Cryptocurrencies poised to finish week lower as US lawmakers introduce bipartisan crypto legislation
Jan 18, 2019
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Developments in Financial Services
- Binance announced the launch of a new fiat-to-cryptocurrency exchange on the British self-governing island of Jersey in an attempt to target investors in Europe and the UK. The newest venture by the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by daily adjusted trading volume will feature trading pairs for Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) against the British pound and the Euro. In its announcement, Binance clarified that Binance Jersey is an independent entity from its parent exchange Binance.com.
- Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by adjusted daily trading volume, froze tokens that were sent to the exchange’s wallet from the entity that allegedly hacked New Zealand crypto exchange Cryptopia, according to a tweet by CEO Changpeng Zhao. Cryptopia abruptly shut down its website and services on Monday due to detected malicious activity and is still shut down due to an ongoing police investigation. Zhao discussed on Twitter that Binance was, “able to freeze some of the funds,” while adding, “I don’t understand why the hackers keep sending to Binance. Social media will be pretty fast to report it, and we will freeze it. It’s a high risk maneuver for them.”
- BitPay, a major cryptocurrency payment service provider, announced that it processed over USD$1bn in transactions in 2018 in an official press release on Thursday. BitPay also highlighted major new customers it acquired last year in its press release, who include Dish Networks, HackerOne, and the State of Ohio. Despite the harsh 2018 crypto bear market, BItPay observed 255% growth in its business-to-business unit from 2017.
- Chronicled, a US-based blockchain enterprise supply chain developer, has netted USD$16mm in Series A funding, according to a company press release Tuesday. Notable participants in the funding round include Mandra Capital, Streamlined Ventures, and The Perkins Fund. Mandra Capital’s Principal, Song Yi Zhang, commented in the press release, “While many companies in the space are conducting ICOs -- fueling speculation and hurting the legitimacy of the space – Chronicled has stayed disciplined and pursued traditional funding while focusing on developing needed applications with quantifiable value.”
- Coinbase, a large US-based cryptocurrency exchange and wallet provider, has acquired Blockspring, a company that produces and develops tools for application programming interfaces (APIs) backed by Andreessen Horowitz. According to a blog post published earlier in the week, Blockspring will continue to act as an independent entity following the acquisition.
- Coinme, a US-based Bitcoin (BTC) ATM operator, is partnering with Coinstar to sell BTC at the latter’s coin counting kiosks, as per an official press release. “Bitcoin is now accessible at your local grocery store via Coinstar kiosks,” said Coinme CEO and co-founder Neil Bergquist, adding that, “this offering will make it even easier for consumers to participate in this dynamic new economy.” Data on industry monitoring website CoinATMRadar indicates that, among the 4,187 known BTC ATMs worldwide, 2,516 are in the United States.
- Grayscale, a digital currency investment group, announced the successful launch of its investment trust fund dedicated to Stellar Lumens (XLM) on Twitter yesterday. The latest fund by Grayscale is one of nine, “single-asset investment products,” that provide exposure to cryptocurrencies. Grayscale also offers investment products with exposure to Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Horizen (ZEN), Litecoin (LTC), Ripple (XRP), and Zcash (ZEC).
- Several notable oil and energy companies are set to join Vakt, a blockchain platform for energy commodity trading based in the UK, according to a report by Reuters. Chevron, one of the largest US-based multinational energy companies, Total, a notable French multinational oil and gas company, and Reliance Industries, a large Indian oil refiner, have all joined the Vakt platform. Vakt already features notable global energy industry members like BP, Shell, and Equinor.
- The most recent Exchange Security Report conducted by independent analysts at ICORating awards 16% of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges with A or A- ratings, although no crypto exchange received an A+ rating in the report. Ranked as the most secure cryptocurrency exchanges globally were Kraken (A), Cobinhood (A), and Poloniex (A-). ICORating analysts analyzed 135 cryptocurrency exchanges across the globe in its Exchange Security Report.
- Binance announced the launch of a new fiat-to-cryptocurrency exchange on the British self-governing island of Jersey in an attempt to target investors in Europe and the UK. The newest venture by the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange bA bill introduced by lawmakers in Wyoming proposes tokenized stock certificates issued via blockchain technology. House Bill 0185, titled, “Corporate stock-certificate tokens,” would amend pre-existing legislation to allow stock certificates representing the ownership of stocks to be stored electronically on a digital blockchain platform. The bill has bipartisan support with 7 Republican state representatives and 1 democrat state representative having introduced the bill.
- Huobi, the world’s seventh-largest cryptocurrency exchange by adjusted daily trading volume, is set to relaunch trading services in Japan as a fully licensed platform after merging with BitTrade, according to an official press release on Thursday. Huobi acquired a majority stake in BitTrade, one of only 16 licensed Japanese cryptocurrency exchanges, in September 2018. The press release by Huobi details that Huobi Japan’s trading service, “features specialized distributed architecture, a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack countermeasures system, and A+ ranked SSL certification (the highest available.” Upon its launch, Huobi will support trading pairs for Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Litecoin (LTC), Ripple (XRP), and Monacoin (MONA) through the Japanese yen.
- Malaysia’s Securities Commission, the country’s top financial regulator, announced that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) are classified as securities while confirming that relevant crypto regulations came into effect on January 15th, 2019. Malaysia Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng discussed that breaking crypto laws will be treated as a breach of securities laws, clarifying that, “Any person offering an ICO or operating a digital asset exchange without SC’s approval may be punished, on conviction, with imprisonment not exceeding ten years.”
- ShapeShift, a cryptocurrency exchange based in Switzerland, reported in its Compliance Transparency report that law enforcement requests it received increased by 175% in the second half of 2018. ShapeShift received 44 subpoena requests in the second half of 2018 prior to receiving just 16 in the first half of the year. Last October, the Wall Street Journal reported that USD$9mm of funds were funneled through ShapeShift, allegations the exchange promptly rebuked.
- US Minnesota Representative Tom Emmer is reintroducing a bill that would effectively protect certain cryptocurrency startups from state-level money transmission laws. House Resolution 528 would, “provide a safe harbor from licensing and registration for certain non-controlling blockchain developers and providers of blockchain services.” The bill introduced by Emmer is nearly identical to one introduced by Emmer last year with some key changes -- these changes have resulted in bipartisan support for the bill, as demonstrated by Democrat Representative Darren Soto co-sponsoring the bill.
- A group of researchers from seven different US colleges is working on Unit-e, a potential virtual currency aimed at solving the scaling problem seen in the cryptocurrency industry. Professors from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, and the University of California, Berkeley make up Distributed Technology Research, a non-profit foundation of academics that has received backing from notable hedge fund Pantera Capital. Joey Krug, Co-Chief Investment Officer at Pantera Capital and a member of the Distributed Technology Research Council said in an interview with Bloomberg that, “We are on the cusp of something where if this doesn't scale relatively soon, it may be relegated to ideas that were nice but didn’t work in practice: more like 3D printing than the internet.” DTR expects to launch cryptocurrency Unit-e in the second half of 2018 with an ability to process 10,000 transactions per second.
- BitGo, a blockchain security firm, is partnering with over-the-counter Bitcoin (BTC) trading platform Genesis Global Trading to allow digital asset trading directly from BitGo custody, as per an official press release today. This news comes after BitGo received a state trust company charter from the South Dakota Division of Banking in September. On the new partnership, Michael Moro, CEO of Genesis Trading said, “Because we have a BitGo Trust wallet ourselves, the coins are actually never leaving the BitGo system, just going from client to BitGo to Genesis without ever being exposed to hot wallets and public blockchains.”
- Blockchain technology was highlighted in Big Four audit and consulting firm Deloitte’s Tech Trends 2019 report. The report reads that, “advanced networking is the unsung hero of our digital future,” while explaining blockchain technology as a large part of its future. “Today, blockchain is to trust what the web was to communication,” the report explains further, adding that blockchain technology is, “a profoundly disruptive technology that transforms not only business but the way humans transact and engage.”
- Brave Browser, a popular ICO-funded internet browser whose Basic Attention Tokens (BAT) are the 34th largest coin by market capitalization, is set to launch an option that pays users for viewing advertisements on its platform. As a part of Brave Browser’s 1.0 release, users will be able to elect to see up to 20 advertisements per day. Users that view advertisements will receive 70% of revenue from the advertisement while Brave will receive the other 30%.
- Joseph Lubin, founder of blockchain technology company ConsenSys, will serve on the board of directors of cryptocurrency startup ErisX, according to an official press release. This past December, ErisX raised USD$27.5mm in Series A funding led by notables Fidelity Investments and Nasdaq Ventures. In the press release, ErisX highlighted Lubin’s, “extensive background working in the digital asset space,” and that the ConsenSys CEO projects that, “2019 is likely to be a breakthrough year for digital assets.”
- Luzius Meisser, a board member of Bitcoin Association Switzerland, said that the next round of cryptocurrency innovation will focus on stablecoins and security tokens in an interview with Cointelegraph at the Crypto Finance Conference in St. Moritz, Switzerland. Meisser is a well-known activist in the crypto industry who also sits on the board of directors of crypto-focused asset management and brokerage firm Bitcoin Suisse AG. Meisser discussed in the interview, “I would say payment and utility tokens are more or less over, sometimes they make sense.”
- The World Wildlife Fund – Australia (WWF-Australia) will begin to use a supply chain blockchain platform, dubbed OpenSC, to allow businesses and customers to track food items, according to an announcement on Twitter today. The platform was built in partnership with WWF-Australia and Boston Consulting Group Digital Ventures. An official WWF-Australia press release features CEO Dermot O’Gorman describing that, “Through OpenSC, we will have a whole new level of transparency about whether the food we eat is contributing to environmental degradation of habitats and species, as well as social injustice and human rights issues such as slavery.”
- United Parcel Service’s (UPS) investment arm has made an undisclosed equity investment in Inxeption, a US-based enterprise blockchain firm, according to an official press release on Wednesday. Founded in 2017, Inxeption leverages blockchain technology to improve enterprise business processes such as product design, manufacturing, and supply chain management. While neither group has revealed the full scope of the investment and partnership, Inxeption CEO and co-founder Farzad Dibachi commented in the press release, “Business customers need secure platforms that protect their customer data and proprietary information, while making it easy for them to interact and even collaborate more effectively with their customers.”
*Data in Price Return and Updated Real-Time (with a delay), Source: StockDio