Bitcoin continues to break records this week, as the price has raised itself over $8.6k for the first time in over a year, with most of the top 5 cryptocurrencies following suit. This run has left its mark, as the number of new accounts on exchanges has tripled in Japan compared to March. Other relevant news includes the announcement that Telegram Open Network (TON) will allegedly be launched later this year and Facebook releasing its new cryptocurrency in early 2020, a new victory for Bitfinex over the NYAG, new all-time highs for stablecoins, a new IEO, and a new STO for the film and television industry.
Here’s what you need to know about last week’s happenings in crypto.
Bitcoin (BTC) opened Monday at $8,196.92 and by the end of the day it had gone down 2.7%, closing at $7,978.31. On Tuesday, the cryptocurrency barely surpassed $8k, peaking for the day at $8,062.17. The next two days saw the price of Bitcoin slightly decrease, and the low of the week came on Thursday at $7,533.20, 8.1% lower than the week’s opening price. Towards the weekend, Bitcoin had a slight recovery and on Sunday, the high of the week took place, with Bitcoin trading at $8,687.52, 15.3% higher than the low 3 days earlier (and the first time in over a year Bitcoin beats the $8.6k mark). Sunday closed with the original cryptocurrency at $8,673.22, with a 7.7% gain for the day, and a 5.8% gain for the week. Bitcoin market capitalization was at $141.3B at Monday’s closing, gaining 8.8% throughout the week, closing at $153.7B.
Bitcoin 7-day price and market cap chart. Source: COIN360
Ethereum (ETH) opened at $261.27 on Monday, dropped 7.5% to bottom out at $241.80 for the day (and the week’s second lowest price), and finally closed at $251.86. Tuesday was rather stable, closing at $255.22. Throughout Wednesday and Thursday, the price of Ether started to decrease more noticeably, and the low of the week took place on the latter at $233.79, a 10.5% fall from the opening on Monday. Just before the weekend, ETH’s price started to rise again, peaking at $255.26 and $257.36 on Friday and Saturday respectively. By Sunday, the coin had reached its peak for the week at $269.17, a 15.1% increase from the week’s low on Thursday. ETH closed the week at $267.07, with a 6.1% gain for the day, and a 2.2% gain for the week. The market capitalization for Ethereum was at $26.7B on Monday, growing 6.1% throughout the week to close at $28.4B on Sunday.
Ethereum 7-day price and market cap chart. Source: COIN360
Ripple (XRP) opened Monday with its highest price of the week, at $0.417456, and by the end of the day it had already decreased 4.7%, closing for the day at $0.398003. Tuesday didn’t experience big changes, and on Wednesday XRP had another slump, dropping percentage points and closing at $0.376637 that day. The low of the week came on Thursday at $0.366805, 12.1% lower than Monday’s high. Towards the weekend, XRP showed small gains, with Friday and Saturday closing at $0.384541 and $0.387040 respectively, and on Sunday XRP closed the day at $0.408413, with a 5.5% gain for the day and a 2.2% loss for the week. Ripple’s market capitalization closed Monday at $16.8B, grew 2.6% throughout the week and closed Sunday at $17.2B.
Ripple 7-day price and market cap chart. Source: COIN360
Bitcoin Cash (BCH) started the week at $421.38, lost 2% of its value throughout the day and closed Monday at $412.81. Tuesday saw the high of the week, with BCH peaking at $439.38. By the end of the day however, BCH’s price had already gone down to $417.55, and it kept going down until it reached the week’s lowest price on Thursday, at $372.63, 15.2% lower than the week’s peak on Tuesday. As the weekend approached, Bitcoin Cash’s price increased, peaking at $421.01 on Friday and at $414.56 on Saturday. Sunday’s BCH peak occurred at $436.34 and the coin closed the week at $432.84, with a 6.5% gain for the day and a 2.7% gain for the week. Bitcoin Cash’s market capitalization on Monday was $7,3B and by Sunday it had grown 5%, closing at $7.7B.
Bitcoin Cash 7-day price and market cap chart. Source: COIN360
Litecoin (LTC) is back at number 5 this week, opening at $95.34 on Monday. By Tuesday, LTC’s price had decreased slightly, opening at $91.57 and at $91.51 on Wednesday. The low of the week took place on Thursday, the only day when Litecoin didn’t surpass the $90 mark, at $85.23. Friday saw a great recovery, peaking at $102.75 for the day, although by the end of the day the coin was back under $100, closing the day at $99.90. Towards the end of the week, Litecoin’s price continued to increase, closing on Saturday at $102.67 and peaking for the week on Sunday at $112.67, an astounding 32.2% higher than the week’s low on Thursday and the highest price for LTC since June 10, 2018, when the coin peaked at $117.56. The week closed with LTC at $111.42, with an 8.5% gain for the day and a 16.9% gain for the week. The market capitalization for Litecoin was at $5.7B on Monday. It gained almost 22% throughout the week and closed at $6.9B, regaining its number 5 spot on the rankings.
Litecoin 7-day price and market cap chart. Source: COIN360
According to a May 24 BBC news report, Facebook is finalizing its plans to launch its own payments-focused cryptocurrency. GlobalCoin, as it has been referred to internally, is supposed to start the “testing” period by the end of this year, and it’s planned to launch in Q1 2020. It is also reported that Mark Zuckerberg met with Bank of England governor Mark Carney in April to discuss the implications of launching a cryptocurrency within Facebook. In addition to this, Facebook has been reportedly consulting on operational and regulatory matters with United States Treasury officials, along with having discussions with Western Union to look for cheaper and faster ways for people without bank accounts to access money transfer services.
Messaging service company Telegram will reportedly be launching its Telegram Open Network (TON) by Q3 this year. Back in April, Telegram supposedly started a private testing version of the TON blockchain, which apparently, according to two anonymous sources, showed an “extremely high transaction speed”. The Telegram team has also purportedly stated that the TON network is apparently “capable of meeting the goals stated in the original whitepaper”. The Gram tokens, Telegram’s native digital currency, will be considered null if the Telegram Open Network does not launch by Oct. 31, 2019.
The news broke out on May 21 that Craig Wright had been granted U.S. copyright registrations for the Bitcoin whitepaper and most of its original code, making it the first time a government agency recognized Wright’s controversial claims of him being Satoshi Nakamoto. However, it was subsequently reported by the Financial Times on May 22 that this doesn’t mean that he’s officially recognized as Nakamoto. As it turns out, the Copyright Office does not investigate the validity of such claims, nor do they look into the connection between claimants concerning the pseudonymous author of a work. Furthermore, the Copyright Office can also cancel a registration application if the information presented in these documents is proven to be false.
Following last week’s victory of Bitfinex over the NYAG, the exchange is benefitting from another ruling made by Supreme Court Justice Joel Cohen. This ruling, according to a May 22 official announcement from Bitfinex, limits the scope of documents that Bitfinex and Tether must produce to only include documents that are relevant to the issue of whether there is personal jurisdiction over the companies in New York or not. The companies had argued that the NYAG’s office proceeding should be outright dismissed since the companies do not do business in the state of New York, which also means that New York’s Martin Act anti-fraud law does not apply to them because they are businesses with documents stored overseas. Bitfinex praised the decision because it “raises significant legal challenges” to the validity of the NYAG’s actions. In other news, it was also revealed on May 21 that Tether had invested portions of its reserves into Bitcoin and the purchase of other assets.
A May 21 official statement revealed a new development by Bitfinex—the Bitfinex and Ethfinex Exchanges have launched Tokinex, their very own IEO platform. One of its main features is its lack of listing fees that token issuers usually have to pay to IEO platforms. Additionally, users from both Bitfinex and Ethfinex will be reportedly able to take part in the Initial Exchange Offering sales by using the funds from their personal Finex accounts. A subsequent announcement made on May 23 revealed that the first token sale will be Ampleforth (AMPL), a token that will be eventually available on other cryptocurrency exchanges, but it will trade on Bitfinex and Ethfinex first. The Ampleforth sale will start on June 13, and it will last until June 19 or when the $4.9 hard cap is reached.
A May 20 official filing from the U.S. Securities and Exchanges Commission revealed that the SEC would be delaying its ruling about VanEck’s Bitcoin ETF proposal once more. This marks the second time the SEC has opted to delay a decision, the first one happening Mar. 29. This gives the SEC an additional 35 days to gather information and opinions on the ETF proposal, an initiative that has started with the publishing of 14 questions open to the community. Currently, the new deadline has been set for Aug. 19, and if the SEC were to delay a third and final time, the deadline would move to Oct. 18.
The latest weekly report by Diar, published on May 21, shows that the market cap for USD stablecoins has almost reached the $4.3 billion mark, surpassing previous figures. This is linked to an uptick in trading volumes for USD stablecoins, with cases such as USDC going through a 435% increase in 2019 and TUSD reporting absolute trading volumes of $3.8 billion. Despite the controversy, USDT (Tether) has already surpassed the 2018 total of trading volumes by $200 million, reaching an impressive total of $1.3 trillion.
The Spring 2019 update of the Ethereum Foundation included a section where the Foundation’s top priorities for the next year were laid out. In the section an ecosystem-level view was touted as the approach that they would be taking for the investment of $30 million in key projects across the ecosystem. According to the official blog post, $19 million will be allocated towards the Ethereum of tomorrow, which includes initiatives such as Ethereum 2.0; and $8 million will be allocated towards supporting the Ethereum of today. This leaves $3 million, which will be earmarked for developing growth and awareness, with a specific focus on dev relations, education, and on-boarding.
Proxicoin, a security token owned by Hollywood’s Ryan Kavanaugh, has received $100M in funding from the Central Wealth Investment Fund of Hong Kong and Step Ventures. According to a May 23 press release, Proxicoin is an ERC-20 STO which will allow for “fractionalized ownership” in film, television, and music. The token has been already built and audited, and a deal with Asian crypto exchange Fusang has been signed. Additionally, the press release announces that holders of Proxicoin will be partial owners of Entertainment Stock X, a platform that is set for an end of the year launch and that will allow films and TV shows to undergo Initial Public Offerings.
As reported on May 24, multiple investors have been approached by over-the-counter (OTC) desks offering between 16,000 and 50,000 Polkadot DOT tokens at a discounted price. Deals have already taken place, with each DOT token being sold for $60—a 50% discount on the private sale price of $120. However, these deals have raised suspicion within the community given the hefty discount and the fact that third-party sales constitute a potential violation of agreements. It has also been reported that these suspicious sales have brought the $1.2 billion potential valuation of Polkadot, a blockchain interoperability protocol created by Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood, into question.
According to a May 22 report by Europol, authorities from the Netherlands and Luxembourg have assisted the agency in shutting down Bestmixer, one of the three largest cryptocurrency tumblers (an anonymity tool that mixes funds with others, thus making it harder to track the original source of funds). Dutch authorities have seized six servers belonging to the cryptocurrency tumbler, which had a $200 million turnover. Since a large number of the mixed coins on Bestmixer are associated with criminal activity or money laundering, the platform was banned, and the collected data will be further analyzed and results will be shared with other countries.
A May 23 press release reveals that Epic Games, the game developer studio behind worldwide phenomenon Fortnite, has partnered up with blockchain digital game distribution platform the Abyss. The partnership will bring licensing, maintenance and support for Unreal Engine 4 to its partner developers. Unreal Engine is one of the most widely used engines in mainstream gaming, being regularly employed in AAA titles. By buying games or making in-game purchases, users of The Abyss platform will receive ABYSS tokens, which can then be used for discounts and other services on the platform.
On May 23, AT&T announced in an official press release that it will now become the first major U.S. mobile carrier to accept phone bill payments through BitPay, a platform that converts cryptocurrencies to fiat. Kevin McDorman, vice president, AT&T Communications Finance Business Operations, stated that the company is “always looking for ways to improve and expand [its] services”, offering their customers “a way to pay their bills with the method they prefer”.
Bitcoin’s latest bullish run has impacted the crypto market greatly, with big companies like AT&T introducing crypto into their services and new highs being reached virtually every week. Of note is the fact that this week also saw a more concrete confirmation of two of the most promising future developments in crypto’s horizon, with Facebook’s cryptocurrency reportedly set for a Q1 2020 release and the Telegram Open Network launching later in the year. The decision from the SEC to postpone the VanEck ETF application might not have surprised many people, but even if they decide to delay it one more time they’ll have to make a decision before November. The current state of crypto allows people to rejoice in the current bullish run while also looking at possible future developments with excitement. The prospect of having big players involved with crypto and the Bitcoin ETF being finally approved shows that the sky's the limit.
We wish you a great week,
The COIN360 Editorial Team