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Bitrue Was Hacked, Bitcoin Mining Difficulty , Iran vs. Cryptocurrency
WEEKLY
July 01  |  12 min read

Crypto Week #26 Overview

The COIN360 Editorial Team

Last week was filled with highs and lows. Most notably, Bitcoin reached $13k for the first time since January 2018, but the surge in price was short-lived, and the price of Bitcoin ended the week just below its opening price from last Monday. Coins across the board experienced losses this week, mostly due to a harsh fall in price on Thursday, which affected all top five cryptocurrencies. Other developments include more consequences and repercussions from the announcement of Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency, Iran’s crackdown on crypto mining, an all-time high for Bitcoin mining difficulty, and more crypto exchanges either suffering from hacks, shutting down operations, or vanishing into thin air.

Here’s what you need to know about last week’s happenings in crypto.

1. Cryptocurrency Market Analysis

Bitcoin (BTC) opened at $10,853.74 on Monday, went up slightly over the course of the day to close at $11,011.10. On Tuesday, the price of BTC increased by 7.1%, closing the day at $11,790.92. Wednesday saw the original cryptocurrency reach its highest price of the week, and the first time to reach $13k since January 2018, at $13,796.49. Thursday also saw Bitcoin surpass $13k, although the day was punctuated by wild swings including a 24% drop to take Bitcoin to its low of the week at $10,491.85. On Friday, however, BTC’s price partially recovered, peaking at $12,445.18. The weekend saw prices above $12k as well, in spite of the downwards trend. Bitcoin closed at $11,959.37 on Saturday and at $10,817.16 on Sunday, experiencing a 9.3% loss for the day and a 0.3% loss for the week. The market capitalization for Bitcoin was $195.8B on Monday, shredding 1.7% of its value to close at $192.4B on Sunday.

Bitcoin price and market cap chart for 7 days

Bitcoin 7-day price and market cap chart. Source: COIN360

Ethereum (ETH) started the week at $307.72, dipped below $300 at $299.56, and then recovered slightly, to close the day at $310.42. ETH’s performance on Tuesday was uneventful, moving between $307.64 and $318.13. On Wednesday, however, ETH’s price increased and ETH peaked for the week at $361.40. Later that day, Ethereum closed in its highest position for the week at $336.75. In spite of this, Thursday held the lowest price of the week at $278.57, with a 22.9% decrease in price. ETH closed with gains on both Friday and Saturday, going from $294.14 to $311.23 on Friday, and closing at $320.06 on Saturday. On Sunday, however, ETH’s price plummeted and closed at $290.70, with a 9% loss for the day and a 5.5% loss for the week. Ethereum’s market capitalization closed at $33.1B on Monday, and closed at $31B on Sunday, losing 6.3% of its value throughout the week.

Ethereum price and market cap chart for 7 days

Ethereum 7-day price and market cap chart. Source: COIN360

Ripple (XRP) started Monday at $0.468564, and closed the day with gains at $0.470088. Tuesday didn’t see great changes, with XRP closing at $0.468229. On Wednesday, the high of the week took place at $0.494310, even though by the end of the day the price of XRP had gone down 5.4% to close even lower than the day before, at $0.467451. Following the swing of the market, XRP’s lowest price of the week took place on Thursday at $0.395387. Towards the weekend, XRP was slightly fluctuating, peaking at $0.427994 on Friday, at $0.429711 on Saturday and at $0.429180 on Sunday. By the week’s end, XRP had gone down to close at $0.396411, experiencing a 7.6% loss for the day and a heavy 15.4% loss for the week. Ripple’s market capitalization also experienced major losses, going from $20B on Monday, to $16.9B on Sunday, shredding 15.7% of its value during the week.

Ripple price and market cap chart for 7 days

Ripple 7-day price and market cap chart. Source: COIN360

Litecoin (LTC) opened at $136.92 on Monday, notching its highest opening price of the week. Later that day, the highest price of the week took place at $138.69. LTC peaked at $138.12 and $138.32 on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively, not much lower than on Monday. On Thursday, LTC’s price decreased to reach its bottom of the week at $110.67, a 20.2% reduction from its high on Monday. By the weekend, LTC’s price had recovered slightly, peaking at $135.74 on Saturday and at $136.26 on Sunday. The week ended with LTC at $122.25, with an 8.6% loss for the day and a 10.7% loss for the week. The market capitalization for Litecoin was at $8.5B on Monday, shaving off 9.7% of its value throughout the week to close at $7.6B on Sunday.

Litecoin price and market cap chart for 7 days

Litecoin 7-day price and market cap chart. Source: COIN360

Bitcoin Cash (BCH) opened the week at $475.34 and didn’t experience big changes on Monday, closing at $476.25 that day. BCH performed similarly on Tuesday, closing at $479.81. On Wednesday BCH’s price peaked for the week at $514.72, and by the end of the day, it had gone down to $485.57. Thursday experienced major losses, going from $485.87 at the beginning of the day to its lowest price of the week at $392.82, a 23.7% decrease from the high the day before. Towards the weekend, the cryptocurrency lingered in the low $400s, ultimately peaking at $439.62, $443.62 and $447.30 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday respectively. XRP closed with its lowest price of the day on Sunday at $399.47, experiencing a 9.6% loss for the day and a 16% loss for the week. BCH’s market capitalization was greatly affected throughout the week as well, starting at $8.5B on Monday’s end and closing at $7.1B on Sunday, losing 16.1% of its value.

Bitcoin Cash price and market cap chart for 7 days

Bitcoin Cash 7-day price and market cap chart. Source: COIN360

2. Binance in Talks with Facebook About Libra

Gin Chao, Binance’s Strategy Officer, declared in a Jun. 27 interview that the exchange has engaged in official discussions with Facebook and that Binance is “very excited” about the Libra project, though talks were only at an early stage. In separate interviews, Chao also revealed that the announcement of Libra was good news for crypto, as it had potential not only in terms of mass adoption, but also as a means of resolving payment and regulatory issues. In regards to Binance becoming a validator node of the Libra network, Gin Chao stated that Binance “would like to throw its hat in the ring” to become a validator.

3. Bank of France Demands Banking Licenses for Libra

Francois Villeroy de Galhau, Governor of the Bank of France, stated recently that Facebook’s new cryptocurrency must comply with AML regulations as well as seek banking licenses in all the countries in which it will operate if the project wants to offer deposits or any other banking services. While Villeroy admitted that Facebook’s Libra could help improve cross-border money transfers, he commented that the anonymity of Libra would increase the risks involved if the project doesn’t comply with existing banking regulations.

4. Iran Government Enforces Crackdown on Crypto Mining

According to a report from Iran Daily, the Iranian government will be cutting off power to those who engage in cryptocurrency mining until new energy prices are approved. The reported reason behind this is a 7% spike in electricity consumption that took place in May-June, which is believed to be caused by crypto mining activity in the country. This situation has led people to reportedly set up mining equipment in mosques as they receive free energy in Iran, though the veracity of this has been called into question.

5. Institutional Activity in Crypto Up 100-200% in the Last 12 Months

A Jun. 25 broadcast of CNBC’s Squawk Alley has revealed that Bitcoin breaking above the $11k mark could be attributed to factors that don’t have to do with Facebook’s Libra project, one of them being an increase in institutional activity. According to data from Genesis Capital, there has been a significant increase in activity from institutional counter-parties in the last year, which has led to volumes being two to three times higher compared to what they were 12 months ago.

6. Bitsane Exchange Vanishes; Users Claim Exit Scam

As per a Jun. 27 Forbes report, Irish crypto exchange Bitsane seemingly vanished with funds from as many as 246,000 users. According to the report, withdrawals were disabled in May allegedly due to technical reasons, but the crypto exchange’s website and social media accounts were subsequently deleted in mid-June. In addition to this, all emails sent to Bitsane started bouncing back as undeliverable, and LinkedIn profiles from Bitsane personnel were deleted. A separate company, called Bitsane Limited, along with its CEO, Max Zmitrovich, were believed to be linked to the scam, but those allegations have been denied and clarified in a subsequent blog post.

7. Bitcoin Mining Difficulty Reaches All-Time High as BTC Market Dominance Surpasses 60%

According to data from Blockchain.com, competition among miners for block rewards is at an all-time high. Previously peaking in October of 2018 at 7.45 trillion, mining difficulty reached a new ATH last week, when it hit 7.93 trillion on Jun. 27. The recent price surge of Bitcoin also affected other altcoins positively, but their rise was not as pronounced, and as a result BTC dominance over the overall crypto market extended to 63% on Jun. 26 and Jun. 28. This marks the first time in more than two years that BTC market dominance has surpassed 60%.

8. CFTC: Big-Time Traders Are Shorting CME Bitcoin Futures

Data from the latest Commodity Futures Trading Commission report shows that large traders are betting that the price of Bitcoin will fall, the WSJ reports. The latest CFTC report shows that hedge funds and other big traders held 14% more short positions in CME Bitcoin futures than they do long positions. Other big traders (firms that don’t necessarily manage money for outside investors) appeared even more bearish, and held an amount of short positions that tripled the amount of their long positions. Inversely, small investors seem to be the most optimistic demographic, as investors with less than 25 BTC contracts held long positions in a 4:1 relationship to short positions. The data reflected in the report is from when Bitcoin was performing around the $9,000 mark.

9. ETC Labs Working on an ETH/ETC Interoperability Solution

A Jun. 27 official blog post announced a collaboration between ETC Labs and Metronome to enable cross-blockchain “chainhop” interoperability. The partnership will allow for the Metronome (MET) cryptocurrency to be transferable between the ETH and ETC blockchains in a reportedly quick, easy, and secure manner. As part of the collaboration, ETC Labs will also provide support for Metronome’s validator network, which will initially consist of 5 (or more) off-chain validators.

10. Polkadot Sells 500,000 DOT Tokens at an Unknown Price

Polkadot, a blockchain interoperability protocol, recently held a private sale of its DOT tokens where 500,000 DOT tokens (5% of the total supply) were distributed among buyers. The price that was paid for the tokens is still unknown, but reports indicate that they were sold with the $1.2 billion valuation of the project in mind. This would mean that $60 million has been raised, but this figure has not been confirmed.

11. Bitrue Exchange Hacked for Almost $5M

Bitrue, Singapore-based crypto exchange, was hacked on Jun. 26, losing 9.3M XRP and 2.5M ADA from the exchange’s hot wallet ($4.5M and $237.5K respectively at the moment of the hack). Bitrue stated that a single hacker had taken advantage of a vulnerability from a recent review process to access the funds of about 90 Bitrue users first, to then access the exchange’s hot wallet. The attack, however, was detected in time and the hacker’s activity was suspended by the exchange, managing to freeze relevant transactions and accounts with the help of the exchanges to which the stolen funds had been transferred. The subject responsible for the hacking has not been identified.

Bitrue assured its users that their funds are insured and that anyone affected by the breach would have their funds replaced soon. The exchange also stated that it is conducting an emergency inspection and that their withdrawal and deposit functions will be live again by July 3 at 23:59 (GMT+8).

12. Indian Crypto Exchange Koinex Shuts Down All Operations

14 months after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) prohibited banks from serving crypto exchanges and firms, Koinex, Indian cryptocurrency exchange, closed operations on Jun. 27. Rahul Raj, co-founder of Koinex, stated that the lack of banking support and regulatory uncertainty in the country have made it difficult to operate a digital assets trading business. This in addition to the recent proposal from the Indian government to ban cryptocurrency trading—under threat of jail time—resulted in a sharp decline in trading volumes, and several other Indian exchanges shutting down as well. Koinex’s digital assets wallets will remain functional until Jul. 15, with users being ordered to withdraw their funds from the platform before the aforementioned date.

13. Waves Introduces Update to Allow DApps in Its Ecosystem

A Jun. 25 blog post announced that the open-source blockchain platform has introduced the Waves Node 1.0 update to its blockchain, introducing new features and functionalities. Most notably, the update brought the mainnet release of RIDE, a functional programming language which will allow for DApps to be implemented on Waves. Other features that were included in the update are the ability to issue non-fungible tokens (NFT) on the Waves blockchain, and the ability to pay for Waves DEX fees in ETH and BTC.

14. Opera Releases Its Blockchain-Ready Browser on iOS

Opera Touch, a browser that supports Ethereum-based DApps and has a built-in wallet for Ether, is now available for iOS. This marks the first instance of a mobile browser on Apple’s operating system that offers Web 3 support and comes with a crypto wallet. Charles Hamel, Opera’s Head of Crypto, commented on the release saying that “all modern browsers should integrate a crypto wallet. This will enable new business models to emerge on the web”. To celebrate the release and promote decentralized apps for both Android and iOS users, Opera has partnered up with Marble.Cards, a DApp that turns URLs into digital collectible cards.

Final Thoughts

The fact that all five top cryptocurrencies experienced losses this week serves as a warning and a reminder for newcomers and the inexperienced: cryptocurrencies are highly volatile. Despite this, there are other developments that are on the positive side of things. The price of Bitcoin might have ended the week slightly below its starting point, but increased institutional activity and an all-time high for BTC mining difficulty show that interest is still very high. In addition to this, there are developments that, while not related to Bitcoin directly, could affect the whole cryptocurrency landscape in a major way. ETC Labs working on an interoperability solution could be the starting point for other companies and blockchains to develop their own, and the release of Opera Touch for iOS devices could bring more people on Apple devices into the crypto fold.

In the end, it was a highly eventful week filled with major surges and falls in price. It is unclear whether this week will see a recovery for the top cryptocurrencies or not, but there is no reason for the bullish sentiment to be over.

We wish you a great week,
The COIN360 Editorial Team