Ethereum Network is expected to implement its Constantinople hard for at block 7,080,000 around January 16th, 2019 -- the largest impact of this hard fork will be a 50% block reward cut from 3 ETH to 2 ETH.
- DDM.com Ltd., a Japanese e-commerce giant, announced that it will shut down its cryptocurrency mining business due to falling profitability. According to a report by local business magazine Toyo Keizai, Dmm.com will sell its company mining hardware through the first half of 2019. Dmm.com initially announced their foray into the crypto mining industry in September 2017 with a focus on Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and Litecoin (LTC). Dmm.com’s e-commerce business currently maintains more than 27 million clients across the globe.
- Most financial institutions will not use Bitcoin (BTC), that is, according to Stellar (XLM) Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer Jed McCaleb. While interviewing with Yahoo Finance on Monday, McCaleb, who is also a notable founder of defunct Japanese BTC exchange Mt. Gox and a Co-Founder of Ripple (XRP), said that, “It doesn’t need to be the Bitcoin blockchain, but if it’s not a public chain, then you’re missing the point.” McCaleb went on to criticize broad crypto project activity, saying that, “Ninety percent of these projects are B.S. I’m looking forward to that changing.”
- A Chinese survey conducted by PANews, an Asian news outlet for sharing blockchain news, finds that 40% of the 4,200 survey respondents are willing to invest in cryptocurrencies in the future. 63% of respondents, meanwhile, believe that there is no necessity for cryptos as a means for payment. Nearly half of all survey respondents have heard of the terms cryptocurrency, digital currency, or Bitcoin (BTC), while just 22.2% of survey respondents were aware of the existence of blockchain-powered tokens.
- Bitcoin (BTC) was featured in an article that discusses its potential liberating potential in major American publication Time magazine. The article discusses that, “speculation, fraud, and greed in the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry have overshadowed the real, liberating potential of Satoshi Nakamoto’s invention.” The article goes on to highlight how cryptocurrency adoption has benefited Venezuelans amid hyperinflation in the country’s Sovereign Bolivar; the fee for a wire transfer from the US to Venezuela can be as high as 56%, the article details while adding that Venezuelans have turned to cryptocurrencies as a cheap alternative to wire transfers.
- An unconfirmed report by Chinese media outlet Odaily details that Jihan Wu and Jenke Group will soon retire as CEOs of leading crypto mining hardware manufacturer Bitmain. The report by Odaily cites an unnamed source familiar with the matter while discussing that employees have not been optimistic about the double-CEO system. A different article by Odaily today reports that Bitmain is also planning to cease all mining operations meaning that the company will lay off more than 500 employees.
- White hat hackers, or hackers that maintain a code of ethics and act with good intentions, were awarded USD$878,000 from bug bounties this year, according to tech news outlet TheNextWeb. Bug bounties are a competition where companies develop software or programs and invite hackers to attempt to find vulnerabilities in their software in order to fix problems before they are exploited by the public. A majority of the bug bounties in 2018 came from HackerOne, a bug bounty platform that connects companies with hackers from Block.one, the company behind decentralized network EOS (EOS).
*Data in Price Return and Updated Real-Time (with a delay), Source: StockDio