Maitland/AMO ICO Monitor – 3 October 2018
The Big Read
Perhaps the biggest selling points for ICO’s – the low barriers to entry – could also bring with it significant costs, given the growing risk of ICO teams calling upon lawyers or even the SEC when things do go wrong. Security lawsuits concerning ICOs have already tripled this year, with investors consistently looking to seek their tokens back.
Chicago’s proprietary trading industry is deepening its exposure to cryptocurrencies, even though the value of Bitcoin, ethereum and other coins has more than halved against the dollar this year, and trading volumes have fallen. The volatility of digital currencies has proven attractive for traders, compared to the more sober movements of conventional markets such as interest rates and gas.
Despite the decline in ICOs amid growing regulatory concerns and losses across token markets, blockchain and cryptocurrency-focused start-ups raised via VC investment have risen by 280% this year. Blockchain research group Diar believe this spike in VC investments is because of ICO tokens being valued lower and the majority of tokens dropping in price.
New Kid on the Block – The Technologies, Funds and ICOs you should know about
Belgian fintech platform B-Hive Europe has launched Trusted Fintech, an innovative new programme that will help cyber-security for start-ups. The platform will produce a five-module programme, and if the start-up completes the programme it will obtain the ‘Trusted Fintech’ label, which should help garner further confidence in the start-up and industry in general.
Two former UBS bankers have raised up to $80 million to create a regulated crypto investment bank in Switzerland, hoping to become the region’s first regulated cryptocurrency bank. SEBA Crypto AG looks to keep the same “know your customer” rules as traditional banks, as well as similar types of broking and wealth management services.
In the enterprise blockchain space, Hyperledger, the umbrella project for open source distributed ledger technology framework, and Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, a standards body promoting the adoption of Ethereum by businesses, are set to announce a new collaborative network. The shared goal is to drive mass adoption of blockchain among companies and foster greater collaboration across the two communities.
Scams, Sanctions and Suspicious Activity
The Wall Street Journal has found that $886 million has been laundered through ShapeShift AG, with the largest recipients of the funds operating in the US state of Colorado. Reporters gave ShapeShift a list of addresses that it had deemed suspicious, which was consequently banned by the exchange.
The Commodities Futures Trading Commission has filed charges against two defendants for attempting after an elaborate scheme to convince bitcoin investors to pay fake tax in bitcoin to the two of them. This added to the fact that the two did so through “false or misleading representations or omission”, with the CFTC therefore looking to seek restitution for the victims.
Bulls & Bears of the week
“Blockchain makes cryptocurrencies inevitable [for the] future of money. More transparent, it helps filter good business from bad business.” – Joseph Muscat, Prime Minister of Malta
“[The use of crypto bots] is rampant in the market right now. It hurts the market’s reputation, and it hurts individual investors.” – Andy Bromberg, President of Blockchain start-up CoinList