Make sure you check out our previous edition here, now let’s go over what happened in crypto this week. Also, make sure you subscribe for this week’s edition of The CCN Podcast on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.
- Bitcoin increased nearly 9% this week after a non-trivial gain of 18% last week. The price was all over the place this week, increasing by nearly 5% overnight to the $7,700 level. Other coins, including the recently launched Augur, suffered as bitcoin’s price continued to rise. The prices further rose on Tuesday to nearly $8,300 as altcoins continued to get pounded. The price surge didn’t last long falling back to the $8,100 level. It looked like the price wouldn’t recover as volume flattened, but recovered on Wednesday to hit the critical support level of $8,500. The price took a hit on Friday dropping down to $7,900 after the Winklevii’s ETF was rejected by the SEC but ultimately recovered above the $8,000 mark heading into the weekend.
- Ethereum is down 0.58% after a modest 5% gain last week. Ethereum is representative of lots of altcoins that have made modest gains or big losses. Towards the end of the week, ethereum and other altcoins rebounded as volume exploded.
- Coin Market Capitalization is up 5% this week: The coin market cap soared pass the critical $300 billion mark this week, hitting a 2-month high. The price increases come as a discussion around a bitcoin ETF has picked up. There has also been additional optimism due to some big steps that were taken by institutional investors over the past several weeks. The price finished just below the $300 billion mark at $294 billion.
- GE Invests in Blockchain Cybersecurity Startup-Xage, which raised $12 million in a round led by March Capital Partners with GE Ventures, City Light Capital, and NexStar Partners, creates a distributed network of devices which are capable of authenticating each machine’s digital fingerprint.
- Binance to Launch Operations in South Korea – Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, is reportedly planning to enter South Korea. According to a Business Korea report, Binance is already in the process of hiring executives in South Korea for these expansion plans. The move will not come without challenges, though, and Binance will be facing tough domestic competition.
- Hong Kong Startup to Sell Majority Stake to Invest in Cryptocurrency – Ketch’up Bike, a top-five bike sharing company in Hong Kong that oversees more than 1,000 bicycles, has sold a majority stake in itself for $1 million to purchase two cryptocurrency tokens called JPAY and CyClean. The decision was met with criticism by many both in and outside of crypto.
- Uber Co-Founder Launches Commission Free Trading Platform – An Uber co-founder and an E*Trade veteran have teamed up to launch commission-free cryptocurrency trading service that, if successful, could see the firm challenge Coinbase, Robinhood, and a growing number of other competitors to become the venue of choice for retail investors.
- Nasdaq Plots to Legitimize Cryptocurrency in Secret Meeting – As first reported by Bloomberg, the closed-door meeting in Chicago was attended by representatives from about half a dozen companies, including cryptocurrency exchange Gemini — whose co-founders, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, were behind the latest failed bid to create a bitcoin ETF. An unnamed source with knowledge of the meeting said that the participants discussed the implications of future cryptocurrency regulations and what industry firms can do to bolster the reputation of bitcoin and other crypto assets.
- Google Temporarily Removes MetaMask from Chrome Extension Store – Google abruptly removed Dapp browser extension MetaMask from the Chrome Extension store without any explanation.
- Google Bans Cryptocurrency Mining Apps from Play Store – After banning cryptocurrency mining extensions from its Chrome Store earlier this the year, Google has now barred apps on its Play Store that engage in similar activity. The updated guidelines read: “We don’t allow apps that mine cryptocurrency on devices. We permit apps that remotely manage the mining of cryptocurrency”.
- Korean Telecom Giant Launches Commercial Blockchain – KT Corp, the second largest telecom provider in South Korea, has launched a commercial blockchain. The blockchain touts the ability to handle 2,500 transactions per second and will reportedly reach 100,000 transactions per second by the end of next year. The blockchain network is aimed at addressing ” security and transaction issues by making the current networks more secure and trusted”.
- Google Cloud Launches Blockchain Toolkit for App Developers-Google will now provide a software development kit (SDK) to developers working on Google Cloud, enabling them to test and build blockchain applications without having to code the entire platform themselves.
- SEC Delays Ruling on Five Bitcoin ETF Applications-The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has announced in a statement that it will delay its ruling on whether or not to give approval to a rule change relating to five bitcoin ETF applications filed by fund provider Direxion. The ruling has been pushed to September.
- Winklevoss ETF Rejected (Again) – Bitcoin’s price declined significantly following the release of public SEC documents stating that the agency had denied an application filed by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, prolific bitcoin investors and founders of cryptocurrency exchange Gemini, to launch an exchange-traded fund (ETF) product that tracks the price of bitcoin .The denial marks the second time that the SEC had thwarted a Winklevoss-led attempt to create a bitcoin ETF. SEC Commissioner Peirce has publicly stated she thinks the rejection was the wrong decision.
- ‘CFTC Does Not Regulate Retail Crypto Markets’ – The United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Chairman has stated that the agency’s primary remit is not to exercise regulatory jurisdiction over cryptocurrency trading markets and other cash markets but to deal with fraud and compliance in large futures markets. He also cited a “four-year knowledge gap” due to budgeting issues.
- Chinese ‘Dream City’ Partners with ConsenSys – The Xiongan government has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the U.S.-based ConsenSys to “establish Xiongan as a next-generation smart city and a leading blockchain innovation hub.” This is not the first time cities have shown an interest in blockchain with Dubai also looking to integrate the technology.
- China to Shutdown Bitcoin Mining in Autonomous Region – Xinjiang Uyghur, an autonomous region in northwest China, has warned local Bitcoin mining enterprises to close their operations before Aug. 30, 2018. Despite China’s efforts to neuter mining operations in the country, farms have continued to survive. For instance, Sichuan, a province in China which was once known as the country’s bitcoin mining capital, was recently hit by floods. Upon close inspection, it was discovered that some of the BTC mining farms were destroyed taking out a portion of bitcoin’s hash rate. The report stated that, as a result of the flood, many miners were planning to move to Xianjiang to continue their mining operations. With this new report, their future is somewhat up in the air.
- Etherscan Thwarts Hacking Attempt-Ethereum block explorer Etherscan has thwarted an apparent hacking attempt in which the would-be attacker attempted to use the comment section to serve up malicious code. The commenter appears to have been able to circumvent Disqus’ XSS protection.
- KICKICO Loses $8 Million After Smart Contract Breach – KICKICO, an initial coin offering (ICO) project launched on top of the Ethereum blockchain protocol, was hacked on July 27, losing more than 70 million KICK worth $7.7 million. Unlike most ICO attacks, the hackers were able to gain direct access to the smart contract of the KICKICO blockchain network by obtaining the private key of the KickCoin smart contract.
- Murder-For-Hire Charges Against Ulbricht Dropped – A U.S. Attorney has filed a motion to dismiss pending murder-for-hire charges against Ross Ulbricht, known as “Dread Pirate Roberts,” who is serving a life sentence following his conviction for his role in the Silk Road marketplace which facilitated the sale of illegal drugs.
Assassination Markets Appear on Prediction Platform Augur – Augur, the decentralized platform that launched just weeks ago, already has bets on whether Donald Trump will be killed by the end of 2018. The markets are concerning because a user can bet on a 100% chance, carry out the assassination and take 100% of the pool. More concerning is police officers and secret service members can technically bet on the site. Markets also exist for whether Betty White, Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffet, and John Mcain would survive the year. This type of betting is colloquially referred to as an “assassination market” (even if being “killed” isn’t explicitly stated) because of how they align incentives.
- BitFunder Founder Pleads Guilty to Securities Fraud – The founder and operator of BitFunder and WeExchange has plead guilty to charges of fraud. The SEC is alleging that Montroll failed to disclose a 2013 hack that led to the theft of 6,000 bitcoins from customer’s funds from WeExchange. Montroll attempted to conceal the hack altogether by transferring some of his own bitcoin to hide the losses while soliciting more customers by pretending to run a successful operation, according to SEC charges filed at the time.