Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, and central banks

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United States

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European Union

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News Summary

United States

According to recent reports, Coinbase has a whopping 966,230 Bitcoin in its cold wallet.

The cryptocurrency exchange giant holds in Bitcoin alone around 966,230 BTC which amounts to around $7.1B.

BitMEX has around 265,140 BTC ($1.94B) while Bitstamp comes in third with 229,490 BTC ($1.67B). Other top exchanges by assets under its custody are Bitfinex (146,120 BTC), Kraken (136,780 BTC), Bittrex (131,340 BTC), and Coincheck (35,090 BTC).

Coinbase recently released a blog post on Proof-of-Work titled ‘How Coinbase views proof of work security.’ However, this blog post failed to appease the Monero community, with some of its proponents highlighting the lack of research done about the privacy-enhancing cryptocurrency. This was in light of the fact that the post had a case study column on Monero’s regular network upgrades to ensure it was ASIC-resistant.

The exchange first filed the patent on November 19, 2019.

This is according to an official report by Coinbase. The patent will automatically flag non-KYC compliant accounts.

Bitcoin (BTC) fell back towards support at the $7,250-$7,300 level on Dec. 1 after its latest sudden uptick began to fizzle overnight.

Source: Coin360

When Bitcoin block 630,001 is reached—predicted to take place on May 14, 2020—the mining reward will drop from 12.5 BTC to 6.25 BTC per block.

The “halvening” is coming: in mid-May 2020, the supply of Bitcoins issued as mining rewards will be cut in half, again. Will the halvening cause a boom in the price of Bitcoin? Based on the last time it happened, it’s not completely out of the question.

At the time of the 2020 halving, 18.375 million—or 87.5% of all Bitcoins—will have been mined into open circulation. That will leave just 12.5% left to be mined over the next 120 years.

At the time of writing, Bitcoin is trading down just over 3% at its current price of $7,350, which marks a notable drop from its daily highs of $7,600.

Analysts are now noting that they anticipate Bitcoin to see further gains in the near-term, with this notion being supported by the cryptocurrency’s ability to bounce off of its daily lows of $7,200 that were set during a sharp intra-day sell off that was incurred yesterday.

Bitcoin flat
Source: @TraderX0X0 on Twitter

For some reason or another, bearish sentiment has swept the Bitcoin market; now, you have countless cryptocurrency investors calling for another 80% decline in the market capitalization of digital assets.

According to a cryptocurrency market analyst, the current Bitcoin price trend looks similar to when BTC crashed by more than 50 percent in November 2018. In a tweet, Bitcoin Jack said:

Bitcoin trend
Source: CryptoSlate

After a nice recovery above the $7,500 resistance, bitcoin struggled to gain strength above $7,700 and $7,800 levels against the US Dollar. BTC traded as high as $7,874 and recently started a fresh decline.

Bitcoin
Source: NewsBTC

Looking at the chart, bitcoin price is under a lot of pressure below the $7,400 level and it seems like it could continue to move down towards $7,000 or even $6,800.

The daily chart turns bullish

Bitcoin bullish
Source: TradingView

The MACD also looks bullish on the daily timeframe

Bitcoin MACD
Source: TradingView

Bitcoin fundamentals have actually increased year-upon-year since 2009. Bitcoin hash rate is over 85 million terahashes per second. Hash rate is the mining power used to validate transactions on the BTC network. An increase in hash rate is essentially one of the most important metrics in terms of network security.

r/Bitcoin on Reddit remains one of the most popular forums for Bitcoin fans. Recently, the subreddit reached a milestone of 1,200,000 subscribers.

Dash bulls have been intentional in their quest for recovery, possibly hunting for a better close to year. After finding support at $48 following the declines in November, Dash recovered to highs above $62. However, the bulls started to lose ground toward the end of the month. Another low was formed at $52.61, giving way to the ongoing recovery.

Dash USD
Source: FX Street

At current valuations, this amounts to around $225 million. XRP is currently in a tough position price-wise, resting at a support level of around $0.20.

After forming a local top near the $0.2320 level, ripple started a fresh decline against the US Dollar. XRP price declined below the $0.2250 support level and the 100 hourly simple moving average.

However, the price is facing a lot of hurdles near the $0.2250 and $0.2260 resistance levels. It seems like the 50% Fib retracement level of the latest decline from the $0.2325 high to $0.2188 low is acting as a resistance.

Ripple
Source: NewsBTC

Litecoin’s hash rate is declining violently over the past six months. The all-time high was reached during the recent July 2019, approximately 523 TH/s. Ever since then, it has been decreasing continuously, and a few days ago, it noted its lowest value for 2019 at 149 TH/s. These numbers represent a total plunge of over 70% in just four months.

Litecoin
Source: Bitinfocharts

Litecoin, popularly known as the silver to Bitcoin’s gold, has always enjoyed its position owing to the many developments on its network. In the case of the layer 2 scalability solution, Lightning Network [LN], Litecoin was the first to get the tech deployed on it. More recently, to bring about fungibility and privacy, the Litecoin Foundation was working with Grin++ developer, David Burkett, to implement opt-in MimbleWimble via extension blocks on Litecoin.



Maker MKR, 1.75%, a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) has had a strong month due to the launch of its new DAI stablecoin. The new coin will be backed by various forms of collateral to maintain its value peg.

It’s easy to see when the market responded to the news of Maker in November. The coin rallied 23% in November before correcting to the downside.

MKR
Source: CoinCodex

Here’s another report on a Cryptocurrency exchange losing money after being hacked. This time, the incident involves the South Korean crypto exchange Upbit. Consequently, the exchange lost digital assets worth $48.5 million to hackers.

On Friday, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York announced criminal charges against a cryptocurrency researcher for allegedly violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act by giving a presentation on cryptocurrency in North Korea.

Virgil Griffith, 36, is a special projects researcher at the Ethereum Foundation, which helps to lead the development of Ethereum blockchain technology.

Microsoft, major game developer Eidos and gamebook firm Fabled Lands are jointly developing a blockchain card game based on a 1980s best-selling gamebook.

According to a press release published on Dec. 1, the new card game will be based on the 1980s best-selling book called “The Way of the Tiger,” written by Jamie Thomson and Mark Smith.

Juniper Research has released new research data revealing that the food industry could save as much as $31 billion in food fraud costs by 2024, thanks to blockchain technology and the Internet of Things (IoT). In a press release announcing the findings, Juniper noted that emerging technologies will offer these savings through more efficient tracking of supply chains and simplification of regulatory compliance.

Now new venture sCrypt Inc. receives a funding boost which will bring smart contracts to the BSV blockchain: sCrypt is a high-level smart contract language which allows developers to more easily write smart contracts on Bitcoin SV, without  having to use the more cumbersome bitcoin Script.

International

The total cryptocurrency market capitalization settled at $202 billion unchanged from this time on Sunday; an average daily trading volume decreased to $58 billion. Bitcoin’s market share settled at 66.4%.

The second-largest digital asset, with the current market capitalization of $16.6 billion, lost nearly 2% of its value since the beginning of the day.

ETH USD 1-hour chart
Source: FX Street

Now, Dorsey, the chief executive of both payments company Square and Twitter, has set his sights for the “future” of bitcoin and technology on Africa and its more than 1.2 billion people.

Dorsey, who earlier this year launched a crypto division of Square, has recently been touring Africa and, on leaving this week, announced he plans to move there for a few months next year.

The listicle takes you to the notable cryptocurrency hacks occurred so far in 2019:

 1. Cryptopia

In what was dubbed as the first cryptocurrency hack of 2019, Cryptopia lost nearly 19,390 ETH tokens in the cyber-attack on January 13.

 2. Bithumb

In an official statement, Bithumb stated that on March 29, 2019, at around 10:15 p.m. the company detected abnormal withdrawals of its cryptocurrencies from its hot wallets.

3. Binance

Attackers stole over US$ 40 million worth of Bitcoin from the popular cryptocurrency exchange Binance.

Essentially, if you hold Bitcoin in your personal wallet, such as an Electrum, Trezor, or Ledger, you can mint your own HEX.

To put it in simple terms, according to Richard Heart, HEX tokens are essentially time deposits made over the Ethereum network.

European Union

Recently, there was a downside correction in Ethereum from the $158 resistance area against the US Dollar. ETH price declined below the $152 support area and the 100 hourly simple moving average.

Moreover, the price broke the $150 support area and traded close to the $145 support. A low was formed near $146 and the price is currently recovering. It climbed above the $148 resistance level.

Ethereum-1
Source: NewsBTC

To simplify matters, since Bitcoin (BTC) is currently trending down and could range trade for an extended period of time, we’ll consider the ETH/BTC chart.

Ethereum
Source: SludgeFeed

At an Ethereum Core Devs meeting earlier this month, James Hancock, the hard fork coordinator, was still yet to predict when Ice Age would exactly hit. With Ice Age being delayed further and further, Tim Beiko took to Twitter to give the community an insight into the latest [76] core devs meeting where Ice Age was widely discussed. Beiko tweeted,

“We thought we had months until it kicked in, but those numbers were wrong. The Ice Age is already being felt! There is now a proposal for a single-EIP upgrade after Istanbul to push it back: EIP-2387 a.k.a. Mountain Glacier”

Ethereum developers have agreed to postpone the difficulty bomb once again. The postponement is planned to be carried out a week after the Istanbul Gas upgrade, scheduled for next Sunday, is performed.

Binance has been making a lot of headlines lately with its latest round of acquisitions and partnerships. The top cryptocurrency exchange by market cap is in the news again after it took this opportunity to add trading pairs for Russian Ruble [RUB]. Binance announced this on 2 December 2019 via a blog post that noted that the trading pairs will be available on the USD trading market.

According to the LunarCRUSH research team, social activity and bullish sentiment around Binance Coin (BNB) have risen to six-month highs.

The price of Binance Coin has dropped from around $20 to $15.26 in the past month by 23 percent against the U.S. dollar as the Bitcoin price slipped by 20 percent in the same period.

Binance has rolled out an Ethereum Futures platform that provides for 50 times leverage. The ETH futures contracts are tradable versus the Tether stable coins (USDT).

The exchange is providing for 50% trading fee discount on all the Binance Contracts until December 13, 2019.

Previously, banks were barred from offering direct access to crypto assets, but the new law implementing the fourth EU Money Laundering Directive would change that, according to local business newspaper the Handelsblatt in a report on Wednesday.

Bitstamp customers can now fund their accounts with USD in no time because of a new Ripple ODL corridor opened by FlashFX

What is this plan? To develop a new centralized cryptocurrency issued by the bank.

United Kingdom

NatWest has become the latest commercial bank to experiment with blockchain technology.

Rather than focusing on speedier international payments though, the bank is looking to streamline the process of buying a home in the UK.

As per the company’s recent tweetBuying and selling crypto with Skrill just got even better. Introducing crypto-to-crypto – a new feature that lets you use your bitcoin balance to buy and sell the other 8 cryptocurrencies we offer.

William Grant & Sons’ premium whisky brand, Ailsa Bay, has launched the world’s first-ever blockchain whisky – in partnership with specialist blockchain technology company Arc-net. The objective is to ensure authenticity and allow traceability.

China

The commentary, which comes a week after Chinese President Xi Jinping called for more research and investment into blockchain, emphasised that the opportunity brought about by blockchain did not mean people could speculate in cryptocurrencies.

The European Central Bank’s former president Jean-Claude Trichet said he is doubtful that cryptocurrencies can ever become the future of money, becoming the latest monetary authority to pour cold water on the simmering technology that seeks to disrupt and disintermediate global central banks from their control of currencies.

“I am strongly against bitcoin, and I think we are a little complacent,” Trichet said during a panel discussion at Caixin’s 10th annual conference on Sunday in Beijing. “The [crypto]currency itself is not real, with the characteristics that a currency must have.”

Asia

BitFlyer is one of the cryptocurrency exchange companies by Bitcoin trading volume in Japan. The company’s latest announcement says that the third-largest crypto, Ripple’s XRP has been supported for trading.

recent paper from the Bank of Japan has delved into the legalities of issuing a central bank digital currency (CBDC). The development comes as neighboring China has widely publicized its ambitions to launch its own digital currency electronic payment (DECP) sometime next year.

Softbank’s SBC Wallet Cards (Softbank Card 3.0) will be officially released on November 27. SBC Wallet Cards improve the shortcomings of traditional wallets by providing better security and access. The SBC Wallet Cards utilizes its own encryption system, realizes multiple encryption mechanisms and can realize hot and cold wallet functions.

India has a curious relationship with blockchain. On the one hand, the Indian government is a huge proponent of blockchain technology, and nearly half the states in India have already initiated government-sponsored blockchain projects. At the same time, the government has been very ambivalent toward cryptocurrency, drafting a slew of measures in the last couple of years to control its growth.

Naturally, these measures have met with major protests from India’s cryptocurrency players. Their attack is two-pronged. As far as the RBI banking ban is concerned, the Internet and Mobile Association of India has filed a petition in the Supreme Court that is still being heard. They argue that the RBI is acting out of its zone of authority by banning banking for virtual currencies. They claim that unless there’s a legislative policy regarding cryptocurrency in place, the RBI has no business creating regulations around this issue at all.

In an expression of interest (EoI) announced by Tea Board India on October 17, 2019, top corporates and tech giants such as Amazon, Infosys and Yes Bank alongside 25 companies have shown keen interest to help Tea Board use blockchain and allied technology solutions to bring traceability in the entire value chain of tea trade.

Kakao Corp., the parent company of South Korean messaging app KakaoTalk, is aiming to launch its cryptocurrency wallet platform Klip in the first half of next year, according to a BusinessKorea report.

Millions may have been stolen after the chief executive of a little-known Asian cryptocurrency exchange called IDAX disappeared with the keys to the company’s cold wallets.

Inevitably, with the rise, comes bad actors who see it as an opportunity profit from it in unscrupulous ways. In the first half of 2019 alone, criminals and fraudsters netted approximately US$4.26 billion, up from US$1.7 billion in all of 2018, according to CipherTrace’s Q2 2019 Cryptocurrency Anti-Money Laundering (AML) report.

Africa

Zimbabwean-born businessman, Amos Tsopotsa is set to join an exclusive group of African entrepreneurs that have entered the lucrative digital currency space.

Tsopotsa and his team will be unveiling the African Digital Coin (ADC) in a few weeks’ time.

The South African Reserve Bank (Sarb) is planning to introduce new rules regarding the use of digital currencies, or cryptocurrencies, in a bid to stop them from being used to evade currency controls.

Eurasia

Last week, the Bank of Russia told state-operated news agency RIA that cryptocurrencies carry “significant risks”, including their potential to be used for money laundering and terrorism financing activities as well as sharp exchange rate fluctuations.

Authors:

George Popescu
George Popescu
Allen Taylor
Allen Taylor

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