Closing in on a generally downtrending year, experts are finally feeling optimistic – the quickening pace of the crypto rally may be anticipating a new year’s recovery. The anniversary of BTC’s all-time high last week kicked off a busy seven days, punctuated by agitation among the top coins, positive announcements in tech and politics, and a couple more sobering reflections on the uglier aspects of 2018 as well.
This is what you need to know:
Bitcoin is on its long way towards recovering, finally rising above the $4,000 mark on Thursday the 20th, reaching up to a momentary $4,198 on Friday the 21st.
Ethereum celebrated Christmas early this year passing Bitcoin Cash for the first time ever on the 17th: $91.38 vs $89.77. Tether thought it had found the same luck when it claimed 4th place in terms of market capitalization that same day, with $1.876B. However, this changed quickly, as EOS bounced back by 35% from $1.94 to $2.62, then dropped to $2.42, settling at a 25% daily gain. Tether was yanked back down to 6th place, behind Stellar, with a $1.85B market cap.
By the 20th, Bitcoin Cash ABC had managed to surge nearly 40%, rising to lead the crypto rally. The crypto market had brushed too close to $100B for comfort on the 15th, but last week saw it firmly take off again, closing at nearly $130B on Friday 21st.
Tron is on a roll. Last week they were reporting a sizeable increase in their dapps’ users: 48%, at a staggering 1.04 million transactions. Not bad, considering the general market downturn. And this was before the launch of their new TRC20 exchange last week.
But the Tron train is not stopping. On the 20th the platform announced plans to establish a $100 million fund called “TRON Arcade,” continuing their crusade for the integration of blockchain tech into the gaming sector – an industry worth $138 billion.
Dash and the South American phone manufacturer Kripto Mobile Corporation (KRIP) are making greats strides for adoption. During the last four months, the company has sold over 66K Krip phones, 53K of them in Venezuela.
Krip phones come pre-equipped with the Dash ecosystem, Dash wallets and the Bitrefill app. This deal was expected to bring 10,000+ new Venezuelan users each month to Dash; this mark was easily surpassed.
Cyber crime is costing us 480 new threats per minute, while cryptocurrency mining malware grew 71% in Q3 of 2018. That’s the latest word from this month’s McAfee Labs Threats Report.
The cybersecurity firm claims that in the wake of the Hansa and AlphaBay dark web markets takedowns last year, entrepreneurial cybercriminals have only gotten more creative, and the surviving underground markets more effective. IoT malware alone grew 203% in 2018.
President Donald Trump has appointed hard blockchain supporter Mick Mulvaney as his new White House Chief of Staff. The republican was among the group of representatives who pushed for the creation of the Blockchain Caucus last year.
Mulvaney has had a part in drafting two laws in support of blockchain growth, and stated back in 2017, “Blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionize the financial services industry, the U.S. economy and the delivery of government services”.
Several top execs have had the chance to give their two-bits worth about the state of crypto in 2018. Perhaps the most controversial among was Decred co-founder Jake Yocom-Piatt, who was saying that ICOs were dead and that Ethereum had “flamed out”, among other quite negative quips about dapps and ERC-20 projects.
“Observing these failures reinforced our belief that the blockchain-driven future isn’t a quick fix. It will take decades, patience, and longevity to build and gain mass adoption”, he added.
It’s been reported that last week Coinbase coordinated a massive restructuring operation. The enterprise was – in the words of the exchange’s own Head of Security – “fundamentally new architecture from the ground up.” The objective? To bring more digital assets to the exchange’s listing.
Coinbase moved approximately $5 billion in retail traders’ crypto assets into its upgraded storage model. This represents 5% of all BTC, 8% of all ETH, and 25% of all LTC in circulation.
Citizens of Andorra, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Iceland, Isle of Man, and Lithuania will be joining those of 34 other countries on Coinbase. This international expansion was announced on the 21st as part of the exchange’s 12 days of Coinbase campaign.
The team commented, “Next year we will continue expanding rapidly into new regions and adding assets to the Coinbase platform to meet customer demand. Cryptocurrencies are global by their very nature and we believe that they should exist without borders.”
A new report by the IMF has revealed the world’s central banks’ growing interest in digital asset technologies – that is, cryptocurrencies. In spite of most government’s wariness, and even in spite of the market’s 2018 downward spiral, institutions are in agreement that crypto is a force they need to keep an eye out for.
Both Sweden and Norway’s central banks have indicated potential plans to issue their own on-chain digital currency, while the European Central Bank has explored is less worried about blockchain diminishing fiat, because of scalability problems.
The social media giant is said to be planning on developing a stablecoin that will let users transfer money on WhatsApp. Unnamed sources claim the company would focus first on the remittances market in India. Current activity is in an extremely early stage, and includes working on the strategy for custody assets, or regular currencies that would be held to protect the value of the stablecoin.
It's called Coinbase Convert, and it allows retail users to make direct crypto-to-crypto conversions on the exchange. This upgrade is expected to save traders time and fees. The official announcement reads "conversions complete instantly and at a lower cost than if done via two separate transactions.",
Conversions between Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin, Ethereum Classic, 0x and Bitcoin Cash will initially be supported, with more to be added based on customer feedback.
With Bitcoin being welcomed into major outfit portfolios in 2018, traditional exchanges have lost ground in volumes in cryptocurrency trading. This and the high-demand liquidity would push Institutional traders to OTC trading desks.
This year saw Coinbase and GBTC head in opposite directions. Coinbase, during OTC Market hours has seen an increase in Bitcoin trading volume by 20% while GBTC volumes are down 35% 2017 vs. 2018 for the same period.
The social impact fund Binance Labs has granted $500,000 to eight different projects that applied to the ten-week incubation program that took part in San Francisco. More than 500 projects applied to the program, with seven out of the eight selected projects already having shipped working products, and three already signing paying customers.
All selected projects will be pitching their proposals at the upcoming Binance Conference, to be held in Singapore in January. The next incubation project will have an intercontinental scope, including Buenos Aires, Singapore, Hong Kong, San Francisco and Berlin.
Even though November saw a drastic slump in prices for cryptocurrencies the number of cryptocurrency ATMs doubled during the year, going from 2,025 machines in 2017 to 4,051.
While 68 ATMs were closed in November, 209 new machines were installed all across the world, including the first crypto ATM in Perú, Albania and South Korea. This signals an increase in the adoption of cryptocurrencies despite the market turndown.
In a surprising and sudden turn of events, the co-founder of Ethereum, the co-founder of Ethereum made several donations, which added up to $300,000 in total. These donations springed from different comments and requests made to Vitalik via Twitter. The beneficiaries were Prysmatic Labs, Lighthouse and Chainsafe Systems, all of which received a donation of 1000 ETH.
This week's news cycle was particularly active in preparation for the holiday season. It can be expected that the coming weeks will continue to give the crypto rally a boost, but the real test will come later in January. If the anniversary of the market's all-time high was mirrored positively, let's be ourselves for the anniversary of the crash. Till the next reviews, have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!