I hope you all had a great first week of 2019! With the new year come new beginnings and new hopes; on this note let’s hope that 2019 is the year when Blockchain technology witnesses mass adoption and crypto becomes the buzzword.
It’s time for the weekly roundup of 2019’s first week.
Let me take you through some of the biggest headlines!
The first interesting news of the year comes from Bitcoin. Despite a massive loss in market cap and trading value in 2018, Bitcoin rang in the new year on a high note.
As per a report, Bitcoin has garnered over 10 million more Blockchain wallet users when compared to the users at the start of 2017!
Did you know, crypto startups forked out more than $878,000 in bounty to Ethical Hackers in 2018 for solving bugs slipped under the radar? Well, that’s interesting, is it not?
Google Search data for 2018 shows the popularity of Bitcoin is still higher than the underlying Blockchain technology.
People have searched for ‘Bitcoin’ 10 times more than ‘Blockchain’ and ‘cryptocurrency.’
This week Ethereum managed to regain its second spot from Ripple (XRP) which had overtaken it in November. Now Ethereum is the second largest cryptocurrency by market cap. The continuous bearish trends since mid-November have seen many shuffles and reshuffles in the position of different cryptocurrencies.
As of now, Ethereum is continuing to maintain its 2nd position at a market capitalization of $3,386,469,271 at the time of writing on November 5, 2019.
Estonia-registered DX.Exchange is planning to deploy Blockchain technology in stock markets by releasing a crypto trading platform with tokenized stocks. The company plans to offer digital securities for shares of 10 Nasdaq-listed Companies for now and will soon expand to the New York Stock Exchange along with those present in Tokyo and Hong Kong.
As per reports, OKEx and Huobi Global, two of the world’s leading cryptocurrency exchanges, will support the Ethereum (ETH) Constantinople hard fork, which according to a press release is estimated to take place between Jan. 14 and 18. In another news, Binance has also confirmed its support for the same.
Circle has revealed in a blog post that its OTC Desk has witnessed trades worth USD 24B in 2018.
It appears more and more companies are catering to insitutional investors as it was reported last in year in November that the San Fransico headquartered cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase had also added an OTC desk to cater to the institutional investment class.
The Pundi X team, as of 3rd January 2019 has executed their token removal drive, as was planned and burned 9.7 billion NPXS/NPXSXEM tokens, which is equivalent to 4.1 million USD. 5.7 billion NPXS and 4 billion tokens NPXSXEM has permanently been removed from the supply.
OpenNode, the Estonia-based Bitcoin payment processing turned down Roger Ver’s investment offer of USD 1.5 million.
Tha catch was that Ver wanted OpenNode to use Bitcoin Cash instead of Bitcoin as the payment protocol. However, OpenNode graciously turned down the offer as ‘it did not fit with the vision of the company.’
During its annual meeting on January 4, 2019, the American Economic Association (AEA), a society in America that focuses on economics and publishes the very prestigious American Economic Review, held four dedicated presentations on cryptocurrency and blockchain research. Such a place in the meeting of a very recognized society means well for Blockchain and the future of the technology to come.
In another news from the United States of America, the State of New York became the first state to create a cryptocurrency task force in order to study how to properly regulate, define, and use cryptocurrency.
The NYS Governor, Andrew Cuomo, has signed into law THE DIGITAL CURRENCY STUDY BILL, A8783B/S9013.
One of the most crypto-friendly nations in the world, Ireland, has released a strict stance on the misuse of digital currencies.
As per a report by the Irish Times, the Government of Ireland has officially agreed to a bill that aims to deploy stricter regulations to address money laundering activities. The bill specifically talks about the misuse of digital currencies in financing terrorism-related activities.
Satoshi Nakamoto made it to the list of the world’s top 100 global finance leaders by Worth.com. The famous personality/group of people who developed the world’s top cryptocurrency Bitcoin has/have been placed at number 44. Interestingly, the mysterious entity is the only person on the list who is anonymous since no one really knows who Satoshi Nakamoto really is!
Another interesting or rather notorious personality to make international newest this week is Vlad Nistor, the former CEO of the Romanian cryptocurrency exchange, Coinflux.
Nistor who was arrested in December for multiple financial crimes including the laundering of illicitly obtained funds through the digital asset trading platform is now successfully extradited to the United States for further prosecution.
More criminal investigations against crypto projects are being carried out in the United Kingdom.
UK’s Financial Conduct Authority has launched a total of 67 separate inquiries into cryptocurrency companies, out of which 49 have been closed and 18 are currently ongoing.
Not just that, the government of UK has confirmed that it is ready to provide more assistance to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to help regulate the crypto industry.
Often touted as the crypto hub of Asia, Singapore is also in the news as a new stablecoin called the Singapore Dollar Rate (SDGR) has been launched by the team of Blockchain-based startup Rate3.
SGDR is a 1:1 Singapore dollar-backed stablecoin that guarantees its users with full redeemability for Singapore dollars on demand.
Also in Singapore, the Switcheo Exchange, which is based out of the global financial centre, declared through a press release that Alchemint’s smart contract based SDUSD stablecoin will make its debut across the crypto, exchange becoming the first fiat-pegged pairing with NEO.
In Thailand, the government is planning to incorporate the technology into its voting system. The National Electronics and Computer Technology Center(NECTEC) of Thailand confirmed the news via the Bangkok Post.
Another good news comes from Africa where according to the data gathered by the international cryptocurrency marketplace, Paxful, interest in cryptocurrency has risen despite the crypto world is in the midst of the worst downturn it has ever seen.
Paxful’s highest new subscriber additions come from Africa!
Additionally, it is not just one city, state or country that has shown this growth, but it is evenly distributed across the continent. According to the portal, over the past year, transactions on the Paxful platform from South Africa increased by 25 per cent, 60 per cent in Nigeria and by up to 100 per cent in other parts of the continent. Africa as a whole has led to a 225 percent growth in Paxful’s user base.
Iran has taken further steps against Telegram’s cryptocurrency development, reported by Tehran Times on December 31st, 2018. Javad Javidnia, the Secretary of the Criminal Content Definition Task Force, has declared that any cooperation with the encrypted messaging application to launch its Gram token would be assumed an act against national security.
One of the countries which does has not have a clear stance or regulatory framework regarding cryptocurrencies, India, also made quite a few headlines this past week. Some good, some bad.
He may not yet have clairified his stance on digital currencies but the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, has often spoken in support of Blockchain Technology. It was the same case at at the recently held Indian Science Congress meeting where he talked about the innovations which would shape the future of economies. “Bringing big data, AI and blockchain to solve India’s biggest challenges – healthcare, agriculture, and developmental needs can only be done by our scientists and engineers,” said the Prime Minister.
In a controversial move by the police department of the State of Jammu and Kashmir in India, the authorities have warned the public against investing in cryptocurrencies.
The statement detailed about the increased risks that are associated with investing in volatile currencies like Bitcoin (BTC) and that neither the state nor the central government has sanctioned cryptocurrencies yet.
The Parliament of India saw an important question raised by one of the members, Varun Gandhi.
Gandhi asked the government a slew of questions regarding the state of the legality of cryptocurrency in the nation.
While the government still did not answer clearly, however it is interesting to note that the government has not entirely ruled out the possibility of rolling out a national digital currency.
A Ukrainian village by the name of Elizavetovka, Dnipropertrovsk, has earned ample profits in crypto after the head of the village council made a crypto investment on behalf of the entire region. Now the village plans to use the profits for public work! It has been revealed that the profits will be used for funding pothole repairs after the snow thaws after the winter and upcoming spring.