Cryptocurrencies finish week mixed as Bitcoin bulls defend $4,000 support level
Mar 22, 2019
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Developments in Financial Services
- Bison Trails, a new blockchain startup, announced that it has received a USD$5.25mm investment in its seed round from Galaxy Digital, the prominent crypto merchant bank backed by pundit Mike Novogratz. According to a Medium post, Bison Trails aims to offer a blockchain infrastructure to facilitate the secure launch of available and geographically distributed nodes. Other investors in the seed round include Distributed Global, Notation Capital, Homebrew, and Charge Ventures.
- Changes implemented to the Application Programming Interface (API) of major crypto exchange platform Binance may indicate that the company is working on introducing margin trading. Brought to the attention of the public by a Reddit user, the Binance public API currently differs from what it should, according to official documentation published by Binance on GitHub. The Reddit post notes two new variables introduced to the Binance public API, the first, “isSpotTradingAllowed,” and the second, “isMarginTradingAllowed,”.
- CoinMarketCap will soon launch two cryptocurrency benchmark indices on notable financial data platforms Nasdaq Global Index Data Service, Bloomberg Terminal, Thomson Reuters Eikon, and Borse Stuttgart, the crypto data website announced in a release on Wednesday. The two crypto indices will be launched in partnership with German index provider Solactive, who will calculate and administer the indices. Both crypto indices will track the top 200 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization; the first including Bitcoin (BTC) and the second excluding the benchmark crypto.
- JPMorgan’s Ron Karpovich, the financial institution’s Global Head of eCommerce Solutions, claimed in an interview with CNBC that cryptocurrency firms will have to ultimately use banks to move funds. “Ultimately behind the scenes, they are going to have to use a bank to move funds. There’s more partnership instead of competition in that space.”
- Nearly 90% of cryptocurrency exchanges’ reported trading volume is considered suspicious and may be outright incorrect, that is, according to research published by trading analytics firm The Tie. The report cites data analyzed from 97 different cryptocurrency exchanges and includes well-known platforms like Binance and Kraken. “In total we estimated that 87% of exchanges reported trading volume was potentially suspicious and that 75% of exchanges had some form of suspicious activity occurring on them,” wrote The Tie in its report.
- After the Wall Street Journal published an investigation claiming USD$9mm of cryptocurrencies were laundered through major cryptocurrency exchange ShapeShift in 2018, blockchain intelligence firm CipherBlade is accusing the Wall Street Journal of using flawed investigative methods. According to a CipherBlade analysis of the Wall Street Journal’s investigation, the USD$9mm money laundering claim was overstated by a factor of 4x. CipherBlade explains further that, “By tracing alleged ‘launder’ through ‘no more than two intermediaries before reaching an exchange’, the WSJ’s stated methodology was fundamentally flawed. The tracing of any funds – illicit or not – over the course of multiple transactions is extremely difficult, and presenting the total contents of subsequent wallets as illicit is forensically unsound.”
- Jared Rice, the former CEO of cryptocurrency scam AriseBank, has pleaded guilty to allegations of defrauding over USD$4.2mm from victims, according to an article from Dallas News. Rice was arrested by the FBI in November of last year and later confessed to his activities, said Erin Nealy Cox, the US Attorney for the Northern District of Texas. AriseBank falsely claimed to clients that it could offer, “FDIC-insured accounts and traditional banking services, including Visa-brand credit and debit cards, in addition to cryptocurrency services.”
- The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has received 7 comments on the proposed rule change that would allow a VanEck/SolidX Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund (ETF), most of which are negative. All comments available to date were submitted between February 13th, 2019 and March 12th, 2019. Of the 7 comments submitted to the SEC regarding the proposed rule change, 6 strongly urge the regulator not to allow the BTC ETF.
- A new report published by cybersecurity company Palo Alto Networks finds that Israeli fintech firms that work with forex and cryptocurrency trading are among the most prominently targeted victims of malware. The report details a specific malware, Cardinal RAT (remote access trojan), that has specifically been identified when investigating two separate malware attacks on Israeli fintech companies. The malware is capable of recovering passwords, downloads, and screenshots before it effectively uninstalls itself.
- Anders Fogh Rasmussen, a former NATO Secretary General and Danish Prime Minister, has been hired by Swiss-based blockchain identity network Concordium as a Strategic Advisor, according to a press release. “Anders will play a pivotal role in our global expansion plans to move into areas that require blockchain solutions for secure and private communications, as well as liaising with governmental departments that will benefit from its implementation,” said Concordium Chairman Lars Seier Christensen.
- Binance Launchpad, the arm of major crypto exchange platform Binance responsible for new token launches, successfully hosted its third initial coin offering (ICO), the company announced in a post Tuesday. Celer Network conducted its ICO of Celer Network tokens (CELR) and raised a total of roughly USD$4mm. In the ICO raise, the minimum investment was set at USD$20 while the maximum investment was set at USD$1,500.
- Price correlations between major cryptocurrencies against the US dollar (USD) increased in 2018 while they fell in Bitcoin (BTC) terms, according to a new report published by Binance. The research by Binance notes the divergence among crypto asset returns depending on if they are denominated in USD or BTC. Binance explained in its research, “Correlations in BTC returns are important as BTC remains one of the best price indicators of crypto markets for two key reasons,”, which are the liquidity and market dominance of BTC compared to other cryptocurrencies.
- SeriesOne, a popular US-based crowdfunding platform, is partnering with security token protocol Polymath to build a digital securities offering ecosystem on the former’s platform, according to a joint press release. The prospective platform will enable crypto developers to create and manage regulatory-compliant security tokens, no matter how young or mature the coin may be. Polymath’s unique ST-20 token protocol is regulatory compliant as it, “embeds regulatory requirements into the tokens themselves, restricting trading to verified participants only.”
- The trend of growing staked cryptocurrencies appears to be continuing, according to the latest industry newsletter published by Diar earlier this week. According to Diar, total aggregate staked cryptocurrencies now equate to roughly USD$4bn, led by major coin EOS (EOS) with about USD$1.8bn worth of staked tokens. Dash (DASH) maintains the second-most staked coins among cryptocurrencies with USD$431mm worth of tokens, closely followed by newly-launched Cosmos (ATOM) with USD$309mm worth of staked tokens.
*Data in Price Return and Updated Real-Time (with a delay), Source: StockDio