This week took an unexpected turn, with all top cryptocurrencies experiencing enormous surges. While many have speculated whether this rise was due to algo trading, Bitcoin’s price has surpassed the $5k mark for the first time in 2019 and managed to sustain its position, resulting in a tripling of the coin’s Google searches. Malta and China move forward with blockchain tech, approving licenses for crypto assets agents and blockchain firms respectively. Crypto exchange Liquid achieves unicorn status and, even though ICOs have seen an important drop, IronX launches following one of the most successful ICOs of 2019.
Here’s what you need to know about last week’s events in the crypto world:
Bitcoin (BTC) opened Monday at $4,105.36 and closed at $4,158.18 without changing noticeably during the day. Tuesday started similarly at $4,156.92, but had an 18% rise during the day when it peaked at $4,905.95. The peak of the week, however, came on Wednesday at $5,307, 29.5% higher than the week’s low on Monday of $4,096.9. For the rest of the week BTC didn’t sink below $4,836.79, closing over $5k each day of the weekend. The coin closed Sunday at $5,198.90 with a 2.68% gain for the day and a 26.64% gain for the week. Bitcoin’s market cap on Monday was 73.2B, and by Sunday it had grown almost 20B, closing the week at $91.6B.
Bitcoin 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360
Ethereum (ETH) started the week at $141.47 and remained stable throughout the day, closing at $141.83. The low of the week took place on that day as well at $140.74. A 16.5% spike took place on Tuesday, peaking at $165.23 to finally close the day at $163.96. On Wednesday, the peak of the week took place at $178.32, a 26.70% increase from the week’s low on Monday. ETH quickly dropped after the peak, closing Wednesday at $161.46, but slowly started to increase again towards the weekend. Sunday opened at $165.98 and closed at $174.53, experiencing a 5.15% gain for the day and a 23.37% gain for the week. The market cap of Ethereum on Monday was $14.9B, growing to $18.4B by Sunday’s close.
Ethereum 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360
Ripple (XRP) opened Monday at $0.309195 and shortly after had its low of the week, at $0.308910. Following the market trend, XRP’s price started to rise as the week progressed, spiking on Wednesday and reaching $0,371270. XRP’s price subsequently decreased until Thursday, closing at $0.332513. The peak of the week came on Friday when it hit $0.374064, 21% higher than the low of the week. Sunday closed at $0.359856, with a 1.5% gain for the day and a 16.3% gain for the week. The market cap for XRP on Monday was $13B, and grew 15% to close the week at $15B.
Ripple 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360
Bitcoin Cash (BCH) has risen to number 4 in the market cap rankings, moving ahead of EOS and Litecoin. BCH opened Monday at $168.90 and didn’t fluctuate significantly during the day, hitting its floor for the week at $167.09.Tuesday started low at $167.63, had a 40% growth during the day and closed at $236.13. On Wednesday the Bitcoin Cash price doubled Monday’s low, peaking for the week at $342.87, and then remained above $276.33 (on Thursday), until it closed Sunday at $319.6, with a 4.5% gain for the day and a startling 89% gain for the week. Bitcoin Cash’s market cap opened Monday at $2.9B, surging to $4.1B on Tuesday, and finally closing the week at $5.6B, growing 90.7%, which quickly propelled BCH’s ranking to number 4.
Bitcoin Cash 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360
Litecoin (LTC) opened Monday at $60.77 and experienced its low point at the start of the week when it hit $60.41. On Tuesday it spiked, closing at $76.19 and by Wednesday LTC’s price reached the week’s high point at $97,50, an astounding 61% increase from its low on Monday. By the end of the day however, Litecoin’s price had settled for a more modest $84,92. The rest of the week saw a steady rise, with the coin enjoying $92.57 and $92.31 closings on Saturday and Sunday respectively, ending with a 51.9% gain for the week. Litecoin’s market cap started the week at $3.7B and grew 52% during the week, closing Sunday at $5.6B.
Litecoin 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360
Following the recent Bitcoin (BTC) price surge on Apr. 2, the coin’s Google searches almost tripled, according to information sourced from Google Trends.
The very next day after the surge, BTC surpassed the $5k mark for the first time since November of last year. Blooomberg reported on Apr. 3 that algorithmic hedge funds, computer-run strategies that determine when trades should be made, are possibly behind the price surge.
New regulations for cryptocurrency mining have been adopted in Missoula, Montana. The new law, which came into action on Apr. 4, states that crypto miners’ operations can only run in light industrial and heavy industrial districts (pre existing mining operations are exempt without expansion authorization). The law will be enforced until Apr. 3, 2020.
On the other side of the world, South Korean officials are considering revising the existing regulatory framework regarding digital currencies to help the cryptocurrency market grow. Lawmakers are willing to promote the blockchain industry and stress that the government should be cautious around the management of the technology. In Hong Kong, James Lau, Hong Kong's secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, stated that the sale of mining equipment and all products related to virtual assets fall under the Trade Description Ordinance, a 2012 bill that prescribes penalties for unfair trading practices. According to Lau, illicit mining activity can be punished with a $500,000 fine, or five years of imprisonment.
Chinese initiatives such as Baidu Blockchain Engine and Alibaba Cloud Blockchain-as-a-service (Baas) are only a couple of the 197 companies registered as blockchain service providers in a list released by China’s cyberspace administration on Mar. 30. Traditional financial institutions—like China Zheshang Bank—are also included in the list. No institution or individual is legally allowed to use blockchain for commercial purposes.
China is allegedly leading the world in blockchain projects, and the Chinese cyberspace administration is asking all “relevant institutions and individuals who have not fulfilled the filing procedures to apply as soon as possible”.
On a similar note, a statement published on Apr. 2 noted that Malta has approved its first 14 licenses for crypto assets agents.
More than 250 applications were initially filed, but only 28 managed to actually apply for a licence. In the end, 14 applications were approved with only some “minor details” to be worked out. To find out more about Malta and crypto friendly jurisdictions, read our article about it on coin360.com.
The new cryptocurrency exchange IronX launched publicly on Apr. 4, following their $26M ICO (one of the top 5 ICOs of 2019) It was developed by IronFX, a multi-asset broker, and EmurgoHK, creator of the Cardano (ADA) coin.
The IronX exchange supports fiat (USD, EUR and JPY) and cryptocurrencies (BTC, ETH, PMA, ADA, EOS, LTC, NEO, XLM, XRP, XTZ and its native token IRX). More listings and features will be announced at a later date.
Thanks to Serial C funding from American investment firm IDG capital and the involvement of Chinese mining manufacturer Bitmain Technologies, Japanese exchange Liquid was valued at over $1 billion on Apr. 3rd, granting it unicorn status.
As reported by Cointelegraph Cointelegraph Japan, this makes Liquid Japan’s second unicorn in the tech start up field, the other being artificial intelligence firm Preferred Networks, baked by Toyota, Fanuc, Hitachi and others.
According to a Mar. 31 report by the Wall Street Journal, $118 million were raised through Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) during the first quarter of 2019.
However, this amount is paltry when compared to last year’s results. During the first quarter of 2018, ICOs raised $6.9 billion, more than 58 times the amount raised this year.
As per an Apr. 3 World Economic Forum report, at least 40 central banks are or soon will be researching and experimenting with central bank digital currency (CBDC).
The report goes on to talk about ten use cases of distributed ledger technology applications that are being actively researched, including strengthened KYC/AML processes and faster, more efficient trade financing, as well as a list of the pros and cons of central bank digital currencies.
In similar news, according to a study carried out by identity management firm Okta, 61% of high-profile digital companies around the world have invested in blockchain. The study surveyed 1,050 IT, security and engineering decision makers from global companies with over $1 billion in revenue.
One of the survey questions read “Does your company invest in this technology as part of its digital transformation strategy?”. To this question, 72% and 68% of the decision makers answered that their companies had invested in the internet of things and augmented reality, making them the two most popular choices.
Bill Hinman, director of SEC’s Division of Corporation FInance and Valerie Szczepanik, SEC’s Senior Advisor for Digital Assets and Innovation, are behind the new “Framework for ‘Investment Contract’ Analysis of Digital Assets”, published on Apr. 3rd.
The framework is not to be understood as legal advice, but rather as a tool that will be helpful for people who are considering an Initial Coin Offering to better analyze and determine whether the U.S. federal securities laws apply to them or not.
There are multiple plausible reasons behind the surge of crypto this week. But, catalysts aside, everything points towards a positive period for the cryptocurrency industry. The licenses approved by Malta and China, and the good news from exchanges Liquid and IronX will only spark more interest from big players from finance and the tech world, where there is already a great deal of interest as this week’s research proved.
We wish you a great week,
The Coin360 Editorial Team