by Florin Oprea
Evelyn Chang – CNBC
Thanks to one digital currency’s surge in the last few weeks, Chris Larsen, the co-founder and executive chairman of Ripple is now one of the five richest people in America.
Rob Copeland – The Wall Street Journal
Lizette Chapman – Bloomberg (subscription)
Joon Ian Wong & John Detrixhe – Quartz
Bitcoin prices rose on a Wall Street Journal report that Peter Thiel’s investment fund recently made a major wager on the cryptoasset, adding to the list of bigwigs whose support for the market has inflamed the mania. But the PayPal co-founder is no bitcoin arriviste—he’s had a vision for a stateless digital currency for nearly two decades.
Michael McDonald – Bloomberg (subscription)
BlockTower Capital raised $140 million and hired Michael Bucella a former vice president at Goldman Sachs expanding its team to eight people, according to people familiar with the matter.
Evelyn Cheng – CNBC
Michael Novogratz, head of Galaxy Investment Partners, has delayed plans to launch what would have been the largest digital currency fund so far.
Larry Light – CBS News
Wall Street thinks bitcoin and its cryptocurrency ilk are a) bad news or b) an opportunity. Answer: maybe both.
Stephanie Landsman – CNBC
David Stockman, President Ronald Reagan’s former director of the Office of Management and a relentless Wall Street bear, is warning investors that the cryptocurrency boom will end disastrously.
Stockman: “It’s basically a class of really stupid speculators who have convinced themselves that trees grow to the sky,” ..”It will burn out in a spectacular crash. All of these latter-day speculators will have their hands burned to a crisp, and they will learn the proper lesson.“
Simon Golstein – Finance Magnates
The fund will operate along the same lines as a venture capital fund, but blockchain technology will make the process much faster and cheaper than with traditional investment funds.
Jack Ellis – Tech In Asia
Token sales, crowd sales, ICOs. Call them what you will, but they were 2017’s biggest tech trend. By working mainly with blockchain and other distributed ledger technologies, startups sold tradeable, cryptocurrency-like digital tokens. In turn, this enabled them to raise billions of dollars in funding via ICOs without turning to traditional venture capital.
Martin Arnold – Financial Times (subscription)
Ripple has passed Ethereum to become the world’s second most valuable cryptocurrency by market capitalisation after the California-based cross-border payments company enjoyed an end-of-year jump in its market price.
Reuters Staff – Reuters
Bundesbank board member Carl-Ludwig Thiele has ruled out the introduction of official digital money for the euro zone and warned of losses from investments in cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.
Leo Lewis & Emma Dunkley
Official attempts to curb enthusiasm — such as the Chinese government’s September ban on centralised cryptocurrency exchanges — have hardened the resilience. Chinese devotees have taken to trading bitcoin on peer-to-peer networks, or taken their business offshore.
Arjun Kharpal – CNBC
The world of cryptocurrencies is one of the most divisive topics in finance right now. But amid the debate, there are a lot of people asking how to value this stuff and why bitcoin has traded nearly as high as $20,000.The answer right now is simple: There are no fundamentals.
Olga Kharif – Bloomberg (subscription)
Privacy coins such as monero, designed to avoid tracking, have climbed faster over the past two months as law enforcers adopt software tools to monitor people using bitcoin.
Sujha Sundararajan – CoinDesk
A research unit established by the Bank of England is investigating the introduction of a cryptocurrency linked to pounds sterling. The team involved expected to report back within the next 12 months, a Telegraph report says.
Jose Orozco & Natasha Doff – Bloomberg (subscription)
In a new twist to the cryptocurrency craze, Venezuela, the South American oil giant in default on some of its dollar bonds, plans to issue its own digital unit, dubbed the petro.
GBX & QUOINE are forming a strategic partnership, built on industry best practice and proven technology to provide the cryptocurrency markets with a robust global liquidity alliance.
Olga Kharif – Bloomberg (subscription)
IBM was one of the first big companies to see blockchain’s promise, contributing code to an open-source effort and encouraging startups to try the technology on its cloud for free.
China’s central bank told a top-level government internet finance group that the monetary authority can tell local governments to regulate the power usage of bitcoin miners to gradually reduce the scale of their production.
Anna Irrera – Reuters
Steve Stecklow & Anna Irrera – Reuters
Ethereum classic was the result of things going wrong.
Margi Murphy – The Telegraph
JD Alois – Crowdfund Insider
Pavel Lerner is reportedly healthy and safe after kidnappers released him following an abduction in Kiev, Ukraine on December 26th. Lerner, who is listed as the CEO of cryptocurrency exchange Exmo on his LinkedIn profile, was approached by men with machine guns wearing balaclavas and whisked away in a black Mercedes Benz as he was leaving an Exmo office. It has been widely reported that Lerner paid a ransom of USD $1 million in Bitcoin to secure his release.
Nikhilesh De – CoinDesk
The non-profit that oversees development of ethereum has officially unveiled two subsidy programs that will support research on how to grow the number of transactions its blockchain can process.
David Dinkins – The CoinTelegraph
The popular encrypted messaging app Telegram will launch its own Blockchain platform and cryptocurrency, according to sources familiar with the matter. The new platform will be dubbed either “The Open Network” or “Telegram Open Network” and is supposed to be based on an improved version of Blockchain technology.
Joseph Young – The CoinTelegraph
Evelyn Cheng – CNBC
Kyungji Cho & Eric Lam
David Josef Volodzko – SCMP
Bitcoin has been hailed as the greatest technological innovation of our time, yet it seems South Korea, one of the most technologically innovative societies, is now not only giving up its role as a leader in the field but aggressively fighting the trend. Some observers suggest the government has many reasons to be afraid of bitcoin, not the least of which is the cryptocurrency’s potential to be used by Kim Jong-un ’s North Korea as a covert economic weapon. But leaders point to other concerns as well.
Stan Schroeder – Mashable
Israel might be launching its own private Bitcoin in a few years. The Bank of Israel is looking to issue a digital currency to create a faster payments system as well as reduce the country’s reliance on cash, according to an anonymous source.
Aliaksandr Kudrytski – Bloomberg (subscription)
Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, who’s labored for years under the title of Europe’s last dictator, is making a bid for a shiny new image as the continent’s freewheeling cryptocurrency king.
The Russian Ministry of Finance has prepared a draft law of regulation of cryptocurrencies, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said.
Arnab Shome – Finance Magnates
Joe Wallen – Gibraltar Olive Press
Malta has announced regulatory framework plans for distributed ledger technology to rival Gibraltar as Europe’s leading jurisdiction for the emerging industry. Gibraltar become the first territory in Europe to regulate companies using the online database on January 1.The framework has encouraged fintech businesses to move to Gibraltar as they can operate with legal protection.
Crypto-Teams BDN Global Outlook
Team “Pro”: Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Cambodia, Kazakhstan, Catalonia, Argentina, Gibraltar (new entry), Malta (new entry), Belarus (new entry), Moldova (new entry)
Team “Against”: China, India, Russia, Malaysia, South Korea, Indonesia, Lebanon, Taiwan, Israel (new entry)
Team “Neutral”: EU, USA, Canada
Some argue that bitcoin performs no socially useful function and thus should be banned. But value — like beauty — is in the eye of beholder.
Jesus Alcocer – Bangkok Post
There are 37 bitcoin brokers in Thailand registered on LocalBitcoins, some with more than 1,000 bitcoins in assets. Prices for bitcoin are about 13% higher in Thailand than in the US, a sign of high demand…
Aaron Stanley – CoinDesk
Mitch Steves, a research analyst at the Royal Bank of Canada sees cryptocurrency, blockchain technology and decentralization as a potential $10 trillion ecosystem.
Evelyn Chang – CNBC
Japan’s bitcoin craze could help the country’s economic growth, research analysts at Nomura Instinet said.
Jeff Cox – CNBC
Bitcoin could trade in a range of $6,500 to $22,000 in 2018, according to Nick Colas at DataTrek Research, an analyst who’s been covering the cryptocurrency for at least four years.
John Patrick Pullen – Fortune
As the price of Bitcoin and Bitcoin futures have risen in 2017, one Morgan Stanley analyst has a radically different take on the digital currency. James Faucette said in a research note that the value of Bitcoin could actually be… zero.
Stephanie Landsman – CNBC
There are dangers lurking in the cryptocurrency market that could burn a lot of investors, according to Michael Dudas, a veteran gold analyst.
Cory Johnson – Bloomberg (subscription)
With hardly a year of operations under its belt and scant results to show for it, UBI Blockchain Internet is riding buzzwords to a stock boom. It’s become one of the most valuable publicly traded companies in the bitcoin universe – second only to LongFin Corp. The stock surged almost 1,000% in 2017 valuing UBI Blockchain at $1.2 billion.
Jennifer Duke – The Sydney Morning Herald
Bitcoin investors are claiming Australia’s banks are freezing their accounts and transfers to cryptocurrency exchanges, with a viral tweet slamming the big four and an exchange platform putting a restriction on Australian
Cryptocurrencies are experiencing a frothiness reminiscent of the dot-com bubble, with bitcoin exhibiting more volatility in the last month than did U.S. equities on Black Monday in 1987, Black Tuesday in 1929 and the Great Recession of 2008. This volatility comes as virtual currencies assume a new prominence in business and finance, raising important questions about their role, viability and regulation.
Jeremy Wagstaff – Euronews
Energy startups have been using blockchain to power electricity sharing in microgrid trials from Texas to Tasmania for a year or so.
Rachel Botsman – Wired
Stefan Thomas – CoinDesk
If 2017 was the year of the ICO, 2018 will be the year of the great ICO hangover. It will also be the year major financial institutions adopt digital assets, and mark the birth of hybrid blockchains.
Dan Murphy – CNBC
“In this world, nothing is ever permanent,” said Bobby Lee, CEO and co-founder of BTCC, which closed down its China-facing trading operations in September 2017 after a well-publicized government crackdown.
FAO: Florin Adrian Oprea, Editor-in-chief Blockchain Daily News
DNT: Decebal Nicolaie Todarita, Editor Blockchain Daily News