Maitland/AMO ICO Monitor – 4 October 2019
The Big Read
The US’s biggest cryptocurrency exchanges have developed a system that can rate which digital assets are securities that can and cannot be traded on their venues. The Wall Street Journal reports that the system has been created amidst increased scrutiny over crypto platforms protecting investors and to comply with federal laws. However, the SEC is yet to endorse the group’s approach and could question any decisions to list tokens for trading.
Analysts at JP Morgan believe that the underwhelming launch of ICE’s Bitcoin futures is responsible for the 20% crash in Bitcoin’s price last week, falling to $7,933 at one point. While the JP Morgan report noted that the Bakkt contracts are a welcomed sign of the crypto market growing up, trading has been relatively underwhelming, according to Decrypt. The report adds that overdue Bitcoin future positions have kept Bitcoin up for a prolonged period of time, however, notes that it is now over and the price of Bitcoin could further depress in the coming months.
Facebook’s plan to launch its own cryptocurrency next year is under threat after key partners including Mastercard, Visa, PayPal and Strip all stated they are reconsidering their involvement with the currency. The Independent notes that both Bloomberg and Wall Street Journal sources close to the matter both reported the concerns, however Facebook stated that he was unaware of any issues. David Marcus, Facebook’s head of Libra, in fact stated that “I can tell you that we’re very calmly, and confidently working through the legitimate concerns that Libra has raised”.
John McAfee, major crypto-currency advocate and programmer, remains positive that Bitcoin will reach $1 million on 2020. McAfee’s previous estimates predicted that Bitcoin could reach $500,000 next year. He argues that the main cause for Bitcoin’s rising price is its scarcity, as Bitcoin’s supply is limited to 21 million coins, and a vast majority of these have already been lost. Cointelegraph reported that 85% of Bitcoin’s total supply is now in circulation.
A fire at a major bitcoin mining farm in China has destroyed millions of dollars worth of equipment, according to reports. Dovey Wan, a founding partner at cryptocurrency firm Primitive Ventures, estimated that the total cost of the damage was around $10 million, according to The Independent. Other mining experts speculated that the loss to the bitcoin mining network may have helped contribute to bitcoin’s recent price resurgence, which has seen its value rise by more than $500 over the last 24 hours.
New Kid on the Block – The Technologies, Funds and ICOs you should know about
The German bank partially owned by blockchain firms Nimiq, TokenPay and the Litecoin Foundation is planning to process cryptocurrency payments for retailers starting in 2020. WEG Bank AG CEO Matthias von Hauff told CoinDesk the programme is now accepting retailer applications for a sandbox test group, with applications opening to the public in early 2020. The program will start with bitcoin, litecoin and several other undisclosed crypto assets.
Scams, Sanctions and Suspicious Activity
Binance has said that it helped British police investigate a cybercriminal who sold phishing tools that resulted in the theft of $50m. CoinDesk reports that the scripts allowed other criminals to obtain personal details from users of those services, which was said to be sold on the dark web. After the exchange worked with the Metropolitan Police Service’s Cyber Crime Unit, a Bulgarian individual was sentenced to nine years in prison.
The Attorney General of Indonesia has gathered attorneys from eight countries for a dedicated four-day cryptocurrency course in response to an alleged increase in illicit activity worldwide using Bitcoin and other tokens for funding. Bitcoinist reported that Indonesia took the unusual step of banning all forms of cryptocurrency use in early 2018. A year later, it recognized Bitcoin as a commodity but continued to prohibit use.
Cointelegraph reports that fake Royal letters were sent out to British citizens claiming that the “Royal House” is looking to borrow between 450,000 and 2,000,000 British pounds and asking the recipients of the letter to send this money via Bitcoin. The letter claims that the funds would be spent to save the UK’s economy after Brexit, and that potential Bitcoin donors would receive a 30% interest rate for three months, as well as the opportunity to become a Member of the Royal Warrant Holders Association.
Bulls & Bears of the week
“The volatility of cryptocurrencies is what makes them excellent conduits of growth for traders, investors and growing businesses” – Daniele Mensi, CEO of digital exchange group Nexthash
“I’d rather have bananas, I can eat bananas. Crypto… Not so much.” – Billionaire technology investor Mark Cuban.