Maitland/AMO ICO Monitor – 6 September 2019
The Big Read
The price of bitcoin shot up dramatically this week with experts putting it down to growing economic and geopolitical uncertainty. The Independent reports that other major cryptocurrencies are also expected to witness a price boost, with Bitcoin rising 6% against the US dollar. Major uncertainties this week included the escalation of Brexit, the growing US/China trade war and the deepening crisis in Argentina.
After the Reserve Bank of India (RBOI) in April 2018 ordered banks and financial institutions to stop dealing with cryptocurrencies, what remains of the struggling industry is now hoping for respite after a high court has order the RBOI to explain its rationale behind the decision. However, any hope may be truly squashed as the Financial Times writes that a government committee wants to go as far as outright ban cryptocurrencies, wanting to impose a 10-year prison sentence for anyone caught using the currency. The government has stated fraud and volatility as its two main reasons behind the decision.
The first birth certificates to be recorded exclusively using blockchain were issued in Brazil this week, after a project introduced by tech company Growth Tech. The registration was made through Growth Tech’s Notary Ledgers platform, which provides virtual notary services, with parents then able to create a digital identity for their babies on the platform before it is finalised by the notary office. The move highlights the growing application of blockchain in the medical field, following news of a South Korean hospital entering into a partnership with Longenesis, blockchain medical data marketplace, to create a blockchain-based health data management solution.
Elliptic, a London based company, sells blockchain analytics tools to some of the world’s largest cryptocurrency platforms – including Binance and Circle – as well as banks. The company’s software is used to investigate criminal activity on bitcoin’s digital ledger and monitor transactions to prevent money laundering. Elliptic’s co-founder and CEO James Smith told CNBC that “because we are always on top of what’s about to happen, we can see when those funds start to move to exchanges” – this enables the company to protect and advise their customers as well as stopping illegitimate funds.
New Kid on the Block – The Technologies, Funds and ICOs you should know about
Famous boxing champion Manny Pacquiao has launched his own cryptocurrency with the financial support of private investors, which include former England football player Michael Owen. Cointelegraph writes that the “Pac token” will be listed on Singapore’s GCOX. GCOX points out that its technology is built on the Acclaim blockchain and is designed to benefit celebrities at different points in their career.
The billionaire head of Brevan Howard hedge fund, Alan Howard, is launching his own crypto platform that is looking to make stable investments in a notoriously volatile market. The platform, according to CoinDesk, will make strategic investment in other crypto hedge funds, with the funds projected to manage as much as $1billion in investments. Ideally, Howard’s venture will identify enough firms to invest in to offer their own clients portfolio options that satisfy their risk profiles, liquidity needs and diversity requirements.
CoinDesk reports that since becoming an independent democratic nation in 1979, the Republic of the Marshall Islands has used the US dollar as money. However, as of 4 September they are progressing with their plan to issue a sovereign currency in digital form – using blockchain technology. The decision was based upon several criteria: the currency would be based on blockchain technology, the growth of their money supply would be predetermined and tamper proof, and compliance could be met while individual’s privacy is kept. This move comes as a result of the Marshall Islands’ exploration into methods of enhancing its connectivity to the international financial systems and they intend to “grasp [the] opportunity, innovatively and responsibly.”
Scams, Sanctions and Suspicious Activity
A federal grand jury indictment of a former Amazon software engineer accused of breaching Capital One’s data servers reveals instances of crypto-jacking at the heart of her scheme. CoinDesk reports that between March and July 2019, Paige Thompson accessed at least 30 institutions’ servers managed by an unnamed cloud computing company, compromising at least 100 million customer accounts.
Five men have been arrested in India for allegedly torturing the head of a failed $62.5 million Bitcoin investment scheme to death. The victim was later identified as Abdul Shakoor. CoinTelegraph writes that he was reported to have overseen a network of teams that collected money from investors across various regions — to the tune of 450 crore rupees ($62 million), however fled after the business failed.
Neil Wals, chief of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Global Cybercrime Program, warned that cryptocurrencies have made combating money laundering significantly harder. Wals expressed the idea that criminals using crypto assets include global child sexual exploitation networks, which he says are more widespread than much of the public understands. He believes that cryptocurrencies add a layer of secrecy, which can facilitate crime. His opinion was made public following a statement by Steven Mnuchin where he revealed that government agencies will be preventing Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies from becoming an “equivalent of Swiss-numbered bank accounts.
Bulls & Bears of the week
Apparently, dead men tell no tales, but they send bonded couriers – Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart, who attacked Craig White’s excuse for not releasing his bitcoins because they are tied up in the “Tulip Trust”
"It’s possible that investors are selling off now to insulate themselves from greater losses in the coming days.” – Simon Peters, an analyst at online trading platform, eToro – explaining the recent dip in Bitcoin trading