Sunday Digest: Bitcoin Price Misery and Libra Losing Support

Sunday Digest: Bitcoin Price Misery and Facebook's Libra Fiasco
The White House doctor has proclaimed President Trump to be clear of the virus, after a meeting with Brazilian officials who later tested positive last week. Of course, this is the same doctor who allegedly called Trump the healthiest man he has ever assessed, shortly after he came to office. Still, time to buy discounted bitcoin before the apocalypse… just sayin’. Bitcoin Price: Buy Now At 50% Discount If we thought the past week started with a bitcoin price crash, we were still completely oblivious of what was to come. Monday morning saw oil prices crash 30%, as Russia ignored calls from Saudi Arabia to limit production in the wake of coronavirus. Bitcoin also saw losses of about $500, but nobody was too concerned, due to its assumed nature as a safe haven asset. In fact, Google searches for ‘Buy the Dip‘ went parabolic. The drop was readily attributable to a few whales dumping on BitMEX, which as we all know by now, can also have a knock-on effect as leveraged positions get liquidated. Were the whales just shaking out weak hands before buying back in at a lower price? With prices stabilizing at around $8k, nerves were calmed. The popular stock-to-flow model which predicts a $55k BTC after the halving was apparently still on track, and despite coronavirus threatening to close Wall Street, Bitcoin seemed resilient. Tether printers were pumping out USDT, a US Federal Reserve rate cut boosted crypto-lending demand, and an ‘insanely accurate’ pricing model placed a current bottom at $7577. Surely a rally was inbound? Well… no. It seemed that the fresh Tether was being HODLed by traders fearful of further losses. BitMEX boss, Arthur Hayes, predicted bitcoin would not drop as low as $3k, but that $6k-7k was where the maximum pain lay… shortly before bitcoin crashed to under $6k on BitMEX. One can only imagine how much the exchange made on liquidating those who had taken heed of Hayes’ previous suggestion. But still, analysts were finding silver linings in the crash and suggesting a similar pattern historically before the last halving. However, the pain was still not over. Bitcoin continued to crash, pushing below $4k and into the $3000 territory that BitMEX boss Hayes had previously predicted wouldn’t happen. During the rout, BitMEX had ‘hardware issues’ and went offline, which some thought was rather convenient, with many asking why the insurance fund wasn’t used to stop the negative feedback loop from liquidations. While BitMEX lost a lot of user trust, exchange Deribit, which also went offline during the crash, topped up its own rekt insurance fund with 500 BTC from its own coffers, much to the appreciation of its users. The effect of coronavirus panic on global markets (including crypto) was finally being understood and confidence was shaken. Investors thought BTC could fall as low as $3200, but of course, by that point, of course, the price had stabilized again in the low to mid-$5000s. Fears of another dump on Saturday as a whale moved $10 million worth of BTC to Bitstamp have turned out to be unfounded (for now), and all eyes are on whether BTC can hold its current position. On the plus side, you can now buy BTC at a 50% discount on last week’s price. Ethereum Also Suffering Bitcoin certainly wasn’t alone in its week of pain, with the whole cryptocurrency market suffering a similar fate. Ethereum dipped briefly back below $200 on Monday… only to crash back below that level on Wednesday amidst network congestion that saw transactions take up to 45 minutes to be processed. The FTX exchange was obviously vying with Deribit for the crypto-integrity award, as it paid users gas-fees during the congestion out of its own pocket. Then Thursday saw ETH’s worst trading day on record, and the rot continued into Friday, with price currently holding at just over $120. Bitcoin and Crypto News In Brief After a challenge from an activist investor, it was confirmed that Jack Dorsey would retain his position as CEO of Twitter. Dorsey is one of the most vocal mainstream champions of Bitcoin, so his removal would have been unfortunate for the number one cryptocurrency. The Indian cryptocurrency party following the Supreme Court’s overturning of the banking ban was put on hold, as The Economic Times of India called for the ban to be reinstated by lawmakers. The Australian Taxation Office reportedly contacted 350,000 cryptocurrency users, reminding them to self-report crypto-gains under threat of an audit. Kraken added a number of fiat foreign exchange pairs to its cryptocurrency offering, in a move that some thought others in the crypto-space would follow. A Florida judge gave short shrift to Craig Wright’s ever more spurious claims of attorney-client and spousal privilege and ordered him to produce the requested information within 3 days. And Finally… Many of the Libra Association’s founder members have now put their support behind a rival project, Celo Dollar. The project’s stated aims are similar to the more benevolent aims that Facebook claimed (banking the unbanked, etc), without the profiteering of an untrustworthy social media behemoth behind it. Not that anybody is secretly happy that Facebook has had such a hard time cracking the cryptocurrency market it so confidently announced its entry into last year, oh no siree! What do you make of this week’s news roundup? Add your thoughts below! Image via Bitcoinist Media Library

Major Bitcoin Influencer ‘Can No Longer Recommend’ Trading On BitMEX

Major Bitcoin Influencer 'Can No Longer Recommend' Trading On BitMEX
Following the recent major bitcoin and cryptocurrency market crash, popular influencer WhalePanda tweeted that he could “no longer recommend” trading on BitMEX, following criticism of the platform’s handling of the situation. While prices plummeted, BitMEX, ‘very conveniently’ according to WhalePanda, went offline twice during peak trading, citing firstly a ‘hardware issue’ followed by a DDOS attack. The Smoking Gun Some traders and analysts suggested that there was no hardware issue, an idea which was swiftly rebutted by BitMEX. However, with the BitMEX insurance fund actually getting bigger during the crash, many questioned why it wasn’t used to prevent the rolling liquidations and stem the losses. Perhaps because there was a more profitable solution, according to some theories. Disclaimer: this is one opinion being shared on crypto-Twitter, and is being reported for interest reasons only. A tweet-thread by trader Lowstrife gives more details. Circuit Breaker? Lowstrife believes that BitMEX became completely disconnected from the rest of the market, after suffering a ‘slow’ cascading margin call. As leveraged traders were getting rekt, the liquidation engine continued the dump. With an order book hopelessly overwhelmed by the volume in the liquidation engine, Lowstrife suggests that BitMEX killed the market as a circuit breaker for the negative feedback loop. If this is the case, he believes it was the right decision. While BitMEX suffered from its ‘hardware issue’ the market bounced back almost 40% in under half an hour.  Profit Time If you thought that was the contentious bit, you were wrong. Lowstrife suggests that in the aftermath, BitMEX took over manual control of its liquidation engine. Having been previously flooding the market, it became reluctant to sell until the market had risen 1000 points. At which point it started to profit. Note that there is no suggestion that BitMEX deliberately crashed the market, simply that its liquidation engine exacerbated the crash, and then manual control was taken to profit from it. Not The First Time for BitMEX The risk of highly leveraged trades on platforms like BitMEX is that a crash can create a wave of liquidations causing a sell-off, further crash and into a feedback loop. Bitcoin has previously spiked $300 in under a minute, attributed by many to the fact that BitMEX had gone offline for maintenance. BitMEX has also faced regular accusations of market manipulation, due to which it becomes the major entity that benefits when Bitcoin does crash. And why did the insurance fund not kick in to save the market? The relatively few drawdowns from such a large fund are also a source of criticism, although a recent investigation suggested it was functioning as intended. In contrast, Deribit also went down during the crash and saw its insurance fund decimated. However, rather than inflict socialized losses on its users, the exchange topped up the insurance fund with 500 BTC from its own coffers. It’s unlikely we will see a move of such integrity from BitMEX any time soon. Do you think BitMEX is behind the latest Bitcoin crash? Share your thoughts in the comments below.  

Did Somebody Turn Off the Bitcoin Cash Transaction Generator?

Did Somebody Turn Off the Bitcoin Cash Transaction Generator?
With everybody busy bulk buying toilet paper and bemoaning the decreasing value of their portfolio, nobody seems to have noticed the crash in Bitcoin Cash transaction numbers. Until this morning that is, when Jameson Lopp pointed it out in a tweet. Halving Comes Early Joking that “The bcash (transaction) halving came early,” and “someone turned off their transaction generator,” Lopp highlighted the extreme drop off in transactions since March 8. Prior to this date, the number of daily bitcoin cash transactions was generally in the 40-50k range or thereabouts. However, since then not a single day has seen more than 20k transactions. There have been individual low days in the past, the most recent being January 1 this year, which might be expected the day after New Year’s Eve. However this is the first time such a dip has lasted for more than a day. Interestingly, the two low days before January 1 also fell on the first of the month. Both December 1 and October 1 saw under 20k transactions, although November 1 was a fairly typical day, with a healthy 42.7k. No Drop Off For Bitcoin And Ether It is possible that the drop off is related to the drop in markets and panic over coronavirus, although bitcoin and ether have not suffered the same fate. Over the same period, the number of bitcoin transactions has remained steady, within volatility realms, in a range of between 300k and 350k per day. If anything, the number of daily ETH transactions has gone up since March 7, when the network saw 630k transactions, to 760k transactions yesterday. As Bitcoinist reported, at the height of network congestion yesterday, transactions on the Ethereum network were taking up to 44 minutes to be processed. Bitcoin Cash In 2020 Bitcoin Cash has had a rather tumultuous start to the year. While the community was split over plans to implement a tax on miners in order to support developers and ensure the health of the network, the network itself stopped producing blocks for five and a half hours in January. Things were going a little more promisingly for price, which gained 150% from the start of the year to hit almost $500 in mid-February. However the latest markets crash across the entire cryptocurrency (and non-crypto) sector, has wiped out all gains this year, with price currently languishing at under $170. Why do you think Bitcoin Cash transactions have dropped off all of a sudden? Add your thoughts below! Images via Shutterstock

Rhode Island Introduces ‘Economic Growth Blockchain Act’

Rhode Island Introduces 'Economic Growth Blockchain Act'
The state of Rhode Island introduced a bill, March 11, to establish an ‘economic growth blockchain act’. The aim of the bill is to create a blockchain-friendly business environment to encourage innovators to develop the next generation of digital products and services in the state. Blockchain: It’s The Future, Apparently To adhere to Rhode Island’s (and one would imagine most places) policy to promote a vigorous and growing economy and encourage job creation, two Republican lawmakers have come up with a plan. And that plan revolves around blockchain. The state of Rhode Island understands that to compete in the twenty-first century economy, Rhode Island must offer one of the best business environments in the United States for blockchain and technology innovators, and should offer a comprehensive regulatory technology sandbox for these innovators to develop the next generation of digital products and services in Rhode Island. The state intends to achieve this by building a robust public-private partnership, which will develop “an immutable interagency-industry-operability blockchain filing system.” Blockchain Banking Solution The bill also addresses the fact that existing legal frameworks are inadequate, having being put in place before blockchain technology existed. This has lead to many in the distributed ledger technology space, both in Rhode Island and across the US being denied banking services. To counter this, the bill suggests the creation of “A new type of Rhode Island financial payments and depository institution that has expertise with customer identification, anti-money laundering and beneficial ownership requirements.” Such an institution would be able to hold both traditional and digital assets as a custodian. To further its aims, the state has established a 13-person blockchain technology advisory council. Everything Is Better With A Bag Of Weed Another item proposed by the bill is a blockchain-based track and trace platform for regulated products, specifically hemp and its derivatives. This is intended to be a universal system, tracking product, payments and taxation accountability, to promote trust and protect public safety and health. Rhode Island is not the first state to propose blockchain-friendly regulation to encourage investment, with Wyoming notably enacting four such bills just over a year ago. However, with little movement currently at a federal level, it seems that forward-thinking state legislatures must stake their own path into the blockchain future. You never know, eventually the nations lawmakers might catch up. What do you make of the Rhode Island’s new blockchain-focused bill? Add your thoughts on it below! Images via Shutterstock

Chase Bank to Settle Crypto Lawsuit By May 2020

Chase Bank to Settle Crypto Lawsuit By May 2020
According to reports, Chase Bank has agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit, regarding crypto purchases made on its credit cards. The details of the settlement were not disclosed, but the parties expected to present a finalised settlement agreement within 60-75 days. Crypto Is Cash When It Suits The Banks The three plaintiffs claimed that the bank had breached its cardholder agreement, by changing the way that crypto purchases were handled in January 2018. While initially being classed as standard purchases, the bank switched to classifying such transactions as cash advances. According to the lawsuit, this was done without notice, meaning that the plaintiffs were hit with unexpected cash advance fees and higher interest rates before they realised the change had occurred. Shortly after this, Chase completely banned crypto purchases on all its credit cards. “Cash-Like” Transactions Chase had previously argued that it had not breached the cardholder agreement, suggesting that cryptocurrency purchases fell under the banner of ‘cash-like’ transactions. However, the judge ruled last August that within the context of the cardholder agreement, ‘cash-like’ referred solely to financial instruments with a specific fiat value. Chase has claimed that the sudden change was down to the Coinbase crypto exchange changing the merchant category code from ‘purchases’ to ‘cash advances’. In February 2018, both Visa and Mastercard began reclassifying crypto purchases as cash advances in order to capitalise on higher fees. However Chase had already blocked such purchases entirely by this point. Long Time Coming As Bitcoinist reported, the case was initially brought by a single plaintiff, back in April 2018. However, after Chase moved to have the case dismissed in July 2018, an amended class-action complaint was filed, including more claims and two additional plaintiffs. The initial case sought return of all related fees and charges, along with $1 million in damages. Obviously it comes as no surprise that big banks, with their deep pockets and legal teams, will try to wriggle out of any liability, for as long as possible in an attempt to exhaust complainants’ energy and funds. It has taken until now to reach an agreement in principle, despite the judge dismissing the contention that crypto purchases were ‘cash-like’ back in August last year. The sooner Decentralized Finance (DeFi) comes of age and we no longer have to deal with banks, the better! Are you surprised that the Chase bank lawsuit has taken this long? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below! Images via Shutterstock

BitMEX CEO Arthur Hayes Makes New Bitcoin Prediction

Bitmex bitcoin
BitMEX CEO and co-Founder, Arthur Hayes, just announced his latest Bitcoin prediction. Billed as “A look into my trader brain during this time of intense market volatility,” his latest trader digest gives his view on current global markets, and of course, Bitcoin. Bitcoin Gotta Go Down To Go Up? Considering the global pandemic concerns and return of macroeconomic volatility, Hayes notes that even at current levels, Bitcoin has outperformed most indexes in 2020. However, he believes that Bitcoin will be dragged down with global markets, although not as far as some commentators. While I don’t believe we will revisit $3,000, max pain probably resides somewhere between $6,000 to $7,000 Bitcoin. He explains that crypto hedge funds with quarterly liquidity or less will be “dumping coins into a falling market,” which “will push the price lower on the margin.” Central Banks To Lower Rates And Print Money However, at some point he expects central banks to “cut rates to zero and announce open ended quantitative easing.” He believes that this will see Bitcoin run back up through $10k and on to $20k by the end of the year. Although it may not happen immediately. When the futures basis goes flat or negative, that “will signal an evaporation of optimism,” and mark the point at which to strike. Hayes recommends firstly filling your bitcoin bags, and then stocking up on alt-coins. He even thinks that Ripple (which he recently called ‘dog-s**t’ and refers to in the report as ‘cRipple’) might pop. Would You Trust This Man? Of course, whether you trust market advice from a man who makes money when your trades get liquidated is another thing. He certainly has a vested interest in encouraging you to make leveraged trades on BitMEX, and then seeing your position wiped out. He also manages to make a bigger mistake in judgement call earlier on in the report: I say the Fed should “Relax”, in the words of Duran Duran Even if you trust a man who gains from your financial loss, surely you wouldn’t trust a guy who doesn’t know that “Relax” was by Frankie Goes To Hollywood, and not Duran Duran. Get your eighties music references correct if you want respect man! What do you make of Arthur Hayes latest bitcoin prediction? Add your thoughts below! Images via Shutterstock

Call Of Duty Launches Fortnite-Like Game With Virtual Currency

Call Of Duty Launches Fortnite-Like Game With Virtual Currency
Activision yesterday launched a free-to-play battle royale mode for its popular first person shooter, Call of Duty (CoD). Like many free-to-play games, it will feature its own virtual currency for buying upgrades, and generally creating revenue for the developer. Call Of Duty: Warzone Battle Royale games, in which players fight to the death in a shrinking play area to be last man standing, certainly seem to be the favour of the past few years. Games such as Fortnite and Apex Legends have dominated streaming channels, thanks to their large multiplayer battles and free-to-play nature. It was only a matter of time before more traditional publishers came on board, and with Call of Duty: Warzone, Activision are diving into the market head first. Up to 150 players in teams of three compete to stay alive in a landscape containing thousands of buildings and other elements. So where does the virtual currency come in? Virtual Currency Creates Gaming Revenue Stream Developing a game costs money, so the majority of free-to-play games implement some form of virtual currency which can be either earned in game or purchased for real money. In turn, this can be used to buy additional player skins, weapons, or other upgrades. However CoD: Warzone takes this integration to the next level, with its two modes: Battle Royale and Plunder. Completing missions or tasks in game earns you cash, with can be spent mid-game at ‘Buy Stations’. In Battle Royale mode, the Buy Station can be used to buy kill-streaks similar to those in regular CoD games, along with upgrades and respawn tokens to resurrect dead teammates. In Plunder games, the mission is to collect as much loot as possible, which can be deposited for safe keeping at the Buy Stations, although this will alert nearby enemies to your location. Getting killed will cause you to drop half of your cash, meaning that you can go back and get it if nobody takes it in the meantime. Gaming Loves Crypto Cryptocurrency and the gaming industry have long been considered to be a natural fit, although the best ways of exploiting this bond are only recently being realised. The US Internal Revenue Service got so concerned about people using in-game tokens that it even demanded that they be disclosed for tax calculation, although it has since gone back on this. However, criminals have found a way to use in-game tokens like Fortnite’s V-Bucks to launder money. But then, criminals would, wouldn’t they? What do you think of the new Call of Duty game? Add your thoughts below! Images via Activision Game Blog

Beware Australian Crypto Traders, ATO Audit Warnings Are Coming

Australia crypto
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is contacting up to 350,000 individuals to ‘remind’ them of their obligation to report crypto gains. At this stage the campaign is designed to “raise awareness and give people the opportunity to fix any mistakes. Data Matching Program Used to Identify Crypto Traders As Bitcoinist reported, the ATO launched a data matching program last year in order to identify Australian citizens who had invested in crypto. Under the program the ATO obtains data from crypto exchanges and other sources in order to match transactions to taxpayers. Using this information, it is now contacting these individuals in order to remind them of their obligation to report such transactions. Even those who sold crypto back during the 2017/2018 financial year are being targeted and asked to review their returns. Those who wish to ‘self-correct’ their returns are given a month to do so without penalty. However, failure to do this will lead to a formal audit process, and could mean additional charges and interest being added to any tax liability owed. Lack Of Awareness Cryptocurrency is classed as property in Australia, and hence any profits (or losses) made through buying and selling it are subject to capital gains tax. An ATO spokesman recommended keeping good records of any crypto trading to make it easier to declare in tax forms. It is assumed that many of those receiving communications will simply have ‘dabbled’ in crypto and not appreciated the tax implications. However, some will have assumed that their trades were untraceable by the ATO, and this communication is intended to remind them to do the right thing. Nanny State Australia’s targeting of crypto investors is a perfectly reasonable response. After all, why should they get away without paying capital gains on their assets, while those who invest in shares and other assets do not? However, recent reports suggest that Australian banks have been demanding invoices and detailed explanations of how money will be spent before allowing withdrawals. Perhaps the threat of audit is intended to dissuade those who do not wish to live in a nanny state, and wish to regain their own financial sovereignty through use of crypto? But surely it is better to pay tax on your profits, than have to beg the bank to give you your own money for a new tv. If only the tax authorities spend as much time and effort pursuing large corporations for tax as they do going after individuals. What do you make of the Australian Tax office targeting crypto users? Add your thoughts below! Images via Shutterstock

Craig Wright Forced to Produce Tulip Trust Documents By March 12

craig wright lawsuit plot thickens
The US judge presiding over the Craig S Wright vs Kleiman case has ordered Wright to produce a list of requested documents by March 12. The latest filing on March 9 relates to Wright’s refusal to give details of how he obtained the list of Bitcoin addresses purportedly holding Satoshi’s estimated 1.1 million BTC, claiming both attorney-client privilege and spousal privilege. “I Am Lawyer” Since that refusal back in February, Kleiman and Wright’s lawyers have been arguing back and forth over whether the privilege claims are invalid or not. So it is nice to finally have the judge step in and put an end to this nonsense. Bizarrely, to back up his claims of attorney-client privilege, Wright had produced an un-notarized sworn declaration from Denis Bosire Mayaka, a lawyer in Kenya, which read: I am lawyer and obtained my bachelor of law degree in 2007 from Moi University in Kenya… I have represented Dr. Craig Steven Wright since 2012 on, among others, investment matters. Specifically, I represent Dr. Wright and Wright International Investments Ltd in connection with the Tulip Trust documents, including the Tulip Trust dated July 7, 2017. He also produced a printed out LinkedIn profile to ‘confirm’ Mayaka’s qualification. Craig Wright Doesn’t Fool the Judge Unsurprisingly to everyone (and this must surely also include Wright), Judge Bruce Reinhart gave short shrift to Mayaka’s statement. First, as finder of fact, I disregard the Mayaka Declaration because it has not been adequately authenticated. Particularly given my prior finding that Dr. Wright has produced forged documents in this litigation, I decline to rely on this kind of document, which could easily have been generated by anyone with word processing software and a pen. Perhaps Craig Wright had been hoping the judge had forgotten that he had produced forged documents previously? Even if Mayaka did have an attorney-client relationship with Wright’s wife, Ramona Watts, which the judge did not establish, the information was intended to be provided to Kleiman. There was no intention for the information to remain confidential, and hence attorney-client privilege does not apply. For the same reason, the judge threw out Wright’s claim that spousal privilege applied when Ms Watts gave the information to him. Wright now has until March 12 to provide the information about how he obtained the list of Bitcoin addresses. What do you make of the latest Craig Wright lawsuit claims? Add your thoughts below! Images via Shutterstock

Jack Dorsey Stays as Twitter’s CEO, Good News For Bitcoin

jack dorsey bitcoin
Twitter has come to an agreement with activist investor Elliott Management, in which Jack Dorsey retains his position as CEO. This announcement represents a major victory for Bitcoin and the crypto community. Dorsey To Remain CEO Amid Board Room Shakeup Jesse Cohn, Elliott’s head of US activism, will immediately join Twitter’s board, along with Silver Lake co-Chief Executive, Egon Durban. A third independent director will be appointed later. The board, along with its new members, will also form a committee to evaluate a succession plan with Dorsey and make recommendations on corporate governance. One potential change in the sights of the new committee is the removal of its staggered board, and it plans to share its findings by year end. Equity firm Silver Lake will also invest $1 billion into the social media company under the terms of the agreement. Twitter plans to use this money to fund its first ever share buyback, set at $2 billion. Dorsey: Overburdened or Coping Well? As Bitcoinist reported last week, Elliott Management took a sizeable stake in Twitter, and put forward four nominees for the board of directors in a push for change, including potentially replacing Jack Dorsey as CEO. Elliott founder, Paul Singer, was reportedly concerned about Dorsey dividing his attention between his roles as CEO of two publicly listed companies, Twitter and Square, along with his plans to spend up to six months a year in Africa, which he has since said he will reevaluate. As part of today’s deal, Elliott Management and Silver Lake have signed a standstill agreement, ceasing any further push for Dorsey’s removal. Patrick Pichette, lead independent director of Twitter’s board said that the temporary board committee will be created to build on the board’s usual ongoing assessment of its management structure, although he is “confident we are on the right path with Jack’s leadership.” As a board, we regularly review and evaluate how Twitter is run, and while our CEO structure is unique, so is Jack and so is this company. Dorsey Is Good For Bitcoin Jack Dorsey has been a great advocate of Bitcoin and one of its most visible champions. Through its implementation in Square’s Cash app, he has created one of the simplest ways to buy and hold Bitcoin. Twitter also funds a team of developers who are working purely on advancing the Bitcoin ecosystem. If Dorsey were to be removed as CEO of Twitter, the ramifications may lead to a slower or reduced adoption of Bitcoin. Are you glad that Jack Dorsey is staying on as Twitter’s CEO? Add your thoughts below! Images via Shutterstock

Ethereum Dips Briefly Below $200, Will Bulls Push Back?

Ethereum Dips Briefly Below $200, Will Bulls Push Back?
Ethereum price continued to fall this morning after a weekend slide saw all of last week’s gains wiped out. The number two cryptocurrency even briefly dipped below $200, before recovering to around $205 at time of writing. Latest Losses Crush Year-to-Date Progress It could be said that Ethereum and its ETH token had been having somewhat stellar year. After starting the year at a lowly $130, Ether more than doubled in value to reach over $280 by mid-February. In the process, it outperformed bitcoin, which was itself enjoying notable gains in early-2020. ETH hasn’t been immune to market-wide crashes, however. It couldn’t escape the bearish sentiment as BTC fell back below $9k during the last week of February, shedding $50 as it dropped to $220. And despite coming into the weekend outperforming the market, it was dragged down along with the majority of the crypto-space as markets crashed on Sunday. The biggest question now is whether the bulls have regained control of the market, or whether the shockwaves from the oil price crash and subsequent stock market losses will continue to impact cryptocurrency. Ethereum Still Waiting For ETH2.0 Ethereum has gained its fair share of headlines this year, as a maintained rollout of technical and other improvements has given renewed optimism for the launch of ETH2.0. ETH2.0 will be a major upgrade to the network, adding several new features and transitioning to a Proof of Stake (PoS) consensus. The Ethereum network is also receiving a lot of attention due to its importance for the burgeoning Decentralized Finance (DeFi) industry. Despite some publicised hiccups, such as when somebody exploited a flaw in a flash loans protocol, many believe that DeFi is the killer application that Ethereum has been crying out for. The community was also divided over the recent approval of a mining algorithm change to programmatic Proof of Work (ProgPoW). The change was intended to reduce the advantage of ASIC mining rigs, favouring those using GPUs and leading to further decentralization. However, it’s rapid approval by core developers ironically led to calls of centralised control from some sections of the community. Do you think Ethereum can recover from today’s extended bear market? Add your thoughts below! Images via Shutterstock

Sunday Digest: Bitcoin, Steem and CoronaCoin

sunday bitcoin news
A walkout at a US publishing house has led to the mass pulping of film director Woody Allen’s upcoming memoir. The walkout followed 11protests from Allen’s son, Ronan Farrow, who is published by the same company. Should’ve taken that advance in Bitcoin, Woody. Bitcoin Price Following last week’s price crash, Bitcoin seemed to have found a bottom as this week began. Prices even rallied back to as high as $8900 on Monday, reflecting the optimism of the markets. One person who was certainly feeling optimistic was analyst PlanB, who revisited his Stock to Flow model and declared everything right on track, with prices still set for massive gains after the halving. By Tuesday we were hoping for prices to continue upwards through $9000, although it wasn’t to be… at least, not on Tuesday. However on Thursday, Bitcoin price did break upwards of $9k, as markets flashed green again. It managed to hold at $9,100 all the way through till Saturday, although price has fallen back again to around $8750 this morning, possibly on the back of some of the scammed PlusToken BTC being on the move again. Of course, BTC price would be an altogether different beast if cryptocurrency achieves mass adoption. If 80% of the worlds population were using cryptocurrency rather than the current estimate of around 50 million. So can we get from 50 million users to 5 billion? Coinbase CEO, Brian Armstrong believes so, but won’t say when. News In Brief It looks like the winner in the race to launch the first central bank digital currency (CBDC) is going to be The Bahamas. This week, the island nation rolled out the second phase of its ‘Sand Dollar’ pilot project, to its fourth largest island chain. It intends to roll out the digital currency across all of its islands by the second half of 2020. Warren Buffett lost $28 billion on his investments in just one week. Perhaps he shouldn’t have been so quick to give away that Bitcoin. If anyone still cares about the Craig Wright vs Kleiman case, this week we learned that the documents provided by the ‘mysterious’ bonded courier are possibly forged. At this point, why wouldn’t they be? Also Kleiman’s legal team has so far been unsuccessful in finding former nChain CEO, Jimmy Nguyen, for a deposition. India’s Supreme Court has quashed the Reserve Bank of India’s 2018 ban on banks dealing with cryptocurrency businesses. Indian cryptocurrency exchanges responded by reinstating deposits and withdrawals in Rupees (INR) less than 24 hours later. Binance had some problems again this week, with trading temporarily suspended due to a ‘message broker issue’. Binance CEO, CZ, must have been in a bad mood, because when rival exchange, OKEx’s CEO, Jay Hao, offered to help, he blocked him on Twitter. Facebook has amended its plans for the Libra cryptocurrency in the face of regulatory scrutiny around the globe. Apparently, the social media giant’s latest idea is to launch a series of digital currencies which strictly represent fiat currencies. Tron supremo, Justin Sun, supposedly performed a hostile takeover of the Steem platform, allegedly convincing Binance and Huobi to use voting rights of Steem tokens held on their exchanges to support the move. Needless to say, the Steem community were not impressed. And Finally… Well it was only a matter of time. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present… CoronaCoin. A cryptocurrency that allows users to make money based on predictions of confirmed infections and deaths. I hope you’re happy now. What do you make of this week’s news roundup? Add your thoughts below! Images via Shutterstock

Sunday Digest: Bitcoin Price Crash and Other News

Sunday Digest: Bitcoin Price Crash and Other News
It’s been hard to avoid the coronavirus this week, at least in the news, as the US confirmed its first death this morning. If it turns into an all-out pandemic, you’ll be glad that you sealed yourself away and stocked up on bitcoin… you did do that, right? Bitcoin Price What can be said? Not a great week for bitcoin price at the risk of stating the obvious. So how did it play out? After gains last weekend, Monday trading saw these wiped out after $10k was rejected again. Analysts predicted a pullback, and price continued to fall on Tuesday, breaking $9.5k, with some expecting a drop to as low as $8,300. Kraken’s Director of Business Development, Dan Held, remained bullish, however, believing that bitcoin could be on the edge of a super-cycle that would quickly take it to $100k and beyond. Meanwhile, a cash crunch in Lebanon propelled bitcoin price to an inflated $15k between local peer to peer sellers. However, on global markets losses continued into Wednesday, breaking $9k support, and also dragging down most altcoins, and threatening to wipe out the year’s gains so far. Stock to Flow proponent, PlanB, predicted that bitcoin would not fall below $8,200 during this crash, and we all hoped he was right, although prices didn’t seem to stop falling during early trading on Thursday. Thankfully bitcoin did then find some support at $8,600, bouncing up as high as $8,900, before tailing off again on Friday. This time solid support was found at $8.5k, and the price has been trading in a range between this level and $8,800 ever since. However, at a macro level, there are concerns that bitcoin is still in a bear market. Certainly, the bulls must defend key levels to stem the recent flow. CBDC Round-Up The Bank of England’s chief cashier voiced her support for a Central Bank Digital Currency this week, saying that governments must act fast to avoid losing out to tech giants such as Facebook’s Libra. Meanwhile, China’s proposed CBDC faced delays due to the coronavirus outbreak, although officials were still aiming to launch a pilot in 2020. Although Canada has decided that it doesn’t need a CBDC at the moment, it has put in place a blueprint for one, just in case. Week’s Bitcoin and Crypto News In Brief YouTube continued its assault on channels related to cryptocurrency, this week suspending ‘Ivan on Tech’ until after the May halving event. Craig Wright faces more questions about the purported Tulip Trust and Bonded Courier, as the estate of Dave Kleiman wants to expose what it says are just more lies. Meanwhile, Binance CEO, CZ, called Wright a ‘fraud’ in no uncertain terms earlier in the week. Amid major losses for Ethereum this week, the community also came to blows over the approval of a controversial change to its mining algorithm. The Programmatic Proof of Work (ProgPoW) algorithm is supposed to reduce the advantage of ASIC hardware but caused a big discussion online as to its implications. Exchanges OKEx and Bitfinex were both hit by DDoS attacks this week, with OKEx CEO Jay Hao offering a bounty for information on the attackers. Bitfinex claims that it has repaid $100 million of the $700 million it borrowed from Tether last year. And Paolo Ardoino, CTO of Bitfinex & Tether, will be speaking at the Digital Asset Summit next month, marking the first time that a Bitfinex/Tether exec has spoken at an industry event. The SEC denied Wilshere-Phoenix’s application for a Bitcoin ETF, which was disappointing, but not entirely unexpected given its track record. And Finally… Warren Buffett appeared on CNBC this week, telling the world once again that he will never own cryptocurrency. This caused Justin Sun, who Buffett said was very polite at their recent charity lunch date, to call foul play. After all, the joy of blockchain meant that he could show the bitcoin and Tron he gifted Buffett at the dinner had not been moved. To which, Buffett responded that he had given the phone away on which Sun had loaded the wallets to his favored Glide charity. Surely it’s time to stop trying to teach the old dog new tricks already. What was your favorite bitcoin or crypto story of this week? Let us know in the comments below! Image via Shutterstock

4 Things Holding Back XRP Price Right Now

4 Things Holding Back Ripple's XRP Price Right Now
Ripple’s XRP token had been performing very well in 2020, reaching as high as $0.34 in mid-February, before pulling back to just under $0.30. Unfortunately, it wasn’t immune to the losses which have hit virtually the entire crypto-space this week. So what could be holding it back from recovering now? Ripple Case Not Dismissed A federal judge in California yesterday ruled that the class action lawsuit being pursued against Ripple could not be dismissed. A group of investors are suing the company, claiming that they lost money selling XRP after being ‘tricked’ by Ripple’s promotional statements. The judge did dismiss certain claims, but Ripple had requested that the case be thrown out entirely, due to it being filed over five years after XRP was first offered in 2013. The investors will now get a chance to take Ripple to court for selling unregistered securities. Ripple themselves said that this “would upend and threaten to destroy the established XRP market more broadly.” XRP Securities Status Still Unknown Speaking of unregistered securities, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has still not made a decision as to whether it classes XRP as a security. Should it eventually take the position that the Ripple asset is not a security, then this should also negate the class action lawsuit. The SEC has certainly been taking its time with the decision. Back in June 2018, it classed Bitcoin and Ether as currencies and not securities, but was undecided on XRP. At the time, some believed that a ruling by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) in 2015 allowing Ripple to continue selling XRP tokens, meant that the SEC could not then classify them as securities. However, 20 months later and the SEC has thus far failed to come to the same conclusion. IPO Concerns Back in January, Ripple CEO, Brad Garlinghouse, hinted that the company was very likely to go public sometime in the next 12 months, selling shares in an initial public offering (IPO). Some felt that a move such as this was tantamount to pulling out the rug from under XRP investors and would essentially make the tokens obsolete. If an IPO is going to happen, Ripple needs to convince investors of its commitment to XRP tokens, and the value of them going forward. Lack Of XRP Endorsement We’re serious. While many other cryptocurrencies have their big name fans, XRP and Ripple are more likely to find themselves at the sharp end of a put down. As Bitcoinist reported this week, Anthony Pompliano said in no uncertain terms that he would never buy XRP in a televised interview. BitMEX CEO Arthur Hayes famously called XRP “dogs**t” earlier this month, as his company announced it as a trading pair for perpetual swaps. And Tone Vays didn’t hold back, when he told Bitcoinist what he hates most about XRP. Even retired UFC fighter Ben Askren felt the need to get in on the act, saying that he thought XRP was ‘a scam’. Maybe a big name endorsement would help XRP to get moving upwards again? What do you think are the main things holding XRP price back right now? Let us know in the comments below! Images via Shutterstock

Craig Wright “Is A Fraud”: Binance CEO Doesn’t Hold Back

Craig Wright "Is A Fraud": Binance CEO Doesn't Hold Back
On a slow news day, what better than a tweet from Binance CEO Changpeng Zhou (CZ) to liven things up?… A tweet from CZ beginning with the immortal phrase, “[Craig Wright] is a fraud,” that’s what! CZ Is A Thoroughly Modern CEO As the CEO of one of the world’s leading cryptocurrency exchanges, CZ has taken a hands-on approach. Virtually all of the news coming out of Binance is delivered through him. He is unafraid of promoting new products and developments, without ever stooping to the level of Justin Sun. He accepts that sometimes mistakes are made, and is generally the first to apologise. He is, in short, a thoroughly modern CEO for a thoroughly modern industry. And, as we have seen from that other thoroughly modern CEO, Elon Musk, that sometimes means a bit of name calling. CZ has clashed with self-proclaimed Bitcoin creator-in-chief, Craig S Wright before. Most notably when the world’s favourite Faketoshi was first threatening to sue Hodlonaut and others in the crypto-community for having the audacity to suggest that he might not actually have invented Bitcoin. CZ delisted Wright’s token, BSV, over the matter, and added an unequivocal “Craig Wright is not Satoshi,” just for good measure. Craig Wright “Is A Fraud” The spat appeared to have died down, with Wright seemingly unwilling to add a foe with the resources of CZ to his list of people to sue. Then this morning, without warning, came a stark warning about the BSV head honcho, in almost Haiku form. CSW is a fraud. Investing in a fraud never ends well. See below. Time will tell. CZ illustrated how strongly he felt about his post by linking to another post he made a week ago, regarding the FCoin scam. “I rarely called anyone out, with exceptions,” he begins, before indicating that one of these exceptions was FCoin, which he called a pyramid scheme in mid 2018. Obviously another of these few notable exceptions is Craig Wright. Poking The Hornets Nest Cue a torrent of BSV fans, either shilling the token… BSV up 192%, best performing coin, all the patents, scales more than anything else plus we got satoshi nakamoto on BitcoinSV …or criticising Binance as a tool for organised crime. So in your books, money laundering operations like Binance are legit and those restoring Bitcoin to the original protocol and making it scale are scams? Sounds about right. Among the white noise, there were a couple of amusing retorts. One simply asking, “But you happily partner with Justin Sun?”, and the other referring to the recent claim by Maltese officials that Binance was not authorised to operate in the country. Well. At least we know exactly where his offices are located. Touché. What do you make of the Binance CEO’s latest outburst? Add your thoughts below! Images via Shutterstock

Sunday Digest: Bitcoin Price, DeFi, And Keiser’s Back

sunday bitcoin digest
The boxing world saw Tyson Fury regain his world heavyweight title from Deontay Wilder last night, in a convincing win for the Brit. But how did bitcoin and other cryptos perform this week? Bitcoin Price: Down, Up, Down, Up This week started badly for bitcoin prices. Having just fallen back below $10k it continued to drop, not finding solid support until it got down to $9500. Crypto Twitter started to foretell a deeper correction to as low as $8200, but thankfully it was way off the mark this time. A golden cross formed on the daily chart for the 50-day and 200-day moving averages (MA), and the price seemed to respond, popping its head back up into five figures and hitting $10,100. Analysts were in disagreement as to which way BTC price would go next, up or down? We didn’t have to wait long to find out, as Bitcoin dumped hard, dropping $1000 in just a few hours, before finding support at $9500. A day or two later and BTC had stabilized, giving the bulls something to play for, although gains didn’t really materialize until this morning when bitcoin price crept back up to $9900. Flash Loans And DeFi Making Headlines Decentralized Finance (DeFi) dominated the news this week, firstly with renewed optimism for an ETH 2.0 launch following an Ethereum conference in Denver. Ether reacted well to the news, with price pushing up to a new yearly high. Then flash loans hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Someone exploited a loophole in bZx’s flash loan platform to net a profit of $350k. And then somebody did it again, apparently in a completely different way. So what exactly is a flash loan and what does it mean for DeFi and Ethereum? All this press coverage caused the MakerDAO community to go on the defensive as the whole DeFi ecosystem was on red alert. ETH price, meanwhile, continued to rise, topping out at $280, before being pulled down by the overall market flash crash. Even Bitcoinist thought that it would be wise not to ignore Ethereum. News In Brief Fancy opening your own cryptocurrency exchange, but don’t have the time/money/skills to do it from scratch? Well, maybe Binance can help, as they announced a crypto cloud service for people in just such a situation. You would have to go some in order to beat Binance at its own game though, as its futures weekly volume hit a record $16 billion this week. Now that Visa has dumped Libra to become a Bitcoin maximalist, with its Head of Crypto suggesting that Satoshis may be the future currency of the internet. Vodafone also seems to be championing Bitcoin now it has extricated itself from Libra and Facebook’s dirty clutches, showcasing the granddaddy of all crypto in a recent German advert… on the company’s Facebook page! Sweden has taken steps towards issuing the first central bank digital currency, being the first European nation to start testing its e-krona. Russia has finally come to a decision on crypto, but it’s not great news, with cryptocurrencies being outlawed as a means of payment in the country. And Finally… Max Keiser is back, turning up in a most unexpected place; conspiracy theory maximalist Alex Jones’s InfoWars show. Jones and Keiser chewed the fat over various topics, though mainly Bitcoin. Keiser explained that he had a new Twitter handle to mark his conversion to Bitcoin maximalist. Apparently, he wasn’t comfortable with the fact that he had discussed other things on the old handle. Now he only wants to talk about Bitcoin. Keiser even converted Jones into a Bitcoin believer, much to the chagrin of gold maximalist, Peter Schiff. What was your favorite bitcoin or crypto story of this week? Let us know in the comments below!  

Can the Total Crypto Market Cap Hit $10 trillion by 2023?

crypto market moon
Popular YouTube crypto analyst, Benjamin Cowen, has been considering the logarithmic regression band for the total cryptocurrency market cap in his latest video, and based on his analysis, thinks that the total digital asset market cap could hit $10 trillion during the next bull run. What’s A Logarithmic Regression Band? While it may sound like AI-generated musicians for psychotherapists to relax to, the logarithmic regression band is actually the range of values to which the crypto market tends to fall back when it is not in a bubble. It is represented by the green band on the chart below. The line forms a smooth curve overtime when plotted against a logarithmic value scale. At the peak of the 2017-2018 bubble/burst cycle, the total crypto market cap came very close to $1 trillion. However, it has since fallen back to the regression band and currently stands at around $290 billion. Diminishing Returns Each Crypto Market Cycle Plotting the difference between the total market cap and the lowest point of the regression band over time shows that the peak levels are becoming lower with each market cycle. This supports the theory of diminishing returns over time. Assuming this behavior continues, we can project a potential peak level above the regression band for the next major bull run. As an example, Cowen projects this happening in 2022, but of course, it could be earlier or later than this, if it happens at all. The potential outcome of this would be a total cryptocurrency market cap of around $10 trillion at the peak of the next bubble. In this scenario market cap is likely to oscillate within the regression band for a while before starting its climb. But What About $100 Trillion Bitcoin? Ah yes, according to PlanB’s stock to flow (S2F) model, the Bitcoin market cap alone is projected to go to $100 trillion. Cowen’s $10 Trillion market cap peak for the entire crypto market doesn’t sound so impressive against that prediction. Of course, the $100 trillion Bitcoin is still some way off in the future. The projected price increases in the S2F model happen because of the artificial limiting of supply over time. The next halving will happen in May this year. However, the $100 trillion projection isn’t due until another two halvings after that, or sometime in 2028. So, for now, a $10 trillion market cap by 2022 will have to do. At current Bitcoin dominance levels, a $10 trillion total crypto market cap gives a BTC price of around $330,000, so that’s something to look forward to. Do you think the total crypto market cap will hit a $10 trillion valuation in 2023? Share your thoughts in the comments below!  Images via Shutterstock, YouTube: Benjamin Cowen

Chainalysis Enables Coinfield Exchange To ‘Know Your Transaction’

Chainalysis Enables Coinfield Exchange To 'Know Your Transaction'
Blockchain analysis company, Chainalysis, will provide crypto exchange CornField with its Know-Your-Transaction (KYT) software, in a partnership announced yesterday. Chainalysis Extends its Reach CoinField will use the KYT software to identify high-risk cryptocurrency transactions in real time, receiving in-depth insights into the origins of each. Transactions can be traced on different blockchains, providing a graphical mapping of cryptocurrency transaction flow. The exchange will also use Chainalysis’ Reactor to further investigate suspicious activity or transactions which violate risk typologies. Chainalysis’ technology increases CoinField’s ability to exceed anti-money laundering requirements, proving its commitments to compliance. But the partnership also benefits Chainalysis, as Chief Revenue Officer, Jason Bonds, explained: CoinField’s mission to make cryptocurrency more accessible globally complements our mission to build trust in blockchains. We both believe compliance is critical to the mainstream adoption of cryptocurrency, and we look forward to partnering with CoinField to promote the safe use of cryptocurrencies globally. AML Implementation Growing In Crypto Space As Bitcoinist reported, Chainalysis previously partnered on an AML solution with Bitfinex cryptocurrency exchange. Bitfinex Chief Compliance Officer said that the “comprehensive compliance solution,” would help them, “to keep bad actors off of our platform, while protecting the privacy of our users.” Stablecoin Tether also got on board with Chainalysis this month, using the firm’s AML technology to “monitor the stablecoin’s usage across its blockchain, enabling the real-time tracking of suspicious transactions.” Anti-money laundering regulations are becoming increasingly tough for the cryptocurrency industry. Since the European Union’s 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AML5D) went into force in January, digital assets have been specifically targeted. European nations have also implemented the regulations in slightly different interpretations, so rules vary across the bloc. Crypto firms in Austria, for example, could be fined €200k for failing to register for a license-application before the cut-off date of January 10. AML Is Not Just For Cryptocurrency… …although you might think so, with all the noise around anti-money laundering being directed at the crypto space. But AML rules have applied to (and been broken by) banks since before Bitcoin was a twinkle in Satoshi Nakamoto’s eye. And they continue to be broken by banks… rather a lot. Bitcoinist recently reported that the second biggest bank in Australia managed to break AML laws more than 23 million times in the period from 2013 to 2019. 23 Million… They must hardly have had time to do anything else. What are your views on Coinfield’s latest partnership with Chainalaysis? Add your thoughts below! Images via Shutterstock

Craig Wright To Face Hot-Shot New York Lawyer In Kleiman Case

craig wright lawsuit plot thickens
Ira Kleiman’s legal representation filed a new document today, calling for a New York lawyer to be allowed to act as co-counsel for Kleiman in the ongoing case against Craig Wright. As the trial is being heard in Florida, special dispensation is needed for a representative who is not admitted to practice within the jurisdiction. Bringing Out The Big Guns for Craig Wright? So who is this new, hot-shot lawyer from The Big Apple? Um… well it’s just some guy from the New York office of Roche Cyrulnik Freedman LLP. The same firm that Kleiman’s current counsel, Velvel (Devin) Freedman is a founding partner of. Quite what Freedman believes Stephen Lagos can bring to the case is unclear. But in requesting consent for his appearance, he seems to be essentially demoting himself to dealing with the case’s admin, so it must be something special. Of course, we can expect Wright and his representation to complain about this latest request for all that they are worth. That, sadly, is the level to which this case has degenerated. $10 Billion Schoolyard Squabble Including this latest filing, there have been 400 documents filed so far in the case. And while one might think that the involvement of lawyers and a judge might give the affair a whiff of respectability, one would be very very wrong. While wrapped up in legalese, the sentiment behind recent exchanges has been more akin to a schoolyard slanging match. Indeed, it is hard to read through many of the more recent documents without imagining a goading sneering delivery. Take the document that Bitcoinist most recently covered, relating to whether Craig Wright can claim client/attorney privilege on a requested set of over 10,000 documents. Seemingly unable to hold themselves back when refuting one of Kleiman’s claims, Wright’s teams adds a snide, “Not surprisingly, they offer no support for that argument.” Privilege Disproven… Or Not? Filings from Kleiman’s side are not much better, although one wonders if some of that is because of the material they have to work with. In a document filed yesterday, responding to Craig Wright’s previous assertions about his privilege, we get this beauty: Craig has not met his burden to establish a valid privilege because he has not even identified the companies that hold the privileges he asserts. Craig Wright is then mocked for potentially not even knowing which companies’ privileges he was asserting, until Kleiman’s team put together a chart of 17 potential names, in what it describes as a “game of ‘Guess Who'”. The whole affair is becoming painful to watch, but one imagines that is the entire point. If everyone has given up the will to live by the time the case concludes, then it doesn’t make any difference what the end result is. Perhaps this new lawyer will shake things up and get things moving again… or perhaps Freedman just decided that all of this bickering is below him? What do you make of the latest developments in the Craig Wright lawsuit? Add your thoughts below! Images via Shutterstock

Netherlands Shares Bitcoin Mixer Probe Report With J5 Nations

Netherlands Shares Bitcoin Mixer Probe Report With J5 Nations
The Dutch Government is sharing intelligence data, including that gathered during last year’s takedown of a Bitcoin mixing service, with four other countries. The Netherlands, US, UK, Canada and Australia formed the Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement, or J5 group, in 2018. The five countries also take part in events known as ‘the challenge’, to coordinate their investigations of tax-related crime. Bitcoin Mixing Case Used In J5 ‘Challenge’ Bestmixer.io was a bitcoin mixing service based in The Netherlands, which offered to further anonymize bitcoin transfers by mixing tokens with those from other sources. The Dutch Fiscal Information and Investigation Service (FIOD) started to probe the service following suspicions about its operations and genesis. Although bitcoin mixing platforms do have a legitimate use for increasing anonymity, they can also be utilized by criminals for money laundering. As Bitcoinist reported, in a joint operation with Europol back in May 2019, FIOD closed down Bestmixer and seized its assets. At a J5 event in Sydney this week, FIOD chief, Hans van der Vlist, explained that all of the intelligence gathered during the Bestmixer investigation had been shared with the other member states. We provided all the information that came out of the Bestmixer investigation. We shared it with other countries, and we used it in the J5 challenge. Cooperation Yields Results The Bestmixer sting caused a “a severe blow to the concealment of crypto money flows,” according to van der Vlist. And the intel gained is still producing results. Just this Monday, FIOD arrested two individuals suspected of money laundering using cryptocurrency. One of the cases is directly related to information gathered during the Bestmixer operation. This week’s J5 group meeting follows the issuing of subpoenas and warrants by its members last month, as part of a joint investigation into a Central American financial institution. The US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) described this as the first major operational activity by the J5. However, Australian Tax Office Deputy Commissioner, Will Day, stressed that the J5 is “looking beyond just a single financial institution in Central America.” The cooperation between countries also helps individual member states to investigate domestic cases of tax evasion, through the use of offshore accounts. Day stated that most of the focus was on prosecuting the professional enablers of such schemes, and that individuals concerned that that had been caught up in such arrangement should come forward and work with the authorities. Come forward early, because with the J5 collaboration, it’s only a matter of time until we find you. The US alternative hip-hop group, Jurassic 5, also known as J5, could not be reached for comment. What do you make of the J5 nations probing into crypto mixing services? Add your thoughts below! Images via Shutterstock

RippleNet Partner Expands Remittance Network With Austrian Post Deal

RippleNet Partner Expands Remittance Network With Austrian Post Deal
Remittance provider and RippleNet partner, Ria Money Transfer, has expanded its network through a partnership with Austrian Post’s bank99 subsidiary. The link up means that Ria will begin to offer its services through an additional 700 Austrian Post branches and partner locations. Bringing International Remittances To Austrian Post Office’s ‘bank99’ is Austrian Post’s new banking and financial services entity. From its side, the partnership will allow customers to send secure international remittances via Ria’s global network of almost 400,000 locations across 160 countries. Austrian post CEO, Georg Pölzl, called Ria ‘the ideal partner’. Fast, secure and convenient, that is what customers expect from a money transfer. With Ria Money Transfer we have found the ideal partner for our bank99 to offer our customers not only that right from the start, but also a world-class service. Ria has been pursuing a strategy of becoming preferred partners with post offices and large chain retailers. President and CEO, Juan Bianchi, said: This partnership presents a fantastic opportunity to strengthen our presence in Austria, and most importantly to support the Austrian Post’s legacy of reducing distances and promoting equality. We look forward to working alongside bank99 to continue our resolve to offer customers more choices and greater convenience. The official launch will happen on April 1, 2020, with select branches offering services starting from May 4, 2020. RippleNet Powers Increasing Amount Of Global Remittances Ria partnered with RippleNet in May 2019, using the network and technology to settle international transactions with increased speed, transparency and efficiency. Ripple has partnered with a number of global remittance providers as part of its business model to encourage XRP usage. Japanese remittance service SBI recently topped the chart, to become the number one provider on RippleNet by transaction volume. SBI provides services in countries including Vietnam and Thailand through XRP technology and its network of over 61 partner banks. Ripple partner Moneygram also recently announced a $9 million investment from New York listed Brinks. This was seen as another vote of confidence in Ripple’s technology. Ripple CEO, Brad Garlinghouse, spoke to CNN about the current state of Ripple and XRP, and his hopes for Ripple to become the ‘Amazon’ of the cryptocurrency industry in the next five years. What do you make of the Ria Money Transfers latest partnership? Add your thoughts in the comments below! Images via Shutterstock

Bitcoin SV Mining Pool Confirms Rumoured Calvin Ayre Shareholding

Bitcoin SV Mining Pool Confirms Rumoured Calvin Ayre Shareholding
Mining Pool operator, Taal, has confirmed rumours that Calvin Ayre holds a substantial shareholding in the company. Taal recently switched from mining Bitcoin Cash to Bitcoin SV, over the proposed BCH miner’s tax. Pssst… Wanna Buy 50,000 Non-Operational Cloud Assets? In a press release dated Feb 17, Taal announced an asset purchase agreement between itself and three companies affiliated to Ayre. These companies were to provide “over 50,000 non-operational cloud computing units located in the United States.” The aggregate purchase price of these assets was reported to be ‘approximately’ $4,093,374, which Taal intended to satisfy by the issue of non-voting participating shares (NVPS). The press release noted that Ayre also currently holds a convertible debenture, which is due to be converted into common shares in Taal, on May 1, 2020. Following this date, the NVPS will be subject to an exchange agreement, so that if Ayre’s holding of common shares fall below 40% of the company, NVPS will be converted into common shares until he once more holds 45% of the company. Confirmation Reveals Ayre Wields 62% Of Bitcoin SV Hashrate As Bitcoinist reported earlier today, Ayre has been rumoured to have invested in Taal for some time, although this was previously not confirmed.. He has tweeted that Taal was collaborating with nChain (another Ayre interest) on a next-gen mining structure. And Taal’s switch from Bitcoin Cash to Bitcoin SV raised suspicions that Ayre was behind the decision. This press release gives us confirmation that Ayre’s holding in Taal will be maintained between 40% and 45%, at least until he exchanges all $4 million (and a bit) worth of NVPS. Through Ayre’s investment in companies including nChain and now Taal, he finds himself with significant holdings in three major BSV mining pools. Together, Coingeek, Taal and SVPool control over 60% of the Bitcoin SV hashrate. Seriously? 50,000 Non-Operational Cloud Assets? If you’ve read this far, you’re probably dying to know what Taal intends to do with 50,000 Non-operational Cloud Computing Units. Well according to the press release, it will upgrade them with its custom components and optimize them with its proprietary techniques. One assumes that this will make them operational again, as they are “to support TAAL’s ongoing operations and blockchain infrastructure in order to generate cash proceeds.” Important stuff. Taal says it intends “to offer specialized services to enterprises that require large volumes of transactions processed within North America indelibly on a reliable blockchain,” which means Bitcoin SV. It plans to deploy the assets at some point after the halving to ensure that the networks have stabilized. What do you make of Taal’s purchase agreement with Calvin Ayre-backed companies? Images via Calvinayre.com

BT360 Crypto Wallet And Website Go Dark, Users Fear Exit Scam

BT360 Crypto Wallet And Website Go Dark, Users Fear Exit Scam
Israeli crypto wallet and quasi-exchange, BT360 has left users concerned for their funds after its website and social media accounts were taken down. Clients have also claimed that wallets created by BT360 cannot currently send funds out, causing some to fear an exit scam. $1 Million Worth of Crypto Potentially Lost While not the largest exchange in the world, investors are assumed to have each invested thousands of shekels, with a shekel currently being worth around $0.30. This could see the damages reaching as high as the equivalent of $1 million. With the website being offline, along with social media account silence and error messages in the mobile app, many clients are fearing the worst. The Blame Game The listed CEO of BT360, Erez Fishler has a history of bankruptcy filings and has previously been suspected of fraud. When contacted, Fishler claimed to be simply an employee of BT360, but hadn’t been working there for a few weeks. He said that he had had a recent confrontation with the company’s owners over some problematic crypto transactions and resigned. I did not have access to the company’s bank accounts and I was not authorized to sign. I did not know if the balances in the company account to which the funds were deposited were identical to the balances in the wallets. I do not know what is kosher and what is not, and did not suit me to continue the role in such a way. He also claimed that the company had affluent family owners, and supposed that they would handle the matter. The Affluent Owner BT360’s owner, Eyal Sade, suggested that Fishler was guilty of mismanagement, saying that the company’s compliance officer and attorney were currently investigating “to see what Fishler did within the system.” However, he seemed to suggest that the current media silence and lack of crypto wallet functionality would indeed be addressed in time. We decided to shut down the servers so there will be no further actions we can’t follow. Once we get answers we can bring the system back up and the platform will continue to work. All customers talk to me directly and receive answers and they have to wait patiently and things will work out. Fingers Crossed Its Not Another Crypto Scam Unfortunately, exit scams are still a reasonably common occurrence in the crypto-space, with a BitMEX fund trader absconding with $380k of his investors BTC just before Christmas. Let’s hope that this issue is resolved positively for BT360’s users, as owner Sade promises. Positive outcomes are not unheard of, and community pressure can often help. In early December, former Dash Senior Advisor, MooCowMoo, resurfaced to return investors cash, following a lengthy disappearance and radio silence. Do you think BT360 has pulled an exit scam? Add your thoughts below! Images via Shutterstock

Sunday Digest: Bitcoin Price, Ethereum Gains and Other News

sunday bitcoin digest
Love was in the air for some this week, as Friday marked St. Valentine’s Day, beloved of lovers everywhere. The less romantically inclined may have been watching the bitcoin price charts from behind the sofa and biting their nails. Bitcoin Price: Will it, won’t it? It’s been a bit of a will it, won’t it a week for bitcoin price. Stay above $10k, that is. After breaking into five figures again last Sunday, there was a lot of optimism that this time it could be for good. Would prices surge like last time bitcoin broke $10k? Not immediately, at any rate. A dip on Monday that lasted into Tuesday took prices back below that psychologically significant level, at one point pushing bitcoin down to $9750. But while prices were down, Google searches for ‘Bitcoin’ were up, over 33% up in the last week. Fundstrat’s Thomas Lee even popped up again, to claim that Bitcoin could almost triple this year, and beat the Dow Jones index to $40k. Then in the space of an hour on late Tuesday afternoon, the price jumped over $300, hitting $10,150. We felt that optimism was growing and that things would be different this time. The momentum carried and we saw solid gains over the next few days before BTC peaked around $10.4k. Some thought that bitcoin price could top out at $11.5k but unfortunately, that didn’t happen. Instead, it dropped into a range of around $10.2k, where it stayed until Saturday. Still, there were those predicting short-term targets of $12k, but again it wasn’t to be. The rally had well and truly stalled… then it crashed back through the floor, spoiling everybody’s Saturday in the process. Support has so far held at around $9900, and a mini-pump even saw the price hit five figures again for the briefest of moments, before falling back to this level. Ethereum Making Bigger Moves Ethereum started the week having just achieved seven weekly green candles in a row, for only the second time ever. The last time was three years ago, from January into March 2017, when there were eight. However, it wasn’t going to rest on its laurels, and on Wednesday, ETH surged 14% to reach a price of $250, before finally running out of steam at $270. Bitcoinist looked at some of the factors behind the rally, which marked ETH’s most successful trading day of the year to date. Still not done, Saturday saw further gains with price stopping just shy of $290, before pulling back and consolidating at around $270. Many believe that it could outperform Bitcoin over the next few months. News In Brief Pro-Bitcoin Democratic Candidate Nominee for the US Presidential Race, Andrew Yang, officially announced that he is withdrawing, following poor results in a New Hampshire primary. If you just can’t wait for the first Central Bank Digital Currency, then we finally have a date… ish. The Bahamas’ Central Bank governor confirmed that its CBDC would be rolled out by the second half of 2020. Which is just 137 days away. China’s Central Bank has reportedly filed over 80 patents relating to its CDBC, but still no word of a launch date. It would be a surprise if China beats the Bahamas though, assuming it can meet that target. Bitcoin rallies can potentially predict Lambo. But can Lambo predict bitcoin rallies? Possibly, according to an analysis of mentions on Reddit. And Finally… The US Inland Revenue Service (IRS) reversed its requirement for Fortnite and other game token holders to declare their holdings for tax calculation. Because of course, V-Bucks are the currency of choice for the vast majority of tax evaders. Perhaps crypto-gamers had been eagerly awaiting this news, as they spent almost $1 million on virtual land this week. Although perhaps best not to rejoice too soon. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has just declared the IRS Guidelines on Crypto Tax to be unclear, change without warning, and are possibly not even binding. What was your favorite bitcoin or crypto story of this week? Let us know in the comments below! Image via Shutterstock

Bitcoin ‘Lambo Line’ Indicator Suggests Bull Market Inbound

Bitcoin Lambo Line indicator
According to a blog post from ChartStar, the number of ‘Lambo’ mentions on Reddit turns out to be a surprisingly good indicator for predicting strong Bitcoin market moves. So What’s The Bitcoin Verdict? Now wait a minute… First, the parameters needed to be tweaked a bit. The Reddit mention query was amended from ‘Lamborghini’ to ‘Lambo’, for obvious reasons, and then the search was focused on certain cryptocurrency-related subreddits. After all, why would there be a link between Bitcoin price and ‘Lambo’ mentions from people who don’t talk about Bitcoin? When those parameters were applied, there did indeed seem to be some noticeable correlation between the two. At a glance, the Lambo line appears to be a lagging indicator that trails around 1 month behind Bitcoin’s price movements. However, on closer inspection you can see that on two occasions the Lambo line actually became a front-runner for the leading crypto asset. In May 2017, the Lambo line spiked high above the Bitcoin price line just before the asset went on a parabolic rally towards its all-time high above $20,000. Then, in April 2018, the Lambo line tanked below the Bitcoin price line a few months before BTC tanked to its bear market bottom around $3,400. So When Lambo? Maybe sooner than we think. ChartStar also plotted the number of ‘Lambo’ mentions in the aforementioned subreddits against BTC price for the year to date, and the results are very promising. The past week has seen a decided upswing in mentions of a certain bitcoiner-beloved supercar. Could this be the start of a spike predicting the next big bitcoin bull run? Based on one previous occurrence it would be impossible to predict. But if this turns out to be the repeat occurrence that starts a trend…Well, that could mean that hopium might be a valuable commodity after all. Just don’t tell the CFTC. To Be Fair… The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission has been softening its stance on crypto of late. Chairman, Heath Tarbert, recently expressed his desire for the US to take a more active role in the blockchain space. The organisation had also recently clarified that is is possible for security tokens to become commodity tokens, and that crypto designations were not set in stone. What do you make of the Bitcoin ‘Lambo Line’ indicator? Add your thoughts below! Images via Shutterstock

Craig Wright Refuses to Share Key Documents in Court

Craig Wright lawsuit round up
Every other week we witness a fresh twist in the longstanding courtroom farce that is Craig Wright vs Ira Kleiman. In this episode, Craig says he is ‘both exercising a right and fulfilling an obligation’, by not sharing over 10,000 documents with the court, in the case brought against him by the estate of Dave Kleiman. Are Dissolved Companies Privileged? The latest update follows on from Wright’s earlier insistence that he could not provide the requested documents due to the existence of client/attorney privilege. Ira Kleiman, brother of Dave, argued that a dissolved corporation had no such privilege, and a large proportion of the documents related to dissolved corporations. However, Wright now contends that both Florida (where the case is being heard) and Australian (where Wright originates) laws “hold that a corporation’s privilege is not extinguished upon a corporation’s dissolution.” Is Craig Wright In Control? Another of Kleiman’s arguments is that Wright is no longer in the corporations’ ‘control groups’, and is therefore unable to claim privilege on their behalf. But once again, Wright states that Florida law says “one does not need to be within the control group to assert privilege on behalf of a dissolved corporation.” Furthermore, Wright contends that, under Australian law, he is still connected to the companies through his obligation to preserve their records. This gives him the authority to claim privilege of those records on behalf of the companies, he says. Hence, producing the documents would require Wright to break Australian law, putting him in an ‘untenable position’. Either One Or The Other Kleiman has previously accused Wright of double-standards, in using the defunct companies as a both a sword (when asserting privileges) and a shield (“disavowing any control over those companies when it suits his interest”). It is also interesting to note that Wright is incredibly protective over these specific documents, yet has intentionally spammed the plaintiff with over 20,000 unlabelled documents just days before a discovery deadline. Craig Wright Should Drop the Act This is just the latest update to a case that has taken so many twists and turns over the last year that it can seemingly get no more bizarre. Unless… Wright, of course, wouldn’t be having to devote so much of his time to legal matters if he hadn’t chosen to ‘out’ himself as Satoshi Nakamoto. In fact, if it wasn’t for his success in the McCormack case hinging on him actually being Satoshi Nakamoto, then most of his legal troubles would go away if he just dropped the act now. Although, he’s also perfectly able to walk away from the McCormack case, which he initiated, and live life as a free man again. Just something to bear in mind. What do you make of the latest Craig Wright lawsuit updates? Add your thoughts below! Images via Shutterstock

HEX Tool Developer Removes App Over Token Manipulation Concerns

HEX manipulation
The developer of the HEX Tool application has removed it from app stores and asked users to delete it from their phones. He also shut down the StakeHEX website and HEX simulator, citing evidence of possible token manipulation. Closing Shop App developer, and StakeHEX founder, Paul Hughes posted similar messages across multiple social media channels, announcing the app’s removal. Due to evidence of possible manipulation of the HEX market value, I can no longer recommend HEX with clean conscience. Hughes goes on to say that he has removed the app from app stores, and urges users to delete it from their phones. He rounds off by saying that it has been a wild ride, and wishing users luck for the future. The mentioned evidence may relate to a recent conversion in the HEXtutorial Telegram group, discussing just such a potential manipulation attack. HEX Tool The Tool app was marketed as, “the perfect companion App for all your HEX related needs … The main focus of this early release is onboarding. Referring others to HEX is complicated the HEX tool makes it easy.” The app generated scannable QR codes which acted as a referral link to easily join the platform. Now believing that the market is open to possible manipulation, Hughes clearly no longer wishes to encourage or assist others to do this. Bitcoinist has reached out to Hughes, and this article will be updated when his response is received. Have A Heart Bitcoinist also reached out to the founder of HEX, Richard Heart, to ask for his opinion on the matter. Heart defended Hughes’ right to abandon the platform, and addressed the problem of differing desires between stakeholders and also detractors: HEX is a fully decentralized system. Fans come and go as they please. It’s a tripartite dilemma with those already all-in HEX wanting price up. Those scaling in wanting price down then up. And those that see HEX taking their users away wanting it to go to $0. Someone is always going to be upset. At the start of the year, Heart took to Twitter himself, to warn users of a pyramid scheme built on the platform. However some in the crypto community are wary of the project, suggesting that the whole platform is a pyramid scheme, despite it gaining a listing on the Bitcoin.com exchange last December. The project describes itself as a ‘blockchain certificate of deposit’, and involves depositing ETH in return for HEX tokens, with the promise of high staking returns. Do you think HEX markets are manipulated? Add your thoughts below! Images via Shutterstock

Even Captain Kirk Questions Craig Wright’s Satoshi Claim

Even Captain Kirk Questions Craig Wright's Satoshi Claim
Noted cryptocurrency enthusiast and Star Trek’s Captain Kirk, William Shatner, seemingly had a great time at this year’s Satoshi Roundtable. After tweeting about his trip, the conversation took a turn towards forgery enthusiast and Bitcoin’s Faketoshi, Craig Wright. Been Spending Most Their Lives, Living In The Crypto Paradise It all started innocuously enough with a tweet, what else? “I’m back from Crypto paradise,” Shatner told his followers. “I had a great time meeting everyone at the #satoshiroundtable.” And then one follower replied saying that “Hopefully the fake Satoshi wasn’t there.” After questioning who the fake Satoshi was, and being told that it was a certain Craig S Wright, Shatner confirmed that he had not encountered Wright at the Roundtable event. How Dare Anyone Suggest That Craig Wright Is Not Satoshi And that’s where, in any normal universe, the exchange would have ended… Except that of course, this is the crypto-verse, being discussed in the Twitter-verse. Obviously, the BSV army isn’t going to just sit around if somebody mocks their uber-lord and god-head, Wright. What was required was a smart, pithy, yet unquestionable comeback to assert Wright’s magnificence. What we got was the somewhat predictable, “Craig is Satoshi and BSV is Bitcoin.” So obviously, that’s most of us convinced, but Shatner wasn’t going to let that lie. “If He Is, He Should Be Able To Prove It” Take it away, Kirk… Why can’t he prove it? … From what I’ve read is that some mysterious bonded courier would deliver the keys (which honestly is a scene right out of Back to the Future.) If he is, he should be able to prove it. This is like the modern day search for Anastasia. …Anastasia being Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia, youngest daughter of Tsar Nicholas II, who some believed escaped the murder of the entire Russian royal family by the Bolsheviks in 1918, although this has since been disproven. Of course, that opened the floodgates for every SV proponent out there to wade in with their two-pence worth. Most notably Calvin Ayre… he can prove everything…He had all the evidence in with his lawyers preparing for trial with McClown which is real proof. He owes us all nothing in this and having keys is not proof like what he is doing in court. Plus to me the proof is out there already if smart. Well quite… although perhaps we’re just not smart enough Calvin. Another BSVer claimed that he was proving it by “filing more patents than US & China combined,” which is a new argument on me. Shatner still wasn’t giving up, and tweeted back at the fanboys that they should shut up and stop whining about it. He claimed that whatever proof had been offered certainly didn’t prove anything “without a doubt,” and furthermore, In fact it seems that some of his proofs cast even more doubt on his claims than if he had just shut up. Strong words Bill! Shatner has previously shown his crypto-chops, backing up Ethereum creator, Vitalik Buterin against allegations of being a scammer. What do you make of William Shatner’s comments on Craig Wright? Add your comments below! Images via Shutterstock, Twitter @WilliamShatner The post appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

Bitcoin SV Nodes Crash Hard Following Genesis ‘Downgrade’

Bitcoin SV
Following the Bitcoin SV ‘Genesis’ Hard Fork on Feb 4th, the number of nodes on the network has reduced dramatically. In a tweet this morning, Arthur van Pelt of Dragon Industries claimed that there were only around 250 nodes still servicing the network. Nodes Don’t Follow Fork Referring to the hard fork as the ‘BSV Genesis downgrade’, van Pelt explained that following the fork, 80-85 nodes seemed to have started a new chain of their own. Another 30 or so nodes had also been left behind in the process. This left only around 250 nodes actively securing the network, of 636 nodes a year ago. Hypothesising on why this ‘split’ may have occurred, van Pelt suggested that: It appears to me that those 85 (new chain) + 30 (didn’t downgrade either) are a mixture of inaccessible cloud nodes, ghost nodes, lazy/uninterested owners, etc. as no group has come forward to claim the second chain. A commenter pointed out that running non-mining nodes would be a challenge with so many potential transactions and large blocks. The reduction in decentralization caused by this was considered to be unlikely to concern those in control of BSV, with one commenter joking that the end goal was to have one node controlled by Calvin Ayres. Fair Value For Bitcoin SV Van Pelt then compares this with BTC nodes, using a figure of 100,000 based on a Bitcoinist article from last May. Calculating the ‘fair’ value of BSV based on ratio of nodes, van Pelt questions whether: it make[s] sense to set a fair value of BSV on 250/100,000 x $9,850 = $24.63? He concludes that it probably does, making the current BSV price of $343, rather high considering. Genesis ‘Downgrade’ The BSV Genesis hard fork was so called because it rolled back the protocol to the initial Bitcoin version first released by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009. This is also why van Pelt refers to it as a ‘downgrade’. This also removes all block-cap sizes which have been implemented since, so the previous 2GB block limit which applied to the BSV network no longer applies. Not that blocks were anywhere close to reaching this limit anyway, despite evidence that a large amount of BSV volume is heavily manipulated. Genesis is intended to be the last major BSV network update and has been “locked-in irrevocably” according to a message from the developers in the first post-fork block of transactions. So let’s hope they don’t need to change anything else then, eh? What do you make of the latest decline in Bitcoin SV nodes? Add your thoughts below! Images via Shutterstock The post appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

Sunday Digest: Bitcoin Price, Altcoin Gains, and Craig S Wright

sunday bitcoin news digest
This evening will see the Oscars ceremony take place in Los Angeles’ Dolby Theatre, bringing with it all the glitz and glam of the average Bitcoin conference. Or perhaps you prefer to celebrate the less well-respected end of the film industry, in which case, both Cats and Rambo: Last Blood are nominated for eight Golden Raspberries (Razzies) each. Bitcoin Price: Back To Five Figures Another solid week for bitcoin price sees it retake five figures for the first time in over four months. The week started with the Blackroots Alpha Trend technical indicator flashing long for only the third time ever. The previous two times were in September 2016 as bitcoin was starting its run to the December 2017 all-time high, and March last year, just days before price took off towards $13k. A good omen, one would think, although the immediate aftermath saw the, now familiar, trickling down of bitcoin price. Levels held above $9k however, and Bitcoinist was so confident that we published five reasons that bitcoin would retake five figures soon. That seemed to do the trick, and prices started to recover, to such an extent that Thursday saw the yearly high broken for the second day in a row. Prices leveled off a little on Friday, but undeterred, analysts suggested that there could be a potential surge to $11k once five figures were regained. Saturday saw prices going upwards once again, edging ever closer to that magical $10k target. Then this morning, it happened. Bitcoin was once again valued at over five figures. Altcoin Action Bitcoin wasn’t the only winner in terms of price this week, as several altcoins also made impressive gains. The often criticized Bitcoin dominance metric fell to a seven-month low, as some called a start to altseason. ETH was a big winner, starting the week by hitting $190 for the first time since November, with a target of $200 in sight. It was announced that Ethereum 2.0 had made some critical advances, and a new Ethereum Association was formed to increase trust in the ecosystem. Midweek saw a golden cross, just before ETH broke $200 again, which was still a complete steal according to one analyst. Some thought that ETH retaking $200 could be bigger than BTC hitting five figures, and prices surged again, topping $220, when the DeFi market hit the $1 billion milestones. XRP also made double-digit gains midweek, despite being labeled ‘dogs**t’ by BitMex CEO Arthur Hayes, just as his exchange announced a perpetual swap product on the token. Ripple CEO, Brad Garlinghouse, even took to Twitter to defend XRP, after Mike Novogratz predicted another disappointing year for the token. MATIC had an early week pump, with a 22% surge after staking went live on its testnet. So, will bitcoin or alts make the biggest gains in 2020? Or will Tesla maintain its parabolic rise and prove those who are calling it a bubble wrong? As always, we will just have to wait and see. News In Brief Venezuelan retailers are refusing to accept payments in the state-backed Petro cryptocurrency, despite pressure to do so from government authorities. The retailers are calling the system a scam… Glad to see they’ve caught up. OneCoin associate, Mark Scott, who was charged with two counts of money laundering $400 million last November, now wants charges against him dropped based on insufficient evidence. As of course, he would. Every week we hear about more countries investigating or making moves towards launching a central bank digital currency (CBDC). This week, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) actually recommended that Eastern Caribbean states should trial a CBDC. However, this week, an ex-governor of the French central bank also said that the realization of such a consumer-focused token could still be 10 years away. The South Korean Central Bank stated that it saw no need for a CBDC currently, although it would continue examining the possibilities. And, slightly late to the party, the US Federal Reserve said that it is considering the possibility of a ‘FedCoin’ CBDC. And Finally… Craig Wright has been up to his old tricks, claiming client-attorney privilege on over 11,000 documents from mostly defunct companies he was involved in. FYI, defunct companies do not receive client-attorney privilege. On top of that, the mysterious bonded courier is apparently also an attorney, according to Wright, so he can’t divulge any more information about him or her either. When the Kleiman case is finally complete, it seems like Wright will either be going directly to jail, not passing go, and not receiving £200, for his consistent attempts to pervert the course of justice… or… he will be proven to be Satoshi and we will all be eating our words. Given the inevitable outcome, I’d be dragging it out as long as possible too. What was your favorite bitcoin or crypto story of this week? Let us know in the comments below! Image via Shutterstock The post appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.