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.


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.

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Ukrainian Legislator Urges Parliament to Cut Crypto Taxes Until 2030

The Ukrainian opposition has offered an alternative bill on cryptocurrencies that would eliminate all taxes for crypto incomes until 2030.

A Ukrainian legislator has urged parliament during a speech on Monday, October 1 to review his alternative bill on cryptocurrencies that offers to freeze taxes for crypto traders up to 2030.

MP Yuriy Derevyanko, a member of the anti-corruption Movement of New Forces founded back in 2017 by former Georgian politician Mikheil Saakashvili, introduced his version of the bill at the conciliation board of The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, the country’s unicameral parliament.

“The bill provides tax exemptions for all the participants of crypto market up to 31 December, 2029,” Derevyanko stated. He further explained the importance of such a decision for the Ukrainian economy:

“I believe we need to impose a moratorium on taxation of [the crypto] area for the next 10 years. We have to regulate and legalize this segment, which will become an engine for a new economy.”

The alternative bill, registered September 27, offers slightly different definitions for cryptocurrencies, blockchain, mining, and tokens. According to the document, tax holidays will refer to all income from crypto deals both for individuals and entities.

Derevyanko’s document opposes the main bill, which several MPs of president Petro Poroshenko’s party has put forward earlier this September. Per the above graphic, the main difference between the two bills consists of their approach to taxation.

As Cointelegraph has explained, the first draft offers a five percent tax for individuals and legal entities operating with virtual currency assets, such as coins and tokens. Starting January 1, 2024, the tax for business revenues from crypto will rise up to 18 percent. This, the document states, might help Ukraine draw an additional 1.27 billion hryvnia ($43 million) to the budget annually from 2019-2024.

As Cointelegraph reported earlier, Ukraine has repeatedly expressed its desire to create a national digital currency tied to local fiat (hryvnia).

Ukraine’s draft cryptocurrency legislation also contains regulatory provisions against money laundering, terrorist financing, and other criminal activities.

Earlier in June, Ukrainian police arrested four men who were suspected of running at least six fake cryptocurrency exchanges. Later, the authorities questioned users allegedly deceived by fraudulent exchanges.

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Hodler’s Digest, September 16-23: Elon Musk Wants Advice on Twitter Crypto Scammers, the US SEC Wants Comments on BTC ETFs

A Japanese cryptocurrency exchange is hacked of almost 6,000 bitcoins, and Elon Musk turns to Dogecoin creator to get rid of Twitter crypto scammers

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

Japanese Cryptocurrency Exchange Zaif Hacked Of Reported 5,966 Bitcoins

As a result of a security breach on September 14, hackers have managed to steal 4.5 billion yen from Japan’s Zaif cryptocurrency exchange, as well as 2.2 billion yen from the assets of the company, with total losses amounting to 6.7 billion yen or around $59.7 million. Tech Bureau Inc, which operated Zaif, stated this week that the exchange detected a server error on September 17, after which Zaif suspended deposits and withdrawals. On September 18, the exchange realized that the error was a hack, and reported the incident to Japan’s financial regulator, reporting losses of 5,966 bitcoins (BTC) in addition to some Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and MonaCoin (MONA).

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk Turns To Dogecoin Creator To Stop Crypto Scammers

Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Elon Musk asked Jackson Palmer, the creator of Dogecoin (DOGE), to help him combat “annoying” cryptocurrency scammers on Twitter this week. Musk, directing his tweet at Palmer, asked for help getting rid of scam spammers, to which Palmer replied by sending Musk a short script in direct messages to try to fix the problem.

US SEC Postpones VanEck Bitcoin Exchange Traded Fund, Asks For Further Comments

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has requested further comments regarding its decision on the listing and trading of VanEck and SolidX’s Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund (ETF), which is expected to list on the CBOE BZX Equities Exchange (BZX). In a notice, the SEC asks for additional comments from interested parties addressing the sufficiency of the BZX’s statement in support of the proposal. In particular, the SEC is seeking comments on eighteen key issues, among which are commenters’ views on BZX’s assertions that BTC “is arguably less susceptible to manipulation than other commodities that underlie exchange-traded products (ETPs).”

New York Attorney General Report: Crypto Exchanges Vulnerable To Manipulation

A new report published by the New York Attorney General’s office states that cryptocurrency exchanges are vulnerable to manipulation, conflicts of interest, and other consumer risks. The findings, part of the “Virtual Markets Integrity Initiative” that consisted in surveying 13 cryptocurrency exchanges, found that an absence of standard methods for auditing virtual assets results in the lack of a consistent and transparent approach to independently auditing digital currency traded on exchanges.

Researchers Explain How Gemini Dollar Transactions Can Be Changed Or Paused

The implementation of the recently launched Gemini dollar (GUSD) stablecoin can be completely changed by a Gemini custodian every 48 hours, according to a study authored by blockchain researcher Alex Lebed and crypto consultant Alexey Akhunov. In the study, the authors review the code of the GUSD’s smart contract in order to demonstrate that the implementation of the Gemini USD can become non-transferrable or frozen at any moment, which is noted in the Gemini dollar’s white paper.



Most Memorable Quotations

“The data age is major opportunity for manufacturers to reform the industry. But blockchain and IoT will be meaningless tech unless they can promote the transformation of the manufacturing industry, and the evolution of the society towards a greener and more inclusive direction,” — Jack Ma, founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba

“Cryptocurrencies are perfect, but are used for bad purposes today, so [one has to be] careful. Blockchain and distributed ledger technologies are also perfect, they are big, big tools,” — Francisco Gonzalez Rodriguez, executive chairman of multinational Spanish banking group Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA)

“As the government and regulators decide whether the current Wild West situation is allowed to continue, or whether they are going to introduce regulation, consumers remain unprotected,” — UK Treasury Committee on cryptocurrency regulation

Laws And Taxes

Ukrainian Parliament Seeks To Tax Cryptocurrency Assets With New Bill

Ukraine’s parliament has proposed a bill that would tax operations with crypto assets with a five percent tax on individuals and legal entities operating with virtual currency assets, such as cryptocurrencies and tokens. Starting Jan. 1, 2024 crypto-related profits by businesses would be taxed at 18 percent, which is a basic rate for corporate and personal income tax in Ukraine. According to the lawmakers, the introduction of this tax would make it possible to “draw 1.27 billion hryvnia ($43 million) to the budget annually from 2019-2024.”

US Lawmakers Send Open Letter To IRS Asking For Crypto Taxation Clarity

U.S. lawmakers have called on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to issue clarified and “comprehensive” crypto taxation guidance in an open letter this week. The representatives deem that the IRS has had “more than adequate time” to work through complexities after its preliminary rules were issued four years ago, arguing that while the IRS has proactively continued to remind taxpayers of the penalties for non-compliance with its guidance, its failure to introduce a more robust taxation framework “severely hinders taxpayers’ ability” to meet their obligations.

Financial Task Force Says International AML Standards For Crypto Coming Soon

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) said it is getting closer to the establishment of a global set of anti-money laundering (AML) standards for cryptocurrencies. The agency’s president Marshall Billingslea reportedly said that he expects the coordination of a series of standards that will close “gaps” in global AML standards at an FATF plenary in October. At that time, the FATF will purportedly discuss which existing standards should be adapted to digital currencies, as well as revise the assessment methods of how countries implement those standards.


Binance To Soon Begin Private Beta Testing Of Crypto-Fiat Singapore Exchange

Binance, the largest global crypto exchange, will soon start private beta testing a crypto-fiat exchange in Singapore, as Binance co-founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ) tweeted this week. According to CZ, the testing will be launched on September 18, and while no further details have been specified, the crypto-fiat Singapore-based exchange will presumably support the local Singapore dollar.

US PNC Bank To Use RippleNet For Customers’ International Payments

PNC, which is ranked among the top ten U.S. banks with 8 million customers and retail branches in 19 states, will use RippleNet to process international payments for its customers. A particular PNC unit — Treasury Management — will use Ripple’s blockchain solution xCurrent to speed up overseas transactions held by U.S. commercial clients. Ripple emphasises that xCurrent will allow PNC business clients to receive payments against their invoices instantly, changing their approach to managing both accounts and their working capital.

Ripple Executive Hints Of xRapid Launch Coming Soon

Head of regulatory relations for Asia-Pacific and the Middle East at Ripple Sagar Sarbhai told CNBC this week that Ripple has been making strides toward the launch of its product xRapid, noting that a commercial version of its payment platform could launch “in the next month or so.” The xRapid product is a real-time settlement platform designed to speed up international payments that addresses the issues of minimizing liquidity costs and making cross-border payment transactions faster.

Canadian Coinsquare’s Investment Subsidiary Launches Two Tech-Based ETFs

Coinsquare’s subsidiary — Coin Capital Investment Management — has reportedly become the 30th ETF operator in Canada, with the launch of the Coincapital STOXX Blockchain Patents Innovation Index Fund (LDGR) and the Coincapital STOXX B.R.AI.N. Index Fund (THNK) on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX). LDGR is a research-focused ETF that intends to provide investors with global equity securities of firms that invest in the development of blockchain technologies, while THNK, aims to provide investments in global equity securities concentrated around four “megatrends” in technology — biotechnology, robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), and nanotechnology.

Brazil’s Largest Brokerage To Launch Bitcoin, Ethereum Exchange

The largest brokerage in Brazil, Grupo XP, will enter the crypto space by launching an exchange for Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) in the near future called XDEX with around forty employees. Grupo XP is the biggest financial group in Brazil, comprising companies with various business models. XP has reportedly set a goal to have $1 trillion reais ($245 billion) under custody by 2020, which is four times what the company expects to raise by the end of this year. In addition, XP will launch a bank in the next few months.

Mergers, Acquisitions, And Partnerships

Crypto Exchange Huobi Joins Russian Bank Innovation Fund

Cryptocurrency exchange Huobi has joined Russia’s VEB Innovation Fund to share notes on crypto regulation. Russia’s cryptocurrency regulation draft law, which passed in a first reading in May, are tentatively set to be passed in October. One of the main goals of the partnership with Huobi and the VEB Innovation Fund is to draw on the crypto regulation experience gained by Huobi and to apply it in Russia, especially for adjusting the legal framework on digital assets.

Switzerland And Israel Agree To Share Blockchain Regulation Experience

Switzerland and Israel have agreed to share their experience on regulating the blockchain industry.Switzerland’s Minister of Finance Ueli Maurer and State Secretary for International Financial Matters Joerg Gasser have recently visited Israel to officially request access to the local markets for Swiss banks.As Gasser told Reuters, by the end of 2018 he plans to prepare a report on blockchain regulation for the Israeli officials that would outline general recommendations.

R3, Dutch Digital Security Company Partner For Blockchain-Based IDs

Blockchain consortium R3 has deployed a digital ID application developed by Dutch digital security company Gemalto on the latest version of the Corda Platform. The parties now expect to conduct several pilots of the application — called the Trust ID Network —  that will reportedly be launched later this year. The application enables digital service providers to operate “fully verified and secured” user personal data by creating a Digital ID, allowing consumers to register within various banking, e-commerce, and e-government services while avoiding repeated due diligence procedures.

Poland’s Largest Bank Partners With Coinfirm To Launch Blockchain Solution

Poland’s largest bank , PKO Bank Polski, will launch a blockchain solution for its customer documents via a partnership with UK-based Coinfirm “in the coming days,” the parties confirmed this week. As part of a drive to enhance security of customer data, PKO Bank Polski will use Coinfirm’s Trudatum to provide blockchain-issued paperwork to its some five million account holders.

Funding Rounds

Chinese Blockchain Fund To Raise Almost $13 Million For Japanese Stablecoin

Yao Yongjie, whose $1.5 billion Grandshores Blockchain Fund has the backing of well-known Chinese Bitcoin investor Li Xiaolai and the local government of the city of Hangzhou, is seeking to create up to three new stable cryptocurrencies (stablecoins) pegged to various fiat currencies. The first reported stablecoin project would involve the Japanese yen, and a second company Yao chairs, Hong Kong-based Grandshores Technology, aims to raise HK$100 million ($12.7 million) in financing for the cryptocurrency.

Winners And Losers

The crypto markets have experienced a comeback this week, with Bitcoin trading for around $6,756 and Ethereum at $245. Total market cap is now around $228 billion.

The top three altcoin gainers of the week are Carebit, Bob’s Repair, and the Ultimate Secure Cash. The top three altcoin losers of the week are Protean, Abulaba, and Bitmark.

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

FUD Of The Week

Bitcoin Core Updates Fixes Vulnerability That Could “Take Down The Network”

Bitcoin Core has released an update following the recent detection of a vulnerability in the software: Bitcoin Core 0.16.3 was released with a fix for a denial-of-service (DoS) vulnerability.The vulnerability could reportedly cause a crash of older versions of Bitcoin Core if they attempted processing a block transaction that tries to spend the same amount twice. According to Casaba Security co-founder Jason Glassberg, the recent vulnerability found on Bitcoin Core software could “take down the network.” He explained that the network crash “does not appear” to target users’ wallets, but would rather “affect transactions in the sense that they cannot be completed.”

China’s Central Bank Warns Public Of Risks With ICOs, Crypto Trading

The People’s Bank of China has issued a new public notice this week “reminding” investors of the risks associated with Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and crypto trading. Today’s notice ,released from the bank’s headquarters in Shanghai, censures the “unauthorized” and “illegal” ICO financing model for posing a “serious disruption” to the “economic, financial and social order.”

German Finance Minister Doubts Whether Crypto Could Ever Replace Fiat

Germany’s Finance Minister Olaf Scholz doubted publicly this week that cryptocurrencies can currently replace traditional fiat currencies. Scholz compared cryptocurrencies to the tulip fever bubble in the Netherlands in the 17th century saying, “and the danger is great that there will be such a tulip inflation,” noting that cryptocurrencies should also be closely observed by regulators, as they could be used for terrorist financing, money laundering or other criminal activities.

Reuters: Brazilians Antitrust Regulator To Inspect Six Major Banks Over Crypto Trade

Brazil’s antitrust regulator, the Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE), is reportedly inspecting six major national banks for alleged monopolistic practices in the crypto space, according to Reuters. The probe, which was initiated n the request of the Brazilian Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Association (ABCB) following several complaints, will determine whether the country’s largest banks closed the accounts of brokerages trading in Bitcoin.

Malware Reportedly Stolen From NSA Contributes To Skyrocketing Cryptojacking

Leaked code targeting Microsoft Systems which hackers allegedly stole from the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) sparked a fivefold increase in cryptocurrency mining malware infections, according to a report from the Cyber Threat Alliance. Eternal Blue, which was reportedly stolen and then used for the infamous cyberattacks WannaCry and NotPetya, has been used by hackers to gain access to computers in order to covertly mine for cryptocurrency, with detections up 459 percent this year.

Prediction Of The Week

Bitcoin To See 30 Percent Rally By End Of 2018, Says Mike Novogratz

Billionaire investor Mike Novogratz predicted this week on Twitter that Bitcoin will see a 30 percent rally by the end of 2018. Stating that the $8,800 to $10,000 threshold would be the the defining moment for institutional investors to enter the space, Novogratz claimed that it is impossible for BTC to not reach the $8,800 to $10,000 price points by the end of the year.

Best Features

Bitcoin Miners Flock To New York’s Remote Corners, But Get Chilly Reception

The New York Times visits Massena — a region formerly filled with American corporations offering unions jobs — that now has one of the state’s highest unemployment rates. However, as the Time notes, the “abundant, cheap electricity flowing from a dam in the St. Lawrence River,” has brought in the cryptocurrency mining companies, bringing mixed reactions from the area’s residents.

No One Knows What to Call the Hottest Cryptocurrency

After Ripple (XRP) saw an unprecedented amount of growth this week, the question arose: what is it really called — Ripple or XRP? While Ripple Labs Inc. notes that the tokens are different than its open-source network, the token did used to be referred to as “ripples (XRP).”

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Ukraine To Legalize Cryptocurrencies, Invites Citizens To Comment On Proposed Regulations

A Ukrainian member of parliament has invited citizens to comment on a draft legislation document for cryptocurrencies, which should be finished in “two weeks.”

Ukraine is preparing draft legislation to legalize cryptocurrencies, according to a post by a member of the Ukrainian parliament, Alexei Mushak, on his Facebook page Tuesday, May 15.

Mushak attached a copy of the draft legislation document, urging readers to comment on the terms of the regulations proposed for the crypto market:

“We go to the home stretch to create conditions for digital tokens and cryptocurrency in Ukraine. This is the outcome of many meetings and work of many people. There are many more nuances left to figure out. The final version will be ready in two weeks. I ask you to comment and edit. The thoughts of market practitioners are especially important.”

The document notes that the legislation aims to create a “free and transparent” digital asset market in Ukraine, outlining rules for storing, using, and exchanging cryptocurrencies, digital tokens, and smart contracts at a state, entity, and individual level. It proposes regulatory measures for preventing the use of crypto for money laundering, terrorist financing, and other criminal activities.

The document also advocates the use of digital ledger technology (DLT) – also known as blockchain – in the public sphere, singling out public relations, healthcare, and education as areas of particular interest.

Since it was posted, the draft legislation document has already drawn extensive comments from Ukrainian readers, with one raising the suggestion of regulating Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) separately to other digital assets, given that “widespread fraud” in the ICO space has elicited a generalized distrust of the crypto sphere.

Mushak responded that there is as yet little consensus in the Ukrainian parliament as to how to treat ICOs, noting the concern that excessively stringent measures could stifle development.

In May, the Ukrainian National Securities and Stock Market Commission (SSMCS) announced it would consider recognizing cryptocurrencies as a financial instrument, suggesting that crypto regulations would for now need to be determined on a national level given that “international standards” are still “a long way off.”

In January, the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) said it was “considering” introducing a digital version of its national currency, the hryvnia, but one that would not be a state-issued cryptocurrency, i.e. not based on a blockchain protocol.

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