Hodler’s Digest, May 20–26: Top Stories, Price Movements, Quotes and FUD of the Week

Craig Wright again makes claims about his true identity as Satoshi Nakamoto, while the SEC delays a BTC ETF decision, again.

Coming every Sunday, the Hodler’s Digest will help you track every single important news story that happened this week. The best (and worst) quotes, adoption and regulation highlights, leading coins, predictions, and much more — a week on Cointelegraph in one link.

Top Stories This Week

Copyright Registrations Do Not Recognize Craig Wright as Satoshi Nakamoto

Although self-proclaimed Satoshi Nakamoto Craig Wright, an Australian computer scientist, filed United States copyright registrations for the bitcoin white paper and the bitcoin (BTC) source code, that does not mean that the U.S. Copyright Office recognized Wright as Nakamoto. A spokesperson for Wright had told the Financial Times (FT) this week that the office was the first government agency to recognize Wright as the creator of the leading digital currency, a claim that has been met with skepticism by the cryptocurrency community. However, the office told the FT that it does not investigate whether there is a connection between a claimant and a pseudonymous author, and that registering the source code does not protect the intellectual property of bitcoin as an invention.

USD Stablecoins Hit Spot Trading Volume Record Highs, With USDT Still Dominating Market

Cryptocurrency research firm Diar reported this week that the market capitalization for USD stablecoins has hit all-time highs, exceeding $4 billion. The data shows specifically that stablecoins have a market cap of around $4.3 billion, revealing a surge in USD stablecoin trading volumes in regard to the USDC’s 130% uptick between April and May, as well as TrustToken’s TrueUSD $3.8 billion in volume in May. Controversial stablecoin tether still remains in the lead, the report notes, with trading volumes this year to date exceeding $1.3 trillion — already $200 million higher than the whole of 2018. However, Diar additionally states in the report that the overall broad use case of stablecoins has been slow to gain traction.

Tether Says It Invested Some of Its Reserves Into Bitcoin and Other Assets

Stablecoin issuer Tether said this week in a court filing that it had invested some of its reserves in BTC. According to the documents, an attorney for Tether’s associated firm Bitfinex stated that Tether had invested “a small amount” of Tether’s reserves into bitcoin, specifying that “prior to the April 24th order […] Tether actually did invest in instruments beyond cash and cash equivalents, including bitcoin,” and adding that Tether made “other investments, including purchasing other assets.” As a response to the admission, the judge in charge of the ongoing investigation into whether Bitfinex secretly used Tether reserves to cover a $850 million loss doubted the logic of investing a stablecoin in a volatile asset like bitcoin.

Tether Says It Invested Some of Its Reserves Into Bitcoin and Other Assets

US SEC Postpones Verdict on VanEck ETF Application, Again

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) delayed its decision again concerning the VanEck bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund (ETF) proposal. The SEC has added a 35-day period for gathering more information and opinions on the proposal, which was originally filed by CBOE last year. In this week’s SEC filing, the organization listed 14 questions about the proposal for the public to review and answer, with the idea of using the answers to help them decide about approval. The questions are related to the ability to protect investors and public interest from fraud and similar exploitations. The organization had already delayed its decision on the Securities Act update proposal that would allow bitcoin ETFs to be traded on CBOE.

US Telecoms Giant AT&T Now Accepting Crypto Payments Via BitPay

U.S. telecom and media giant AT&T announced this week that it would accept cryptocurrency for paying phone bills online using crypto payments platform BitPay. BitPay converts crypto into fiat and is currently used by more than 20,000 businesses. AT&T had previously announced at the end of 2018 that it was working on a suite of blockchain solutions compatible with Microsoft Azure and the IBM Blockchain Platform. This week’s reveal about its crypto acceptance is reportedly the first time that a U.S.-based business in the wireless network industry will enable bill payments with BitPay.

Winners and Losers

The crypto markets are seeing some calm at the end of the week, with bitcoin trading slightly below $8,000, ether at $250 and XRP at $0.38.

The top three altcoin gainers of the week are brother, emaratcoin and compound coin. The top three altcoin losers of the week are bitguild plat, playcoin [qrc20] and speed mining service.

Winners and Losers

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

Most Memorable Quotations

“To kind of burst the bubble, it’s not our only database, it’s not our best database, it’s not currently very fast or very scalable and it’s not very mature, right?”

– Dale Chrystie, FedEx’s dedicated blockchain strategist

“I don’t think banks, I don’t think governments will go away. Banks are applying a very important regulatory framework that I actually think is important for society. I personally believe that banks will continue to serve that role, they’re good at it. […] I think this is a new set of technologies that they can benefit from to grow their business.”

– Brad Garlinghouse, Ripple CEO

Most Memorable Quotations

“We urge lawmakers to recognize the unparalleled economic power that permissionless innovation has unleashed and to act to let crypto and blockchain technologies flourish. We know lawmakers want to support economic growth and want them to seize the opportunity to lead the charge.”

– Jeremy Allaire, CEO of crypto finance startup Circle

Prediction of the Week

NYMEX Trader: Bitcoin Soon to Move Back to $7,000, Markets to Consolidate

Anthony Grisant, a cryptocurrency trader at the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), said this week that bitcoin will likely move back to $7,000 and consolidate soon. Speaking to CNBC, NYMEX’s Grisant said that bitcoin will go back to $7,000 for a short period of time, and that the market will then consolidate: “I think it consolidate a little bit. […] I think consolidation for this market is very healthy.” Grisant also noted that volumes have come back down over the past few sessions, an indication that buyers are not returning to the market with the same strength they were a few weeks prior.

FUD of the Week

Two Miners Purportedly Execute 51% Attack on Bitcoin Cash Blockchain

This week, two miners reportedly executed a 51% attack on the bitcoin cash (BCH) blockchain. While 51% attacks are normally assumed to be carried out with malicious intent, this case occurred when two mining pools attempted to prevent an unidentified party from taking some coins that — due to a code update — were essentially “up for grabs.” The two miners, with majority network control — BTC.top and BTC.com — carried out the attack in order to prevent an unknown miner from taking coins that were sent to an “anyone can spend” address following the original hard fork in May 2017. According to statistics on Coin.Dance, BTC.top and BTC.com control 43% of the bitcoin cash mining pool.

UK Watchdog Reports $34 Million Lost in Crypto and Forex Scams Last Year

The United Kingdom’s financial regulator released a report this week that cryptocurrency investors in the country have lost more than $34 million due to crypto and forex scams from 2018 to 2019. The regulator gathered data from the U.K. national fraud and cybercrime reporting center, Action Fraud, finding the individual losses due to scams had decreased from $76,000 to $18,500, while total losses fell by $14 million. However, the report noted that the number of times scams were reported had overall tripled, with 81% of the reports related to cryptocurrency scam claims. The U.K. regulator also noted that scammers tended to use social media to find potential investors, often using pictures of celebrities with fake endorsements.

UK Watchdog Reports $34 Million Lost in Crypto and Forex Scams Last Year

Europol Shuts Down $200 Million Crypto Mixing Service Bestmixer

Cryptocurrency mixing service Bestmixer.io has been shut down this week by Dutch, Luxembourg and Europol authorities. Cryptocurrency tumblers are tools that allow crypto transactions of nonprivate coins to become more private by mixing crypto funds with others in order to obscure the funds’ original source. Bestmixer.io has had a reported turnover of more than $200 million since its launch in May 2018, and mixed cryptocurrencies including bitcoin (BTC), litecoin (LTC), bitcoin cash (BCH) and others. The investigation that preempted the shutdown began in June 2018, as the authorities found that a large number of the mixed coins had been used in money laundering.

Best Cointelegraph Features

SEC Postpones VanEck Bitcoin ETF, Yet Again. Should We Expect an Approval in 2019?

The U.S. SEC has again delayed a decision on approving or disproving a blockchain exchange-traded fund. As the delays keep coming, along with open-ended questions for the public, Cointelegraph takes a look at the chances for the SEC to ever give an ETF the green light.

Insured Cryptocurrency Custody Services and Their Potential Impact: The Key to Institutional Investment Growth?

As seemingly a wave of cryptocurrency companies have begun offering crypto custody services, Cointelegraph examines the importance of the existence of crypto custody and how it can help foster institutional adoption.

Confident in the Future: EOS Developers Attempt 10% Buyback Ahead of Major Announcement

Block.one, the developer behind EOS, revealed this week that they were seeking a 10% buyback of its stock for reportedly the second time. In this analysis, Cointelegraph details the potential impetus behind the idea, and what it means for Block.one’s future plans.

Hodler’s Digest, May 13–19: Top Stories, Price Movements, Quotes and FUD of the Week

Bitstamp processed a very large sell order, while Bakkt’s bitcoin futures should be tested in July.

Top Stories This Week

Coming every Sunday, the Hodler’s Digest will help you track every single important news story that happened this week. The best (and worst) quotes, adoption and regulation highlights, leading coins, predictions, and much more — a week on Cointelegraph in one link.

Bitstamp Starts Investigation After Large BTC Sell Leads to $250 Million Liquidated on BitMEX

Major crypto exchange Bitstamp launched an investigation this week after a large bitcoin (BTC) sell order heavily impacted its order book. Bitstamp reported on the execution of the large bitcoin sell order from BTC to United States dollars, without specifying themselves the details of the transaction. Other crypto media noted that it involved a sell order that led to a liquidation of $250 million long positions on the BitMEX exchange with 5,000 BTC sold at $6,200, which further resulted in price declines on other crypto exchanges. Some crypto commentators suggested that the sell order could be made by mistake, with the order’s owner having meant to sell his/her bitcoin at $8,200 instead of $6,200.

Flexa Launches App Where Shoppers Can Spend Crypto at 15 Major U.S. Retailers

Payments startup Flexa unveiled an app this week that allows consumers to spend cryptocurrencies at major American retailers. The app, called Spedn, is currently set up to work with retailers including Barnes & Noble, Bed Bath & Beyond, GameStop, Lowe’s, Nordstrom, Office Depot and Whole Foods Market, with more stores to be added in the coming months. Stores that aren’t able to accept cryptocurrency will require the crypto to be instantly converted to fiat when an item is purchased. As of now, purchase on Spedn can be made with bitcoin, ether (ETH), bitcoin cash (BCH) as well as the gemini dollar (GUSD) stablecoin.

U.S. SEC Delays Decision on Bitwise Bitcoin ETF, Seeks Public Comment

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has again delayed its decision to approve or disapprove cryptocurrency index fund provider Bitwise Asset Management’s bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund (ETF) application. In this week’s filing, the SEC also noted that it requested public comment from interested parties, asking for “written submissions of their views, data, and arguments with respect to the issues identified above, as well as any other concerns they may have with the proposal.” Bitwise had initially filed for an ETF in February, under the condition that the SEC would reach a decision in 45 days, with its application differing from others in that it draws prices from a variety of cryptocurrency exchanges, with the aim of better representing the market.

Bakkt to Roll Out First Bitcoin Futures Testing in July 2019

Institutional crypto exchange Bakkt plans to roll out testing for bitcoin futures trading in early July 2019, according to its CEO, Kelly Loeffler. Loeffler noted in a Medium post this week that Bakkt is working with both the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) Futures U.S. exchange and ICE Clear U.S. clearing house to prepare the first testing of bitcoin futures trading and custody. In the announcement, Bakkt noted that it has been working with the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission in order to be compliant with federal regulations, as well as to meet major requirements in terms of investors protection. Bakkt was first introduced in August 2018, with the stated goal of offering physically backed bitcoin futures.

EBay Denies Rumors It Will Start Accepting Crypto, Despite Advertising at Crypto Event

EBay has denied rumors after Blockchain Week that it is going to start accepting cryptocurrency as a payment method. Rumors have mounted that the online retail giant would be offering crypto as a payment option since ads were shown at crypto conference Consensus stating: “Virtual currency. It’s happening on eBay.” However, it does currently have a section marked Virtual Currency, where people can use traditional monetary forms to purchase crypto from sellers. In response to the rumors, an eBay spokesperson said that “cryptocurrency is not accepted as a form of payment on the eBay platform, nor is it part of our payments strategy.”

Winners and Losers

The top three altcoin gainers of the week are ultra coin, icechain and pwr coin. The top three altcoin losers of the week are segwit2x, blockport and sharpe platform token.

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

Most Memorable Quotations

“The more interaction, and willingness that people want to engage with us, the happier we are because we want this to work. We want there to be innovation in these markets. We want there to be change.”

Amy Starr, chief of the office of capital markets trends at the U.S. SEC

“It is a useless currency, that’s what I believe. Look, I realize that people have different opinions, but to me, it’s garbage.”

- Shark Tank's Kevin O'Leary

“In a small number of months, we should have a fully operational testnet and possibly, by the end of this year we’ll have a fully operational phase 0 Ethereum 2.0.”

Joseph Lubin, Ethereum co-founder

“I believe that there are use cases that makes sense today, we have yet to find them at scale in financial services. We’re experimenting heavily, we have more patents than any other financial institution in the blockchain space, but have yet to find something that makes a difference for our clients or our customer.”

Catherine Bessant, chief technology officer at Bank of America

“There is a broad discussion in Washington around 5G being dominated by foreign firms and the U.S. being reliant on foreign technology and foreign expertise. [...] With blockchain and crypto, I think there's a recognition now that these will be part of our future infrastructure. [...] It’s important both for national security and from an economic perspective, that the U.S. is a leader in that.”

Ryan Zagone, Ripple’s Director of Regulatory Relations

Prediction of the Week

Joseph Lubin on Ethereum 2.0: ETH to Become 1,000 Times More Scalable Within 24 Months

Joseph Lubin, Ethereum co-founder, said in an interview with Cointelegraph this week that the Ethereum blockchain will become about 1,000 times more scalable in 18 to 24 months. In the interview, Lubin noted that Ethereum 2.0, also called Serenity, will be responsible for bringing the drastic scalability increase to the ecosystem. The development, which Lubin noted is divided into four phases, already has eight groups developing clients for the new chain. He explained that there are several ways in which the new chain could be connected with the old one, noting “there may be bidirectional mechanisms” in moving ether (ETH) tokens from the old chain to the new chain.

FUD of the Week

Floyd Mayweather and DJ Khaled Escape Lawsuit Brought by Defrauded ICO Investors

High-profile boxer Floyd Mayweather and music producer DJ Khaled were dismissed this week from a lawsuit brought by investors in a fraudulent initial coin offering (ICO). The two celebrities had been involved in promoting Centra Tech’s ICO, and had originally been charged last November with unlawfully advertising the aforementioned ICO. This week, a judge ruled that the investors who had brought the legal action against the ICO had not proven that they had bought tokens as a direct result of the pair’s actions. In the settlement where neither of the parties admitted to nor denied the charges against them, Mayweather was fined more than $600,000, while Khaled was fined more than $150,000.

Tron Co-Founder and CTO Leaves Project, Alleging Excessive Centralization

Lucien Chen — the former chief technical officer and co-founder of blockchain protocol Tron — announced that he is leaving the project, citing an excessive centralization. In his announcement, Chen noted that in spite of the project’s success, irreconcilable contradictions between himself and co-founder Justin Sun have led him to choose to leave Tron. In the post, Chen noted that Tron is no longer staying true to its founding principle of decentralizing the web, critiquing Tron’s delegated proof-of-stake (DPoS) consensus mechanism and Super Representative governance and block production nodes.

Hacked New Zealand Exchange Cryptopia Appoints Liquidators, Trading Suspended

Hacked New Zealand-based cryptocurrency exchange Cryptopia said this week that trading was suspended and it was appointing liquidators. The exchange specifically said that it has appointed David Ruscoe and Russell Moore from consultancy and audit firm network Grant Thornton New Zealand as the aforementioned liquidators. In mid-January of this year, Cryptopia had said that it was the target of a security breach resulting in significant losses. According to the liquidators, the exchange decided to go into liquidation, as it has been unable to return the business to profitability, notwithstanding management’s reported efforts to reduce costs. The liquidators plan to conduct an investigation with the aim of securing assets for the benefit of the stakeholders.

Best Cointelegraph Features

Major Crypto Exchange in Korea Shut Down in April: 2018 Was a Nightmare for Most

Joseph Young explains what’s been happening with South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges, as they suffered through a freeze on accepting new registrations as well as the overall bear market.

What Crypto Exchanges Do to Comply With KYC, AML and CFT Regulations

Since most altcoins require crypto enthusiasts to purchase them via cryptocurrency exchanges, Cointelegraph takes a look at how these exchanges work with Anti-Money Laundering (AML), Know Your Customer (KYC) and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) regulations to ensure both safety and regulatory compliance.

Blockchain as Key to Vienna’s Digital Future — Interview with Ulrike Huemer, CIO of Vienna, Austria

Cointelegraph’s German division spoke with the chief information officer of Vienna’s digital future initiative about the ways the city can evolve to integrate more emerging technologies, including, of course, blockchain.

Hodler’s Digest, May 6–12: Top Stories, Price Movements, Quotes and FUD of the Week

Fidelity may soon offer crypto trading, Facebook Coin may be launched in Q3 2019, and more.

Top Stories This Week

Hackers Withdraw 7,000 Bitcoins in Binance Crypto Exchange Security Breach

Binance, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges by daily trade volume, experienced a security breach this week, losing a little over 7,000 bitcoins (BTC). CEO Changpeng Zhao stated at the time that the bitcoins were withdrawn from its hot wallets, which contain only 2% of the exchange’s total bitcoin holdings. In the interim, proceedings from the hack have been moved to seven addresses. CZ devoted a live AMA on Twitter to address community concerns in the wake of the hack, also discussing the idea of a Bitcoin chain reorganization. In response to criticism of using the term “reorg,” CZ later apologized, but noted that “it is my strong view that our constant and transparent communication is what sets us apart from the “old way of doing things.”

Bitfinex Confirms Initial Exchange Offering to Raise Up to $1 Billion in Tether

Embattled cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex confirmed it would conduct a $1 billion so-called initial exchange offering (IEO) in a whitepaper issued on May 8, with a Bitfinex shareholder confirming that $1 billion in both hard and soft commitments have been sealed. The exchange is currently facing ongoing legal scrutiny from authorities who accuse it of losing $850 million. The white paper notes that there will be a sale of up to 1 billion LEO tokens, each worth 1 tether (USDT), lasting until May 11, which marks the cut-off point for sales to private investors. Zhao Dong has noted that the $1 billion already committed means there is little chance of a public sale.

Facebook May Announce FB Coin Stablecoin in Q3, Say Anonymous Sources

Social networking giant Facebook is hiring PayPal staff ahead of its alleged cryptocurrency launch, making up 20% of a 50-person team, according to an unnamed source familiar with the situation. According to the source, the social network company began hiring for a dedicated blockchain team last year, under the auspices of David Marcus, himself a former president of PayPal. The same source notes that the Facebook Coin could be launched as soon as the third quarter of 2019. The Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs of the United States Senate is now seeking information on Facebook’s reported cryptocurrency project in response to the rumors over the project.

Bloomberg Report: Fidelity Will Start Institutional Bitcoin Trading Within Weeks

United States $7 trillion investment firm Fidelity will reportedly roll out bitcoin (BTC) trading for institutional clients in the coming weeks, an unnamed source told Bloomberg. According to this source, Fidelity’s cryptocurrency-focused spin-off, Fidelity Digital Assets, would be adding to the existing range of services, with trading to go live in a soon as in a few weeks. The source noted that the service will primarily target large-volume traders like other over-the-counter (OTC) offerings. Fidelity has not itself confirmed the time frame of the service offering, but did hint that its future direction would only involve more integration with the bitcoin space. Fidelity Digital assets launched in October 2018 and has offered cryptocurrency custody from March this year ahead of planned OTC trading.

Starbucks Working With Microsoft for Blockchain-Based Coffee Tracking Platform

United States-based coffee chain Starbucks will begin using  Microsoft’s Azure Blockchain Service to track the production of its coffee. The “bean to cup” initiative, first announced in 2018, involves farmers in Costa Rica, Colombia, and Rwanda piloting a blockchain-based coffee-tracking system. The system, whose pilot program will be open sourced by Starbucks, will allow customers to track the production of their coffee and will open up potential financial opportunities for coffee bean farmers on the backend. Microsoft’s Azure Blockchain Service is a blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) platform that currently supports Quorum, the Ethereum-based platform of JPMorgan Chase.

“It doesn’t do anything. It just sits there. It’s like a seashell or something, and that is not an investment to me.”

– Warren Buffet, Berkshire Hathaway CEO

“Cryptocurrencies or bitcoins, or anything like that, are not really currencies — they are assets. A euro is a euro — today, tomorrow, in a month — it’s always a euro. And the ECB is behind the euro. Who is behind the cryptocurrencies? So they are very, very risky assets.”

– European Central Bank (ECB) president Mario Draghi

“The debate is over, bitcoin won. It is now seen by people all around the world as a legitimate place to [store] their value.”

– Michael Novogratz, CEO of crypto bank Galaxy Digital and former Goldman Sachs partner

“And I think the people who are professional traders that go into trading cryptocurrencies, it is just disgusting. It is like somebody else is trading turds and you decide, 'I can't be left out.’”

– Charlie Munger, billionaire investor and vice chairman of American holding conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway

Winners and Losers

At the end of this week, bitcoin is trading up, at around $7,154 as of 7:35 a.m. EST. Ether is at $190, XRP is at $.31 and total market cap is at about $213 billion.

The top three altcoin gainers of the week are Kurrent, Cryptosolartech and Everus. The top three altcoin losers of the week are ICOCalendar.Today, Lendroid Support Token and Commerce Data Connection.

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

Winners and Losers

“Blockchain, Komgo, Forcefield, Vakt, one of these will have to work to change how trade is being done. It’s a matter of time. When, I can’t tell, but I think it has to go paperless.”

– Ng Chuey Peng, managing director and head of global commodities finance at Singapore’s Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp Ltd. (OCBC), speaking about the trade finance industry

“I actually think we should shut down the cryptocurrencies.”

– Joseph Stiglitz, American economist and Nobel Prize winner

“Ultimately we want to be able to tokenize existing securities — equities, fixed income, funds. Maybe the token will eventually replace the share one day.”

– Thomas Zeeb, head of securities and exchanges and director at SIX

“If they came to us with a particular derivative that met our requirements, I think that there’s a good chance that it would be [allowed to be] self-certified by us.”

– Unnamed CFTC official speaking about ether futures

“I eventually want to have a fund where I take in bitcoin and I fund everybody in bitcoin and they pay their employees and suppliers in bitcoin and then I pay my investors in bitcoin.”

– Tim Draper

Prediction of the Week

Galaxy Digital CEO Michael Novogratz: Bitcoin Should Cross $20,000 Within 18 Months

Michael Novogratz, Galaxy Digital CEO, predicted this week that in his opinion, bitcoin will beat its all-time-high price within 18 months. During an interview, Novogratz added that $6,000 is a stall point, and the next one will be $10,000. The CEO also noted that altcoins were not likely to follow bitcoin’s rise, as they still have to prove their use cases. Illustrating his point with an allusion to the table of elements, Novogratz pointed out that out of the 118 elements present on the periodic table, only “gold has store of value just because.”

FUD of the Week

US Court Orders Craig Wright to Provide Bitcoin Ownership Records

The United States District Court of the Southern District of Florida issued an order this week that requires Craig Wright, the self-proclaimed Satoshi Nakamoto, to provide a list of his public bitcoin (BTC) addresses. The court’s order is part of a continuing case against Wright that has been filed by the estate of computer scientist David Kleiman over Wright’s purported thefts of hundreds of thousands of BTC. The plaintiffs had requested that the court make Wright turn over a list of the public addresses of bitcoin he owned as of Dec. 31, 2013, as well as identify all bitcoin allegedly transferred to a blind trust in 2011.

Chinese Social Media Giant WeChat Bans Crypto Transactions in Its Payment Policy

Chinese social media giant and payment service provider WeChat banned cryptocurrency transactions in its payments policy this week. According to a tweet with an alleged screenshot of the policy changes, users who engage in cryptocurrency trading will have their accounts terminated. The updated rules — coming into force on May 31 — state that “merchants may not engage in illegal transactions such as virtual currency," the issuance of tokens, selling pornography or online gambling. WeChat is a popular messaging and payments service provider in China with the overall number of users allegedly reaching 1.098 billion by the end of last year.

“It’s like being on the internet; so people can spin out and they can start owning bitcoin, they can start owning ether. Some percentage of the user base is likely to do so, and again I think that’s gonna be a dramatic catalyst.”

– Spencer Bogart, partner at Blockchain Capital, speaking about Facebook Coin

“Blockchain...very interesting development.”

– Charles, Prince of Wales

“An awful lot of our international power stems from the fact that the dollar is the standard unit of international finance and transactions [...] it is the announced purpose of the supporters of cryptocurrencies to take that power away from us.”

– United States Congressman Brad Sherman

“We should not be trying to guide innovation, but we also should recognize that we cannot stop it and embrace the potential for positive change that innovation offers. Our silence is likely to simply push this innovation and any attendant economic growth into other jurisdictions that have done their work and provided clear guidelines for the market participants to follow.”

– United States regulator and so-called “crypto momHester Peirce

“We have teams clearly working on blockchain and cryptocurrency as well, and we want to participate in that in whatever form it takes in the future. I just think it’s a little early on right now.”

– PayPal CFO John Rainey

Best Cointelegraph Features

Emin Gün Sirer on Rethinking Blockchain, Promoting Good Crypto Use and Leaving Stagnation Behind

Cornell University’s Emin Gün Sirer talks with Cointelegraph about the missions of academics to change the world, and about the new waves of projects to come.

India’s Complex Relationship with Crypto

In this latest analysis on India and cryptocurrency, Cointelegraph looks at how the Indian government has toyed with the idea of banning cryptocurrency in the past, and how their stance looks now.

A Landmark for the Blockchain Island

The Junior Minister for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation within the Office of the Prime Minister of Malta gives his thoughts on the new virtual financial assets acts, and how far Malta has gone as the Blockchain Island.

Hodler’s Digest, April 29 – May 5: Top Stories, Price Movements, Quotes and FUD of the Week

Stablecoin tether is apparently only backed 74% by cash reserves, and Elon Musk and Vitalik Buterin get friendly on Twitter.

Top Stories This Week

Fractional Reserve Stablecoin Tether Only 74% Backed by Fiat Currency, Say Lawyers

According to documents released by USD stablecoin tether’s (USDT) lawyers, the company behind the stablecoin only has enough fiat reserves to back a little less than three-quarters of its existing supply — 74%. Tether executives had previously publicly promised that each tether was backed one-to-one to the USD, a claim that has been disproven by the lawyers’ document release. The need to release the figures comes from the recent claims by the U.S. attorney general in New York that cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex, which shares its CEO with Tether, used reserves to plug holes left from a problematic outsourcing agreement earlier in 2018. The document notes that the funds are invested, and the arrangement mimics a fractional reserve system.

WSJ: Facebook Seeks Reported $1 Billion for FB Coin Amid Talks With Visa, MasterCard

According to a report from the Wall Street Journal this week, social media giant Facebook is seeking investments worth $1 billion for its rumored cryptocurrency stablecoin. Citing unnamed sources, the WSJ writes that Facebook is currently talking with payment networks Visa and MasterCard about potential support for the plan. The project, known as FB Coin, has already been rumored for about a year, with various options for its form, including an option for payments on a combination of WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Instagram. As Cointelegraph has previously reported, interest in a fiat-centric FB Coin has already reportedly come from within cryptocurrency circles, specifically in the form of VC investment mogul Tim Draper. The WSJ notes that a large fiat backing is necessary in order to avoid volatility.

Vitalik Buterin Tweets ETH Development Proposals After Elon Musk’s “Ethereum” Tweet Bait

Elon Musk, tech entrepreneur and Tesla CEO, and Ethereum’s co-founder Vitalik Buterin engaged in a relatively one-sided Twitter discussion this week after Musk tweeted one word: “Ethereum.” In response, Buterin extended an invitation for Musk to attend Ethereum’s DevCoin in October, with Musk parrying back with a question concerning future Ethereum network development. Buterin then laid out a five-point list of his top picks for the network’s development: the creation of a “globally accessible financial system, including payments, store of value [...] insurance,” as well as a disintermediated ETH-powered digital identity infrastructure. He also proposed the creation of registries and certificates that would be digitally signed, certified and even revoked on-chain.

ICE’s Bakkt Announces Acquisition of Digital Asset Custody Company

Bakkt, the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE)-lead institutional cryptocurrency trading platform, аcquired crypto custodian service Digital Asset Custody Company (DACC) this week. In an announcement of several new measures that reportedly aim to stimulate regulatory feedback, the entire DACC team will be joining Bakkt, with DACC’s native support of 13 blockchains and 100+ assets designed to “serve as an important accelerator.” Bakkt also revealed in the same post this week that it has filed an application with the New York Department of Financial Services to operate as a trust company, which will enable the firm to serve as a qualified custodian for digital assets.

Iota Partners With Jaguar Land Rover on Crypto Rewards Program, Price Jumps 20%

Jaguar Land Rover, a United Kingdom car manufacturer, will use blockchain network Iota as a pilot to reward drivers with crypto in exchange for data reporting. As part of a plan to better gather information on both road conditions and vehicle performance, Jaguar will distribute Iota tokens to “Smart Wallets” tied to participating drivers. The partnership is part of Jaguar’s “Destination Zero” scheme, which has the goal of tackling accidents, congestion and emissions within the automotive industry. According to one executive, the partnership could enable the users of autonomous cars in the future to participate in the sharing economy.

Winners and Losers

Bitcoin has ended the week slightly up, trading at around $5,777, ether at $163 and XRP at $0.30. Total market cap is at around $183 billion.

The top three altcoin gainers of the week are spectrum network, tronclassic and travelflex. The top three altcoin losers of the week are bizkey, atomic coin and block-chain.com.

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

Most Memorable Quotations

“Labor wants to address this, investing in Australians to develop job skills that are in high demand now and into the future.”

Ed Husic, Australia’s Shadow Minister for the Digital Economy

 

“Ethereum.”

Elon Musk

"There is an incredible amount of information moving with an international package. An incredible amount of paperwork [such as] certificates of origin, and certain commodities require specific licenses. That information moves sometimes in digital forms and sometimes paper forms. As we move toward a more digital world, blockchain is where you piece all that together."

Rob Carter, the chief information officer of American delivery services company FedEx

 

“The Commission anticipates new applications for clearinghouse registration resulting from the explosion of interest in cryptocurrencies; an area in which protection of the cryptocurrencies will be one of the highest risks.”

Christopher Giancarlo, chairman of the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)

 

“Both blockchain and industrial cannabis are the future, and both are embraced by the younger generation [...] we are always on the search for new business growth opportunities.”

Yao Yongjie, founding partner of the local government-backed Hangzhou Grandshores Fund

Prediction of the Week

Fundstrat’s Tom Lee Predicts New All-Time Highs for Crypto by 2020

Tom Lee, the founder of Fundstrat Global Advisors, predicted this week that crypto prices will hit a new historic high by 2020. In an interview with CNBC, Lee forecast that bitcoin’s projected upward growth is based on “11 signs that historically only take place in a bull market.” Out of those 11, three of the signs — blockchain, technical indicators and trading volumes — indicate that the crypto winter has come to an end. Lee notes that the trading volumes indicator is related to the increase in activity with over-the-counter brokers.

FUD of the Week

Hackers Used Microsoft Email Accounts to Steal Users’ Cryptocurrency, Report

Vice’s Motherboard reported this week that some users of Microsoft’s email services like Outlook, Hotmail and MSN have had their cryptocurrency holdings stolen. According to Microsoft, after an initial breach of consumer emails through a Microsoft support agent account took place earlier this year, hackers were reportedly able to change users’ passwords and access their crypto exchange accounts. Microsoft had initially reported that the contents of emails had not been accessible to the hackers, but reports have since surfaced that they had indeed been able to read email content.  

Number of Infected Electrum Bitcoin Wallets Reaches 152,000

With the ongoing Denial-of-Service (DoS) attack on the servers of the Electrum bitcoin (BTC) network, research this week found that the number of infected wallets has reached 152,000. Research firm Malwarebytes, stating that the volume of funds stolen is now at around $4.6 million, pinpointed a loader dubbed Trojan.BeamWinHTTP, which is also involved in downloading the previously detected Electrum DoSMiner. According to the research, most of the bots are located in the Asia Pacific region, Brazil and Peru, with the botnet that is attacking the Electrum infrastructure constantly growing. Cointelegraph had already reported in early April that the DoS attack on the Electrum network reportedly involved a malicious botnet of more than 140,000 machines.

SEC Suspends Trading in Securities of Crypto Exchange Bitcoin Generation

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has temporarily suspended securities trading at crypto exchange Bitcoin Generation. According to the SEC’s announcement, the suspension will be in effect from 9:30 p.m. EDT on April 29 until 11:59 p.m. EDT on May 10. The government regulator cites “concerns about the accuracy and adequacy of information in the marketplace” surrounding its outstanding common stock, promotional activities and the impact they had on the market, as well as the current financial condition of the company. The announcement urgest brokers and dealers not to enter quotations relating to Bitcoin Generation’s securities unless they strictly comply with the commission’s rules.

Best Cointelegraph Features

Bitcoin Surges Past $5,700 in Hours: Experts Explain Factors of Overnight Rally

After bitcoin’s price surge this week, Cointelegraph took some expert opinions that could explain how the top crypto hit its highest peak in about six months.

'Cryptokicks': What We Know About Nike’s Potential Gateway Into Crypto

When the media uncovered Nike’s trademark for “Cryptokicks” last week, speculation abounded as to how serious the sneaker giant was about getting into crypto. In this analysis, Cointelegraph runs down the likelyhood of “cryptokicks” being introduced to the market.

How Security Tokens Can Prevent an Impending Financial Crisis

As one could argue that cryptocurrencies, bitcoin specifically, were created as a way to prevent a future repeat of the 2008 financial crisis, three technology and financial experts weigh in on the importance they see in security tokens.

Hodler’s Digest, April 22–28: Top Stories, Price Movements, Quotes and FUD of the Week

Bitfinex and Tether deny the New York attorney general’s claims of a lost $850 million, and Samsung considers a Samsung Coin.

Top stories this week

Bitfinex Allegedly Covers $850 Million Loss With Tether Funds

The New York attorney general’s office alleged this week that crypto exchange Bitfinex lost $850 million and subsequently used funds from affiliated stablecoin operator Tether to secretly cover the shortfall. The attorney general’s office has obtained a court filing that alleged that Bitfinex’s operator, Tether Limited and its associated entities were in violation of New York law with activities that may have defrauded New York-based crypto investors. Bitfinex has already publicly renounced the accusations, repeating in a blog post that both its platform and Tether are financially sound and claiming the court filings are “riddled with false assertions.” Amid the allegations, Bitfinex withdrew funds worth almost $90 million from its cold wallet.

WSJ: Japanese Billionaire SoftBank Founder Lost $130 Million on Bitcoin Investment

Masayoshi Son, a Japanese billionaire and the founder of multinational conglomerate SoftBank Group, reportedly lost over $130 million with his bitcoin (BTC) investment. According to unnamed sources speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Son invested at the recommendation of Peter Briger, the co-chairman of asset management company Fortress Investment Group. However, Son allegedly invested in bitcoin when it was near its $20,000 all-time-high in late 2017 and sold during the 2018 bear market, losing $130 million. According to Bloomberg, Son’s net worth is $18.8 billion and has grown by more than 54% over the last year.

Report: Samsung Planning New Blockchain Mainnet Featuring Samsung Coin

According to unnamed sources speaking to a crypto industry publication, South Korean electronics giant Samsung is possibly developing a public-private blockchain with its own cryptocurrency, the Samsung Coin. The sources note that the alleged project would be developed by the company’s dedicated blockchain division, and that it would take the form of a blockchain mainnet based on Ethereum. The Ethereum-based offering, according to the reports, would probably incorporate elements of both public and private details, noting that he or she thinks “it will be hybrid — that is, a combination of public and private blockchains.”

Unconfirmed: Disney Considers $13.2 Billion Equity Deal With Stake in Korbit, Bitstamp

If a $13.2 billion equity deal goes through, cryptocurrency exchanges Korbit and Bitstamp could soon have Walt Disney Corp. as their owner. According to a Korean news outlet, the chairman of online gaming giant NXC Corporation, Jung-ju Kim, plans to sell his 98.6% stake in the company. Since NXC owns 47% of Nexon, South Korea’s largest game developer — which has stakes in the aforementioned cryptocurrency exchange — Disney would become a coincidental player in the cryptocurrency, pending the deal’s closure. To date, Disney’s only foray into the cryptocurrency sphere has been its Dragonchain blockchain, which has remained a fringe project despite a 2017 initial coin offering (ICO) raising around $13 million.

‘Blockchain Bandit’ Has Stolen 45,000 ETH by Guessing Weak Private Keys, Report Claims

According to a report released by Independent Security Evaluators, a so-called “blockchain bandit” has amassed almost 45,000 ethers (ETH) by successfully guessing weak private keys. Adrian Bednarek, a senior security analyst, discovered the hacker accidentally after uncovering 732 private keys through his research, using a combination of looking for faulty code and faulty random number generators rather than a brute force search. Looking at the findings, Bednarek realized that some of the wallets associated with the private keys he had found had a high volume of transactions going to a single address, with no money coming back out. At the end of ETH’s value, the total amount of ether allegedly stolen was equal to around $50 million.

Winners and losers

Bitcoin is a bit down at the end of the week, trading at around $5,300. Ether is trading at about $159, XRP at $0.29 and total market cap is at around $172 billion.

The top three altcoin gainers of the week are speedcash, commerce data connection and ACRE. The top three altcoin losers of the week are spectrum network, womencoin and icechain.

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

Most memorable quotations

“We have been investing for the last year to re-architect our entire platform to support multiple blockchains in the face of global regulation. Global regulation of the cryptocurrency industry is inevitable for this truly borderless financial system to achieve mainstream adoption.”

Jonathan Levin, Chainalysis co-founder and chief operating officer

“My entire life I’ve been tracking people who are the best in the world, and hiding their identity. Finding Satoshi was a piece of cake for me.”

John McAfee, American entrepreneur and stalwart crypto advocate

 

"What is preventing the banking industry from rushing into it? I think it's mostly culture. I think the tipping point is about having an entrepreneurial culture, a willingness to push people to keep asking why.”

Emmanuel Aidoo, head of digital market assets at Credit Suisse

FUD of the week

Research: White Paper Writers Can Earn $50K, but Say Startups Often Mislead Investors

According to a Decrypt investigation, white paper writers are earning between $1,000 and $50,000 per job. However, a number of them have accused some startups of asking them to mislead investors. As part of the investigation, freelancers that were interviewed said that they were “constantly required to fabricate and exaggerate facts,” including the addition of fake numbers and inventing entire business models for their clients. One anonymous United States-based white paper writer noted that copyright infringement often occurs, as startup executives ask writers to include details of patented technology belonging to rival companies. Notably, those interviewed said they have reported a recent uptick in demand for white paper writing.

Coinbase Files to Close Its Political Action Committee

Major U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has filed to close its political action committee (PAC) this week. According to the filing, Coinbase’s PAC received no funds nor make any disbursements, and is now seeking to terminate the PAC. According to the regulations, a PAC must file a termination report in order to cease operations once it no longer intends to make or receive contributions or expenditures. Coinbase had formed the PAC in July of last year, becoming a founding member of the Blockchain Association in September — Washington D.C.’s first lobby group to exclusively represent the interests of the blockchain industry.

Report: India Considers Complete Ban on Digital Currencies

According to an unnamed official familiar with the matter, a draft bill that would ban cryptocurrency is allegedly circulating among various departments of the Indian government. The draft bill, dubbed the “Banning of Cryptocurrencies and Regulation of Official Digital Currencies Bill 2019,” is reportedly part of inter-ministerial consultations. A committee made up of various economic and investor protection departments of the Indian government has allegedly supported the idea to completely ban the “sale, purchase and issuance of all types of cryptocurrency.” According to the source, this committee is reportedly considering an option to ban digital currency under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, as it can be used for money laundering.

Best Cointelegraph features

IMF Spring Meetings: Digital Money Is Imminent, but No Decentralization in Sight

In some small but important steps for adoption, the IMF’s Spring Meetings touched on the positive disruption that blockchain can bring, as well as the possibilities opened by a central bank digital currency.

The Burst of the Bitcoin Bubble: An Autopsy

Marcello Minnena of the quantitative analysis and financial innovation unit in Consob gives an analysis of what’s been going on with the top crypto’s behavior and where a floor may possibly be.

Mutual Owners, Mutual Funds: What We Know About the Bitfinex/Tether Scandal

After this week’s ongoing scandal involving Bitfinex, Tether and the U.S. Attorney General, Cointelegraph gives an overview of all of the events of this relatively confusing situation.

Hodler’s Digest, April 8–14: Top Stories, Price Movements, Quotes and FUD of the Week

Bloomberg calls Bitcoin a bubble yet again, and Facebook is seemingly looking for $1 billion from VC firms for its stablecoin.

Top Stories This Week

NYT Reporter: Facebook Seeking $1 Billion in Venture Capital for Crypto Project

According to a tweet by New York Times (NYT) tech reporter Nathaniel Popper, Facebook is reportedly looking to various venture capital firms to develop its digital token that has been previously reported on. Popper, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter, said that Facebook is seeking $1 billion to develop its cryptocurrency project, which itself has not been publicly confirmed by the company. The Times reporter also noted that the project involves a stablecoin that would be pegged to a basket of foreign currencies held in bank accounts.

Chinese Traders Pay Extra for Bitcoin Through OTC Desks Amid Crypto Market Surge

Local Chinese social media sources said that Bitcoin’s (BTC) price surge last week has led Chinese traders to pay a premium in order to trade the cryptocurrency. According to an analysis of price spreads from cryptocurrency exchanges Huobi and OKEx, cnLedger highlighted how Chinese traders are paying more in order to acquire Bitcoin. Since China formally banned crypto trading in the country in 2017, investors have had to resort to creative methods in order to deal in Bitcoin. In the analysis, cnLedger notes that a principal way to avoid the ban is to buy stablecoins such as Tether (USDT) via over-the-counter (OTC) services and convert them into other cryptocurrencies

Top Stories This Week

Top-Subscribed YouTuber PewDiePie Partners With Blockchain

PewDiePie, the personality behind the most subscribed channel on YouTube, announced this week that he will start streaming on blockchain video platform DLive as of April 14. Dlive is a blockchain-powered broadcasting app with a rewards system for content creators and will become the exclusive platform for livestreaming the famous Swedish YouTuber, Felix Kjellberg — aka PewDiePie. The platform currently has 3 million monthly users and 35,000 active streamers, while PewDiePie on YouTube has over 93 million subscribers and 21 billion video views, as of April 2019. PewDiePie’s move to Dlive comes as the Swede faced backlash over his alleged ties to white supremacism, as his channel was mentioned by the Christchurch gunman prior to his attack on two New Zealand mosques.

Bitcoin at Most Overbought Level Since Record Bull Run: Bloomberg Analyst

Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Mike McGlone claimed this week that Bitcoin is at its most overbought level since its record highs in December 2017, citing BTC’s GTI Global Strength Indicator. Bloomberg writes that similar buy patterns in the past have resulted in multi-week downturns, citing McGlone as referring to Bitcoin as a bubble. McGlone states that the recent market growth came about due to a long-term price compression and low volatility, causing the price to be “released from the cage.” Bloomberg also cites David Tawil, president of crypto hedge fund ProChain Capital, who reportedly expects the market to continue its downward trend.

Top Stories This Week

Coinbase Crypto Exchange Debuts Visa Card for U.K. Customers

Major United States cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has launched Coinbase Card, which will enable its United Kingdom-based customers to pay both in-store and online with cryptocurrency. The card itself is a Visa debit card that is powered by users’ Coinbase account crypto balances, allowing purchases to be made globally by instantly converting customers’ crypto funds into fiat. The Coinbase Card has also been released for iOS and Android, linking Coinbase accounts with the app and allowing users to select which wallet will fund their card, as well as allowing access for receipts, transaction summaries and spending categories. The card is issued by authorized and regulated electronic money institution Paysafe Financial Services Limited.

Winners and Losers

The crypto markets are holding slightly down by the end of the week, with Bitcoin around $5,099, Ethereum at $165 and XRP about $0.33. Total market cap is around $172 billion.

The top three altcoin gainers of the week are BunnyCoin, WomenCoin and Block-Chain.com. The top three altcoin losers of the week are dietbitcoin, Cryptrust and ContractNet.

Winners and Losers

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

Most Memorable Quotations

“This is a stark contrast to the development you see with things like EOS or with Ethereum with Casper, where they kind of adopt this lone samurai viewpoint.”

Charles Hoskinson, the co-founder of Ethereum (ETH) and IOHK, the company behind Cardano (ADA), speaking on the idea of development with open protocols

“I have learned about how blockchain is having a huge impact on supply chain management, and how an app in Britain can help the public report modern slavery at car washes.”

Princess Eugenie, the granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth, who founded the Anti-Slavery Collective in Britain in 2017

Most Memorable Quotations

“Blockchain is like a spreadsheet on steroids that can automate certain tasks, build greater transparency, speed and reliability, and provide a single source of transactional information.”

David R. Jarczyk, innovation principal and tax leader for blockchain at KPMG

“Now it’s a question of duration and I suspect when you have such a massive bubble, you’ll always have an overhang of people who need to sell.”

Mike McGlone, Bloomberg Intelligence analyst

FUD of the Week

Singapore Police Secure First Convictions Against OneCoin MLM Scheme Agents

Authorities in Singapore have charged two men for promoting crypto multi-level marketing (MLM) scheme OneCoin in what is touted as the first case of its kind for the city-state. The two unnamed men reportedly engaged in activities that incorporated a subsidiary in order to promote OneCoin, in addition to signing up new members and accepting investments in return for education courses and OneCoin tokens. Singapore’s central bank had previously added OneCoin to its Investor Alert List, and various governments around the world have also issued warnings against the MLM scam, advising consumers not to interact or invest in OneCoin. While one founder was recently arrested in the U.S., the other remains at large following the indictment.

Canadian Crypto Exchange QuadrigaCX Officially Declared Bankrupt

QuadrigaCX, the embattled Canadian crypto exchange, has officially been declared bankrupt. The exchange’s bankruptcy was reportedly approved by the Nova Scotia Supreme Court following the court monitor’s earlier recommendation to do so. At the time, Ernst & Young’s legal team had put forward the argument that the restructuring process should instead be shifted to bankruptcy proceedings, meaning that the monitor will now have enhanced investigative powers. QuadrigaCX had previously filed for creditor protection when it apparently lost access to its cold wallet funds following the unexpected death of its founder in December 2018.

Electrum Faces Another Fake Wallet Attack, Users Reported to Lose Millions of Dollars

Bitcoin wallet service Electrum faced another Denial-of-Service (DoS) attack on its servers this week. According to media outlets, this most recent attack has resulted in the loss of millions of dollars (the exact sum unconfirmed) with a single user allegedly losing about $140,000. The attack works by referring users to fake versions of Electrum software by employing a malicious botnet of more than 140,000 machines. The company has recommended that its users upgrade their software versions older than 3.3 and not download software from any source besides the official site. Last December, Electrum faced a similar attack that led to a loss of about $937,000 worth of Bitcoin.

Best Cointelegraph Feature

Will China Ban Crypto Mining?

After this week’s relatively unexpected publication by a Chinese government agency about a possible ban on crypto mining, Cointelegraph takes a look into how serious the idea is, and who and what will be affected in what is unarguably the largest crypto mining sector in the world.

Facebook, Twitter and Telegram: A New Crypto Paradigm or a Glorified Voucher Program?

As more unconfirmed news surrounding Facebook’s secretive crypto project surfaced this week, Cointelegraph analyzes what it would mean for one of the biggest, and possibly most untrusted, institutions in the world to issue their own cryptocurrency.

Hodler’s Digest, April 1–7: Top Stories, Price Movements, Quotes and FUD of the Week

This week, PayPal ventured into blockchain for the first time, and Coinbase turns to cross-border payments.

Top Stories This Week

PayPal Invests in Digital Identity-Focused Blockchain Startup in Apparent First

Global online payments firm PayPal has invested in startup Cambridge Blockchain, a firm that focuses on leveraging the tech in order to give users more control over their digital identities. The investment, whose amount is undisclosed, is part of an extension to a Series A funding round that had raised an initial $7 million in May 2018. The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has stated that Cambridge Blockchain raised a total of $3.5 million in new equity since May 2018. Cambridge Blockchain has notably joined major players such as Microsoft, IBM, Mastercard, and Accenture to collaborate under the canopy of a non-profit organization dubbed the Decentralized Identity Foundation.

SEC Staff Publish Framework for Determining If Digital Assets Are Investment Contracts

Staff at the U.S. SEC have published a framework that will help market participants figure out if a digital asset is deemed to be an investment contract, and therefore a security. The framework is not a rule, regulation, or statement of the U.S. Commission, but is the work of two of the SEC’s commissioners: Bill Hinman, director of the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance and Valerie Szczepanik, Senior Advisor for Digital Assets and Innovation — also known as the “crypto czar.” The framework focuses on the economic reality of the transaction itself and “what character the instrument is given in commerce by the terms of the offer, the plan of distribution, and the economic inducements held out to the prospect.”

Coinbase Expands Into Cross-Border Payments

Major U.S. crypto exchange and wallet Coinbase stated this week that it has expanded into cross-border payments. The entity’s development means that Coinbase customers can now transfer funds to any other user with a Coinbase account globally using both (XRP) and the exchange’s stablecoin USDCoin (USDC) with no fee. Coinbase also made the news again this week when it announced that the insurance coverage for its hot wallet crypto holdings is covering a $255 million limit through a Lloyd’s of London-registered broker. According to Coinbase’s chief information security officer, the coverage focuses on protecting theft by hacking, a high risk consumer lost scenario.

Pakistan’s Central Bank Aims to Issue Its Own Digital Currency by 2025

The deputy governor of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Jameel Ahmad, said this week that the institution plans to issue their own digital currency by 2025. A statement was made during a speech about the launch of Electronic Money Institutions, when Ahmad noted that the central bank is already working on their central bank digital currency (CBDC) as a way to financial inclusion and efficiency and combat corruption. According to Ahmad, the CBDC will only be deployed in 2030. As previously reported, Pakistan is in the process of implementing new cryptocurrency regulations in an effort to improve its track record fighting financial crime.

Bloomberg: Bitcoin's Recent Renaissance Could Be Linked to Algorithmic Trading

Bloomberg reported this week that the recent cryptocurrency market jump could be linked to algorithmic trading. The trading method uses automated software to detect trends and determine when trades should be made, and Bloomberg states that the industry has seen 17 new algo or quantitative funds launched since September. According to Bloomberg’s data, algo funds reported gains of between 3 and 10% per month during the past crypto winter, while crypto funds lost a total of around 72% during the same time.

Winners and Losers

Winners and Losers

The crypto markets are still trading high at the end of the week, with Bitcoin at $5,158, Ethereum around $168 and Ripple at $0.36. Total market cap is around $180 billion.

The top three altcoin gainers of the week are EZOOW, Cryptrust and Luna Coin. The top three altcoin losers of the week are Sharpe Platform Token, Guaranteed Ethurance Token and dietbitcoin.

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

Most Memorable Quotations

“In today’s economy, there is less and less time to build trust in the way it happened in the past. To fight cancer, to balance renewable energy, to trace the authenticity of goods, actors must be able to trust one another without meeting face-to-face. And how can we achieve this? Of course, with the help of blockchain.”

Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society

 

“All indications that we have — whether it be fundamentals, technicals, the quantitative analysis we do — all suggest that we probably have at least started to put in the bottoming process.”

Brian Kelly, founder and CEO of digital currency investment firm BKCM LLC

 

“As soon as there is news about [CBDC issuance] the people in crypto get excited and say, see it’s becoming mainstream [...] but if you look carefully about what they want to do, if and when they’re going to do it, it’s not going to be blockchain, it’s not going to be crypto [...] it’s going to be on a single ledger, secured.”

Nouriel Roubini, American economist and notorious crypto critic

 

“Shorts are liquidated, there were short squeezes, more people jumped onto the hype, and a lot of news media always look for a trigger to cause big drops and big rises. I would say more than half the time they are just trying to match news to something that it did not necessarily need news to happen.”

Tone Vays, Bitcoin analyst

 

“We are poised to achieve ten thousand times their capacity.”

Andreas Antonopoulos, crypto entrepreneur, speaking about extant payment systems such as Visa and MasterCard

 

“Blockchain has the potential to virtually exclude loss, distortion, or forgery of vital log data in all aviation sectors where certificates are issued and controlled.”

Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, president of the United Nation’s specialized agency for aviation

Prediction of the Week

Brian Kelly Says Next Target for Bitcoin is $6,000, With Crypto Markets Bottoming

Brian Kelly, the founder and CEO of digital currency investment firm BKCM LLC, has predicted that Bitcoin’s next target price is going to be $6,000. Speaking in an interview with CNBC, Kelly stated that $6,000 was a reasonable price point, his comments coming in the aftermath of this week’s price surge that saw Bitcoin’s price jump by over 15 percent to reach over $5,000 for the first time since November 2018. Kelly put forward the idea that the influx of institutional investors is one of the reasons behind the price upswing.

FUD of the Week

Ernst & Young Argues That Crypto Exchange QuadrigaCX Should Be Placed in Bankruptcy

Big Four audit firm Ernst & Young (EY), which is working with now-defunct Canadian crypto exchange QuadrigaCX, said this week that the exchange should be placed in bankruptcy rather than being restructured. The exchange had been undergoing legal proceedings since it reportedly lost access to its cold wallet holdings after the unexpected death of its founder, Gerald Cotten, in December 2018. In EY’s new report, they propose that the ongoing restructuring process should be shifted to an alternative bankruptcy process. The benefits of shifting to proceedings under the BIA, the report argues, include the fact that bankruptcy “would allow for the potential sale of assets, including but not limited to Quadriga’s operating platform.”

Research: Ethereum-Based Prediction Market Augur Currently Faces a Design Flaw Attack

Ethereum-based (ETH) prediction market Augur currently has a design flaw attack, according to research made by crypto exchange Binance. The attack mentioned in the report involves a controversial market that bets on the price of ETH at the end of March, but has a discrepancy over the actual ending time of the contract versus the title. According to the research, this discrepancy could cause the contract to be deemed invalid, dividing the contributions to give back to users at one third of their value. Binance notes that this flaw could be taken advantage of by bad actors: an Augur executive has already said that the next Augur upgrade will work towards a solution.

Canadian Police Freezes Assets of FUEL Token Issuers due to Alleged $22 Million Fraud

Canadian police have frozen assets of the founders of blockchain consulting firm Vanbex, which raised $22 million in an alleged fraudulent initial coin offering (ICO). According to Canadian court documents, Vanbex founders Kevin Hobbs and Lisa Cheng were operating a shell company that developed no usable products, and had used the money in the ICO on property and cars for themselves. Vanbex’s founder Cheng told Cointelegraph in a statement that the firm “knows with certainty that false claims by a former contractor have created files with several government agencies” as part of her denial of the Canadian courts’ allegations.

Best Cointelegraph Features

A Guilty Verdict, Impatient Creditors and a Resurrecting Movement: Mt. Gox Saga Continues

The 2011 Mt. Gox hack remains the largest cryptocurrency hack of all time. In light of the recent guilty verdict for Mark Karpeles, the defunct exchange’s ex-CEO, Cointelegraph looks at how much has changed (and not changed) in the aftermath for those affected by Mt. Gox.

‘Free’ Money: How Students Mine Cryptocurrency in Their Dorm Rooms

Cointelegraph examines the recently publicized phenomenon of college students reportedly mining cryptocurrencies in their rooms. Who pays for the bills? How much money can they actually earn? Cointelegraph answers those questions and more.

Hodler’s Digest, March 25–31: Top Stories, Price Movements, Quotes and FUD of the Week

This week saw the hacks of several large cryptocurrency exchanges, while the SEC pushed back their BTC ETF decision.

Top Stories This Week

Owner of ICO That Never Happened Attempts to Sell Project on eBay for $60,000

The owner of a crypto-related startup dubbed Sponsy, which never launched its initial coin offering (ICO), is attempting to sell the project on eBay for $60,000. The project is described as a blockchain-related identity that is able to launch both an ICO and a security token offering (STO), with the author of the posting claiming that the project was both audited by an investment firm and approved by several investment banks. Sponsy also claims to have a solid social presence, although its Twitter and Facebook page posts have around ten likes on average. The eBay poster noted in an interview that he lost out on the ICO craze by taking time to develop a product, rather than first launching an offering.

Over 130-Year-Old Liquor Company William Grant & Sons to Track Whiskey on Blockchain

Premium scotch whisky brand Ailsa Bay, which is owned by William Grant & Sons (WG&S), a liquor company founded in 1887, is set to launch what it claims to be the world’s first scotch whisky tracked on the blockchain. According to the company, the whisky will be tracked in collaboration with blockchain firm arc-net, which will develop the new products and a system to track manufacturing from distillery to store. The reason behind the blockchain tracking is to prevent whisky counterfeiting in the United Kingdom, as well as allow the firm to gather data on both existing and potential customers by employing location systems for the purchases.

Tim Draper Urges Argentina’s President to Legalize Bitcoin to Improve Economy

When speaking to Argentine president Mauricio Macri, crypto bull and investor Tim Draper said that the legalization of Bitcoin (BTC) in the country could help improve their economic situation. During the meeting, Draper noted that the use of blockchain and crypto could help improve major economic problems, including the devaluation of the Argentine peso (ARS). Draper also reportedly proposed a humorous bet, stating that if the peso would be valued more than Bitcoin, he would double his investment in the country, but if BTC became higher than the peso, Argentina would have to declare the crypto a national currency.

Weiss Crypto Ratings Puts Bitcoin Aside EOS and XRP in Annual Outlook

The newest Weiss Crypto Ratings and given top cryptocurrency Bitcoin an “A,” along with Ripple (XRP) and EOS. In the report, which was based on an analysis of 120 cryptocurrencies, letter grades were assigned based on an evaluation of the possibilities for adoption and technology. XRP received the “A” ranking as it is well-positioned to compete with global interbank system SWIFT, while EOS was noted as making a solid attempt to become the “backbone of the new internet.” Bitcoin’s “A” ranking was due to its Lightning Network upgrade and use as of store of value. However, another ranking based on risk and reward factors failed to give any cryptocurrencies an “A.” The three currencies are followed by Ethereum (A-) and Cardano (B+).

 Crypto Exchange Bithumb Reportedly Hacked of Almost $19 Mln in EOS and XRP

Crypto exchange Bithumb reported this weekend that they have experienced a hack of an unknown amount, and are currently working with various law enforcement on the issue. The exchange notes that withdrawals and deposits have been temporarily paused, and that the loss does not affect users’ funds, but only those of the exchange. Unconfirmed reports state that around 3 million EOS (around $12.5 million) and 20 million Ripple (about $6.2 million) are the funds lost. The company’s post about the hack indicates that it was an insider job, but the details are as of yet unspecified.

Winners and Losers

The crypto market has ended with week with Bitcoin well above $4,100, Ethereum is at $143 and Ripple at about $.31. Total market cap is $144 billion.

Top three altcoin gainers of the week are AICHAIN, BBSCoin and HondaisCoin. Top three altcoin losers of the week are Luna Coin, Crowdvilla Ownership and Coinonat.

Winners and Losers

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

Most Memorable Quotations

“All of the big tech companies will come and say blockchain, blockchain, blockchain. I say, ‘Show me the use case. You bring me the use case and I'll try it.’”

Catherine Bessant, Bank of America (BoA) chief technology officer

 

“If Quadriga was licensed under the Bermuda Monetary Authority, what has happened would not have been able to happen, because we have rules regarding the custody of master keys and making sure they’re not held by a particular individual.”

David Burt, Premier of Bermuda

“One of my theses here is that the cypherpunks’ attempts to get into the money business forced them to realize some other things along the way. And [one of those things] is that money is a fundamentally social thing in a much deeper way than, say, two-party encrypted communication You have to start thinking about governance, social contracts, common shared expectations in this community, how do changes get made, how do we decide how changes get made, how do we discuss things. These are all very political things.”

Vitalik Buterin, speaking at the RadicalxChange conference

 

"I do believe that the regulators right now are a little careful about just rubber stamping anything as it relates to crypto. You are going to have to have an offering that the regulators are going to have to get comfortable. And I think it is hard to get comfortable with something that is so new like this.”

Terry Duffy, CEO of United States derivative market CME Group

 

"What we are seeing is a collection of standards being created [that] will inevitably converge over the next three to five years to create a situation where you can move information and value between all these different systems ー not just Bitcoin to Litecoin to Ethereum to Cardano ー but also your regular bank account.”

Charles Hoskinson, a founder of IOHK, the firm that developed cryptocurrency Cardano (ADA)

Prediction of the Week

Sharp Bitcoin Rally in 2019 Unlikely

According to Emmanuel Goh, a former JPMorgan Chase derivatives trader and founder of crypto data firm Skew, Bitcoin is unlikely to recover its former five-digit highs in 2019. Goh has noted that, according to options traders, there is a five percent chance that Bitcoin will reach $10,000 by September of this year. The trader also noted that there is even a $20,000 call option for this June, but the probability of BTC reaching that price is zero, as it was likely a “bullish trade that was made last year when investors were still discussing the short-term possibility of making new highs.”

FUD of the Week

US SEC Delays Decision on Bitcoin ETF Applications From VanEck and Bitwise

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has again delayed its decision on a rule change to the Securities Act that would allow the listing of Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded funds (ETF). According to the latest notice, the SEC has extended the period to 90 days, after Bitwise’s Feb. 15 application reached the end of its 45-day time period. According to the extension, the SEC must now reach a decision on the rule change by May 16, 2019. The two firms, NYSE ARCA and Bitwise, had announced their recent plans to launch Bitcoin ETFs in January, with the former intending to launch five separate ETFs linked to both bull and bear futures contracts on NYSE Arca. The SEC has also extended its decision on the VanEck/CBOE Bitcoin ETF

Analysts Claim CoinBene Transactions, Recent Activity ‘Consistent’ With Exchange Hack

Elementus, a blockchain infrastructure firm, published details of recent transactions at crypto exchange CoinBene that they consider to be suspicious in the wake of a presumed hack. After $105 million in crypto was moved from the exchange’s hot wallet this week, CoinBene had assured users that it was a period of unforeseen maintenance responsible for the suspicious activity. Elementus has noted that they are not contradicting what CoinBene has claimed, but that their findings are consistent with the modus operandi for how hack are normally carried out, as the amount of crypto transferred is large and was quickly sold.

Android Malware Targets Users of 32 Crypto Apps, Including Coinbase, BitPay

According to research, a new strain of Trojan malware for Android phones is now targeting the global users of cryptocurrency apps including Coinbase, BitPay and Bitcoin Wallet, as well as banks including JPMorgan, Wells Fargo and Bank of America. Cybercrime analytics firm Group-IB noted that this is the first time that the Trojan, dubbed Gustaff, has been reported or analyzed, and that it is described as being designed for mass infections and spread by SMS messages linked to load malicious Android package kit files. The group notes that the malware’s creators have made a system that increases the scale of thefts by triggering autofills of payment fields for legitimate Android apps to maliciously reroute transfers to the hackers.

Best Cointelegraph Features

The Lightning Torch: How the Community United to Teach Jack Dorsey About Feeless, Rapid Off-Chain Transactions

After Twitter’s Jack Dorsey joined the Lightning Network Torch recently, awareness of the second-layer solutions both benefits and drawbacks have become more debated in the crypto ecosystem. Cointelegraph examines how the LN has changed over time, and how Dorsey’s reference to the technology has brought it more into the public eye.

Indian Street Protests for Cryptocurrency

After the Reserve Bank of India’s ban on crypto dealings last year, the crypto community is coming together again, this time in the form of a series of blockchain supporter rallies held across the country. With the fourth rally set for Bangalore, Cointelegraph looks at the possible public impact of this movement.

Meet the 21 Year-Old Entrepreneur Trying to Sell His Failed ICO on Ebay

After an eBay listing for a cryptocurrency- and blockchain-related project was posted with a price tag of $60,000, Cointelegraph reached out to the lister himself to find out what happened with the project that led him to sell it online in this particular format.

Crypto Exchange Bithumb Reportedly Hacked

According to crypto exchange Bithumb, the exchange detected unusual withdrawal activity.

Today, March 30, crypto exchange Bithumb posted on Twitter that their cryptocurrency withdrawals and deposits have temporarily been paused.

In an explanation linked to the tweet, the exchange writes that at 10:15 (time zone unknown) on the 29th, they detected what they describe as abnormal withdrawals through their monitoring system.

The exchange continues that they have “secured all the cryptocurrency from the detection time with a cold wallet and checked them by blocking deposit and withdrawal service.”

According to the translated note, the incident was an “accident involving insiders” and they are conducting investigations with security companies, the cyber police agency, and KISA.

A tweet from crypto user Dovey Wan wrote that more than 3 million EOS (around $12.5 million) has been transferred at Bithumb’s cold storage level, but this is unconfirmed.

In June 2018, Bithumb had suffered a hack of around $30 million in cryptocurrencies. In the investigation after the hack, the exchange recovered $14 million of the stolen funds.

Cointelegraph will update this story as it continues.

Last week, it was reported that BitHumb is currently cutting up to 50 percent of its workforce.

As Cointelegraph also recently reported, data scientists at blockchain infrastructure firm Elementus have published details of recent transactions from crypto exchange CoinBene that they consider to be suspect, beginning with $105 million in crypto swiftly being moved out of the exchange’s hot wallet.

Hodler’s Digest, March 18–24: Hodler’s Digest, Top Stories, Price Movements, Quotes and FUD of the Week

The QuadrigaCX story gets stranger as the criminal past of one founder is allegedly revealed, while IBM gets more into blockchain.

Top Stories This Week

Six Global Banks Sign Up to Issue Stablecoins on IBM’s Now-Live Blockchain Network

This week, six international banks signed letters of intent to issue their own stablecoins — which will be backed by their national fiat currencies — on IBM’s now-live blockchain-powered payments network, “World Wire.” According to the joint announcement by IBM and Stellar, the World Wire has gone live with over 44 banks on its service, supporting 47 currencies in 72 countries. The IBM project was launched with Stellar in September 2018, and plans to expand the blockchain-powered settlement network to further assets. The first six banks publicly signed on include Brazil’s Banco Bradesco, South Korea’s Bank Busan and the Philippines’ Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation.

Payment Service Square Is Hiring Crypto Engineers, Offers Salaries in Bitcoin

Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted this week that United States-based payment platform Square is hiring cryptocurrency engineers with the option of getting a salary in digital currency. According to Dorsey, the open, remote positions will involve full-time work on open source contributions to both the Bitcoin (BTC) and cryptocurrency ecosystem, as opposed to working on Square’s commercial interests. In another tweet, Dorsey noted that the idea of paying employees in crypto is part of the overall aim of improving the broader crypto ecosystem.

Largest Swiss Online Retailer Digitec Galaxus Now Accepts Cryptocurrencies

Digitec Galaxus, the leading Swiss online retailer, will now accept payments in ten different cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Bitcoin SV (BSV), Ethereum (ETH), Ripple (XRP), Binance Coin (BNB), Litecoin (LTC), Tron (TRX), NEO (NEO) and OmiseGO (OMG) for purchases worth over CHF 200 (about $200). The retailer’s new payment method has been developed along with Swiss payment processor Datatrans and Danish crypto payments startup Coinify. The firm has also added a crypto wallet category with a dedicated guide and blog post explaining various facets of the crypto industry.

US Payment Giant Visa Seeks Crypto and Blockchain Talent for Tech Product Manager

American payment services firm Visa is advertising for a crypto and blockchain-related job opening at its Palo Alto office. The job at Visa Fintech, which is titled Technical Product Manager, requires an employee that will be responsible for managing Visa’s product strategy execution in the cryptocurrency sphere, making the roadmap for the firm’s crypto-related opportunities. The job listing notes that a candidate must have knowledge of the crypto industry and its main players, an understanding of distributed ledger technology, and familiarity with the current retail payment solutions.

QuadrigaCX Co-Founder Michael Patryn Is Actually Convicted Criminal Omar Dhanani: Report

According to a report from Bloomberg this week, the co-founder of the controversial QuadrigaCX exchange reportedly has a criminal past and spent time in a U.S. federal prison. Michael Patryn, according to Canadian legal documents, changed his name twice from his birth name of Omar Dhanani after being deported to Canada following identity theft charges related to bank and credit card fraud. Patryn reportedly left Quadriga in 2016, and was not associated with the exchange when its other co-founder Gerald Cotten died and left $145 in clients crypto assets missing. Patryn has denied any connection to Omar Dhanani.

Winners and Losers

The crypto market has ended with week with Bitcoin still trading over $4,000, at about $4,020, Ethereum is at $137 and Ripple at about $.31. Total market cap is $139 billion.

The top three altcoin gainers of the week are ContractNet, FreiCoin and RoboCall. The top three altcoin losers of the week are Skeincoin, Argus and Blacer Coin.

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

Most Memorable Quotations

“If you can’t handle price swings you probably shouldn’t be investing or starting a company. Start-ups feel like that too. We are good at dealing with that; that’s why we are in this game.”

Cameron Winklevoss

“Ultimately behind the scenes, they [crypto innovators] are going to have to use a bank to move funds. There’s more partnership instead of competition in that space.”

Ron Karpovich, Global Head of eCommerce Solutions at JPMorgan Chase

“You've got the math and the cryptography that dictates the rules on the protocol. The difference is that the applications and companies built on top of those protocols are run by humans, and we all know they are fallible. That's where the oversight comes into play.”

Sterling Witzke, Winklevoss Capital

“We have a very interactive process with all the entities that come before us and [are] working diligently with all the applicants to process their applications and get their products on the market. But we need to ensure that a crypto product, just like any other product that’s traded on our markets, meets all the standards.”

Dan Berkovitz, CFTC commissioner

“Central banks do not put a brake on innovations just for the sake of it. But neither should they speed ahead disregarding all traffic conditions.”

Agustin Carstens, General Manager at the Bank for International Settlements (BIS)

Prediction of the Week

BitMEX CEO Arthur Hayes Says Bitcoin Will Test $10,000 in 2019

Co-founder and CEO of cryptocurrency trading platform BitMEX Arthur Hayes predicted this week that Bitcoin’s price will hit $10,000 this year. According to Hayes’ notes in a newsletter, the crypto market recovery is poised to begin in the early fourth quarter of 2019:

“The 2019 chop will be intense, but the markets will claw back to $10,000. That is a very significant psychological barrier. [...] $20,000 is the ultimate recovery. However, it took 11 months from $1,000 to $10,000, but less than one month from $10,000 to $20,000 back to $10,000.”

FUD of the Week

Most Respondents File Negative Comments for SEC's Review of VanEck/SolidX Bitcoin ETF

Most of the responses filed concerning the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposed rule change for the VanEck/SolidX Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) have been negative. CBOE’s BZX Equity Exchange, which would prospectively list the Bitcoin ETF, had temporarily withdrawn its application in January, citing the impacts of the U.S. government shutdown, but has since resubmitted the application. Of the now 12 public comments filed on the SEC’s website, eight are negative and urge the regulator not to approve the proposal, three are positive, and one is a request for the SEC to ask to the CBOE concerning wording in its proposal.

New Report Warns 87 Percent of Cryptocurrency Exchange Volume Is Potentially Suspicious

Research from trading analytics platform The Tie has found that almost 90 percent of cryptocurrency exchanges’ reported trade volumes may be incorrect. Looking at volume figures collected from 97 exchanges, the platform has found that 87% percent of the exchanges reported potentially suspicious trading volume, and 75% had various suspicious activity occurring on them. The organization reached their conclusion after looking at the average volume of well-known exchanges like CoinbasePro, Gemini and Poloniex, calculating the average volume per visit and then comparing that to the reported volume of lesser-known exchanges.

Bakkt Delay Due to CFTC Concerns Over Its Planned Custody of Clients’ Bitcoin

The Wall Street Journal reported this week that crypto platform Bakkt’s plans to store customers’ Bitcoin from its Bitcoin’s futures could be a reason for the U.S. CFTC to further delay giving its approval. Bakkt’s initial August announcement had noted that its first product would be daily, physically-delivered BTC futures subject to CFTC approval, and that the platform would hold Bitcoin on behalf of its clients in physical warehousing. People familiar with the matter as noted that the CFTC told Bakkt that it would need additional compliance if it planned to have custody over its customers’ cryptocurrency, prompting the platform to consider other options.

Best Cointelegraph Features

BitGuards: Why the Crypto Elite Are Increasingly Relying on Personal Security

In the seemingly unlikely, but still actual, case of criminals kidnapping crypto holders in order to physically force their crypto wallet passwords, more and more of the richer crypto players are turning to bodyguards as another form of protection. Cointelegraph spoke to one attempted kidnap victim about his rational beyond using more electronic security measures.

Neither Dominant Nor Defeated, EOS Still a Work in Progress

After an entirely harmless transaction for 1 trillion EOS was broadcast on the network (and instantly failed), various controversies behind EOS’ governance and its proposed role as an Ethereum replacement have again come to light. Cointelegraph looks at how EOS is currently used in the crypto community and what is left to work on.

Hodler’s Digest, March 11–17: Top Stories, Price Movements, Quotes and FUD of the Week

In this week’s Hodler’s Digest, Jay Clayton may not consider ETH to be a security, but the CBOE is over BTC futures contracts for now.

Top Stories This Week

U.S. District Attorney Charges OneCoin Founders With “Billions” in Alleged Fraud

The founders of international cryptocurrency pyramid scheme OneCoin have been charged by a United States district attorney. Both Konstantin Ignatov and his sister Ruja Ignatova were reportedly arrested on March 6 in Los Angeles after being accused of “wire fraud, securities fraud, and money laundering offenses” after luring investors into putting billions of dollars into the fraudulent OneCoin cryptocurrency. The crypto organization — established in 2014 and based in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria — works as a marketing network in which members receive commissions for attracting potential buyers to buy into the cryptocurrency, with reportedly over 3 million members globally.

U.S. SEC Chairman Jay Clayton Confirms ETH Is Not a Security

Jay Clayton, the U.S. Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) chairman, has reportedly confirmed that Ethereum (ETH) and cryptocurrencies similar to it do not qualify as securities. Citing a letter written by Clayton in March, nonprofit crypto research organization Coin Center reported that Clayton has agreed that a digital asset’s definition as a security is “not static” and can change over time. While Clayton does not mention ETH directly, he states that he agrees that a digital asset transaction may not represent a security if the purchasers no longer expect a group to carry out entrepreneurial efforts.

Cryptocurrency Community Eyes Tether After Website Dilutes USD Backing Claims

Stablecoin Tether (USDT), which has always claimed to be backed 1:1 to the U.S. dollar, drew scrutiny this week from the crypto community when the description of its holdings on its website was subtly changed. A new update to the site, date unknown, now reads that each tether is backed by its reserves, which, “from time to time, may include other assets and receivables from loans made by Tether to third parties, which may include affiliated entities.” Tether has previously faced criticism due to their lack of an official audit, although bank documents from the entity last fall had seemingly confirmed the validity of Tether’s backing claims.

CBOE Will Not List Bitcoin Futures in March, Cites Need to Assess Crypto Derivatives

The Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) will not add a new Bitcoin (BTC) futures market in March, the firm said this week in a statement. According to the CBOE, the entity is re-evaluating its approach to how it handles trading digital assets, noting that it does not intend to currently list additional BTC future contracts for trading. The contracts that are currently listed will expire in June, and CBOE noted that those futures are still available for trading. The CBOE had launched Bitcoin futures in December 2017, a move closely followed by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME).

U.S. State of Colorado Passes Crypto Exemptions Bill Into Law

Jared S. Polis, the governor of the state of Colorado, has signed the “Colorado Digital Token Act” into law this week. The legislation, which had initially been proposed in January and sponsored at the state Senate level by Republican Jack Tate and Democrat Steve Fenberg, allows for limited exceptions for securities registration and traders, including salesperson licensing requirements for those dealing in digital tokens. According to the language of the bill, a digital token is a digital unit that is secured through a decentralized ledger or database, and can be exchanged for goods or services and transferred without an intermediary.

Winners and Losers

The crypto markets are slightly up at the end of the week, with Bitcoin trading at around $4,031, Ethereum at $140 and Ripple at $.32. Total market cap is around $139 billion.

The top three altcoin gainers of the week are ZenGold, Ormeus Coin and SounDAC. The top three altcoin losers of the week are Freicoin, Indorse Token and MFIT Coin.

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

Most Memorable Quotations

“With anything that’s not financial, chances are there is some internet thing that does what you want, that’s just centralized. So it’s a bit of a harder pitch.”

Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum co-founder

“I think artists in the music industry on average capture about 11 or 12 percent of the value in the industry and those big record companies are sucking up 70 or so percent. We can replace those record companies with smart contracts on the Ethereum platform.”

Joseph Lubin, Ethereum co-founder and ConsenSys creator

“I think, again, these markets could regulate themselves if we lived in a world where we allowed that.”

Hester M. Peirce, commissioner at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)

“I think Bitcoin is a technology rather than business opportunities.”

Justin Sun, CEO of blockchain developer network Tron

“I think this technology has and is already demonstrating pretty significant promise, but it’s demonstrating significant promise in the places where it’s consistent with our approach to capital raising in the past.”

Jay Clayton, U.S. Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) chairman

Prediction of the Week

Bitcoin Price Breakout Scheduled for August, Says Fundstrat’s Tom Lee

Thomas Lee, the co-founder of Fundstrat Global Advisors, said this week that he thinks that a Bitcoin bull run could return in the next six months, even after his December declaration that he would not give out crypto price predictions. Speaking in an interview this week, Lee noted that traders should look out for the 200-day moving average, adding that if Bitcoin can hold above $4,000 and crosses its 200-day moving average in August, “the outside window is five to six months before Bitcoin starts to look technically like it’s back in a bull market.”

FUD of the Week

Bloomberg: Key Indicators Show Bitcoin Price Could Be Losing Steam

Bloomberg reported this week that key price movement indicators have shown that Bitcoin could be heading toward another downward move. According to the report, the technical gauges that signal long-term purchasing demand for BTC are deteriorating, which means that buying pressure could increase. Bloomberg notes that the main crypto’s Moving Average Convergence/Divergence (MACD) indicator — which follows the relations between two moving averages of the price of a security — has been moving downward since mid-February. Mati Greenspan, a senior market analyst at eToro, suggested that people are moving away from Bitcoin to altcoins.

Ledger Discloses Five Reported Vulnerabilities in Two Models of Trezor Hardware Wallets

Major hardware wallets manufacturer Ledger released information this week about five vulnerabilities in its direct competitor Trezor’s devices. These were found by Ledger’s Attack Lab, which hacks into both its own and others’ devices in order to find security weaknesses. According to Ledger, both the Trezor One and Trezor T wallets face problems with the possibility to backdoor the devices with malware, as well as using side-channel attacks to guess the PIN value. Trezor has responded, noting that the vulnerabilities are not critical as they cannot be exploited remotely and all require physical access to the device.

Bitcoin Pioneer Jeff Garzik Subpoenaed in $4 Bln Lawsuit Against Craig Wright

A U.S. District Court has subpoenaed Jeff Garzik, a software engineer and Bitcoin pioneer, in relation to the $4 billion lawsuit against Craig Wrightself-proclaimed Satoshi Nakamoto. The suit, filed last February with the family of computer scientist David Kleiman, alleges that Wright stole up to 1.1 million BTC after Kleiman (rumored to be one of the original BTC developers) passed away. After Kleiman’s death in 2014, Wright had contacted the estate with the stated intention of helping to dispose the Bitcoin fortune, with Kleiman’s family now claiming that Wright did not return the funds.

Best Cointelegraph Features

The Tipping Point: Kroger, Starbucks May Ignite Retail Crypto

In this dedicated analysis, Cointelegraph looks at how big institutions like Kroger and Starbucks, which have shown an interest in cryptocurrencies, have paved the way for hope that crypto could eventually be integrated more seriously into retail payments.

Textbook Case of Crypto Hype: How Iced Tea Company Went Blockchain and Failed Despite a 289 Percent Stock Rise

During the crypto hype in 2017, a former iced tea company decided to change its name to include the word “blockchain,” seeing an immense jump in stock price even though the actual company had little to do in the crypto space. Cointelegraph examines what exactly Long Blockchain Corp. is doing after only recently leaving the beverage business.

Hodler’s Digest, March 4–10: Top Stories, Price Movements, Quotes and FUD of the Week

In major news this week, university students seem to be making a profit mining crypto, and Jack Dorsey buys $10,000 of BTC a week.

Top Stories This Week

Research: ‘Free’ Electricity for Students Makes College Campuses Major Crypto Miners

According to research from tech conglomerate Cisco, college campuses are the second-largest crypto miners across industry verticals. The researchers investigated crypto mining activities across a variety of industries, finding that university campuses are ranked the second-biggest miners of digital currency at 22 percent, with the energy and utilities sector in first at around 34 percent. According to the research, the increasing mining difficulty for many cryptocurrency means that a higher amount electricity is needed, making it profitable for students to mine since the university pays their electricity costs.

‘Coffee for Bakkt’? Starbucks Equity Deal Will See Crypto-Based Payments, Source Claims

An unconfirmed report about Starbucks’ partnership with United States digital asset platform Bakkt this week has revealed that the coffee giant will allegedly accept Bitcoin-based payments after an equity deal. Starbucks had become a founding partners in Bakkt when it was revealed in August 2018, but had shut down rumors that it would be accepting BTC for coffees. Now, an unnamed source has said that the chain will accept Bitcoin through Bakkt’s software, but it will instantly convert the crypto into fiat, so that Starbucks will never actually hold any cryptocurrency.

Crypto Lending Company BlockFi Launches Crypto Accounts With Bitcoin and Ethereum Support

BlockFi, a crypto wealth management and lending firm, has launched new cryptocurrency accounts supporting both Ethereum (ETH) and Bitcoin (BTC), with 6 percent annual interest paid monthly in crypto. According to this week’s announcement, the interest earned in the BlockFi accounts compounds monthly, with results in an annual percentage yield of 6.2 percent. As well, the accounts are not entirely newly created, as they have been in private beta since the beginning of 2019 and reportedly already hold more than $10 billion in assets. The accounts are custodied at the Gemini Trust Company (Gemini  – the custodian of the crypto exchange lead by the Winklevoss Twins), which is regulated by the New York State Department of Financial Services.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Alludes to Spending $10,000 a Week on Bitcoin

Jack Dorsey, the CEO of both Twitter and Square, hinted in a podcast interview this week that he has been spending $10,000 per week on Bitcoin. When talking about the idea of “Stacking Sat Saturday” —  a trend where users buy $25 in BTC every week to both promote and show crypto adoption — Dorsey noted that “[he] saw that [Stacking Sat Saturday] on Twitter […]”. “I would have participated but I have already exceeded my limit on CashApp. I can’t purchase anymore,” – he said. Since the maximum weekly buy limit on Square’s CashApp is $10,000, Dorsey’s statement implies that he spent $10,000 on cryptocurrency, probably Bitcoin, in one week. Dorsey further noted that he will be able to join the Stacking Sat Saturday next week.

Coinbase CEO: Ex-Hacking Team Neutrino Members Will Transition out of Company Roles

This week, co-founder and CEO of major United States crypto exchange and wallet Coinbase Brian Armstrong said that all staff at Neutrino with prior connections to controversial software firm Hacking Team will transition out of their new roles at Coinbase. The major crypto exchange had experienced backlash after announcing the acquisition after it came to light that several Neutrino members had worked with Hacking Team, which has been accused of selling tracking software to authoritarian regimes. Armstrong acknowledged in his statement that Coinbase did not properly evaluate the team from the perspective of their mission.

Winners and Losers

The crypto markets have seen a relatively stable week, with Bitcoin trading at $3,932, Ethereum at $136 and Ripple at $0.31. Total market cap is around $133 billion.

The top three altcoin gainers of the week are Indorse Token, ICE ROCK MINING and 4NEW. The top three altcoin losers of the week are dietbitcoin, Freicoin and ILCoin.

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

Most Memorable Quotations

“If that functionality Create2 had existed at the time, there wouldn’t have been a vulnerability, basically.”

Jutta Steiner, Parity CEO, speaking about the Parity multisig freeze

“The Morgan Creek Digital team will fly to meet them [Kroger team] and get them hooked up with the Lightning Network nationwide.”

Anthony Pompliano, Morgan Creek Digital founder, tweeting to Kroger after one of its retail chains stopped accepting Visa

 

“Cryptocurrencies are a great idea, but the world is not ready for them yet.”

Eugene Kaspersky, the CEO of cybersecurity giant Kaspersky
 

“Let’s think about this. [JPM] announced the JPM Coin for institutional customers. If you give them a dollar as deposit, they’ll give you a JPM Coin, that you then can move in the JPM ledger. Wait a minute, just use the dollar! I really don’t understand [...] what problem that solves.”

Brad Garlinghouse, Ripple (XRP) CEO, talking about the JPM Coin

 

"I don't think this will turn out to be a complete delusion."

Niall Ferguson, British economic and financial historian, talking about crypto

 

“Cryptocurrency as a technology has absolutely no basis for success, and the mother of all bubbles is now bust.”

Nouriel Roubini, economist and cryptocurrency critic

FUD of the Week

Bloomberg: Crypto Companies Still Run Into Trouble Opening Bank Accounts

A Bloomberg report this week found the companies in the cryptocurrency industry are still having trouble opening bank accounts. According to various companies cited, banks are reluctant to grant accounts to those working in the crypto industry because “it’s a massive compliance headache that they don’t want to put the resources in to solve.’’ Giving some examples, Bloomberg referred to crypto payment processor BitPay specifically having trouble opening accounts. Bloomberg also quoted Silvergate Bank’s November 2019 IPO filing that noted that crypto businesses have as much as $40 billion to deposit.

NEM Foundation Releases Restructuring Plan Amid Financial Difficulties

The NEM Foundation released a financial and organizational plan for restructuring this week, in the wake of previous news that the foundation was running low on its native XEM tokens. According to the announcement, the foundation intends to set up a transformation task force in order to work on short term goals, like the development of weekly and monthly reporting structures, as well as scorecards for grading employee performance. The foundation also noted that they have hired SDK developers in order to fund the expansion of its current SDKs to include Python, PHP and Unity in addition to the current Javascript and Java.

US District Attorney Charges OneCoin Founders With ‘Billions’ in Alleged Fraud

The founders of an international cryptocurrency pyramid scheme have been charged with fraud by the U.S. Attorney Office of the Southern District of New York. The two leaders of OneCoin, Konstantin Ignatov and his sister Ruja Ignatova, were arrested this week in Los Angeles under the charges of wire and securities fraud, as well as money laundering, as part of their business that reportedly lured investors into spending billions of dollars on a fraudulent cryptocurrency. The U.S. investigation reportedly found that OneCoin generated almost $4 billion in sale revenue in the fourth quarter of 2014 and the third quarter of 2016, with profits of around $2.5 billion.

Best Cointelegraph Features

Unpacking Schnorr Signatures: Blockstream’s MuSig to Improve Bitcoin Transactions?

As any major changes to Bitcoin’s protocol are always met with controversy and discussion in the crypto community, Cointelegraph examines in this analysis the potential benefits of Blockstream’s new Schnorr-based multisignature scheme on the Bitcoin blockchain.

The SEC’s Guidelines and Statements Show That It’s Slowly Learning to Accept ICOs

United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has had a varied approach to cryptocurrencies, with much debate about their classifications as securities. However, there are signs that the securities regulator is becoming more accepting of ICOs. In this analysis, Cointelegraph looks at how the SEC’s position on ICOs has changed.

Hodler’s Digest, Feb. 25–March 3: Top Stories, Price Movements, Quotes and FUD of the Week

Facebook is getting serious about crypto, Samsung’s new smartphone will support more cryptos, and more in this Hodler’s Digest.

Top Stories This Week

Nasdaq Begins Listing Brave New Coin’s Bitcoin and Ethereum Price Indexes

Nasdaq, the world’s second-largest stock exchange, began its live listing of two crypto price indexes from United States blockchain and crypto market data company Brave New Coin (BNC) this week. The listings, which had been announced earlier this month, are BNC’s Bitcoin Liquid Index (BLX) and Ethereum Liquid Index (ELX). According to the announcement, the indexes will show reference rates for the price of 1 BTC and 1 ETH, quoted in USD and refreshed every 30 seconds. Brave New Coin has also announced future plans to add another index for tracking the price of Ripple (XRP).

Samsung Announces Galaxy S10 Crypto Partners, Bitcoin and Ethereum Support

South Korean tech giant Samsung’s new Galaxy S10 smartphone will reportedly have crypto wallet functions for both Ethereum and Bitcoin, as well as two other tokens. The much-discussed crypto features seemed to have been revealed at the Mobile World Congress this week, where Samsung presented the various projects featured on the smartphone, including support for the cosmetic industry-focused COSMEE token (COSM) and crypto gaming-focused Enjin’s token (ENJ). Also this week, anonymous sources had reported that Enjin Wallet would be backing a blockchain wallet in Samsung’s new smartphone.

Jamie Dimon Says JPM Coin Could Eventually Find Consumer Use

Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase, said this week that the company’s previously announced JPM Coin could eventually see consumer use. The bank’s proposed digital asset had been announced by the U.S. banking giant last week, noting that the coin could increase settlement efficiency in several of its operations. However, Dimon’s comments to CNBC this week implied a wider focus for the coin’s use, as he noted that it “could be internal, could be commercial, it could one day be consumer.” The JPM Coin has been both lauded and opposed by those in the crypto community, with some suggesting it defeats the purpose of crypto itself.

New York Times: Facebook Reportedly Shopping ‘Facebook Coin’ to Crypto Exchanges

Social media giant Facebook is reportedly “hoping to succeed where Bitcoin failed” with its highly secretive cryptocurrency project, according to anonymous sources speaking to the New York Times. This week, the Times wrote more about Facebook’s alleged coin that had previously been revealed, noting through its sources that the company planned to integrate WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram into one entity and provide the newly unified service with a crypto token. According to the unnamed sources, Facebook is far enough along in the project that they have been meeting with crypto exchanges about the possibility of listing the so-called “Facebook Coin.”

Ethereum’s Constantinople and St. Petersburg Upgrades Have Been Activated

Ethereum’s next two network upgrades, known as Constantinople and St. Petersburg, have successfully taken place this week on the main network at block 7,280,000, in accordance with the previously released schedule. The two updates have been combined into one event, following the delay of the Constantinople upgrade in January over a newly discovered security vulnerability. While Constantinople adds the so-called “difficulty bomb” and the decrease of Ethereum’s block reward, St. Petersburg is meant to delete a previous update, Ethereum Improvement Proposal 1283, from Ethereum’s test networks, as the EIP has been identified to have security vulnerabilities.

Winners and Losers

The crypto markets are slightly down by the end of the week, with Bitcoin trading at around $3,854, Ethereum at $134 and Ripple around $0.31. The total market cap is at about $130 billion.

The top-three altcoin gainers of the week are RegalCoin, Archetypal Network and President Trump. The top-three altcoin losers of the week are ICE ROCK MINING, PonziCoin and CapdaxToken.

Winners and Losers

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

Most Memorable Quotations

“Let’s do this in Europe, the avant-garde of agricultural technology, by developing tools that will track every product from raw material production to packaging and processing. The innovation is there and it must be used in the agricultural world, it must be fully used because it is at the service of shared excellence and it will serve the consumer.”

Emmanuel Macron, president of France

 

“You can stare at it [Bitcoin] all day, and no little Bitcoins come out or anything like that. It’s a delusion, basically.”

Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway

 

“I’m not sure I can buy that we’ve seen massive value destruction, I think we’ve seen massive value creation.”

Steve Wozniak, Apple co-founder

“JPMorgan Coin could be internal, could be commercial, it could one day be consumer.”

Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan Chase CEO

 

“We’re happy to go on the record. Coinbase’s listing of XRP (also, not ‘our token’) was Coinbase’s independent decision - we did not give them anything to make it happen.”

Miguel Vias, head of XRP markets

FUD of the Week

QuadrigaCX Wallets Have Been Empty, Unused Since April 2018

In further QuadrigaCX news, the embattled Canadian crypto exchange’s auditor — Big Four audit firm Ernst & Young (EY) — released a report this week showing that the exchange’s cold wallets appear to have been empty since April 2018. EY identified six separate crypto wallets that had been used to store Bitcoin, but noted that there had been no deposits in the wallet since April of last year (besides one for $500,000), noting that they cannot find a reason as to why the wallets had been ceased. EY also included in its report the discovery of 14 user accounts that appear to have been created outside the normal process by Quadriga, which were then used to trade on the exchange’s platform.

Crypto Mining Service Coinhive to Shut Down Operations in March

Coinhive, a crypto mining service that specifically targets altcoin Monero (XMR), has announced that it will be shutting down operations in March 2018. According to the blog post, the project has become economically inviable due to the market conditions, as well as the more than 50 percent drop in hash rate following the last Monero hard fork. XMR has dropped around 85 percent over the course of the year, the blog post noted, underlining that it contributed to the decision to discontinue Coinhive. The service is a JavaScript-based digital currency mining service that relies on computer code being installed on websites, that then uses some of a browser’s computing power to mine.

Netherlands Bitcoin Trader Attacked in His Home

According to local media, a Bitcoin trader was attacked in his home in the Netherlands this week by a group of robbers that had disguised themselves as police. The victim, 38-year-old Tjeerd H., was robbed by a group of criminals wearing balaclavas and bulletproof vests with a police coat, who threatened him with firearms. According to the local media outlet, H. was a cryptocurrency trader, and police sources have confirmed this. As cryptocurrency has risen in popularity in recent years, attacks on traders have also risen in number, as Cointelegraph has previously reported.

Best Cointelegraph Features

#DeleteCoinbase: Exchange Users Respond to Acquisition of a Firm Run by Former Spyware Developers

After Coinbase’s acquisition of blockchain startup Neutrino this month, users have taken to the internet in order to lambast what they see as the company’s lack of sensitivity to human rights issues. The online #DeleteCoinbase campaign stems from the fact that some of Neutrino’s employees are associated with Hacking Team, an information tech outfit that has reportedly sold surveillance capabilities to different governments. Cointelegraph takes a look at the crypto community’s response to this controversial acquisition.

Scammers, Satoshi and Tesla Miners: Elon Musk’s Complex Relationship With Crypto

Elon Musk, Tesla CEO and overall tech entrepreneur, recently complimented Bitcoin’s structure, calling the coin a “quite brilliant” digital currency. Cointelegraph examines Musk’s relationship with cryptocurrency, starting from October 2014 up until present day, as the entrepreneur previously has rarely made direct comments about crypto technology.

Hodler’s Digest, Dec. 24–30: Top Stories, Price Movements, Quotes and FUD of the Week

Bitcoin Private confirmed the secret creation of an additional 2 million coins, and South Korea rules in favor of Bithumb in investor lawsuit.

Top Stories This Week

Nvidia Faces Class Action Lawsuit Over Losses After Lower GPU Mining Demand

Graphics processing unit (GPU) producer Nvidia is currently facing a class action lawsuit over losses that the company reported when lower crypto prices lowered demand for GPUs by miners. The Schall law firm announced the lawsuit this week, with the complaint alleging that Nvidia made false and misleading statements to the market. Schall noted that since the GPU producer claimed that drop off in demand for GPU on miners would not negatively affect the business, the lawsuit has merit.

Altcoin Bitcoin Private Team Confirms 2 mln Additional Coins Were Secretly Premined

The development team for altcoin Bitcoin Private (BTCP) has confirmed this week that 2.04 million units of BTCP were created that were never intended to exist on the altcoin’s blockchain. Following a report in late December from a digital asset analytics website that revealed the discrepancy, the BTCP team launched an investigation that eventually found that the extra coins had been mined, but they do not yet know who created the coins and for what reason.

South Korea Rules in Favor of Bithumb After Investor Lawsuit Over $355,000 Hack

South Korean court has ruled in favor of crypto exchange Bithumb in a lawsuit in which an investor had sued the exchange for his loss of around $355,000 in an alleged hack. Ahn Park alleged that he had been the victim of a hack of his Bithumb account on Nov. 20, 2017, which resulted in the aforementioned loss, and cited Bithumb’s lack of security safeguards as befit a financial services firm. However, the court did not find Park’s claims that Bithumb’s activities were similar to that of services offered in the financial sector to be true, and ruled against him.

Top Stories This Week

- Vitalik Buterin Defending the Lightning Network

New Indian Governmental Committee Supports Crypto Legalization, Media Reports

Local India media reported this week that a governmental committee has suggested that cryptocurrencies be legalized within the country. An unnamed senior official who reportedly attended the panel’s meetings on cryptocurrencies stated that there was a “general consensus that cryptocurrency cannot be dismissed as completely illegal. It needs to be legalized with strong riders.” The government reportedly set up this panel after the Reserve Bank of India’s ban on banks dealing with crypto businesses and persons in April this year.

Major US Magazine Time Column Reports on the Freeing Potential of Bitcoin

Time magazine published a column this week that praised the liberating potential of Bitcoin, mentioning Venezuela as an example of a country where the citizens can benefit from the cryptocurrency. According to the article, Bitcoin is a valuable financial tool for avoiding censorship, specifically noting that Bitcoin can help Venezuelans avoid inflation, as a government cannot simply print more Bitcoin. The currency can also be used to bypass mass surveillance in places like China.

Winners and Losers

The crypto markets are looking steady today, with Bitcoin trading around $3,874.67, Ripple around $0.37 and Ethereum at $138.85. Total market cap is around $130 billion.

The top three altcoin gainers of the week are SoundDAC, Bitspace and HondaisCoin. The top three altcoin losers of the week are RabbitCoin, Accelerator Network and CatoCoin.

Winners and Losers

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

Most Memorable Quotations

“Block-chain [sic] technology. No joke. Super powerful stuff, and the first one to figure out how to hack it, manipulate it or bring it down wins.” — Andrew Bustamante, reportedly a former CIA intelligence officer, speaking of the biggest threats to national security

Most Memorable Quotations

- Andrew Bustamante on the Future of U.S. National Security

“Once there are new issues, then Ether will rebound aggressively. When the ICO market returns, Ether will quickly test $200. The timing of the ICO rebirth is 12 to 18 months out,” — Arthur Hayes, BitMEX CEO

“Yeah no, I have my disagreements with the bitcoin roadmap, PoW, etc but they're trying to do something that's genuinely cool tech. BSV is a pure dumpster fire,”  — Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum (ETH) co-founder

"At some point, yes, it will drive a profound shift in how we communicate and collaborate, but we’re not there yet,”  — Lance Braunstein, E*Trade Financial Corp. CIO, speaking about “blockchain” as a buzzword

FUD of the Week

Hackers Steal Almost 1 Million in Phishing Attack on Electrum Wallet

A hack that reportedly took place this week against cryptocurrency wallet Electrum allowed a malicious party to steal almost 250 Bitcoin (BTC), commentators on social media reported. The hack was then confirmed by Electrum, which explained that it consisted of the creation of a fake version of the wallet that fooled users into providing password information. Affected users reported on social media that they failed to log onto their wallets after providing two-factor authentication code, which Electrum does not actually request during login.

WSJ: Hundreds of Crypto Projects Show Signs of Fraudulent Activity

Research published by the Wall Street Journal this week has revealed that hundreds of crypto offerings show signs of fraudulent activity, improbable returns and plagiarism. For its research, the WSJ downloaded the whitepapers of 3,291 crypto projects that had announced initial coin offerings (ICO), conducting an analysis of the documents. The research found that 16 percent — or 513 — of the aforementioned white papers showed signs of plagiarism and identity theft, and that 2,000 contained sentences with turns like “nothing to lose, guaranteed profit, return on investment, highest return, high return, funds profit, no risk and little risk.”

FUD of the Week

- Arthur Hayes on Ethereum and the Future of ICOs

Chinese Media Reports Jihan Wu and Jenke Group to Set Down as Bitmain CEOs

Unconfirmed media reports in China this week wrote that Jihan Wu and the Jenke Group will be reportedly soon retire as CEOs of leading mining ASIC producer Bitmain. According to unnamed sources, Bitmain is currently in a transition period, and employees are allegedly unhappy with the outcomes of the double-CEO system. The Chinese local media outlet also noted that their successor has the surname of Wang, without providing further information.

Japanese Giant GMO Internet to Stop BTC Miner Production After Losses in Q4

Japanese internet giant GMO Internet Group announced its intentions to leave the Bitcoin mining hardware sector. Citing major losses in Q4 of this year, GMO, which began its foray into BTC mining in 2017, has written in a public document that it will no longer develop, manufacture or sell miners, citing difficulties in the current business environment. The document also noted that GMO will relocate its mining operation “to a region that will allow us to secure cleaner and less expensive power supply.”

Best Cointelegraph Features

From Blanket Ban to Its Own Stablecoin: How Facebook’s Relationship With Crypto Changed Over 2018

Facebook often made the news this year in the FUD sense, as it banned, and then partially unbanned, advertising from cryptocurrency-related companies. In response to the rumors that the social media giant would be creating its own cryptocurrency, Cointelegraph looks at the history of how Facebook has interacted with crypto this year.

From “Obsolete” Blockchain to Bitcoin at $1 Mln: Predictions of 2018

As the year comes to a close, Cointelegraph looks at different predictions made this year about crypto, from the very accurate to the wildly off. As Bitcoin drops below $4,000 at year’s end, who was right?

Hodler’s Digest, Dec. 17–23: Top Stories, Price Movements, Quotes and FUD of the Week

Blockstream launches a fifth BTC blockchain satellite into space, and a report accuses many exchanges of wash trading.

Top Stories This Week

Blockchain Firm Blockstream Launches Fifth Bitcoin Blockchain Streaming Satellite

Blockstream, a blockchain development firm, expanded its satellite service this week with a fifth leased satellite broadcasting the Bitcoin (BTC) blockchain to all of Earth’s major land masses. This new satellite brings potential internet-free BTC transactions and information sharing to crypto users throughout the Asia Pacific region, adding to its beta satellite coverage around Africa, Europe, and South and North America. Blocksteam’s BTC space initiative aims to allow crypto users to access the Bitcoin network without access to the internet.

New Report Shows Majority of Bitcoin Trading Pairs on CMC Are Wash Traded

A report released by the Blockchain Transparency Institute (BTI) claims that more than 80 percent of the top 25 Bitcoin trading pairs listed on CoinMarketCap (CMC) are based upon “grossly” inflated false volumes. The report, which was reportedly compiled by using algorithms to analyze volume data points and order books, found that most the pairs’ actual trading volume is “under 1% of their reported volume of CMC.” BTI points out Binance, Bitfinex, and Liquid as having the closest reported volume to trading volume.

Supposed Bitcoin Millionaire Arrested for Tossing Cash in Hong Kong Street

Wong Ching-kit, a local crypto enthusiast and purported Bitcoin millionaire, has reportedly been arrested after allegedly “making it rain cash” on a street in one of Hong Kong’s poorest neighborhoods. Ching-Kit, who is described as an entrepreneur who owns the Epoch Cryptocurrency website, posted a video on Epoch’s Facebook page asking “does anyone believe that money can fall from the sky?” before dropping 100 Hong Kong dollar bills off of a roof. The police have reportedly claimed around $767 after arresting Ching-Kit for “disorderly conduct in a public place.”

Supposed Bitcoin Millionaire Arrested for Tossing Cash in Hong Kong Street

Wall Street Journal Suggests Tax Reduction Method: Sell and Quickly Repurchase BTC

The Wall Street Journal published an article this week suggesting that investors should sell and then repurchase their Bitcoin as a strategic move to save on taxes. Since the United States tax authority, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), treats crypto as investment property, crypto investors can potentially save on taxes due to a “quirk” in the law that exempts crypto from so-called “wash sale” rules, which “prohibit capital-loss deductions when investors purchase a security such as a stock within 30 days of selling a loser.”

Sources Say Facebook Is Developing a Cryptocurrency for Use in Whatsapp

Major social media giant Facebook is reportedly making a cryptocurrency for those using the messaging service WhatsApp, Bloomberg reported this week. According to unnamed sources, Facebook’s token will be used for money transfer made within the app, with the aim to cover the remittances market in India. The unnamed sources also told Bloomberg that the stablecoin won’t be released very soon, as Facebook is still working on a strategy for custody assets i.e. the asset to which the stablecoin will be tied. These reported rumors come after Facebook has both introduced and partially rolled back a crypto ad ban.

Winners and Losers

The crypto markets have seen a slight upturn at the end of the week, with Bitcoin trading at around $4,509, Ripple at $0.36, and Ethereum at 129.75. Total market cap is around $135 billion.

The top three altcoin gainers of the week are RabbitCoin, Infinipay, and BitNautic Coin. The top three altcoin losers of the week are Veros, empowr, coin, and Bolenum.

Winners and Losers

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

Most Memorable Quotations

“Bitcoin is dead, it’s too fragmented, there’s tons of infighting I just don’t think it will last. It may have a bull market or two left in it, but long-term, its dead,” — Erik Finman, teenage crypto millionaire

Most Memorable Quotations

"We are entering a cool era for macro. Crypto is less exciting now versus macro. Macro got quite boring for many years, and crypto was really exciting,” — Mike Novogratz, founder of Galaxy Digital

“When we look back 24 or even 12 months from now, we’re going to say, ‘why didn’t I buy then?’” — Spencer Bogart, partner at venture capital firm Blockchain Capital

“I think cryptocurrencies may become one more option of currency or assets around the globe to be exchanged between people and businesses. If that happens, we would be ready to launch," — Odilon Almeida, the president of Western Union Global Money Transfer

“2018 was a “correction year” for crypto currencies, but “none of our plans changed, we are still pushing forward very aggressively,” — Binance CEO and co-founder Changpeng Zhao.

Most Memorable Quotations

Prediction of the Week

Joseph Lubin Declares on Twitter that He Is ‘Calling the Cryptobottom of 2018’

Joseph Lubin, co-founder of major cryptocurrency Ethereum (ETH), declared this week on Twitter that he is “calling the cryptobottom of 2018.” Lubin noted that a crypto market’s bottom has an “epic amount of fear, uncertainty, and doubt,” which is attributed to industry media and social commentators. Lubin also addressed the rumors that the blockchain-focused software firm ConsenSys is about to experience layoffs, noting that the entity is “healthy” and continuing a balancing of its priorities.“The sky is not falling. From my perspective the future looks very bright. [...] Peaking [sic] into 2019, if you could see the landscape through my eyes, you'd have to wear shades.”

FUD of the Week

Hong Kong Stock Market Regulator Allegedly Reluctant to Accept Bitmain IPO

The Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX) is reportedly reluctant to allow BTC mining manufacturer Bitmain to conduct an initial public offering (IPO) in the city, according to unnamed sources. When asked about the matter, a spokesperson for the HKEX said that the news reported about the purported IPO “rumors,” nothing that they do not comment on rumors. According to the unnamed sources, the HKEX believes that it is “premature for any cryptocurrency trading platform – or business associated with the industry – to raise funds through an IPO in Hong Kong before the proper regulatory framework is in place.”

South Korea Regulators Indict Three Upbit Employees for Alleged Trade Volume Manipulation

Upbit, South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, denied accusations levered this week after the country’s regulators indicted three of its staff for allegedly participating in order book manipulation. The exchange is accused of falsely inflating its volume figures on three occasions between October 2017 and December 2018, and the three employees have been indicted, but not detained, as part of the investigation. The exchange formally rejected the findings, describing them as “totally false.”

Blockchain Software Company ConsenSys Reportedly to Lay Off 60 Staff

ConsenSys, a blockchain software technology company, is reportedly set to make significant cuts to its staff. An unnamed source told the Verge this week that ConsenSys will stop backing some of its previously supported startups, and that the total number of employees to be laid off could be anywhere between 50 and 60 percent of ConsenSys’ 1,200 person workforce. The company’s ConsenSys Labs is also being reorganized, according to the source, and will act more as a traditional investor as opposed to an incubator.

Best Cointelegraph Features

Pro-Bitcoin Official in the White House: What We Know About Trump’s New Chief Of Staff

In another White House shake-up, Donald Trump has appointed a seemingly pro-Bitcoin chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney. But how much of a crypto enthusiast is Mulvaney? Cointelegraph explores Mulvaney’s relationship with crypto, beginning with a crypto educational event back in 2014.

Crypto Assets to Be Regulated Differently in the US, Potential Impact on Industry

Two U.S. congressmen made a potentially huge step for crypto this week with the introduction of a bipartisan bill entitled “Token Taxonomy Act,” which would exclude crypto assets and digital tokens from being recognized as securities. Cointelegraph looks into what would happen in the crypto space in the event that the bill is passed.

This article was compiled with help from Helen Partz.

Hodler’s Digest, Dec 10-16: Top Stories, Price Movements, Quotes and FUD of the week

The CEO of Mt. Gox is facing ten-years in Japan for embezzlement charges, and ASIC mining rigs are struggling to make a profit.

Top Stories This Week

CEO of Defunct Mt. Gox Exchanges Faces Ten Year Jail Sentence Over Embezzlement

Mark Karpeles, the former CEO of now-defunct Japanese Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox, could be facing a ten-year jail sentence over charges of embezzlement. Karpeles, who headed the exchange during the major hack in 2014 that resulted in the loss of 850,000 BTC ($2.87 billion at press time), has denied any wrongdoing. Prosecutors in a Tokyo court this week have claimed that Karpeles had stolen around $3 million worth of funds from the exchange, in a case not connected to the hack.

Only Two ASIC Mining Rigs Remain Profitable in Current Crypto Markets

During this week’s cryptocurrency market crash, crypto mining machines are having trouble making a profit for their operators, according to data from a mining profitability site. At one point this week, ASICMinerValue.com  — which calculates real-time profitability for ASIC miners — found that only two were currently making any profit. Both of the profit-reaping miners were released in October 2018 and were making $0.58 and $0.21 in profits at the time. At press time, however, more than two miners are now in the green.

Canadian City of Calgary Launches Digital ‘Calgary Dollar’ for Intracity Transactions

The Canadian city of Calgary, located in the province of Alberta, has launched its own digital currency: the Calgary Dollar. The digital currency will allow citizens, using an app on their devices, to support small businesses and nonprofits by keeping funds within the city. The Calgary Dollar can be used at shops and restaurants that participate in the program and can be earned in various ways, such as by inviting friends to the app or posting an ad for goods and services priced in the digital currency.

US SEC Chairman Speaks Positively of Initial Coin Offerings as Capital Raising Tool

The chairman of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Jay Clayton, said this week that Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) “can be effective” instruments for raising capital. During a speech given this week, Clayton noted that there are a “number of concerns” related to ICOs, but that they can be “effective” ways to raise capital providing that securities laws are followed. Clayton also mentioned the SEC’s Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology (FinHub), which will facilitate the agency’s involvement in fintech.

Samsung Refutes Rumors of Plans to Add Crypto Cold Wallet on Galaxy S10 Smartphone

Korean-headquartered transnational tech conglomerate Samsung has refuted rumors this week that it plans to launch a crypto cold wallet on its Galaxy S10 smartphone. The rumors began after the company filed three E.U. trademarks for blockchain- and cryptocurrency-software. SamMobile confirmed to Cointelegraph that the trademarks are part of the development of a Samsung proprietary cold wallet, which “may be launched” with the Galaxy 10 smartphone.

Winners and Losers

The cryptocurrency markets are holding steady, with Bitcoin (BTC) trading at around $3,275, Ripple (XRP) at around $02.38, and Ethereum (ETH) at around $86,29. Total market cap is about $104 billion.

The top three altcoin gainers of the week are Bolenum (BLN), Vestoria (VSTR) and SURETY (SURE). The top three altcoin losers of the week are BitF (BITF), KWH Coin (KWH) and DACH Coin (DACH).

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

Most Memorable Quotations

“I believe that ICOs can be effective ways for entrepreneurs and others to raise capital. However, the novel technological nature of an ICO does not change the fundamental point that, when a security is being offered, our securities laws must be followed,” — Jay Clayton, United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chairman

“We’re totally at home in winter,” — Tyler Winklevoss, speaking about the crypto bear market

“The audience is more sober now—the drug is gone. [...] But it’s not going to zero. We’re at the methadone clinic,”  — Mike Novogratz, founder of Galaxy Digital

Prediction of the Week

Tom Lee: Bitcoin’s Fair Value Price Could Reach as High as $150,000

Crypto bull and co-founder of Fundstrat Global Advisors Tom Lee said this week that Bitcoin’s (BTC) “fair value” is much higher than its current price. In a note from this week, Lee also said that the coin’s fair value is between $13,800 and $14,800, also adding that the value could reach as high as $150,000. Lee added: “In fact, working backwards, to solve for the current price of Bitcoin, this implies crypto wallets should fall to 17 million from 50 million currently.”

FUD of the Week

China: Central Bank Governor Defines STOs as ‘Illegal Financial Activity’ in the Country

The People’s Bank of China (PBoC), the country’s central bank, highlighted the illegality of Security Token Offerings (STOs) in the country in a statement this week. Pan Gongsheng reportedly told a summit in Beijing this week that both STOs and ICOs were “rampant” in the mainland, despite the “nationwide clean-up” of the crypto markets in China last year. In regards to the “STO business” in China, Gongsheng added that cryptocurrencies are still associated with crime.

Major Stablecoin Profit Basis to Shut Down and Return Funds to Investors

Major United States-based stablecoin project Basis will shut down operations and return most of its funds to investors. The algorithmic stablecoin project will return the majority of its $133 million in funding that it raised during a private placement in April, according to a report.

Bloomberg later reported that Basis’ CEO Nader Al-Naji confirmed that the impetus to close the project came from regulatory concerns over a type of token in Basis’ — as well as other algorithmic stablecoins’ — a system known as a “secondary token,” which helps keep the coin’s price stable. Al-Naji noted that there was no way to “escape” classification as a security.

Head of Largest Romanian Crypto Exchange Arrested for Fraud on US Warrant

Vlad Nistor, the CEO of Romania's largest crypto exchange Coinflux, was reportedly arrested on a warrant from the U.S. for fraud, organized crime and money laundering. Coinflux is an online digital currency trading platform, with reportedly more than 200 million euro worth of Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), and Ripple (XRP) in transactions. Nistor was allegedly arrested in Romania at the behest of the U.S.

After this arrest, CoinFlux posted an announcement about a temporary suspension of all digital currency exchanges, noting that the investigation has also restricted its access to some parts of the platform.

Best Cointelegraph Features

Europe Takes Serious Steps Toward Blockchain Adoption

Cointelegraph explores how Europe is orienting itself towards blockchain and digital ledger technology as a whole. Looking at several initiatives, including the European Blockchain Partnership and the blockchain-based healthcare project, the analysis examines how Europe is working to become a “global leader” in DLT.

From South Korea to IBM Food Trust - How Blockchain Is Used in the Food Industry

In this analysis, Cointelegraph looks at how different companies and areas in the food industry use blockchain technology to bring transparency to their food chains, and why that the traditional use of blockchain doesn’t always work here.

Hodler’s Digest, Dec. 3-Dec.9: US SEC Delays BTC ETF Decision Again, While Nasdaq Confirms 2019 BTC Futures Launch

The United States SEC has delayed their Bitcoin ETF decision yet again, and Venezuela’s Petro is raised 150 percent in value.

Coming every Sunday, the Hodler’s Digest will help you to track every single important news story that happened this week. The best (and worst) quotes, adoption and regulation highlights, leading coins, predictions, and much more — a week on Cointelegraph in one link.

Top Stories This Week

Top Stories This Week

US SEC Delays Bitcoin ETF Decisions, Changes Deadline to Late February

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has again postponed its decision regarding approval for a Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund (ETF) this week.

According to a document released by the SEC, the new deadline is Feb. 27, 2019, and they will take the extension to further review the rule change proposals needed to list the BTC ETF.

The financial instrument was proposed by investment firm VanEck and blockchain company SolidX, with plans to list it on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE). Legally, as the proposed rule change was first published in the Federal Register on July 2, 2018, the maximum period of consideration falls 240 days later, on Feb. 27, 2019.

Venezuelan President Maduro Raises Petro’s Value by 150 Percent

Nicolas Maduro, the president of Venezuela, has raised the reference value of the national cryptocurrency, Petro, from 3,6000 to 9,000 sovereign bolivars. Speaking in Caracas this week, Maduro also ordered an increase in the monthly minimum wage by 150 percent, the sixth increase in 2018 and 25th in total during Maduro’s presidency.

At the same time, Venezuela also devalued Dicom, the official exchange rate in the country, bringing the national fiat down around 40 percent from 96.84 sovereign bolivars per dollar on Nov. 30 to 171.67 the following day.

Nasdaq Confirms Bitcoin Futures Launch for First Half of 2019

Nasdaq, the world’s second-largest stock exchange, has confirmed plans to launch Bitcoin futures in the first half of 2019. VanEck Director of Digital Asset Strategies Gabor Gurbacs told Cointelegraph that the firm has been discussing futures with Nasdaq, MVIS Indices, and other market participants for “about 18 months.”

According to Gurbacs, the new offering will differ from those trading on the on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) with its transparency and resiliency.

Major Crypto Exchange Binance to Launch ‘Binance Blockchain’ Soon

Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange by trading volumes, will launch its own blockchain “Binance Chain” in the “coming months,” according to a tweet this week. The upcoming blockchain will allow persons to create new cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offering (ICO) tokens. Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ) noted that the new plans are actually a response to the “old vision” of crypto, which will then lead to increasing adoption on a global scale.

Crypto Exchange ErisX Raises $27.5 Mln in Funding from Fidelity, Nasdaq, Others

Crypto exchange ErisX has raised $27.5 million from stock exchange Nasdaq and Fidelity, which administers over $7.2 trillion in client assets, among other clients. According to media reports, ErisX will offer both spot trading in Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH) and Litecoin (LTC), as well as futures markets in the following year, pending regulatory approval.

Previous reports had noted that ErisX could include Bitcoin Cash (BCH) support, but this week’s news did not include the altcoin. According to ErisX CEO Thomas Chippas, the investment’s purpose is to hire staff and “build out our infrastructure and secure the appropriate steps are taken to develop a regulated market for digital assets.”

Most Memorable Quotations

Most Memorable Quotations

Hester Peirce

“Definitely possible could be 20 years from now, or it could be tomorrow. Don’t hold your breath. The SEC took a long time to [establish] Finhub. It might take even longer to approve an exchange-traded product,” — Hester Peirce, commissioner of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), speaking about Bitcoin ETF approval

Justin Sun

“#TRON will build a fund to rescue #ETH and #EOS developers from the collapse of their platform as long as those developers migrate their dapps to #TRON,” — Justin Sun, TRON CEO

Laws and Taxes

Laws And Taxes

US: Two New Bills Focusing on Crypto Market Manipulation, Regulations Introduced

Two new bills in the United States were compiled this month that focus on crypto market manipulation, with the aim to “position the United States to be a leader in the cryptocurrency industry.” The “The Virtual Currency Consumer Protection Act of 2018” and “The U.S. Virtual Currency Market and Regulatory Competitiveness Act of 2018” will go before the House of Representatives, and were a bipartisan effort from congressmen Darren Soto and Ted Budd.

Swiss Finance Minister Prefers Current Laws, Rejects Creation of Blockchain Legislation

Ueli Maurer, the Swiss Minister of Finance, has rejected a possible blockchain law in a speech at blockchain conference this week. Switzerland plans to work with existing laws in order to regulate and legislate the new technology and its financial applications, as opposed to introducing a specific blockchain or crypto legal framework, according to Maurer. The government expects to propose changes to six laws, including the civil code and bankruptcy law, in 2019.

New York Financial Services Department Approves Blockchain Digital Payment Platform

The Department of Financial Services of New York (NYDFS) has authorized a blockchain-based digital platform offered by New York-based Signature bank. The financial services department will allow the bank to offer its digital payment platform Signet in the state, which uses blockchain tech to allow bank clients to “transfer ‘Signets’ to make payments with no transaction fees, at any time of the day, year-round.” The department noted that Signet has been subject to a “comprehensive and rigorous review” and needs to comply with “significant regulatory conditions.”

US Congressman Plans to Introduce Federal Cryptocurrency and ICO Regulation

Republican U.S. Representative Warren Davidson announced plans this week to introduce legislation on a federal level to regulate both cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings (ICO). The new bill would create an “asset class” for both crypto and digital assets, which “would prevent them from being classified as securities, but would also allow the federal government to regulate initial coin offerings more effectively.”

G20 Leaders Call for Global Cryptocurrency Taxation and Regulation Systems

After their meeting this week, the G20 countries have called for the taxation of cryptocurrency, as well as its regulation to combat money laundering. According to a Japanese news outlet Jiji.com, the final text of a G20 document asks for a “taxation system for cross-border electronic payment services.” The document then continues that under the current laws, foreign companies without a base in Japan cannot be taxed by the local government, noting the need for this taxation system.

Adoption

Adoption

Mastercard Files Patent for Anonymization Method for Blockchain Transactions

Mastercard has filed a patent for a system that anonymizes transactions on a blockchain. According to the filing, the “the use of one or more intermediary addresses to obscure the source and destination of funds in a blockchain transaction” can be used in order to “increase anonymity of entities associated with blockchain addresses.” The system outlined by Mastercard would consist of a series of “anonymization request[s]” designed to anonymize the transactions themselves, rather than just the user behind any individual wallet.

Switzerland’s ‘Crypto Valley’ Ranked the ‘Fastest-Growing’ European Tech Hub

Zug, Switzerland, which is also known as “Crypto Valley,” has been ranked the fastest-growing tech community in Europe. According to the “State of European Tech” report from London-headquartered global technology investment firm Atomico, Zug tops the list in a comparison of year-on-year growth of attendees to tech-related “meetup” events per European city. The report notes that Zug has a 117 percent increase as compared with 2017.

More Than One Third of German Big Businesses See Blockchain as Important as Internet

A recent survey has shown that over one third of big businesses in Germany consider blockchain technology to be as revolutionary as the internet. The survey, conducted by the German Federal Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media (Bitkom), found that 15 percent of German companies think blockchain will “change society and the economy as much as the Internet.” Larger companies, with 500 or more employees, were more than twice as likely to hold that opinion, at 36 percent.

Abu Dhabi Int’l Financial Free Zone Completes Phase of Blockchain-Based KYC Project

The Abu Dhabi Global Market’s (ADGM) regulatory body, the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA), along with Big Four audit firm KPMG, released a review of the blockchain-based Know Your Customer (KYC) utility project this week, calling it a “successful” first phase. An international financial free zone in the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) worked on the project for four months, along with a consortium of major UAE-based financial institutions. The review notes the use of cryptography and digital signatures can support a more secure and convenient system for upholding KYC industry standards.

US Air Force Graduate Schools Develops Blockchain-Based Supply Chain Tool

The graduate school for the U.S. Air Force has developed an educational tool based on blockchain technology for managing supply chains. The tool is a live application and a set of tutorial videos released by the U.S. Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT). According to their report, “blockchain will revolutionize [...] the digital infrastructure for future supply chains,” which can translate into “better visibility” for the military’s “extremely complex logistics network.” The Institute worked with private supply chain security firm SecureMarking and the University of South Dakota Beacom School of Business.

Mergers, Acquisitions, and Partnerships

Mergers, Acquisitions, and Partnerships

Seven Southern EU Member States Sign Declaration to Promote Blockchain Use

Seven southern European Union members states — Malta, France, Italy, Cyprus, Portugal, Spain, and Greece  — have released a declaration calling for the promotion of distributed ledger technology’s (DLT) use in the region. The document notes blockchain tech’s use in protecting citizens’ privacy and making bureaucratic systems more efficient, as well as its potential for use in the “education, transport, mobility, shipping, Land Registry, customs, company registry, and healthcare” industries.

Hardware Wallet Ledgers Partners with German Startup to Create Security Token Framework

Crypto hardware wallet firm Ledger and crypto startup Neufund have announced a partnership to let users manager security tokens through Ledger’s desktop application. The collaboration aims to develop an overall framework for security tokens. In addition, Ledger Live, which is a recently launched desktop app for crypto asset management, plans on “soon” adding an ERC-20 integration, which will let users manage security tokens issued via Neufund’s set of protocols.

US Trading-Comms Firm Partners With Blockchain Consortium R3

American trading-communications firm IPC system and enterprise blockchain software consortium R3 have partnered this week. IPC is known for producing trading turrets, i.e., communications systems used by financial traders on their trading desks. With the partnership, IPC will support R3’s Corda blockchain networks on its Connexus Cloud platform — a financial markets cloud-based platform for data, voice, and business communications and compliance.

Four Blockchain Companies Jointly Launch ‘Blockchain for Europe’ Association

Four major blockchain companies — Ripple, the NEM Foundation, Emurgo, and Fetch.AI — have formed a “Blockchain for Europe” Association. The organization’s aim to promote understanding and proactive regulation of blockchain and other distributed ledger (DLT) technologies across Europe, addressing the EU’s “fragmented” policy debate around blockchain. The organization will use education about the technology in the member states in order to advocate for future “smart” regulation, conducive to innovation, that will help the continent “shape the global agenda” on blockchain.

Funding Rounds

Funding Rounds

Overstock.Com’s Blockchain Venture Arm Purchases Equity in Blockchain Agri Project

Medici ventures, Overstock.com Inc.’s blockchain venture arm, has purchased $25 million in equity in agricultural blockchain project GrainChain. The project has developed a blockchain-powered system for the tracking of supply chain parties in the distribution process of harvests, allowing producers, buyers, and sellers to create smart contracts in order to secure funds throughout the grain transaction process. The platform is aimed at small- and medium-scale farmers, which can then remove the middlemen and conduct business outside of their immediate geographic area.

Seven New Funds in Ohio Plan $300 Million Investment for Blockchain Startups

Seven Ohio-based funds and other investment teams will contribute $300 million in investments into blockchain startups through 2021, as announced this week by executives. Speaking at a blockchain conference, the CEO of nonprofit JumpStart Ray Leach announced that the seven funds with investing $100 million in “early-stage startups that focus on using blockchain technology for business or government.” As well, “additional investment teams” will add $200 million for blockchain outfits working within Ohio’s social welfare projects, dubbed “Opportunity Zones.”

Sequoia Capital, Huobi Participate in $35 Mln Funding for Scalable ‘Blockchain’ Network

A new blockchain-type network led by a Turing Award recipient and various other academics have received $35 million in funding from investors including Sequoia Capital, IMO Ventures, FreesFund, Rong 360, Shunwei Capital, F2Pool, and major crypto exchange Huobi. The network, dubbed “Conflux,” aims to tackle blockchain scalability, proclaiming that its new testnet is capable of processing ”at least 6,500 Transactions Per Second (TPS), while supporting at least 20,000 nodes.”

Winners and Losers

Winners And Losers

BTC ETH

The market is holding steady after a week of declines, with Bitcoin trading at around $3,489, Ripple at $.30, and Ethereum at $91.99. Total market cap is at about $110 billion.

The top three altcoin gainers of the week are TittieCoin, Bastonet, and TRONCLASSIC. The top three altcoin losers of the week are FREE Coin, Etheera and RabbitCoin.

For more info on crypto prices movement, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.
 

FUD of the Week

FUD Of The Week

Former Israeli PM Calls Crypto a ‘Ponzi Scheme,’ But Thinks Blockchain Is Important

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak compared digital currencies to Ponzi schemes but noted the importance of blockchain technology. Barak, who participated in the Camp David Accords in 2000, now serves as the chairman of medical marijuana producer InterCure. When asked about the comparison of the alleged marijuana investment “bubble” to crypto, Barak underlined that “he would never invest” in cryptocurrencies as “Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies [are] a Ponzi scheme.” However, Barak added that blockchain technology and smart contracts are important and useful technological and mathematical concepts.

US Securities Regulator Issues Cease and Desist to Delaware-Based Digital Asset Fund

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued a cease and desist against CoinAlpha Advisors LLC in addition to ordering a $50,000 penalty to be paid. The company had allegedly raised over $600,000 from 22 investors in at least five states, purchasing limited partnership interest in the fund in exchange for a proportional share of any profits derived from the fund’s investment in digital assets. However, even those CoinAlpha filed an exemption notice with the SEC in November 2017, the company was not registered with the SEC, meaning that they violated securities laws.

Chilean Supreme Court Rules Against Crypto Exchange Over Bank Account Closure

The Chilean Supreme Court has ruled against crypto exchange Orionx in a case over the right for state-owned bank Banco del Estado to close the exchange’s account. The high court revoked the July decision that protected Orionx and ordered the bank to reopen the account, with the court decision noting that the nature of cryptocurrencies prevents banks from receiving detailed information on transactions, customers, and companies that interact with the assets. The court has ruled that the bank did not violate any aspect of the Chilean constitution.

South Korean Financial Authority Warns 2 Banks Over Poor Crypto Transaction System

A financial authority in South Korea has warned major domestic banks Kookmin Bank and Nonghyup Bank over their lack of management of cryptocurrency transactions and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulation. The country’s Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) has found that the banks had “unreasonable elements related to virtual [currency] handling business.” The banks have also been given orders for improvement and must submit the measures to the FSS within three months or face more “direct sanctions.”

BTC

Prediction Of The Week

Quoine CEO: Bitcoin Will Surpass Last Year’s All-Time Highs by End of 2019

Mike Kayamori, the CEO of Japanese fintech firm and crypto exchange operator Quoine, said in an interview this week that he believes Bitcoin (BTC) will “surpass” its all-time price highs by the end of 2019. He also noted that the bottom is near for the top coin, citing the pressure on Bitcoin miners as an accurate sign of its coming. Kayamori added that the better practices across the industry, Japan’s crypto ecosystem, in particular, is experiencing a period of “consolidation.”

Best Cointelegraph Features

Best Cointelegraph Features

G-20 Summit Results: Crypto Is Important for Global Economy, Needs to Be Regulated and Taxed

After the G20 summit that took place last week, the global community learned that G20 leaders believe the cryptocurrency is worth bringing up in reference to the sustainable development of the global economy. In this analysis, Cointelegraph looks at how the G20 member states see their role in both crypto regulation and taxation.

EOS Community Is Challenged After Node Announces Financial Rewards for Votes

After various previous centralization scandals surrounding altcoin EOS, a new issue has surfaced, with one of their Block Producers (BP) allegedly offering money in exchange for voting them as a proxy in a thinly veiled “gamification.” Cointelegraph delves into the BP, Starteos, and how its offer of crypto for votes was received in the EOS community.

First Week of December Ends with Flush of Green, Bitcoin Nears $3,700

The crypto markets are seeing a wave of green, as top crypto Bitcoin nears the $3,700 mark after a week of lows.

Sunday, Dec. 9 — The crypto markets are showing a wave of green, as Bitcoin (BTC) trades closer to $3,700 at the end of the week, as data from Coin360 shows.

Market visualization by Coin360

Market visualization by Coin360.

After a week of breaking new year-to-date lows, the major cryptocurrency is trading at around $3,650 by press time, up more than 7 percent over a 24 hour period. The coin is still down almost 9 percent on the week and more than 44 percent on the month, according to Cointelegraph’s Bitcoin Price Index.

Bitcoin 7-day price chart

Bitcoin 7-day price chart. Source: Cointelegraph’s Bitcoin Price Index.

The second-largest crypto by market cap, Ripple (XRP), is also up by 5 percent on the day, trading at around $0.31 as of press time, according to Cointelegraph’s Ripple Price Index. Ripple’s weekly and monthly charts are similar to those of Bitcoin, with losses of almost 12 and 41 percent respectively.

Ripple 7-day price chart

Ripple 7-day price chart. Source: Cointelegraph’s Ripple Price Index.

Third-ranked crypto by market cap Ethereum (ETH) is up the most of the top-three cryptos, seeing almost 10 percent growth on the day and trading at around $97 by press time. On the week, the altcoin is down almost 14 percent, and is seeing losses of more than 55 percent over the past month.

Ethereum 7-day price chart

Ethereum 7-day price chart. Cointelegraph’s Ethereum Price Index.

All of the remaining top ten coins on CoinMarketCap are seeing green, with EOS (EOS) showing the most gains on the day, up 15 percent and trading at around $111 to press time.

Only Bitcoin Cash SV (BSV) — a branch of the Nov. 15 Bitcoin Cash (BCH) hard fork — is in the red, down more than 2 percent over a 24 hour period and trading at around $97.37 at press time. BSV had been ranked fifth yesterday, Dec. 8, but is now in the eighth spot on CoinMarketCap. BCH is now ranked fifth, up around 8 percent on the day and trading at about $111 by press time.

Total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies is at around $115 billion as of press time, up from its Dec. 7 weekly low of just under $104 billion.

7-day chart of the total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies

7-day chart of the total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies from CoinMarketCap.

Crypto Exchange ErisX Raises $27.5 Million From Fidelity, Nasdaq Ventures and Others

Fidelity Investments, Nasdaq Ventures and others have invested a total of $27.5 million in crypto exchange ErisX.

Crypto exchange ErisX has raised $27.5 million from Fidelity Investments and Nasdaq Ventures, among other investors, Reuters reports Tuesday, Dec. 4.

Nasdaq is the world’s second-largest stock exchange, while United States investment firm Fidelity administers over $7.2 trillion in client assets.

According to Reuters, ErisX will offer both spot trading in Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH) and Litecoin (LTC), as well as futures markets in the following year, pending regulatory approval.

Nasdaq confirmed their participation to Reuters without specifying the amount of their contribution, while Fidelity has not responded to Reuters’ requests for comments by press time.

According to Thomas Chippas, ErisX CEO, the investment’s purpose is to hire staff and “build out our infrastructure and secure the appropriate steps are taken to develop a regulated market for digital assets.”

In October of this year, retail brokerage firm TD Ameritrade had also invested in ErisX, with participation from investing company DRW Holdings and high-speed trader Virtu Financial. Reuters writes that private equity firm Valor Equity Partners and CBOE Global Markets Inc. also participated in the fall investment.

Bloomberg had noted this fall that ErisX would also offer Bitcoin Cash (BCH) support, but the altcoin was not mentioned by Reuters in today’s article.

Hodler’s Digest, Nov. 26—Dec. 2: Satoshi Makes a New Friend, Buterin Gets Negative Over Centralized Blockchains

Ohio businesses can soon pay taxes in Bitcoin, while Nasdaq looks ahead to a Bitcoin futures launch.

Coming every Sunday, the Hodler’s Digest will help you to track every single important news story that happened this week. The best (and worst) quotes, adoption and regulation highlights, leading coins, predictions, and much more — a week on Cointelegraph in one link.

Top Stories This Week

Top Stories This Week

Nasdaq Notes Bitcoin Futures Could Launch in Quarter 1 2019, Bloomberg Reports

Major U.S. stock exchange Nasdaq still intends to launch Bitcoin futures, and may do so in the first quarter of 2019, according to “two people familiar with the matter.” Speaking to Bloomberg this week, the two unnamed sources note that Nasdaq has been “working to satisfy the concerns of the U.S.’s main swaps regulator, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission [CFTC], before launching the contracts.” Later in the week, it was revealed that Nasdaq had partnered with U.S. investment firm VanEck to jointly launch a set of “transparent, regulated and surveilled” digital assets products, a move that supports the unnamed sources’ claims.

Ohio Poised to Become First US State to Accept Bitcoin for Taxes

The U.S. state of Ohio is set to become the first state to accept Bitcoin (BTC) as a tax payment. According to the Wall Street Journal, the decision will at first only apply to business, but there are plans in place to extend the crypto option to individual taxpayers in the future. Beginning this week, the WSJ notes that all Ohio-based businesses will be able to register to pay their taxes in BTC, which will then be processed through crypto payments service BitPay.

Vitalik Buterin: Blockchain Tech Isn’t as Applicable in Every Industry as People Think

Ethereum (ETH) co-founder Vitalik Buterin said this week in an interview that the misapplication of blockchain technology in some industries leads to “wasted time.” Buterin noted that although there are a high number of companies that try to establish higher standards and transparency by using blockchain tech, he does not believe that blockchain can be applied usefully in every industry. Buterin specifically criticized the proprietary nature of corporate blockchain projects from tech giants like IBM, noting that crypto and cross-border payments are suitable industries for the technology’s use.

US Securities Regulator Charges Floyd Mayweather Jr., DJ Khaled for Illegal ICO Promotion

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has charged professional boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. and music producer Khaled Khaled (known as DJ Khaled) for unlawfully advertising Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). The SEC found that Mayweather did not disclose receiving payments for promoting three ICOs (including $100,000 from Centra Tech), while DJ Khaled failed to disclose a $50,000 payment from the same crypto startup. In May, Centra’s three co-founders had been formally indicted for running a fraudulent $32 million ICO in 2017.

Bitcoin Creator Satoshi Nakamoto’s P2P Account Goes Live, Posts One-Word Update

Anonymous Bitcoin (BTC) creator Satoshi Nakamoto’s P2P Foundation account became active this week, posting a one-word status and adding a Brazilian user to his friend list. The profile, which is associated with an email that had previously been hacked, has been offline since Nakamoto withdrew from online activity in late 2010. The one word post — “nour” — has no obvious meaning: a Google search finds an Urban Dictionary post for “the most loving, affectionate and caring person you'll ever meet,” while the word also is a transliteration of the Arabic and Ancient Hebrew for “light” or “life.”

Most Memorable Quotations

Most Memorable Quotations

Vitalik Buterin

“I don’t understand this deeply, but the detail that jumped out at me is they’re saying ‘Hey, we own all the IP and this is basically our platform and you’re getting on it.’ And like, that’s… totally not the point….” — Ethereum (ETH) co-founder Vitalik Buterin, speaking out the corporate blockchain projects

Tom Lee

“If you’ve got time, it will arise. It will not happen within three months, or one year, but in two to three years, and this is the golden time to be in crypto,” — Tom Lee, major Wall Street crypto bull and co-founder of Fundstrat Global Advisors

Josh Mandel

“I do see [Bitcoin] as a legitimate form of currency,” — Ohio state Treasurer Josh Mandel, speaking about adding a BTC tax payment option

Laws and Taxes

Laws and Taxes

Liechtenstein Cryptoassets Exchange Receives “Business License” From Regulator

The Liechtenstein Ministry of Economic Affairs has reportedly given a “business license” to professional traders-focused Liechtenstein Cryptoassets Exchange (LCX). According to the business, the license is a “milestone” in developing a “fully regulated blockchain ecosystem,” targeting institutional and professional investors. The firm now plans to apply for a Financial Market Authority (FMA) license, as well as other regulators’ approvals to trade security tokens among other offerings.

US SEC Chairman Jay Clayton Reiterates Strict Stance on ICO, ETFs

Jay Clayton, the chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), implied this week how the regulator is maintaining its strict stance of Initial Coin Offering (ICO) compliance. In an interview, Clayton noted that there was still a need to conduct public token sales to U.S. customers while following SEC guidelines. Clayton refused to comment on the SEC’s  pending decision on whether to allow Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to launch, noting only “we’ve been clear on some of the issues that are of concern to us.”

Malaysia Plans to Create Crypto Regulation by Quarter 1 2019, Says Finance Minister

According to Malaysia’s finance minister, the country will develop regulations for cryptocurrency and Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) in Q1 2019. Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng stated that the country’s regulator, the Securities Commission (SC), had given him the timeframe for the regulations, which will form “part of the SC's efforts to facilitate alternative fundraising avenues and new investment asset classes.” Also this week, the minister noted that any entity wishing to issue cryptocurrency must defer to the country’s central bank, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM).

Adoption

Adoption

Coinbase Launches Over-the-Counter Trading for Institutional Investors

Major U.S. crypto exchange and wallet provider Coinbase revealed this week that they have launched over-the-counter (OTC) trading for institutional customers. In contrast to trading through a crypto exchange itself, OTC crypto trading will allow institutional investors to conduct direct trades between each other. Head of Sales at Coinbase Christine Sandler noted that the decision to open OTC trades came at a time of increased demand for the service from institutional players, who consider leveraging both exchange and OTC business as a “huge benefit” to their customers.

CLSNet Blockchain Payment Netting Service Launches With Big Banking Clients

U.S. forex exchange (FX) settlement giant CLS’ blockchain payment netting service went live this week, with Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley as some of the initial users of the service, which was built in conjunction with IBM. The blockchain netting service, which is described as the “first global FX market enterprise application running on blockchain in production,” also has “committed” participation from six international entities including the Hong Kong branch of the state-run Bank of China.

Abu Dhabi-Based Bank Completes “First” Sukuk Transaction on Blockchain

Al Hilal Bank, based in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has announced it has completed “the world’s first sukuk transaction” with the use of blockchain technology. Sukuk is a legal instrument, also referred to as “sharia compliant” bonds, which allows investors to generate returns without infringing on Islamic law. The sukuk transaction was worth a reported $1 million, sold by Al Hilal to a private investor with the participation of Swiss-based fintech company Jibrel Network, which has offices in Dubai.

Bahrain Finance Training Institute Launches Blockchain Academy

The Bahrain Institute of Banking and Finance (BIBF) announced the launch this week of what it claims to be the country’s first “Blockchain Academy.” The BIBF established in Bahrain in 1981 by approval of the Specific Council for Vocational Training, is an unregistered non-profit semi-government entity that provides training in the financial sector. The Blockchain Academy, according to the announcement, is designed to prepare participants to earn the international qualification of Certified Blockchain Professional C|BP and was developed by both the BIBF and Dubai-based training firm MyLearning Key.

Amazon Debuts Two New Blockchain-Related Products

E-commerce giant Amazon has announced the launch of two new blockchain-related services this week: Amazon Quantum Ledger Database (QLDB) and Amazon Managed Blockchain. QLDB is a ledger database, overseen by a central trusted authority, that will provide a transparent, immutable, and cryptographically verifiable log of transactions, while the Amazon Managed Blockchain can operate with QLDB, allowing users to adjust and manage a scalable blockchain network.

Mergers, Acquisitions, and Partnerships

Mergers, Acquisitions, and Partnerships

“Code of Conduct” Association Launched for Crypto by Ten Blockchain, Fintech Firms

Ten financial and technology firms have established an Association for Digital Asset Markets (ADAM) in order to create a “code of conduct” for the cryptocurrency sector. Among the founding members of the organization include Mike Novogratz’s crypto merchant bank Galaxy Digital, global financial services firm BTIG, fintech firm Paxos — of recently-launched stablecoin PAX — and crypto liquidity solutions provider GSR. The group plans to work with regulators to create “comprehensive standards” for digital asset market participants.

Nasdaq and VanEck Partner to Release “Regulated, Surveilled” Digital Assets Products

Nasdaq, the world’s second largest stock exchange, and the U.S. investment firm VanEck have announced a partnership to launch a set of “transparent, regulated and surveilled” digital assets products together. The partnership, announced via a tweet and then at a New York crypto conference, supposes that the new products would use Nasdaq’s SMARTS Market Surveillance system, alongside VanEck’s MVIS digital asset pricing indices.

Microsoft Japan and LayerX Partner to Increase Domestic Blockchain Use

The Japanese arm of computer giant Microsoft has partnered with nascent blockchain startup LayerX to “accelerate” uptake of the technology in Japan. LayerX was created in August as a joint project between news curation app Gunosy and advisory service AnyPay, and sees blockchain integration for enterprise, including the application of smart contracts and general consulting. Using Microsoft’s Azure Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) solution, the companies will work together to promote broader applications of blockchain.

ASUS Partners With GPU Mining Platform to Let Users Mine Crypto via Graphics Cards

Taiwan-based tech giant ASUS and GPU mining platform Quantumcloud have formed a partnership in order to allow users to mine crypto via their graphic cards. Per the terms of the partnership, owners of ASUS graphic cards will be able to mine crypto through Quantumcloud software and withdraw earnings using PayPal or Chinese app WeChat. Quantumcloud noted that it doesn’t guarantee profits, and that users need to consider usage costs on their own.

Funding Rounds

Funding Rounds

Blockchain Capital Leads Almost $13 Mln Funding Round for U.S. Securities Token Startup

Blockchain Capital has led a $12.75 million Series A funding round for American securities tokens startup Securitize this week. The platform, which enables the issuances of digital securities — or security tokens — of any asset, also had  Coinbase Ventures, Global Brain, NXTP, OK Blockchain Capital, and Xpring at Ripple participate in the funding round. Blockchain Capital’s co-founder and managing partner Brad Stephens will join Securitize’s Board of Directors.

Decentralized Exchanges Completes $15 Mln Funding Round with Huobi and OKCoin

BHEX Exchange, a decentralized crypto exchange, finished a $15 million funding round this week with support from major exchanges like Huobi and OKCoin. According to BHEX, the new funding round also included support from Genesis Capital, among others. BHEX’s investment subscription has purportedly attracted over 70 investment institutions, while Blue Helix selected 40 to participate in the first round of investment.

Winners and Losers

Winners and Losers

Winners and Losers

The crypto markets are slightly in the green at the end of the week, with Bitcoin trading at $4,128.16, Ripple at $.37, and Ethereum at $116.48. Total market cap is around $134 billion.

The top three altcoin gainers of the week are FREE Coin, Etheera, and RabbitCoin. The top three altcoin losers of the week are ZeusNetwork, Cyber Movie Chain, and TRONCLASSIC.

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

FUD of the Week

FUD of the Week

Bitmain Sued for $5 Mln For Alleged Unauthorized Mining at Clients’ Expense

Crypto mining giant Bitmain is facing a class action lawsuit of $5 million that alleges the company mined crypto for its own benefit while its customers’ devices were in the process of setting up. According to the lawsuit, Bitmain is benefitting from the the lengthy “initialization” period that its ASIC [Application-Specific Integrated Circuit] devices need for set up. The plaintiff claims that the company’s ASIC devices are “preconfigured to use its customers’ electricity to generate crypto currency for the benefit of Bitmain rather than its customers.”

US Treasury Adds Crypto Addresses of Two Iranians to Sanctions List Over BTC Ransomware

The U.S. Treasury Department has sanctioned two Iranians allegedly involved in Bitcoin (BTC) ransomware scheme SamSam, including their Bitcoin addresses in a first for putting crypto addresses on a sanctions list. The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) took action against two Iranian individuals, Ali Khorashadizadeh and Mohammad Ghorbaniyan, who are accused of exchanging Bitcoin into Iranian rials (IRR) associated with the scheme. OFEC has managed to identify two crypto addresses associated with the alleged Iran-based criminals, with 7,000 transactions in Bitcoin and around 6,000 BTC moved since 2013.

Bulgarian Prosecutors Detain Three Hackers Who Reportedly Stole $5 Mln in Crypto

Bulgaria’s Gendarmerie forces and specialized prosecutors have arrested three hackers allegedly involved in stealing $5 million in crypto this week. According to the investigation, the hackers used new methods and advanced computer skills, including specialized hardware, in the scam. The investigation, which began five months ago, has ended with the police seizing cryptocurrencies worth around $3 million, as well as computers, flash drives, and a hardware portfolio for storage of crypto data.

Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital Lost $136 Mln During First Three Quarters of 2018

According to a report from Bloomberg this week, Mike Novogratz's crypto investment bank Galaxy Digital has lost $136 million in the first three quarters of 2018. The banks realized and unrealized losses in Q3 amounted to $41 million, and the firm’s share price also dropped to a record low after tumbling 55 percent this month. Galaxy Digital explained the loss by pointing to the falling prices of Bitcoin (BTC), Ripple (XRP), and Ethereum (ETH), calling the lack of crypto trading volumes a “headwind” to success.

Zug Court Shuts Down Crypto Mining Firm Over Unregistered Initial Coin Offering

The cantonal court in Zug, Switzerland, has shut down cryptocurrency mining firm Envion AG for offering an allegedly unauthorized Initial Coin Offering (ICO). Envion, a Swiss-based off-grid mining company that touts itself as using decentralized, clean energy like hydroelectric and solar to power its mobile mining units, raised around $100 million through its mid-January ICO this year. The funding led to a conflict between the two partners at Envion, resulting in a court trial. This week, the court ruled to liquidate the firm, while noting the complete absence of any auditing function or board.

Prediction of the Week

Prediction of the Week

Civic CEO Believes Bitcoin Will Trade Range-Bound for “Three to Six Months”

According to Vinny Lingham, the CEO of identity management startup Civic, Bitcoin’s (BTC) price will remain range-bound between $3,000 and $6,000 for the next three to six months. Speaking on CNBC’s “Fast Money,” the CEO noted that it is doubtful that the coin will break down the support level of $3,000 since there is “a lot of buying in the short term around that mark.”

Best Cointelegraph Features

Best Cointelegraph Features

Ohio to Accept Tax Payments in Crypto — Setting the Standard for Future?

Ohio state is looking to become the first in the U.S. to let businesses, and possibly later individuals, to use cryptocurrencies to pay for taxes. Cointelegraph spoke to Ohio’s State Treasurer Josh Mandel, the person responsible for the initiative, about how he sees the state becoming more of a blockchain hub as well.

Trezor One Wallets Forgery Reveals New Techniques Used to Steal Crypto

Last week, Trezor, one of the leading crypto hard wallets, reported that one-for-one copies of their devices had been found, and warned customers to be careful of purchasing Trezors from unreliable sellers. The key difference between the real and fake Trezors? A holographic sticker on the box, which some critics say is too weak as a security measure.

ABC vs SV: Assessing the Consequences of the Bitcoin Cash War

The Bitcoin Cash (BCH) hard fork took place on Nov. 15, but the consequences are far reaching. Bitcoin ABC, which was backed by both BCH advocate Roger Ver and Bitmain founder Jihan Wu, ended up winning the allegiance of the majority of exchanges, but Bitcoin SV is far from being dead.

Russian Crypto Bill Draft Pushed Back to First Reading for Significant Edits

Russia’s draft cryptocurrency bill has been pushed back to the first reading stage, as a Duma chairman noted it has no relation to crypto or tokens.

Russia’s cryptocurrency legislation, the draft bill “On Digital Financial Assets,” has been sent back to the first reading stage for significant changes, Russian daily newspaper Kommersant reported Nov. 30.

According to Kommersant, the head of the council and chairman of the State Duma committee on state building Pavel Krasheninnikov said that the document has no relation to cryptocurrencies or tokens, and lawyers have noted that its wording comes into conflict with the norms of Russian legislation for corporations.

The law, which is one of three projects originally designed to regulate crypto in the country, replaces all crypto- and token-related terminology with the term “digital rights,” which confuses the relationship between “digital rights” and “digital financial assets.” In October, the definition of crypto mining had also been removed from the bill.

The draft legislation had first been introduced in January at President Vladimir Putin’s behest, with the bill approved by the State Duma in the first of three readings in May.

A Cointelegraph analysis in September reported that many experts considered the legislation to be a “disappointment,” as the three bills were prepared independently of each other and fall behind crypto regulation in surrounding countries.

Olga Pleshanova, the head of research and development at law firm Infralex, told Kommersant that lawyers believe the bill in current form will bring the Russian economy back to the 1990s, including the preponderance of financial pyramid schemes.

Towards the end of October, the new draft of the bill added that owners of privately held companies can create and sell so-called “digital financial assets (DFA)” that act as digitized equity for the company.

In regards to the conflict with Russian corporate legislation, Kommersant notes that lawyers were concerned that the simplification of shares in limited liability companies (LLC) in digital form will mix legal entities by turning them into “kind of pre-existing ‘closed’ (now ‘non-public’) joint-stock companies.”

Also in October, a lobby group of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP) sent its proposals for crypto regulation to the country’s prime minister Dmitry Medvedev, asking to postpone hearings for the bill until 2019 to ensure the bill is more favorable to both entrepreneurs and regulators.

Hodler’s Digest, Nov. 19–25: SIX Launches Multi-Crypto ETP, BCH’s Hard Fork Remains Contentious

KPMG releases a report that remains bullish on cryptocurrencies, while Bakkt announces a target launch date for the end of January.

Coming every Sunday, the Hodler’s Digest will help you to track every single important news story that happened this week. The best (and worst) quotes, adoption and regulation highlights, leading coins, predictions, and much more — a week on Cointelegraph in one link.

Top Stories This Week

Top Stories This Week

KPMG Report Notes That Crypto Is a Big Deal, But Needs Institutional Investment

Netherlands-based “Big Four” auditor KPMG released a bullish report on crypto this week, arguing that institutional investors must join the industry for it to “realize its potential.” The report, titled the “Institutionalization of Cryptoassets,” explains how insitututional investors can enter the crypto sphere, alongside the current challenges that the industry faces. The report also elaborates under what circumstances crypto could become a “full-fledged asset class.”

Major Swiss Stock Exchange SIX Launches Crypto ETP Even as Market Collapsed

The SIX Swiss Exchange, Switzerland's principal stock exchange, announced that it will be listing the world’s first multi-crypto-based exchange-traded product (ETP). The ETP will be backed by Swiss startup Amun AG, will be listed under index HODL, and will track the following major cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin (BTC), Ripple (XRP), Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and Litecoin (LTC). Each crypto will have its own market share in the ETP, with Bitcoin accounting for about half of the assets.

Bitcoin Cash’s Contentious BCHSV Hard Fork Experiences “Blockchain Reorganization”

Bitcoin Cash (BCH), which experienced a hard fork on Nov. 15, came under more controversy this week after Bitcoin Cash SV (BCHSV), one of the two new forks of the altcoin, experienced what is known as a blockchain reorganization (reorg). The reorg lasted for two blocks and was initially feared to be a malicious attack; however, this instance came about due to the mining arm of crypto news publication Coingeek, which favors BCHSV, orphaning its own blocks.

Bakkt Digital Assets Platform Announces January End Launch Date

Bakkt, the digital assets platform created by the operator of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), has announced a “target” launch date of Jan. 24, 2019. The Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), operator of 23 leading global exchanges including the NYSE, announced the creation of Bakkt in August of this year. According to Bakkt’s Medium post this week, “given the volume of interest in Bakkt and work required to get all of the pieces in place,” the company chose the later start date in order to “ensure that participants are ready to trade on Day 1.”

China: Crypto Miners Sell off Mining Devices ‘by Kilo’ Amidst Market Decline

Cryptocurrency mining firms in China have reportedly started selling mining machines by weight amid recent cryptocurrency decline and Bitcoin (BTC) getting down almost 24 percent over the past 7 days. The decrease has resulted in a similar drop in mining profitability and forced Chinese operators to sell their mining devices at a loss, the founder of F2Pool stated in his post on the Weibo microblogging platform.

Most Memorable Quotations

Most Memorable Quotations

Bart Smith

“The desire to have a non-sovereign form of currency has existed forever. Remember, [Bitcoin] came out of the depths of the [2008] financial crisis, let’s see what happens next year. Let’s see if central banks in the U.S. and Europe can unwind this thing successfully and then see what people want to own,” — “Crypto King” Bart Smith, digital asset head at U.S.-based global trading and technology firm Susquehanna

Lou Kerner

“If you go back to the Internet bubble, which is what a lot of us in crypto look at for direction, Amazon, arguably one of the greatest companies in the history of the mankind, was down over 95 percent over two years,” — Lou Kerner, a partner at venture capital firm CryptoOracle

Laws and Taxes

Laws and Taxes

Documents Show Indian Government to Present Draft Crypto Bill in December

According to documents seen by the Quartz India news site, the Indian government is currently preparing a draft bill on crypto regulations expected to be shown in December. The Indian government filed a counter-affidavit on Nov. 19 in the Supreme Court of India, which is currently hearing a case filed by some crypto exchanges against the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) crypto dealings ban, enacted earlier this year. The documents seen show that the Indian finance ministry panel are undertaking “serious efforts” for the draft report on virtual currencies and the use of distributed ledger technology (DLT) in India.

Italy’s Securities Watchdog Orders Three Crypto-Related Companies to Cease and Desist

The Italian Companies and Exchange Commission (Commissione Nazionale per le Società e la Borsa), Italy’s securities watchdog, has ordered three crypto-related companies providing unauthorized investment services to cease and desist. The reasons vary: for example, one company, a trading platform Richmond Investing, has reportedly violated the country’s laws by failing to register as a financial intermediary.

Singapore’s First BTC Court Case Involves Liquidity Provider Suing Crypto Exchange

In Singapore’s first Bitcoin-related (BTC) court case, crypto exchange Quoine and major liquidity provider B2C2 are the opposing parties in a dispute in the Singapore International Commercial Court concerning the alleged reversal of crypto transactions in the spring of 2017. B2C2 alleges Quoine reversed seven Bitcoin to Ethereum trades it attempted to perform in April 2017. According to Quoine, the reversal was due to a technical glitch and involved a total of 3,085 BTC (today around $13.7 million).

Singapore’s Central Bank Released Final Draft of Crypto Payment Services Regulation

Singapore’s central bank, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), said this week that it has broadened its regulatory regime for payment providers to bring certain cryptos under its jurisdiction. The new Payment Services Bill (PSB), which was submitted by the education minister and MAS board member, will replace two existing forms of relevant legislation. The bill’s aim is to better safeguard consumer funds, counter terrorism financing, and bolster cybersecurity.

Venezuelan Parliament Approves Crypto Bill to Combat 'Financial Blockade'

Venezuela's Constituent National Assembly has approved a bill on cryptocurrency regulation, validating its controversial national cryptocurrency Petro as a unit of commercial exchange within the country and allowing to purchase service and goods with it. In addition to that, the amendment to current anti-money laundering law allows local exchanges to carry foreign exchange operations using Petro.

Adoption

Adoption

VanEck Subsidiary Develops BTC Index Based on OTC Desks

MV Index Solution, a subsidiary of investment management firm VanEck, launched its own Bitcoin (BTC) index based on three major over-the-counter (OTC) desks this week. The firm, which develops, monitors, and licenses the MVIS Indices — which cover asset class including equity, fixed income market, and digital assets — will introduce the new MVIS Bitcoin U.S.>OTC Spot Index (MVBTCO). The new spot index is based on U.S. price feeds from major OTC liquidity providers: Circle Trade, Cumberland and Genesis Trading.

Top Crypto Exchange Huobi Pays Its Dues to Beijing by Setting up Communist Party Committee

The company behind major cryptocurrency exchange Huobi created a Communist Party branch at an additional subsidiary, Beijing Lianhuo Information Service (BLIS), as part of its obligations to the Chinese state. Singapore-based Huobi follows the law that obliges any company with more than three Communist Party member employees to set up its own branch, thus becoming the first cryptocurrency industry business to embrace the tradition.

Retail Giant Carrefour Launches Blockchain Food Tracking Platform for Poultry in Spain

French-based retail giant Carrefour deploys a blockchain food tracking platform based on Hyperledger in its Spanish network. The food tracking solution, initially developed by U.S. tech corporation IBM, will be used to track free-range chickens. Each package in the Spanish network will be marked by a QR code providing detailed info on the chicken’s date of birth, type of nutrition, packing date, and more for the convenience of customers.

‘The Big Issue’ Newspaper Launches Blockchain Platform to Promote Impact Investing

The Big Issue, a street newspaper sold by the homeless in the U.K. and other countries, is launching a blockchain-driven platform to promote impact investing. The initiative dubbed The Big Exchange has already been joined by three investment companies — UK Standard Life Aberdeen, U.S. Columbia Threadneedle, and AllianceBernstein. The platform will offer 30 to 40 social and environmental impact funds, linked with UN’s 17 sustainable development goals, and is set to start working within six months.

India: 'Big Four' Auditor EY to Hire 2K Employees to Develop in Blockchain, AI

“Big Four” auditor Ernst & Young will hire 2,000 employees in India to expand its digital solution services across blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), automation and tax technologies. The new talents will be recruited over the next three years. At the same time, the company is planning to invest $1 billion in “new technologies, client services, innovation and the EY ecosystem” over a two fiscal year period.

Mergers, Acquisitions, and Partnerships

Mergers, Acquisitions, and Partnerships

Tezos Korea Foundation and Yonsei University Partner for Blockchain Development

The South Korean branch of the Tezos Foundation has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Yonsei University to collaboratively work on the development of blockchain technology. According to the new agreement, the two entities will provide  “blockchain education cooperation, training of OCaml [Objective Calm] and smart contract experts.” The MoU focuses primarily on human resources and education in the blockchain technology industry.

Fintech Firm MonetaGo Partners With SWIFT India

SWIFT’s Indian branch has partnered with MonetaGo, a fintech firm, in order to produce a pilot of a distributed ledger (DLT) network. The DLT network aims to improve the efficiency and security of financial products. SWIFT India is more specifically a joint venture developed by SWIFT SCRL and several major Indian and international banks. The new partnership will also integrate MonetaGo’s financial services network technology through standardized SWIFT financial messages.

Spin-off Project RIF Labs Acquires Bitcoin-based Smart Contract Protocol Rootstock

Bitcoin-based smart contract protocol Rootstock (RSK) announced this week that it would be integrating with spin-off project RIF OS in order to expand on the scope of its operations. According to the terms of the, RSK Labs will be acquired by RIF Labs, the structure behind off-chain infrastructure RIF OS. The two entities jointly plan to enable the RSK to go beyond Bitcoin and Ethereum network support and include various P2P functions.

Siemens Joins Blockchain-Based Energy Platform for Interoperability Development

Two energy divisions of German tech giant Siemens have joined blockchain-driven energy platform Energy Web Foundation (EWF) to promote the use of decentralized technologies in the sector. Siemens announced that its Energy Management and Power Generation Services departments partnering with EWF in order to elaborate regulatory, operational, and market solutions for the energy sector.

Columbia University and IBM Launch Two Accelerator Programs for Blockchain Enterprises

America’s Columbia University and IBM said this week that they would be launching two blockchain accelerator programs with the goal of helping startups in the space innovate at scale. Both programs will be a part of the Columbia-IBM Center for Blockchain and Data Transparency, which had been established as a joint innovation center by the two entities this summer. Each blockchain-focused program will support ten startups, allowing them access to a network of business mentors, technical support, Columbia’s student talent and “research community,” design assistance, and IBM cloud technology resources.

Funding Rounds

Funding Rounds

Singapore’s State Investment Firm Backed R3 as Part of Blockchain and AI-Focused Strategy

Singapore’s state investment firm Temasek Holdings Pte, with its Asia-focused portfolio reportedly worth around $235 billion as of spring 2018, has invested in enterprise blockchain software firm and global banking consortium R3. Bloomberg has learnt from an internal memo that Temasek was one of the over forty institutions that invested in R3 along $107 million Series A fundraising round last May, but the exact sum of Singaporean firm’s company is undisclosed. Moreover, Temasek has reportedly participated in a $600 million series C funding round in April for Chinese AI startup SenseTime.

Japanese Banking Giant, ETH Foundation, and Others Donate $800K for Blockchain Course at University of Tokyo

The University of Tokyo will launch a blockchain course following a donation of nearly $800,000 from several companies, including Japanese banking giant Sumitomo Mitsui (SMBC) and the Ethereum Foundation. The banking group does not disclose the details of 90 million yen donation, nor did it reveal the main contributor. However, it is known that the funding has been shared with more companies, such as Good Luck 3, JSS, Zipper, Hotto link, and Money Forward.

Winners and Losers

Winners and Losers

Winners and Losers

This week the crypto markets continued to fall, seeing a most significant drop off throughout 2018, with the total market cap around $123 billion, Bitcoin trading around $3,800, Ripple at $0.34, and Ethereum at $110 by press time.

The top three altcoin gainers of the week are EmaratCoin, SalPay and Block-chain.Com. The top three altcoin losers of the week are Delizia, dietbitcoin and Smart Application Chain.

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

FUD of the Week

FUD of the Week

Young American Alleged SIM Swapper Arrested for Theft of $1 Million in Crypto

Authorities in the U.S. state of California have placed a 21-year old New Yorker under arrest for the alleged theft of $1 million in crypto using the “SIM-swapping” crypto stealing technique. SIM-swapping, also referred to as a “port-out scam,” works through the theft of a cell phone number in order to hack online financial and social media accounts through the victims phone. The arrested suspect, Nicholas Truglia, has been accused of targeting wealthy Silicon Valley executives.

Trezor Releases Warning After Fake “One-for-One” Copies of Their Hardware Found

Crypto hardware wallet manufacturer Trezor has issued a warning to customers after it made the discovery that rogue actors were creating and selling fake versions of their wallet online. In the online post, Trezor notes that an “unknown” third party was distributing “one-to-one copies” of its flagship Trezor One device. The post specified that the rogue hardware wallet have subtle differences in their packaging, like the hologram and barcode sticker.

Chainalysis Report: Bitcoin Use in Payments Has Collapsed This Year

A recent report by Chainalysis shows that Bitcoin use in commercial payments has been reduced significantly this year. The study involved surveying 17 Bitcoin payment processors, finding that the amount of BTC handled by major payment processors reportedly dropped by almost 80 percent from the beginning of the year to September. Fo example, at Canadian firm Coinpayments, the value of transactions has fallen by more than half between January and October 2018. However, Fundstrat’s Tom Lee also said this week that the amount of transactions with Bitcoin is three times more than those with PayPal.

Alleged Bitcoin Launderer Vinnik Announces Hunger Strike to ‘Get a Fair Trial’

Alleged former operator of seized crypto exchange BTC-e, Alexander Vinnik, will reportedly start a hunger strike on Monday, Nov. 26. According to his attorney, the reason given for the hunger strike is that Vinnik was stripped of the right for defense in France and, consequently, in Greece. The hearing on his extradition to France has been consequently postponed and is now scheduled at Nov. 29.

Battle for Bitcoin Cash Name Ends as BCH SV Backer Calls for ‘Permanent Split’

Billionaire entrepreneur and Bitcoin Cash SV (BCH SV) supporter Calvin Ayre stated that the coin “no longer want[s] the name Bitcoin Cash [BCH].” He further claimed that Bitcoin Cash SV is the original Bitcoin Cash and called on Bitcoin Cash ABC – the Roger Ver-backed coin created in BCH’s recent hard fork – to “permanently split” the two chains for a “win-win solution.”

Prediction of the Week

Prediction of the Week

Wall Street Bull Tom Lee Upholds BTC End-of-Year Prediction to $15,000

Fundstrat’s Tom Lee has come out and said that he will maintain his end-of-year Bitcoin (BTC) price prediction of $15,000, even among the market crash. Although Lee has recently reduced his prediction from $25,000 to $15,000, he noted this week that he remains bullish due to the fact that institutional investors will soon enter the market, like with the operator of the NYSE’s Bakkt’s upcoming launch.

Best Cointelegraph Features

Best Cointelegraph Features

How Crypto Market Fall Influences Mining Hardware Sales and Producers’ Revenues

As the crypto markets keep collapsing, Cointelegraph tries to find out how the crisis influences the mining industry, whose revenues also significantly declined throughout 2018.

The Making of the First US ICO Fraud Case

Cointelegraph analyses the case of a 39-year old entrepreneur, Maksim Zaslavskiy, who pleaded guilty to committing securities fraud. The landmark process, currently forged in a federal court in the New York borough of Brooklyn, will likely shape the body of U.S. case law on fraudulent initial coin offerings (ICOs) as a first precedent.

What Is Going On With the Crypto Markets, Analysts Unpack Factors Behind 10-Days Slump

Analysts unveil the main reasons behind the recent crypto markets drop off, mentioning the recent Bitcoin Cash contentious fork, combined with regulatory uncertainty regarding ICOs. Nonetheless, Bitcoin won’t necessarily drop to $3,000, and the true hodlers are likely to stay in the market, the experts say.

Bitcoin Cash Hard Fork Battle: Who Is Winning the Hash War

A feature on recent Bitcoin Cash hard fork, resulting in serious confrontation between the two blockchains BCH ABC and BCH SV. Cointelegraph explains what has happened during the network update.

The article was written in collaboration with Cointelegraph author Ana Berman.

NYSE Operator’s Bakkt Confirms End of January Launch Date For Digital Assets Platform

The Bakkt digital assets platform has announced that they are now “targeting” Jan. 24, 2019 as a launch date.

The Bakkt digital assets platform, which was created by the operator of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), announced in a Medium post today, Nov. 24, that they are now “targeting” Jan. 24, 2019 as a launch date.

The Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), operator of 23 leading global exchanges including the NYSE, announced the creation of Bakkt in August of this year.

Today’s Medium post notes that “given the volume of interest in Bakkt and work required to get all of the pieces in place,” the company has settled on the Jan. 24, 2019 start date in order to “ensure that our participants are ready to trade on Day 1.”

Bakkt’s Medium post, written by CEO Kelly Loeffler, continues by noting that the company is working closely with the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) as they review the “Bakkt™ Bitcoin Daily Futures contract and the Bakkt Warehouse,” adding:

“These products represent a critical shift in the evolution of crypto markets toward more accessible, useful, and regulated instruments.”

The post concludes by sharing that Bakkt has “insurance for bitcoin in cold storage” and is currently in the process of “securing insurance for the warm wallet within the Bakkt Warehouse architecture,” adding that  “new features” will be shared in the upcoming weeks.

At the end of October, ICE had announced that they would list Bakkt Bitcoin (USD) Daily Futures Contracts for trading on Dec. 12, 2018, and that the product would be physically-settled and cleared by ICE Clear U.S., Inc. More recently, unconfirmed rumors reported that U.S. regulators could approve Bakkt’s physically delivered futures product as soon as the beginning of November.

Hodler’s Digest, Nov. 12–18: a Stablecoin Gets Sharia Certified, the IMF Considers Central Bank Digital Currencies

The head of the IMF suggests looking into central bank issued digital currencies, while a Swiss stablecoin gets Sharia certified.

Coming every Sunday, the Hodler’s Digest will help you to track every single important news story that happened this week. The best (and worst) quotes, adoption and regulation highlights, leading coins, predictions, and much more — a week on Cointelegraph in one link.

Top Stories This Week

Swiss Crypto Firm X8 AG Receives Islamic Finance Certification for Sharia-Compliant Stablecoin

Swiss-based fintech firm X8 AG has received a certification from the Shariyah Review Bureau (SRB) for its Ethereum-based stablecoin. According to the X8 director and co-founder, the ETH-based crypto asset is backed by a basket of eight fiat currencies and gold, allowing Islamic advisors’ concerns over excessive volatility and speculation to be assuaged. The debate whether crypto can be Sharia-compliant has focused on their compatibility with the Islamic prohibition on sheer monetary speculation.

IMF’s Christine Lagarde: Central Bank Digital Currencies Could Have Legitimate “Role”

The head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde, said this week that the international community should look into endorsing central bank issued digital currencies (CBDCs). Lagarde, despite being “not entirely convinced” of the concept of crypto more generally, stated the case for countries to issue government-backed tokens or similar assets in a speech. The comments came a day after the IMF published a dedicated report on CBDCs, examining what it views as the pros and cons of the financial tool.

Aftermath of Bitcoin Cash Fork Cause Expensive “Hash War” Between Camps

This week’s Bitcoin Cash (BCH) hard fork has led to a so-called “hash war,” resulting in mining at a hefty loss on both sides. BitMEX Research tweeted that “although the ABC SV split is entertaining, we estimate that SV miners are burning $280,000 per day mining the SV chain.” On the other side, BCH ABC miners are estimated to be making even larger losses than the SV camp. BitMEX Research estimated these numbers based on SV miners using Bitmain’s Antminer S9 machines, their ability to sell SV coins at the current spot market price ($100 at the time of the tweet), and energy consumption costs of 5 cents per/kWh.

Blockchain Protocol EOS’ Decentralization Questioned After Transactions Reversed

Blockchain protocol EOS had questions raised about its decentralization again this week as evidence emerged on Reddit that appeared to show a moderator reversing transactions which had already been confirmed. According to screenshots posted on the site, a dispute over a phished EOS account was referred to an EOS “arbitrator,” who then reversed the transactions without the owner’s permission, citing the EOS constitution for the actions.

US Man Fined $1.1 Million Over Fraudulent Bitcoin, Litecoin Schemes

U.S. citizen Joseph Kim of Phoenix, Arizona has been sentenced to 15 months in jail and fined $1.1 million for the misappropriation of Bitcoin (BTC) and Litecoin (LTC) from several people. The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has found that Kim defrauded his employer of about $601,000 worth of BTC and LTC into his own accounts in 2017. After Kim was subsequently fired, he reportedly then defrauded private investors to return the funds to his employer, luring around $545,000 worth of crypto from five individuals before losing the funds in a high risk bet.

Most Memorable Quotations

“Any time there are hard forks things tend to trade weird and strange, so I think people are trying to take some risk off the table,”— Meltem Demirors, CSO of CoinShares   

“Few remember that Satoshi embedded the genesis block with a Times headline from January 2009 about U.K. banks’ bailout. In more ways than one, Bitcoin is the evil spawn of the financial crisis,”  — Benoit Coeure, executive board member of the European Central Bank (ECB)

Laws and Taxes

Judge Rules in Favor of Canadian Bank in Case With Crypto Exchange 5k

A judge has ruled in favor of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) in the court case involving a $19.6 million disputed sum between the bank and Canada’s largest crypto exchange QuadrigaCX. On Oct. 8, the exchange reported it had difficulties accessing its funds since january, when CIBC froze five accounts belonging to the exchange’s payment processor, Costodian Inc., and its owner, Jose Reyes over its purported inability to identify the funds’ owners. This recent court decision hands the disputed sum into the custody of the Ontario Superior Court so the court can identify the owner of the money.

Ripple Lawyers Suggest Moving Ongoing Securities Lawsuit to Federal Court

Lawyers representing payment startup Ripple in its current securities lawsuit are attempting to move the case to a U.S. federal court, a move that one legal commentator described as “tactical brilliance.” The court records confirm the application to move the case, which would potentially allow the outcome to prove that its XRP token is not a security under U.S. law. In the filing, litigation partner Peter Morrison noted that the case meets the requirements needed for the move to take place.

Malaysian MP Asks Gov’t to Develop Crypto Regulations Before Approving Political Funding Coin

A Malaysian Member of Parliament (MP) has asked the country’s government to develop comprehensive cryptocurrency regulations before going further with the Harapan Coin (HRP) crypto project. The project claims to be the world’s first political fundraising platform, with the aim of raising money for the opposition party in Malaysia and potentially becoming an official currency. The MP said this week that it was important to have appropriate crypto regulations before they are used to finance political campaigns and initiatives.

Ohio Congressman Plans Draft Bill to Let ICOs “Sidestep” Securities Laws

Ohio Congressman Warren Davidson made clear plans this week to introduce a bill that would allow Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) to “sidestep” U.S. securities laws. The Republican congressman for the 8th district of the state of Ohio wants to propose a bill that would categorize ICOs as products, rather than securities, at both the federal and state level. The referred-to bill would reportedly “eliminate” the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) oversight of the industry.

Adoption

Major Swiss SIX Stock Exchange Lists World’s First Multi-Crypto ETP

Switzerland’s main stock exchange, the SIX Swiss Exchange, announced this weekend that it would list the world’s first multi-crypto-based exchange-traded product (ETP) next week. The ETP will be backed by Swiss startup Amun AG, will be listed under index HODL, and will track the five major cryptos: BTC, XRP, ETH, BCH, and LTC. The Amun AG index will be managed by the German index unit of investment management firm VanEck. Each crypto will have a certain market share within the upcoming ETP, with Bitcoin accounting for around half of the ETP’s assets.

Microsoft Introduces Cloud-Based Azure Blockchain Development Kit

U.S. software corporation Microsoft has announced the release of a serverless blockchain-powered Azure development kit, dubbed the “Azure Blockchain Development Kit.” The kit reportedly improves the capabilities of Microsoft Azure’s Blockchain Workbench, with features like off-chain identity and data, monitoring, and messaging application programming interfaces (API) in a format that can be used to develop blockchain-based apps. The announcement also notes that the release will focus on core objectives like “connecting interfaces, integrating data and systems, and deploying smart contracts and blockchain networks.”

Bank of America Receives Patent for Storing Clients’ Crypto in Enterprise Accounts

Major U.S. bank, Bank of America, has won a patent for a system that allow enterprises to store customers’ crypto deposits. The filing outlines several different interactions between clients’ crypto holdings and an enterprise account, with one setup allowing the enterprise account to conduct transactions on the customers’ behalf, debiting and crediting the account as appropriate. The document also touches on fiat-crypto conversions, outlining a system for determining optimal exchange rates for an “essentially simultaneous” conversion.

Chinese Insurance Giant Ping An, Sanya City Gov’t Build “Smart City” With Blockchain

One of the world’s largest insurance corporations, China’s Ping An Insurance Group, has signed an agreement with the Sanya municipal government to build a “Smart City” backed by blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), big data, and cloud computing. The cooperation on financial investment and “Smart City” construction will play a role in the major strategic urban development in China.

Mergers, Acquisitions, and Partnerships

South Korean Messaging App Kakao, Stablecoin Tether Partner for Blockchain Payment System

Major South Korean Internet conglomerate and service provider Kakao Corp (which own messaging app KakaoTalk) and new stablecoin Tether have partnered to develop the latter’s blockchain-based payment system. The new agreement will apply the former’s blockchain platform tech Klatyn, of Kakao subsidiary Ground X, to a blockchain-based payment system. The cooperation plans to work on enhancing “core requirements for payment services, such as speed, stability and reliability.”

ETH-Payment Platform OmiseGo, Singapore Ride Hailing App Partner for Blockchain Tech

Ethereum-based payment platform OmiseGo and blockchain protocol Mass Vehicle Ledger (MVL) have announced that they will work together to research blockchain technology. The two companies will develop a Proof-of-Concept (PoC) to test whether the decentralized OMG Network could work for MVL’s data record-keeping system, recording data collected from TADA on the OmiseGo platform. OmiseGo and MVL will also collaborate on further technical and research cooperation on possible blockchain applications in TADA’s services.

Electronics Firm Bosch Partners With IOTA for New IoT Data Device

Engineering and electronics manufacturing giant Bosch has partnered with IOTA, with plans to integrate its new data collection Internet of Things (IoT) device with the decentralized IOTA Data Marketplace. The new connectivity device, Bosch XDK (Cross Domain Development Kit), is “a programmable sensor device and Internet of Things prototyping platform” that also works as a sensor node solution. The device will combine sensor, data storage, and network technologies to allow users of all programming level to collect real-time data and sell it on the IOTA marketplace.

Major Spanish Telecoms Operator and IBM Partner to Manage International Call With Blockchain

Spanish telecommunications firm Telefónica has partnered with IBM in order to apply blockchain tech to managing international mobile phone call traffic. Telefónica, the seventh largest telecom company in the world by market cap, is valued at $51 billion according to Forbes. The partnership is aimed at streamlining certain Telefónica business processes, including the reliability and transparency of information registered from various network when routing international calls. The telecoms company will use the IBM Blockchain Platform to track each international call and data such as origin, destination, and duration.

German Holding Company Bitcoin Group SE Acquires 100% of Investment Bank Tremmel

Bitcoin Group SE, a German holding company, has acquired a 100 percent stake in investment bank Tremmel Wertpapierhandelsbank GmbH. Bitcoin SE operates what is reportedly the county’s only regulated crypto exchange, Bitcoin Deutschland AG (Bitcoin.de). With the acquisition, the crypto holding will now obtain the use of Tremmel’s banking license, allowing the company to “significantly expand” its crypto-related offerings and operate ATMs for cryptocurrencies in Germany.

Funding Rounds

Hong Kong Crypto Exchange KuCoin Raises $20 Million in Funding Round

Hong Kong-based international crypto exchange KuCoin closed a Series A funding round this week worth $20 million. The round was led by IDG Capital, Matrix Partners, and Neo Global Capital, and the exchange noted that the funds will go towards the release of KuCoin’s 2.0 platform as well as expansion into new markets.

Winners and Losers

The crypto markets have taken a hit this week, with total market cap around $185 billion, Bitcoin trading around $5,599, Ripple at $0.52, and Ethereum at $176 by press time.

The top three altcoin gainers of the week are ZeusCrowdfunding, GoHelpFund, and Coupecoin. The top three altcoin losers of the week are Etheera, Vivid Coin, and Olive.

Top three altcoin losers of the week:

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

FUD of the Week

“Crypto Hangover”: Nvidia’s Q3 Results Show Lack of Demand for GPU Crypto Units

American GPU manufacturer Nvidia released its third quarter earnings this week, showing a lack of demand for Nvidia’s GPU’s among crypto miners. The crypto frenzy late last year brought the prices for Nvidia gaming cards up, but with the bear market, the prices have not decreased quickly enough to attract customers waiting for more affordable cards, according to the Nvidia founder and CEO Jensen Huang. Huan told Reuters that the “crypto hangover lasted longer than we expected.”

Analysis: Bear Market, Declining Hashrates Makes Mining ETH Not Profitable

A report from U.S.-based global trading and tech firm Susquehanna has found that mining Ethereum (ETH) using a graphics processing unit (GPU) is no longer profitable. The analysis shows that profit per month for ETH miners using GPU rigs is now $0 as of Nov. 1, as opposed to the $150 per month in July 2017. Susquehanna notes reasons for the decline in profit include Ethereum’s falling price, but adds that in July 2017, miners profit was $147 even as ETH traded roughly around its current price.

Official Google G Suite Twitter Account Reportedly Compromised to Promote BTC Scam

The official Twitter account of Google's G Suite appeared to tweet a Bitcoin (BTC) giveaway scam this week to its more than 800,000 followers. The tweet in question asked its followers to participate in a fraudulent 10,000 BTC giveaway, also announcing that Google’s G Suite now accepted crypto as a means of payment. Tech news outlet The Next Web later reported that the account was compromised through a third party marketing app that was authorized to post content on G Suite’s behalf. The scam also targeted major U.S. department retailer Target.

WSJ Report: SEC Opened Probe Into Erik Voorhees, Crypto Loans Firm Salt Over Token Sale

The Wall Street Journal reported this week that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had opened a probe in February against crypto loans company Salt Lending Holdings, which was once associated with crypto industry stalwart Erik Voorhees. The probe involves whether Salt’s 2017 $50 million token sale constituted a noncompliant securities offering and Voorhees’ potential involvement, which could break laws as he has effectively been prohibited from raising money in private markets after a SEC settlement in 2014.

US SEC Imposes “First” Civil Penalties Against Two ICOs for “Unregistered” Securities

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has levied civil penalties on two Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) this week over their failure to register their token sales. CarrierEQ Inc. (Airfox) and Paragon Coin Inc. both reached settlements with the SEC, agreeing to “return funds to harmed investors, register the[ir] tokens as securities, file periodic reports with the Commission, and pay penalties” of $250,000 each. Both of the firms conducted token sales last year following the SEC’s warning that ICOs could be considered as securities offerings.

Prediction of the Week

Bloomberg Analysts Predict BTC Price Fall As Low As $1,500

Bloomberg Intelligence analysts have predicted this week that Bitcoin “has further to fall,” noting that the coin is “no longer boring.” Hedge fund founder Travis Kling told Bloomberg that he “didn’t sleep well” in response to the recent Bitcoin Cash hard fork, adding that it could affect the entire crypto market.

Best Cointelegraph Features

Why Did Crypto Market Experience a $27 Billion Wipeout? Experts Discuss Factors

After the market saw several cryptocurrencies hitting new year-to-date lows, Cointelegraph looks at some of the reasons behind the $27 billion “wipeout.”

Opposing Bitcoin ABC and Bitcoin SV Factions’ Debates Grow Heated as the Bitcoin Cash Hard Fork Draws Closer

This week saw a volatile market amidst the Nov. 15 Bitcoin Cash hard fork, which divided the community into two “warring” factions: Roger Ver’s Bitcoin ABC and Craig Wright’s Bitcoin SV (Satoshi’s Vision).

Skirting the Great Wall, Part Three: The Paradox of Cryptocurrencies in China

In the third part of Cointelegraph’s series on Chinese cryptocurrency regulations (read part one - here, and part two – here), the article looks at the People Bank of China (PBoC)’s crypto regulatory interventions, as well as the role of China’s judiciary in cases involving crypto.

Hodler’s Digest, November 5-11: Star Trek’s Captain Kirk Defends ETH Decentralization, While Fake Elon Musks Overrun Twitter

The central bank is China comes out against crypto air drops, while a flood of fake Elon Musks take Twitter promising crypto giveaways.

Coming every Sunday, the Hodler’s Digest will help you to track every single important news story that happened this week. The best (and worst) quotes, adoption and regulation highlights, leading coins, predictions, and much more — a week on Cointelegraph in one link.

Top Stories This Week

Elon Musk Impersonators Flood Twitter With Fake Crypto Giveaways

Although impersonators on Twitter pretending to be famous celebrities offering crypto giveaways are many, this week saw an influx of these crypto pretenders posing as Tesla CEO Elon Musk. After compromising verified accounts with the blue check mark, scammers would change the name and picture to appear to be Musk, asking in comment threads for people to send them small amounts of crypto in exchange for more crypto sent back in a fake “giveaway.” According to news reports, one fake Musk account received around $170,000.

China’s Central Bank Scrutinizes Crypto Airdrops, Questions Their Legality

The People’s Bank of China (PBoC), the country’s central bank, has begun to scrutinize crypto airdrops, which is refers to as “disguised” Initial Coin Offerings (ICO). This week’s report from the bank notes that the entity is strictly anti-ICO and crypto trading, noting the high risks of financial fraud and pyramid schemes. The report notes that “airdrops” are potentially evading the regulation concerning the public token sale model, adding that they capitalize on speculation in the market to drive their own profits.

Star Trek’s William Shatner Tweets Thumbs up in Support of Vitalik Buterin

William Shatner, the former Captain Kirk on popular American television show Star Trek, tweeted a thumbs up at Ethereum (ETH) co-founder Vitalik Buterin this week. The celebrity’s tweet led to backlash from crypto Twitter trolls that criticized the Ethereum network’s supposed centralization, leading Shatner to quote ERC standards in response. The 87-year-old Shatner then received kudos from other crypto Twitter participants for his seemingly in-depth knowledge of the network.

Apple Apparently Briefly Removes Crypto Podcast Reportedly Ranked #4 in Investing

The podcast “Off the Chain,” hosted by Morgan Creek Digital partner and crypto analyst Anthony “Pomp” Pompliano has apparently been removed from the U.S. iTunes store this week. According to a tweet from Pompliano, the podcast was ranked 4th in the “investing” category before it was “mysteriously” taken down. The episode, which contained an interview with “Bitcoin Maximalist” Murad Mahmudov about the current worldwide monetary system, is available by press time.

Joseph Lubin Thinks Blockchain Will Take “A Little Longer” to Develop Than the Internet

In an interview this week, Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin said that blockchain will “probably take a little longer” to develop than the Internet, because it is “much more complicated. Lubin, who is also the creator of ConsenSys, noted that blockchain is developing similar to the web, due to its exponential growth and the “hundred of projects” to date. Lubin also said that DLT will be able to “permeate society more than the Internet” and make way for Web3.0.

Most Memorable Quotations

“His viewpoints don’t take into account the fact that the code has to be audited by an auditing firm and approved by consortium or it doesn’t get accepted. He thinks it exists in a bubble.

That’s why we have ERC-20, ERC-721... ERC-1701”William Shatner (Captain Kirk), defending the Ethereum network’s decentralization

“We are NOT tolerant. We will not capitulate. We will not surrender. We will not negotiate. We will not end,”Craig Wright, speaking about his own Bitcoin Cash (BCH) faction before the upcoming hard fork

Laws and Taxes

Thai Revenue Department Plans to Use Blockchain to Track Tax Payments

Thailand’s Revenue Department is planning to track payments using blockchain and machine learning, utilizing the tech to verify the validity of taxes paid as well as increasing the speed of the tax refund process. The machine learning use will help to expose tax fraud and support more transparency, as a digital tax collection system based on modern technologies is a stated goal of Thailand’s government.

French Parliament Finance Committee Adopts Amendments to Crypto Tax Bill

The Finance Committee of the lower house of France’s parliament has adopted regulations this week that would ease taxes on cryptocurrency sales. The Finance Committee of the National Assembly has submitted a draft of the government finance bill for 2019, specifying that the tax on crypto sales will be equal to capital income tax. If the amendments to the budget are accepted in the hearings scheduled for next week, the rate will be reduced from 36.2 percent to 30 percent starting Jan. 1, 2019.

US Judge Ends Freeze on Charlie Shrem’s Assets Amidst Winklevoss Lawsuit

A U.S. judge has ruled this week to end the freeze on Charlie Shrem’s assets in a lawsuit brought against him by the Winklevoss twins. The twins alleged in their lawsuit that Shrem took part of their $250,000 investment in his now-defunct exchange BitInstant to buy 5,000 Bitcoins (BTC). Shrem’s lawyer has said that his client is innocent, and that the claims have “no basis in fact or law.” According to the Winklevoss’ lawyers, the freeze should continue as Shrem possess $12 million in crypto, real estate holdings, and other assets. However, at present time only $10 in assets have been identified.

Thailand’s Securities Regulator Promises to Certify One ICO Portal in November

The general secretary of the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said this week that “at least one” ICO “portal” will be able to operate legally in the country in November. Rapee Sucharitakul said that they “might” starting approving ICO offerings in December, noting that five such “operators” are currently under consideration by the Finance Ministry. Thailand’s legislation requires that the Thai SEC vet crypto entities like ICOs, exchanges, and “digital asset operators” who wish to operate in Thailand.

Adoption

Wallet Provider Blockchain.Com to Airdrop $125 Mln in XLM After Adding Stellar Support

Crypto wallet provider Blockchain.com will now support altcoin Stellar (XLM), accompanied by an airdrop of $125 in XLM to its user base. The provider noted that the large airdrop is a “great way to drive decentralization and adoption for new networks,” noting that crypto airdrops allow consumers to “test, trade, and transact” newer crypto assets without need to mine or invest in them first. The choice to add support for Stellar was driven by the scalability of the token’s network, as well as its ability to create custom tokens that represent “real-world or virtual goods and services.”

Decentralized Network Bancor Partners With EOS for Cross-Blockchain Trading With ETH

Decentralized liquidity network Bancor said this week that it had partnered with EOS in order to allow for cross-blockchain swaps between Ethereum and EOS-based tokens. Bancor has now expanded to the EOS blockchain, using its DApp BancorX for the conversation. Bancor noted that the cross-blockchain DApp was built in collaboration with LiquidEOS, Bancor’s EOS “Block Producer.” According to the press release, this conversion DApp paves the way for “vastly more blockchain” to be included in cross-blockchain trading.

Trading Platform eToro Releases Crypto Wallet Supporting Bitcoin, Three Altcoins

Global crypto and fiat trading platform eToro has released its own cryptocurrency wallet this week with support for Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin. The platform noted that they plan to add a “whole host of additional functionality” including additional crypto and fiat tokens, crypto-to-crypto conversion, and fiat deposits. eToro currently supports 14 total cryptocurrencies on its platform and has more than 10 million registered users.

Major Crypto Wallet Coinbase Launches Support for Basic Attention Token

Crypto exchange and wallet Coinbase announced this week that it would add support for a rollout of full trading of the Basic Attention Token (BAT) for its Android and iOS apps. As per the announcement, Coinbase customers can now buy, sell, send, receive, and store BAT on the platform, except for initially those residents of New York. Last week, Coinbase had noted the addition of inbound transfers of BAT to Coinbase Pro, specifying that the token would undergo four listing stages until it reached full access.

Mergers, Acquisitions, and Partnerships

Port of Valencia Integrates Maersk and IBM’s Blockchain Shipping Platform

The Port Authority of Valencia, Spain, has joined IBM and Maersk’s blockchain ecosystem, the TradeLens platform, which aims to apply blockchain tech to global supply chains. According to the announcement, the port has integrated into the platform as “Early Adopters,” meaning that the port will be a part of the platform’s early development. There are currently more than 20 participants in the TradeLens ecosystem, which has already reportedly processed 154 million “data-sending events.”

Deloitte Partners With Identity Management Startup for Digital ID System

“Big Four” accounting firm Deloitte has partnered with identity management firm Attest Inc. in order to create a blockchain-based digital identity system. The Chicago-based Attest offers a shared identity platform that allows its clients to conduct transactions, including its governmental customers, which can provide identity services to citizens. The partnership plans to develop a digital identity offering for government-compliant identifiers to be used for existing products, including a cryptographically secured identity storage wallet.

South Korea’s Bithumb Partners With E-Commerce Giant Qoo10 for Crypto Payments

South Korea’s leading virtual currency exchange Bithumb announced a partnership this week with Asian e-commerce fim Qoo10 to create a cryptocurrency payment service. Qoo10, which covers Asian markets including Singapore, Hong Kong, China, and Indonesia, will work with the Bithumb Cache system to purchase products through Qoo10. The two companies will use both the Qoo10 settlement service and the cache system, which is a password settlement service that allows Bithumb customers to convert their funds for use in payments with their password.

Nine Major Shipper Operators Launch Blockchain-Based Global Business Network

Nine major terminal operators and shipping companies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop an open digital platform based on DLT. The MoU is aimed at forming a consortium of shipping operators to develop the Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN), noting that the software solution will be provided by Hong Kong-based shipping and logistics firm CargotSmart. The new alliance includes such shipping giants as PSA International, a Singapore-based company and one of the world's largest port operators, and Shanghai International Port Group, leading operator of ports in China.

Funding Rounds

Major Mining Provider Bitfury Raises $80 Million in Closed Funding Round

Bitcoin mining infrastructure provider Bitfury raised $80 million this week in a closed funding round led by European venture capital fund Korelya Capital. Other participants in the funding round included South Korean Internet giant Naver Group, Asian institutions Macquarie Capital and Dentsu Japan, and Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital. The funding round comes several weeks after rumors circled that Bitfury was considering an IPO.

Winners and Losers

The crypto markets are seeing mixed signals, with Bitcoin trading for around $6,404.13 and Ethereum at $211 by press time. Total market cap is around $212 billion.

The top three altcoin gainers of the week are Traco, Pedit, and the Internet of Things. The top three altcoin losers of the week are Simmitri, empowr coin, and OBXcoin.

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

FUD of the Week

Turkish Police Arrest 11 in Reported Hack of Crypto Wallet Accounts

The Cybercrime Department of the Turkish National Police arrested 11 suspects this week while investing the alleged hack of crypto accounts, with victims reporting more than $80,000 in losses. 14 individuals so far have reported crypto wallet hacks to local prosecution authorities, noting that their Bitcoin had been transferred to other wallets. Police have since seized two fake identity cards, as well as a number of devices allegedly used in the hacks such as 18 mobile phones and SIM cards, 22 memory sticks, from the hackers. The investigation notes that it found the suspects by tracking new SIM cards registered to exchanges by the hackers.

Texas Regulator Issues Emergency Cease and Desist to Australian Cloud Mining Company

The Texas State Securities Board has issued an emergency cease and desist order this week to Australian cloud mining firm AWS Mining PTY LTD for selling unregistered securities. AWS Mining, along with many of its employees, are charged with violating the Texas Securities Acts by convincing Texas residents to purchase AWS’ unregistered cloud mining power contracts promising a “200 percent passive return on every investment.” The cease and desist notes that AWS did not follow through on its promised profits to investors, as well as failed to register as a securities broker-dealer.

Swiss Financial Regulator Recommends Banks to Set Crypto Risk Coverage at 800%

The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) said in a report this week that banks and other financial institutions could calculate risk coverage for cryptocurrencies at 800 percent of their current market value. The confidential letter, seen by a local Swiss news outlet, noted that the recommendation for a flat risk weight at 800 percent are to "to cover market and credit risks, regardless of whether the positions are held in the banking or trading book.” The news outlet reports that 800 percent is at the upper end of the range, meaning that FINMA sees crypto as a volatile asset.

US SEC Charges EtherDelta Founder With Operating Unregistered Securities Exchange

Zachary Coburn, the founder of crypto token trading platform EtherDelta, has been charged by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with operating an unregistered securities exchange. EtherDelta has operated as a secondary marketplace for trading ERC20 tokens, letting users buy and sell digital assets using an order book and smart contracts on the ETH blockchain and placing a total of more than 3.6 million orders (some involving those considered securities) over an 18-month operating period. Coburn neither denied nor admitted the findings, but agreed to pay $300,00 in unlawful profits, as well as $13,000 in prejudgement interest and a $75,000 penalty.

Chinese Mining Giant Bitmain Sues Unknown Hacker for $5.5 Million Crypto Theft

China-based BTC mining firm Bitmain has sued an anonymous hacker for the reported theft of crypto work about $5.5 million from Bitmain’s account on Binance this April. As stated in the U.S. court documents, the “John Doe” hacker used stored Bitcoin after taking over Bitmain’s Binance account to manipulate the price of altcoin Decentraland (MANA) and then abscond with the profits. Bitmain notes that the hacker was able to steal $5.5 million in digital assets, including about 617 BTC. The documents also note that the hacker carried out transactions between BTC and MANA from Bitmain’s wallet and their own, completing the theft by transferring BTC from their Bitmain account into a digital wallet on Bittrex.

Prediction of the Week

Tim Draper Maintains Bitcoin Prediction of $250,000 by 2020

Venture capital investor Tim Draper said this week that he still believes that Bitcoin will experience 40 times returns and reach $250,000 by 2022. Although his initial prediction was for the coin to hit this price point in April of this year, Draper said that the industry merely needs to make it so that “Bitcoin could be used to buy Starbucks coffee” and the world will “open up.” Draper also added that he didn’t trust “political currencies” that are “determined by some weird political party,” adding that he sees a future with blockchain and smart contracts taking on a more prevalent role in states.

Best Cointelegraph Features

Morgan Stanley Report Shows Strong Institutional Investment for Bitcoin

At the end of October, multinational investment bank and financial services firm Morgan Stanley released a report on how Bitcoin has been a new “institutional investment class” since 2018. The report, which shows a relatively bullish outlook for 2018, brings attention to the stablecoin phenomenon, noting that not all stablecoins active currently will survive.

The SEC Stops Accepting Public Comments on Bitcoin ETFs, Takes Time to Make Decision

Last week, the cryptoverse buzzed with misinformation that the U.S. SEC was finally going to make a decision about Bitcoin ETFs. However, last week’s deadline concerned a close to the acceptance of public comments, leaving the SEC to now make their decision on the nine BTC ETFs on their own. Cointelegraph delves into the possibilities for the SEC’s decision, as well as looks into the root of where this deadline confusion came from.

Blockchain Advocates Storm Governors’ Mansions and Retain House Seats in US Midterm Elections

The U.S. saw midterm elections that week that led to the Democratic Party taking back the House, leaving the Republicans still in control of the Senate. Amidst the party lines, the governorships in both California and Colorado were won by crypto- and blockchain-friendly candidates Gavin Newsom and Jared Polis respectively. Beyond his strong blockchain policy push in his state, Polis (also the first openly gay elected governor), co-founded and co-chaired the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, a bipartisan group of Members of Congress. Electorally, the Caucus has done exceptionally well in the midterms: both of the co-chairs and 10 out of 12 regular members who stood for reelection retained their seats.

Hodler’s Digest, Oct. 29 – Nov. 4: Rapper T.I., Charlie Shrem Sued Over Alleged Pump-and-Dump, BTC Theft Respectively

This week in crypto, T.I. is sued for allegedly pumping and dumping a token, and Charlie Shrem is sued for alleged theft of 5,000 BTC.

 

Top Stories This Week

Coming every Sunday, the Hodler’s Digest will help you to track every single important news story that happened this week. The best (and worst) quotes, adoption and regulation highlights, leading coins, predictions, and much more — a week on Cointelegraph in one link.

Top Stories This Week

US Rapper T.I. Sued for $5 Million After Alleged Failure of FLik Token

U.S. rapper T.I. is being sued for $5 million by a group of 25 persons who have alleged that the rapper’s promotion of FLiK tokens led to a loss of around a $1.3 million investment. The plaintiffs allege that T.I. and his business partner Ryan Felton promoted the “now worthless securities” on social media, creating a false impression of a “valuable liquid investment.” The lawsuit writes that T.I. and Felton defrauded them by driving the token’s price up with money from the investment, and then dumping the token when the price dropped.

The Winklevii Sue Charlie Shrem for Alleged Theft of 5,000 BTC in 2012

Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss have claimed in a new lawsuit that Bitcoin Foundation founder Charlie Shrem has “stolen” 5,000 Bitcoin (now $31.7 million) from them in 2012. According to a recently unsealed lawsuit, the Winklevii allege that Shrem failed to repay the twins as part of their investment in his extant project BitInstant. Shrem’s lawyer has called the claims “erroneous,” noting that his client will “quickly clear his name.” The judge overseeing the case has “agreed to freeze” some of Shrem’s assets in response to the case.

BTC Wallet Xapo Founder Says Bitcoin’s Current Stage Compares to 1992 Internet

Bitcoin “Patient Zero” Wences Casares, the founder of BTC wallet startup Xapo, said that Bitcoin may take years to become successful. In an interview this week with Bloomberg, Casares said that Bitcoin “may work, it might not work,” noting that the currency is in the early stages of its development, similar to that of the Internet in 1992. Casares gave a rough seven-year timeline for determining whether Bitcoin is successful, noting that if it is, it will become a non-political global standard of value and settlement.

Crypto Exchange and Wallet Coinbase Raises $300 Million in New Funding Round

Major U.S. crypto exchange and wallet Coinbase has raised $3 million in its latest funding round, bringing its post-money valuation to about $8 billion. Tiger Global Management reportedly led this recent Series E equity financing round, with participation from Y Combinator Continuity, Wellington Management, Andreessen Horowitz, and Polychain, among others. Coinbase noted that the funds will be used for the purpose of “accelerating” crypto adoption, noting plans to support regulated fiat-crypto trading worldwide, and laying the foundation for supporting “thousands” of cryptos in the future.

Climate Change Report Finds Bitcoin Usage Could Raise Global Temperature by 2 C

A new reported published by climate change scientists has raised warnings about the effects of Bitcoin’s carbon footprint on global environment. According to their research, which is based on the existing data for BTC’s electricity consumption in conjunction with different projections for the crypto’s future adoption, the cumulative emissions of BTC usages would “cross the 2 C threshold within 22 years.” Even if Bitcoin follows a faster adoption path, it could cross that threshold in just ”11 years.” The report notes that while more efficient hardware could reduce BTC’s carbon footprint, one can’t relay on “yet-to-be-developed hardware.”

Most Memorable Quotations

Most Memorable Quotations

Ella Pamfilova

“The word 'block' is immediately associated with something closed. In Russia, where a third of the population was held behind bars... Next you have 'chain'. 'Block' and 'chain' — it works on a subconscious level,"  — Ella Pamfilova, the head of the Russian Election Commission

Jamie Dimon

“I never changed what I said, I just regret having said it. I didn’t want to be the spokesman against Bitcoin. I don’t really give a sh*t, that’s the point. Blockchain is real, it’s technology, but Bitcoin is not the same as a fiat currency,” — Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan CEO

John McAfee

“[Crypto is] all I’m going to talk about. See, I don’t want to be president. I couldn’t be… no one’s going to elect me president, please God. However, I’ve got the right to run,” — John McAfee, crypto enthusiast

Laws and Taxes

Laws and Taxes

Ukraine Development, Trade Ministry Creates State Policy for Legalizing Crypto

Ukraine’s Economic Development and Trade Ministry announced this week that it has initiated a “state policy” for the classification and legalization of crypto-related activities. According to the ministry’s press release, the purpose of the policy is to “create understandable conditions for conducting activities in the field of virtual assets and virtual currencies," and to usher in “adoption of the concept of a state policy” for crypto. The policy specifically suggests creating legal definitions for key terms like “virtual currency” (“cryptocurrency”), “virtual assets,” Initial Coin (or Token) Offerings (ICOs or ITOs), cryptocurrency mining, “smart contracts,” and “tokens.”

Brazil’s Tax Regulatory Creates Draft Regulation for Crypto Taxes

The Department of Federal Revenue of Brazil (RFB) wants to receive monthly reports on crypto assets operations, according to recently released draft legislation. In the draft bill, the RFB would require Brazil-based crypto exchanges to send them detailed reports on all crypto-related operations on a monthly basis. The bill also notes that legal entities and individuals living in Brazil would be required to report all transactions with foreign crypto exchanges if they are over than R$10,000 (about $2,700) per month.

Adoption

Adoption

Crypto Investment Firm Greyscale Reaches $330 Million in Revenue

Crypto asset management firm Grayscale Investments Inc. has reported around $330 million in revenue in 2018, according to its third quarter investment report, despite the currently prevailing bear market. In the recently released report, Grayscale notes that they have raised $81.1 million over the last three months, representing an increase of almost 1,200 percent from the same period in 2017. Grayscale writes that this is the strongest calendar year the firm has experienced since the beginning of its activity.

New York Regulator Grants BitLicense to Bitcoin ATM Operator Coinsource

The New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) has granted a virtual currency license, the BitLicense, to Bitcoin ATM operator Coinsource. The regulatory approval means that New Yorkers can use cash to buy or sell Bitcoin using Coinsource’s “Bitcoin Teller Machines (BTMs),” of which there are 40 machines currently deployed across the state in three counties. This is the first BTM operator to receive the BitLicense, and the regulator notes that its decision came following a comprehensive review of Coinsource’s application and requirements for AML and CFT measures.

Morgan Stanley Report Classifies Cryptocurrency as New Institutional Investment Class

A new report from investment bank and financial services firm Morgan Stanley notes that Bitcoin and altcoin have been a “new institutional investment class” since 2017. According to the document, the “surprises” to be seen in crypto in 2018 are a “strong” formation of new funds targeting the nascent sectors, as well as the “growth” of crypto-tied futures. The report also touches on decentralized technology, noting that it makes the world “better.”

Crypto Exchange and Wallet Coinbase Executive Reveals Plans to Add up to 300 Coins

Major U.S. crypto exchange and wallet Coinbase may offer as many as 300 more coins in the future, according to an interview with the company’s president and COO. Speaking to Bloomberg, Asiff Hirji said that Coinbase planned on avoiding complex U.S. regulations on crypto tokens by offering more assets to non-residents, noting that the number could jump from its current seven to “200-300” over the next year. Moreover, Hirji noted that the company will not perform an IPO “any time soon.”

Mergers, Acquisitions, and Partnerships

Mergers, Acquisitions, and Partnerships

Chinese Retail Giant JD.Com Partners With Tech Institutes for Blockchain Research Lab

Chinese e-commerce firm JD.com will launch a research lab for blockchain in partnership with two technology institutes: the Ying Wu College of Computing at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and the Institute of Software at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (ISCAS). According to the release, the lab aims to develop solutions for efficiency problems and examine new applications and uses cases of blockchain tech, as well as specifically researching consensus protocols, privacy protection, and security in DApps.

Nasdaq to Integrate Microsoft’s Azure Blockchain Tech Following Partnership

American software firm Microsoft will integrate its Azure blockchain technology into stock exchange Nasdaq Inc.’s Financial Framework (NFF). According to this week’s announcement, Microsoft will collaborate with Nasdaq to develop a “ledger agnostic blockchain capability” that will allow for operability across multiple ledgers. The release also notes that the new product can facilitate easier buyer and seller matching, management of delivery, and payment and settlement of transactions, as well as allow NFF customers to deploy various blockchain through one common interface.

Belgian-Based Investment Firm Acquires Crypto Exchange Bitstamp

Crypto exchange Bitstamp has been acquired by Belgian-based investment firm NXMH in an “all cash deal” this week. The CEO of Bitstamp told Reuters that the exchange was valued at $60 million in 2016, up from $39 million in 2014. NXMH is a subsidiary of South Korean-based media giant NXC Corp., which bought a 65.19 percent stake in South Korean exchange Korbit last year. NXMH now has an 80 percent stake in Bitstamp, with the CEO retaining his 10 percent ownership interest and staying on as CEO. The exchange noted that it is looking towards “global expansion” with the new deal.

Report: Bithumb Signs Deal With US Fintech Firm to Launch Securities Token Exchange

South Korean crypto exchange Bithumb has reportedly signed a deal with American crowdfunding platform SeriesOne in order to open a securities token exchange. A South Korean news outlet was told by its sources about the partnership, with at Bithumb official reportedly adding that the exchange plans to increase its efforts to develop into a worldwide financial firm. The sources also told the news agency that the exchange will be established by SeriesOne in the U.S. during the first half of 2019, with Bithumb to provide investment and the technical support for the exchange’s operations.

Controversial Stablecoin Tether Releases Letter Confirming New Banking Partner

The issuer of cryptographic stablecoin Tether has released a statement this week, confirming that it will now be banking with Bahamas-based Deltec Bank & Trust. Tether had previously been the subject of rumors about its ability to back up its tokens 1:1 with fiat after it parted ways with previous financial institution Noble Bank. This week’s statement, purportedly from Deltec Bank, reads that the USDT in the market are “fully backed by US dollars that are safely deposited in our bank accounts.”

Funding Rounds

Funding Rounds

Berkshire Hathaway Invests $600 Million in Two Fintech Payment Firms

Multinational holding conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway, whose CEO and chairman is crypto critic Warren Buffett, has invested about $600 million in two fintech payment firms that focus on emerging markets. The investments are reportedly headed by Todd Combs, one of Berkshire’s two portfolio managers, and go outside the purview of investments normally made by the company. The first is a roughly $300 million stake in the parent company of India’s largest mobile-payments service Paytm, and the second is a purchase of shares in an IPO for Brazilian payments processor StoneCo.

Sequoia USA Participates in $30 Million Funding Round for Israeli Blockchain Startup

Israeli blockchain startup StarkWare Industries has ended a $30 million funding round with participation from Intel Capital and Sequoia USA. The funding round, which was led by crypto hedge fund Paradigm — founded by Coinbase co-founder Fred Ehrsam — also included Atomico, DCVC, Wing, Consensys, Coinbase Ventures, Multicoin Capital, Collaborative Fund, Scalar Capital and Semantic Ventures. StarkWare Industries develops software and hardware, with applications including transparent privacy in blockchain, increased transaction throughput, as well as off chain computation.

Winners and Losers

Winners and Losers

Winners and Losers

The week has seen continued relative market stability, with Bitcoin at around $6,371 and Ethereum at about $200. Total market cap is at around $208 billion.

The top three altcoin gainers of the week are Etheera, Mero, and Mindexcoin. The top three altcoin losers of the week are YENTEN, empowr coin, RusGas.

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

FUD of the Week

FUD of the Week

CryptoTrader Host Ran NeuNer Rescinds Claim That BTC Will Hit $50K in 2018

Ran NeuNer, the host of CNBC’s CryptoTrader, has retracted his earlier prediction that Bitcoin will reach $50,000 by the end of 2018. Speaking privately to Cointelegraph, NeuNer stated that he changed his prediction due to the recent state of the market, noting that the bear market status and the lack of “good news” moving the market made him lower his expectations. NeuNer had originally tweeted in February of this year that Bitcoin will finish 2018 at $50,000, and has updated it with a new pinned tweet that Bitcoin “will not” finish 2018 at $50,000.

Former US Federal Reserve Chair: Bitcoin Is “Anything But” a Useful Store of Value

Former U.S. Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen said this week that Bitcoin is “anything but” a useful store of value. Speaking during an interview at the 2018 Canada FinTech Forum in Montreal, Yellen noted that Bitcoin’s failure to be a stable source of value means that it is not a useful currency, adding that it’s “very slow” at payments and has difficulty “because of its very decentralized nature.” Yellen is known in the Bitcoin community due to an incident when a Bitcoin fan held up a handwritten “Buy Bitcoin” during her televised speech on interest rates and reserve policies last July.

“Godfather of ETFs” Says Bitcoin Exchange-Traded Funds Will Not Be Approved Soon

Reggie Brown, the so-called “godfather of ETFs,” said this week that Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) will be certified “no time soon.” Browne, who is a senior managing director and head of ETF trading at financial services firm Cantor Fitzgerald, noted during a speech that BTC ETFs will only be approved after the development of a robust regulatory framework in the industry. Browne noted that it is “very difficult” for the SEC to “wrap their heads around a positive approval” due to a lack of data.

Report Finds Lack of Diversity in Ethereum Smart Contracts Could Pose Risks

A report from a group of analysts at Northeastern University and the University of Maryland said this week that a lack of diversity in Ethereum (ETH) smart contracts poses a risk to the ETH blockchain ecosystem. According to the researchers, since they found that most Ethereum smart contracts are “direct- or near-copies of other contracts,” the risk arises if copied smart contract contains a vulnerable or buggy code. The study, which was partially supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation, analyzed Ethereum smart contracts’ bytecodes during its first 5 million blocks over an almost three-year timeframe from the cryptocurrency’s inception in 2015.

American Faces 5 Years in Prison for Operating Unlicensed Business via LocalBitcoins

A U.S. citizen has pled guilty this week in federal court for operating an “unlicensed money transmitting business” through LocalBitcoins.com. Jacob Burrell Campos allegedly admitted selling “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in BTC to more than 1,000 customers from January 2015 to April 2017, meaning that he operated an unregistered “Bitcoin exchange.” According to the court, it is illegal in that Burrell did not register his business operation with the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) of the U.S. Department of Treasury, and failed to apply AML regulations on the sources of his clients’ funds.

Prediction of the Week

Prediction of the Week

Crypto Winter Could Last 12 to 18 Months, Says CEO of Top Derivatives Platform BitMEX

Arthur Hayes, the CEO of major crypto derivatives platform BitMEX, said this week that “based on previous experience,” the low volatility and volume trading climate could continue for “another 12 to 18 months.” Hayes noted that he has been in the Bitcoin space since 2013, and based his current predictions on his experience in the 2013-2015 “nuclear bear market.”

Best Cointelegraph Features

Best Cointelegraph Features

Bitcoin White Paper — 10 Years Since Satoshi’s Vision Was Brought to Life

Cointelegraph celebrates the 10 year anniversary of Satoshi Nakamoto’s release of the Bitcoin white paper with an overview of the white paper’s influence, a brief history of the cryptocurrency, and an interactive quiz to find out how “expert” our readers’ knowledge of Bitcoin is.

Trend of Global Crypto Mining: Despite the US-China Trade War, Activity Surges as Samsung and GMO Enter

As the crypto markets see the fourth worst correction in their nine-year history, the hash power of the Bitcoin network continues to increase. Cointelegraph contributor Joseph Young delves into how crypto mining manufacturing giant Bitmain will compete with the emergence of products from Samsung and GMO into the market, as well as the effects on mining due to the ongoing U.S.-China trade war.

Skirting the Great Wall: The Chequered Saga of Crypto in China, 2018

Part two of Cointelegraph’s series on China and cryptocurrency gives an in-depth analysis of what exactly is going on in China in the aftermath of the country’s ICO ban, and why regulators continue to attempt to curb the rise of crypto trades.

Hodler’s Digest, October 21-October 28: US SEC Mulls Over Bitcoin ETFs, While Bakkt’s BTC Futures Inch Closer To Approval

Bakkt BTC futures are tentatively set to launch in December, while New York regulators give Coinbase the green light for custody services.

Coming every Sunday, the Hodler’s Digest will help you to track every single important news story that happened this week. The best (and worst) quotes, adoption and regulation highlights, leading coins, predictions, and much more — a week on Cointelegraph in one link.

Top Stories This Week

US SEC Releases Memorandum From Meeting Over Bitcoin ETF Proposal

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has published a memorandum from a meeting about the Bitcoin exchange-traded-fund (ETF) proposal from VanEck and SolidX that included EC Commissioner Elad L. Roisman and his counsels Dean Conway, Matthew Estabrook, and Christina Thomas, along with representatives from SolidX, VanEck, and the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE). The memorandum outlines the parties’ arguments over the regulators decision to disapprove SolidX’s previous ETF application, specifically the failure to comply the section of the Securities Exchange Act over the prevention of fraud and manipulation.

Crypto Exchange Coinbase And Circle Launch USD Stablecoin

Cryptocurrency exchange and wallet Coinbase has now launched the USD Coin (USDC) stablecoin, which was developed in collaboration with Coinbase and blockchain-powered payments tech company Circle. Coinbase users in the supported jurisdictions can now trade in USDC at Coinbase.com, as well as the iOS and Android apps. According to Coinbase, USDC will soon be supported on Coinbase Pro. The coin is reportedly 100 percent collateralized with U.S. dollars.

New York Regulators Approves Coinbase’s Crypto Custody Offering

The New York State Department of Financial Services authorized Coinbase’s wholly-owned subsidiary Coinbase Custody Trust Company LLC to add a range of custody services for virtual currencies, including Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Ripple, and Litecoin. Coinbase had launched its custody services in July, with the aim to bring in institutional customers and able to store large amounts of digital currency.

NYSE Parent Company Announces BTC Futures Launch Date On Bakkt Platform

The Intercontinental Exchange, the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange, announced a Dec. 12, 2018 launch date for Bitcoin futures on its Bakkt platform this week. According to the release, ICE will list Bakkt Bitcoin (USD) Daily Futures Contracts for trading starting in December, and the product will be physically-settled and cleared by ICE Clear U.S., Inc. Also this week, an unnamed source told a tech outlet that ICE’s Bakkt crypto platform could get approval as soon as the first week of November.

Indian Crypto Exchange Detained For Unregistered Bitcoin ATM

Harish BV, the co-founder of Indian cryptocurrency exchange Unocoin, was held in custody this week shortly after setting up an allegedly unregistered Bitcoin ATM in Bangalore. Harish BV reportedly installed the ATM kiosk at a mall together with fellow Unocoin co-founder Sathvik Viswanath. According to local Indian media reports, Harish BV was detained because the ATM did not receive permission from the state, and was dealing with crypto outside of regulations.

Most Memorable Quotations 

Young Dirty Bastard

“I look forward to delivering even more music that would make Dad proud,” — Young Dirty Bastard, speaking about the Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s estate’s upcoming release of O.D.B. Coin

Sathvik Viswanath

“The minister’s statement was clear: Cryptocurrencies are not legal tender in India. He did not say ‘illegal tender.’ There’s a huge difference. It means you bear the risk of your investment and there’s no regulation for the industry,” — Sathvik Viswanath, co-founder of Indian crypto exchange Unocoin

Laws And Taxes

Spanish Crypto Investors Could Face Mandatory Reporting Of Crypto Holdings For Taxes

Spain this week approved a new draft law that could require cryptocurrency investors to report their crypto holdings for tax purposes. Finance minister María Jesús Montero said that the new measures would apply to all Spanish citizens, even if they are currently living overseas. The draft bill specifically would requires both the identification and the balances of each investor’s virtual currencies. If the latest draft becomes approved as law, virtual currency holdings would need to be included in Spain’s “notorious” tax reporting structure known as the 720 form.

Taiwan Plans Initial Coin Offering Regulation To Be Issued By June 2019

The current chairman of Taiwanese finance regulator, speaking at a meeting of the Legislative Yuan Finance Committee, said that the country plans to release ICO regulation by June 2019. According to the chairman, “the more we regulator, the more this new economic behavior wanes.” Despite the chairman’s statement on ICO regulation, Taiwan does not have any plans on “curbing the creativity and productivity associated with cryptocurrencies” provided they do not constitute securities.

New York Judges Throw Out Class Action Lawsuit Against Nano Developers

A class action lawsuit brought on by a crypto investor against the development team of altcoin Nano was dismissed by a New York judge this week. According to court documents, the lawsuit alleged that the developers had lured him to trade in Nano on a platform that lost hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of the cryptocurrency. The lawsuit had asked that Nano do a “rescue fork” to return investors’ missing money. However, in the dismissal, the judge notes that the case had lacked merit.

Coinbase Lawsuit Over Insider Trading Of BCH Dismissed

A U.S. district judge has dismissed the lawsuit over alleged insider trading against crypto wallet and exchange Coinbase during its launch of Bitcoin Cash support last year. The lawsuit alleged that Coinbase employees had benefited from insider trading in the process of adding support for the altcoin. However, the judge noted that the plaintiff didn’t have a sufficient legal basis for his claims in the complaint, and dismissed the class action without prejudice.

US Tax Agency Advisory Committee Asks For Additional Guidelines For Crypto Transactions

An advisory committee of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service has asked the agency to provide more guidelines for the taxation of crypto transactions, according to a 2018 general report. In 2014, the IRS had issued commentary specifically concerning digital currencies, with the recommendation that they be treated as property. However, the advisory committee has brought up several questions surrounding crypto taxation, including whether crypto can be considered as a “specific foreign financial asset.

Adoption

Visa Plans Quarter 1 Launch Of Blockchain-Based Digital Identity System

Visa is planning to release its blockchain-based digital identity system for cross-border payments in the first quarter of 2019. The system, called Visa B2B Connect, support a blockchain-based solution for financial institutions to securely process cross-border payments by tokenizing sensitive business data and creating a unique cryptographic identifier for transactions. The solution will use a Hyperledger Fabric framework, along with Visa’s “core assets.”

Report Finds Demand For Blockchain Engineers Has Grown 400 Percent Since 2017

Hired’s 2018 State of Salaries Report has found that demand for blockchain role has risen by 400 percent since the end of 2017. According to the report, the average earnings of a blockchain engineer has soared to between $150-175,000 per year. This salary puts blockchain engineers into the same category as artificial intelligence specialists, as the need for blockchain-able engineers increases. CNBC notes the demand is further fueled by the interest of global tech giants such as Facebook, Amazon, IBM and Microsoft, all of whom are currently advertising for specialists from the emerging sector.

Sony Creates Contactless Cryptocurrency Hardware Wallet

Japanese technology firm Sony’s research arm announced this week that it had created a contactless cryptocurrency hardware wallet that utilizes IC smart card technology to communicate with the Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency network. According to the developers, the wallet’s advantages lie in dispensing with the need to attach the wallet to a device with a USB, the current industry standard.

Oracle Announces Suite Of Blockchain-Based Software For Supply Chain Management

Oracle Corp., a software development company, has announced the release of a suite of blockchain-based software-as-a-service (Saas) applications based on its Oracle Blockchain Cloud Service. Oracle’s new product is designed to increase the traceability and transparency through supply chains. The new product, called the Oracle Blockchain Applications Cloud, includes four apps: Intelligent Track and Trace, Lot Lineage and Provenance, Intelligent Cold Chain, and Warranty and Usage Tracking.

Binance’s Fiat-Crypto Exchange Goes Live In Uganda

Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, has officially launched its fiat-to-crypto exchange in Uganda this week. Binance Uganda has launched its live trading, enabling users to buy Binance and Ethereum with local fiat currency Ugandan shillings. This week’s announcement also noted that Binance Uganda is the “first step” to the expansion of crypto exchange markets for a “more inclusive ecosystem that will involve fiat currencies.

Mergers, Acquisitions, And Partnerships

China’s Largest Newspaper To Launch Blockchain Lab With Tech Firm

The official newspaper of the Communist Party of China’s venture capital wing has made a deal with Shenzhen-based technology company Xunlei Limited. According to the agreement, People’s Daily Online and the tech firm will create a laboratory for “technology innovation” at the People Capital’s Blockchain Research Institute. In addition to blockchain research, the partners will also create a “high-level industrial service platform” for organizing seminars, as well as promote and identify startups in the blockchain industry.

Largest Port In Europe Partners With Dutch Bank, Samsung For Blockchain Shipping Tests

The port of Rotterdam, the largest port in Europe, has announced a partnership this week with Dutch bank ABN AMRO and the IT subsidiary of Samsung to test blockchain use for shipping. The trial, according to Samsung SDS, will focus on shipping containers from an unnamed factory in Asia to the port of Rotterdam. The experiment will officially start in January, and the results will be announced in February.

Johnny Depp Partners With Crypto-Powered Social Entertainment Platform

U.S. actor and producer Johnny Depp has partnered with crypto-powered social entertainment platform TataTu in order to create and produce film and digital content together. The content will be produced by the Infinitum Nihil film production firm owned by Depp, who will be collaborating with TaTaTu founder Andrea Iervolino. TaTaTu, which launched in May of this year, aims to combat illegal piracy and improve transparency for rights holders, as well as to assist high-quality brand advertising by using distributed ledger technology (DLT).

VeChain, Republic Of Cyprus Sign MoU For Blockchain Development

Singapore-based blockchain platform VeChain Foundation, the U.S. blockchain startup CREAM, and the national investment partner of the Republic of Cyprus have signed an MoU for blockchain development and its use cases. According to their agreement, the parties will collaborate on national level investment strategies, using blockchain-powered economies and promoting blockchain technology, particularly in the field of financial services.

Funding Rounds

Government-Owned Holding Firm Subsidiary Invests In Binance Singapore Expansion

Vertex Ventures, a subsidiary of Singapore-based government-owned investment company Temasek Holdings, has announced an investment in crypto exchange Binance to support its expansion into Singapore. The investment is a joint effort between Vertex Ventures China and Vertex Ventures Southeast Asia and India, and will support Binance’s plans to create crypto-fiat services throughout South Asia. Wei Zhou, CFO at Binance, said in the release that the exchange “look[s] forward to building up the blockchain ecosystem and working with all stakeholders in Singapore to support continued innovation in the local fintech space.”

Overstock’s Medici Ventures Announces Investment In Decentralized Social Networks

Medici Ventures, Overstock’s venture capital subsidiary, has invested an undisclosed Series A investment in Minds, Inc., a decenetralized social network. Minds, founded in 2011, is a social network platform that rewards users with crypto for their activity online. According to the press release, Minds has adopted the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Manila Principles as the platform’s Digital Bill of Rights in order to “ensure freedom of speech” for its users.

Winners And Losers

Chart

Bitcoin is remaining stable this week, trading at around $6,473, with Ethereum at around $204. Total market cap is currently at around $208 billion.

The top three altcoin gainers of the week are PrimeStone, HappyCoin, and Paypex. The top three altcoin losers of the week are CJs, EPLUS Coin, and Etheera.

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

FUD Of The Week

$50 Million Australian ICO Shuts Down, Cites Regulatory Requirements

Australian crypto startup Global Tech Exchange (GTE) has ceased the operations of its ICO — which had a fundraising goal of $50 million — citing the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) requirements. The firm had gained popularity after being endorsed by Michael Clark — a former Australian cricket captain and national celebrity. As of press time, the reasons behind the ICO’s closure have not yet been publicly commented on.

Head Of Indian Nonprofit Trade Organization Calls Cryptocurrency “Illegal”

The president of India’s National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) said this week that cryptocurrency is “illegal” and asked businesses to obey the law. Speaking to a local news outlet, the president said that the illegality of crypto is the result of the government’s apparent failure to keep up with innovation. While cryptocurrency is actually currently legal in India, the Reserve Bank of India banned the country’s banks from servicing crypto-related businesses in July.

Thai SEC Issues Warnings About Investing In Nine Unregistered Tokens And ICOs

The Thai Securities and Exchange Commission has issued a warning about investments in nine digital tokens and ICOs, which have reportedly not been registered. According to the Thai SEC, the regulator has initiated an investigation into digital tokens and ICO investments promoted on social media platforms, and have found nine where the product was not authorized. The Thai SEC notes that as the digital assets and ICOs do not have the SEC’s official approval, investors should be aware of associated risks of investment.

Coinbase Lets Fifteen Staff Members Go, Sources Report

Major U.S. cryptocurrency exchange and wallet Coinbase has let “at least” fifteen staff members go after hiring 250 this year, according to unnamed sources speaking to Yahoo Finance. The crypto company confirmed the layoffs, noting that their hiring practices moving forward would only allow for employees to be hired into Coinbase offices. One source told Yahoo that “people here are pretty upset about it, and so far senior leadership is handling communications poorly.”

Hong Kong-Based Crypto Exchange OKEx Delists 50+ Trading Pairs

Cryptocurrency exchange OKEx will delist over 50 trading pairs — not the coins themselves — that reportedly have weak performance. According to the exchange’s announcement, the exchange will halt the trading of more than 50 pairs at 6:00am on Oct. 31, 2018 CET, warning users that they should cancel their orders of the affected pairs from the platform. Andy Cheung, Head of Operations at OKEx, said that “as leaders, we are responsible for promoting a robust ecosystem [...] We need to take action on those underperforming tokens now.”

Best Features

Iceland's Farmers Have A Cunning Plan To Solve Crypto's Energy Crisis

Wired speaks to math teacher Krista Hannesdóttir about her innovative crypto mining strategy in Iceland: she pays farmers for the use of their excess geothermal energy for running mining equipment. While the crypto mining scheme is relatively small — she makes around £7,876 (about $10,107) in Ethereum each month — they have to keep it on the down low in case the question of its legality could threaten the subsidies farmers receive for geothermal energy use.

Anybody Want Bitcoin Futures? Anybody?

Bloomberg Business looks at the role of Bitcoin futures in the market, from the initial hype in the fall and winter of last year, to current day realities of CBOE and CME trading around a combined 9,000 contracts a day. In comparison, CME traded over 18 million contracts daily in Q2 for oil, gold, and interest rates. However, even with the low daily trading rate, the BTC futures are “probably considered statistically one of the more successful products, both out of the gate and with the growth in the first six months.”

Florida Gov’t Agency Employee Arrested For Mining Crypto Using Dept. Computers

An IT manager from the state of Florida’s Department of Citrus (FDoC) has been arrested this week for using the FDoC’s computer system to mine for cryptocurrencies, according to a Tampa Bay Times article published March 13.

According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), FDoC employee Matthew McDermott was using computers in the Department of Citrus to mine for cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin (BTC) and Litecoin (LTC).

Crypto mining requires a large amount of electricity, and the utility bills for the Department of Citrus had jumped more than 40 percent from October 2017 to January 2018, around $825.

McDermott has been charged with grand theft and official misconduct and is currently at Polk County jail. The FDLE also noted that McDermott had purchased 24 graphic processing units for over $22,000 using a “state purchasing card” from July to December.

In February of this year, several engineers were arrested at a Russian nuclear power center for attempting to use a supercomputer to mine for Bitcoin.

The post Florida Gov’t Agency Employee Arrested For Mining Crypto Using Dept. Computers appeared first on Coin News 24/7 | All Crypto news sorted for all Coins.

Electronic Frontier Foundation Adds BCH Payment Option, Lists Under ‘Bitcoin’

Several organizations, including most recently the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), have misleadingly listed both Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) under one payment option, “Bitcoin”. The EFF, an international non-profit digital rights group that had already had BTC as a donation payment option, tweeted yesterday, March 13, that they are now accepting donations in BCH, but their website shows a lack of understanding about the difference between BTC and BCH.

Since the Bitcoin Cash announcement, the EFF’s donation page shows three payment options, Credit Card, PayPal, and, laconically, “Bitcoin”. Selecting the “Bitcoin” option takes users to the following screen, which allows you to donate in either BTC or BCH, even while the heading of the page is “Pay with Bitcoin”:

Pay With Bitcoin

Just last week Microsoft also added BCH to their already existing BTC payment option, and makes the same misleading categorization of both as “Bitcoin”.

The anonymity-centric Tor browser also includes a “Bitcoin” donation option that confusingly gives the option of paying in both BTC and BCH:

Donate Bitcoin

Bitpay

A previous mix-up over BTC and BCH by Overstock.com in early January led to customers being able to pay with both cryptocurrencies interchangeably, accidentally giving a huge potential discount to anyone paying in BCH at the time. This option of paying in either BTC or BCH at a 1:1 ratio for any item was reportedly active on the site for around three weeks.

At press time Bitcoin is trading at an average of $8,130, down almost 12 percent on the day. Bitcoin Cash is trading at an average of $931, down almost 13 percent on the day to press time.

The post Electronic Frontier Foundation Adds BCH Payment Option, Lists Under ‘Bitcoin’ appeared first on Coin News 24/7 | All Crypto news sorted for all Coins.