Welcome to Issue 4 of Popular Crypto, a newsletter about the mainstream products and services taking crypto to the masses.
In this issue we discuss:
- A new rating system by the “Crypto Rating Council”
- Eroding support for Libra from formerly supportive companies
- Some positive regulatory developments
- Canada and Venezuela’s public acknowledgment of cryptocurrency’s potential
We also witnessed several crucial steps in the wide adoption of digital currencies among retailers worldwide, with IKEA leading the race.
All this and more in this week’s issue. But first, here’s some…
Updates From Nomics
- We’re giving away $2,000 in Bitcoin & Ether! (Ends October 17th at Midnight EST). Go here to enter.
- Flippening episode #56 is live. In this episode, I’m joined by John Jansen, CEO of Deribit Exchange. Deribit launched in 2016 & is one of the first futures & options crypto exchanges. Deribit does half a billion dollars of (real) volume per day.
- Finally, I’d like to encourage you to read the Nomics Manifesto if you haven’t yet. We put our heart and soul into this document; it delineates quite clearly what we stand for and what we stand against.
And now, let’s see what the cryptocurrency world has brought us this week.
- According to the latest information from Statista, the number of cryptocurrency wallets globally is growing exponentially. Statistics for the first half of 2019 reveal that the number of blockchain wallet users has reached over 40 million – a massive increase from less than 8 million users in Q2, 2016.
- The Fusion Protocol, a blockchain-powered platform for exchanging stablecoins and other tokens, suffered a hack that resulted in a loss of roughly $6.4 million worth of cryptocurrencies. According to the platform, the only thing that was affected was its own wallet, and there was no information about compromised user wallets. The firm even pointed out that the hack might have been an “inside job.”
- The blockchain payment provider BitPay announced that it would add support for XRP by the end of 2019. The step is a part of BitPay’s plan to provide its wallet users and prepaid cardholders with a wide range of options to store and spend cryptocurrencies within its continuously-increasing merchants’ network.
- The Wall Street Journal reports that Visa and Mastercard, alongside with some other financial institutions, which initially backed Libra, are now reconsidering their involvement in the project, following a backlash from international government officials. The report goes to say that executives of some of Libra’s backers have even declined Facebook’s requests to publicly support the project, in a bid to avoid attracting regulatory scrutiny.
- According to the Financial Times, PayPal is also considering quitting the Libra project. The report reveals that the reasons behind such a decision are Facebook’s lack of effort in addressing the public and regulatory backlash.
- WEG Bank AG, a German bank, partially owned by blockchain firms Nimiq, TokenPay, and the Litecoin Foundation, revealed plans to start processing cryptocurrency payments for retailers by 2020.
- The state of Ohio announced that it suspends its payment portal OhioCrypto.com – a service that allowed people in Ohio to pay their taxes in bitcoins. The website will remain closed until the Attorney General of the state comes up with a decision.
- Two Venezuelan companies have partnered to introduce a cryptocurrency debit card and point-of-sale (PoS) system. The system will provide support for Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Dash (DASH), and Petro, the Venezuelan government’s state-backed digital currency.
- Ripple’s senior vice president of customer success, Marcus Treacher, described Libra as a “walled garden” due to Libra Association’s potential influence over the digital currency. The term had been used previously to describe the control that tech companies like Facebook and Apple have over their software and apps.
- IKEA Iceland has taken part in a commercial transaction on ethereum, using smart contracts and licensed e-money. The company decided to facilitate its settlement for an order from local retailer Nordic Store via smart contracts, carried out on a platform provided by supply chain management firm Tradeshift.
- Good news from Ukraine! According to a report in the independent Ukrainian news publication Ligamedia, the local government has plans to legalize cryptocurrency. The report reveals that Minster Mikhail Fedorov will authorize the legalization personally. The move comes as Ukraine’s Digital Transformation ministry aims to make working with the Ukrainian government as easy as interacting with a digital service.
- SoFi, one of the promising fintech startups in the US, has launched its own cryptocurrency trading platform. The new platform and will be operated through the SoFi Invest service, and the current offerings are going to be restricted to Ethereum, Litecoin, and Bitcoin, at first.
- Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro announced that the local government has plans of activating cryptocurrency payments for its citizens very soon. The information comes after last week’s reports that the local central bank has been considering adding BTC and ETH to its international reserves.
- Bank of Canada’s recent report, titled “The Economics of Cryptocurrencies — Bitcoin and Beyond”, concludes that cryptocurrency payments are the best option for retailers. The report also points out that the blockchain technology has the potential to make the retail sector a safer environment.
- Leading US cryptocurrency exchanges, including Coinbase, Kraken, Bittrex, and others (also known as the Crypto Rating Council), are uniting in a bid to create a system that rates digital tokens on how close they are to securities. The idea is to unify the token classification by determining whether a digital asset falls under U.S. securities law using a points-based rating system and guidance from the SEC.
- As a part of the Crypto Ratings Council’s digital asset rating program, XRP received a score of 4 on a scale of 5. According to the securities standards established by the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), this is the highest value indicating that an asset is a security.
- The South Korean cryptocurrency exchange CoinOne lost its court battle with a client who lost 45 million won after his profile was hacked. According to the court’s ruling, the exchange will have to partially reimburse its client, covering the sum of 20 million won ($20 800), equal to the daily withdrawal limit, which was surpassed.
- Binance has introduced a market maker program for high-volume traders in a bid to draw more liquidity to the platform. Users with monthly trading volumes over 1 000 Bitcoins (BTC), and who also have quality market-making strategies can immediately join the program.
- The chances for Bithumb’s successful acquisition doesn’t look pretty as the acquiring party, BK Global Consortium, has reportedly failed to meet up to its commitments as per the deal, which saw only 30% (or $100 million) paid. The consortium has asked for an extension of the payment date, but it is yet to see its request approved.
- The cryptocurrency exchange Nova revealed that it is about to shut down, due to a new course of development. According to the Board of Directors of Nova’s parent company, there hadn’t been any hacks, frauds, or wrongdoings, and it is a purely business decision. Nova is yet to reveal details about the new service it plans to offer.
- The London-based Luno exchange, formerly known as Bitx, announced that it had added Bitcoin Cash trading following feedback from its client base. BCH became the third cryptocurrency available for trading on the exchange, in addition to BTC and ETH.
- Coindirect announced that it had launched an over-the-counter (OTC) brokerage in South Africa. According to the information, the service eases high volume users as it allows them to avoid lengthy transactions that can reportedly take over 12 hours.
- The leading US-based cryptocurrency exchange Bittrex revealed that it plans to launch operations in Europe. The new European bitcoin trading venue, which will be powered by Bittrex’s existing cryptocurrency trading infrastructure, is expected to go live later in October and will be based in Liechtenstein.
- The Swiss SIX exchange now offers a cryptocurrency ETP denominated in Swiss Francs. The Fintech company, Amun, alongside the cryptocurrency service Bitcoin Suisse announced the launch of the Amun Bitcoin Suisse BTC/ETH exchange-traded product (ETP) under the ABBA ticker. The instrument is structured as nine parts bitcoin and one part ether.
- India is about to welcome a new cryptocurrency exchange service provider! The South-Korean Bithumb Global announced plans to open a regulated exchange there and actively partner with the local oversight authorities. However, the country is still waiting for a formal review of its proposed complete ban on cryptocurrencies, which may shift plans for many businesses.
- Coinbase Pro announced that it is about to increase its fees starting from Oct 7. The higher rates will be applied for accounts transacting under $10 000, and up to $50 000. Currently, all accounts trading under $100 000 are charged 0.25 percent (takers) and 0.15 percent (makers). From next week, accounts trading under $10 000 will be charged 0.5 percent for both takers and makers.
- More news from Coinbase! The exchange announced that it has a new banking partner, in the face of Clearbank, and has reinstated GBP transfers for its United Kingdom customers. Coinbase also revealed that it had added full support for five new crypto assets — Basic Attention Token (BAT), 0x (ZRX), Augur (REP), Stellar (XLM), and Ripple (XRP).