This week has been pretty stable when it comes to price movement in Bitcoin and Ethereum. The major leaders of the crypto market have been in a rather deep slumber without the usual pounces. It seems the market is maturing with much stability and investors behaving rather patiently. But there has been a lot of hustle in the background. Let us look at the weekly report that summarises the crypto news and happenings of this week.
The week began with stablecoins bursting onto the main stage. The most widely used stablecoin Tether fell to as low as $0.92 due to market-wide selloff and soon Tether shaved 800 million which is nearly 30% of its market cap. This brought a price surge on many exchanges supporting BTC-USDT pairs. Another big move came from the sides of many large exchanges. Both Huobi and OKEx started supporting other competing stablecoins such as TrueUSD , Gemini USD, USD Coin, and the Paxos Standard. These coins are considered to be more transparent and regulator-friendly when compared to Tether. Though what is clear from the recent happening is that Tether is not the ticking time bomb it’s made out to be. Also, it is an exciting time as the longer Bitcoin remains consistent above $6000, the better its chances of going on a good run.
The US stocks were hit but it was reassuring to see a low correlation between crypto and more traditional markets. Bakkt finally revealed the day of their launch: December 12th. Although they haven’t received an approval from the CFTC, making their date public shows that they have confidence that they will be approved. Bakkt aims to be an open platform for digital assets across global markets and commerce. It will function as a scalable on-ramp for institutions, merchant and consumer participation in digital assets. What is exciting is that Bakkt will have a physically settled daily futures contract for Bitcoin. This is much more preferable than what the CME and CBOE futures currently offer. Bakkt says that they will not trade a single asset (here Bitcoin) many times over, but rather take the asset, and borrow against it many times over. But it’s hard to believe they would do as they say.
An unusual stableness was witnessed on Bitcoin. It traded between $6550 and $6350 for 10 days straight. It’s quite unusual as Bitcoin used to move $1000 in a day. It was also noticed that since September 14th, Bitcoin’s volatility has been less than NASDAQ, DOW, and S&P 500. Coinbase made two announcements.
- First was their support of Circle’s stablecoin, USDC. Coinbase stated that iots support for USDC comes from the fact that blockchain-based dollar is easier to program with, to send quickly, to use in dApps, and to store locally. Also, this would lead to a more open financial system. They also noted that stablecoins like USDC are ideal for business purposes and e-commerce applications. Without posing the risk of price volatility, payments denominated in these tokens can be made at any time of day. This isn’t possible with the volatile nature of Bitcoin, and other crypto-currencies.
- Second was that they received approval from New York regulators to form a qualified custodial form for Cryptocurrencies. This would help them not only to store more assets, but to add new features like staking.
Another exchange hack hit the news as the Swiss crypto exchange Trade.io was compromised with $7.6 million worth of TIO tokens. What was interesting in this case was the hackers did not steal the digital tokens from a hot exchange wallet, but rather from the cold storage. Many of the stolen funds were transferred to two exchanges which supported TIO token trades: Kucoin and Bancor. Both the exchanges were immediately notified about the matter and the trades for TIO were halted. The 50 million stolen TIO tokens were taken off the liquidity pool. Trade.io representatives along with the CEO have decided to fork the TIO chain and thus render the stolen tokens useless.
It was revealed that Trezor will very soon be supporting Cardano token ADA on its physical wallet. It has been revealed that many more from the top crypto will be supported on the new Trezor Model T including Monero, XRP token, ZenCash, ZCash, and Stellar Lumens. Another major news revealed the burning of 500 million USDT tokens by Tether which is more than half of their total USDT in circulation. The Tether issuance and redemption process is outlined in the Tether whitepaper, with issuances and redemptions visible through observing the Tether treasury balance on the OMNI blockchain. Tether is having a hard time sustaining as people are selling and resorting to the use of competitive of stablecoins like Gemini Dollar (GUSD) and USD Coin (USDC). This is because these coins are based off Ethereum blockchain which helps their transparency and programmable nature. The tokens are stored in smart contracts. Users can also verify and track the amount of USD stored in a particular stablecoin. This way, the overall transparency of the currency is increased.
WePower shook the blockchain space with their project to tokenize energy in Estonia using blockchain. The WePower engineers were able to upload 26,000 hours and 24TWh of energy production and consumption data to the Blockchain creating 39 Billion Smart Energy Tokens. This was a memorable achievement as it’s the first time that such a huge amount of real world data has been uploaded on a blockchain. Also, through testing real data, WePower has been able to build a fundamental new technology layer for the energy industry. This will allow for both software and hardware innovation which will change the way the energy sector operates, and for the better.
A group of three scholars (Tao Li, Donghwa Shin, and Baolin Wang) from University of Florida and Princeton University have studied and concluded in their paper that crypto pump and dump schemes are bad for the token economy or crypto space. These manipulations negatively impact the liquidity and price of crypto-currencies. Through their study, they outlined the strategies used by the schemers to plot a pump and dump. The use of encrypted messaging apps like Telegram was quite prevalent in the findings. For a planned pump, the operator would announce the target date, time, and exchange, usually at least one day in advance. However, they do not disclose the identity of the target token until the scheduled time. Members also receive multiple reminder messages before the announcement of the token symbol. As shown in the paper, a typical cryptocurrency P&D lasts for only several minutes. Therefore, it is reasonable to believe that Telegram channel members are important participants in P&Ds. They also found out it is the new investors which these groups target as they are more vulnerable. And even in the foreseeable future, many more new investors will keep losing their money to these pump and dump scammers.
On October 26, 2018, it was officially revealed on the Binance blog that a Blockchain powered donation platform has been introduced to the world. The platform is headed by the Blockchain Charity Foundation (BCF) which is a social project of the world’s largest crypto exchange, Binance. The first announcement regarding the project was made on October 24, 2018 during the World Investment Forum. It was also stated that for all the transaction made on the new platform, the transaction fee will be covered by Binance, the company, and the foundation. they are accepting donations in Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and Binance Coin (BNB). Also, the Tron Foundation has pledged an initial donation of $3 Million to the Blockchain Charity Foundation. This marked the first Blockchain session being carried out at the World Investment Forum. Over 700 attendees were present to attend the Blockchain for Sustainable Development forum including representatives from IBM, Hyperledger, ConsenSys, and Bancor.
The Chinese retail giant Alibaba made its Blockchain-as-a-service product globally available. The Alibaba Blockchain-as-a-service product will be spread to the rest of Asia, U.S., and Europe. They plan on launching the product in 19 regions with the assistance of 52 of the company’s data centres. In China itself, the product was launched last year in October. The Blockchain-as-a-service product will allow its clients to utilise the services of Alibaba BaaS in order to develop or create Blockchain based products. Organisations and corporate can build and host their own Blockchain products which are mainly smart contracts and apps. The product currently utilises Ant Blockchain along with IBM’s Hyperledger Fabric technology. Alibaba is aiming to form a ‘trust infrastructure’ that empowers innovations across all industries and the product is “guarded by trusted computing and a secure consortium blockchain network”. The Intel SGX will be used as security technology to protect both code and data from cyber-attacks. The platform will support consortium blockchain management, EDCCs (aka smart contracts), and software development kit (SDK) applications, as well as automatic deployment and monitoring, operating, and maintenance functions.
OKEx is among the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchanges in terms of trading volume. On October 25, 2018 they put forward a message on their site addressing their customers regarding the delisting of certain trading pairs. More than 50 trading pairs will be delisted from the exchange. One thing that needs to be focused on is that OKEx will only delist TRADING PAIRS but not the token themselves. The deadline for cancelling the orders is 6am, 31st October, CET (GMT +1). The platform also announced the listing of the following four stablecoins on its platform, all at once: TrueUSD (TUSD), USD Coin (USDC), Gemini Dollar (GUSD), and Paxos Standard Token (PAX).