Maitland/AMO ICO Monitor – 26 September 2019

26th September 2019

The Big Read

Facebook reveals which currencies will back Libra cryptocurrency

Facebook has revealed the currencies that will be used to back Libra coin, announcing it will be backed by reserves of US dollars, the euro, Japanese yen, British pound and Singapore dollar. Backing Libra with traditional currencies is designed to help solve the problem of price volatility. However, one notable absentee from this is the Chinese yuan, with many believing this is a strategic decision to help appease US regulators critical of Chinese economic and trade policy. The Independent, 23 September 2019

Fighting SEC Over Cryptocurrency, Kik Shuts Chat App

Canadian social-media company Kik Interactive Inc., which is fighting U.S. claims that it illegally raised capital, said it would shut its messaging app and lay off most of its staff. The Wall Street Journal writes that the SEC sued Kik in June, saying its $100 million fundraising via an ICO in 2017 evaded U.S. investor-protection laws. Kik said it was shrinking to 19 staff and laying off more than 100 employees, and would focus on Kin, the cryptocurrency at the heart of the SEC’s lawsuit. The Wall Street Journal, 24 September 2019

Bitcoin’s Price Crashes $1,500 in 24 Hours, is $7,500 Next?

The price of Bitcoin crashed hard this week, moving from $9800 to $8150 in less than a day for the first time in months. Cointelegraph contributor Crypto Michaël recently said that the next Bitcoin price zone to watch lay immediately below the $9,800 trading levels, with the overall cryptocurrency mark cap losing a substantial $20bn in less an hour this week. CoinTelegraph, 24 September 2019

Cryptocurrency exchange seed CX cuts trading fees to gain market share

Institution-oriented cryptocurrency exchange Seed CX is reported to have cut its trading fees to what it claims to be the most competitive levels globally. On Sept 16 Seed CX announced it was lowering its trading fees to some of the lowest levels in the industry. The fee cuts follow a week of supposed record trading volumes for the exchange, briefly overtaking other top exchanges like Bittrex and the Winklevoss brothers’ Gemini.

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

Arab Bank Switzerland adding cryptocurrency-based services

On September 19, Arab Bank Switzerland announced it would be offering clients a range of new services, including acting as a trading and brokerage service for BTC and Ethereum. The move comes as the Swiss branch of one of the top financial institutions in the Middle East looks to offer services that will reach a younger, wealthy client base. The bank released a statement which explained that there is a growing demand by “existing and younger clients who seek to include digital assets as one asset class in their diversified portfolios”.

North Korea plans Bitcoin-like cryptocurrency to sidestep sanctions

CoinDesk writes that North Korea is working on building its own cryptocurrency to get around tough international sanctions. Development is apparently still in its early stages and follows a similar project from Venezuela, which launched its oil-backed petro token last year – also to avoid U.S.-led sanctions. The official who manages North Korea’s cryptocurrency conferences has said

Scams, Sanctions and Suspicious Activity

Fake bitcoin investment platform from “Elon Musk” promises 4,000% ROI

CoinTelegraph writes that scammers are using fake mainstream news articles to advertise a non-existent and potentially dangerous Bitcoin investment platform. According to the dedicated website used to lure would-be clients, the so-called “Bitcoin Profit” uses celebrity endorsements as part of its marketing strategy. The site has alleged backing from Richard Branson, Elon Musk and Bill Gates – with each celebrity being featured using their photograph, along with a balance sheet of alleged investments in Bitcoin and associated returns. Kate Winslet, a celebrity who has also been used to promote the scam, has expressed her annoyance at the use of her images without permission along with the issuing of false statements.

Bulls & Bears of the week

“We welcome this scrutiny and have deliberately designed a long launch runway to have these conversations, educate stakeholders and incorporate their feedback in our design.” - A Libra spokesperson speaking to the Independent

“China is marching towards a digital renminbi. It’s a real risk.” – David Marcus, Head of Libra