Bitcoin teased the 4K USD mark all week but didn’t manage to overcome the barrier. Crypto payments may be coming to Starbucks and to commerce and Celer Network will be featured in Binance’s Launchpad next token sale.
Here’s what you need to know about last week’s events in the crypto world:
1. Cryptocurrency market analysis
Bitcoin (BTC) started the week at $3,845.09 and hit its lowest price of the week at $3,733.75. The coin barely recovered and closed Monday at $3,761.56. By the end of Tuesday however, the price of Bitcoin was at $3,896.38, having gained 3.5% from Monday’s closing price. From Wednesday 6 on, the closing price didn’t dip below $3,901.13, which occurred on Friday. The high of the week happened on Saturday, peaking at $3,987.24, 6.7% higher than the low of the week. BTC’s Sunday opening price was $3,966.17 and its closing price was $3,951.6, with a 0.36% loss throughout the day and a 2.8% gain on the week. Bitcoin’s market cap increased a 5.1%, going from $66,094,551,587 on Mar. 4 to $69,475,297,370 on the 10th.
Ethereum (ETH) started Monday at $132.16 and by midday, had hit the low of the week with ETH’s price at $125.4. By the end of the day, the price had gone up to $127.77, with a 3.3% loss for the whole day. Even though Tuesday had a low of $126.74, it managed to end the day at $137.82, increasing 8.7% throughout the day. The rest of the week didn’t see any significant changes, and the high of the week occurred on Thursday, with ETH coin reaching $140.86. By Sunday, things were pretty similar, with ETH opening the day at $138.18 and finishing the week at $136.76, with a 1% loss for the day and a 3.4% gain for the week. Ethereum’s market cap gained almost 1B this week, going from $13,432,896,569 on Monday to $14,384,860,876, gaining 7%.
Ripple (XRP) opened Monday at $0.312021. It also shared the previous coins’ tendency, experiencing the lowest price of the week on Monday, with XRP bottoming at $0.302677. By the end of Monday, XRP’s price had barely recovered, closing at $0.305133. The peak of the week happened on Wednesday at $0.320833, almost 6% higher than the low of the week. No important changes occurred during the week, and XRP closed Sunday at $0.313107 experiencing a 0.3% loss for the day and a 0.3% gain for the week. XRP’s market cap on Monday was $12,642,316,836 and by Sunday it was $12,972,692,491, gaining 2.6% throughout the week.
Litecoin (LTC) started Monday at $48.33, went down 5% during the day which made room for the low of the week to take place at $45.85. Though Tuesday saw the lowest opening of the week at $46.52, by the end of the day the coin had raised its price 14%, ending the day at $53.13. LTC’s price didn’t go below $52.28 on Wednesday, and it peaked at $59.29 on Saturday, an astounding 29% rise from its lowest price on Monday. LTC’s price at the end of Sunday was $57.18, showing a 1.6% loss for the day and a 18.3% gain for the week. LTC’s market cap on Monday was $2,820,102,325 and $3,478,033,205 on Sunday, gaining 23.3% of its value.
EOS opened the week on Monday at $3.55 and, like the rest of the coins above, also saw the low of the week, with its price at $3.21. The high of the week occurred three days later, on Thursday, with the coin peaking at $3.91, a 21.8% increase from the week’s lowest price. The openings from Wednesday through Sunday didn’t show any major changes, the latter opening at $3.77 and closing at $3.74, for a 0.8% loss for the day and a 5.3% gain for the week. The EOS market cap was $2,969,556,512 on Monday and by Sunday it was at $3,385,724,370, having gained 14% of its value during the week.
TRON (TRX) is #10 in the rankings. Following the aforementioned coins’ pattern, TRX saw its lowest price of the week on Monday at $0.021043. Mar. 4 closed at $0.022937, just a 1% gain for the day. The peak of the week happened on Tuesday, with TRX’s price hitting $0.024047. After that, things slowly went south, and from Wednesday to Saturday opening prices slowly decreased. Sunday open at $0.022948, not much different from Monday’s opening with a 1.2% increase overall for the coin. Mar. 10 finally closed at $0.023071 marking a 0.5% gain for the day and a 1.7% gain for the week. TRON’s market cap started at $1,529,482,001 on Monday and finished Sunday at $1,538,405,289 increasing its value by only 0.6%.
Though the week finished in the green for all top 5 cryptocurrencies, their achievements pale in comparison to Enjin Coin’s success. This token managed to gain 141% last week! It opened on Monday at $0.082117, and was rather stable until Friday Mar. 8, when Enjin announced its official partnership with Samsung Electronics. After that the token’s price skyrocketed, hitting the week’s peak of $0.249769 on Saturday. Finally Enjin’s price slightly decreased and closed on Sunday at $0.197793, making it the second-best performer of the last week.
2. Crypto payments may be coming to Starbucks
The Block reported on Mar. 4 that multinational coffee chain Starbucks has secured a “sizeable” equity deal with Bakkt, the institution-oriented cryptocurrency platform. According to speculation, Starbucks is preparing to become Bakkt’s first merchant-on-platform. This means customers in the United States (and in the future, around the world) would be able to pay for their cups of joe in Bitcoin. Although Starbucks is in fact a Bakkt founding partner, it is not a cash investor. The corporation also appears to be leading the development of the card and app that will allow the purchases—crypto will not be processed on-chain, but instantly transferred into fiat.
Starbucks’s equity deal is just the latest development in the Bakkt saga, which has been called “the biggest news in crypto this year.” The collaboration between huge institutional players like Starbucks, the Intercontinental Exchange, Microsoft, BCG, etc. in the foundation of Bakkt platform could be a catalyst for the approval of the first Bitcoin ETF. Founder of BK Capital Management’s Brian Kelly told CNBC “(Bakkt) will now have a U.S.-regulated exchange, and they have a licensed warehouse, which is how commodities are stored, and that’s going to make it a lot easier for an ETF to come through.”
3. Bitcoin mining revenues in slow recovery
Stats collected by Diar.co show that, after a 19-month low, Bitcoin miner revenues are finally seeing a small uptake. In February, miners collected 10% less in revenues than in January; a mere $195 million. For comparison, the all-time high in Bitcoin mining income was $951 million during the bull run of December 2017 — $295 million of these were just fees. Analysts at Diar believe it is likely that hash power will keep growing in the coming months, and the S15, Bitmain’s latest flagship miner, has already sold out twice-over. The next batch is shipping out in April.
It is worth noting that Bitmain was among the crypto companies to significantly reduce their staff in the last few months, as a result of the crypto winter. The outlet awtmt.com reported on Feb. 8 that some ex-Bitmain employees are working on the launch of a new cryptocurrency project: Matrix. Some of these former employees were those previously involved in Bitmain’s Bitcoin cash project, Copernicus. According to sources at CoinDesk, the new startup will offer cryptocurrency custody, over-the-counter trading and cryptocurrency lending.
4. TRON and Tether to introduce TRC-20-based USDT
On Mar. 4, TRON and Tether announced a partnership that will introduce a TRC20-based USDT to the TRON network by Q2 2019. This USDT will be interoperable with all TRON-based protocols and dapps. Media outlets are claiming this move will elevate TRON’s existing decentralized applications ecosystem, improve overall value storage, and increase decentralized exchange liquidity. The price of TRON (TRX) grew 6.7% during the 24 hours following the announcement. Tether CEO Jean-Louis der Velde stated “We are pleased to announce this collaboration with the Tron Foundation. This integration underlines our commitment to furthering innovation within the cryptocurrency space as we continue to anticipate the needs and demands of the digital asset community.”
TRON has recently been in headlines for its hard fork, which took place on Feb. 28. This implementation will deploy institution-friendly features such as multi-signature abilities and account management options, in a plan to bring TRON coin to massive adoption. Tether, on the other hand, managed to find some respite from the criticism it is usually subject to regarding its fiat reserve: last December, Bloomberg stated, after reviewing some documents, that Tether most probably has enough funds, though “bank statements reviewed by Bloomberg don’t show (…) where the funds originated or where they are now.”
5. UN details North Korea’s cryptocurrency hacks
According to Nikkei Asian Review, a recent report by the United Nations Security Council expert panel recounts how North Korea hacked major cryptocurrency exchanges in Asia to bypass economic sanctions. According to Nikkei, the U.N. panel estimates there were at least five attacks to cryptocurrency exchanges, worth $571 million in total, between January 2017 and September 2018. It appears the regime uses cryptocurrencies to evade sanctions imposed over its nuclear and missile programs; the main suspicion is that they prefer cryptocurrencies because they are hard to track. North Korea is suspected of using blockchain to circumvent financial restrictions as well. “One example,” reports Nikkei, “is Marine Chain, a Hong Kong-based startup that bought and sold ships around the world using blockchain technology.”
In a similar report dating from October last year, cybersecurity vendor Group-IB last October confirms the loss, although it claims the attacks were fourteen. The report attributes the hackings to North Korea’s Lazarus group. A year ago, South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) also attributed the hacks to North Korean hackers.
6. Bills and regulations
The Commerce Committee of the Connecticut General Assembly (CGA) introduced a bill on Mar. 7 to allow the use of smart contracts in commerce conducted or initiated in the state of Connecticut. Similarly, Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed a new legislation that exempts cryptocurrencies from state security laws if they are used for consumptive (not speculative or investment) purposes. This new law will take effect on Aug. 2, making it easier for entrepreneurs to launch blockchain-centered businesses.
In an international context, Eric Woerth, head of the Finance Committee of France’s National Assembly has suggested banning digital currencies that provide anonymity. The idea seeks to eliminate problems associated to fraud, tax evasion, money laundering, and energy consumption.
Additionally, as it was reported on Mar. 7 that the Russian Committee on Financial Markets is considering a compulsory identification process for cryptocurrency holders. This measure is meant to battle corruption and money laundering.
Finally, the Israel Securities Authority (ISA) has published a recommendation to apply Israeli Securities Law to crypto asset offerings, creating a special platform for trading crypto and adopting a crowdfunding model for cryptographic asset ventures.
7. New eToro crypto platform available in 32 states
After a 10 month long wait, eToro, a social investing platform with over 10 million registered users, announced on Feb. 7 through a press release shared to several media outlets, the launch of a new cryptocurrency trading platform and wallet service. US-based customers in 32 states will be able to trade 13 cryptocurrencies, (it is not yet known which they are). The multi-signature eToro crypto wallet supports six cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Stellar and Ripple, though more will be added in the future. Cryptocurrencies can be sent and received using a QR code or by sharing the wallet address. In addition, multi-asset trading is scheduled for launch in Q1 2020.
The platform’s social model includes CopyTrader and CopyPortfolios features, which let users share their real track record, portfolio, and trades with the community. CEO Yoni Assia explains, “users can collaborate with other crypto traders when making buying and selling decisions (or) adjust their trading strategies by watching and learning from others on the platform”. The announcement further reads “any eToro customer with an established track record who meets certain eligibility requirements may be copied and compensated for their performance, subject to risk analysis and supplemental evaluation.” According to Crunchbase, eToro has raised $222 million since 2007.
8. Celer Network (CELR) is Binance Launchpad’s next sale
An announcement made on Mar. 5 revealed that Binance Launchpad’s third token sale of 2019 will feature Celer Network (CELR). The token sale will open Mar. 19 at 2:00 PM UTC, and it will last until Mar. 24 2:00 PM UTC — although, if the last sales, BitTorrent Token and Fetch.AI (FET), are an example, it will most probably sell out long before that date. The total token supply of CELR will be 10 billion but the amount of tokens that will be allocated to Binance Launchpad will be of 597,014,925 CELR. The sale will follow a first come, first serve format with an individual cap of 1,500 USD per buyer, with each token being sold for 0,0067 USD.
Celer Network is layer-2 scaling platform that enables off-chain payment transactions and generalized off-chain smart contracts. According to a video released by the company, Celer hopes to raise around $4 million in Binance coins (BNB). Celer Network has already raised $23,250,000 at private sales and $7,475,000 at seed round sales.
Read our summary on how to participate in the Binance Launchpad Sale here.
9. Blockchain-based voting is coming to Mile High City.
Tusk Philanthropies, a non-profit organization founded by venture capitalist Bradley Tusk, announced on Thursday that the City of Denver would implement a pilot for a mobile blockchain-based voting system in its municipal elections this May. The pilot will offer active-duty military members and overseas voters the ability to vote using their smartphones. This is the second pilot launched by Tusk Philanthropies. In 2018, the non-profit partnered with the State of West Virginia to offer the same option for the state’s primary and general elections through the use of mobile voting platform Voatz. The same platform, along with the National Cybersecurity Center, are also partnering with the City and County of Denver for the upcoming municipal elections.
“The one thing everyone agrees on is that our democracy is broken, and politicians make policy decisions based on political inputs and usually nothing else,” said Bradley Tusk, founder and CEO of Tusk Philanthropies. The only way to change this, Tusk argues, is by causing a dramatic upturn in voter turnout, and the way to do this is to look towards 21st century technology and use tools such as cell phones, which are already in the pockets of voters.
Known for being one of the Big Four accounting firms, Ernst & Young (EY) made the headlines on Mar. 4 by launching their own tool for accounting and reporting taxes on cryptocurrencies. According to the official press release, this solution, called EY CAAT (Ernst & Young Crypto-Asset Accounting and Tax tool) will facilitate accounting and tax calculations for cryptocurrency transactions, especially for the upcoming tax filing obligations for US residents and citizens. The EY CAAT tool will help institutional clients who hold crypto assets on their balance sheets, but it will also help both institutional and individual clients who also engage on crypto trading on a smaller scale. The product will be made available to users of EY TaxChat, a service that pairs users of the platform with highly-trained professionals who can help them preparing the individual’s tax returns. The leader of EY Foundry, Chirag Patel, claims that EY CAAT is a “timely addition to our expanding portfolio of successful new digital businesses”, which is demonstrated by the surge in clients that the firm has had as of late.
This news is following a trend of multiple services and businesses who are supporting crypto tax calculation and reporting. This string of news started late last year, when Josh Mandel, State Treasurer of Ohio, announced that Ohio would allow businesses to pay 23 different taxes with BTC through the use of the online payment platform BitPay. Then, in January, American exchange Coinbase partnered with TurboTax Online, a software designed for tax preparation, to add a brand-new crypto section for their Premier version of their software. Then, in early February, the same software partnered with Coinstax LLC to support for crypto tax calculation, which allowed users to import their data directly from crypto exchanges.
The announcements of a crypto tax accounting tool, and the blockchain-based voting system that will be implemented by Tusk Philanthropies, show that crypto technology and cryptocurrencies are slowly but surely becoming more commonplace in society, a notion that would be much stronger if the speculation surrounding Starbucks were to be true.
We wish you a great week,