Cryptocurrencies were mixed in week headlined by $100mm+ acquisition by Kraken
Feb 08, 2019
Top 5 Cryptocurrencies sorted by 7 Day Price Percent Change
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Developments in Financial Services
- AdvisorShares, a US investment management company, and Sabretooth Advisors, a US investment advisory company, are partnering to launch an exchange-traded fund (ETF) that tracks tech companies involved in blockchain and cloud computing. According to a report published by MarketWatch, the new AdvisorShares Sabretooth ETF (BKCH) will come to market Thursday, February 7th.
- Credit Suisse, a global investment bank, and Banco Best, a Portuguese bank, have partnered to successfully complete end-to-end mutual fund transactions on a blockchain. According to a press release by Credit Suisse, the two financial institutions successfully processed every part of a fund trade by leveraging blockchain-based platform FundsDLT. FundsDLT is designed to reduce time between requests and settlement in trading by leveraging blockchain and smart contract technology.
- Fundstrat Global Advisors warned its clients that cryptocurrency prices could hit lower lows and continue their extended bear market in an email quoted by Bloomberg. Fundstrat strategist Robert Sluymer believes that, based on the current performance of Bitcoin (BTC) and altcoins, prices could fall further. Sluymer wrote in the email, “The price structure for most cryptocurrencies remains weak and appears vulnerable to a pending breakdown to lower lows.”
- Huobi.com, the US-based subsidiary of the Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange giant Huobi, is set to launch fiat-to-crypto trading services with support for three crypto trading pairs against the US dollar. According to an official press release, Huobi.com also launched US dollar deposits and withdrawal services with a required minimum of USD$100. In order to offer fiat services in the US, Huobi.com is partnering with Prime Trust, a Nevada-based registered chartered trust company that specializes in escrow and custodian services for fiat and crypto transactions.
- Invstr, a mobile investing application, announced the launch of a cryptocurrency index on its platform that will allow users to expose their portfolios to crypto markets. According to an official press release Wednesday, “Traditional indices measure impact on the asset class not an investor’s portfolio... This is not a relevant consideration for smaller investors who want to know what the impact will be on their portfolios. The Invstr Crypto Index addresses this by using weightings that optimize risk-reward based on the volatility of the constituent assets.”
- Joyce Chang, the global research chair at JPMorgan Securities, said in an interview with Bloomberg that blockchain technology is still far from institutionalization. Chang also discussed that blockchain must overcome several key hurdles before the industry can adopt the technology at scale. In the interview, Chang also discussed, “We’ve moved beyond experimentations, it’s still in use case form, but we are seeing more adoption of the technology.”
- Kraken, a large cryptocurrency exchange based in the United States, announced the acquisition of Crypto Facilities, a cryptocurrency exchange and futures provider based in the United Kingdom, for at least USD$100mm. Although neither party revealed the exact value of the acquisition, they did say it was a, “nine-figure deal.” “We are excited to introduce eligible clients to these industry leading futures and index products,” commented Kraken CEO Jesse Powell in a press release on Monday, adding, “Over the coming months, our teams will continue to enhance and expand these offerings.”
- Opera, a popular web browser, announced the launch of a new feature that allows Android users in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark to purchase Ethereum (ETH) directly through the browser. According to an official press release, Opera is partnering with brokerage firm Safello to enable the feature. Safello is registered with Sweden’s Financial Supervisory Authority (FSA), as per the press release.
- Six commercial banks based in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are set to join Aber, a digital currency project pertaining to cross border transactions between the two countries, according to a report by news outlet Argaam. The six banks remain unnamed in the article. The article discusses details about the joint digital currency project between the two countries, saying, “The currency’s official issuance is conditional on the outcomes of the “proof-of-concept" stage. The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAME) and the UAE central bank will decide on the feasibility of the currency’s practical applications.”
- SIX, Switzerland’s largest stock exchange, announced plans to launch SIX Digital Exchange, a prospective blockchain platform designed to increase the speed of trading. According to a report by Reuters, SIX Digital Exchange will initially operate alongside the pre-existing SIX platform. SIX intends to roll out SIX Digital Exchange later in 2019 with CEO Romeo Lacher telling Reuter that the exchange’s supervisory board will, “probably,” make a final decision late in the Summer of 2019.
- The Wall Street Blockchain Alliance (WSBA), a non-profit trade association responsible for promoting the adoption of blockchain technology and digital assets across international markets, is joining blockchain consortium R3 in order to develop applications and solutions for the Corda platform. According to an official press release Tuesday, the WSBA and R3 will work together to, “advocate a strategic approach to collaborating with regulatory bodies so that financial markets, and beyond can gain the full benefits of blockchain’s capabilities.”
- A new report published by Quartz discusses that an Indian government committee tasked with assessing the impact of cryptocurrencies on the county is concerned of the impact digital assets could have on the stability of the rupee. The article cites an anonymous source active in the cryptocurrency industry who said, “If Bitcoin and other digital currencies are going to be allowed to be used for payments then whether it will end up destabilizing the fiat currency is a major concern for the committee.”
- Daniel Haudenschild, the newly elected President of the Swiss Crypto Valley Association (CVA), declared in an interview with major Swiss news outlet Swissinfo that the recent cryptocurrency bear market is damaging Switzerland’s position as a global blockchain hub. Haudenschild, who officially took office as President of the CVA on January 31st, 2019, said in the interview that his priority will be to, “heal divisions to prevent Switzerland losing any more ground to other countries,” in attracting global blockchain projects. Haudenschild went on in the interview to urge the country’s regulators to keep Switzerland an open and easily accessible option for blockchain investors.
- Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) released 4Q2018 data that shows a decline in the number of enquiries about cryptocurrencies. Publish on Friday, the report details of 788 enquiries regarding digital assets in 4Q2018, down nearly 50% from the 1,231 enquiries in 3Q2018. The report highlights that, of the 788 cryptocurrency enquiries in 4Q2018, 235 were related to general questions while 228 were related to individual transactions.
- South Korea’s central bank, the Bank of Korea, warned that issuing central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) could squeeze domestic banks. According to a report by news outlet Yonhap News Agency, the warning from the Bank of Korea comes after the central bank conducted a 6-month long consultation process surrounding CBDCs. Last week, the Bank of Korea also announced it had no plans to introduce a CBDC. In the report by Yonhap news, the author writes, “Demand deposits are one of the biggest sources of loans by banks. When people pull out their money, banks raise rates, or lower the reserve ratio, to secure more funds.”
- The United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) published a report indicating that over 197mm pounds (USD$255mm) was lost in cryptocurrency-related scams in 2018. The report details that victims lost an average of 29,000 pounds (USD$37,000) from crypto-related scams in 2018. The FCA is also warning citizens to be wary of scams related to investments during the current quarter because it is considered peak investment season just before the tax year’s end.
- The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is requesting help from blockchain analytics companies to develop a compressive system that analyzes blockchain data and implements risk monitoring and compliance enforcement procedures. As per an official statement by the SEC on January 31st, 2019, the regulatory agency is seeking a blockchain data company with a, “capability to derive insights from the available data,” including the ability to identify the owners of cryptocurrency addresses.
- The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will likely approve a Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund (ETF), that is, according to comments made by SEC commissioner Robert J. Jackson Jr. in an interview with political journal Congressional Quarterly leaked to Twitter. In the interview, Jackson discussed, “Eventually, do I think someone will satisfy the standards we’ve laid out there? I hope so, yes, and I think so.” Jackson is the SEC’s only democratic commissioner.
- Venezuela’s cryptocurrency industry members must follow the new regulatory framework outlined in a crypto bill that took effect on January 31st, 2019. Initially approved by the country’s Constituent National Assembly in November 2017, the document called, “Constituent Decree on the Integral System of Crypto Assets,” contains 63 unique articles that outline rules and definitions concerning crypto assets, blockchain mining, cryptography, and more. Most prominently, the new regulation requires domestic mining entities and cryptocurrency exchanges to obtain mandatory licenses from the country’s regulators.
- “Amazon will have to issue a currency sooner or later,” said Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao on Twitter this weekend. Zhao is of the belief that the global online retail giant cannot avoid issuing its own altcoin in the future. Zhao also discussed crypto payment acceptance on Twitter this weekend, writing, “For any internet (non-physical) based business, I don’t understand why anyone would not accept crypto for payments. It is easier, faster, and cheaper to integration than traditional payment gateways. Less paperwork. And reaches more diverse demographic and geography.”
- A new report published by Canadian wealth management company Canaccord highlights that Bitcoin (BTC) mining is becoming increasingly more decentralized. The report analyzes BTC’s hash rate over the last 5 years and concludes that it has steadily become more widely dispersed over that period. A more competitive and distributed mining community, in turn, results in BTC being less vulnerable to network attacks.
- According to a report published by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), the USD$145mm in digital assets that are allegedly stuck in QuadrigaCX cold wallets may actually be missing altogether. The founder and CEO of QuadrigaCX, Gerald Cotton, passed away in December from Crohn’s disease and was reportedly the sole executive with access to the exchange’s cold wallets. The WSJ article cites James Edwards, a crypto analyst who frequently publishes research on Zerononcense, who claims, “It appears that there are no identifiable cold wallet reserves for QuadrigaCX.”
- BitTorrent, a peer-to-peer torrent client who recently launched its native BitTorrent Token (BTT), announced new support for its token on CoinPayments’ cryptocurrency payments gateway. The new partnership is the first of what many expect to be a series of moves to tokenize the BitTorrent content sharing ecosystem. BitTorrent launched its BTT token last week, roughly 6 months after being acquired by decentralized Internet startup TRON, whose native cryptocurrency TRON (TRX) is the 8th largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization.
- Chuck Kimble, the former Head of Partnerships at cryptocurrency finance firm Circle, has left his position to join blockchain firm Celo as their new Head of Strategic Partnerships. According to an official post on Medium by Celo, Kimble will help Celo bring, “financial products to emerging markets and under-served populations around the world.” Celo is currently working to create a system that maps phone numbers to wallet addresses by leveraging a decentralized address-based encryption algorithm to enable mobile-based crypto payment networks.
- Deloitte, a big four audit and consulting firm based in the US, announced in an official press release that is successfully completed a joint pilot for digitizing a supply chain across multiple blockchain networks. Deloitte collaborated with publicly traded blockchain firm Kerry Logistics and Hong Kong-based supply chain management company CargoSmart on the pilot. According to the press release, the blockchain supply chain system is designed to boost efficiency and make exchange more transparent.
- Facebook, the US-based social media giant, took another step towards the development of its own cryptocurrency after hiring small blockchain firm Chainspace, as per a report by Cheddar. As per the company website, Chainspace develops systems that use sharding, a process that breaks a database into smaller units, to enable scaling of blockchain networks. Last May, Facebook announced a new dedicate blockchain business unit. Last December, Bloomberg cited an anonymous source in reporting that Facebook is in the process of developing a cryptocurrency for money transfer on its WhatsApp messaging application.
- Gerald Cotton, the former CEO of Canadian-based cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX, passed away in early December and potentially left customers without access to USD$190mm in funds. Following turmoil caused by Cotton’s death, QuadrigaCX officially closed last week without a way to access USD$190mm in funds because Cotton was the sole holder of the required information. Now, QuadrigaCX is seeking creditor protection in a Novia Scotia court in order to avoid bankruptcy. Lawyers are also reportedly considering the sale of QuadrigaCX in order to pay off debts owed to users.
- Gerald Cotton, the recently deceased CEO of major Canadian cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX, filed his will just 12 days before his death, according to a Bloomberg report. In his will filed on November 27, 2018, Cotton designates wife Jennifer Robertson as the only beneficiary and executor of his estate. Cotton reportedly died due to complications with Crohn’s disease. Currently, more than 100,000 QuadrigaCX users are unable to access funds worth CAD$250mm (USD$190mm) in cryptocurrencies and fiat currencies due to Cotton’s death.
- Jack Dorsey, co-founder and CEO of Twitter, discussed in an interview with popular podcast host Joe Rogan that he believes Bitcoin (BTC) will still be the Internet’s native currency. During the interview, Dorsey declared, “Bitcoin was something that was born on the Internet, that was developed on the Internet, that was tested on the Internet, it is of the Internet.” Dorsey also discussed his belief that the Internet is moving towards a system where data is created and is online permanently, which is, “what blockchain helps enable.”
- Ripple, the company behind the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, announced an expansion of its global University Blockchain Research Initiative (UBRI) to 11 new universities in the United States, China, Singapore, and Brazil. According to an official press release published on Thursday, Ripple will expand its UBRI to major US universities Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, and Duke. Additionally, Ripple will partner with the University of California, Berkeley to host a blockchain and fintech industry Spring speaker series at the university’s Haas School of Business.
*Data in Price Return and Updated Real-Time (with a delay), Source: StockDio