Hodler’s Digest, November 5-11: Star Trek’s Captain Kirk Defends ETH Decentralization, While Fake Elon Musks Overrun Twitter

Coming every Sunday, the Hodler’s Digest will help you to track every single important news story that happened this week. The best (and worst) quotes, adoption and regulation highlights, leading coins, predictions, and much more — a week on Cointelegraph in one link.

Top Stories This Week

Elon Musk Impersonators Flood Twitter With Fake Crypto Giveaways

Although impersonators on Twitter pretending to be famous celebrities offering crypto giveaways are many, this week saw an influx of these crypto pretenders posing as Tesla CEO Elon Musk. After compromising verified accounts with the blue check mark, scammers would change the name and picture to appear to be Musk, asking in comment threads for people to send them small amounts of crypto in exchange for more crypto sent back in a fake “giveaway.” According to news reports, one fake Musk account received around $170,000.

China’s Central Bank Scrutinizes Crypto Airdrops, Questions Their Legality

The People’s Bank of China (PBoC), the country’s central bank, has begun to scrutinize crypto airdrops, which is refers to as “disguised” Initial Coin Offerings (ICO). This week’s report from the bank notes that the entity is strictly anti-ICO and crypto trading, noting the high risks of financial fraud and pyramid schemes. The report notes that “airdrops” are potentially evading the regulation concerning the public token sale model, adding that they capitalize on speculation in the market to drive their own profits.

Star Trek’s William Shatner Tweets Thumbs up in Support of Vitalik Buterin

William Shatner, the former Captain Kirk on popular American television show Star Trek, tweeted a thumbs up at Ethereum (ETH) co-founder Vitalik Buterin this week. The celebrity’s tweet led to backlash from crypto Twitter trolls that criticized the Ethereum network’s supposed centralization, leading Shatner to quote ERC standards in response. The 87-year-old Shatner then received kudos from other crypto Twitter participants for his seemingly in-depth knowledge of the network.

Apple Apparently Briefly Removes Crypto Podcast Reportedly Ranked #4 in Investing

The podcast “Off the Chain,” hosted by Morgan Creek Digital partner and crypto analyst Anthony “Pomp” Pompliano has apparently been removed from the U.S. iTunes store this week. According to a tweet from Pompliano, the podcast was ranked 4th in the “investing” category before it was “mysteriously” taken down. The episode, which contained an interview with “Bitcoin Maximalist” Murad Mahmudov about the current worldwide monetary system, is available by press time.

Joseph Lubin Thinks Blockchain Will Take “A Little Longer” to Develop Than the Internet

In an interview this week, Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin said that blockchain will “probably take a little longer” to develop than the Internet, because it is “much more complicated. Lubin, who is also the creator of ConsenSys, noted that blockchain is developing similar to the web, due to its exponential growth and the “hundred of projects” to date. Lubin also said that DLT will be able to “permeate society more than the Internet” and make way for Web3.0.

Most Memorable Quotations

“His viewpoints don’t take into account the fact that the code has to be audited by an auditing firm and approved by consortium or it doesn’t get accepted. He thinks it exists in a bubble.

That’s why we have ERC-20, ERC-721… ERC-1701”— William Shatner (Captain Kirk), defending the Ethereum network’s decentralization

“We are NOT tolerant. We will not capitulate. We will not surrender. We will not negotiate. We will not end,” — Craig Wright, speaking about his own Bitcoin Cash (BCH) faction before the upcoming hard fork

Laws and Taxes

Thai Revenue Department Plans to Use Blockchain to Track Tax Payments

Thailand’s Revenue Department is planning to track payments using blockchain and machine learning, utilizing the tech to verify the validity of taxes paid as well as increasing the speed of the tax refund process. The machine learning use will help to expose tax fraud and support more transparency, as a digital tax collection system based on modern technologies is a stated goal of Thailand’s government.

French Parliament Finance Committee Adopts Amendments to Crypto Tax Bill

The Finance Committee of the lower house of France’s parliament has adopted regulations this week that would ease taxes on cryptocurrency sales. The Finance Committee of the National Assembly has submitted a draft of the government finance bill for 2019, specifying that the tax on crypto sales will be equal to capital income tax. If the amendments to the budget are accepted in the hearings scheduled for next week, the rate will be reduced from 36.2 percent to 30 percent starting Jan. 1, 2019.

US Judge Ends Freeze on Charlie Shrem’s Assets Amidst Winklevoss Lawsuit

A U.S. judge has ruled this week to end the freeze on Charlie Shrem’s assets in a lawsuit brought against him by the Winklevoss twins. The twins alleged in their lawsuit that Shrem took part of their $250,000 investment in his now-defunct exchange BitInstant to buy 5,000 Bitcoins (BTC). Shrem’s lawyer has said that his client is innocent, and that the claims have “no basis in fact or law.” According to the Winklevoss’ lawyers, the freeze should continue as Shrem possess $12 million in crypto, real estate holdings, and other assets. However, at present time only $10 in assets have been identified.

Thailand’s Securities Regulator Promises to Certify One ICO Portal in November

The general secretary of the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said this week that “at least one” ICO “portal” will be able to operate legally in the country in November. Rapee Sucharitakul said that they “might” starting approving ICO offerings in December, noting that five such “operators” are currently under consideration by the Finance Ministry. Thailand’s legislation requires that the Thai SEC vet crypto entities like ICOs, exchanges, and “digital asset operators” who wish to operate in Thailand.

Adoption

Wallet Provider Blockchain.Com to Airdrop $125 Mln in XLM After Adding Stellar Support

Crypto wallet provider Blockchain.com will now support altcoin Stellar (XLM), accompanied by an airdrop of $125 in XLM to its user base. The provider noted that the large airdrop is a “great way to drive decentralization and adoption for new networks,” noting that crypto airdrops allow consumers to “test, trade, and transact” newer crypto assets without need to mine or invest in them first. The choice to add support for Stellar was driven by the scalability of the token’s network, as well as its ability to create custom tokens that represent “real-world or virtual goods and services.”

Decentralized Network Bancor Partners With EOS for Cross-Blockchain Trading With ETH

Decentralized liquidity network Bancor said this week that it had partnered with EOS in order to allow for cross-blockchain swaps between Ethereum and EOS-based tokens. Bancor has now expanded to the EOS blockchain, using its DApp BancorX for the conversation. Bancor noted that the cross-blockchain DApp was built in collaboration with LiquidEOS, Bancor’s EOS “Block Producer.” According to the press release, this conversion DApp paves the way for “vastly more blockchain” to be included in cross-blockchain trading.

Trading Platform eToro Releases Crypto Wallet Supporting Bitcoin, Three Altcoins

Global crypto and fiat trading platform eToro has released its own cryptocurrency wallet this week with support for Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin. The platform noted that they plan to add a “whole host of additional functionality” including additional crypto and fiat tokens, crypto-to-crypto conversion, and fiat deposits. eToro currently supports 14 total cryptocurrencies on its platform and has more than 10 million registered users.

Major Crypto Wallet Coinbase Launches Support for Basic Attention Token

Crypto exchange and wallet Coinbase announced this week that it would add support for a rollout of full trading of the Basic Attention Token (BAT) for its Android and iOS apps. As per the announcement, Coinbase customers can now buy, sell, send, receive, and store BAT on the platform, except for initially those residents of New York. Last week, Coinbase had noted the addition of inbound transfers of BAT to Coinbase Pro, specifying that the token would undergo four listing stages until it reached full access.

Mergers, Acquisitions, and Partnerships

Port of Valencia Integrates Maersk and IBM’s Blockchain Shipping Platform

The Port Authority of Valencia, Spain, has joined IBM and Maersk’s blockchain ecosystem, the TradeLens platform, which aims to apply blockchain tech to global supply chains. According to the announcement, the port has integrated into the platform as “Early Adopters,” meaning that the port will be a part of the platform’s early development. There are currently more than 20 participants in the TradeLens ecosystem, which has already reportedly processed 154 million “data-sending events.”

Deloitte Partners With Identity Management Startup for Digital ID System

“Big Four” accounting firm Deloitte has partnered with identity management firm Attest Inc. in order to create a blockchain-based digital identity system. The Chicago-based Attest offers a shared identity platform that allows its clients to conduct transactions, including its governmental customers, which can provide identity services to citizens. The partnership plans to develop a digital identity offering for government-compliant identifiers to be used for existing products, including a cryptographically secured identity storage wallet.

South Korea’s Bithumb Partners With E-Commerce Giant Qoo10 for Crypto Payments

South Korea’s leading virtual currency exchange Bithumb announced a partnership this week with Asian e-commerce fim Qoo10 to create a cryptocurrency payment service. Qoo10, which covers Asian markets including Singapore, Hong Kong, China, and Indonesia, will work with the Bithumb Cache system to purchase products through Qoo10. The two companies will use both the Qoo10 settlement service and the cache system, which is a password settlement service that allows Bithumb customers to convert their funds for use in payments with their password.

Nine Major Shipper Operators Launch Blockchain-Based Global Business Network

Nine major terminal operators and shipping companies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop an open digital platform based on DLT. The MoU is aimed at forming a consortium of shipping operators to develop the Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN), noting that the software solution will be provided by Hong Kong-based shipping and logistics firm CargotSmart. The new alliance includes such shipping giants as PSA International, a Singapore-based company and one of the world’s largest port operators, and Shanghai International Port Group, leading operator of ports in China.

Funding Rounds

Major Mining Provider Bitfury Raises $80 Million in Closed Funding Round

Bitcoin mining infrastructure provider Bitfury raised $80 million this week in a closed funding round led by European venture capital fund Korelya Capital. Other participants in the funding round included South Korean Internet giant Naver Group, Asian institutions Macquarie Capital and Dentsu Japan, and Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital. The funding round comes several weeks after rumors circled that Bitfury was considering an IPO.

Winners and Losers

The crypto markets are seeing mixed signals, with Bitcoin trading for around $6,404.13 and Ethereum at $211 by press time. Total market cap is around $212 billion.

The top three altcoin gainers of the week are Traco, Pedit, and the Internet of Things. The top three altcoin losers of the week are Simmitri, empowr coin, and OBXcoin.

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

FUD of the Week

Turkish Police Arrest 11 in Reported Hack of Crypto Wallet Accounts

The Cybercrime Department of the Turkish National Police arrested 11 suspects this week while investing the alleged hack of crypto accounts, with victims reporting more than $80,000 in losses. 14 individuals so far have reported crypto wallet hacks to local prosecution authorities, noting that their Bitcoin had been transferred to other wallets. Police have since seized two fake identity cards, as well as a number of devices allegedly used in the hacks such as 18 mobile phones and SIM cards, 22 memory sticks, from the hackers. The investigation notes that it found the suspects by tracking new SIM cards registered to exchanges by the hackers.

Texas Regulator Issues Emergency Cease and Desist to Australian Cloud Mining Company

The Texas State Securities Board has issued an emergency cease and desist order this week to Australian cloud mining firm AWS Mining PTY LTD for selling unregistered securities. AWS Mining, along with many of its employees, are charged with violating the Texas Securities Acts by convincing Texas residents to purchase AWS’ unregistered cloud mining power contracts promising a “200 percent passive return on every investment.” The cease and desist notes that AWS did not follow through on its promised profits to investors, as well as failed to register as a securities broker-dealer.

Swiss Financial Regulator Recommends Banks to Set Crypto Risk Coverage at 800%

The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) said in a report this week that banks and other financial institutions could calculate risk coverage for cryptocurrencies at 800 percent of their current market value. The confidential letter, seen by a local Swiss news outlet, noted that the recommendation for a flat risk weight at 800 percent are to “to cover market and credit risks, regardless of whether the positions are held in the banking or trading book.” The news outlet reports that 800 percent is at the upper end of the range, meaning that FINMA sees crypto as a volatile asset.

US SEC Charges EtherDelta Founder With Operating Unregistered Securities Exchange

Zachary Coburn, the founder of crypto token trading platform EtherDelta, has been charged by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with operating an unregistered securities exchange. EtherDelta has operated as a secondary marketplace for trading ERC20 tokens, letting users buy and sell digital assets using an order book and smart contracts on the ETH blockchain and placing a total of more than 3.6 million orders (some involving those considered securities) over an 18-month operating period. Coburn neither denied nor admitted the findings, but agreed to pay $300,00 in unlawful profits, as well as $13,000 in prejudgement interest and a $75,000 penalty.

Chinese Mining Giant Bitmain Sues Unknown Hacker for $5.5 Million Crypto Theft

China-based BTC mining firm Bitmain has sued an anonymous hacker for the reported theft of crypto work about $5.5 million from Bitmain’s account on Binance this April. As stated in the U.S. court documents, the “John Doe” hacker used stored Bitcoin after taking over Bitmain’s Binance account to manipulate the price of altcoin Decentraland (MANA) and then abscond with the profits. Bitmain notes that the hacker was able to steal $5.5 million in digital assets, including about 617 BTC. The documents also note that the hacker carried out transactions between BTC and MANA from Bitmain’s wallet and their own, completing the theft by transferring BTC from their Bitmain account into a digital wallet on Bittrex.

Prediction of the Week

Tim Draper Maintains Bitcoin Prediction of $250,000 by 2020

Venture capital investor Tim Draper said this week that he still believes that Bitcoin will experience 40 times returns and reach $250,000 by 2022. Although his initial prediction was for the coin to hit this price point in April of this year, Draper said that the industry merely needs to make it so that “Bitcoin could be used to buy Starbucks coffee” and the world will “open up.” Draper also added that he didn’t trust “political currencies” that are “determined by some weird political party,” adding that he sees a future with blockchain and smart contracts taking on a more prevalent role in states.

Best Cointelegraph Features

Morgan Stanley Report Shows Strong Institutional Investment for Bitcoin

At the end of October, multinational investment bank and financial services firm Morgan Stanley released a report on how Bitcoin has been a new “institutional investment class” since 2018. The report, which shows a relatively bullish outlook for 2018, brings attention to the stablecoin phenomenon, noting that not all stablecoins active currently will survive.

The SEC Stops Accepting Public Comments on Bitcoin ETFs, Takes Time to Make Decision

Last week, the cryptoverse buzzed with misinformation that the U.S. SEC was finally going to make a decision about Bitcoin ETFs. However, last week’s deadline concerned a close to the acceptance of public comments, leaving the SEC to now make their decision on the nine BTC ETFs on their own. Cointelegraph delves into the possibilities for the SEC’s decision, as well as looks into the root of where this deadline confusion came from.

Blockchain Advocates Storm Governors’ Mansions and Retain House Seats in US Midterm Elections

The U.S. saw midterm elections that week that led to the Democratic Party taking back the House, leaving the Republicans still in control of the Senate. Amidst the party lines, the governorships in both California and Colorado were won by crypto- and blockchain-friendly candidates Gavin Newsom and Jared Polis respectively. Beyond his strong blockchain policy push in his state, Polis (also the first openly gay elected governor), co-founded and co-chaired the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, a bipartisan group of Members of Congress. Electorally, the Caucus has done exceptionally well in the midterms: both of the co-chairs and 10 out of 12 regular members who stood for reelection retained their seats.

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Hodler’s Digest, Oct. 29 – Nov. 4: Rapper T.I., Charlie Shrem Sued Over Alleged Pump-and-Dump, BTC Theft Respectively

 

Coming every Sunday, the Hodler’s Digest will help you to track every single important news story that happened this week. The best (and worst) quotes, adoption and regulation highlights, leading coins, predictions, and much more — a week on Cointelegraph in one link.

Top Stories This Week

US Rapper T.I. Sued for $5 Million After Alleged Failure of FLik Token

U.S. rapper T.I. is being sued for $5 million by a group of 25 persons who have alleged that the rapper’s promotion of FLiK tokens led to a loss of around a $1.3 million investment. The plaintiffs allege that T.I. and his business partner Ryan Felton promoted the “now worthless securities” on social media, creating a false impression of a “valuable liquid investment.” The lawsuit writes that T.I. and Felton defrauded them by driving the token’s price up with money from the investment, and then dumping the token when the price dropped.

The Winklevii Sue Charlie Shrem for Alleged Theft of 5,000 BTC in 2012

Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss have claimed in a new lawsuit that Bitcoin Foundation founder Charlie Shrem has “stolen” 5,000 Bitcoin (now $31.7 million) from them in 2012. According to a recently unsealed lawsuit, the Winklevii allege that Shrem failed to repay the twins as part of their investment in his extant project BitInstant. Shrem’s lawyer has called the claims “erroneous,” noting that his client will “quickly clear his name.” The judge overseeing the case has “agreed to freeze” some of Shrem’s assets in response to the case.

BTC Wallet Xapo Founder Says Bitcoin’s Current Stage Compares to 1992 Internet

Bitcoin “Patient Zero” Wences Casares, the founder of BTC wallet startup Xapo, said that Bitcoin may take years to become successful. In an interview this week with Bloomberg, Casares said that Bitcoin “may work, it might not work,” noting that the currency is in the early stages of its development, similar to that of the Internet in 1992. Casares gave a rough seven-year timeline for determining whether Bitcoin is successful, noting that if it is, it will become a non-political global standard of value and settlement.

Crypto Exchange and Wallet Coinbase Raises $300 Million in New Funding Round

Major U.S. crypto exchange and wallet Coinbase has raised $3 million in its latest funding round, bringing its post-money valuation to about $8 billion. Tiger Global Management reportedly led this recent Series E equity financing round, with participation from Y Combinator Continuity, Wellington Management, Andreessen Horowitz, and Polychain, among others. Coinbase noted that the funds will be used for the purpose of “accelerating” crypto adoption, noting plans to support regulated fiat-crypto trading worldwide, and laying the foundation for supporting “thousands” of cryptos in the future.

Climate Change Report Finds Bitcoin Usage Could Raise Global Temperature by 2 C

A new reported published by climate change scientists has raised warnings about the effects of Bitcoin’s carbon footprint on global environment. According to their research, which is based on the existing data for BTC’s electricity consumption in conjunction with different projections for the crypto’s future adoption, the cumulative emissions of BTC usages would “cross the 2 C threshold within 22 years.” Even if Bitcoin follows a faster adoption path, it could cross that threshold in just ”11 years.” The report notes that while more efficient hardware could reduce BTC’s carbon footprint, one can’t relay on “yet-to-be-developed hardware.”

Most Memorable Quotations

Most Memorable Quotations

Ella Pamfilova

“The word ‘block’ is immediately associated with something closed. In Russia, where a third of the population was held behind bars… Next you have ‘chain’. ‘Block’ and ‘chain’ — it works on a subconscious level,”  — Ella Pamfilova, the head of the Russian Election Commission

Jamie Dimon

“I never changed what I said, I just regret having said it. I didn’t want to be the spokesman against Bitcoin. I don’t really give a sh*t, that’s the point. Blockchain is real, it’s technology, but Bitcoin is not the same as a fiat currency,” — Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan CEO

John McAfee

“[Crypto is] all I’m going to talk about. See, I don’t want to be president. I couldn’t be… no one’s going to elect me president, please God. However, I’ve got the right to run,” — John McAfee, crypto enthusiast

Laws and Taxes

Laws and Taxes

Ukraine Development, Trade Ministry Creates State Policy for Legalizing Crypto

Ukraine’s Economic Development and Trade Ministry announced this week that it has initiated a “state policy” for the classification and legalization of crypto-related activities. According to the ministry’s press release, the purpose of the policy is to “create understandable conditions for conducting activities in the field of virtual assets and virtual currencies,” and to usher in “adoption of the concept of a state policy” for crypto. The policy specifically suggests creating legal definitions for key terms like “virtual currency” (“cryptocurrency”), “virtual assets,” Initial Coin (or Token) Offerings (ICOs or ITOs), cryptocurrency mining, “smart contracts,” and “tokens.”

Brazil’s Tax Regulatory Creates Draft Regulation for Crypto Taxes

The Department of Federal Revenue of Brazil (RFB) wants to receive monthly reports on crypto assets operations, according to recently released draft legislation. In the draft bill, the RFB would require Brazil-based crypto exchanges to send them detailed reports on all crypto-related operations on a monthly basis. The bill also notes that legal entities and individuals living in Brazil would be required to report all transactions with foreign crypto exchanges if they are over than R$10,000 (about $2,700) per month.

Adoption

Adoption

Crypto Investment Firm Greyscale Reaches $330 Million in Revenue

Crypto asset management firm Grayscale Investments Inc. has reported around $330 million in revenue in 2018, according to its third quarter investment report, despite the currently prevailing bear market. In the recently released report, Grayscale notes that they have raised $81.1 million over the last three months, representing an increase of almost 1,200 percent from the same period in 2017. Grayscale writes that this is the strongest calendar year the firm has experienced since the beginning of its activity.

New York Regulator Grants BitLicense to Bitcoin ATM Operator Coinsource

The New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) has granted a virtual currency license, the BitLicense, to Bitcoin ATM operator Coinsource. The regulatory approval means that New Yorkers can use cash to buy or sell Bitcoin using Coinsource’s “Bitcoin Teller Machines (BTMs),” of which there are 40 machines currently deployed across the state in three counties. This is the first BTM operator to receive the BitLicense, and the regulator notes that its decision came following a comprehensive review of Coinsource’s application and requirements for AML and CFT measures.

Morgan Stanley Report Classifies Cryptocurrency as New Institutional Investment Class

A new report from investment bank and financial services firm Morgan Stanley notes that Bitcoin and altcoin have been a “new institutional investment class” since 2017. According to the document, the “surprises” to be seen in crypto in 2018 are a “strong” formation of new funds targeting the nascent sectors, as well as the “growth” of crypto-tied futures. The report also touches on decentralized technology, noting that it makes the world “better.”

Crypto Exchange and Wallet Coinbase Executive Reveals Plans to Add up to 300 Coins

Major U.S. crypto exchange and wallet Coinbase may offer as many as 300 more coins in the future, according to an interview with the company’s president and COO. Speaking to Bloomberg, Asiff Hirji said that Coinbase planned on avoiding complex U.S. regulations on crypto tokens by offering more assets to non-residents, noting that the number could jump from its current seven to “200-300” over the next year. Moreover, Hirji noted that the company will not perform an IPO “any time soon.”

Mergers, Acquisitions, and Partnerships

Mergers, Acquisitions, and Partnerships

Chinese Retail Giant JD.Com Partners With Tech Institutes for Blockchain Research Lab

Chinese e-commerce firm JD.com will launch a research lab for blockchain in partnership with two technology institutes: the Ying Wu College of Computing at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and the Institute of Software at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (ISCAS). According to the release, the lab aims to develop solutions for efficiency problems and examine new applications and uses cases of blockchain tech, as well as specifically researching consensus protocols, privacy protection, and security in DApps.

Nasdaq to Integrate Microsoft’s Azure Blockchain Tech Following Partnership

American software firm Microsoft will integrate its Azure blockchain technology into stock exchange Nasdaq Inc.’s Financial Framework (NFF). According to this week’s announcement, Microsoft will collaborate with Nasdaq to develop a “ledger agnostic blockchain capability” that will allow for operability across multiple ledgers. The release also notes that the new product can facilitate easier buyer and seller matching, management of delivery, and payment and settlement of transactions, as well as allow NFF customers to deploy various blockchain through one common interface.

Belgian-Based Investment Firm Acquires Crypto Exchange Bitstamp

Crypto exchange Bitstamp has been acquired by Belgian-based investment firm NXMH in an “all cash deal” this week. The CEO of Bitstamp told Reuters that the exchange was valued at $60 million in 2016, up from $39 million in 2014. NXMH is a subsidiary of South Korean-based media giant NXC Corp., which bought a 65.19 percent stake in South Korean exchange Korbit last year. NXMH now has an 80 percent stake in Bitstamp, with the CEO retaining his 10 percent ownership interest and staying on as CEO. The exchange noted that it is looking towards “global expansion” with the new deal.

Report: Bithumb Signs Deal With US Fintech Firm to Launch Securities Token Exchange

South Korean crypto exchange Bithumb has reportedly signed a deal with American crowdfunding platform SeriesOne in order to open a securities token exchange. A South Korean news outlet was told by its sources about the partnership, with at Bithumb official reportedly adding that the exchange plans to increase its efforts to develop into a worldwide financial firm. The sources also told the news agency that the exchange will be established by SeriesOne in the U.S. during the first half of 2019, with Bithumb to provide investment and the technical support for the exchange’s operations.

Controversial Stablecoin Tether Releases Letter Confirming New Banking Partner

The issuer of cryptographic stablecoin Tether has released a statement this week, confirming that it will now be banking with Bahamas-based Deltec Bank & Trust. Tether had previously been the subject of rumors about its ability to back up its tokens 1:1 with fiat after it parted ways with previous financial institution Noble Bank. This week’s statement, purportedly from Deltec Bank, reads that the USDT in the market are “fully backed by US dollars that are safely deposited in our bank accounts.”

Funding Rounds

Funding Rounds

Berkshire Hathaway Invests $600 Million in Two Fintech Payment Firms

Multinational holding conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway, whose CEO and chairman is crypto critic Warren Buffett, has invested about $600 million in two fintech payment firms that focus on emerging markets. The investments are reportedly headed by Todd Combs, one of Berkshire’s two portfolio managers, and go outside the purview of investments normally made by the company. The first is a roughly $300 million stake in the parent company of India’s largest mobile-payments service Paytm, and the second is a purchase of shares in an IPO for Brazilian payments processor StoneCo.

Sequoia USA Participates in $30 Million Funding Round for Israeli Blockchain Startup

Israeli blockchain startup StarkWare Industries has ended a $30 million funding round with participation from Intel Capital and Sequoia USA. The funding round, which was led by crypto hedge fund Paradigm — founded by Coinbase co-founder Fred Ehrsam — also included Atomico, DCVC, Wing, Consensys, Coinbase Ventures, Multicoin Capital, Collaborative Fund, Scalar Capital and Semantic Ventures. StarkWare Industries develops software and hardware, with applications including transparent privacy in blockchain, increased transaction throughput, as well as off chain computation.

Winners and Losers

Winners and Losers

Winners and Losers

The week has seen continued relative market stability, with Bitcoin at around $6,371 and Ethereum at about $200. Total market cap is at around $208 billion.

The top three altcoin gainers of the week are Etheera, Mero, and Mindexcoin. The top three altcoin losers of the week are YENTEN, empowr coin, RusGas.

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

FUD of the Week

FUD of the Week

CryptoTrader Host Ran NeuNer Rescinds Claim That BTC Will Hit $50K in 2018

Ran NeuNer, the host of CNBC’s CryptoTrader, has retracted his earlier prediction that Bitcoin will reach $50,000 by the end of 2018. Speaking privately to Cointelegraph, NeuNer stated that he changed his prediction due to the recent state of the market, noting that the bear market status and the lack of “good news” moving the market made him lower his expectations. NeuNer had originally tweeted in February of this year that Bitcoin will finish 2018 at $50,000, and has updated it with a new pinned tweet that Bitcoin “will not” finish 2018 at $50,000.

Former US Federal Reserve Chair: Bitcoin Is “Anything But” a Useful Store of Value

Former U.S. Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen said this week that Bitcoin is “anything but” a useful store of value. Speaking during an interview at the 2018 Canada FinTech Forum in Montreal, Yellen noted that Bitcoin’s failure to be a stable source of value means that it is not a useful currency, adding that it’s “very slow” at payments and has difficulty “because of its very decentralized nature.” Yellen is known in the Bitcoin community due to an incident when a Bitcoin fan held up a handwritten “Buy Bitcoin” during her televised speech on interest rates and reserve policies last July.

“Godfather of ETFs” Says Bitcoin Exchange-Traded Funds Will Not Be Approved Soon

Reggie Brown, the so-called “godfather of ETFs,” said this week that Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) will be certified “no time soon.” Browne, who is a senior managing director and head of ETF trading at financial services firm Cantor Fitzgerald, noted during a speech that BTC ETFs will only be approved after the development of a robust regulatory framework in the industry. Browne noted that it is “very difficult” for the SEC to “wrap their heads around a positive approval” due to a lack of data.

Report Finds Lack of Diversity in Ethereum Smart Contracts Could Pose Risks

A report from a group of analysts at Northeastern University and the University of Maryland said this week that a lack of diversity in Ethereum (ETH) smart contracts poses a risk to the ETH blockchain ecosystem. According to the researchers, since they found that most Ethereum smart contracts are “direct- or near-copies of other contracts,” the risk arises if copied smart contract contains a vulnerable or buggy code. The study, which was partially supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation, analyzed Ethereum smart contracts’ bytecodes during its first 5 million blocks over an almost three-year timeframe from the cryptocurrency’s inception in 2015.

American Faces 5 Years in Prison for Operating Unlicensed Business via LocalBitcoins

A U.S. citizen has pled guilty this week in federal court for operating an “unlicensed money transmitting business” through LocalBitcoins.com. Jacob Burrell Campos allegedly admitted selling “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in BTC to more than 1,000 customers from January 2015 to April 2017, meaning that he operated an unregistered “Bitcoin exchange.” According to the court, it is illegal in that Burrell did not register his business operation with the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) of the U.S. Department of Treasury, and failed to apply AML regulations on the sources of his clients’ funds.

Prediction of the Week

Prediction of the Week

Crypto Winter Could Last 12 to 18 Months, Says CEO of Top Derivatives Platform BitMEX

Arthur Hayes, the CEO of major crypto derivatives platform BitMEX, said this week that “based on previous experience,” the low volatility and volume trading climate could continue for “another 12 to 18 months.” Hayes noted that he has been in the Bitcoin space since 2013, and based his current predictions on his experience in the 2013-2015 “nuclear bear market.”

Best Cointelegraph Features

Best Cointelegraph Features

Bitcoin White Paper — 10 Years Since Satoshi’s Vision Was Brought to Life

Cointelegraph celebrates the 10 year anniversary of Satoshi Nakamoto’s release of the Bitcoin white paper with an overview of the white paper’s influence, a brief history of the cryptocurrency, and an interactive quiz to find out how “expert” our readers’ knowledge of Bitcoin is.

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

As the crypto markets see the fourth worst correction in their nine-year history, the hash power of the Bitcoin network continues to increase. Cointelegraph contributor Joseph Young delves into how crypto mining manufacturing giant Bitmain will compete with the emergence of products from Samsung and GMO into the market, as well as the effects on mining due to the ongoing U.S.-China trade war.

Skirting the Great Wall: The Chequered Saga of Crypto in China, 2018

Part two of Cointelegraph’s series on China and cryptocurrency gives an in-depth analysis of what exactly is going on in China in the aftermath of the country’s ICO ban, and why regulators continue to attempt to curb the rise of crypto trades.

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Hodler’s Digest, October 1-8: WSJ Gets In and Out of Crypto, While BofA Sees a $7 Billion Future for Blockchain

Coming every Sunday, the Hodler’s Digest will help you to track every single important news story that happened this week. The best (and worst) quotes, adoption and regulation highlights, leading coins, predictions, and much more — a week on Cointelegraph in one link.

Top Stories This Week

Crypto Exchange ShapeShift Rebuts WSJ Report of Money Laundering

Cryptocurrency exchange ShapeShift has issued a denial in response to a Wall Street Journal article that the exchange had laundered around $9 million in ill-received funds. The article, which calculated a total of $88.6 million funneled through 46 exchanges, pinpointed $9 million as going through ShapeShift. In a blog post, Erik Voorhees, CEO and founder of ShapeShift, wrote that the information that the exchange gave the WSJ was misrepresented, and that the exchange has its own AML program that “deploys “blockchain forensics that are far more advanced than asking someone for their ‘name and address’.”

Wall Street Journal Creates, Then Destroys, Its Own Cryptocurrency

Major U.S. publication the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) has created and then halted the issuance of its own cryptocurrency in the pursuit of learning more about the industry. WSJ journalist Steven Russolillo created the “WSJ Coin,” in order to both shed light on the crypto economy as well as provide a use case for the journalism industry. However, after the two issued units were spent on two beers, the WSJ ethics head shut the project down, citing “ethical questions.”

Bank of America Estimates Blockchain Could Be $7 Billion Market

Bank of America (BofA) analysts said this week that blockchain has the potential to become a $7 billion market, providing a boost to corporations like Microsoft and Amazon. Although no timeline was offered, the BofA analysts used the figure that two percent of corporate servers could run blockchain at an annual cost of $5,500. However, the bank noted that the full capacity of blockchain has not yet been “built out.”

US SEC Gives November 5 Deadline For Bitcoin ETF Review

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has given a time frame for reviewing the rule changes proposed in a series of application to list and trade Bitcoin exchange-traded funds. The SEC’s review period until Nov. 5 will affect nine different ETFs that were proposed by three different applicants: ProShares, Direxion, and GraniteShares. The SEC has solicited  “any party or other person” to file a statement in support or rejection of the proposed BTC ETFs in the review period.

Venezuelan President Maduro Claims Petro Launch Set For November 5

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro said this week that the public sale of the national, oil-backed cryptocurrency Petro is set for November 5. According to Maduro, the official site of the Petro and the coin’s wallet are already live. The president also noted that the Petro is available on six major exchanges, without naming them, and that all oil purchases in and out of the country must be paid in Petro. Petro’s new whitepaper notes that the cryptocurrency is backed 50 percent by oil, 20 percent by gold, 20 percent by iron, and 10 percent by diamond assets.

Most Memorable Quotations

Most Memorable Quotations

Bill Clinton

“This whole blockchain deal has the potential it does only because it is applicable across national borders [and] income groups. The permutations and possibilities are staggeringly great,” — former U.S. President Bill Clinton

Joseph Muscat

“Blockchain makes cryptocurrencies the inevitable future of money, more transparent since it helps filter good businesses from bad businesses,” — Prime Minister of Malta, Joseph Muscat

Laws And Taxes

Laws And Taxes

US Legislators Propose Blockchain Promotional Bill

Two U.S. representative, Doris Matsui and Brett Guthrie, proposed this week a bill, the “Blockchain Promotional Act 2018,” in the House of Representatives. The bill notes that the definition of blockchain differs across different bills, and suggest that the U.S. Department of Commerce create a working group in order to form a common definition of blockchain, as well as come up with suggestions for government tech and communications bodies to research the potential impact of blockchain tech across the policy spectrum.

Chilean Deputies Present Blockchain Adoption Resolution To Parliament

Two Chilean deputies, Miguel Angel Calisto and Giorgio Jackson presented a text to the lower house of Chile’s parliament this week for a blockchain resolution project. In the proposal, the legislators suggest that Chilean president Sebastian Pinera adopts blockchain in all public areas of the country. The resolution also offers to carry out studies on the advantages of blockchain-based security and energy solutions.

Adoption

Adoption

Ripple Launches xRapid Payment Solution, Signs On Three Companies

Ripple’s real-time settlement platform xRapid became commercially available this week, after the pilot phase had already been launched in May. The platform, designed with the intention of speeding up international payments, reportedly sources liquidity from the digital currency XRP on exchange globally. Three firms — Cuallix, MercuryFX and Catalyst Corporate Federal Credit Union — have thus far been signed up as clients.

Retail Brokerage Firm TD Ameritrade Backs New Crypto Exchange ErisX

US retail brokerage firm TD Ameritrade — which currently supports 11 million clients with investment services — is backing new cryptocurrency exchange ErisX. The details of the deal have not been made public, but Bloomberg reports that  investing company DRW Holdings and high-speed trader Virtu Financial are also participating with investments. According to the Wall Street Journal, ErisX will support both direct cryptocurrency sales as well as launch futures contracts in early 2019.

Ripple-powered Payments App MoneyTap Goes Live In Japan

MoneyTap, a consumer-focused service co-developed by Ripple and Japanese financial services firm SBI Holdings, was launched this week. According to MoneyTap’s website, the app will use blockchain solution xCurrent to permit domestic bank-to-bank transfers in “real time.” Account holders at three participating Japanese banks   SBI Sumishin Net Bank, Suruga Bank and Resona Bank   can send funds using the mobile app, which is compatible with both iOS and Android devices.

Institutional Investors Become Largest Crypto Buyers, Report Shows

Institutional investors are now bigger buyers of cryptocurrency transactions worth more than $100,000 as opposed to high net-worth individuals, Bloomberg reported this week. The publication’s research found that traditional investors like hedge funds are becoming more involved in the cryptocurrency market through private transaction, noting that miners have begun scheduling regular coins sales rather than holding or selling during market rallies.

Russia’s Nuclear Corporation To Use Blockchain For Increasing Efficiency

Rosatom, the Russian state nuclear energy corporation, will develop “4.0 technologies” including blockchain, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things in order to increase the efficiency of their manufacturing process. The corporation is also seeking new talent in the three new technological fields.

Mergers, Acquisitions, And Partnerships

Mergers, Acquisitions, And Partnerships

Enterprise Ethereum Alliance And Hyperledger Join Each Other’s Organizations

The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) and Hyperledger reported this week that they would each join the other’s organization as “Associate Members” in order to foment enterprise blockchain adoption. Brian Behlendorf, Executive Director of Hyperledger at the Linux Foundation and Ron Resnick, Executive Director of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, wrote about their decision to join together, nothing that collaboration will “enable more active and mutual cross-community collaboration through event participation, connecting with other members, and finding ways for our respective efforts to be complementary and compatible”

Funding Rounds

Funding Rounds

ConsenSys Invests $6.5 Million In Blockchain Startup Founded By Former R3 Execs

Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin has invested $6.5 million in DLT startup DrumG Technologies through blockchain ecosystem ConsenSys. DrumG, notably headed by senior level executives at rival blockchain consortium R3, will now include Lubin as an outside member of its board of directors, with Drum3 now having a “significant presence” in ConsenSys’s ecosystem. DrumG plans to address the problems in the blockchain space with acception of multiple interconnected distributed ledgers in the corporate world.

Yale University Participates In $400 Million Funding For Crypto-Focused Fund

Yale University, an Ivy League institution in the U.S., is reportedly one of of the investors in a $400 million investment into crypto-focused fund Paradigm. The fund was reportedly created by Coinbase co-founder Fred Ehrsam, former Sequoia Capital partner Matt Huang, and Charles Noyes, formerly of crypto fund Pantera Capital. Bloomberg notes that the fund reportedly plans to invest in “early-stage” crypto-focused projects, new blockchains and digital asset exchanges.

Binance Labs Invests “Millions” In Decentralized Digital Content Startup

Binance Labs, founded by major crypto exchange Binance, has reportedly invested millions of dollars in decentralized digital content ecosystem Contentos. The exact amount of Binance Lab’s “multi-million” investment was not disclosed. Contentos noted in their press release that they plan to develop a decentralized ecosystem that will allow for more transparency and the monetization of content.

South Korean VC Firm Invests For First Time In Blockchain Startup

Korean Investment Partners (KIP), South Korea’s largest venture capital firm, has invested in TEMCO, the first time the company has invested in a blockchain startup. KIP, known for investments in firms like Korean search engine Naver and Japanese messaging app LINE, has invested an undisclosed sum in TEMCO, which aims to develop supply chain management solutions on blockchain for enterprises.

Winners And Losers

Winners And Losers

Winners And Losers

Crypto markets have had a calm week, with Bitcoin trading at around $6,525 and Ethereum at around $223. Total market cap is around $216 billion.

The top three altcoin gainers of the week are RabbitCoin, Rupee, and Royalties. The top three altcoin losers of the week are Carebit, ConnectJob, and Oxycoin.

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

FUD Of The Week

FUD Of The Week

Expert From Blockchain Capital Believes Bitcoin Has Nearly Hit Bottom

Spencer Bogart, an expert in crypto and blockchain from Blockchain Capital, said this week that Bitcoin has almost found its bottom. According to Bogart, the markets are down around 70 percent from their high, so he thinks that “Bitcoin is close to bottoming and so is the rest of the market.” Bogart also noted that media coverage of the crypto markets is “a piece of kindling that we are going to throw onto a future crypto bonfire when we have the next bull market.”

Cryptojackers Have Compromised Over 30,000 Routers In India, Report Shows

Security company Banbreach’s recent report has found that the number of routers compromised by cryptojacking software in India has doubled in the past month, now numbering over 30,000. The report, which was compiled by tracking Internet traffic on devices with public IP address, grouped areas of India together from the most to the least dense. According to Banbreach, 45 percent of the compromised routers are located in the less-populated areas.

German ICO Investors Have Lost 90 Percent Of Their Capital, Report Finds

According to research, investors in German ICOs have lost as much as 90 percent of their capital. German business magazine WirtschaftsWoche looked at the token issue prices of ICOs in Germany in early September 2018, finding that German startup coins lost even more in value than Bitcoin and Ethereum so far this year. The magazine noted that only eight startups with a head office in Germany so far have completed an ICO.

Audit, Consulting Firm Deloitte Describe Five Obstacles To Blockchain Adoption

Deloitte has outlined five basic areas that need development in order for blockchain technology to achieve widespread adoption. According to the firm’s report, blockchain must first overcome five issues —  the possibility of time-consuming operations, lack of standardization, high costs and complexity blockchain applications, regulatory uncertainty, and the absence of collaboration between blockchain-related firms — before in can be more widely accepted.

WSJ Report Shows Automated Trading Bots Manipulate Crypto Market Prices

According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, automated trading programs (bots) are manipulating cryptocurrency prices. The WSJ writes that the lack of regulation in the crypto markets has allowed the bots to execute their abusive strategies on an industrial level. The article specifically references a $80 million digital currency hedge fund and its battle with “enemy bots” in the crypto markets.

Prediction Of The Week

Prediction Of The Week

Mike Novogratz: Bitcoin Won’t Break $9,000 In 2018

CEO of crypto investment firm Galaxy Digital Capital has corrected his BTC price forecast — having said in November 2017 that BTC could hit $45,000 in a year — now stating that Bitcoin won’t actually break $9,000 in 2018. Novogratz also suggested that the falling prices in the crypto market are a result of companies currently selling crypto “just to fund the burn rate of the industry.”

Best Features

Best Features

The Future Of Cryptocurrency Legislation

Brookings looks at where exactly cryptocurrency regulation is going in the future, noting key concerns such as the defining of crypto and tokens as securities, the multiple class-action suits against ICOs, and diverging international views on regulation.

Rapper Soulja Boy Extols Bitcoin Gains In New Song

Learn how American rapper Soulja Boy “got on a computer and bought a Bitcoin” in his new album. The rapper further explains in verse: “This cryptocurrency man, it’s crazy. I got Bitcoin, and I got Litecoin. I’m going digital. Yah. Soulja.”

Article First Published here

Hodler’s Digest, September 16-23: Elon Musk Wants Advice on Twitter Crypto Scammers, the US SEC Wants Comments on BTC ETFs

Coming every Sunday, the Hodler’s Digest will help you to track every single important news story that happened this week. The best (and worst) quotes, adoption and regulation highlights, leading coins, predictions, and much more — a week on Cointelegraph in one link.

Top Stories This Week

Japanese Cryptocurrency Exchange Zaif Hacked Of Reported 5,966 Bitcoins

As a result of a security breach on September 14, hackers have managed to steal 4.5 billion yen from Japan’s Zaif cryptocurrency exchange, as well as 2.2 billion yen from the assets of the company, with total losses amounting to 6.7 billion yen or around $59.7 million. Tech Bureau Inc, which operated Zaif, stated this week that the exchange detected a server error on September 17, after which Zaif suspended deposits and withdrawals. On September 18, the exchange realized that the error was a hack, and reported the incident to Japan’s financial regulator, reporting losses of 5,966 bitcoins (BTC) in addition to some Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and MonaCoin (MONA).

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk Turns To Dogecoin Creator To Stop Crypto Scammers

Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Elon Musk asked Jackson Palmer, the creator of Dogecoin (DOGE), to help him combat “annoying” cryptocurrency scammers on Twitter this week. Musk, directing his tweet at Palmer, asked for help getting rid of scam spammers, to which Palmer replied by sending Musk a short script in direct messages to try to fix the problem.

US SEC Postpones VanEck Bitcoin Exchange Traded Fund, Asks For Further Comments

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has requested further comments regarding its decision on the listing and trading of VanEck and SolidX’s Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund (ETF), which is expected to list on the CBOE BZX Equities Exchange (BZX). In a notice, the SEC asks for additional comments from interested parties addressing the sufficiency of the BZX’s statement in support of the proposal. In particular, the SEC is seeking comments on eighteen key issues, among which are commenters’ views on BZX’s assertions that BTC “is arguably less susceptible to manipulation than other commodities that underlie exchange-traded products (ETPs).”

New York Attorney General Report: Crypto Exchanges Vulnerable To Manipulation

A new report published by the New York Attorney General’s office states that cryptocurrency exchanges are vulnerable to manipulation, conflicts of interest, and other consumer risks. The findings, part of the “Virtual Markets Integrity Initiative” that consisted in surveying 13 cryptocurrency exchanges, found that an absence of standard methods for auditing virtual assets results in the lack of a consistent and transparent approach to independently auditing digital currency traded on exchanges.

Researchers Explain How Gemini Dollar Transactions Can Be Changed Or Paused

The implementation of the recently launched Gemini dollar (GUSD) stablecoin can be completely changed by a Gemini custodian every 48 hours, according to a study authored by blockchain researcher Alex Lebed and crypto consultant Alexey Akhunov. In the study, the authors review the code of the GUSD’s smart contract in order to demonstrate that the implementation of the Gemini USD can become non-transferrable or frozen at any moment, which is noted in the Gemini dollar’s white paper.

Most Memorable Quotations

“The data age is major opportunity for manufacturers to reform the industry. But blockchain and IoT will be meaningless tech unless they can promote the transformation of the manufacturing industry, and the evolution of the society towards a greener and more inclusive direction,” — Jack Ma, founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba

“Cryptocurrencies are perfect, but are used for bad purposes today, so [one has to be] careful. Blockchain and distributed ledger technologies are also perfect, they are big, big tools,” — Francisco Gonzalez Rodriguez, executive chairman of multinational Spanish banking group Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA)

“As the government and regulators decide whether the current Wild West situation is allowed to continue, or whether they are going to introduce regulation, consumers remain unprotected,” — UK Treasury Committee on cryptocurrency regulation

Laws And Taxes

Ukrainian Parliament Seeks To Tax Cryptocurrency Assets With New Bill

Ukraine’s parliament has proposed a bill that would tax operations with crypto assets with a five percent tax on individuals and legal entities operating with virtual currency assets, such as cryptocurrencies and tokens. Starting Jan. 1, 2024 crypto-related profits by businesses would be taxed at 18 percent, which is a basic rate for corporate and personal income tax in Ukraine. According to the lawmakers, the introduction of this tax would make it possible to “draw 1.27 billion hryvnia ($43 million) to the budget annually from 2019-2024.”

US Lawmakers Send Open Letter To IRS Asking For Crypto Taxation Clarity

U.S. lawmakers have called on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to issue clarified and “comprehensive” crypto taxation guidance in an open letter this week. The representatives deem that the IRS has had “more than adequate time” to work through complexities after its preliminary rules were issued four years ago, arguing that while the IRS has proactively continued to remind taxpayers of the penalties for non-compliance with its guidance, its failure to introduce a more robust taxation framework “severely hinders taxpayers’ ability” to meet their obligations.

Financial Task Force Says International AML Standards For Crypto Coming Soon

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) said it is getting closer to the establishment of a global set of anti-money laundering (AML) standards for cryptocurrencies. The agency’s president Marshall Billingslea reportedly said that he expects the coordination of a series of standards that will close “gaps” in global AML standards at an FATF plenary in October. At that time, the FATF will purportedly discuss which existing standards should be adapted to digital currencies, as well as revise the assessment methods of how countries implement those standards.

Adoption

Binance To Soon Begin Private Beta Testing Of Crypto-Fiat Singapore Exchange

Binance, the largest global crypto exchange, will soon start private beta testing a crypto-fiat exchange in Singapore, as Binance co-founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ) tweeted this week. According to CZ, the testing will be launched on September 18, and while no further details have been specified, the crypto-fiat Singapore-based exchange will presumably support the local Singapore dollar.

US PNC Bank To Use RippleNet For Customers’ International Payments

PNC, which is ranked among the top ten U.S. banks with 8 million customers and retail branches in 19 states, will use RippleNet to process international payments for its customers. A particular PNC unit — Treasury Management — will use Ripple’s blockchain solution xCurrent to speed up overseas transactions held by U.S. commercial clients. Ripple emphasises that xCurrent will allow PNC business clients to receive payments against their invoices instantly, changing their approach to managing both accounts and their working capital.

Ripple Executive Hints Of xRapid Launch Coming Soon

Head of regulatory relations for Asia-Pacific and the Middle East at Ripple Sagar Sarbhai told CNBC this week that Ripple has been making strides toward the launch of its product xRapid, noting that a commercial version of its payment platform could launch “in the next month or so.” The xRapid product is a real-time settlement platform designed to speed up international payments that addresses the issues of minimizing liquidity costs and making cross-border payment transactions faster.

Canadian Coinsquare’s Investment Subsidiary Launches Two Tech-Based ETFs

Coinsquare’s subsidiary — Coin Capital Investment Management — has reportedly become the 30th ETF operator in Canada, with the launch of the Coincapital STOXX Blockchain Patents Innovation Index Fund (LDGR) and the Coincapital STOXX B.R.AI.N. Index Fund (THNK) on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX). LDGR is a research-focused ETF that intends to provide investors with global equity securities of firms that invest in the development of blockchain technologies, while THNK, aims to provide investments in global equity securities concentrated around four “megatrends” in technology — biotechnology, robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), and nanotechnology.

Brazil’s Largest Brokerage To Launch Bitcoin, Ethereum Exchange

The largest brokerage in Brazil, Grupo XP, will enter the crypto space by launching an exchange for Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) in the near future called XDEX with around forty employees. Grupo XP is the biggest financial group in Brazil, comprising companies with various business models. XP has reportedly set a goal to have $1 trillion reais ($245 billion) under custody by 2020, which is four times what the company expects to raise by the end of this year. In addition, XP will launch a bank in the next few months.

Mergers, Acquisitions, And Partnerships

Crypto Exchange Huobi Joins Russian Bank Innovation Fund

Cryptocurrency exchange Huobi has joined Russia’s VEB Innovation Fund to share notes on crypto regulation. Russia’s cryptocurrency regulation draft law, which passed in a first reading in May, are tentatively set to be passed in October. One of the main goals of the partnership with Huobi and the VEB Innovation Fund is to draw on the crypto regulation experience gained by Huobi and to apply it in Russia, especially for adjusting the legal framework on digital assets.

Switzerland And Israel Agree To Share Blockchain Regulation Experience

Switzerland and Israel have agreed to share their experience on regulating the blockchain industry.Switzerland’s Minister of Finance Ueli Maurer and State Secretary for International Financial Matters Joerg Gasser have recently visited Israel to officially request access to the local markets for Swiss banks.As Gasser told Reuters, by the end of 2018 he plans to prepare a report on blockchain regulation for the Israeli officials that would outline general recommendations.

R3, Dutch Digital Security Company Partner For Blockchain-Based IDs

Blockchain consortium R3 has deployed a digital ID application developed by Dutch digital security company Gemalto on the latest version of the Corda Platform. The parties now expect to conduct several pilots of the application — called the Trust ID Network —  that will reportedly be launched later this year. The application enables digital service providers to operate “fully verified and secured” user personal data by creating a Digital ID, allowing consumers to register within various banking, e-commerce, and e-government services while avoiding repeated due diligence procedures.

Poland’s Largest Bank Partners With Coinfirm To Launch Blockchain Solution

Poland’s largest bank , PKO Bank Polski, will launch a blockchain solution for its customer documents via a partnership with UK-based Coinfirm “in the coming days,” the parties confirmed this week. As part of a drive to enhance security of customer data, PKO Bank Polski will use Coinfirm’s Trudatum to provide blockchain-issued paperwork to its some five million account holders.

Funding Rounds

Chinese Blockchain Fund To Raise Almost $13 Million For Japanese Stablecoin

Yao Yongjie, whose $1.5 billion Grandshores Blockchain Fund has the backing of well-known Chinese Bitcoin investor Li Xiaolai and the local government of the city of Hangzhou, is seeking to create up to three new stable cryptocurrencies (stablecoins) pegged to various fiat currencies. The first reported stablecoin project would involve the Japanese yen, and a second company Yao chairs, Hong Kong-based Grandshores Technology, aims to raise HK$100 million ($12.7 million) in financing for the cryptocurrency.

Winners And Losers

The crypto markets have experienced a comeback this week, with Bitcoin trading for around $6,756 and Ethereum at $245. Total market cap is now around $228 billion.

The top three altcoin gainers of the week are Carebit, Bob’s Repair, and the Ultimate Secure Cash. The top three altcoin losers of the week are Protean, Abulaba, and Bitmark.

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

FUD Of The Week

Bitcoin Core Updates Fixes Vulnerability That Could “Take Down The Network”

Bitcoin Core has released an update following the recent detection of a vulnerability in the software: Bitcoin Core 0.16.3 was released with a fix for a denial-of-service (DoS) vulnerability.The vulnerability could reportedly cause a crash of older versions of Bitcoin Core if they attempted processing a block transaction that tries to spend the same amount twice. According to Casaba Security co-founder Jason Glassberg, the recent vulnerability found on Bitcoin Core software could “take down the network.” He explained that the network crash “does not appear” to target users’ wallets, but would rather “affect transactions in the sense that they cannot be completed.”

China’s Central Bank Warns Public Of Risks With ICOs, Crypto Trading

The People’s Bank of China has issued a new public notice this week “reminding” investors of the risks associated with Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and crypto trading. Today’s notice ,released from the bank’s headquarters in Shanghai, censures the “unauthorized” and “illegal” ICO financing model for posing a “serious disruption” to the “economic, financial and social order.”

German Finance Minister Doubts Whether Crypto Could Ever Replace Fiat

Germany’s Finance Minister Olaf Scholz doubted publicly this week that cryptocurrencies can currently replace traditional fiat currencies. Scholz compared cryptocurrencies to the tulip fever bubble in the Netherlands in the 17th century saying, “and the danger is great that there will be such a tulip inflation,” noting that cryptocurrencies should also be closely observed by regulators, as they could be used for terrorist financing, money laundering or other criminal activities.

Reuters: Brazilians Antitrust Regulator To Inspect Six Major Banks Over Crypto Trade

Brazil’s antitrust regulator, the Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE), is reportedly inspecting six major national banks for alleged monopolistic practices in the crypto space, according to Reuters. The probe, which was initiated n the request of the Brazilian Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Association (ABCB) following several complaints, will determine whether the country’s largest banks closed the accounts of brokerages trading in Bitcoin.

Malware Reportedly Stolen From NSA Contributes To Skyrocketing Cryptojacking

Leaked code targeting Microsoft Systems which hackers allegedly stole from the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) sparked a fivefold increase in cryptocurrency mining malware infections, according to a report from the Cyber Threat Alliance. Eternal Blue, which was reportedly stolen and then used for the infamous cyberattacks WannaCry and NotPetya, has been used by hackers to gain access to computers in order to covertly mine for cryptocurrency, with detections up 459 percent this year.

Prediction Of The Week

Bitcoin To See 30 Percent Rally By End Of 2018, Says Mike Novogratz

Billionaire investor Mike Novogratz predicted this week on Twitter that Bitcoin will see a 30 percent rally by the end of 2018. Stating that the $8,800 to $10,000 threshold would be the the defining moment for institutional investors to enter the space, Novogratz claimed that it is impossible for BTC to not reach the $8,800 to $10,000 price points by the end of the year.

Best Features

Bitcoin Miners Flock To New York’s Remote Corners, But Get Chilly Reception

The New York Times visits Massena — a region formerly filled with American corporations offering unions jobs — that now has one of the state’s highest unemployment rates. However, as the Time notes, the “abundant, cheap electricity flowing from a dam in the St. Lawrence River,” has brought in the cryptocurrency mining companies, bringing mixed reactions from the area’s residents.

No One Knows What to Call the Hottest Cryptocurrency

After Ripple (XRP) saw an unprecedented amount of growth this week, the question arose: what is it really called — Ripple or XRP? While Ripple Labs Inc. notes that the tokens are different than its open-source network, the token did used to be referred to as “ripples (XRP).”

Article First Published here

Hodler’s Digest, August 26–September 2: Both Eminem and Yahoo Finance Embrace Bitcoin in Wins for Crypto Adoption

Top Stories This Week

Yahoo Finance Integrates Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin on iOS App

Yahoo Finance has integrated BTC, ETH, and LTC on its iOS app this week, with a version briefly appearing and disappearing on its desktop version despite Yahoo noting that the desktop, mobile web, and Android version won’t be available for several weeks. A Yahoo Finance press release notes that users that wish to trade crypto on Yahoo Finance will have to link a broker account via integrated third party service TradeIt.

“Operation Cryptosweep” Produces More Than 200 Crypto-Related Investigations

The North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) announced this week that their “Operation Cryptosweep,” which is a probe into potentially fraudulent crypto investment programs that was introduced in may, has resulted in over 200 investigations of ICOs and crypto-related investment products. The NASAA noted that investors should perform their own due diligence before investing in crypto-related projects, and stated that any project qualified as a security should be registered with the appropriate regulatory agencies or apply for an exemption from registration.

Report: North Korea Attempted to Mine BTC, While Local Firm Develops BTC Exchange

According to a report from South Korea’s state-run Korea Development Bank (KDB), North Korea (DPRK) has attempted to mine Bitcoin (BTC). According to a local news outlet, the mining attempt – which was reportedly conducted on a “on a small scale” between May and July 2017 – seems to have been unsuccessful. KDB’s research team also reported that North Korean tech firm Chosun Expo is allegedly now in the process of developing a BTC crypto exchange, without any further details provided.

JPMorgan CIO Thinks Blockchain Will “Replace Existing Technology” in Short Time

Lori Beer, the chief information officer at JPMorgan, believes that blockchain tech will eventually replace the current technology in the span of a few years. According to an Argentinian media source, Beer noted that JPMorgan uses blockchain technology to “simplify the payment process and to store customers’ information related to KYC (Know Your Customer) policy.” Beer also added that the bank currently only supports what is regulated in terms of cryptocurrencies, and has specialists who are “evaluating what is happening.”

Bitcoin Mentioned on Eminem’s New Album “Kamikaze”

U.S. rapper Ryan Daniel Montgomery, better known as Royce Da 5’9’, mentioned major cryptocurrency Bitcoin on rapper Eminem’s new album, “Kamikaze.” In “Not Alike,” the ninth track on the new album, co-star Royce Da 5’9” sings:

“Remember everybody used to bite Nickel, now everybody doing Bitcoin.” Forbes describes the line as an important sign of Bitcoin’s presence in mass culture and the realization that the cryptocurrency has a range of use cases beyond criminal.