Maitland/AMO ICO Monitor – 9 January 2019
The Big Read
After a year-long study into the regulation of crypto assets across the EU, the European Banking Authority has called on the European Commission to draw up new pan-EU rules to protect consumers from exploitation, reports the Financial Times. The global money-laundering watchdog raised concerns at the global plethora of rules which can be easily exploited by criminals. In October, the Financial Action Taskforce recognized the need to stop the use of virtual assets in money laundering as a key priority for the year.
Ripple, one of the US’s most valuable private companies, has plans to take a share of the $2tn cross-border payments industry, currently dominated by SWIFT. Despite XRP’s price falling by 90% last year, Ripple’s sizeable 60% stake in the cryptocurrency means that it does not have to rely on venture capital as much as other Silicon Valley companies, according to CNBC. Ripple plans to reduce the time needed for money transmittal between countries to mere seconds. Ripple’s network stands apart from other cryptocurrencies using blockchain, because transactions can only be seen by those with permission to access the network.
Despite a turbulent year for cryptocurrency markets, investors are remaining positive about Bitcoin ahead of its 10-year anniversary, according to the Evening Standard. Clem Chambers, an author on Trading Cryptocurrencies, believes that Bitcoin will see another boom potentially this year, claiming that the crypto asset will dominate the next 25 years just as the move online has dominated the previous 25. Despite acknowledging the pitfalls of Bitcoin, experts still emphasise how many projects use the digital currency to make transactions faster, fairer and less expensive, supporting a long-term use for Bitcoin.
New Kid on the Block – The Technologies, Funds and ICOs you should know about
VOCO Token has officially ended its ICO, making it the first to reach completion in 2019, according to Crypto News Review. VOCO describes itself as a breakthrough service and sales engine that automatically engages customers following a voice call. It offers a VOCO chat application, which is an interactive tool aimed at business users to boost activity. December saw a 2018 monthly low in the number of ICOs reaching completion, with only 46 reaching completed, compared to 97 back in January.
CoinFLEX, once a unit of the UK Bitcoin exchange Coinfloor, is set to be one of the first exchanges to offer physically delivered futures contracts for Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash and Ethereum, that can be leveraged up to 20 times. In an interview with Bloomberg, CoinFLEX CEO Mark Lamb, stressed that “Crypto derivatives could become an order of magnitude larger than spot markets and the main thing that’s holding back that growth is the lack of physical delivery.” Physical delivery is a key distinguishing factor for CoinFLEX and means that when contracts expire, owners will receive the underlying cryptocurrency in lieu of a cash payment.
Scams, Sanctions and Suspicious Activity
Ethereum Classic has had $1.5m stolen by a group of unknown hackers using a so-called 51% attack on the crypto’s underlying technology. The attack led popular exchange network Coinbase to cease trades of the currency. The Independent reports that although a 51% attack is possible on any cryptocurrency, it is an extremely difficult feat to pull off, as it relies on taking control of more than half of the network’s mining computer power. The effect of this control gives hackers the ability to ‘double spend’, meaning they can spend units of the cryptocurrency twice.
A bitcoin exchange in Singapore reported on 3rd of January that it had experienced a fire, which destroyed data on some of its main and backup servers. CCN reports that many users are worried that BiteBTC.com’s “fire” could be an exit scam, after 7% of the exchange’s users lost access to their accounts due to the issues.
Bulls & Bears of the week
“I've yet to hear a positive, credible use case for bitcoin. Plus, I see a lot of delusional arguments and scammy promotion” – Mark Dow, former International Monetary Fund economist
“If people understand the technology [underlying cryptocurrencies] rather than just view the price point – they will understand that this is not something that is just going to go away.” – Iqbal Gandham, UK Managing Director at Etoro