Hodler’s Digest, October 8-14: Ran Neuner Thinks BTC’s Price Will ‘Explode,’ While Research Predicts Market Will ‘Implode’

Roger Ver wants Bitcoin.com to have its own crypto exchange, while CNBC’s Ran Neuner thinks Bitcoin’s price could soon “explode.”

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

CNBC’s Ran Neuner Claims Bitcoin’s Price Is Set To “Explode”

Ran Neuner, crypto analyst and host of CNBC’s show Cryptotrader, said this week that the price of Bitcoin is “about to explode.” In a series of tweets, the trader predicted that a notable Bitcoin rally could be tied to the SEC’s upcoming decision on several BTC ETF applications. Neuner hypothesized that Bitcoin’s climb to $20,000 in December 2017 was “on the back of  the expectation and launch of a cash settlement BTC futures contract.”

Venezuelans Must Now Pay Passport Fees In Cryptocurrency

According to an announcement from Venezuela’s vice president, Venezuelans can only use the state-backed cryptocurrency, the Petro, to pay for passport fees starting Oct. 8. The newly raised passport fees will cost either 2 petros for a new passport or 1 petro for an extension. According to Bloomberg, the average monthly minimum wage in Venezuela is four times less than the cost of the new fee.

Roger Ver Plans To Open Crypto Exchange Through Bitcoin.com

Bitcoin.com, a Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash services firm with Roger Ver as CEO, is planning to either buy or set up its own cryptocurrency exchange. According to Ver, the crypto trading platform will be set up on the Bitcoin.com website, thus generating “thousands or tens of thousands of new users every single day.” Earlier this week, Ver underlined that digital currencies will lead the world to economic freedom, stating that he will “never give up” until cryptocurrencies accomplish this goal.

Study Shows Cryptocurrency Market Could “Implode” Soon

A recent study conducted by Juniper Research has found that the cryptocurrency market could soon “implode” and that transaction volumes are decreasing. In their report, Juniper looks at the technical, social, and regulatory concerns of digital currencies, also examining regulatory developments globally, exchange failures, hacks, and blockchain forking and how it all impacts crypto volatility. The report also found that daily BTC transactions have fallen from $3.7 billion to around $670 million from the end of 2017 to September 2018.

TRON CEO Hints At Partnership With “Industry Giant” Valued At “$10s Of Billions”

CEO of TRON Justin Sun posted a tweet Friday, Oct. 12, saying: “Finally, First time to partner with tens of billions USD valuation industry giant. Guess the name.” With Sun’s tweet revealing little information of the forthcoming partnership, Twitter followers have suggested a number of possible candidates, including Baidu, Clover, and even Disney. In a later tweet, real-time crypto market news service Coinness claimed that TRON’s new partner is indeed Baidu, citing former team members as its source.

Most Memorable Quotations

“TRON will be 200x faster vs. ETH, 100x cheaper vs. EOS. dApp developers & users, this one is for you!” — Justin Sun, CEO of Tron

“The inequality coefficient of BTC is worse than North Korea that has the worst inequality on earth. Crypto beats Kim Jong-un in regards to centralization and inequality,” — Nouriel Roubini, New York University economics professor, known as “Dr. Doom” for predicting the 2008 financial crisis

Laws And Taxes

European Union Markets Watchdog To Examine ICOs, Considers Regulation

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) said this week that it will be looking into ICOs in order to determine how they should be regulated. The organization, established in 2011 with the aim of creating a common set of guidelines for E.U. financial markets and their supervision, plans to assess ICOs on a case-by-case basis to see how they comply with existing securities regulations.

Ukrainian Finance Ministry Creates Working Group For Crypto Taxation

Ukraine’s Ministry of Finance has announced the creation of a working group with the aim of discussing and developing a legal framework for cryptocurrency taxation. The group will begin work in mid-October, identifying crypto-related tax options within the current legal framework, and then presenting their findings by the end of 2018. Previously, a proposed bill for crypto taxation suggested a five percent tax for individuals and legal entities that possessed coins and tokens.

Legal Expert: Implementation Of Crypto Regulations In The U.K. Would Take About Two Years

Legal Director of a prominent U.K. law firm Reynolds Porter Chamberlain (RPC) Jeff Kaufmann has said that implementing cryptocurrency market regulations could take the country two years. According to Kaufmann, the new regulations would imply the involvement of the U.K.’s financial watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which in turn raises concerns about the agency’s readiness for its upcoming role as a cryptocurrency industry regulator.

Adoption

IBM Announces Launch Of Blockchain Food Tracking Network Food Trust

U.S. tech firm IBM has launched its blockchain-based food tracking network, Food Trust, along with major food retailer Carrefour. The France-based company, which operates more than 12,000 stores in 33 countries, will begin by testing blockchain in their own stores, with the goal of bringing the tech to all its brands by 2022. Food Trust, which was announced back in 2016, has been tested by IBM for 18 months.

Dubai’s State-Backed Digital Currency Gets Its Own Payment System

Dubai’s government-backed digital currency, emcash, will get its own payment system through a deal with blockchain payment provider Pundi X and its partner Ebooc Fintech & Loyalty Labs LLC. The subsidiary of the Dubai Department of Economic Development will work with the two firms to facilitate point of sale payments in emcredit’s emcash currency. The digital currency is pegged to the United Arab Emirates fiat currency, the dirham.

Mastercard Secures Patent For Partitioned, Multi-Currency Blockchain

Financial services heavyweight Mastercard has been awarded a patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for a method to partition a blockchain. The proposed technology would allow a single distributed ledger to support multiple types and formats of transactions. In the patent, Mastercard noted that using multiple blockchains simultaneously leads to “significant” resource consumption – a problem their new solution is purported to solve.

Mergers, Acquisitions, And Partnerships

Oasis Labs Partners With Crypto Venture Capital Firms To Launch Blockchain Tech Hub

Blockchain cloud computing platform Oasis Labs announced a partnership this week with names including Andreessen Horowitz’s crypto venture fund a16zCrypto, Accel, Binance Labs, Pantera Capital, and Polychain Capital, who will assist developers in building “privacy-first” DApps in a new tech hub. The Oasis Startup Hub, which will focus on the creation of a space for collaboration between blockchain developers, investors, technologists, and industry key-players, will also get support from Oasis Labs engineers.

PwC To Bring Tech Expertise To Cred’s USD-Backed Stablecoin Launch

Auditing giant PwC has partnered with decentralized lending platform Cred to act as a tech advisor in the release of their USD-backed stablecoin. According to the press release, the partnership aims to bring more trust to investors, and solve the problems of transparency and “substantiation” that keep investors out of the crypto space. The firm also will give a perspective on enhancing standards in order to provide a “more transparent set of reserve functions.”

Forbes Partners With Civil To Publish Content On Blockchain

International business media outlet Forbes has partnered with blockchain-based journalism platform Civil to publish its content on a decentralized network. Initially, Forbes will only publish crypto-related news through Civil’s software — which will be integrated with Forbes’ own content management system (CMC) — but will move over more content if the testing is successful. Forbes will also use smart contracts to allow their contributors to upload articles to Forbes’ CMS and then share them on other platforms, such as LinkedIn and Medium.

Unconfirmed: IBM, Central Bank Of Azerbaijan Partner For Blockchain Implementation

IBM and the Central Bank of Azerbaijan (CBA) will reportedly collaborate on implementing blockchain technology for a digital transformation of the country’s economy. According to a local Central Asian news outlet, the director of the Information Technology Department at the CBA  revealed news of the five-year digital economic program this week, noting that IBM will work with the bank on blockchain development. The director also noted that a digital identification system is in the works.

Korean Plastic Surgeon Buys $352 Million Stake In Crypto Exchange Bithumb

A group led by startup investor and one of South Korea’s most famous plastic surgeons Dr. Kim Byung Gun, has made a major investment in Bithumb’s holding company. According to Bloomberg, 50 percent plus one share has been purchased, making the surgeon’s BK Global Consortium the majority shareholder of the Korean exchange. As of press time, Bithumb is the largest crypto exchange in the world by reported daily trade volume, which amounts to almost $1.04 billion.

Funding Rounds

ETC Labs Announces A Startup Accelerator Pilot, Applicants Number Over 100

Ethereum Classic’s investment branch ETC Labs has announced the launch of its business incubator, slated for Q1 2019. In an interview accompanying the announcement, Elizabeth Kukko, the director of the program, has revealed that the incubator plans to work with as many as 24 startups each year. According to Kukko, ETC Labs has so far received 120 applications from various companies in the industry.

Winners And Losers

Crypto markets experienced a sharp drop Thursday, Oct. 11, bringing BTC down to trade at $6,305, ETH at $200. The total market cap is at $202.4 billion.

Top three altcoin gainers of the week are Blazercoin, MedicCoin, and Motocoin.

Top three altcoin losers of the week are EagleX, RabbitCoin, and Minex.

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

FUD Of The Week

“Dr. Doom” Nouriel Roubini “Debunks” Crypto Before U.S. Congress

American economist Nouriel Roubini has testified at a U.S. Congress hearing with a speech “debunking” cryptocurrencies and blockchain. In his scathing review, Roubini mentioned such factors as Bitcoin’s scalability problems, high energy consumption and low decentralization, among others. Roubini’s attack on the crypto space was not limited to the congressional hearing, as he made multiple anti-crypto tweets this week — after comparing crypto to North Korea he went as far as to claim that the idea of crypto is “fascist at core.”

Oldest British Crypto Exchange To Reportedly Lay Off Majority Of Employees

Coinfloor, the oldest British digital currency exchange, is laying off the majority of its employees, unnamed sources stated this week. The exchange, which was founded in 2013 and has traded $1 billion in Bitcoin over the past 12 months, is apparently going to let go most of its around 40 employees. When asked about the rumors, the exchange’s CEO Obi Nsowu said that they are “making some staff changes and redundancies” as part of a business restructure.

Report Shows Coinbase Hits One-Year Low For USD Volumes In Q3 2018

A Diar report this week showed that crypto exchange and wallet Coinbase has seen a 1-year low in U.S. dollar volumes in the the third quarter of 2018. According to the analysis, Coinbase’s USD volumes have dropped to the lowest level during the past year, although the trading volume of BTC is almost $1 billion higher than last year. Crypto exchange Bitstamp has seen a better performance in this regard, Diar notes, with the trading volume of BTC $0.2 billion less this year than last year.

China: Man Gets 3.5 Years Of Jail Time For Stealing Train Station Power To Mine BTC

A man in China has received three and a half years of jail time for stealing power from a train station to support his Bitcoin mining. According to court documents released this week, the individual was also fined around $14,500 for stealing electricity from a factory at the Kouquan Railway from November to December 2017 to power his 50 BTC miners and 3 electric fans.

SpankChain Suffers Smart Contract Breach Leading To $38,000 Loss

SpankChain, an Ethereum-based adult entertainment platform, lost around $38,000 when it suffered a smart contract breach this week. The anonymous hackers stoles around 165 ETH, as well as caused the immobilization of another $4,000 of SpankChain’s internal token, BOOTY. The platform has later said that it got in contact with the hacker and persuaded them to return the stolen assets for a “reward” of $5,000 in ETH.

Prediction Of The Week

Blythe Masters: “Tens If Not Hundreds” Of Blockchain Projects Coming To Commodities

Blythe Masters, a former JPMorgan executive who is now CEO of her own software digital firm Digital Asset Holdings, said this week that commodity supply chains would soon get an influx of “tens if not hundreds” of blockchain projects to improve efficiency. Speaking at the London Metal Exchange annual dinner, Masters noted the complexity of supply chains, adding that Digital Assets Holdings is designing software to aid the trading sector in blockchain implementation.

Best Features

Artist Puts A Giant, Inflatable Bitcoin Rat On Wall Street

A hedge fund manager-turned-artist Nelson Saiers has put up an inflatable white rat covered in crypto code on Wall Street, facing the Federal Reserve Bank. According to the artist, he was in part inspired by billionaire investor Warren Buffet’s comments about Bitcoin, who called it “rat poison squared.” “If the Fed’s a rat, then maybe rat poison is a good thing,” Saiers said.

According To Google, Bitcoin Has Several CEO Candidates Who All Hate Bitcoin

Several Reddit users have noticed that entering a search query “CEO of Bitcoin” or “Bitcoin CEO” in Google brings up an information carousel with several possible candidates, including the CEO of JPMorgan Chase Jamie Dimon, Bitcoin Cash proponent Roger Ver, and CEO of Mastercard Ajay Banga. Curiously, all three are known for their negative stance on Bitcoin, with Dimon calling it a “scam,” Banga saying that all non-government-backed cryptos are “junk,” and Ver being hit with allegations of using his platform to mislead people into buying Bitcoin Cash, instead of Bitcoin.

Continue Reading

Roger Ver: Bitcoin.Com May Launch Its Own Crypto Exchange

Roger Ver revealed Bitcoin.com’s plans to buy or set up its own crypto exchange, operating Bitcoin Cash as its base coin.

Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) services firm Bitcoin.com is planning to buy or set up its own crypto exchange, the company’s CEO Roger Ver revealed in an interview with Bloomberg Oct. 9.

According to Ver, the upcoming crypto trading platform will be placed on the Bitcoin.com website, which is expected to generate a great amount of traffic via various services such as wallet transactions and news. Ver said the new platform will get “thousands or tens of thousands of new users every single day” through Bitcoin.com.

Ver mentioned that he is considering finding a partner to help create an exchange “internally.” He said:

“If we build it ourselves, we can do it really, really cheap, and we get exactly what we want. But we don’t have the security of a battle-tested exchange that’s been around for a while.”

The early Bitcoin investor and Bitcoin Cash proponent also revealed that the new crypto exchange would implement Bitcoin Cash as its base currency, which will purportedly boost the adoption of the digital coin.

The Bitcoin Cash evangelist has stated several times that BCH is more true to the original intent of Satoshi Nakamoto and a better currency than Bitcoin. He tweeted Oct. 9:

Speaking at Delta Summit Malta on Oct. 5, Ver claimed that the leading cryptocurrency is “no longer usable as money.” With that, he stressed that digital currencies are the only tool that can lead the world to economic freedom, stating that he will “never give up” until cryptocurrencies accomplish this goal.

In May 2018, Bitcoin.com was quietly removed by major crypto markets tracking website CoinMarketCap, following allegations that Bitcoin.com was misleading customers into buying Bitcoin Cash instead of Bitcoin.

Following a report on the significant decrease of BCH adoption in global payments, as well as some pessimistic forecasts on the BCH price, the Bitcoin Cash team conducted the so-called BCH stress test. According to the test results, 2.1 million transactions on the network did not cause a surge in fees. The community-driven test intended to demonstrate the capacity and scalability of the Bitcoin Cash mainnet.

Continue Reading

Venture Capital Investment in Blockchain and Crypto Up 280% in 2018, Report Shows

A new report from Diar reveals that “traditional” venture capital investment in blockchain and crypto firms has almost tripled in the first three quarters of 2018.

“Traditional” venture capital (VC) investment in blockchain and crypto firms has almost tripled in the first three quarters of 2018, according to a new Diar report published September 30.

Diar cites data from Pitchbook that indicates that blockchain and crypto-related firms have raised almost $3.9 billion in VC capital in so far this year — a 280 percent rise as compared with last year. The rise comes not just in terms of an increasing number of deals, but also in the burgeoning median value of each, which has grown by over $1 million this year.

VC investment and deal count in blockchain and crypto-related firms, 2013-18

VC investment and deal count in blockchain and crypto-related firms, 2013-18. Source: Diar

VC median blockchain investment, 2013-18

VC median blockchain investment, 2013-18. Source: Diar

The combined total of the ten largest deals in 2018 came to $1.3 billion, with nine of these representing traditional equity investments, rather than purchases of utility crypto tokens. The outlier was the DFINITY token, which raised a combined $163 million from VC investors Andreessen Horowitz, Hashed, and Polychain Capital.

Pitchbook’s figures revealed that Barry Silbert’s Digital Currency Group (DCG) was “by far” the most prolific investor from the VC sector, closing over 110 deals in the crypto and blockchain space this year. DCG outflanked both Blockchain Capital and Pantera Capital, whose combined deals clocked in at 100.

Other strong investors included VC firms Andreessen Horowitz, Danhua Capital, and Future Perfect Ventures, alongside “active angels” Tim Draper, Naval Ravikant, Roger Ver, and Barry Silbert.

Beyond these major players, Diar reports that close to 2,000 investors have closed deals with at least one blockchain firm this year — the fifty most active of these have invested in “at least” eight. In terms of investor profiles, 52 percent of investors were not exclusively focused on the crypto and blockchain sector, but sealed their deals as part of a more diverse portfolio.

Lastly, Diar also analyzed the geographic distribution of the VC capital that flows into blockchain, with U.S.-based investors representing the lion’s share at 79 percent, followed by 12 percent from China, and 2 percent from South Korea and Singapore respectively.

Diar’s new report also includes a section on the phenomenon of new banking operations that aim to facilitate the blockchain industry, whether blockchain-exclusive banks built “from the ground up,” banks that integrate fiat and crypto services, or the rising number of crypto-related firms that are securing banking licenses.

As reported earlier today, South Korea’s largest VC firm, Korea Investment Partners (KIP), has invested in its first blockchain startup — one that specializes in harnessing the technology for supply chain management solutions. KIP is known for its investments in high-ranking firms that include Naver — Korea’s largest search engine, as well as owner of the popular Japanese messaging app LINE — and Korean messaging giant Kakao, among others.

Continue Reading

Bitcoin Cash Hard Fork Increases Block Size, Reactivates Op Nodes

A Bitcoin Cash hard fork was activated earlier today, increasing the block size up to 32MB and reactivating several previously deactivated Op nodes

A Bitcoin Cash (BCH) upgrade that will both increase block size from 8MB to 32MB and add or reactivate Bitcoin script operation codes (Op codes) has been activated today, May 15.

The hard fork used the Median Time Past (MTP) for initiation, going live on next block after the MTP timestamp of 1526400000 at 16:14 UTC.

Bitcoin ABC, a Bitcoin Cash full node implementation, posted on April 1 that the Bitcoin ABC 0.17.1 full node upgrade testnet was available, noting that all BCH full nodes needed to upgrade and that major exchanges and wallets were being notified. BitcoinCash.org also wrote that this is the first of several planned upgrades for the currency.

An explanation of the new upgrade on Reddit says that the upgrade is “paving the way for future adoption as well as new functionality being added such as op codes.” User Steve Shadders-a co-author for reenabling disabled Op codes – posted on his blog that the reactivation of formerly disabled Op codes is compelling to developers and could bring value to the BCH economy.

The arguments against an increase in block size include making operation of full nodes more expensive, leading to less decentralization of the network, as well as lower propagation speeds, according to BitcoinWiki.

Although outspoken BCH advocate Roger Ver did not directly mention the upgrade today, he did post on Twitter about his belief that BCH–above all Bitcoin forks–follows Satoshi’s vision:

BCH, which is a hard fork of the Bitcoin blockchain from August 2017, touts itself as the original Bitcoin (BTC) and superior to BTC due to its lower transaction fees. However, at the end of February this year, BTC’s transaction fees were cheaper than those of BCH.

BCH’s large block size is another characteristic that sets it apart from BTC. This is due to Satoshi Nakamoto’s attempt to avoid splitting the blockchain in the case of some miners produced big blocks that other miners couldn’t accept. In order to solve the scalability problem caused by BTC’s block size limit, the Segregated Witness (SegWit) upgrade was proposed, with many crypto exchanges like Coinbase, Bitfinex, and GDAX exchange having already accepted the upgrade.

Continue Reading