Bitcoin is down 20% this week completely retracing the past week’s gains. Despite periodic gains this week, the market still finished down significantly from last week posting another double-digit loss. This has been attributed to everything from child porn to market manipulation but the most compelling reason suggested so far has been the futures markets. In any case the bulls are still recommending everyone HODL on. Bitcoin cash is also down 30% this week despite BitPay’s adoption of the technology.
Ethereum is down 27% this week in yet another of a long series of price drops from it’s high of almost $1,500. This follows the trend we’ve seen over the past few weeks of correlated movements between the two currencies. Some have pointed to this correlation as a sign of an immature market.
The entire crypto market is down 20% this week completely retracing the 10% increase seen last week. These numbers are similar to the 20% price drop we saw 2 weeks ago. Despite all this, to some a huge recovery is imminent.
Bans & Warnings:
Kazakhstan’s National Bank may ban cryptocurrencies. This follows a trend of countries opposing decentralized cryptocurrencies for fear of money laundering. Leading the charge was the Russians when Putin announced earlier this month that regulation would be coming in March and plans to launch its own currency.
Another warning by Nigeria was issued this week on the use of cryptocurrencies. Nigeria took a hard stance yet again warned against cryptocurrencies. Their points are not entirely unfounded with a history of Ponzi schemes involving crypto in the region.
Denmark blocked trading this week citing different concerns than those of Nigeria. The concerns of Denmark were focused on a lack of transparency around money laundering. They appear to have echoed the sentiments of the G20 summit last week and their concern is not unfounded.
Lawsuits over bans were filed this week by The Russian Association of Crypto-Currency and Block-Finish (RACIB) and other industry associations after cryptocurrency advertising bans by several prominent companies. The group claims collusion amongst advertisers and calls the moves a “special indignation at the crypto community”. The lawsuit was filed against Google, Twitter, and Facebook. The move appears to be aimed more at deterrence to stop other companies like MailChimp from continuing to follow suit.
The Bank of England is testing a blockchain system this week for real-time gross settlement (bank to bank transfers). The bank, which is a centralized and government-owned bank, is part of the bank’s strategic plan for 2020. While just a proof of concept, its aim is to become “mature enough” for use with other banks.
China declared cryptocurrencies a top priority for 2018. The central bank has created a science and technology team aimed at tackling the new technology which has already applied for 22 new patents. In an interview discussing the developments, a Chinese official talked about an official cryptocurrency while simultaneously bashing existing currencies Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Money Laundering Arrests: In the U.S. a drug dealer has been arrested again for money laundering via digital currencies. This goes to show that the concerns repeatedly brought up at the G20 summit were not unfounded. While money laundering charges are not uncommon this is one of the first cases to be charged under Arizona’s new HB2417 law.
Reddit Disabled Bitcoin Payments this week among concerns around Coinbases ability to process payments. Coinbase has struggled recently and revamped its commerce platform. While not likely to have a large material impact on either company, Reddit was an early customer of Coinbase reporting processing $1 million in transactions a month in 2013!
More Cryptojacking has been reported using a vulnerability disclosed way back in 2013. While not the first, or biggest crypto jacking campaign, the miners have gotten away with nearly 320 Monero ($63,000) so far.
The U.S.Treasury further legitimized crypto this week when it published a post offering advice to Government agencies looking to use cryptocurrencies. The post recommends including sceptics on teams investigating blockchain saying that a team with “only pro-blockchain people can be blinded by the hype and force a square peg into a round hole”. The note comes among criticism aimed at the CTFC chairman for discussing blockchain, as critics say that in doing so he might legitimize it.
Ethereum Infighting was apparent this week as the community prepares to face off against ASIC miners. ASIC mining has been a touchy subject in the community, but this week a developer has opened an Ethereum Improvement Proposal to discuss measures aimed at stopping the controversial practice. With support from users, the community is expected to take action in the coming weeks.
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Author Jake Sylvestre