Last week, the total cryptocurrency market took an 8% hit from the SEC’s rejection of the Winklevoss ETF filing.
This week, the total cryptocurrency market cap fell 14.33%, largely catalyzed by the SEC postponing their decision on a Bitcoin-ETF proposed by CBOE, VanEck, and SolidX.
Bitcoin fell from $7,400 to $6,388.59, a drop of 13.67%. Bitcoin’s lowest price this year was around $6,194on February 6th, 2018. To put things into perspective, Bitcoin is still 88.67% higher than it was this day last year.
Ethereum fell from $413 to $357.18, a drop of 15.6%.
Saving the bigger fireworks for last, XRP fell from $0.43 to $0.33, a drop of 23%.
United States Crypto News
SEC Postpones Bitcoin ETF-Filing Rule Change: To the dismay of cryptocurrency markets, the SEC decided to postpone its decision to the pending rule change filed by CBOE, VanEck, and SolidX until September 30th, 2018 at the latest. The SEC commented, “The Commission finds that it is appropriate to designate a longer period within which to take action on the proposed rule change so that it has sufficient time to consider the proposed rule change.”
The motion originally aimed to launch a Bitcoin-backed ETF, as opposed to one backed only by futures. An ETF is essentially a financial product that follows an asset’s price and is itself listed on an exchange for trading. So, investors don’t have to actually buy the underlying asset but can have a stake in its price growth or decrease.
Upon the news, the cryptocurrency market took a nosedive with Bitcoin (BTC) declining by 6.15%, Ethereum (ETH) declining by 8.2%, and Ripple (XRP) declining by 13.77%.
It’s Not Over Until the Fat Lady Sings: The publicly traded, Norway-headquartered Opera (NASDAQ: OPRA) integrated its crypto wallet into its desktop browser. Opera currently has north of 322 million users and aims to please its users with new built-in features such as this. To put this into perspective, Google Chrome has about 2 billion installs, and Opera seems to be one of the only mainstream browsers to allow for a cryptocurrency wallet integration without bulky plug-ins.
Opera Crypto Product Lead Charles Hamel noted, “By adding a crypto wallet directly into the browser, we removed the need for complex extensions or separate apps. Opening up the PC browser to crypto marks Opera’s second step towards making cryptocurrencies and Web 3.0 mainstream.”
Twenty States Get SALTy: SALT (Secured Automated Lending Platform), a platform that allows users to put up their cryptocurrency holdings as collateral in exchange for cash loans, announced that it was opening its doors to 20 more states. SALT currently sits at 35/50 states in the United States. The platform has currently issued more than $50M in U.S. Blockchain-Backed Loans, with over 70,000 users on its platform.
Houston, We Have Bitmain and AntPool: The Beijing-based mining juggernaut Bitmain Technologies Ltd (recently valued at around $12 billion) announced that it is launching a cryptocurrency mining facility and blockchain data center in the heart of Texas in Rockdale (population <6,000). Bitmain will be launching their mining facility and data center in a former aluminum smelting facility that was recently retired as a coal power station.
To sweeten up the deal for Bitmain, the Milam County Industrial Development Corp. and the Milam County Commissioners Court approved a tax abatement phased in over 10 years. Bitmain estimates that it will help create 400 local jobs in Rockdale over the first two years, and is currently recruiting for multiple positions.
AntPool, owned by Bitmain, is one of the world’s leading cryptocurrency mining companies and has identified Houston (about 150 miles away from Rockwell as a high-potential market and aims to bolster its client base. This will be AntPool’s first expansion city in the United States.
Censorship-Resistant Social Platform Conversation Heats Up: The banning of controversial InfoWars talk show host Alex Jones from Apple, Spotify, Spotify, and Youtube has many in the cryptocurrency world exploring censorship-resistant social platform options such as Gab.ai, Mastadon, and Memo. Looking past the contentions of Alex Jones, the revealing of an orchestrated silencing by four of the world’s most powerful companies Facebook, Apple, Google (Youtube), and Spotify in the music/podcast realm, the news is alarming for free speech advocates on both sides of the discussion.
Bittrex Adds USD Markets for XRP and ETC: Bittrex, a cryptocurrency exchange currently ranked 8th in terms of 24-hour volume, announced that it is launching USD markets for Ripple (XRP) and Ethereum Classic (ETC). This will allow customers to directly purchase XRP and ETC with their USD without having to purchase Bitcoin or another asset to facilitate the trade. With these two new trading pairs, Bittrex users will have access to USD markets for BTC, ETH, USDT, TUSD, XRP, and ETC. The trading pairs are available to current Bittrex corporate and personal account customers who reside in eligible states and qualified international regions.
DEA Agent Claims Illegal Activity No Longer Dominant Use for Bitcoin: DEA special agent, Lilita Infante, explained to Bloomberg that five years ago, her study of blockchain data showed that 90% of Bitcoin transactions involved criminal activity. Today, she claims, illegal activity has shrunk to about 10% and speculation is the dominant driver of transactions. Infante also noted, “The blockchain actually gives us a lot of tools to be able to identify people. I actually want them to keep using them.’’
High Times to Accept Cryptocurrency at IPO: In a relatively novel move for companies going public, High Times announced it will be accepting cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. The capital raise will be administered through a Regulation A+ crowdfunding event, which opens private companies to investments from both accredited and average investors.
Cryptocurrency News from Around the World
Okcoin Exchange Sued by One of Its Users: According to the source, an Okcoin user by the name of Feng Bin is suing the exchange for not receiving 38.75 in Bitcoin Cash from the August 2017 fork. When Bin contacted the Okcoin team, he was told that the deadline set for post-fork recovery had passed and he was no longer eligible. If the investor is able to successfully sue the exchange for his post-fork tokens, this will set an interesting precedent that could be quite scary for cryptocurrency exchanges with poor customer support (ie. all of them).
Don’t Be Silly, Get Two Factor Authentication: A Moscow-based cyber security firm, Group-IB, analyzed the 2017 theft of 720 user accounts from the 19 largest exchanges and released some interesting breakdowns. The number of compromised accounts increased by 369% from 2016 to 2017, and 689% from 2017 to 2018. The study also found 50 active botnets that can be used to launch cyberattacks on users. These tools seem to be modified versions of the same tools used for attacks on banks. The main reason many of these users got hacked, however, was the failure to use two-factor authentication, and the second reason was weak passwords.
Chinese Billionaire Sets Eyes on Hartford for Near $300M Blockchain Hub: Bruno Wu is looking to develop a $300M blockchain hub in Hartford, Connecticut due to its proximity to several higher-learning institutions such as the University of New Haven, Yale University, University of Connecticut, and the University of Hartford with the goal of talent development. The move seeks to solve the limitations in the global gap in blockchain talent, as well as to establish influence in the American blockchain community.
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