An exciting week for the cryptocurrency markets ended in some double digit losses on Sunday. Coinbase’s CEO weighed in on the QuadrigaCX saga, institutions are announcing new blockchain-based tokens, Samsung will incorporate private key storage to its newest phone, and a survey reports millennials trust crypto exchanges more than stock markets.
Here’s what you need to know about last week’s crypto market and headlines:
1. Crypto Market Analysis
Bitcoin broke the $4,000 threshold for the fourth time in 2019, but was not able to hold its position, losing $4B in market cap over the weekend. In spite of this, the price of Bitcoin is still well above where it was in early February, and actually closed with a 7-day gain. Monday began at $3,671.37 and peaked at $3,936.67. Tuesday finally broke the psychological barrier, peaking at $4,010.88, but it would be short-lived, as the day ended at $3.947,09. The following days followed the same pattern, surpassing the $4,000 mark at some point but closing the day just below it. This would change once Friday rolled around, beginning at $3.952,41 and closing at $4.005,53. Sunday would then see a 1.57% surge, which brought the week’s high point, $4.210,64. Sunday’s crash would eventually mean a 8.1% loss in Bitcoin’s price: from $4.145,46 to $3,810.43. Despite the 8.1% loss on the day, the price of Bitcoin experienced a 3.8% gain on the week.
Ethereum (ETH) started the week at $133.03 and peaked at $149.72 on Monday. Tuesday’s high was $149.28 and it dropped to $145.35 by the day’s close. Wednesday the 20th saw Ether fluctuate between $142.50 and $149.55, closing at the latter. Thursday closed at $146.13 and by Friday, the price was surging again, closing at $149.09. Saturday and Sunday had the highest prices of the week, $159.13 and $165.55 respectively, though by the end of the weekend, the price of Ethereum had slumped along with other cryptocurrencies, closing the 24th at $135.858, a loss of almost 18% from its highest on that day alone. Ethereum closed last week with a 2.1% gain on the week and 14.5% loss on the day.
Ripple (XRP) started Monday at $0,3030 and peaked on Tuesday at $0.3436. Wednesday’s high point was $0,3336, and Thursday and Friday closed almost exactly at the same amount: $0,3213 and $0,3219 respectively. Even though Saturday had one of the highest closings of the day at $0.3326, Sunday experienced the lowest of the week with $0.2993, losing almost 13% of its value, compared to the highest on Tuesday. Ripple ended Sunday at 0,3014 with a 9.5% loss on the day and a 0.5% loss on the week.
EOS opened the week at $2.88 and only went up from there, gaining 20% that day and closing at $3.47. Tuesday to Friday saw little change, opening on Tuesday at $3.51 and closing on Friday at $3.89, fluctuating in a 10% corridor between those days. When the weekend surge came, the price of EOS closed on Saturday at $4.27. The week peaked on Sunday the 24th at $4.44. By the end of Sunday, the EOS coin had gone back down to $3.59, experiencing a 16% loss on the day and a 24.6% gain on the week.
Litecoin (LTC) had three distinct surges this week, but lost most of the advantage by the close of Sunday. Monday started at $43.88 and peaked at $49.22 (first big surge: 12.1%). Tuesday peaked around the same level and swung under before surging for a second time, arriving at Wednesday’s high point of $52.16. Thursday disappointed LTC investors with a 6.3% loss that settled in until Saturday, when the altcoin shot from $49.67 to the week’s peak, $53.42 on Sunday: a final surge of 8.9%. In a few hours, however, Sunday would close at $44.68, for a 13.5% loss on the day and a 1.82% gain on the week.
Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong as has expressed his opinion that Quadriga CX did not in fact plan an exit scam. Armstrong supports his claims explaining that the crypto exchange in question was one of the oldest exchanges in existence, and that if they were planning to scam people, their timing would have been better. He also says that is likely that people at the QuadrigaCX headquarters knew about the wallets and used the untimely death of their CEO as “an outlet to let the company sink”.
On the 19th the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia assigned Miller Thompson and Cox & Palmer to represent the 115,000 customers affected by the “missing” wallets. The next hearing is scheduled for March 5th. According to a report published by Ernst & Young on February 20th, QuadrigaCX sent all crypto assets it still held in hot wallets over to the aforementioned auditing firm back on February 14th: 51 Bitcoin, 952 Ethereum, 822 Litecoin, 33 Bitcoin Cash, and 2,033 Bitcoin Gold. This amounts to roughly $410,000 which will be held in Ernst and Young’s cold storage, “pending further order of the Court,” as the report reads.
3. Education certificates on the blockchain and new research center
The Principality of Andorra and Malta both have announced plans to store education certificates on the blockchain. Andorra’s plan is to digitize higher education academic degrees by storing them on-chain, with Andorra Telecom providing blockchain access. The government stated that this will create a more secure register system while reducing administrative expenses, and that they plan to include secondary educational degrees in the near future. Malta, on the other hand, will have all its schools issue certificates on the blockchain – including state, church, and independent schools.
While some schools want to implement blockchain tech in their infrastructure, others want to study it in its own right. Fudan University (China) opened their new blockchain research center on February 15th: the Shanghai Blockchain Engineering Technology Research Center. The center will carry out blockchain research, application, and talent training. This will help promote the development of the blockchain community, which will eventually facilitate—allegedly— the development of Shanghai’s economy.
4. Two new crypto tokens announced
This week saw the announcement of two brand new cryptocurrency tokens. The first of them is ReitzBZ, to be released by Brazil’s Banco BTG Pactual SA, the largest investment bank of Latin America; the other is J-Coin, a stable-coin that is going to be the cryptocurrency of the Mizuho Financial Group, an important banking firm in Japan. ReitzBZ is backed by distressed real estate assets in Brazil, whereas J-Coin will be Yen-pegged, with the current plan pricing putting one J-Coin at 1 yen per unit.
The plan for ReitzBZ is to enable investors to purchase real estate assets at a lower cost than usual for future profit. In a somewhat ironic turn of events, ReitzBZ will be available almost worldwide by using GUSD or ETH—with Brazil and the United States being the only exceptions. This is only due to the current regulatory landscape, so soon enough people will be able to purchase ReitzBZ in Brazil. J-Coin, on the other hand, will bridge the gap between 56 million different customer accounts. Through the use of a proprietary mobile app, users will be able to use QR codes for everyday transactions, and will not have to endure credit checks. Additionally, there is no age restriction for J-Coin, meaning that even people under the age of 18 will be allowed to use the crypto service.
5. Tech moguls on crypto
On Feb. 10, Elon Musk was invited to the ARK Invest podcast to talk about the future of Tesla, and, as a curveball question, he was asked to give his opinion on Bitcoin. Musk was quite straight-forward in saying that Bitcoin’s structure was “quite brilliant”, and that it is a “far better way to transfer value compared to pieces of paper”. However, he also stated that he doesn’t see Tesla getting involved with crypto, as they are “just really trying to accelerate the advance of sustainable energy”. Additionally, his main criticism to Bitcoin was in regards of the amount of energy it consumes. He tweeted on Feb. 21 that he only has 0.25 BTC and has no other crypto holdings.
Another tech giant, Mark Zuckerberg, stated recently that a decentralized system use case for Facebook may give users more control over their data. In an interview with Harvard Law professor Jonathan Zittrain, Facebook’s CEO mentioned he would like to incorporate blockchain, which could potentially allow users to have control over their personal information, enabling them to log into different sites directly, without an intermediate.
6. Users report a blockchain mining scam in Thailand
As reported by the Bangkok Post on February 18th, 30 people filed claims against CryptoMining.Farm, an alleged Thai Bitcoin mining service offering lifelong mining contracts with annual returns of 70 percent. The complaints claim that this service is an investment scam that has led to the loss of 42 million THB (roughly $1.34 million USD), and authorities state that the total amount of people affected by the scam numbers up to 140.
Initially, the site allowed withdrawals anytime, without any conditions or limitations. Then the service started imposing certain conditions for withdrawals. One user claims that the problems started in August, when limitations and conditions were introduced. The situation started getting worse, and it came to a head at the start of February, when the service announced that they would pay investors back in 84 instalments, or seven years. The suspects have already been charged with conspiracy to defraud and money laundering, but they pleaded not guilty in November 2018.
7. The Central Bank of Lithuania updates its position on virtual assets
The Bank of Lithuania has recently released an updated version of its position regarding virtual assets and ICOs. The updated version substitutes the term virtual currency for “virtual assets”, but it still defines how and when virtual assets can be used for payments. Financial market participants (FMP) are still prohibited from receiving this type of payment, but it allows them to hire third parties to manage said payments and convert them to fiat. The document also defines the circumstances under which FMP can accept virtual assets as collateral.
The previous limitations largely remain, but the creation of funds for professional investors that include digital assets, as well as the use of third-party services to process crypto payments, are a major breakthrough. New ICO regulations and a new anti-fraud mechanism are in the works following the 305% ICOs growth Lithuania’s had lately, which is around $567 million compared to 18 months ago, situating the country as one of the leaders in crypto.
8. Samsung Galaxy S10 to include crypto wallet feature
The new Samsung Electronics smartphone, the Galaxy S10, was unveiled during a press event on February 20th. It was also revealed that the Galaxy S10 would include storage for private cryptocurrency keys. However, Samsung actively avoided the term “crypto wallet”. Instead, the new feature was pushed as an all-in-one blockchain platform called Knox. As revealed by Heslin Kim on Twitter , the smartphone comes with blockchain tutorials, as well as minimalistic and user-friendly Bitcoin and Ethereum wallets.
It has been theorized that Samsung may be avoiding using the term “cryptocurrency wallet” because it could scare many potential users. The decline in value that cryptocurrency suffered recently and the $150 million QuadrigaCX saga have tarnished the public image of cryptocurrencies, which could explain Samsung’s careful approach. Samsung has also integrated PUF technology into the phone’s Exynos 9820 chip, which already makes it more secure than other existing crypto wallets.
9. The FBI is looking for Bitconnect victims
More than a year has passed since Bitconnect closed in January 2018. And now, the investigation of the 2.5 billion USD Ponzi scheme has entered a new stage, where the government is talking to people who were victims of the Bitconnect scam. All Bitconnect victims can apply online by answering a questionnaire, which could be used in the investigation.
Bitconnect is currently facing multiple lawsuits which have exposed it as a Ponzi scheme. But even so, there have been attempts in the BitConnect community to spark life back into BCC. In late December 2018, a Bitconnect Coin Community on Twitter popped up, claiming that Bitconnect is now fully decentralized and not dependent of any platforms. A Discord server is also active, where people are also trying to bring BCC back to life as a community effort.
10. Roughly half of millennials trust crypto exchanges over the stock market
A survey conducted by the investment platform eToro U.S. showed that millennials trust cryptocurrency exchanges more than the U.S. stock market. The nationwide investigation surveyed 1,000 online traders of different generations, and its results indicate that 43 percent of millennial traders trust crypto exchanges more than stock exchanges. This contrasts directly with the survey results for Gen X traders, as 77% of them trust stock exchanges more.
The fact that younger generations are more welcoming of newer technologies shouldn’t surprise anybody, but the difference in results between the two generations speaks volumes of the skepticism that is felt among older traders. Likewise, skepticism can also be felt among younger traders, as it showed that 71% of millennials that don’t trade crypto would invest in it if it were offered by traditional institutions, and that 93% of millennials that already trade would invest even more if that happened. The managing director of eToro U.S. says that the negative experience of millennials with the stock market led to loss of trust and to the perception that crypto exchanges are less likely to be subject to manipulation.
After a rough week, most top ten cryptocurrencies are back in the green at press time, after experiencing major losses in the early morning. Will crypto prices continue to rise steadily throughout the week and follow last week’s curve? It remains to be seen whether the positive outlooks of Zuckerberg and Musk on crypto will weigh enough to spark another brief rally or if we will have new developments in the QuadrigaCX saga.
We wish you a great week,
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