Crypto Hedge Fund Manager Disputes Augur Metrics of $2 Mln, Claims Only $100,000 at Stake

Reactions to the Augur’s latest weekly report follow Jimmy Song highlighting low user numbers.

Blockchain-based prediction market Augur is reportedly significantly overestimating its usage, a founding partner of cryptocurrency hedge fund Tetras Capital claimed on social media on Jan. 10.

The latest criticism of the project, Alex Sunnarborg took Augur to task following publication of its most recent weekly report showing the amount of money circulating within its markets.

Specifically, the report claims around $2 million is currently involved in wagers set up by users. Sunnarborg, however, notes the figure includes wagers which have already closed.

“Augur metrics showing ~$2 (million) ‘total money at stake’ include markets that have already ended,” he tweeted, adding:

“If we exclude markets that have ended there is (less than $100,000) total money at stake on Augur.”

The largest wager still active is a bet on the market cap of Ether (ETH) overtaking that of Bitcoin (BTC) by the end of this year.

As Cointelegraph reported, cryptocurrency figures have pointed out an apparent discrepancy in Augur’s user numbers versus the amount the company raised in its 2017 initial coin offering (ICO).

In a blog post last month, Bitcoin developer Jimmy Song alleged that based on an average daily user base of just 25, each participant was worth $3.65 million of the ICO market cap.

“Amazingly, this is one of the success stories for an altcoin/ICO!” Song commented, while noting that Augur had produced better results than other ICO projects which failed to bring a product to market.

At the same time, the CEO of cryptocurrency trading platform BitMEX forecast a renaissance for ICOs within the next 18 months, countering the 2018 bear market which saw some tokens lose more than 90 percent of their value.

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Circle CEO Says More Regulatory Clarity From US SEC Will Help Unlock Crypto Markets

The CEO of Circle says the biggest regulatory hurdle facing the industry today is the lack of clarity over crypto and securities laws.

CEO and co-founder of Goldman Sachs-backed crypto finance company Circle has said the biggest regulatory hurdle facing crypto today is the lack of clarity from the United States securities regulator over how to define various crypto assets.

Jeremy Allaire made his remarks in an AMA reddit thread he initiated on Jan. 10 together with Circle co-founder Sean Neville and other representatives from the firm.

In response to a question over Circle’s efforts to educate regulators like the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) about the crypto industry, as well as specific challenges the company faces, Allaire wrote:

“The biggest and most immediate regulatory hurdle we face is the lack of specific guidance from the SEC on how to classify various crypto assets. We believe many are clearly currencies and commodities, and there needs to be more specificity on what are really securities. This can unlock a lot of market activity, and also clearly enable the growth of a market for crypto-based securities.”

In response to other regulation-focused questions, Allaire also stated Circle’s belief that tax treatment should be differentiated for crypto-to-crypto transactions — noting that France has inched ahead of other countries in pursuing a statutory amendment to this end.

As reported, France’s prospective bill to ease crypto-crypto taxation has notably recently faced a setback in parliament.

Other topics that gained traction on the thread were discussions of privacy-focused altcoins such as Monero (XMR), with many redditors keen to get insights into Circle’s approach to handling scrutiny from regulators and law enforcement into so-dubbed opaque blockchains.

Robert Bench, chief compliance officer and head regulatory counsel for Circle, clarified that while no specific legislation has yet been drafted in the U.S. in regard to privacy coins, Circle may take use of such assets into account for its customers’ risk assessments.

Noting that tackling privacy and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) compliance is high on regulators’ agenda, he added that he “wouldn’t underestimate the ability of smart industry and government participants to find solutions to provide transparency on these coins [in the future].”

As reported, Allaire has recently predicted that Bitcoin (BTC) will eventually be worth a great deal more than now, but stopped short of Bitcoin maximalism, stating:

“I do not think it’s winner-take-all. We have the phrase ‘the tokenization of everything,’ and we think cryptographic tokens are going to represent every form of financial asset in the world. There will be millions of them in years.”

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Almost 5 New Cryptocurrency ATMs Installed Worldwide Each Day, Data Shows

The number of crypto ATMs installed worldwide has surged past the 4,000 mark, despite persistently bearish market action.

The number of crypto automated teller machines (ATMs) installed worldwide has surged past the 4,000 mark, data from industry statistics aggregator Coin ATM Radar indicates on Jan. 10.

The current rate of growth is 4.9 new ATMs installed each day, according to Coin ATM Radar’s gauge scale — tipping into the highest speed class, despite persistently bearish market action.

Crypto ATM installation speed. Source: coinatmradar.com

Out of a total of 4167 crypto ATMs worldwide, 71.8 percent are located in North America — 56 percent in the United States and 15 percent in Canada — 23 percent are in Europe, and 2.6 percent in Asia. 1.3 and 1.1 percent are in Oceania and South America respectively, and just 0.2 percent are located in Africa.

Within Asia, Hong Kong has the lion’s share of ATMs — accounting for 0.8 percent of machines worldwide — while in Europe it is Austria (6.4 percent), closely followed by the United Kingdom (4.8 percent).

According to the data, installations in the United States rose from 1,216 on Jan. 1, 2018 to 2,475 as of today — 1,259 new ATMs in just over a year. California has the highest number of any state — with a total of 473 machines — followed by Illinois with 250.

While the vast majority of the 4167 crypto ATMs worldwide support Bitcoin (BTC) — 99.9 percent, or 4,162 — 64.6 percent support one or more altcoins.

These break down to 59.5 percent support for Litecoin (LTC), 49.3 percent support for Ethereum (ETH) and 33.9 percent support for Bitcoin Cash (BCH). Dash (DASH) is supported by 17.9 percent of ATMs, while Monero (XMR), Dogecoin (DOGE) and ZCash (ZEC) are each supported by 3 percent or less.

Conspicuously absent from Coin ATM Radar’s global statistics is India. As reported last November, the developers of the country’s first Bitcoin “ATM” were arrested in the city of Bangalore under criminal charges due to its “ATM” label, as the machine was not strictly an ATM but a device that aimed to allow crypto users to circumvent banking channels.

The arrests came after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI)’s spring 2018 prohibition on banks’ dealings with crypto-related firms.

Earlier this month, Cointelegraph reported that Bitcoin ATM manufacturer Lamassu has relocated to Switzerland, due to regulatory difficulties in other countries. Lamassu revealed its applications to open an account were rejected by 15 banks because it produces terminals for Bitcoin, even though the company does not partake in trading or storing cryptocurrencies.

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Venezuelan WTO Request Accuses US of ‘Discriminatory Measures’ Against Petro Coin

Venezuela has requested consultations with the U.S. government in connection with “discriminatory” sanctions against its national digital currency.

Venezuela has taken issue with United States sanctions, including those levied against transactions in the country’s national digital currency, the Petro (PTR), according to a World Trade Organization (WTO) consultation request, published Jan. 8.

The request, dubbed “United States — Measures relating to trade in goods and services,” was originally filed on Dec. 28. In the document, the delegation of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela requests consultations with the U.S. government regarding “certain measures imposed by the United States in relation to trade in goods and services.”

In particular, the document describes five key areas through which the U.S. purportedly introduced “coercive trade-restrictive measures […] on the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.” One of the fives areas describes “[d]iscriminatory coercive trade-restrictive measures with respect to transactions in Venezuelan digital currency.”

In this section, the Venezuelan government alleges that the U.S. government subjects Venezuelan financial services and financial service suppliers to the above measures, “under which suppliers receive treatment less favourable than that accorded to like services and service suppliers of WTO Member States not subject to the measures.”

The document also alleges that:

“[…]inasmuch as digital currencies originating in the United States are not subject to the same prohibitions as Venezuelan digital currencies, the United States is according less favourable treatment to Venezuelan financial services and service suppliers than to like domestic financial services and service suppliers, in violation of Article XVII:1 of the GATS.”

Venezuela thus requests consultations with the government of the U.S. and modification, replacement and amendment of the measures identified in the compliant.

In February 2018, the Venezuelan government launched the pre-sale of its national oil-backed cryptocurrency Petro (PTR). The country reportedly introduced the currency in an attempt to attract foreign investors and skirt U.S. and EU sanctions, as well as overcome catastrophic hyperinflation in the country.

Later in August, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro announced that the Petro will be used as a unit of account within the country, creating two official currencies. In December, the country took one more step towards mass adoption of the Petro by reportedly automatically converting pensioners’ most recent monthly bonus into the cryptocurrency.

Today, Jan. 10, Cointelegraph reported that the Venezuelan government has published a new decree that introduces taxation for operations with cryptocurrency and foreign fiat currencies. The decree states that all citizens who deal with cryptocurrencies or foreign fiat currencies are now obliged to report their income and pay taxes in the same currency they have operated in, and not in the sovereign bolivar.

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Bitcoin Dips Below $3,700 as All Top Cryptos See Severe Losses

All of the top 20 cryptocurrencies report severe losses, with Bitcoin tumbling below the $3,700 threshold.

Thursday, Jan. 10 — all of the top 20 cryptocurrencies are seeing severe losses in the 24 hours to press time. Bitcoin’s (BTC) price has dipped below the $3,700 mark, according to Coin360 data.

Market visualization from Coin360

Market visualization from Coin360

At press time, Bitcoin is down over 9 percent on the day, trading at around $3,661. Looking at its weekly chart, the current price is lower than $3,888, the price of BTC one week ago. The current Bitcoin value is also substantially lower than $4,108, its mid-week high reported on Tuesday.

Bitcoin 7-day price chart

Bitcoin 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Ripple (XRP) has regained its position as the second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, overtaking Ethereum (ETH). Moreover, the divide between the two assets coins has shrinked, with Ethereum’s market cap being $13.3 billion and Ripple’s — $13.57 billion.

Ripple is down over 9 percent on the day, trading at around $0.33 at press time. On the weekly chart, the current price is lower than $0.364, the price at which the cryptocurrency started the week. XRP’s current price is also notably lower than its high of $0.381, reported earlier today.

Ripple 7-day price chart

Ripple 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Ethereum has seen its value decrease by about 16 percent over the last 24 hours. At press time, ETH is trading at around $127, having started the day around $151. On the weekly chart, Ethereum’s current value is significantly lower than $150, the price at which the coin started the week.

Ethereum 7-day chart

Ethereum 7-day chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Among the top 20 cryptocurrencies, none are experiencing growth other than the stablecoin Tether (USDT), which grew by 0.65 percent in the last 24 hours. The cryptocurrencies reporting the most substantial losses in the top 20 by market cap are Iota and Neo, which are down over 16 percent.

The combined market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies — currently at about $122 billion — is lower than $130 billion, the value it reported one week ago. The current value is also substantially lower than $138 billion, the value it reached earlier today.

Total crypto market cap 7-day chart

Total crypto market cap 7-day chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

As Cointelegraph reported today, a critical vulnerability that leaked sensitive user data has been discovered and quickly patched on the Nasdaq-powered cryptocurrency and tokenized stock exchange DX.Exchange.

Furthermore, news broke earlier today that several tobacco shops in Paris, France, have started selling Bitcoin despite a degree of regulatory uncertainty. Customers can reportedly purchase tickets for the sums of 50, 100 or 250 euros with an alphanumeric code and a QR code, which can then be used to obtain Bitcoin.

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Ethereum Classic 51% Attack — The Reality of Proof-of-Work

A successful 51 percent attack on the Ethereum Classic blockchain has raised some big questions around smaller cryptocurrencies using proof-of-work algorithms.

Just two weeks into the new year and the cryptocurrency community is grappling with the reality of an alleged “51 percent attack” on the Ethereum Classic (ETC) blockchain.

While there is still no clear idea of who is responsible for the manipulation of ETC’s blockchain by controlling the majority of CPU power in the mining pool, the circumstances raise some big questions concerning the security and power of proof-of-work (PoW) algorithms.

It is worth taking a look at the chain of events leading up to the confirmation that ETC had indeed been the target of a blockchain reorganization.

On Jan. 7, ETC developers were alerted of a possible attack on the network by Chinese blockchain security firm SlowMist, which was relayed to the wider community on Twitter.

A tweet from the ETC Twitter handle, which has since been deleted, speculated that testing of new 1,400/Mh ethash machines by application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) manufacturer Linzhi may have been a potential cause.

ETC developers said that the attack was “most likely selfish mining,” noting that they had not detected any double spends at the time.

Following this, American cryptocurrency exchange and wallet service Coinbase also detected what it described as a 51 percent attack. The company then paused all ETC transactions.

Coinbase had identified a “deep chain reorganization” of the ETC blockchain which included a double spend on Saturday, Jan. 5. By the evening of Jan. 7, the company had taken stock of multiple double spends on the network:

“At time of writing, we have identified a total of 15 reorganizations, 12 of which contained double spends, totaling 219,500 ETC (~$1.1M).”

The Coinbase team seems to have conducted a thorough blockchain analysis and provided specific instances of blockchain reorganization.

Crypto exchanges Coincheck and BitFlyer followed suit, announcing halts of ETC transactions on their platforms.

On Jan. 9, SlowMist released a detailed report on the 51 percent attack, corroborating the same chain reorganizations released by Coinbase, as well as other transactions targeting Binance and Bitrue wallets. Bitrue also confirmed the attack on Twitter.

SlowMist also believes that a concerted effort by all the exchanges involved could help identify the perpetrator:

“Through our intelligence analysis, the identity of the attacker can be finally located if the relevant exchanges are willing to assist.”

Cryptocurrency exchange Gate.io also confirmed that it had picked up at least seven double spend transactions after conducting its own investigation into the attack. Users of the exchange were guaranteed to be paid back for any losses experienced.

Unpacking blockchain reorganization

The notion of a 51 percent attack is not new, and there have been instances of this over the years — even being popularized by the Hollywood sitcom Silicon Valley.

An attack on a blockchain that uses a PoW algorithm for consensus is possible if the attackers have over 50 percent control of the network hash rate.

If this is the case, the controlling CPU power will allow an attacker to create a seperate chain from any previous block in the blockchain. Given that it has the majority of computing power, its new chain will eventually overtake the accepted chain by the network, thereby defining a new transaction history.

In this new chain, the attackers are able to double spend virtual currency, meaning that the funds that have already been spent on the network’s chain could be spent again on the attackers chain.

As Emin Gün Sirer, a developer and professor at Cornell University, told Cointelegraph, a 51 percent attack is bad, but it does not give attackers omnipotent power:

“Miners at 51 percent or more have a lot of powers, but they do not have the ability to change the actual rules of the system, nor can they usurp funds. They can rewrite the existing blockchain in a limited fashion: they cannot introduce transactions that don’t already exist, they can omit any transaction that they want, and they certainly cannot change any of the existing rules.”

The reality of consensus

Proof-of-work consensus requires a network of miners to process transactions. This is clearly set out in Satoshi Nakamoto’s Bitcoin white paper, which also makes it clear that more than half of the network must be so-called “honest” workers:

“If a majority of CPU power is controlled by honest nodes, the honest chain will grow the fastest and outpace any competing chains.”

Thus, vulnerability is inherently built into PoW consensus algorithms, as the network assumes that mining nodes are honestly validating transactions. The evolution of mining has seen the rise and domination of ASIC chips — as well as the amassing of hash power by massive groups of mining pools, which then share the rewards of their combined work.

These large pools potentially pose a threat to any cryptocurrency using PoW algorithms, as a concerted effort to pool resources that would combine hash rate over 50 percent of the total network gives them control. In this instance, the network becomes centralized like a bank.

Following the ETC attack, Litecoin (LTC) founder Charlie Lee said this vulnerability is a necessary point of weakness for a fully decentralized cryptocurrency:

“By definition, a decentralized cryptocurrency must be susceptible to 51% attacks whether by hashrate, stake, and/or other permissionlessly-acquirable resources. If a crypto can’t be 51% attacked, it is permissioned and centralized.”

Gun Sirer was far less positive in a thread of posts on Twitter, noting that the immutability of the blockchain was completely compromised:

“A deep reorg is a rewrite of the blockchain, a rewriting of history. As such, it marks complete failure of immutability. Since immutability is ETC’s main claim to fame, this is technically a catastrophic failure. Let’s see what the exchanges will do in response.”

Changes to Ethereum proof-of-work

While the ETC blockchain comes to grips with this most recent debacle, Ethereum (ETH) core developers reached a tentative consensus to implement a new PoW algorithm on Jan. 4.

The move aims to address the apparent divide in efficiency between ASIC and GPU mining on the Ethereum network.

ASIC mining has been developed to efficiently mine cryptocurrencies using specific algorithms. Ethereum was originally designed to be ASIC-resistant, although ASIC chips were eventually developed that were able to run the ethash algorithm.

Nevertheless, changes have been on the horizon for Ethereum for some time now. Core developers are expected to make a more detailed call on the implementation of “ProgPoW” on Jan. 18.

This is all in line with an end goal of transitioning entirely to a proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus system. The first major move to this eventuality is the Constantinople hard fork, which is expected to take place this month as well.

The hard fork will also include other Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs) to streamline the transition from PoW to PoS.

While Ethereum forges ahead, the ETC developers will be pondering their next move. Smaller cryptocurrencies using PoW algorithms are at more risk of these types of attacks, but that is not to say they are going to be targeted by attackers.

Donald McIntyre, a member of the ETC development team, wrote a succinct post on Medium, unpacking the attack and possible ways forward for ETC.

“My personal opinion is that what happened is a significant setback, but I think ETC still has a unique positioning as a PoW + Turing-complete network with an active community with sound principles. The question is whether a recovery in the medium or long term is plausible or if the network, unless it grows significantly, is perpetually vulnerable, therefore unusable.”

Once the ETC development team and community have taken stock of the damage, the way forward can start to be considered. Whether this encompasses a change in the method of consensus remains to be seen.

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Bitmain, Roger Ver, Kraken Sued for Alleged Bitcoin Cash Hard Fork Manipulation

Florida-based UnitedCorp has launched a suit against Roger Ver and some other major industry players for allegedly planning a scheme to take control of the BCH network.

Florida-based United American Corp. (UnitedCorp) has purportedly filed a lawsuit against Bitmain, Bitcoin.com, Roger Ver, and the Kraken Bitcoin Exchange, according to a press release published Dec. 6. UnitedCorp alleges that the defendants planned a scheme to take control of the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) network.

Founded in 1992, UnitedCorp is a development and management firm with a focus on telecommunications and information technologies. The company manages a portfolio of patents and proprietary technology in telecoms, social media and blockchain. UnitedCorp also owns and operates BlockchainDomes stations, that provide heat for agricultural applications.

The suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida alleges that the defendants jointly used unfair methods and practices to manipulate the BCH network for their benefit and detriment of UnitedCorp and other BCH stakeholders. The release further specifies:

“UnitedCorp believes that the defendants colluded to effectively hijack the Bitcoin Cash network after the November 15, 2018 scheduled software update with the intent of centralizing the network — all in violation of the accepted standards and protocols associated with Bitcoin since its inception.”

On Nov. 15, the BCH network underwent an update, which divided the community into two main camps, those who support Bitcoin Cash ABC and those who support Bitcoin Cash SV. UnitedCorp states that the defendants took control of the coin’s network right after the upgrade using “rented hashing.” This allegedly led to the adoption of Bitcoin ABC rule sets, precluding other implantations from maintaining a democratic rule sets.

UnitedCorp also alleges that on Nov. 20 the Bitcoin ABC development team put a “poison pill” into the blockchain by way of a “Deep Reorg Prevention” in order to strengthen control over the blockchain ledger. That allegedly enables maintenance of control on implementations for future network updates.

The suit seeks injunctive relief against the defendants, asking to prevent them from ongoing actions against the BCH network and doing so in the future. Additionally, UnitedCorp seeks compensation, the value of which it claims will be determined at trial.

Bitcoin Cash has registered the major losses on the day. The altcoin is down by over 20 percent over the last 24 hours and is trading at around $103 at press time, according to CoinMarketCap.

Bitcoin SV (BSV), in turn, has seen noteable daily gains of over 27 percent, and is trading at around $112 at press time. BSV’s maximum supply is 21 million, while its market capitalization is around $1.9 billion at press time.

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Major Coins Show Poor Performance, With Ethereum Dipping Below $100

Crypto markets have continued yesterday’s downtrend, with Bitcoin Cash, EOS, and Binance Coin seeing major losses.

Thursday, Dec. 6: Cryptocurrency markets have continued yesterday’s losses, with just two of the top twenty coins seeing any gains, according to Coin360.

Market visualization from Coin360

Market visualization from Coin360

Bitcoin (BTC) is down 3.13 percent the day, seeing a high of $3,887 and low of $3,587. At press time, the major cryptocurrency is trading around $3,656.

On its weekly chart, BTC is at its lowest price point over the past seven days, down 14.4 percent, while the coin’s monthly statistics show grim 43 percent losses.

Bitcoin monthly price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Bitcoin monthly price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

The second largest virtual currency by market capitalization Ripple (XRP) is trading at $0.320 at press time, down 5.36 percent on the day. The altcoin’s market cap is around $12.7 billion, while its weekly high point was $15.3 on Nov. 30, according to CoinMarkerCap.

XRP 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

XRP 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Ethereum (ETH) have lost 7.85 percent in the last 24 hours, dipping below the $100 mark for the first time during the past month. The coin is trading around $95 as of press time. ETH’s market cap is $9.7 billion at press time.

Ethereum 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Ethereum 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Top 10 coin Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is one of the top 20 coins, has registered major losses on the day. The altcoin is down by over 14 percent during the last 24 hours and is trading at around $112 at press time.

The Bitcoin Cash hard fork has been followed by a lawsuit filed by Florida-based United American Corp. against crypto exchanges Bitmain, Kraken, Bitcoin.com, and BCH evangelist Roger Ver, claiming that they engaged in “unfair methods of competition” that were detrimental to UnitedCorp and other stakeholders.

United American Corp. claims that during the hard fork, a number of entities took control of the network using “rented hashing” to facilitate the adoption of Bitcoin ABC, while “no person or entity can be allowed to control them.”

Bitcoin SV (BSV), in turn, has seen noteable daily gains of 22.55 percent, and is trading at around $107.31 at press time. BSV’s maximum supply is 21 million, while its market capitalization is around $1.8 billion at press time.

Today’s major losers also include EOS and Binance Coin (BNB), which are down 14.19 percent and 17 percent respectively. As of press time, EOS is trading at $1.90 and BNB is around $5.

Total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies is around $114.4 billion at press time. On its monthly chart, total market cap has been showing a steady downtrend.

Total market capitalization 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Total market capitalization 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Meanwhile, digital asset manager Bitwise launched two new beta funds for BTC and ETH, aiming to provide a “low-cost” and “liquid” means of capturing returns on both high-profile assets. Matt Hougan, global head of research for Bitwise, has contextualized the launch of the new funds as being driven by “significant inbound demand” spurred by part “positive developments on the horizon.”

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Report: Leading Japanese Shipping Line to Introduce Its Own Digital Currency

Japan’s major shipping operator Nippon Yusen K.K. is reportedly introducing its own digital currency to enable marine workers to more easily convert money into local currencies.

Japanese shipping company Nippon Yusen K.K. (NYK) is reportedly launching its own digital currency for crew members, Bloomberg reported Nov. 20.

Established in 1885, Nippon Yusen is Japan’s largest shipping line in terms of sales. From April 1 to Sept. 30, 2018, NYK Group’s consolidated revenue was 915.6 billion yen ($8.1 billion).

People familiar with the matter reportedly told Bloomberg that NYK is introducing its own digital currency for crew members in order to simplify the process of managing, sending, and converting money into marine workers’ local currencies. The currency will purportedly be tied to U.S. dollars, which would help avoid serious swings in value.

According to Bloomberg, it is not clear whether NYK’s digital currency will use blockchain technology or be a form of cryptocurrency.

Per the anonymous sources, NYK is working with banks and software development companies to ensure the currency’s ability to be converted into local currencies. The company has reportedly conducted successful tests using shipboard telecommunications, and is now seeking a patent for the technology.

NYK will supposedly introduce the digital currency in the first half of 2019, while the initiative presupposes the use of smartphones. Along with paying their own workers, the company is also looking to offer the currency to other shipping operators.

Port and shipping authorities around the world have already embraced the potential of blockchain technology. Earlier this month, nine major terminal operators and shipping companies signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to launch an open digital platform based on distributed ledger technology (DLT).

The new platform will reportedly “allow shippers to digitize and organize their dangerous goods documents and automatically connect with relevant parties to streamline the approval process.”

In October, Europe’s largest port, the Port of Rotterdam, partnered with major Dutch bank ABN AMRO and the IT subsidiary of Samsung to test blockchain for shipping. The members of the blockchain trial expect the technology will help reduce shipping time and simplify financial transactions.

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Top Coins Trading in The Green After Major Drop-Off Yesterday

Cryptocurrency markets have seen slight gains on the day, with all top ten cryptocurrencies trading in the green.

Wednesday, Nov. 21: It seems as if the recent drop-off in markets has slowed, with almost all the top 20 cryptocurrencies seeing green today.

Market visualization from Coin360

Market visualization from Coin360

Bitcoin’s (BTC) losses yesterday totalled more than 15 percent, though the coin has managed to bounce back into the green today, up 3.12 percent on the day and trading at around $4,499 at press time. The leading cryptocurrency is down over 21 percent on its weekly chart.

Yesterday, Wall Street crypto bull Tom Lee reiterated his recently reduced year-end price prediction of $15,000 for Bitcoin, despite the recent market crash. While remaining confident in a year-end rally, Lee admitted that the markets have “certainly” seen a “negative development,” which signals a “downside of the momentum.”

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

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

The second largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, Ripple (XRP), is up 0.80 percent over the last 24 hours and trading at $0.439. The altcoin’s market cap is around $17.8 billion, while its weekly high point was around $20.8 billion on Nov. 18, according to CoinMarketCap.

XRP daily price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

XRP daily price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Ethereum (ETH) is up 2.19 percent on the day and is trading at $134.46 at press time. The coin’s lowest price point on the day was $126.30.

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

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

Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is down the most among the top twenty coins this week, having lost over 40 percent in the seven-day period. On the day, the coin is up a modest 2.67 percent, trading at $231.97 at press time.

Among the top 20 cryptocurrencies, only Zcash (XEC), and Tezos (XTZ) are in the red, down by 0.36 and 3.79 percent on the day, respectively, according to CoinMarketCap.

The total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies is around $148.5 billion, while its weekly high point was around $189 billion on Nov. 15. As of press time, daily trade volume amounts to almost $18 billion, while the number of cryptocurrencies listed on CoinMarketCap has decreased to 2,071.

Total market capitalization 7-day chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Total market capitalization 7-day chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Earlier today, Cointelegraph reported that the recent cryptocurrency market crash has eased pressure on the U.K.’s financial regulator to introduce hasty new rules for the sector. Gillian Dorner, deputy director for financial services at Britain’s finance ministry, reportedly said that “we want to take the time to look at that in a bit more depth and make sure we take a proportionate approach.”

British regulators are reportedly analyzing over 2,000 crypto assets to see whether they can be regulated under existing rules before considering whether reform might be necessary.

Also today, Spencer Bogart, a partner at the venture capital firm Blockchain Capital, said he believes that crypto opportunities are “still gigantic” despite the current bear market, pointing out the critical role of “programmable money,” which is supposed to gain even more popularity over time.

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