2019-10-15 08:00:00

Libra had a bad week with several prominent pullouts

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United States

The biggest financial companies that Facebook Inc. recruited to launch a world-wide cryptocurrency-based payments network have backed out of the project, threatening to derail an ambitious initiative to remake global finance before it ever gets off the ground.

Visa Inc., Mastercard Inc., Stripe Inc. and eBay Inc. said Friday they were withdrawing fro the coalition of companies that had originally signed on to help launch the libra cryptocurrency, following PayPal Holdings Inc, which  ….

The members, including UberLyft and Spotifymet in Geneva, Switzerland, on Monday to sign onto the Libra Association charter, which will govern the libra cryptocurrency. The board of directors will consist of five people, including David Marcus, Facebook’s leader for the project, and representatives from Andreessen Horowitz, PayU, Kiva Microfunds and Xapo Holdings.

Booking Holdings, which owns travel-arrangement websites Booking.com, Kayak and Priceline, is the latest company to bail from Facebook’s Libra project, leaving the fledgling payment system’s future in doubt. Visa and Mastercard said Friday they were bowing out of the initiative, while PayPal and Stripe have also pulled out.

Brands are always looking to outdo their competitors, but what happens when seeking an edge leaves a company dangling from a cliff? It appears Facebook will soon have an answer to that inquiry, as its planned Calibra cryptocurrency is not only undergoing severe scrutiny but also facing accusations that the concept’s logo is a rip-off of that of an online banking services provider.

Open-source project Blockstack PBC, which was the first company in the industry to conduct an SEC-qualified token offering in the US, has revealed that it has nearly $30 million in cash and crypto. Blockstack recently published its financial statement for the first half of 2019 in which the firm stated that it estimated a runway at least until the end of 2021 at projected burn rates.

The H1 2019 statement also revealed that the operating expenses were totaled to be around $10.2 million. This was inclusive of one-time expenses, as well as $3.3 million in non-cash expenses.

Bitcoin (BTC) finished a volatile week at $8,282 which is a 5% increase for the week but still 6% away from the highs of over $8,800. This morning, Bitcoin took another knock at opening, trading slightly lower alongside the rest of the cryptocurrency market and traditional markets.

Source: Coin Telegraph

Another test of the rapidly rising 200 DMA could be in store should the bulls maintain the $8,150 level.

The VPVR illustrates that there is not a lot of volume in the $9,000 range so a push to this level could result in a similarly fast move to that which was seen on the way down and is somewhat reminiscent of the volume void above $4,000 earlier in the year.

Bitcoin addresses

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) Group recently tweeted that, despite the Bitcoin (BTC) price pullback, customer interest in CME Bitcoin futures remained strong during Q3 2019.

On Oct. 9, the CME Group took to Twitter to state that customer interest in CME Bitcoin futures remained strong during Q3 2019, with daily open interest (OI) of over 4,600 contracts, up 61% vs Q3 2018, because of the strong interest of institutional investors.

Analysts are now noting that multiple indicators signal that the crypto is positioned to incur notable volatility in the near-term, which could mean that the direction that BTC will trend for the coming few months will soon grow clear.

At the time of writing, Bitcoin is trading down just over 1% at its current price of $8,300, which marks a notable retrace from its recent highs of $8,900 that were set last week when BTC’s bulls quickly pushed the crypto towards this price level, which is where it found significant resistance that sparked a short-term downtrend.

This downtrend was perpetuated yesterday when bears quickly pulled the rug out from beneath BTC and sent it to lows of roughly $8,100 before it rapidly climbed back towards its current price levels.

bitcoin
Source: https://twitter.com/BigCheds/status/1183545616301023232 

CFTC Chairman Heath Tarbert has said ether, the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, is a commodity.

Speaking at the Yahoo! Finance All Markets Summit Thursday, Tarbert said he believes ether is not a security.

U.S. regulators sued a company that raised $1.7 billion through a cryptocurrency offering that became one of the largest such deals ever.

The Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday said it obtained a legal order to halt Telegram Group Inc. from distributing its crypto asset, known as gram. Telegram, founded by two Russian brothers, developed a messaging app that is popular with cryptocurrency traders and developers.

  • Large U.S. cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, announced they will extend their custodial support for Telegram’s upcoming token. 
  • Custodial support will provide GRM token holders with offline storage and insurance coverage, according to the announcement.

Binance’s new partner exchange designed to meet US regulatory standards, Binance.US, announced Monday that it will be listing Dash (DASH), an open-source, peer-to-peer cryptocurrency with a focus on payments

Ripple has been able to fetch a 4.8% growth over the last 24 hours, and its current value has now gone above 0.28 USD. The three price variations have given the price trend a range between 0.2724 USD and 0.2885 USD.

XRP
Source: TradingView and CryptoNewsZ

Ripple’s Xpring announced last Friday that it would be making a $750,000 USD investment in the BRD Mobile Wallet, which offers people the ability to hold and use in 170 countries globally. Xpring is working to boost the use of Ripple’s token, XRP.

Dash’s active addresses, a key cryptocurrency adoption indicator, have passed those of Litecoin for the last week in a row, continuing a long-term reversal trend.

As of this week, according to data from BitInfoCharts, Dash has outpaced Litecoin for every single of the last seven days for total active addresses for a 24-hour period.

Dash Litecoin active addresses
Source: https://twitter.com/freemover369/status/1168170048298635268 

As Litecoin (LTC) celebrated its eighth birthday on Oct. 13, its founder Charlie Lee had to fend off crypto Twitter’s FUD — fear, uncertainty and doubt — about the altcoin.

The first response to the birthday post immediately raised the specter of bankruptcy allegations, to which Lee robustly retorted:

“It’s [the Litecoin Foundation] not near bankruptcy. Don’t listen to stupid fud and lies. We have enough money to last 2 years.”

The privacy-focused cryptocurrency Zcash (ZEC) is seeking access to Ethereum’s decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem.

On Oct. 13, Coindesk reported that the topic of interoperability was the theme of the now concluded Devcon 5 developer conference in Osaka, Japan, where a number of smaller cryptocurrency projects displayed interest in accessing Ethereum’s DeFi ecosystem. Summa co-founder, James Prestwich, told the news outlet:

The KPMG report also noted that no other demographic in the United States is more open to cryptocurrencies than Gen Z, as the findings revealed that 83% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 are interested in the future of cryptocurrencies. Millennials are not left out, as 71% of consumers between the ages of 25 to 34 also showed interest in the future of tokens, and more than half of American consumers aged 65 and above are also interested in the future of digital tokens.

The study suggested that “tokenization is ushering in the next generation of commerce,” as it helps businesses leverage blockchain technology to “classify value by creating new assets or reimagining traditional ones” with more transparency and security.

Cofense has observed threat actors employing a modified version of a sextortion scam using alternative crypto currencies to bitcoin.

This latest sextortion version is using a Litecoin wallet address instead of bitcoin to evade detection.

Mortgage company Caliber Home Loans has become the first lender outside of Figure  to originate loans directly on Provenance, Figurer’s blockchain platform.

Shares of Grayscale’s Digital Large Cap Fund (DLC) received the green light from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) this week, a press release confirmed on October 14.

A partnership of five major automotive makers under the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative, an international consortium of companies focused on mobility services, today announced field tests of a digital ledger blockchain-based vehicle identification system that would allow drivers to pay tolls and fees automatically.

The project pilot will begin in November in the United States and will include Honda Motor Co. Ltd., BMW, Renault SA, General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co., according to Nikkei Asian Review.

Goren Holm Ventures (GHV), a fintech fund focused on accelerating early-stage blockchain startups, has announced that Blockchain Credit Partners (BCP), which has a market-first, tokenized, high-yield, private credit offering has joined its portfolio of companies.

International

Recent news from Binance, one of the world’s most recognizable cryptocurrency exchanges, has seen them announce a partnership with international regulation technology company Coinfirm in an effort to deal with new guidelines pertaining to the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) anti-money laundering (AML) https://blockchaintimes.news/?p=12852&preview=true#heading-46https://blockchaintimes.news/?p=12852&preview=true#heading-46rules.

Human trafficking affects every country in the world. In fact, estimates say that 20-40 million people are enslaved across the globe, earning criminals profits of approximately $150 billion a year.

How can blockchain help?

We live in an increasingly digital age, and as such, the notion of every citizen having a digital ID is not so far fetched as it was several decades ago.

Imagine, for example, that someone’s virtual identity is created on a private blockchain using unique biometric information such as a fingerprint, or an eye scan.

Once this is saved on a blockchain, the information is immutable and as such can not be forged, meaning traffickers wouldn’t be able to tamper it or change a victim’s identity. A strategy often used by traffickers to get their victims across border controls.

In 2015, a key study showed that no fewer than five million blockchain wallets existed, but in 2019, that user count has reached over 42 million.

John McAfee

The British-American computer programmer and founder of McAfee cybersecurity tools strongly believes that blockchain will experience mass adoption just like the internet.

Vitalik Buterin

Buterin is a Russian-Canadian programmer and writer who co-founded both Ethereum and Bitcoin Magazine.

Charlie Lee

Lee is primarily known as the creator of Litecoin, one of the popular cryptocoins in the market.

Andreas Antonopoulos

Antonopoulos is an entrepreneur and badass coder, as well as a speaker and author of Mastering Bitcoin, The Internet of Money, and Mastering Ethereum.

Nick Szabo

Szabo is a renowned computer scientist, legal scholar and cryptographer who developed the concept of Smart Contracts, in addition to creating Bit Gold, which many people consider the precursor to Bitcoin.

Following the unprecedented cryptocurrency boom in 2017, investors and governments alike could no longer ignore the growth of decentralized finance.

Today’s graphic from ComplyAdvantage maps out major regulatory cryptocurrency and exchange landscapes around the world, showing how sentiments towards digital currencies are evolving.

cryptocurrency regulations
Source: Visual Capitalist

Besides injections of Tethers and high-profile proclamations of imminent six-figure Bitcoin valuations, rumours of institutional money shortly avalanching into crypto also fuelled Bitcoin’s parabolic bull run in late 2017.

institutional investing crypto
Source: Crowdfund Insider
gold bitcoin headlines
Source: Crowdfund Insider

The adoption of new, digital payment methods could bring significant benefits to customers and society: improved efficiency, greater competition, broader financial inclusion, and more innovation. But it could invite risks to financial stability and integrity, monetary policy effectiveness, and competition standards, as outlined in a recent IMF staff paper, the first of a new series of International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Fintech Notes.

MineHub Technologies has completed development of its technology platform designed to improve efficiency in trading operations and environmental and social governance compliance in mining and metals supply chains.

Cryptocurrency wallet provider Blockchain.com has teamed with Blockstack to integrate its native token, called Stacks (STX), into Blockchain.com’s full suite of products for retail and institutional users.

European Union

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has been granted an e-money license by the Central Bank of Ireland.

Writing in a company blog Saturday, Coinbase UK CEO Zeeshan Feroz said the exchange is one of the very first firms to receive the license from the central bank, following a Dublin office opening a year ago.

The license will also help open up EU and European Economic Area (EEA) markets for Coinbase customers, Feroz said.

United Kingdom

A 150-year-old English church is being sold for $1.5 million with the vendor accepting payment in Bitcoin (BTC).

According to a listing on Rightmove, a major British online real estate portal and property website, a vendor put an 18th-century church converted into a seven-bedroom character property up for sale and is willing to accept Bitcoin as payment.

“While we have previously reported a small shift towards more privacy-focused cryptocurrencies such as Monero, Bitcoin still remains the currency of choice for both legitimate and criminal use,” reports Europol with its latest assessment of internet-based organised crime.

Proof of Trust, the smart contracts provider, has today announced that it has selected IBM to provide services, expertise and the IBM Blockchain Platform to build its new multi-platform blockchain application for dispute resolution and smart contract validation.

China

China Construction Bank, one of the largest Chinese commercial banks, has expanded its trade finance blockchain platform with new abilities, including cross-chain and inter-bank transactions, as trading volume surpasses $53 billion.

Speaking in Beijing at the official launch of the upgraded platform BCTrade2.0, CCB vice president Ji Zhihong said the new platform will leverage blockchain technology to provide better financial services for Chinese exporters, according to a Chinese media report.

According to a Hurun Research report, 12 cryptocurrency magnates are listed in the “2019 Rich list” including Binance crypto exchange CEO, Changpeng Zhao, the founders of Bitmain crypto mining pool, Micree Zhan and Jihan Wu and OKCoin founder, Star Xu. While the industry is producing a new class of wealthy investors, the ratio of crypto billionaires contributes to a partly 2% of the total number in China.

Micree Zhan ranks as the richest figure in crypto currently with a total net worth of over 30 billion Chinese yuan (~$4.2 billion USD) securing the 100th position on the rich list. This represents a $500 million increase in his wealth since 2018 despite dropping 23 places below in the rankings. Further back is ASIC producer, Ebang CEO, Hu Dong, with a total net valuation of $840 million USD (6 billion CHY).

On October 10th, Alipay made a public announcement about its attitude towards cryptocurrency on its security center’s Weibo account. According to Weibo, Alipay reiterated that it would immediately stop relevant payment services if any transactions are identified as being related to cryptocurrency transactions. 

The central bank of Asia’s biggest superpower is looking to hire a half dozen experts, including veterans of cryptography and blockchain development, for its ongoing digital currency efforts.

Asia

The Singapore Shipping Association (SSA), the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and blockchain firm Perlin are jointly working on an e-registry for the ship registration and renewal process.

The International E-Registry of Ships (IERS) system is based on Perlin’s Wavelet, an open ledger for writing decentralized WebAssembly applications, financial daily Business Times reported on Oct. 14.

South Korea’s Cyworld social media platform shuttered its services on Oct. 1 without giving any prior notice, English-language local media The Korea Times reported on Oct. 14. What’s more, the website for its Clink (CKCT) crypto-asset has also become inaccessible.

In response to the news, local cryptocurrency exchanges supporting Clink, namely CoinZest and BitSonic, are now considering delisting the token. Moreover, some investors who bought Clink are reportedly considering filing a lawsuit against Cyworld and its CEO, Jeon Jae-wan.

The march of decentralized finance and DAO entities on the Ethereum network is growing. Recent observations show a marked increase of mentions during the latest edition of DevCon in Osaka, Japan.

MENA

The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Emirates NBD.

The bank, which is one of the largest banking groups in the Middle East in terms of assets, will provide trade finance solutions for the Digital Silk Road, a Dubai 10X initiative, which uses blockchain technology to digitize trade processes in Dubai.

Canada

In late September, Kik Messenger founder Ted Livingston announced plans to shut down the messaging service so that the company could prioritise its focus on Kik Interactive’s cryptocurrency, Kin.

On Sunday (13 October), the company posted a statement on Kik’s Twitter account, informing the app’s 15m monthly users that the messaging app is “here to stay”.

Latin America

Ripple, the firm behind the third biggest cryptocurrency XRP, has led an investment round in Bitso, one of the biggest crypto exchanges in the Spanish-speaking world.

As reported by crypto publication The Block, the new investment round also involves major investors including United States-based crypto exchange and wallet provider Coinbase, Jump Capital as well as existing investors such as Digital Currency Group and Pantera Capital. The amount of investment has not been disclosed.

Authors:

George Popescu
George Popescu
Allen Taylor
Allen Taylor

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