KPMG releases a report that remains bullish on cryptocurrencies, while Bakkt announces a target launch date for the end of January.
Coming every Sunday, the Hodler’s Digest will help you to track every single important news story that happened this week. The best (and worst) quotes, adoption and regulation highlights, leading coins, predictions, and much more — a week on Cointelegraph in one link.
Top Stories This Week
KPMG Report Notes That Crypto Is a Big Deal, But Needs Institutional Investment
Netherlands-based “Big Four” auditor KPMG released a bullish report on crypto this week, arguing that institutional investors must join the industry for it to “realize its potential.” The report, titled the “Institutionalization of Cryptoassets,” explains how insitututional investors can enter the crypto sphere, alongside the current challenges that the industry faces. The report also elaborates under what circumstances crypto could become a “full-fledged asset class.”
Major Swiss Stock Exchange SIX Launches Crypto ETP Even as Market Collapsed
The SIX Swiss Exchange, Switzerland's principal stock exchange, announced that it will be listing the world’s first multi-crypto-based exchange-traded product (ETP). The ETP will be backed by Swiss startup Amun AG, will be listed under index HODL, and will track the following major cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin (BTC), Ripple (XRP), Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and Litecoin (LTC). Each crypto will have its own market share in the ETP, with Bitcoin accounting for about half of the assets.
Bitcoin Cash’s Contentious BCHSV Hard Fork Experiences “Blockchain Reorganization”
Bitcoin Cash (BCH), which experienced a hard fork on Nov. 15, came under more controversy this week after Bitcoin Cash SV (BCHSV), one of the two new forks of the altcoin, experienced what is known as a blockchain reorganization (reorg). The reorg lasted for two blocks and was initially feared to be a malicious attack; however, this instance came about due to the mining arm of crypto news publication Coingeek, which favors BCHSV, orphaning its own blocks.
Bakkt Digital Assets Platform Announces January End Launch Date
Bakkt, the digital assets platform created by the operator of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), has announced a “target” launch date of Jan. 24, 2019. The Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), operator of 23 leading global exchanges including the NYSE, announced the creation of Bakkt in August of this year. According to Bakkt’s Medium post this week, “given the volume of interest in Bakkt and work required to get all of the pieces in place,” the company chose the later start date in order to “ensure that participants are ready to trade on Day 1.”
China: Crypto Miners Sell off Mining Devices ‘by Kilo’ Amidst Market Decline
Cryptocurrency mining firms in China have reportedly started selling mining machines by weight amid recent cryptocurrency decline and Bitcoin (BTC) getting down almost 24 percent over the past 7 days. The decrease has resulted in a similar drop in mining profitability and forced Chinese operators to sell their mining devices at a loss, the founder of F2Pool stated in his post on the Weibo microblogging platform.
Most Memorable Quotations
“The desire to have a non-sovereign form of currency has existed forever. Remember, [Bitcoin] came out of the depths of the  financial crisis, let’s see what happens next year. Let’s see if central banks in the U.S. and Europe can unwind this thing successfully and then see what people want to own,” — “Crypto King” Bart Smith, digital asset head at U.S.-based global trading and technology firm Susquehanna
“If you go back to the Internet bubble, which is what a lot of us in crypto look at for direction, Amazon, arguably one of the greatest companies in the history of the mankind, was down over 95 percent over two years,” — Lou Kerner, a partner at venture capital firm CryptoOracle
Laws and Taxes
Documents Show Indian Government to Present Draft Crypto Bill in December
According to documents seen by the Quartz India news site, the Indian government is currently preparing a draft bill on crypto regulations expected to be shown in December. The Indian government filed a counter-affidavit on Nov. 19 in the Supreme Court of India, which is currently hearing a case filed by some crypto exchanges against the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) crypto dealings ban, enacted earlier this year. The documents seen show that the Indian finance ministry panel are undertaking “serious efforts” for the draft report on virtual currencies and the use of distributed ledger technology (DLT) in India.
Italy’s Securities Watchdog Orders Three Crypto-Related Companies to Cease and Desist
The Italian Companies and Exchange Commission (Commissione Nazionale per le Società e la Borsa), Italy’s securities watchdog, has ordered three crypto-related companies providing unauthorized investment services to cease and desist. The reasons vary: for example, one company, a trading platform Richmond Investing, has reportedly violated the country’s laws by failing to register as a financial intermediary.
Singapore’s First BTC Court Case Involves Liquidity Provider Suing Crypto Exchange
In Singapore’s first Bitcoin-related (BTC) court case, crypto exchange Quoine and major liquidity provider B2C2 are the opposing parties in a dispute in the Singapore International Commercial Court concerning the alleged reversal of crypto transactions in the spring of 2017. B2C2 alleges Quoine reversed seven Bitcoin to Ethereum trades it attempted to perform in April 2017. According to Quoine, the reversal was due to a technical glitch and involved a total of 3,085 BTC (today around $13.7 million).
Singapore’s Central Bank Released Final Draft of Crypto Payment Services Regulation
Singapore’s central bank, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), said this week that it has broadened its regulatory regime for payment providers to bring certain cryptos under its jurisdiction. The new Payment Services Bill (PSB), which was submitted by the education minister and MAS board member, will replace two existing forms of relevant legislation. The bill’s aim is to better safeguard consumer funds, counter terrorism financing, and bolster cybersecurity.
Venezuelan Parliament Approves Crypto Bill to Combat 'Financial Blockade'
Venezuela's Constituent National Assembly has approved a bill on cryptocurrency regulation, validating its controversial national cryptocurrency Petro as a unit of commercial exchange within the country and allowing to purchase service and goods with it. In addition to that, the amendment to current anti-money laundering law allows local exchanges to carry foreign exchange operations using Petro.
VanEck Subsidiary Develops BTC Index Based on OTC Desks
MV Index Solution, a subsidiary of investment management firm VanEck, launched its own Bitcoin (BTC) index based on three major over-the-counter (OTC) desks this week. The firm, which develops, monitors, and licenses the MVIS Indices — which cover asset class including equity, fixed income market, and digital assets — will introduce the new MVIS Bitcoin U.S.>OTC Spot Index (MVBTCO). The new spot index is based on U.S. price feeds from major OTC liquidity providers: Circle Trade, Cumberland and Genesis Trading.
Top Crypto Exchange Huobi Pays Its Dues to Beijing by Setting up Communist Party Committee
The company behind major cryptocurrency exchange Huobi created a Communist Party branch at an additional subsidiary, Beijing Lianhuo Information Service (BLIS), as part of its obligations to the Chinese state. Singapore-based Huobi follows the law that obliges any company with more than three Communist Party member employees to set up its own branch, thus becoming the first cryptocurrency industry business to embrace the tradition.
Retail Giant Carrefour Launches Blockchain Food Tracking Platform for Poultry in Spain
French-based retail giant Carrefour deploys a blockchain food tracking platform based on Hyperledger in its Spanish network. The food tracking solution, initially developed by U.S. tech corporation IBM, will be used to track free-range chickens. Each package in the Spanish network will be marked by a QR code providing detailed info on the chicken’s date of birth, type of nutrition, packing date, and more for the convenience of customers.
‘The Big Issue’ Newspaper Launches Blockchain Platform to Promote Impact Investing
The Big Issue, a street newspaper sold by the homeless in the U.K. and other countries, is launching a blockchain-driven platform to promote impact investing. The initiative dubbed The Big Exchange has already been joined by three investment companies — UK Standard Life Aberdeen, U.S. Columbia Threadneedle, and AllianceBernstein. The platform will offer 30 to 40 social and environmental impact funds, linked with UN’s 17 sustainable development goals, and is set to start working within six months.
India: 'Big Four' Auditor EY to Hire 2K Employees to Develop in Blockchain, AI
“Big Four” auditor Ernst & Young will hire 2,000 employees in India to expand its digital solution services across blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), automation and tax technologies. The new talents will be recruited over the next three years. At the same time, the company is planning to invest $1 billion in “new technologies, client services, innovation and the EY ecosystem” over a two fiscal year period.
Mergers, Acquisitions, and Partnerships
Tezos Korea Foundation and Yonsei University Partner for Blockchain Development
The South Korean branch of the Tezos Foundation has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Yonsei University to collaboratively work on the development of blockchain technology. According to the new agreement, the two entities will provide “blockchain education cooperation, training of OCaml [Objective Calm] and smart contract experts.” The MoU focuses primarily on human resources and education in the blockchain technology industry.
Fintech Firm MonetaGo Partners With SWIFT India
SWIFT’s Indian branch has partnered with MonetaGo, a fintech firm, in order to produce a pilot of a distributed ledger (DLT) network. The DLT network aims to improve the efficiency and security of financial products. SWIFT India is more specifically a joint venture developed by SWIFT SCRL and several major Indian and international banks. The new partnership will also integrate MonetaGo’s financial services network technology through standardized SWIFT financial messages.
Spin-off Project RIF Labs Acquires Bitcoin-based Smart Contract Protocol Rootstock
Bitcoin-based smart contract protocol Rootstock (RSK) announced this week that it would be integrating with spin-off project RIF OS in order to expand on the scope of its operations. According to the terms of the, RSK Labs will be acquired by RIF Labs, the structure behind off-chain infrastructure RIF OS. The two entities jointly plan to enable the RSK to go beyond Bitcoin and Ethereum network support and include various P2P functions.
Siemens Joins Blockchain-Based Energy Platform for Interoperability Development
Two energy divisions of German tech giant Siemens have joined blockchain-driven energy platform Energy Web Foundation (EWF) to promote the use of decentralized technologies in the sector. Siemens announced that its Energy Management and Power Generation Services departments partnering with EWF in order to elaborate regulatory, operational, and market solutions for the energy sector.
Columbia University and IBM Launch Two Accelerator Programs for Blockchain Enterprises
America’s Columbia University and IBM said this week that they would be launching two blockchain accelerator programs with the goal of helping startups in the space innovate at scale. Both programs will be a part of the Columbia-IBM Center for Blockchain and Data Transparency, which had been established as a joint innovation center by the two entities this summer. Each blockchain-focused program will support ten startups, allowing them access to a network of business mentors, technical support, Columbia’s student talent and “research community,” design assistance, and IBM cloud technology resources.
Singapore’s State Investment Firm Backed R3 as Part of Blockchain and AI-Focused Strategy
Singapore’s state investment firm Temasek Holdings Pte, with its Asia-focused portfolio reportedly worth around $235 billion as of spring 2018, has invested in enterprise blockchain software firm and global banking consortium R3. Bloomberg has learnt from an internal memo that Temasek was one of the over forty institutions that invested in R3 along $107 million Series A fundraising round last May, but the exact sum of Singaporean firm’s company is undisclosed. Moreover, Temasek has reportedly participated in a $600 million series C funding round in April for Chinese AI startup SenseTime.
Japanese Banking Giant, ETH Foundation, and Others Donate $800K for Blockchain Course at University of Tokyo
The University of Tokyo will launch a blockchain course following a donation of nearly $800,000 from several companies, including Japanese banking giant Sumitomo Mitsui (SMBC) and the Ethereum Foundation. The banking group does not disclose the details of 90 million yen donation, nor did it reveal the main contributor. However, it is known that the funding has been shared with more companies, such as Good Luck 3, JSS, Zipper, Hotto link, and Money Forward.
Winners and Losers
This week the crypto markets continued to fall, seeing a most significant drop off throughout 2018, with the total market cap around $123 billion, Bitcoin trading around $3,800, Ripple at $0.34, and Ethereum at $110 by press time.
The top three altcoin gainers of the week are EmaratCoin, SalPay and Block-chain.Com. The top three altcoin losers of the week are Delizia, dietbitcoin and Smart Application Chain.
For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.
FUD of the Week
Young American Alleged SIM Swapper Arrested for Theft of $1 Million in Crypto
Authorities in the U.S. state of California have placed a 21-year old New Yorker under arrest for the alleged theft of $1 million in crypto using the “SIM-swapping” crypto stealing technique. SIM-swapping, also referred to as a “port-out scam,” works through the theft of a cell phone number in order to hack online financial and social media accounts through the victims phone. The arrested suspect, Nicholas Truglia, has been accused of targeting wealthy Silicon Valley executives.
Trezor Releases Warning After Fake “One-for-One” Copies of Their Hardware Found
Crypto hardware wallet manufacturer Trezor has issued a warning to customers after it made the discovery that rogue actors were creating and selling fake versions of their wallet online. In the online post, Trezor notes that an “unknown” third party was distributing “one-to-one copies” of its flagship Trezor One device. The post specified that the rogue hardware wallet have subtle differences in their packaging, like the hologram and barcode sticker.
Chainalysis Report: Bitcoin Use in Payments Has Collapsed This Year
A recent report by Chainalysis shows that Bitcoin use in commercial payments has been reduced significantly this year. The study involved surveying 17 Bitcoin payment processors, finding that the amount of BTC handled by major payment processors reportedly dropped by almost 80 percent from the beginning of the year to September. Fo example, at Canadian firm Coinpayments, the value of transactions has fallen by more than half between January and October 2018. However, Fundstrat’s Tom Lee also said this week that the amount of transactions with Bitcoin is three times more than those with PayPal.
Alleged Bitcoin Launderer Vinnik Announces Hunger Strike to ‘Get a Fair Trial’
Alleged former operator of seized crypto exchange BTC-e, Alexander Vinnik, will reportedly start a hunger strike on Monday, Nov. 26. According to his attorney, the reason given for the hunger strike is that Vinnik was stripped of the right for defense in France and, consequently, in Greece. The hearing on his extradition to France has been consequently postponed and is now scheduled at Nov. 29.
Battle for Bitcoin Cash Name Ends as BCH SV Backer Calls for ‘Permanent Split’
Billionaire entrepreneur and Bitcoin Cash SV (BCH SV) supporter Calvin Ayre stated that the coin “no longer want[s] the name Bitcoin Cash [BCH].” He further claimed that Bitcoin Cash SV is the original Bitcoin Cash and called on Bitcoin Cash ABC – the Roger Ver-backed coin created in BCH’s recent hard fork – to “permanently split” the two chains for a “win-win solution.”
Prediction of the Week
Wall Street Bull Tom Lee Upholds BTC End-of-Year Prediction to $15,000
Fundstrat’s Tom Lee has come out and said that he will maintain his end-of-year Bitcoin (BTC) price prediction of $15,000, even among the market crash. Although Lee has recently reduced his prediction from $25,000 to $15,000, he noted this week that he remains bullish due to the fact that institutional investors will soon enter the market, like with the operator of the NYSE’s Bakkt’s upcoming launch.
Best Cointelegraph Features
As the crypto markets keep collapsing, Cointelegraph tries to find out how the crisis influences the mining industry, whose revenues also significantly declined throughout 2018.
Cointelegraph analyses the case of a 39-year old entrepreneur, Maksim Zaslavskiy, who pleaded guilty to committing securities fraud. The landmark process, currently forged in a federal court in the New York borough of Brooklyn, will likely shape the body of U.S. case law on fraudulent initial coin offerings (ICOs) as a first precedent.
Analysts unveil the main reasons behind the recent crypto markets drop off, mentioning the recent Bitcoin Cash contentious fork, combined with regulatory uncertainty regarding ICOs. Nonetheless, Bitcoin won’t necessarily drop to $3,000, and the true hodlers are likely to stay in the market, the experts say.
A feature on recent Bitcoin Cash hard fork, resulting in serious confrontation between the two blockchains BCH ABC and BCH SV. Cointelegraph explains what has happened during the network update.
The article was written in collaboration with Cointelegraph author Ana Berman.