Today’s Highlights: Bitcoin bloodbath nears dot-com levels, crypto wallet startup Blockchain has unveiled a new service platform, Binance has just launched a fiat trading pair in Uganda, message app Kakao seeks partners for Its Blockchain venture and crypto coin tether defies logic on Kraken’s market.
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Adam Haigh & Eric Lam – Bloomberg (subscription)
Bitcoin’s meteoric rise last year had many observers calling it one of the biggest speculative manias in history. The cryptocurrency’s 2018 crash may help cement its place in the bubble record books.Down 70% from its December high after sliding for a fourth straight day Bitcoin is getting ever-closer to matching the Nasdaq Composite Index’s 78% peak-to-trough plunge after the U.S. dot-com bubble burst.
Olga Kharif – Bloomberg (subscription)
That mournful sound you hear? It’s the funeral procession of yet another cryptocurrency.
As the digital money frenzy of the past few years cools, the crypto coin graveyard is filling up. Dead Coins lists around 800 tokens that are bereft of life, while Coinopsy estimates that more than 1,000 have bought the farm.
Nikhilesh De – CoinDesk
Crypto wallet startup Blockchain has unveiled a new service platform focused squarely on the institutional market.Blockchain Principal Strategies aims to provide investors and institutions with “unparalleled and tailored access to markets, research and services on the most trusted digital asset platform worldwide,” the company said in a blog post.
Min Jeong Lee – Bloomberg (subscription)
South Korea’s dominant message-app operator is considering a private placement next month to raise funds from partners interested in helping to build its crypto platform.Ground X Corp., a blockchain subsidiary of Kakao Corp., may initially seek capital and business alliances with consumer-service companies, Jason Han, the unit’s CEO. Ground X is targeting firms that, like Kakao, have internet or mobile services that could be offered over a blockchain platform, he said. Plans are still subject to change, Han said.
DNT: At the end of last month, Kakao reiterated it will unveil its own open blockchain platform. Now, it took some steps in that direction. You can read more about the company’s plans to get into crypto here, Future Stars section.
Madeline Meng Shi – CoinDesk
The world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange has just launched a fiat trading pair in Uganda.
Binance announced that it was starting a fiat-crypto trading pair with the Uganda shilling. Moreover, the company also announced its first fiat crypto exchange in the nation, called Binance Uganda, according to a statement.
Anatol Antonovici – Cryptovest
CapBridge, a blockchain app developer and fintech firm, partnered with New York-based ConsenSys to apply blockchain technology for a private exchange that is about to be built in Singapore. 1exchange (1X), as the upcoming platform is called, will be developed with the support of Singapore Exchange, and other shareholders. The platform will focus on exit options for shareholders of private companies.
Matthew Leising, Mira Rojanasakul, Demetrios Pogkas & Brandon Kochkodin – Bloomberg (subscription)
In the traditional world of securities exchanges, it would be akin to defying gravity. But at Kraken, one of the most popular venues for trading cryptocurrencies, a coin called Tether does it again and again.Huge trades move prices about the same as small ones, ignoring the normal rules of economics, according to a review of Kraken’s public order book – a pattern that experts on market manipulation view as a red flag. The mystery is bracketed by another quirk: Oddly specific order sizes – many going out to five decimal points, with some repeating frequently. Another red flag.
Kellie Ell – CNBC
Cryptocurrency trader Ran Neu-Ner says the price will likely fall to around $5,350 in the next two weeks.Still, he remains bullish on long-term investments in bitcoin.Meanwhile, he tells investors to consider two other coins.
DNT: Those two coins are neo, the currency used for a Chinese platform similar to ethereum, and Cardano’s Ada cryptocurrency, as the story informs.
Veronika Rinecker – Cointelegraph
A report from the Financial Stability Committee of the German Bundestag has found that cryptocurrencies do not pose a threat to the country’s financial stability, Cointelegraph auf Deutsch reports. The study (Ed. note – links in German) notes high volatility in crypto markets and states that “they lack general acceptance and transaction costs are often relatively high”:
BitIRA, a market leader in providing cryptocurrency options for retirement accounts continued its steady expansion of available coins with the addition of Stellar Lumens and Zcash, which join Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin , Ripple, Bitcoin Cash and Ethereum Classic as investment opportunities for its customers.
Tom Groenfeldt – Forbes
To help developers at new blockchain startups, and at companies seeking to start using blockchain, IBM has developed the IBM Blockchain Platform Starter Plan to help them build blockchain proof-of-concepts quickly and affordably. It offers an end-to-end blockchain development experience: a secure test environment, a suite of education tools and modules and one-click network provisioning. It is built on the open source Hyperledger Fabric.
Muyao Shen – CoinDesk
Malicious actors are moving from ransomware to crypto-jacking, a leading cybersecurity firm reported. Kaspersky Lab, the Russian cybersecurity company, said in a new report that ransomware attacks – where a malicious file locks a computer until a ransom is paid – have declined by nearly half as the perpetrators instead move to deploy crypto-mining malware instead. This is largely because crypto mining is now more profitable than ransomware.
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Veronika Rinecker – Cointelegraph
Crypto and blockchain companies from the European Economic Area can now conduct business through the fully licensed German solarisBank. With its ‘Blockchain Factory,’ solarisBank offers its customers a so-called ‘blockchain company account’, which can only be opened in fiat currencies. These accounts are intended for the banking needs of blockchain companies, which are still not met by most German banks.
Wolfie Zhao – CoinDesk
A group of reinsurance giants have said they will jointly develop a blockchain system in an effort to boost transparency in the industry.Comprising the group are are multinational giants including General Reinsurance Corporation and Hannover Re, the report said. Also involved in the project is China Re, the only reinsurance firm in China owned by the state and established by the country’s Ministry of Finance.
Wolfie Zhao – CoinDesk
The securities regulator in Canada’s Ontario province has raised concerns that public knowledge of cryptocurrency appears to be lacking, despite a growing interest in the nascent technology among local residents.The Ontario Securities Commission published the results of a survey that asked over 2,500 Ontario residents aged 18 or older about their awareness and knowledge of cryptocurrency and ICOs.
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Jessica Bennett – The New York Times
They call themselves “the nine.” They are nine women, eight scattered around the United States and one in France, each with accusations of having been sexually harassed or assaulted by a former mentor, the playwright Israel Horovitz. Last fall, they chose to speak out publicly against him, adding their voices to the chorus of women proclaiming #MeToo.
Yoav Vilner – Forbes
As decentralized networks become popular in the business world, companies are finding new, more valuable ways of interacting with users.
Lily Katz & Andre Tartar – Bloomberg (subscription)
There are lots of opportunities for cryptocurrency to go missing—some inherent to buying internet money, some involving crime. Check a few common ways of going virtually broke.
FAO: Florin Adrian Oprea, Editor-in-chief FinTech Daily News
DNT: Decebal Nicolaie Todarita, Editor FinTech Daily News