Maitland/AMO ICO Monitor – 10 October 2018

10th October 2018

The Big Read

ICO Activity Down 90% Since Start of 2018

An independent study by Autonomous Research has found that monthly ICO activity is down 90% to less than $300m raised this September, compared to a high of around $3bn raised by token sales at the beginning of the year. The research points to investors turning to equity companies that offer ICOs, an increase in Security Token Offerings (STOs) activity, and the collapse of Chinee P2P lending services since 2015, to explain the downward trend.

EU regulators studying crypto assets case by case

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) said it is examining ICOs on a case by case basis to determine whether they should be regulated under existing rules. ESMA expects to produce a report by the end of the year with recommendations on how to address those ICOs that fall outside the existing framework.

Blow to Bitcoin as Coinfloor CEO makes worrying warning

UK’s oldest bitcoin exchange, Coinfloor, launched in 2013, is to cut some 40 of its staff in a blow to bitcoin and London’s bitcoin and cryptocurrency industry. Obi Nwosu, CEO, said: “[We’ve] seen significant change in trade volume across the market, Coinfloor is currently undergoing a business restructure to focus on our competitive advantages in the marketplace and to best serve our clients. As part of this restructure, we are making some staff changes and redundancies,”

Venezuelans Forced to Use Petro Cryptocurrency to Pay for Passports

Venezuelans must now pay for their passports using the country’s petro cryptocurrency, with two petros  worth about 7200 bolivars, or equivalent to four times the minimum monthly wage. Venezuelans are now facing an even bigger challenge if trying to flee the economic and humanitarian crisis that is taking over the country.

New Kid on the Block – The Technologies, Funds and ICOs you should know about

New ICO raises $30m in two hours

The new ICO, backed by mining and blockchain specialist company ViaBTC, has launched a new token (VIAT) using a mixture of the Wormhole protocol and the Bitcoin Cash chain and raised some $30m within just two hours. It is the first major ICO to use the Bitcoin cash chain and will reward investors for both mining and for incentivising others to join a mining pool.

Upcoming ICO: ‘Lynking’ the world with blockchain

Lynked.World is set to run a token sale from 20 January to 10 February 2019, issuing a total of 200m tokens as an initial token price of $0.35. The company’s blockchain solution facilitates the storage of verified medical and other personal documentation for presentation via a QR code on your phone. The main aim is to address issues of trust associated with digitally stored data and identities, and to reduce the risk of identity theft

Scams, Sanctions and Suspicious Activity

New Bitcoin and Russia US DoJ Indictment is Unfolding, Linking BTC with Covert Intelligence Agency

A new indictment published by the US Department of Justice has linked Bitcoin and covert Russian intelligence activities to influencing and disinforming people in the United States. Seven Russian intelligence officers were charged after they hacked US groups that investigate Russia’s alleged use of chemical weapons and anti-doping.

Hundreds of South Korean Crypto Wallets and Exchanges hacked: Report

The South Korean National Police Organisation has this week submitted a report to the South Korean government detailing the extent of known crypto hacking in the nation during the past three years. It reveals that the amount of cash stolen has been on the rise, with unlawful withdrawals already reaching  KRW 71.4bn in 2018, compared to KRW 300m in 2016.

Bitcoin [BTC] scam in France results in a loss of €30 million

A scam involving over 700 French national has resulted in a loss of around €31m according to Autorité des marchés Financiers [AMF]. Investors were lured in by over 200 fraudulent portals forcing the country, which already enforces mandatory AMF registration for crypto exchanges and cryptographic keyholders, to step up moves to regulate crypto markets. Meanwhile, Belgian officials expect frauds relating to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to exceed €100m.

Bulls & Bears of the week

“Given our concerns around both the innate valuation of Bitcoin, and of the operating practices of many exchanges, we feel that the industry is on the brink of an implosion.” Juniper Research

"The bottom line for us is this isn't a one-year type experience. Even though the environment might be lower volume, we see a bigger picture down the line.” Bobby Cho, Global Head of Trading, Cumberland