Welcome to our weekly roundup crypto enthusiasts! Let’s take you through the news from the Blockchain and crypto world that made headlines this week.
On the world map, Venezeula’s cryptocurrency Petro is struggling to get international recognition as Russia has kept Petro’s approval on hold. According to a recent report by the Russian news portal Ria Novosti, Russia is yet to have a formal discussion with the Venezuelan government regarding the acceptance of Petro in international trade.
In Germany, the second largest stock exchange in the country, Borse Stuttgart, is collaborating with the Berlin-based financial tech startup, SolarisBank, to develop a crypto exchange. Börse Stuttgart will be utilizing SolarisBank’s crypto banking platform, in order to make crypto transactions on the exchange more reliable and transparent. The exchange is set to be launched early next year.
A piece of good news for the crypto community, Donald Trump has appointed Mick Mulvaney to the White House as the Chief of Staff. Interestingly, Mulvaney was one of the people who worked towards creating the Blockchain Caucus, a group of lawmakers who write and create new laws relating to emerging technologies like cryptocurrency.
Another headline from the United States’ political map was made by Ron Paul. The former Congressman who is also a Bitcoin proponent has called for the abolition of the Federal Reserve after a further increase in the interest rates. “The Fed has NO IDEA what rates should be. The Fed manipulates prices, distorts the economy, and makes decisions by looking at the “data” of a distorted economy.” said Paul in a tweet.
John McAfee is another headline maker from the United States. As per report McAfee, who had begun his Presidential Campaign for 2020 elections earlier in October, has proclaimed that his will be the ‘first ever decentralized POTUS campaign where there are no bosses, and individuals are allowed to take decisions on their own, and the headquarters of this campaign is a network server.’
In an effort to classify Initial Coin Offerings separately from securities, and outside the clutches of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Token Taxonomy ACT, H.R. 7356 was filed by Ohio Rep. Warren Davidson, along with Florida Rep. Darren Soto. The bill aims at allowing crypto businesses to flourish without being burdened by unnecessary sanctions put in by SEC.
Interestingly, Malta might just get its first Blockchain bank. The Maltese company RnF Finance Limited has applied for authorization as a credit institution to the Malta Financial Authority Services. If approved, it would result in Malta getting its first Blockchain bank with provision for operating in different cryptos.
Malaysia is also set to get its first-ever Blockchain bank. As per reports, the South Korean cryptocurrency exchange, CGCX.io in collaboration with two other organizations, Archipelago Group, and IBH Capital, is set to launch the first ever physical blockchain bank in Labuan, Malaysia’s federal territory.
Blockchain technology is all set to assist reforestation in Paraguay, a country which faces severe deforestation crisis. The German company which came up with the project will be issuing a security token called TREE which will be under Swiss jurisdiction. One TREE token will be equivalent to one tree planted at the start of the project and will be worth $23, with all land purchases and management overhead included.
One of the largest canadian cryptocurrency exchanges, Coinsquare, is expanding its horizons as it ventures into Europe. The exchange will now be allowing European consumers to access all the services as provided by them.
Also in Europe, the National Assembly of France, on Monday, December 17, 2018, dismissed tax amendments that were slated to lower cryptocurrency-related taxes. The rejected tax amendments were designed for the benefit of crypto users, and are related to crypto tax exemptions, as well as capital losses and gains. Interestingly, while most of the amendments witnessed dismissal from the Assembly on Monday, however, the proposed 30 percent flat tax for digital currency transactions was not considered at the meeting. Hence, the aforementioned amendment is still a part of Article 16 Bis.
In India, month-old baby Divit Biyani from the State of West Bengal has become the first in the state to get a birth certificate secured through the Blockchain technology. Governmental bodies Bankura Municipal Corporation and Durgapur Municipal Corporation have worked closely with the Netherlands-based Blockchain app, Lynked.world to allow them to issue birth certificates for Indian citizens.
INCX has recently collaborated with Bittrex to set up a new cryptocurrency exchange in Singapore. Their main aim is to leverage their exchange technology in order to offer INCX customers a secure, reliable, and advanced trading experience. It can be accessed by registering for an account at incx.trade.
The California-based cryptocurrency exchange, Coinbase has made a lot of headlines this week. As a part of their ‘12 Days of Coinbase’ scheme, Coinbase is collaborating with GiveCrypto, a nonprofit organization that seeks to distribute cryptocurrency in an extremely efficient and quick way, to provide support and basic income to more than 150 Syrians who are currently residing in Greece. In another news, Coinbase has initiated PayPal withdrawals amid the rapid selling trends in the crypto markets. Coinbase also announced that it had moved “5% of all BTC, 8% of all ETH, and 25% of all LTC in circulation” to its secure cold storage last month. The announcement came in the form of a tweet from the company’s official Twitter handle on 20th December.
As per a report, the New York-based American multinational investment bank JPMorgan Chase has released a warning saying that the slump in the prices of Bitcoin in 2018 may have scared away institutional investors. Paradoxically, the crypto community has been long waiting for institutional investors to enter the crypto markets and spark off a bull run with the injection of cash.
The Brooklyn-based Blockchain software technology company ConsenSys has recently announced a restructuring of their staff. As per reports from trusted sources, the firm is now cutting off funding which had been allocated for quite a few of their portfolio startups. It has been reported that roughly 50 percent of ConsenSys’ 1,200-person workforce could possibly face the ax due to the move. In another news from ConsenSys, the firm has published an analysis of Ethereum using multiple statistical tools, to conclude that even amidst the bearish market prices for cryptocurrencies, Ethereum is still growing. While measuring growth, ConsenSys says crypto wallets are a good example, with the number of unique Ether wallets going up by almost 14 million in 6 months. Additionally, the lifespan of these wallets has almost tripled in a year.
Norwegian company Opera Software AS has announced the launch of its Blockchain-based web browser which comes with an Ethereum wallet on the Android platform. The statement released by the company stated that the updated browser app supports Web 3, and it is ready for download on the Google Play Store.
Despite the market correction, the CEO of crypto exchange Binance, Changpeng Zhao, has said that he is optimistic about the crypto industry. He mentioned that the Blockchain industry is set to grow further owing to the increasing applications being built by developers on the distributed ledger technology. Zhao also said that the correction in the prices of cryptocurrencies has not affected the strategy of Binance very much and that they are still pushing forward aggressively.
As per a report by Bloomberg, Facebook is allegedly planning to launch its own cryptocurrency that is said to be a ‘stablecoin.’ The stable coin would help WhatsApp users in transferring money. The report says that the WhatsApp feature will focus on the remittances market in India. It has also been reported that Facebook is on a Blockchain hiring spree. As per reports, Facebook is exploring the market to provide Blockchain based payments methods for their 2 billion user base, though no explicit details have been released.
Bitcoin which was struggling to maintain the resistance above USD 3,000, finally turned bullish this week with its price surging over USD 4,000 on December 21, 2018. At the time of writing this news, Bitcoin was trading at USD 3,964.09 on December 22, 2018. During the same bull run, Bitcoin Cash (BCH) had surged by 28.9% to topple Ethereum.
Waves token prices soared by 30% after receiving USD 120 million funding for its new venture, Vostok. The news came into the public domain through an official Blog post dated December 19, 2018. Wave is currently the 20th largest crypto in terms of market capitalization and at the time of writing this news, it was trading at USD USD 3.28.
As per a new academic paper, which analyzed the abuse inherent in the crypto markets, it has been revealed that tricksters are manipulating the prices of digital currencies, including Bitcoin, to successfully dump their assets on gullible crypto traders at higher prices. The academic paper has analyzed data from the cloud-based instant messaging platform, Telegram, and the famous digital distribution platform, Discord, to successfully identify as much as 4,818 pump-and-dump schemes in the crypto markets during the time period of January 2018 to July 2018.
Another report by Bitmex has revealed that almost 1.3 million Bitmain S9 miners have been forced to shut as Bitcoin mining has become unprofitable this year due to the bearish market trend. The fall in Bitcoin price has taken a massive chunk out of the miners’ share of profits.
OpenNode a multi-layered Bitcoin payment processor completed its first round of seed investment, as per the announcement made on December 18, 2018. The main contributor to the project is none other than a long-term crypto advocate and venture capitalist Tim Draper.
PlayGame, a Blockchain gaming company has recently completed a deal with Walt Disney, an animation company, to release new games for a year featuring some of their characters. These characters will be including Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and Olaf from the Movie, Frozen. As of now, two new games have been revealed which are called “Mickey’s Delivery Dash” and “Olaf’s Freeze Fall.”
As per a report by Bloomberg, cryptojacking has overtaken ransomware and taken its place as the top malware in countries across the world including Turkey and all across Africa and the Middle East. Cryprtojacking is defined as the malicious and criminal act of using another person’s hardware to mine cryptocurrency without the user’s permission.