Across the market, bearish sentiment remains strong as the mini bull run earlier this month looks to have been short-lived. At $334bln, crypto’s overall market capitalization dropped roughly 9% over the course of the week.
Bitcoin: Crashing through the $8k threshold, the market’s giant dropped by 16% this week before a brief bounce yesterday which has it at $7,500 at time of writing.
Ethereum: Ethereum also tanked from its weekly high of $712 to a low of $561 yesterday, and today, it’s down 10% at $602.
Ripple: Not bombing so catastrophically, Ripple is resting at $0.61, although a loss of 4% on the week isn’t likely to put a smile on anyone’s face.
U.S. Crypto News
US DOJ Launches Criminal Probe into Crypto Market Manipulation: Maybe all those conspirators who have been crying foul are onto something–at least, the United States Department of Justices thinks so. The department launched a probe this week to determine whether or not cryptocurrency traders have been manipulating trends to aggravate the market’s already-high volatility. According to sources who tipped Bloomberg, the DOJ is looking for evidence of illegal practices like wash trading and spoofing.
Coinbase Rebrands GDAX as Coinbase Pro, Purchases Paradex Exchange: In a formative week of development for one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange services, Coinbase is expanding and rebranding. On Wednesday, the company announced its acquisition of Paradex, a decentralized exchange built on the 0x protocol. On the heels of this news, it also announced that it would be renaming GDAX, the company’s exchange arm, to Coinbase Pro.
A Two-For: Coinbase Reportedly Approached Regulators for Banking License: According to sources close to the Wall Street Journal, Coinbase met with US regulators in the beginning of 2018 to discuss obtaining a federal banking charter. The meeting occurred with the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of Commerce, the WSJ’s sources claim. In response to the news, Coinbase commented that it is “committed to working closely with state and federal regulators to ensure [it is] properly licensed for the products and services [it offers].”
American Express Implements Blockchain for Rewards Program: In a partnership with the online merchant Boxed, American Express is integrating blockchain into its rewards program. Making use of HyperLedger’s blockchain technology, the move will allow merchants to developed custom rewards programs, promotions, and offers for their costumers. “They can create programs based on a time of day, day of the week, by incentivizing a customer to download their app. The number of ways merchants can reward customers with Membership Reward points will be exponentially increased,” Chris Cracchiolo, head of American Express’ rewards program stated.
ShipChain Runs Aground with Cease and Desist from South Carolina Govt: ShipChain, a blockchain project that’s developing solutions for the international shipping and supply industry, is facing a cease and desist from the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office for violating securities statutes. The company held events and offered its tokens and services in South Carolina without registering with state regulators, the order claims. “At no time relevant to the events stated herein was Respondent ShipChain registered with the Division as a broker-dealer, and no exemption from registration has been claimed by Respondent ShipChain… At no time relevant to the events stated herein were the securities at issue registered with the Division or federal covered securities, and no exemption from registration has been claimed by the Respondent,” the order reads.
CFTC Establishes Advisory Unit to Assist Registered Companies with Crypto Derivative Listings:The United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Division of Market Oversight (DMO) and Division of Clearing and Risk (DCR) have come together to form a joint advisory to give CFTC-registered exchanges and clearing houses a hand with listing crypto derivatives. “The CFTC staff is committed to providing regulatory clarity as much as possible,” DMO Director Amir Zaidi states in the official press release. “As the virtual currency market continues to evolve, CFTC staff will seek to provide additional guidance to help market participants keep pace with innovation while complying with CFTC regulations.”
Colorado Political Campaigns Could Soon Be Funded (in Part) by Bitcoin: Colorado’s government is considering opening campaign coffers to cryptocurrency contributions. Colorado’s secretary of state made a proposal for accepting crypto donations earlier this week, a practice which has already been approved by the US Federal Election Commission (FEC) and has been adopted by New Hampshire. If accepted, cryptocurrency donations of all types would be treated as in-kind donations per the FEC’s guidelines.
CryptoCurrency News from Around the World
Switzerland Takes Top Spot in Rankings for Europe’s Friendliest Blockchain Countries: The world’s banking capital is showing that it favors all forms of finance, even the very thing that could disrupt the international banking industry it’s built its wealth on. In a study that examined 48 European countries, Switzerland ranked number for having the most accommodating approach to the blockchain industry, followed by Gibraltar and Malta, respectively. Among other factors, the study examined such things as regulations for blockchain-based payment services and ICOs as well as cryptocurrency taxation policy.
Huobi Launches Market Index: One of the largest crypto exchanges in the world, Huobi Pro, launched a market index for a handful of its offerings this week. The index will look at the platform’s top 10 traded assets against Tether (USDT). “The digital assets are classified into four categories: Coins, Platforms, Applications and Utility Asset tokens. The number of constituents selected in these four categories depends on their transaction volume of last quarter. After deciding the allocation of constituents into each of the four categories, the average daily trading volume in the previous quarter is used to decide the weight of the constituent in the index,” the official press release states.
Near Unanimous Approval of Crypto Bill in Russian Duma: A Bill entitled “On Digital Financial Assets” was met with nearly zero opposition this week during its first reading in the Duma, Russia’s lower legislative house. The bill has a deadline for July 1st and proposes legal and regulatory framework for ICOs, smart contracts, mining, and other cryptocurrency industry specifics.
Gang in South Africa Kidnaps Teenage Boy, Leverages for 15 BTC Ransom: Thirteen year old Kathlego Marite was abducted in his home town of Witbank this past Sunday by gang members who left a note demanding a ransom of 15 BTC, worth approximately $115,000 based on current market prices. The ransom threatens to kill the boy if the demands are not met, with the first payment deadline slated for next Monday.
Suspects in Pyramid Scheme Charged in China: Four individuals tied to the ponzi scheme OneCoin have been prosecuted in China’s Hunan Province. The prosecutions are the last of The Zhuzhou Country Procuratorate’s sweeping investigation, which has seen 98 prosecutions and the recovery of some 1.7bln yuan (~$266mln) since it began in 2016.
Argentina Bank Ditches SWIFT, Switches to Bitcoin for International Payments: Banco Masventas (BMV) in Argentina is offering Bitcoin as an alternative to SWIFT for international money transfers. In a partnership with Bitex, the bank will give customers the option to use Bitex, one of Latin America’s foremost blockchain service providers, to make remittance payments. The bank anticipates that the new service will reduce international money transfer times by 24 hours.
Ukrainian Police Accused of Sapping Power to Mine Crypto: Employees of the Rivne branch of Ukraine’s National Police force are mining crypto on the government’s dime, local outlets report. According to the reports, a number of unnamed employees in the Police’s Communications Department have been stealing electricity from the local office for four months. At this point in the investigation, it is unknown how much electricity was stolen for the mining operation.
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