Maitland/AMO ICO Monitor – 11 July 2019
The Big Read
The SEC has hinted that firms looking to raise capital for private companies using blockchain technology could soon be approved as digital-asset brokers, allowing them to disrupt Wall Street’s traditional businesses. The Wall Street Journal reports that around 25 firms are seeking approval as licensed brokerages, with some spending months attempting to convince the SEC that they understand the rules that apply to brokers. The decision comes after numerous supporters of the cypto industry have regularly criticised the SEC for not attempting to define how crypto startups can mould their businesses to its requirements.
Following the backlash of news regarding Libra Coin, the People’s Bank of China has stated it is looking into an officially sanctioned crypto, despite banning it for two years. China has become concerned that Facebook’s Libra could pose a challenge to Chinese cross-border payments, as well as its monetary policy and financial sovereignty. However it is not just Facebook that China should be concerned about, according to Forbes, with local companies such as Alibaba and WeChat likewise posing threats in relation to crypto-related cross border payments.
Bitcoin price continues to climb towards 2019 high as cryptocurrency analysts predict ‘further steep rises’
Over the past week Bitcoin prices surged by nearly $3000, including a major rise on Monday where the price increased by $500 in 10 minutes. Analysts have suggested that the reasons behind the sharp price increase are more stable and organic than those of 2017, suggested that the crash witnessed is unlikely to be repeated. Bitcoin may continue to experience steep price rises as the year progresses.
Although online bitcoin continues to rise to year highs of $13,000, a physical bitcoin is currently selling on eBay for $99,000, with the seller claiming it is a Casascius brass token that was created in 2011. The seller states that payment can be made in crypto or in cash, as well as potentially via a trade of real estate. CoinTelegraph writes that Casascius bitcoins were created in the early 2010s as a collectible that contained real bitcoins, however they stopped being sold in 2013.
New Kid on the Block – The Technologies, Funds and ICOs you should know about
Wu Jihan, the former CEO of Bitmain, has launched a new cryptocurrency financial services start-up that will provide over-the-counter trading, lending and custody. Mr Jihan has hired dozens of former Bitmain employees to the Singapore-based firm named Matrixport, with the new company to also use Bitmain’s connections and expertise to meet the required needs of Chinese cryptocurrency miners. Matrixport is to soon announce more details about the company’s funding.
John McAfee, the cybersecurity expert and technology entrepreneur, has expressed his willingness to work with the Cuban government as a crypto advisor. John’s interest in assisting the Cuban government came after it revealed its intentions to develop a cryptocurrency which would be used to avoid the economic sanctions being imposed on them by the US. McAfee’s interest in helping Cuba’s government is said to be down to his own personal ideals of freedom and as a result he has offered his advice pro bono.
Goldman Sachs last week announced that it was looking for a Digital Asset Project Manager, hinting that the bank has intentions to pursue digital assert development in the near future. CoinTelegraph reports that very little information has been provided for the role, with the job being classified under the bank’s securities division. The job however does state that the hire will be expected to “work to demanding timescales in a fast-paced team environment”, highlighting the urgency of the job.
Scams, Sanctions and Suspicious Activity
The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of India has arrested four men who are allegedly the creators of the cryptocurrency KBC Coin. The coins were launched 6 months ago with the promise that its value would bring a 100-fold return on investment. Indian legislators have been considering proposing a bill that would punish those who violate the anti-crypto laws.
Richard Branson has told CNBC that scammers are impersonating the British billionaire and private messaging people on social media promoting “get-rich-quick schemes”. Previous scams have included messages from Branson’s personal assistant, asking people to state personal information to become a member of “Virgin Group Worldwide”. Mr Branson has already warned followers to potential cryptocurrency scams, with Branson stating that crypto-related issues persist.
Bulls & Bears of the week
“We may see further steep rises for bitcoin as it is slowly nearing its maximum supply of 21 million.” - Christel Quek, chief commercial officer of cryptocurrency firm BOLT.Global
“Facebook is really trying to do this [Libra], and it involves an incredible amount of hubris…It looks like they are trying to declare themselves a sovereign state with their own currency...and that’s crazy.” Will Martino, founder and CEO of Kadena