Crypto Prices See Calm as ZB.Com Bypasses Binance to Become Top Exchange

Friday, Jan. 18 — crypto markets continue to see calm, with all top ten coins seeing mixed 24-hour price changes capped within a 3 percent range, as Coin360 data shows.

Market visualization from Coin360

On CoinMarketCap (CMC)’s crypto exchange rankings by adjusted daily traded volumes, however, some major upheavals are underway. Today, Chinese exchange ZB.com saw an 80 percent surge in 24-hour trade volume to hit ~$606.7 million, and displacing Binance as top exchange on CMC.

ZB.com is currently ranked the largest exchange globally; however, during the time of writing, a separate China-based exchange, LBank, has flickered in and out of the top spot, at several points posting over 150 percent increase in trades on the day to hit volumes of ~$800-900 million. Up to press time, the exchanges volumes had fleetingly reduced to ~$380 million, thus dropping back to fourth place.

First three top crypto exchanges by adjusted daily trade volume

First three top crypto exchanges by adjusted daily trade volume. Source: CoinMarketCap

Around 47 percent of the trade volume on ZB.com is accounted for by Qtum-Tether (QTUM/USDT) trading, according to CoinMarketCap data.

Trade volumes of formerly top platform Binance have meanwhile dropped 14 percent on the day, seeing ~$550 million in trades.

Commentators on crypto twitter have remarked on the conspicuous uptick, with Twitter persona TheFist claiming:

“Looks like a ton of market manipulation by zb.com tanking most digital assets and trying to pump tron. The Chinese are dump and pumping last night[.]”

Meanwhile, according to a tweet from ZB.com Jan. 16, crypto ranking website CoinGecko has released its own exchange rankings for Q4 2018, which places ZB.com as the second largest by median  reported volume:

CoinGecko’s crypto exchange rankings for Q1 2018

CoinGecko’s crypto exchange rankings for Q1 2018. Source: ZB.com Twitter

Considerably less volatile, top cryptocurrency Bitcoin (BTC) has seen negligible price change over the past 24 hours, down 0.45 percent on the day to trade at $3,645. After an intraweek low of ~$3,550 Jan. 13, Bitcoin has recovered to trade just 1.6 percent down on its 7 day chart. On the month, the coin is up by 3 percent.

Bitcoin 7-day price chart

Bitcoin 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Ripple (XRP) — which has regained its spot as largest altcoin by market cap — has also seen mild price change on the day, losing 1.2 percent to trade ~$0.32 at press time. With a market cap of $13.3 billion to press time, Ripple is only just ahead of Ethereum (ETH), which has a market cap of around $12.6 billion to press time, according to CoinMarketCap data.

Ripple is now down around 3.5 percent on the week, and down 2.4 percent on the month.

Ripple’s 7-day price chart

Ripple’s 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Ethereum has seen a similarly mild 1.6 percent loss to trade at ~$121. The altcoin is down close to 6 percent on its 7-day chart; on the month, growth remains at a bullish 27 percent.

Ethereum 7-day price chart

Ethereum 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Among the remaining top ten coins on CoinMarketCap, all are in the red, seeing losses capped below 3 percent. EOS (EOS) is seeing the heaviest losses on the day among the top ten coins, down 2.7 percent to press time.

Among the top twenty, losses are also capped near 3 percent — with Ethereum Classic (ETC) losing the most, down 3.2 percent on the day to trade at $4.33. Binance Coin (BNB) and IOTA (MIOTA) are the only coins in the green, with the former up a solid 3.9 percent and the latter up just a fraction of a percent to press time.

Total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies is at around $121.2 billion as of press time — down around 1.6 percent on the week.

7-day chart of total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies

7-day chart of total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies. Source: CoinMarketCap

Speaking against the tide in a tweet posted today, Morgan Creek investment analyst Chris King stated:

“I used to pound the table on tokenized securities. As new information on the market was presented I’ve completely changed my view. Not much value will be captured by “tokenizing” traditional securities. -no liquidity or liquidity premium -no demand -no value creation.”

Tokenized securities have been gaining significant traction with industry leaders, as exemplified by the words of Bitcoin bull and co-founder of Gemini exchange, Cameron Winklevoss, who recently remarked:

“I think the next wave will see the real innovation, and the really interesting assets that become tokenized — like real estate, like buildings that are currently not traded in a really liquid fashion. So that’s exciting.”

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Bitcoin Sees New 2019 Lows as Crypto Markets Slide Down

Monday, Jan. 14 — crypto markets are still sliding down after a weekend in the red. According to CoinMarketCap, Bitcoin (BTC) has hit a new 2019 low, trading at $3,552 around press time as other major cryptocurrencies are facing moderate losses.

Market visualization from Coin360

Bitcoin has lost another 2 percent in 24 hours, with its price barely reaching $3,600. Although some reports predicted major market movements due to the recent activation of long-dormant Bitcoin wallets, the major coin has spent a weekend mostly in the red.

Bitcoin 7-day price chart

Bitcoin 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap Bitcoin Price Index

Ripple (XRP), which is currently the top altcoin with a market capitalization around $13.3 billion, is facing slight losses of around 2.5 percent. As of press time, the coin is trading at around $0.324.  

Ripple 7-day price chart

Ripple 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap Ripple Price Index

Ethereum’s (ETH) market cap is almost $1 billion less than XRP, ranking in third on CoinMarketCap. The altcoin is now trading at around $118; its weekly chart has seen a significant drop in comparison to last Monday’s high of $154.

Ethereum 7-day price chart

Ethereum 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap Ethereum Price Index

The total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies is currently hovering around $119 billion. It has declined by almost $20 billion since Thursday, Jan. 10, reaching its 2019 low of $116.8 billion earlier today.

7-day total market capitalization chart

7-day total market capitalization chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

As for other altcoins, TRON (TRX) is currently the only altcoin in the top ten in the green, seeing up to 2 percent gains on the day as of press time. Bitcoin SV (BSV) has seen the worst performance among major coins in last 24 hours, losing around 9 percent and trading at $77 as of press time.

As Cointelegraph reported earlier today, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, Bitcoin (BTC) endorsers and founders of the crypto trading platform Gemini, have predicted a bright future for stablecoins and tokenized securities. The entrepreneurs believe the crypto industry will move from a focus on unregistered initial coin offerings (ICO) to tokenized assets in various areas, such as real estate.

In the meantime, Reuters has reported that Malaysian cryptocurrency regulation will come into effect on Tuesday, Jan. 15. The new regulation classifies digital currencies, tokens and crypto-assets as securities, placing them under the Securities Commission’s authority.

Meanwhile, Google has reportedly blacklisted keywords mentioning Ethereum on its advertising platform Google Ads. According to auditing startup Decenter, the “ethereum development services” and “ethereum security audits” keywords are no longer available for their use. The official Google Ads Twitter account explained that the problem might be linked to targeting features, as crypto exchanges can only target their ads in the United States and Japan.

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Crypto Markets See Green as Bitcoin Nears $3,900 and Ethereum Touches $160

Saturday, Jan. 5 — the crypto markets are mainly in the green today, as Bitcoin (BTC) moves closer to the $3,900 mark, data from Coin360 shows.

Market visualization by Coin360

Bitcoin has shown slight growth today, up by around 3 percent and trading at about $3,899 at press time. Over the month, Bitcoin is up almost 1 percent and almost 7 percent over the week.

Bitcoin 7-day price chart

Bitcoin 7-day price chart. Source: Cointelegraph’s Bitcoin Price Index.

Ethereum (ETH) is currently trading at around $159, up more than 6 percent on the day at press time. The second-largest cryptocurrency is seeing around 35 percent gains over the week, and 47 percent gains over the month.

This week, developers from Ethereum discussed the possibility of implementing a new proof-of-work (PoW) algorithm that would raise the efficiency of GPU-based — rather than ASIC-based — mining on the network. The debate over whether to go forward with the implementation comes ahead of the upcoming Ethereum Constantinople hard fork.

Ethereum’s 7-day price chart

Ethereum’s 7-day price chart. Source: Cointelegraph’s Ethereum Price Index

Third-largest cryptocurrency Ripple (XRP) is up over 2 percent at press time, trading at around $0.36. Over the week, the coin has seen more than 7 percent growth, and almost 5 percent gains over the month.

Ripple 7-day price chart

Ripple 7-day price chart. Source: Cointelegraph’s Ripple Price Index.

The total market cap of all cryptocurrencies is currently around $133 billion at press time, up from its weekly low of about $125 billion.

7-day chart of total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies

7-day chart of total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies from CoinMarketCap

Of the top ten cryptocurrencies, Litecoin (LTC) and TRON are showing the biggest growth, up over 12 and 15 percent respectively.

Earlier this week, the Gemini crypto exchange — founded by the Winklevoss twins in 2014 — released a series of ads calling for better regulation of the crypto space. The ads, which read “Crypto needs rules,” were received with mixed reactions from the crypto community, as some believe the space suffers from the intervention of regulators.

Also this week, five more crypto exchanges — including Coincheck — joined Japan’s self-regulatory association of cryptocurrency exchanges.

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India: Central Bank Report States Crypto Does Not Threaten Financial Stability

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has stated that cryptocurrencies currently pose no threat to financial stability in its recent financial report, published Dec. 28.

The document entitled “Report on Trend and Progress of Banking in India 2017-18” reads:

“[C]rypto-assets do not pose risks to global financial stability currently. The market continues to evolve rapidly, however, and this initial assessment could change if crypto-assets were to become more widely used or interconnected with the core of the regulated financial system.

RBI quoted a conclusion drawn from a recent report by the Financial Stability Board (FSB) — an international agency consisting of banking and financial institutions from different countries, including India. RBI itself is a member of the FSB, along with country’s Securities and Exchange Board and Ministry of Finance.

In its study “Crypto-asset markets: Potential channels for future financial stability implications,” published October, the FSB claimed that bankers see no significant danger in the existence of cryptocurrencies, as their total market cap by that time had barely reached 2 percent of the global value of gold. However, the board urged watchdogs to keep an eye on the digital coin markets, given their quick growth.

RBI reiterated this stance in its December report, stating that сryptocurrencies need “constant monitoring,” given their rapid expansion in recent years.

The legal framework for cryptocurrencies in India remains unclear, as RBI formally stopped all banks from dealing with cryptocurrencies in April. The de facto prohibition came into effect in June, while the Supreme Court’s hearings on the case — initiated by local crypto firms — were repeatedly postponed. At the same time, an Indian government panel is reportedly considering a complete ban on crypto.

Initially, RBI had considered launching its own central bank digital currency, dubbed “Laxmi.” However, in January, the bank gave up the idea of making a stablecoin tied to the rupee, stating that it’s too early to even think about it.

Yesterday, Jan. 3, the police of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir issued a statement, warning the public against investing in cryptocurrencies due to the “heightened risk” associated with them. The authorities also added that digital currencies are not regulated by the Indian government.

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Crypto Markets Are Mostly in Green, Ethereum Regains Top Altcoin Position

Wednesday, Jan. 2 — The main cryptocurrencies have mostly been in the green for two days now, according to data from Coin360. Bitcoin (BTC) is still over $3,800 mark, while Ethereum (ETH) has regained the top altcoin position.

Market visualization from Coin360

Proof of Keys — a celebration when BTC holders temporarily withdraw their funds from all exchanges and mediators  — is coming in just a few hours, and BTC has gained about 3 percent in price since the beginning of Jan. 2. The coin is traded at approximately $3,900 as of press time.

Bitcoin 7-day price chart

Bitcoin 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap Bitcoin Price Index

ETH has yet again beaten Ripple (XRP) as the world’s major altcoin by market capitalization after spending several weeks on the third place. The altcoin’s market cap reached almost $15.8 billion at press time, surpassing XRP’s market cap by almost $1 billion. ETH is now traded around $150, gaining more than 13 percent in price in comparison to yesterday’s charts.

Ethereum 7-day price chart

Ethereum 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap Ethereum Price Index

Meanwhile, XRP, the third-top altcoin, is trading at $0.36, seeing a slight growth in price during the day. The coin’s market cap is around $14.9 billion.

Ripple 7-day price chart

Ripple 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap Ripple Price Index

The total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies has climbed up to $132 billion, $2 billion away from its weekly high of $134.3 billion reached on Sunday, Dec. 30.

7-day total market capitalization chart

7-day total market capitalization chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

All of the other altcoins from the top 20 are in the green today, with EOS (EOS), Cardano (ADA) and IOTA (MIOTA) having the most visible price increases with 5.1, 5.5 and 7.2 percent on the day respectively.

In the meantime, the crypto community is discussing the accusations against crypto exchange HitBTC, which allegedly froze the accounts of several of its users in the wake of the Proof of Keys campaign.

The firm itself has not yet responded to the accusations of Twitter and Reddit users, some of whom claim that BTC withdrawal was not available for them for the last few days. The connection between the blocked withdrawals and the Proof of Keys is not confirmed.

Meanwhile, major Japanese e-commerce conglomerate DMM.com Ltd. has announced the closure of its crypto mining services due to their deteriorating profitability. The news comes shortly after similar announcements made by Japanese internet giant GMO Internet Group, which has ceased the development and selling of BTC miners.

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India: Media Reports Central Bank Has Postponed ‘Crypto-Rupee’ Plans

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is pausing its plans to release a digital currency, Indian business news outlet the Hindu Business Line reported on Jan. 1.

India’s central bank had originally announced its intentions to consider a central bank digital currency (CBDC) in April of this year, at the time noting the establishment of an interdepartmental group to look into potential advantages and feasibility.

In August, RBI confirmed the creation of the group, specifying that it was researching a CBDC that would be backed the rupee for reasons including the cost of printing paper and the rising popularity of using digital tokens.

Now, amid confusion over the group’s exact findings, which remain a mystery, Delhi has apparently had a change of heart.

“The government doesn’t want the digital currency any more. It thinks it is too early to even think about a digital currency,” Hindu Business Line quotes an unidentified source as saying.

The hesitancy echoes that which the government displayed last week on the topic of cryptocurrency regulation. Non-CBDC assets such as Bitcoin (BTC) will remain in a gray area for the foreseeable future, one state minister told parliament, saying the issue was being approached with due caution.

Expectations had been that India would put some form of regulatory framework in place in 2018, amid anger over RBI’s ongoing ban on crypto transaction processing by banks.  

The government, meanwhile, continues to seek ways of reducing cash usage in India while attaching transactions to consumers’ biometric data via the Aadhaar scheme — reportedly the world’s biggest biometric ID system, which contains the records of more than one billion people.

Some parties appeared relieved at the shelving of the CBDC option.

“It is premature for RBI to launch crypto-rupee, as more understanding of the crypto economy need to be achieved,” local cryptocurrency exchange Belfrics founder Praveen Kumar told Hindu BusinessLine. He added:

“It is a right decision to delay the process and see how the publicly traded peer-to-peer economy is shaping up.”

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Stellar Co-founder Brands 90% of Crypto Projects ‘B.S.’

Most financial institutions will not use Bitcoin (BTC), payment network Stellar’s co-founder and CTO Jed McCaleb stated in an interview with Yahoo Finance Dec. 31.

Speaking to the online news outlet, McCaleb — who is also known as one of the founding fathers of defunct Japanese Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox, as well as the co-founder of Ripple — made an argument in favor of the use of permissionless, open blockchains in finance. He told reporters bluntly:

“It doesn’t need to be the bitcoin blockchain, but if it’s not a public chain, then you’re missing the point.”

McCaleb also levelled criticism at cryptocurrency projects that were not Bitcoin, Ethereum or his own Stellar.

“Ninety percent of these projects are B.S. I’m looking forward to that changing,” he said when asked about the outlook for the cryptocurrency industry in 2019, continuing:

“Things like Tron, it’s just garbage. But people dump tons of money into it, these things that just do not technically work.”

Billed as an alternative token development platform to Ethereum, TRON (TRX) has upped its publicity efforts this year, with CEO Justin Sun regularly lambasting the Ethereum network over its alleged shortcomings.

Celebrations of TRON accruing its one millionth user account this month were likewise met with skepticism.

For McCaleb, however, no single cryptocurrency network or associated token forms an all-encompassing solution — including Stellar and its in-house coin, Lumens (XLM).

“There are some things bitcoin is good at, some things Ethereum is good at, and some things Stellar is good at,” he said, adding:

“And none of them can do all the things well. That’s just not how software works.”

Going forward, McCaleb was bullish, rejecting the idea that 2018 represented a bear market in crypto and instead describing it as “calming down.”

Stellar partnered with cryptocurrency wallet provider Blockchain.com last month to expand the circulation and uptake of XLM with a massive $125 million airdrop to users.

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From Blanket Ban to Its Own Stablecoin: How Facebook’s Relationship With Crypto Changed Over 2018

On Dec. 20, Bloomberg reported that Facebook is making a stablecoin for WhatsApp users. The cryptocurrency will reportedly be used for money transfers made within the messaging app and will focus on the Indian market.

The move provides a curious juxtaposition for the social media giant, which banned cryptocurrency-related advertising across its network back in January and then partly reversed it in June.

Here’s how Facebook’s relationship with cryptocurrencies and blockchain has been developing in 2018 — overall, it has been a patchy road.

January: Zuckerberg is being bullish about crypto; Facebook bans crypto ads

On Jan. 4, Mark Zuckerberg set out his person challenge for 2018: to fix Facebook. While this year brought even more problems for the social media giant — Zuckerberg’s sweaty testimony on data privacy before the United States Congress being a primary example — the Facebook CEO seemed optimistic about the company’s future at the start of 2018. Interestingly, he cited encryption and cryptocurrencies as potential ways to empower users in his Facebook post:

“There are important counter-trends to this – like encryption and cryptocurrency – that take power from centralized systems and put it back into people’s hands. […] I’m interested to go deeper and study the positive and negative aspects of these technologies, and how best to use them in our services.”

Despite Zuckerberg’s bullish statement, on Jan. 30, Facebook announced that it will prohibit ads that use “misleading or deceptive promotional practices,” referring specifically to initial coin offerings (ICOs) and cryptocurrencies. Rob Leathern, product management director at Facebook, explained the company’s decision in a blog post:

“We want people to continue to discover and learn about new products and services through Facebook ads without fear of scams or deception. That said, there are many companies who are advertising binary options, ICOs and cryptocurrencies that are not currently operating in good faith.”

The ban was “intentionally broad,” meaning that the social media company decided to ban all cryptocurrency ads on its platforms (namely Facebook, Instagram and Audience networks) first, and then find out how to pick out ones that are actually “deceptive.” However, Leathern also stated that the company intends to “revisit this policy and how [they] enforce it as [their] signals improve.”

Facebook’s move seemed to coincide with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) public announcement regarding crypto-related investments and ICOs, which was published earlier in December 2017. In that statement, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton suggested that there is a growing trend for “fraud and manipulation” in the cryptocurrency and ICO markets due to their rising popularity.

Importantly, by rolling out its crypto ad ban, Facebook had set a precedent for other big tech companies, as Google and Twitter eventually followed suit. There was a shorter-term effect, too: The Facebook blanket ban was followed by a large Bitcoin (BTC) price drop, as it went from $11,200 to $8,800 over the few days after the decision was announced.

February: Facebook has no plans for crypto, says its head of Messaging

On Feb. 2, CNBC published an interview with David Marcus, Facebook’s head of Messenger and Coinbase board member, who has also admitted to having “a longtime” interest in cryptocurrencies.

Marcus told the news outlet that crypto won’t appear on his platform anytime soon, citing cost and scalability issues:

“Payments using crypto right now is just very expensive, super slow, so the various communities running the different blockchains and the different assets need to fix all the issues, and then when we get there someday, maybe we’ll do something,”

During the interview, Marcus also defended Facebook’s decision to ban all crypto-related ads:

“We want to protect the community. That’s job number one. All the legitimate people in the crypto world that I spoke to at least thanked me for what we just did with that move. […] The reality is the vast majority of these ads were a scam and we cannot allow scams to exist on our platform.”

However, he noted that the policy might be reviewed “once the industry self regulates a lot better and you have better more legit products that want to be advertised on the platform.”

May: Facebook forms its Blockchain team; rumors about social media’s own crypto emerge

On May 8, Facebook unveiled its blockchain plans, as David Marcus announced that he will head up the technology-focused group assembled within the social networking service company.

“I’m setting up a small group to explore how to best leverage blockchain across Facebook, starting from scratch,” Marcus stated on his personal page.

A few days later, on May 11, news outlet Cheddar reported that the social media outlet is “very serious” about launching its own cryptocurrency. Cheddar’s anonymous sources “familiar with Facebook’s plans” reportedly said that Facebook is “specifically interested in creating its own digital token” for its 2 billion users.

The company did not respond to rumors about the cryptocurrency, limiting their statement to a brief comment on the newly established blockchain team:

“Like many other companies, Facebook is exploring ways to leverage the power of blockchain technology. This new small team is exploring many different applications. We don’t have anything further to share.”

June: Facebook backpedals on the crypto ad ban

On June 26, Facebook made somewhat of a U-turn in regard to its views on crypto. The social media giant updated its policies to once again allow cryptocurrency ads on the platform — however, it has kept its ban on ICOs.

In the accompanying announcement, Facebook said it has been looking into the best way of “refining” its blanket ban on crypto-related ads “over the last few months,” in order to “allow some ads while also working to ensure that they’re safe.”  

Facebook’s revised “prohibited products and services policy” stated:

“Starting June 26, we’ll […] allow ads that promote cryptocurrency and related content from pre-approved advertisers. But we’ll continue to prohibit ads that promote binary options and initial coin offerings.”

However, the updated policy required advertisers to submit an application so that Facebook can evaluate their qualification to run crypto-related ads. Specifically, applicants were advised to include “any licenses they have obtained, whether they are traded on a public stock exchange, and other relevant public background on their business.” Ultimately, Facebook stated that “not everyone who wants to advertise will be able to do so.”

July: Facebook’s director of engineering moves to its blockchain team

On July 6, Evan Cheng, Facebook’s director of engineering of three years, moved to the same position at the company’s recently established blockchain team led by David Marcus.

The software engineer updated his LinkedIn profile to reflect the newly acquired position, and the change has also been confirmed by Facebook.

Prior to this, Cheng was heading up the programming languages and runtimes division at Facebook for about three years. Before joining the social media company, Cheng was working on back-end engineering for the tech giant Apple for almost 10 years.

August: Marcus leaves Coinbase to avoid conflict of interest; Facebook denies working with Stellar

On Aug. 10, Marcus announced he was quitting his position on the board of Coinbase, which he obtained in December 2017:

“Because of the new group I’m setting up at Facebook around Blockchain, I’ve decided it was appropriate for me to resign from the Coinbase board. […] I’ve been thoroughly impressed by the talent and execution the team has demonstrated during my tenure, and I wish the team all the success it deserves going forward.”

According to a Facebook spokesperson cited by CNBC, the move was “to avoid the appearance of conflict, rather than because of an actual conflict.”

Also on Aug. 10, Business Insider reported that Facebook and Stellar, a decentralized protocol for cross-border digital currency to fiat currency transfers, had been considering a potential partnership to build a Facebook variant of the Stellar blockchain. The move “could shed light on Facebook’s ambitions to push into finance and take on big banks,” the report suggested.

However, Facebook promptly denied entering into talks with cryptocurrency firm Stellar. The social media giant’s spokesman reportedly told Cheddar that Facebook was “not engaged in any discussions with Stellar, and [was] not considering building on their technology” on the same day.

December: Facebook’s blockchain arm is on a hiring spree; rumors about a WhatsApp stablecoin surface

In December, the Facebook blockchain arm’s hiring spree was noticed by Cointelegraph, as the social media company listed at least five new blockchain-related positions on its careers page over three weeks, most of which have been closed as of press time.

The only remaining position mentioning blockchain is for a business development lead, for which potential applicants are required to have a “deep understanding of blockchain product and technology” in order to “inform and influence [Facebook’s] product roadmap and support and execute on product plans.”

As per Cheddar, by Dec. 13, Facebook’s blockchain department, once categorized by its head David Marcus as “small,” had nearly 40 employees. Facebook job listings state that its blockchain group’s “ultimate goal is to help billions of people with access to things they don’t have now,” which “could be things like equitable financial services, new ways to save, or new ways to share information.”

Further, in December, rumors about the Facebook-run cryptocurrency reignited once again. First, Cheddar cited a source who said that “Facebook employees pitched the idea of creating a decentralized digital currency” at a private dinner the company hosted during an unspecified crypto conference.

Further, on Dec. 21, Bloomberg followed with a more detailed report, stating that the social media company is making a cryptocurrency for users of the messaging service WhatsApp, which Facebook obtained for $19 billion back in 2014.

The token will allegedly allow users to make money transfers within the messaging app and will focus on the remittances market in India, where WhatsApp is reported to have more than 200 million users. According to data from the World Bank, the country received nearly $69 billion in foreign remittances in 2017, which is 2.8 percent of India’s GDP.

More specifically, Bloomberg’s sources said that Facebook is developing a stablecoin. However, it is not likely to be released anytime soon, as the social media company is reportedly still figuring out which asset their stablecoin will be tied to.

As for public comments, Facebook has been forwarding the same statement since May, when first rumors regarding their own crypto emerged. It reads: “Like many other companies, Facebook is exploring ways to leverage the power of blockchain technology. This new small team is exploring many different applications. We don’t have anything further to share.”

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At Least 340 UK Crypto or Blockchain Companies Ceased Operations in 2018, Report Finds

At least 340 cryptocurrency or blockchain companies were dissolved or liquidated this year in the United Kingdom (UK), British news outlet Sky News reported on Dec. 22.

UK crypto companies in 2018. Source: SkyNews

The aforementioned article also reports that last year, the number of companies in this industry that had been liquidated amounted to 139, nearly two and a half times less than this year. Moreover, 60 percent of the companies dissolved this year ceased activity between June and November.

According to the reported data, more than 200 of the now-dissolved companies “were incorporated with Companies House during 2017.” This year, according to the article, newly-registered crypto companies were growing slower than the number of dissolved businesses for the first time.

The data upon which Sky News reportedly based its article has been gathered from OpenCorporates, a website sharing data on corporate entities, and Companies House, the U.K.’s registrar of companies.

The current downward crypto market movement in 2018 has taken its toll on some of the biggest companies in the space as well.

Chinese crypto mining giant Bitmain reportedly closed its Israeli development center in mid-December, laying off 23 employees.

And ConsenSys, a global community made to create and promote blockchain infrastructure and decentralized applications (DApps) closely tied to the Ethereum (ETH) ecosystem, has laid off a substantial portion of its employees.

As Cointelegraph recently reported, the number of employees to be laid off could be anywhere between 50 and 60 percent of the total company’s workforce.

However, Joseph Lubin, the co-founder of Ethereum project and founder of Consensys, has pointed out that the company “remains healthy and is engaging in a rebalancing of priorities and activities which started about nine months ago.”

Also, as pointed out by a recent Cointelegraph analysis — even after the recent slump — a LinkedIn study has down blockchain developers are in high demand on the platform, becoming one of the fastest-growing emerging jobs in the United States.

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SBI Holdings’ Crypto Exchange Vctrade Accepts Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple Deposits

Vctrade, a crypto exchange recently launched by Japanese financial giant SBI Holdings, has implemented Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH) and Ripple (XRP) deposits. The company has revealed this in a press release published Dec. 21.

The announcement further notes that the exchange — which was launched in July — is considering adding Bitcoin Cash (BCH) deposits after further evaluation of the cryptocurrency. SBI has also explained that cryptocurrency withdrawals will not be available until late January 2019, and will be limited to a hardware wallet that the company refers to as “designated wallet.”

The ability to only use one specific wallet, according to the announcement, is supposed to “link the address pertaining to the customer,” thus ensuring adequate implementation of Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing measures on the exchange.

SBI Holdings, according to its website, has paid-in capital of over 92 million yen ($828 million), and over six thousand consolidated employees. According to an interim results announcement, in the six months ended Sep. 30 of this year the company registered over 176 million yen in revenue ($1.584 million).

As Cointelegraph reported in September, a subsidiary of SBI Holdings, the SBI Savings bank, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Dayli Intelligence, a company specialized in artificial intelligence and blockchain technologies. The bank has reportedly made this move to bolster its fintech business.

In August, SBI Holdings also announced that it had made a second investment in cryptocurrency exchange LastRoots.

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Crypto Assets to Be Regulated Differently in the US, Potential Impact on Industry

The United States government could regulate crypto assets and tokens differently than stocks and traditional assets by altering the existing regulatory framework on securities.

On Dec. 22, CNBC reported that two congressmen — Warren Davidson and Darren Solo — have introduced a bipartisan bill entitled “Token Taxonomy Act,” in an effort to prevent over-regulation in the cryptocurrency space.

“In the early days of the internet, Congress passed legislation that provided certainty and resisted the temptation to over-regulate the market. Our intent is to achieve a similar win for America’s economy and for American leadership in this innovative space,” said Davidson.

When passed, what sort of impact could the bipartisan Token Taxonomy Act have on the cryptocurrency and blockchain sector?

More clarity, exactly what the industry needs

In a statement, the Blockchain Association — a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit trade association that represents many of the biggest companies in the cryptocurrency industry such as Coinbase, Circle and Digital Currency Group — said that the bill provides a definition to crypto assets and digital tokens that exclude them from being recognized as a security.

Throughout the past two years, many blockchain projects have left the U.S. market to pursue token sales in regions like Switzerland and Singapore, which have lenient and flexible policies regarding initial coin offerings (ICOs).

By providing a clear guideline on the regulatory nature of tokens and digital assets, the bill encourages blockchain projects to remain within the U.S. market and contribute to the growth of the local cryptocurrency and blockchain sector.

The vast majority of token sales and ICO projects — apart from a select few like Telegram that have reportedly conducted a private token sale with the approval from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) — have disallowed investors in the U.S. to participate in token sales due to the ambiguity in existing securities laws.

Even projects such as 0x (ZRX) that have been listed by a U.S.-based strictly regulated cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, which clears the project from being considered a security, did not allow investors in the country to contribute to the ICO.

“With these terms clarified, we can police bad actors while encouraging the good ones, giving US-based innovators the framework they need to build next-generation technologies and services here rather than doing that valuable work overseas,” the Blockchain Association said.

The bill also offers clarity on the taxation policy surrounding cryptocurrencies for the first time in the market’s history, eliminating the friction between blockchain networks and users.

Currently, users in the U.S. are required to declare capital gains taxes on all cryptocurrency transactions — small or big — because the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of the United States federal government has recognized cryptocurrencies as a form of property.

Although the bill does not aim to alter the recognition of cryptocurrencies as a property, it imposes an exemption for capital gains taxes on transactions that do not exceed $600, deeming them as tax-exempt exchanges.

The Blockchain Association added:

“Also, this legislation includes provisions that would address issues with the tax treatment of tokens. In 2014, the IRS declared that ‘virtual currencies’ be treated as property, which means capital gains taxes need to be calculated for all transactions. This adds tremendous friction to decentralized networks. The legislation addresses this by providing a de minimis exemption for gains less than $600 and allowing for tax-exempt like-kind exchanges.”

Decentralization is key

The bill does not encourage the SEC and other enforcement agencies to acknowledge all types of tokens and ICO projects as non-securities. It still allows the SEC to exercise authority over tokens that are considered securities, based on a newly established definition and guideline.

On June 14, the SEC’s Director of the Division of Corporate Finance Bill Hinman said that a key factor in determining whether a token is considered a security under existing regulations is the level of decentralization of the project.

If a blockchain network is sufficiently decentralized and no central party has control over the majority of the project’s elements, including its monetary policy and development, the SEC director said in a speech that the native token of the blockchain network cannot be considered a security under existing regulations. Hinman said:

“If the network on which the token or coin is to function is sufficiently decentralized – where purchasers would no longer reasonably expect a person or group to carry out essential managerial or entrepreneurial efforts – the assets may not represent an investment contract. Moreover, when the efforts of the third party are no longer a key factor for determining the enterprise’s success, material information asymmetries recede.”

On that front, the SEC and the lawmakers behind the bill are in agreement that, as long as a security is sufficiently decentralized, it should be able to continue on without the interference from the authorities.

When passed, the bill is expected to allow both the token issuers and investors to better evaluate whether a token is recognized as a security or not, based on the newly amended securities policies. The bill could also encourage more companies to register with the SEC to distribute securities through the issuance of tokens in a private sale.

In the upcoming months, the Blockchain Association, the companies represented by the non-profit organization and U.S. regulators are set to cooperate in improving the bill and move it forward to gain the approval from the House and the Congress.

For a bill that has only been in the making for several months, the Blockchain Association said that it is not perfect in many ways. But, throughout 2019, industry leaders, experts and lawmakers will work together to solidify policies surrounding the cryptocurrency and blockchain space.

“Like all legislation in the early stages, we expect this bill isn’t perfect yet. However, what excites us is that it was proposed by a bipartisan team, demonstrating a vision for innovation and responsibility that is shared across the aisle. With the new Congress starting in January, we hope digital tokens will be an idea that we can build upon. We want to work together to debate the key issues, ensure adequate consumer protection, and work toward advancing legislation that represents our collective views,” the association stated.

Crypto tax policy reform needed

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are fundamentally, structurally and conceptually different than stocks and traditional forms of assets. As such, the Bitcoin market behaves and moves differently than most stocks with extreme volatility and rapid price movements, mostly because the market is open for 24 hours a day for investors in the global digital asset exchange market.

The problem with cryptocurrencies — or with any emerging asset class in its infancy — is that an investor could record a 300 percent gain on paper by the year’s end and lose all of the profits in the following year.

Because losses are not carried across to the next year and crypto taxes are calculated in the same way as stocks and properties, the mismanagement of a cryptocurrency portfolio could lead to a big tax bill for investors.

On Dec. 21, the Wall Street Journal reported that investors could use certain strategies to lower taxes on cryptocurrency investments, such as selling and repurchasing crypto assets.

Without the implementation of such strategies, the aggressive approach of the IRS to collect taxes from crypto investors — as seen in the federal court order that demanded Coinbase to provide information on about 13,000 cryptocurrency trading accounts worth more than $20,000 between 2013 and 2015 — could affect many investors in the future.

Currently, the IRS is evaluating tens of thousands of trading accounts that traded between 2013 and 2015 to potential charge capital gains taxes on cryptocurrency investors. Investors that do not have the know-how on reducing tax rates could get hit hard by the IRS in the future, especially given that the tax policy around crypto remains identical with that of stocks and properties.

If the bill gets passed and a new definition is provided to crypto assets, most areas of the asset class, including taxation, are likely to be altered.

From 2017 to 2018, Bitcoin increased by around 1,900 percent, from $1,000 to $19,500. Since then, Bitcoin has dropped to $4,000 by around 85 percent. For an asset class that tends to increase and decline in value by margins that are not comparable to the stock market, it is impractical to rely on the same tax policies.

Even major projects are shutting down

On Dec. 13, Basis — a stablecoin project financed by some of the largest venture capital firms in the world, such as Andreessen Horowitz and Bain Capital Ventures — announced that it will shut down its operations and return the $133 million it raised to its investors.

Dissimilar to other widely adopted stablecoins like Circle’s USDC and Gemini’s GUSD, Basis incorporates an algorithm and alters the supply of the token to adjust to the price of other major crypto assets, like Bitcoin and Ethereum.

In an official statement, the Basis team said that, ultimately, the closure of the project came down to the securities law of the U.S.

“As regulatory guidance started to trickle out over time, our lawyers came to a consensus that there would be no way to avoid securities status for bond and share tokens (though Basis would likely be free of this characterization). Due to their status as unregistered securities, bond and share tokens would be subject to transfer restrictions, with Intangible Labs responsible for limiting token ownership to accredited investors in the US for the first year after issuance and for performing eligibility checks on international users.”

Based on the statement of Basis, it is likely that the SEC and the lawyers of the project deemed it was not sufficiently decentralized, as the development is led by a team of developers hired by the company.

Basis was considered a promising algorithm-based stablecoin project. But, inefficient regulatory frameworks and securities policies that consider crypto assets in the same way as stocks and traditional assets limited the scope of the project.

For the long-term growth of the cryptocurrency sector, the bipartisan bill is crucial in defining cryptocurrencies in a new manner to facilitate the development of blockchain technology and encourage innovation in the space. Jake Chervinsky, a government enforcement defense and securities litigation attorney at Kobre & Kim, said:

“The Token Taxonomy Act would provide exactly the type of regulatory clarity the crypto industry needs. Legislation like this is orders of magnitude more important than non-binding guidance from agencies like the SEC.”

While the time frame of the approval of the bipartisan bill is uncertain, industry leaders and experts remain generally optimistic in the first initiative led by the members of Congress to regulate cryptocurrencies efficiently.

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Hong Kong's New Regulation ‘Might’ Be Harmful for Local Crypto Industry, Experts Say

New regulations for crypto-related companies, which Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) announced earlier , might prevent crypto entrepreneurs from entering the market. Expert comments on the situation were reported by business media Nikkei Asian Review on Monday, Dec. 17.

Timothy Loh, owner of a local law firm, told Nikkei that some entrepreneurs might decide not to participate in the new framework in order to “maintain their current shares in the market.” “The requirements of the SFC initiative may prove too burdensome for some operators,” he added.

Other speakers cited by Nikkei believe that higher trading costs could discourage institutional investors from entering the market, which could work against the plans to stabilize markets with their presence. However, the counterargument is that a stricter policy may lead to greater investor confidence, Nikkei notes.

The SFC first announced the new regulatory framework in November. The guidelines compared cryptocurrency exchanges to existing licensed providers of automated trading services, pointing out that they also need to protect investors.

Moreover, the SFC has major concerns about money-laundering cases and fraud, which have prompted the regulator to introduce new legislation. It will likely be applied to exchanges, traders, investment funds and other crypto-related businesses.

Under the new guidelines, investment funds are obliged to obtain a license from the SFC in the event that more than 10 percent of their assets consist of Bitcoin (BTC) or other cryptocurrencies. Moreover, in this case, they will be allowed to sell products only to professional investors.

Before applying for a license, crypto entrepreneurs can participate in a “regulatory sandbox” to test their solutions.

The new regulation also refers to initial coin offerings (ICO), Nikkei reports. For example, all tokens have to fulfill the SFC’s requirements and are obliged to have existed for at least 12 months before an ICO is launched.

Hong Kong is known for its significantly more lenient approach toward cryptocurrencies in comparison to mainland China, which upholds an effective ban on crypto activities. According to a recent report published by CryptoCompare, the highest quantity of top exchanges is still located in Hong Kong (10) and Singapore (11).

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Crypto.com Nets Ex-PayPal Exec to Increase Merchant Cryptocurrency Adoption

Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency payment platform Crypto.com has hired a former PayPal executive, the company confirmed in a press release Dec. 11.

Tyson Hackwood will join the crypto firm as its senior vice president and head of global merchant acquisition. Crypto.com, which came into being after cryptocurrency debit card provider Monaco acquired the domain name for a reported $10 million in July, seeks to increase consumer and merchant adoption for point-of-sale (PoS) transactions.

Hackwood was previously head of the Australian branch of PayPal Here, the company’s own PoS division, followed a role as head of Asia Pacific for mobile and web payment offshoot Braintree.

“As we develop the Crypto.com Chain to fulfil the current industry need to pay and be paid in crypto, Tyson will play an important role in expanding the number and quality of merchants that are part of our network,” the CEO of Crypto.com Kris Marszalek commented.

Hackwood said he would additionally focus on increasing merchant uptake of the Crypto.com product, at a time when multiple competitors are seeking to corner the PoS market.

Despite the downturn in cryptocurrency prices throughout 2018, the number is tipped to expand beyond crypto industry names such as BitPay and Coinbase.

When payment company Square unveiled its new payment terminal last month, rumors soon followed that Bitcoin (BTC) functionality could soon form an additional feature of the device. Square had previously launched a Bitcoin wallet service for its users.

In August, former PayPal president David Marcus quit his post at Coinbase amid concerns over a conflict of interest.

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Report: South Korean Crypto Exchanges Overtake Maltese Ones by Daily Trade Volume

Cryptocurrency exchanges registered in South Korea have overtaken their Maltese-registered counterparts by average daily trade volume in November. This is according to a report by cryptocurrency market data provider CryptoCompare, published Thursday, Dec. 6.

The November edition of CCCAGG, a monthly crypto exchange review published by CryptoCompare, shows that South Korean exchanges, including Bithumb, Coinone, Korbit and Upbit among others, registered a combined $1.4 billion of average daily trade volume. In the meantime, their competitors in Malta had only achieved $1.2 billion.

This is a significant change when compared to the October’s CCCAGG. According to CryptoCompare, back then the combined average daily trade volume of Maltese exchanges was at $1.4 billion, whereas South Korea was lagging behind with only $840 million, followed by Hong Kong’s $560 million.

The reason behind the switch might be that in November, Bithumb — a major South Korean exchange — allegedly overtook Binance as the top exchange in terms of daily trade volume. According to CryptoCompare, Bithumb averaged at $1.24 billion last month, while Binance has only reached $641 million.

It is important to note that while Bithumb’s daily trade volume has increased significantly in November, the number of its daily visitors has visibly decreased, as per CCCAGG. CryptoCompare’s own analysts have suggested that this could point to the adoption by the exchange of some incentive programs, such as “competitions, trans-fee mining, [and] rebate programs.”

In late October, South Korea’s main financial regulator, Financial Services Commission (FSC), officially allowed banks to service crypto exchanges, provided they implement adequate Anti-Money Laundering (AML) safeguards and apply Know Your Customer (KYC) checks.

As Cointelegraph reported later, the adoption of this stance by the FSC could provide an impetus to the development of the crypto industry in South Korea.

November in South Korea was also marked by the shutting down of a local crypto exchange Zeniex. A joint project by South Korea and China operating since May 2018, the exchange was mentioned in the FSC’s warning about investing in unauthorized crypto exchanges and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs).

Also in November, Bithumb reportedly signed a deal with an American fintech crowdfunding platform SeriesOne in an effort to launch a securities token exchange in the United States.

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R3 Adds Ripple as First Crypto for Its Universal Payments DApp

Enterprise blockchain software firm R3 has announced that ‘rival’ Ripple’s XRP token will be the first crypto supported on its new universal payment settlement platform, Finextra reports today, Dec. 5.

Dubbed “Corda Settler,” the new open source Corda-based decentralized application (CorDapp) reportedly allows payment obligations raised on the Corda blockchain to be settled via any parallel payment rail that supports cryptocurrencies or assets, or any ‘traditional’ payment rail that can provide “cryptographic proof of settlement.” A payment rail is a term for a payment platform or network that transfers money from one entity (a payer) to another (a payee).

After verifying the beneficiary’s account has been credited, the new CorDapp will automatically update the Corda ledger accordingly; a future version will reportedly support domestic deferred net settlement, as well as real-time gross settlement payments.

Richard Gendal Brown, Chief Technical Officer at R3 is quoted as saying that:

“The deployment of the Corda Settler and its support for XRP as the first settlement mechanism is an important step in showing how the powerful ecosystems cultivated by two of the of the world’s most influential crypto and blockchain communities can work together.”

Gendal Brown’s allusion to the positive development in cooperation between R3 and XRP refers to a year-long legal dispute over purported mutual breaches of agreement between Ripple Labs and R3 Consortium that was finally settled this September.

Gendal Brown added that the cooperation between the two industry giants “is the next logical step in showing how widespread acceptance and use of digital assets to transfer value and make payments can be achieved.”

As of press time, XRP is seeing losses amid a bleak crypto market picture, shedding 4 percent in value on the day, and 26 percent on the month, to trade at $0.34.

As reported just yesterday, Brazil’s largest private bank has this week partnered with United Kingdom bank Standard Chartered to create a Corda-based platform for small loans.

Also this month, SBI Ripple Asia announced a joint proof of concept (PoC) with the Japan Payment Card Consortium to combat fraud using the Corda platform.

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Crypto Markets See Persistent Red, Bitcoin Briefly Dips Below $4K

Friday, Nov. 30 — After a short-lived spike earlier this week, the crypto markets are today back in the red, with virtually all of the top 20 cryptocurrencies seeing losses within a 4 and 10 percent range, as data from Coin360 shows.

Market visualization by Coin360

Bitcoin (BTC) has had a volatile week, jaggedly trading between its low of around $3,600 (Nov. 25) and high of $4,400 (Nov. 29). As of press time, the top coin is at $4,037, down 6.3 percent on its 24-hour chart, according to CoinMarketCap. Today’s negative momentum briefly brought the asset below the $4,000 mark, before it stemmed losses somewhat in later trading hours.

On the week, Bitcoin is around 6 percent in the red; monthly losses are at a stark 36.3 percent.

Bitcoin 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Second-largest ranked crypto asset, Ripple (XRP), is down 5.5 percent on the day, trading at $0.35 to press time. While its market share has dropped down to $14.45 billion, it continues to hold its margin ahead of Ethereum (ETH), now ranked 3rd largest crypto, with a market cap of just below $11.7 billion.

On the week, Ripple is 12 percent in the red, with monthly losses above 19 percent.

Ripple 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Ethereum (ETH) is down a round 5 percent on the day to trade at $112.9. The asset veered close to double digits during a market tumble Nov. 25, and has since recovered, briefly hitting $125 Nov. 28 — yet without sustaining significant gains. The altcoin’s decline on the week has brought it to around 7.6 percent in the red; monthly losses are pushing 43 percent.

Ethereum 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Most of the remaining top ten coins on CoinMarketCap are seeing losses of between 4 and 10 percent, with the notable exception of newly-forked Bitcoin SV (BSV) (from the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) split), which has decoupled from the wider market to seal a 2.6 percent gain on the day, trading at $96.35.

Meanwhile, EOS (EOS) is down 5.4 percent at $2.86 and Litecoin (LTC) is down 6.3 percent at $32.06: Cardano (ADA) is the hardest hit among the top ten, sinking 9.2 percent to trade at $0.038.

The remaining coins in the top twenty by market cap are all red, with the exception of privacy-focused alt, Zcash (ZEC), ranked 19th, which is up 1.74 percent at $82.05. Zcash’s spike is likely due to major U.S. cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase announcing its launch of support for the asset on its Coinbase Pro platform yesterday, Nov. 29.

15th largest coin NEM (XEM) is down almost 8 percent at $0.07, and Tron (TRX) is pushing a 10 percent loss at $0.014. 13th largest crypto, IOTA (MIOTA), is down 5.7 percent at $0.28, and Dash (DASH) is down 6.74 percent at $90.60.

Total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies is around $130.4 billion as of press time, up  almost $16 billion from an intraweek low of $114.6 billion Nov. 25.

Total market cap 7-day chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

With the deep red markets continuing to command attention, Chinese cryptocurrency mining giant Bitmain has today released several price indices for cryptocurrencies, aiming to track the largest 17 assets by market cap for both institutional and retail investors.

BlockShow Asia 2018 has been a barometer of both the crypto sector’s dynamic development and of recent market sentiment, with BlockShow CEO Addy Creeze quipping that “bear market” and “crypto winter” were among the most-heard words at the event.

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Crypto Markets See Mild Volatility on The Day, Fail to Hold Sharp Rebound Trend

Saturday, Nov. 23: crypto markets have seen some volatility on the day, but failed to hold a sharp rebound attempt. The top 20 cryptocurrencies by market cap are seeing their prices stabilize after another sell-off yesterday, according to CoinMarketCap.

As of press time, the major 20 crypto markets are seeing a mix of red and green, with most gains fluctuating around 1-2 percent.

Market visualization from Coin360

Bitcoin Gold (BTG), ranked 20th by market cap, has seen the biggest growth on the day, spiking almost 10 percent over the past 24 hours. At press time, the altcoin is trading at around $20.70.

In early September this year, Bitcoin Gold was delisted from major crypto exchange Bittrex, following a $18 million hack of the BTG network in May. The “double-spending” hacking vulnerability of Bitcoin Gold reportedly allowed hijackers to take control over 51 percent of the BTG hashrate.

Bitcoin (BTC) is slightly down around 1 percent over the day, and trading around at $4,225 at press time. Earlier in the day, the major cryptocurrency spiked to as high as $4,413, but failed to hold the rebound trend and dropped to its 24-hour low at press time.

Bitcoin is down almost 24 percent over the past 7 days.

Bitcoin 24-hour price chart

Bitcoin 24-hour price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Ripple (XRP), still holding its place as the second top cryptocurrency by market cap after replacing Ethereum (ETH), is also slightly down around 1 percent on the day to press time.

Ethereum is seeing even less movement on the day, down just 0.23 percent and trading at $120.69 at press time.

Total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies is around $136.3 billion at press time, down from its high this week of $187 billion. Daily trade volume is just under $12 billion, while Bitcoin’s dominance on the market constitutes around 53.9 percent.

Total market capitalization 7-day chart

Total market capitalization 7-day chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Ran Neuner, the host of CNBC’s CryptoTrader show, has commented on the shaky state of the market on Twitter today, arguing that trying to speculate in crypto is not the genuine purpose of the industry:

“Bear markets shake out weak hands, those only here for money, those trying to make a buck trading & those trying to profit w/out building or adding value. Look around, you can see who will be around when it’s done & who won’t. If you want to survive this, build something, add value.”

Recently, Stephen Innes, head of trading at Singapore-based capital market service OANDA Asia Pacific, predicted that gold prices will “jump considerably higher and there’s an inverse relationship we’re starting to see with gold and coins,” while Bitcoin could fall to as low as $2,500 by January 2019.

Crypto analyst Joseph Young subsequently reacted to Innes’ claim on Twitter, pointing out that gold has seen a decline of 33 percent since 2011, “from $1,800 to $1,200,” while “Bitcoin is up 13,900%, from $30 to $4,200” in the same time frame.

Today, Anthony Pompliano, founder and partner at Morgan Creek Digital Assets, tweeted that traditional assets are in fact “taking a beating,” in line with the recent collapse of crypto markets. The expert pointed out that oil is down 30 percent over 7 weeks, while Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google (“FAANG”) are down 20-40 percent from their all-time highs, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DOW) had its “worst Thanksgiving week since 2011.”

In an interview with CNBC Nov. 23, Michael Moro, the CEO of cryptocurrency trading companies Genesis Trading and Genesis Capital Trading, said that the Bitcoin price could bottom at $3,000, stating, “You really won’t find [the floor] until you kind of hit the 3K-flat level.”

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Top Crypto Exchange Huobi Pays Its Dues to Beijing by Setting up Communist Party Committee

The company behind major cryptocurrency exchange Huobi has created a Communist Party branch as part of its obligations to the Chinese state, the company’s U.S.-based subsidiary Huobi Info confirmed Nov. 16.

Singapore-based Huobi, which was founded in China and has sought considerable international expansion this year, has appeared to opt for “closer ties” with the government. As local news outlet South China Morning Post notes, the company is creating the Party branch at an additional subsidiary, Beijing Lianhuo Information Service (BLIS).

The opening attracted an audience and speeches, including comments from Huobi founder and CEO Li Lin, who owns a 99 percent stake in BLIS, according to the publication.

Under Chinese law, any company with more than three Communist Party member employees must set up its own branch, the Post notes, adding that until recently, the practice was nonetheless mostly confined to state enterprises.

Huobi thus becomes evidently the first cryptocurrency industry business to embrace the tradition, following in the footsteps of Baidu, Alibaba and others.

“Today is a milestone for our company,” Li said at the opening, continuing:

“Under the cordial care of the Party Working Committee of Haidian Park, the party branch of the Beijing Lianhuo Information Service Co., Ltd. has been gloriously established.”

China remains a difficult jurisdiction in which to conduct cryptocurrency-focused business, a ban on trading and “propaganda” creating a cautious atmosphere among investors, while sparking a slow exodus of many outfits to neighboring Hong Kong and further afield.

Last month, an annual ranking of China’s richest citizens included Li among several cryptocurrency entrepreneurs.

Huobi is currently the world’s third largest crypto exchange by daily trade volumes, seeing about $754.8 million in trades over the past 24 hours to press time.

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Crypto Markets See Ongoing Mild Losses, Bitcoin Trades Below $6,400

 

Friday, Nov. 9: crypto markets are continuing to see downward momentum, with virtually all of the major cryptocurrencies at least mildly in the red, as data from Coin360 shows.

Market visualization by Coin360

Bitcoin (BTC) is down just over 1 percent, trading around $6,340 at press time. After a period of protracted stability, the top coin has seen a short-lived burst of price action of late, growing Nov.7 to break above the $6,500 mark.

Bitcoin has since corrected downard to trade close to the start of its weekly chart, where it is seeing virtually no price percentage change to press time. On the month, Bitcoin is down a mild 3.6 percent.

Bitcoin 7-day price chart

Bitcoin 7-day price chart. Source: Cointelegraph Bitcoin Price Index

Bitcoin pioneer Jeff Garzik – reportedly the “third-biggest contributor” to Bitcoin’s code and one of Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto’s key collaborators – gave an interview today in which he reflected that:

“[Bitcoin] hasn’t evolved in the direction of high-volume payments, which is something we thought about in the very early days: getting merchants to accept Bitcoins. But on the store-of-value side it’s unquestionably a success.”  

The market’s largest altcoin Ethereum (ETH) has also sustained a fractional loss, down just over percent to trade at $211. Correlating with Bitcoin, the altcoin saw an intra-week spike at around $220 Nov. 7, and has since jaggedly shed value down to its current price point.

Nonetheless, on the week, the asset remains a strong 6 percent in the green, with monthly losses at around 7.2 percent.

Ethereum 7-day price chart

Ethereum 7-day price chart. Source: Cointelegraph Ethereum Price Index

Most of the remaining top ten coins on CoinMarketCap are in the red, although remaining within a 1-4 percent range.

Bitcoin Cash (BCH) has taken the heftiest hit among the top ten, down just under 4 percent to trade around $567, as controversies ahead of its forthcoming hard fork – scheduled for Nov. 15 – continue to divide the community.

Another top ten alt shaken by larger-than-average losses is Cardano (ADA), down 3.19 percent at $0.074.

Altcoins Ripple (XRP) and Stellar (XLM) are the only top ten coins in the green by press time, both up under 1 percent over the past 24 hours.

The top twenty coins by market cap are likewise almost unanimously red, with the exception of the 19th largest crypto, privacy-focused alt Zcash (ZEC), which is pushing 3.5 percent growth to trade at around $133.

For the remaining coins, losses are capped below 4 percent, with Vechain (VEC) and DASH (DASH) each on the higher end, down 3.9 and 3.47 percent respectively.

Total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies is around $212.5 billion as of press time, down from an intra-week high of around $220.7 billion Nov. 7, but above the $207-210 billion levels it held throughout much of the past month.  

7-day chart of the total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies

7-day chart of the total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies from CoinMarketCap

In other major crypto news of the day, ConsenSys-backed blockchain startup Kaleido and Amazon Web Services (AWS) have launched a full-stack platform that helps enterprises implement blockchain solutions without starting from scratch. The platform, dubbed Kaleido Marketplace, reportedly “eliminates 80 percent of the custom code” needed to build a given blockchain project.

In Asia, Thailand’s securities regulator is set to clear “at least one” Initial Coin Offering (ICO) “portal” to operate legally this month, with officials saying that ICOs themselves “might” start being approved as soon as December.

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Crypto Markets See Visible Drop Off as Major Coins Are in The Red

Wednesday, Nov. 8: most cryptocurrencies have seen a drop-off today, with the most visible losses seen by Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Ripple (XRP), as data from Coin360 shows. As of press time, the markers are seeing mixed signals, mostly staying in the red.

Market visualization from Coin360

While in the beginning of the week Bitcoin (BTC) was mostly in the green, up almost to 2 percent on the day Monday, Nov. 5, today the major coin is hovering around zero, mostly staying in the red and trading around $6,450 as of press time.

Bitcoin 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap Bitcoin Price Index

Ethereum (ETH) is also about 2 percent down on the day, being traded slightly over $213 as of press time. The coin is seeing some stability after it has regained its second spot, bypassing Ripple (XRP) by market capitalization.

Ethereum 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap Ethereum Price Index

Ripple (XRP), in its turn, is currently trading at $0.50, dropping as much as 5.6 percent over the day as of press time. As per its weekly charts, the currency has seen its peak on Tuesday, Nov. 6, when the coin temporarily overtook Ethereum as the second largest altcoin.

Ripple 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap Ripple Price Index

Total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies is around $215 billion at the press-time, falling from $219 billion over the last 24 hours. According to daily trading volume, it has also dropped in comparison to yesterday, Nov. 7, hovering around $13.5 billion as of press time.

Weekly total market capitalization chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

18 of the 20 major cryptocurrencies are in the red, with Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ripple (XRP) and NEM (XEM) seeing the biggest drops in last 24 hours according to CoinMarketCap. BCH has lost a distinctive 4.8 percent after almost a week-long growth following its upcoming hard fork, which is backed by major crypto exchange Binance. As of press time, the coin was traded at around $589.

Dash (DASH) is the only crypto to see a slight growth among top 20 coins, up to 1 percent on the day and trading at around $167 as of press time.

Meanwhile, today, Nov. 8, two countries in Asia have called for clearer crypto regulation. The Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand, Wissanu Krea-ngam, urged to lawmakers to amend the existing legal framework for crypto — set in May 2018 — to meet the development of the technology, warning about possible dangers for consumers. In the meantime, South Korea’s lawyers have lobbied the local government to speed up its work and expedite a legal framework for cryptocurrencies as well.

Yesterday, Nov. 7, crypto Twitter saw an extensive discussion in response to William Shatner’s positive tweet about Ethereum (ETH) co-founder Vitalik Buterin.

The Canadian actor, most known for his role of captain James T. Kirk in Star Trek, posted a thumbs-up emoji tagging Buterin for his 2.5 million followers. Shatner was then drawn into a debate over the ETH network’s decentralization, showing familiarity with ERC standards in his rebuttal to “crypto troll[s].”

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Crypto Exchange Gate.io Removes StatCounter Service Following Report of Security Breach

Crypto exchange Gate.io has removed web analytics tool StatCounter from their website following a breach report by cybersecurity firm ESET, according to an official blog post published today, Nov. 7.

The company has reported that they immediately removed StatCounter’s traffic stats service after receiving a security notice by ESET about suspicious behavior. Gate.io claimed they subsequently scanned the website with 56 antivirus products, and “no one reported any suspicious behavior at that time.” However, the firm still changed its traffic tracker, also reporting that “users’ funds are safe.”

On Nov. 6, Slovakia-based cybersecurity firm ESET published a security report claiming that hackers had successfully breached major web analytics tool StatCounter, targeting Bitcoin (BTC) exchanges that use the traffic analytic service. According to ESET researcher Matthieu Faou, the attackers compromised the StatCounter platform — which is reportedly used by more than two million other websites — by modifying the JavaScript (JS) code on each page of the website.

The hackers managed to add a piece of malicious code containing “myaccount/withdraw/BTC,” which intends to replace the destination address of a Bitcoin transfers by crypto exchange users with an address belonging to the attackers.

Modified script at www.statcounter[.]com/counter/counter.js. Source: WeLiveSecurity

According to Faou, who is reportedly the first to detect the “supply-chain attack,” this Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) “myaccount/withdraw/BTC” has been solely valid on crypto exchange Gate.io, allegedly “the main target of this attack.”

Now-ranked the 38th top crypto trading platform by daily trade volume as of press time, the exchange is quite popular in China with a rank of 9,382 in terms of in-country traffic, while its global rank amounts to 33,365, according to SimilarWeb traffic data and analytics tool.

In the conclusion to his report, the ESET researcher stated that the recent security breach again demonstrates the fact that external “JavaScript code is under the control of a third party and can be modified at any time without notice.”

As reported by Cointelegraph earlier this year, JS has been one of the major tools of hackers implemented in cryptojacking. According to the analysis, JS-based browser add-ons and extensions are “extremely vulnerable to hacking attacks” and often used for hidden mining by deploying users computing resources. For example, in mid-October, researchers found a crypto-mining malware that hides itself behind a fake Adobe Flash update.

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Taiwan’s Legislature Amends AML, CFT Laws to Place New Requirements on Crypto Exchanges

Taiwan’s legislature has passed amendments to existing anti-money laundering (AML) and counter terrorism financing (CFT) laws to place new requirements on crypto exchanges. The development was reported by FocusTaiwan, the English language news website of Taiwan’s national news agency, on Nov. 2.

Under the new changes to Taiwan’s Money Laundering Control Act and Terrorism Financing Prevention Act, the Legislative Yuan — the Taiwan-based unicameral legislature of the Republic of China — has given Taiwan’s Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) the authority to bar anonymous crypto transactions.

The FSC can now demand that exchange operators require their customers to register using real-names: if they fail to do so, banks can block anonymous transactions and report them to the watchdog if they deem them to be suspicious.

Taiwan’s Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has said that the changes align the country more closely with international AML standards, and that the ensuring “good” AML and CFT practices will help to foster a “compliance culture and mindset” among local businesses and institutions.

The ministry further remarked that earlier amendments to the country’s Money Laundering Control Act had “not “fully prevented related financial crimes,” and that the latest action from the Legislative Yuan is expected to better Taiwan’s performance in its upcoming assessment by Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG), due to take place Nov. 5-16.  

Last month, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an international organization that develops policies and AML standards, implemented changes to its AML and CFT standards for firms involved in crypto-related activities, such as exchanges and providers of financial services for Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs).

Taiwan has previously announced plans to release release draft Initial Coin Offering (ICO) regulation by June 2019, with the FSC chairman telling the Legislative Yuan on Oct. 22 that “the more we regulate, the more this new economic behavior wanes.”

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Trend of Global Crypto Mining: Despite the US-China Trade War, Activity Surges as Samsung and GMO Enter

Throughout 2018, the cryptocurrency market experienced the fourth worst correction in its nine-year history, as Bitcoin lost more than 69 percent of the value from its all-time high of $19,500.

Despite the substantial decline in the price of Bitcoin (BTC), which heavily affects the earnings of miners, the hash power of the Bitcoin network has continuously increased throughout the past 10 months, from 15 million TH/s to over 50 million TH/s from January to October.

As portrayed by the research of blockchain analyst Barclay James, the breakeven cost of mining Bitcoin at 35 million TH/s is around $6,900. The formula employed by James considers the hash power of the Bitcoin network, the hashing power of an ASIC Bitcoin miner, and the efficiency of each miner in producing BTC:

# units = global hashing power ÷ unit hashing power ÷ unit efficiency

Given the cost of Bitcoin mining, when its hash power is currently around 35 million TH/s and the value is $6,400, the breakeven cost of Bitcoin is in the $7,000 to $8,000 range. Which means, at $6,400, Bitcoin miners are losing money by generating BTC and are solely relying on their expectations of the price of BTC to eventually increase in the months to come.

For miners outside of China, specifically the mountainous region of Sichuan known to have the cheapest electricity in Asia and a cold climate that naturally cools down cryptocurrency mining equipment, it is even more expensive to mine BTC. The paper of Barclay James reads:

“China has some of the world’s cheapest electricity rates as well as average temperatures consistent with temperate regions. This is important as cooling is one of the largest overheads in mining. In addition, the country’s generally low operating costs also give it a competitive advantage. In fact, current estimates place 70 % of global hashing power in China, the majority of which is located in the Sichuan region.”

Since June, Bitcoin miners have been mining the dominant cryptocurrency at a significant loss. The fact that the hash power of BTC has continuously risen throughout the bear market of 2018 demonstrates large activity in the global cryptocurrency mining sector and the confidence of miners that the industry will recover as the year comes to an end.

Bitmain and its Antminer sold at a discount

BitMEX Research, a cryptocurrency firm that operates as a research subsidiary of major digital asset exchange BitMEX, disclosed in its paper in August that Bitmain, the dominant conglomerate in the cryptocurrency mining sector, has been deliberately selling its latest Bitcoin ASIC miner Antminer S9 at a lower price.

In 2017, Bitmain sold more than one million Antminer S9 miners and another 700,000 of them in the first quarter of 2018. According to the researchers, who calculated the disclosed gross profit margin of Bitmain in 2017 and the implied cost of each miner. Bitmain has set a negative profit margin of 11.6 percent for the Antminer S9, its main product.

The researchers stated that the distribution of Antminer S9 miners at such a low profit margin and the sudden increase in the sale of the miner in the first quarter of 2018 suggest the company employed a strategy to outsell its competition by underpricing its products.

“These low prices are likely to be a deliberate strategy by Bitmain, to squeeze out their competition by causing them to experience lower sales and therefore financial difficulties. In our view, herein lies the key to one of the main driving forces behind the decision to IPO. A successful IPO may increase the firepower available to continue this strategy and eliminate an advantage rivals could have by doing their IPOs first.”

The paper also proposed that the company may simply have too many Antminer S9 miners in its inventory.

In June 2018, Bitmain was criticized for shipping Antminer S9 miners caked with dust. Some miners alleged the firm of sending old or used ASIC miners. In response to this, Bitmain stated that all traders who received defective or affected Antminer S9 miners would be fully compensated.

“Any product can be imperfect, and there will be shortcomings in the process of enterprise development. We have also compensated the miners who have received mining equipment with inadequate computing power and the mining equipment are now being run properly.”

Whether the decision of the firm to sell its main ASIC miner with a low profit margin was to due to its competition or to clear its inventory, the end result was the distribution of an increased number of efficient and high performance ASIC miners to the global mining sector, which ultimately led to the increase in the hash power of the Bitcoin network.

Is Bitmain’s dominance in danger with the emergence of Samsung and GMO?

In the first quarter of 2018, Bitmain generated twice the profit of Nvidia, the world’s largest graphics card manufacturer. Nvidia generated $550 million in pure profit while Bitmain recorded $1.1 billion in profit from January to March.

The lucrative business model of Bitmain and its high profits led GMO and Samsung, two of the most influential technology conglomerates in Japan and South Korea, to enter the global cryptocurrency mining industry.

GMO introduced its own ASIC miner with competitive specifications in comparison to Bitmain’s Antminer S9. Samsung Electronics has allocated a portion of its foundry in Suwon, South Korea, to manufacture cryptocurrency ASIC miners, in partnership with emerging companies in the mining sector.

When Samsung Electronics first announced its decision to target the global cryptocurrency mining industry, it emphasized that it remains unsure whether it can improve the company’s revenues in general. But, the emphasis of the establishment on its mining venture was to engage in an emerging industry like crypto, given that it has successfully penetrated into insurance, fintech, electronics manufacturing, car making, and ship building in the past several decades. Samsung Securities analyst, Hwang Min-seong, said in January of this year:

“Samsung Electronics could increase its revenues through ASIC chip manufacturing but because the foundry only accounts for a small portion of the company’s semiconductor manufacturing plant, it is difficult to predict that the firm’s mining venture will have a significant impact on the company’s revenues.”

 Since then, Samsung has aggressively expanded its mining businesses, seeing an increased demand in the market. The uncertainty of Samsung towards cryptocurrency mining demonstrated the firm’s unwillingness to commit to the industry unless the company sees significant potential in both the short-term and long-term growth of the market.

Most recently, Samsung signed a deal with Squire, a Canada-based crypto mining corporation that raised $19.5 million in August to develop cryptocurrency mining equipment, to manufacture ASIC miners on behalf of the Canadian firm.

Around a similar period, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), the world’s largest independent chipmaker, slashed the growth target of the cryptocurrency mining sector from 9 percent to 6.5 percent.

The conglomerate stated that the weakening of the demand for cryptocurrency mining led the firm to decrease the growth target of the industry. But, it remains unclear whether the report is exclusive to Bitmain, given that TSMC is the manufacturer of Bitmain’s ASIC miners, or to the rest of the industry.

“However, our business is also negatively impacted by further weakening of cryptocurrency mining demand. As a result, we estimate our 2018 growth rate will be about 6.5% in U.S. dollar term, which is close to the foundry industry’s growth but slightly below our 7% to 9% guidance given in the last conference.”

New multi-million dollar mining facilities open

Despite the conflicting viewpoints of Samsung and TSMC toward the demand for cryptocurrency mining, in the past several days, two multi-million dollar mining facilities have opened in Armenia and Colorado.

Local publications in Armenia reported that a new $50 million digital asset mining facility was opened on October 19 with 3,000 ASIC miners to mine Bitcoin and Ethereum. In the upcoming months, 120,000 ASIC miners are expected to be added to the facility.

It was local real estate firm Multi Group Concern (MGT) and Malta-based technology company Omnia Tech International Company which created the facility with the support of the government and local authorities.

The plan to build the facility was originally released in April, when Omnia Tech founder, Robert Velghe, said that the two companies intend to invest more than $2 billion in mining and crypto-related businesses in Armenia.

“We will also help Omnia Tech with the establishment of the Financial Technology Park and the data exchange center in Armenia. We intend to create here a blockchain-based center for the development of new information projects, which will turn Armenia into a high-tech platform.”

On October 25, MGT, the largest mining facility operator in the U.S., announced that it will establish another large-scale mining facility in Colorado equipped with 6,300 Bitmain S9 miners. Already, MGT operates 6,800 Bitmain S9 miners and 50 GPU Ethereum mining rigs in the country.

MGT COO Stephen Schaeffer emphasized that despite the decline in the price of Bitcoin, the company intends to “run into the burning building” to find opportunities, which in this case is to mine BTC.

Regulation and state of the mining sector

Many of the world’s largest economies are in the process of implementing practical regulatory frameworks to facilitate the growth of mining companies. Authorities in South Korea, Japan, and the U.S. have welcomed mining facilities to operate with low-cost energy. Countries with ambiguous cryptocurrency regulations such as China and Russia have also demonstrated a neutral stance towards mining.

Throughout the past 15 months, China has banned virtually every business and activity related to the cryptocurrency sector including trading, events, and over-the-counter (OTC) investment. However, it has opened two use cases of cryptocurrencies: processing transactions and mining digital assets.

Several regional governments in Russia have also opened up to cryptocurrency mining, leading various initiatives to convince major mining companies to launch mining farms in the country.

In August, Deputy Governor of the Leningrad Region, Dmitry Yalo, said at the opening of a new mining facility in Russia that the region intends to lure in more mining centers in the years to come with low electricity prices, qualified personnel, and a naturally cold climate to cool down ASIC miners with no additional costs.

US-China trade war

The conflict between the U.S. and China began to affect chip makers and mining equipment manufacturers based in China, including Bitmain. The 27.6 percent tariffs on the Antminer S9 has made it significantly more expensive for buyers outside Asia to purchase the miner.

Previously, Bitmain was able to ship Antminer S9 miners with no tariffs as the product was classified as a data processing machine. The sudden imposition of tariffs against electrical machinery apparatus, which includes data processing machines, has created an inefficient ecosystem for China’s ASIC manufacturers.

The imposition of tariffs by the US against China comes in a period in which U.S. President Donald Trump has expressed concerns about the lack of reciprocity between the two countries. For many years, China has been able to ship products to the U.S. with near-zero tax and fee, thus, Amazon’s Vice President of Global Policy Paul Misener said once:

“The cost to ship a one-pound package from South Carolina to New York City would run nearly $6; from Beijing to NYC: $3.66.”

South Korea and Japan remain unaffected by the tariffs, and with practical regulatory frameworks established by both countries, Samsung and GMO are expected to continue their successful run in the global mining sector.

As of current, despite the significant drop in the price of major cryptocurrencies, the demand for cryptocurrency mining remains relatively high as seen in the rise in the hash rate of the Bitcoin network and the expansion of Samsung, GMO, and Bitmain’s operations.

Major regions have established positive regulatory frameworks towards cryptocurrency miners and companies, which could lead to the increase in the establishment of mining facilities by investors that foresee a substantial surge in the valuation of the crypto market in the mid-term.

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Crypto Markets See Stirrings of Volatility as Major Coins Tip Into Red

Monday, Oct. 29: Crypto markets are seeing the first momentum in a while after a period of marked stability: virtually all of the major cryptocurrencies are in the red today, with some seeing losses of between a 4-6 percent range, as Coin360 data shows.

Market visualization by Coin360

Bitcoin (BTC) is trading at $6,352 at press time, seeing an almost 2 percent loss on the day according to CoinMarketCap. Having traded sideways throughout the week, the top coin today saw a vertiginous price drop, plummeting from its $6,480 trading range down to around $6,350 in the couple of hours before press time.

Earlier this month, Bitcoin had achieved a 17-month low volatility rate, recording its highest level of stability since mid-2017: the trend had continued over recent weeks, excepting one short-lived spike on Oct. 15.

Volatility and the lack thereof had become a staple on crypto twitter, with prominent crypto commentators quick to underscore Bitcoin’s new quasi-stablecoin status. Senior market analyst Mati Greenspan from eToro joked on Oct. 24: “Hey stock jocks!!! Tell me again how Bitcoin isn’t a stable store of wealth due to extreme volatility…”

As the market returns to its “normal” momentum, Adamant Capital founder Tuur Demeester has today quipped on Twitter, “is there a way to go long Bitcoin volatility? I would if I could.”

On the week, the crypto is now around 2.7 percent in the red: monthly losses are at around 3.4 percent.

Bitcoin 7-day price chart

Bitcoin 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Having seen similarly stable trading patterns, Ethereum (ETH) has today also been jolted by negative momentum, sliding steeply down 3 percent on the day to trade around $198, according to CoinMarketCap. Over the past week, the leading altcoin has also been trading sideways, showing only marginally more fluctuations than Bitcoin over the same time frame.

This brings Ethereum to a 3.8 percent loss on its weekly chart; monthly losses are a much starker 14.8 percent.

Ethereum 7-day price chart

Ethereum 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

All of the remaining top ten coins on CoinMarketCap are in the red, except for stablecoin Tether (USDT), which is trading stably again.

The hardest hit top-ten performer is seventh largest coin Litecoin (BCH), down 5.2 percent on the day to trade around $49.22 by press time. EOS (EOS) is down 4.2 percent at $5.17, roughly on par with Bitcoin Cash (BCH), down 4.25 percent at $419.22.

In the context of the top twenty coins, the market picture is similarly bleak, with all assets seeing losses of within a 1-5 percent range. Anonymity-oriented alt Monero (XMR) is the least scathed, losing 1.1 percent over a 24 hour period to trade at around $101.43.

TRON (TRX) is down 4.9 percent at $0.022, IOTA (MIOTA) is down 4.23 percent at $0.456, with Ethereum Classic (ETC) pushing a 4.85 percent loss at $9.12.

Total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies has slid to around $203.6 billion as of press time. Since its interweek peak at $211.1 billion Oct. 24., the market had held around or just below the $210 billion mark for much of the week before today’s tumble.

7-day chart of the total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies

7-day chart of the total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies from CoinMarketCap

In crypto news today, major European cryptocurrency exchange Bitstamp has been acquired by Belgium-based investment firm NXMH. NXMH is a subsidiary of South Korean-based media giant NXC Corp., which bought a 65.19 percent stake in South Korean crypto exchange Korbit last year.

Meanwhile, the operator of Japanese crypto exchange Coincheck, which suffered an industry record-breaking hack this January, has revealed the exchange saw a 66 percent decline in revenue for Q3 2018.

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