by Florin Oprea
Oli Smith – Express
Jon Russell – TechCrunch
In what is Mark Zuckerberg’s now-traditional New Year speech, the Facebook supremo pledged to fix the social network’s many problems which bubbled up in 2017. Perhaps understandably, that admission hogged the headlines but Zuckerberg also said he plans to study encryption and the blockchain “see how best to use them in our services.”
FAO: Facebook counted 2 bln users in June 2017. Need I say more? Also, remember that in October Facebook announced a partnership with PayPal, implementing the service into P2P payments on Messenger. Oh, right… Remember the recent reports involving PayPal’s founder, Peter Thiel, and bitcoin…more here.
Brian Patrick Eha – American Banker
Michael del Castillo – CoinDesk
Overstock just got a hefty chunk of change from one of the biggest names in finance, and CEO Patrick Byrne says much of it will fund the company’s blockchain work. The company disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing this week that the holder of a warrant had exercised its right to buy $100 million worth of shares. Although the filing did not identify this investor, Byrne said it was the Quantum Fund, managed by billionaire George Soros.
FAO: Wow! Now this is major! We will keep watching Overstock…
Olga Kharif – Bloomberg (subscription)
IBM and Comcast’s venture arm will become the largest supporters of an investment fund for startups that help corporations use blockchain. The startup accelerator, called MState, plans to invest $25,000 to $50,000 apiece in five or six companies over the next six months, co-founder Rob Bailey said.
Pete Rizzo – CoinDesk
Investment guru James Altucher has invested in a seed round for a Delaware company called Bitzumi, which intends to offer a forthcoming newsletter product and exchange service. The firm plans to raise up to $10 million, with a minimum raise of $1 million.
Dean Takahashi – Venturebeat
Coinify has raised $4.8 million to take cryptocurrencies to more retail locations.
The investment was led by Nordic Eye and included SEED Capital and SEB Ventures. Coinify is already serving more than 60,000 merchants in Europe, enabling them to accept Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies from shoppers as payment for everyday transactions.
Jose Orozco – Bloomberg (subscription)
Fabian Cambero & Girish Gupta – Reuters
President Nicolas Maduro said that Venezuela would issue 100 million units of its new oil-backed cryptocurrency in coming days, although it is unclear whether any investors will want to purchase the “petro” at a time when the OPEC member is going through a deep economic crisis and its leftist government has little credibility.
DNT: We first reported about the Venezuelan plans to create an oil-backed cryptocurrency last month, here – Cryptocurrencies Section.
Lily Katz – Bloomberg (subscription)
Ripple, the white-hot cryptocurrency that more than doubled in the past week, plunged as much as 20% after Coinbase said it’s not adding any new coins to its exchange at this time.
FAO: Coinbase is currently struggling to service its current users and to open new accounts. Adding Ripple on the platform would have meant an enormous effort. This was expected…
Graham Rapier – Business Insider
Ripple’s XRP has rallied 20% off its intraday lows following an unconfirmed report Western Union is going to use its technology.
FAO: Here comes the Ripple roller coaster…
Evelyn Chang – CNBC
Digital currency ripple has blown past its cryptocurrency rivals largely because it is working with large institutions, which give it an aura of legitimacy and practicality.
Tyler Jefferson – Money Morning
While bitcoin was going through a massive pullback in December, another cryptocurrency was smashing records. This tiny crypto saw a 357% gain in just one month. Its market cap blew through a billion US dollars, and shows no signs of slowing.
The problem is, it’s a joke.
FAO: An expensive one…
Jeff John Roberts – Fortune
Alex Beath, a Toronto-based physicist and pension fund analyst, is skeptical about Bitcoin but sees one useful purpose for the crypto-currency: It may detect when someone creates a working quantum computer.
Jeffrey Kutler – GARP
Credibility-building domain expertise is in demand as finance-focused blockchain companies staff up and fill out their boards for the long haul.
FAO: Here’s the latest article signed by our reader, contributor and friend, Jeff Kutler, Editor in Chief, Global Association of Risk Professionals, Senior Contributing Editor, Institutional Investor.
Nathaniel Popper – The New York Times
The virtual currency boom has gotten so heated that it is throwing the list of the world’s richest people into disarray. Chris Larsen, a Ripple co-founder who is also the largest holder of Ripple tokens, was worth more than $59 billion, according to figures from Forbes. That would have briefly vaulted Mr. Larsen ahead of Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg into fifth place on the Forbes list of the world’s richest people.
Karen Hao – Quartz
Exploiting a crucial competitive advantage and motivated by profit and a desire to learn the technology, students around the world are launching cryptocurrency mining operations right from their dorm rooms.
DNT: And they don’t pay the energy bill..so the profit is considerably higher!
Joon Ian Wong – Quartz
How to collect and verify signatures from 145 million voters across a landmass larger than the mainland United States? Brazilian legislators are turning to ethereum to solve that issue in one of the first uses of a cryptocurrency by a political system.
Zheping Huang – Quartz
Bitcoin mining could be on its last legs in China.The country’s top internet-finance regulator, the Leading Group of Internet Financial Risks Remediation, issued a notice asking local governments to “guide” bitcoin-mining operations to make an “orderly exit” from the business, according to a leaked document online.
FAO: Clampdown reaches the “roots” of the “system’s enemy…
Reuters Staff – Reuters
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission warned last week that investors should “exercise caution” with cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, noting state and federal regulators may not be able to recoup any lost investments from illegal actors.
Jon Russell – TechCrunch
The rise of ICOs surprised many in the tech industry, helping blockchain companies raise close to $4 billion in 2017, and that’s all set to continue with a twist in 2018. Beyond continued momentum for ICOs, also known as token sales, leading ICO companies themselves are set to start investing.
Julie Verhage – Bloomberg (subscription)
The legion of microcaps that have booked massive share-price gains after changing their business to focus on the crypto craze are now looking to cash in.
U.S. fund managers are ramping up efforts to tap into the fever surrounding digital assets, and the latest planned bitcoin products could deliver some head-turning and stomach-churning price movements if they come to market.
Sam Volkering – Money Morning
email@example.com would have been enough. Perhaps firstname.lastname@example.org would have also done the job. But as best practice any normal email address, whatever it was, worked just fine.
Back in the ‘early days’ of altcoins and crypto, that’s pretty much all you needed to register on a crypto exchange. These days you need to provide government issued ID.
Annie Nova – CNBC
Visa ended its relationship with a large cryptocurrency card provider, causing thousands of people’s transactions to be declined and scrambling to figure out how to access their money.
Jon Evans – TechCrunch
Sure, fine, maybe it’s a bubble. OK it’s definitely a bubble, but that’s a good thing, a bubble brings attention and investment in infrastructure, which breeds real innovation. Right? Look at the dot-com boom. A lot of people lost a whole lot of paper money, but it brought us a cheap worldwide fiber backbone and companies like Amazon and Google. Today’s crypto bubble is just like that. Right?
Josh Ye – SCMP
Bitcoin’s soaring transaction fees, following the digital currency’s 1,300 per cent surge in value in the past year, have made it practically useless as a token of exchange in Hong Kong.
Mark Beaumont – The Guardian
Cryptocurrencies that can make millionaires in minutes are justification enough to get out of bed at 5am to gamble.
FAO: Florin Adrian Oprea, Editor-in-chief Blockchain Daily News
DNT: Decebal Nicolaie Todarita, Editor Blockchain Daily News