BitPR Weekly Crypto Highlights: Thriving Markets

Week 3 Dec 2018

21 Dec 2018

It has been a great week for crypto markets as the graphic below from Coin360 shows. As of 21 December, Bitcoin (BTC) is up 20%, Ripple (XRP) by 21% and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) by a whopping 121% over the last seven days.

What is behind this year-end surge? Nobody is sure, but theories abound. Maybe some institutional smart money moved into the market at a price level that they were comfortable with. Maybe the weakness in stock market has seen funds flow into crypto markets. Or maybe it is a ‘capitulation’ of sorts that foreshadows another fall. Who knows? 

While prices are moving up and down, there have been positive developments in blockchain tech development solutions for users and investors. This, above all else, will help the long-term prospects (and profitability) of the industry.

7-day crypto market state. Source: Coin360 (https://coin360.com/sharing/c8vcijsvox_1545054200053)

 

OpenFinance Network launches first U.S. Security Token Trading Platform

Source: Securities.io

OpenFinance Network (OFN) has announced that the first trading platform for digital securities in the US is now live. The platform will be open to both accredited and non-accredited investors, U.S residents and people from other countries.

Juan Hernandez, CEO of OFN, expressed that OFN is committed to supporting all types of investors in this new ecosystem. Tokens listed on the platform include Blockchain Capital (BCAP), one of the first ever Security Token Offerings (STOs) conducted.

 

Ethereum is not dying: ConsenSys reveals numbers behind Ethereum

Source: Blockmanity

ConsenSys shared some welcome news regarding the Ethereum network. As per Etherscan, 353 million transactions have been handled by the network as of this writing. The number of unique addresses on the network has also increased four-fold since December 2017. 1.5 million smart contracts have been deployed on the Ethereum blockchain in November. Out of 2,286 dApps, 2,175 are built for Ethereum.

This looks like a clear indicator of how Ethereum has kept its growth despite its falling market value. Still, challenges related to scalability and mass adoption of applications remain. However, Chris Dixon, General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz, believes that Ethereum is “a rallying point for the technology community.”

 

Opera Browser to Include Ethereum Wallet

Source: Coindesk

Opera has launched its “Web 3-ready” Android web browser with a new feature: a built-in crypto-wallet. Opera for Android supports Ether (ETH) and ERC-20 tokens. Charles Hamel, Product Manager of Opera Crypto, said that the new feature is meant to make it easier for people to access cryptocurrencies online.

Hamel adds that since the browser has been reviewed by developers aiming to ensure their dApps work as intended, it is “much more secure than a browser extension.” Opera plans to roll out desktop browsers for Windows, Mac and Linux in 2019. In October, Opera announced its partnership with Ledger Capital, a blockchain advisory firm, to explore Blockchain technology.

 

Of the Top-10 Crypto Exchanges, Binance and Bitfinex do not Fake Trading Volumes

Source: Bitcoinist

The title tells you pretty much everything you need to know. The Blockchain Transparency Institute released their study of the top BTC pairs and concluded that other than Binance, Bitfinex and Liquid, most major exchanges’ actual volumes are under 1% of that reported on CoinMarketCap. Yikes.

The real victims of inflated volumes could be crypto projects that paid large listing fees (up to $50,000) to be listed on these exchanges, driven by the false assertion that a lot of trading is taking place.

 

Tether Might Actually Hold the Billions in Cash it Claims it Does.

Source: Bloomberg

Skeptics have long claimed that Tether (USDT), the US Dollar backed stablecoin, may not actually hold the cash that backs its digital currency. Bank statements reviewed by Bloomberg News suggest that Tether may actually hold the cash after all. An analysis of four monthly statements showed that Tether had $2.2bn at Puerto Rico’s Noble Bank to back the USDT in circulation.

However, it is hard to tell where the funds originated from or where they are now. Tether has often promised official audits of its accounts but has not followed through.

 

Peter Thiel-backed Crypto Broker Tagomi Wants to Help Wall Street Get Into Bitcoin

Source: The Block Crypto

Most large traditional investors don’t know how to trade crypto. Wall Street relies on brokers to execute trades but there aren’t a lot of crypto brokers on Wall Street, with Coinbase being the biggest name offering broking services.

Tagomi, a crypto broker backed by Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund, aims to broker-dealer services for high-value clients’ bulk Bitcoin trades. The platform has just gone live and seeks to provide best-execution by limiting slippage (orders executed at less favorable prices) and market impact.

Peter Thiel is the co-founder of PayPal, Palantir Technologies and Founders Fund. He turned his $500K Angel investment in Facebook into a profit of over $1 billion. Founders Fund is a US venture capital firm that invests in tech companies.

 

Japan Might be Over-Regulating its Thriving Crypto Market

Source: The Block Crypto

Japan is showing signs of over-regulating its crypto market, causing confusion for investors and companies operating in Japan. The move to greater regulation is influenced by high-profile hacks of Japanese crypto exchanges.

Japan wants to maintain its status as a leader in the crypto sector while cracking down on money laundering. New regulations have been introduced for crypto wallets since regulators believe that wallets are “bank accounts that store virtual currencies.”

There is fear that Japan’s over-regulation of the crypto market could cause it to fall behind other crypto-friendly countries such as Malta, Switzerland and South Korea.

 

Huobi is Coming to Japan

Source: Bitcoin.com

Huobi will expand its trading services to Japan. BitTrade, the licensed Japanese exchange that was acquired by Huobi, recently shut down and relaunch as part of the Huobi family. The new platform expects to launch trading services on 8 Jan 2019. The exchange’s new web address will be www.huobi.co.jp.

This follows news of Coinbase also looking at a Japanese launch in 2019.

 

Check back next week for more bite-sized crypto highlights!

 

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