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Bitfinex’s injunction, Microsoft & Amazon and Blockchain, BTC is $8k
May 20  |  11 min read

Crypto Week #20 Overview

The COIN360 Editorial Team

The hot streak of crypto keeps going strong, as Bitcoin went above and beyond, breaking the $8K mark on Monday. The rest of the top 5 cryptocurrencies all closed on a positive trend last week, while EOS’s market cap increase got the cryptocurrency back in to the top 5. Other relevant news includes a modification on Bitfinex’s injunction, an all-time high for CME’s bitcoin futures, Microsoft and Amazon becoming more involved in blockchain technology, and Samsung and HTC to include crypto functions in their budget phones.

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

1. Cryptocurrency Market Analysis

Bitcoin (BTC) opened the week at $6,971.18. Monday was an interesting day as it held the lowest point of the week at $6,898.28. Conversely, it also featured a high point above the $8K mark, something that had not happened since July of 2018. The rest of the week saw the price of bitcoin well above $7K, reaching highs above $8K. Thursday saw the peak of the week reaching $8,320.82, 20.6% higher than Monday’s low. Through Friday and the weekend the price of bitcoin dropped, almost dipping below the $7K mark on Friday. By the week’s end, however, bitcoin recovered and closed Sunday at $8,197.69 with a 12.8% gain for the day and a 17.6% gain for the week. Bitcoin’s market capitalization grew by 5% this week, starting at $138.3B on Monday and closing at $145.2B on Sunday.

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

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

Ethereum (ETH) began the week at $187.42, went down to $185.31, the low of the week, and then grew 6.2% to close the day at $196.85. Tuesday’s low occurred at $196.05, and by the end of the day it had grown almost 11% to close at $217.15. From Wednesday on, ETH moved above $216.82, with the high of the week taking place on Thursday, when ETH hit $275.39, 48.6% higher than Monday’s low. Friday’s high was $266.98, followed by small losses through Saturday. Sunday peaked at $263.74 and closed at $261.29, with an 11.4% gain for the day and a 39.4% gain for the week. Ethereum’s market capitalization started the week at $20.9B, grew 32.8% through the week, closing at $27.7B on Sunday.

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

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

Ripple (XRP) opened Monday at $0.310118 and later that day, the low of the week took place at $0.308434. By the end of the day XRP had gone up slightly to close at $0.325475. On Tuesday, XRP reached over $0.4 for the first time since last December when the cryptocurrency reached 0.408439 on the 25th. XRP continued to rise until it reached the week’s high on Thursday at $0.474619, 53.9% higher than the low on Monday. Towards the weekend the coin experienced losses, closing at $0.386193 and $0.372736 on Friday and Saturday respectively. Sunday XRP closed on a positive note, however, closing at 0.417700, with a 12.1% gain for the day, and a 34.7% gain for the week. Ripple’s market capitalization also experienced growth, increasing 28.3% as it climbed from $13.1B on Monday to $17.6 on Sunday.

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

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

Bitcoin Cash (BCH) opened the week at $354.03, grew 13.4% to hit $401.34, before closing down Monday at $384.48. Tuesday and Wednesday peaked at $407.58 and $407.71, respectively. The high of the week came on Thursday at $443.68, 25.3% higher than the week’s opening price. By Thursday’s end, however, BCH’s price had gone back under $400, closing the day at $398.70. Friday brought the low of the week at $340.84, a 23.2% decrease from Thursday’s high. On Saturday, BCH didn’t fluctuate as much, moving between $351.99 and $370.37. On Sunday, the cryptocurrency picked up the pace again to close at $421.49, with an 18% gain for the day and a 19% gain for the week. The market capitalization for Bitcoin Cash was $6.8B on Monday. It grew 9.7% throughout the week and closed at $7.5B on Sunday.

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

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

EOS regained its number 5 spot in the rankings this week, opening Monday at $5.32. Later that day, the low of the week occurred at $5.29. On Tuesday EOS hit $6 for the first time since last September, peaking at $6.15. On Wednesday EOS grew 7.3%, closing at $6.48. With Thursday came the high of the week at $6.86, 29.7% higher than the week’s low on Monday. Friday opened at $6.50, experiencing losses throughout and until Saturday’s close at $5.89. On Sunday, however, EOS’s price increased, closing the week at $6.49, with a 10.2% gain for the day and a 22% gain for the week. EOS market capitalization also experienced growth throughout the week, and brought the cryptocurrency back into the top 5. It started at $5.1B on Monday and by Sunday it was at $5.9B, increasing its value by 16.6%.

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

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

2. Bitfinex’s Preliminary Injunction Modified: It Will Last 90 Days; Tether’s Ability to Extend Credit Still Frozen

Following a letter from Bitfinex lawyers addressed to New York Supreme Court’s Joel Cohen where the cryptocurrency exchange asked for more leniency regarding cash restrictions, a motion to modify the substance and temporal scope of the original injunction was granted on May 16. Bitfinex argued in an official statement that the original injunction was “vague, overbroad, and not time-limited.” The new motion will expire in 90 days, and will be narrower in scope, allowing Bitfinex and Tether to continue their business activities normally. It also directs Bitfinex to comply with the NYAG investigation, while also prohibiting Tether to loan assets or extend credit to Bitfinex or any other parties unless it is part of the standard ways of conducting its business.

3. CME’s Bitcoin Futures Hit an All-time High at $1.3 Billion

Another record was broken last week, as the bitcoin futures of the CME Group saw an all-time record of 33,700 contracts on May 13, surpassing the previous Apr. 4 record of 22,500 contracts by almost 50%. The new record is equivalent to 168,000 BTC, which roughly equates to $1.3 billion at press time. Despite the positive numbers (it was the third-highest quarterly volume in CME’s history), it failed to live up to the record-breaking figures reached in Q1 2018.

4. Coin Metrics: Several Discrepancies in Ripple’s Escrow System Reporting

A May 16 Coin Metrics report highlighted three instances of discrepancy between what was officially reported by Ripple and what was actually visible on the XRP ledger. The first discrepancy was found in two quarterly market reports (Q3 2018 and Q1 2019), which under-reported the number XRP released by a total of 200 million XRP ($77.7 million). Likewise, the report found a discrepancy in the way in which the escrow queue is actually implemented, which leads to a faster future release of escrowed funds. Finally, the report also found that 55 million XRP ($21.3 million) were released from an unknown escrow address, which is not connected to the main escrow account of Ripple. Coin Metrics contacted Ripple for information on the matter, but they didn’t receive any answers.

5. 40% of Ethereum Parity Nodes Remain Unpatched Against Critical Security Flaw

A May 17 report by SRLabs reveals that only two thirds of the Ethereum Parity client software that runs on Ethereum nodes have been patched against a critical security flaw that was discovered earlier in the year. The security flaw in question is a denial of service (DoS) vulnerability in the Parity client, which could potentially allow attackers to remotely crash Parity Ethereum nodes by sending malformed packets. This could lead to a 51% attack, which would allow attackers to double-spend coins and validate malicious transactions. It is important to note that the issue was patched in a new release of the Parity client merely days after it was reported, yet 40% of scanned Parity nodes (which equates to 15% of all scanned nodes) remain unpatched. SRLabs researchers state that this is due to flawed or nonexistent (in the case of Go Ethereum, another node client) automatic update systems.

6. Reserve Bank of India Urged to Reconsider Ban on Crypto

Entities such as Nasscom, a trade association of Indian IT companies, and the Payments Council of India are urging the Reserve Bank of India to allow cryptocurrencies and crypto-related products (such as exchanges and ICOs) in its regulatory sandbox. Nasscom argued that including crypto in the sandbox would allow for a better understanding of its risks, highlighting the important role of crypto within blockchain technology. The Payments Council, on the other hand, stated that innovation will be difficult if the framework of the sandbox has exclusions as large as crypto.

7. Bitcoin’s Surge Reportedly Due to Maturation as an Asset

Alternative data reported by Bloomberg on May 15 suggests that the resurgence of bitcoin could be due to its coming of age as an asset, which has changed the way in which people talk about bitcoin for the better. The data, provided by Indexica, comes from a custom index based on natural language processing of textual documents. The three main drivers of bitcoin’s resurgence found by Indexica were: a more professional discourse surrounding bitcoin, fewer concerns about fraud, and a more prominent use of the future tense when people discuss bitcoin.

8. Microsoft Announces the Identity Overlay Network Built on the Bitcoin Blockchain

A May 13 blog post announced the introduction of the Identity Overlay Network (ION), whose goal is to “create a decentralized identity ecosystem where millions of organizations (...) and countless devices can securely interact over an interoperable system built on standards and open source components.” Currently, usernames and email addresses are the most common digital identifiers, which put identity providers in a position of power and control over the users. ION was announced as a network where people will be able to create their own DID (decentralized identifiers), while also improving the throughput of DID systems to achieve up to tens of thousands of operations per second, something that is necessary for a world full of DIDs.

9. eBay and TD Ameritrade Debunk Rumors of Involvement with Cryptocurrencies

Despite multiple ads in New York’s Consensus 2019 hinting at eBay accepting crypto as a form of payment, a spokesperson of the e-commerce corporation shot down those rumors, telling Bloomberg that crypto was not an accepted form of payment nor part of their payments strategy. Similar rumors concerning TD Ameritrade testing BTC and LTC trades were also shot down this week, with Sunayna Tuteja, head of digital assets, stating that the screenshots were only a paperMoney simulation and not actual trades.

10. Amazon Receives Patent to Develop a Proof-of-Work System

Amazon has been granted a patent for generating Merkle trees to build a proof-of-work system. The technology company first filed for the patent back in 2016, but it was only awarded by the USPTO on May 14. The patent led many to believe that this was a way of foreshadowing Amazon’s adoption of crypto payments, causing commotion in social media. However, the patent makes no mention of cryptocurrencies, and it is strictly limited to developing a PoW system, which is effective in countering denial of service and distributed denial of service attacks.

11. Stellar Halted for Two Hours for Being Too Decentralized

Stellar platform was down for 2 hours on May 15 as several nodes stopped working. Jedd McCaleb, co-founder of Stellar, stated that the halt was not caused by a problem with the SDF nodes, as had previously been thought. The SDF nodes and most of the validators in the network were working properly at the time of the crash and Nicolas Barry, CTO of Stellar, affirmed that the crash “was caused by being too decentralized too fast” and that the system did the right thing by halting.

12. Samsung and HTC to Include Crypto Features in Budget Smartphone Models

As reported by local media outlet Business Korea on May 14, Samsung plans to expand the blockchain and crypto features beyond the S10 model, even including budget Galaxy models. The goal is to “lower barriers to new experiences by gradually expanding the number of Galaxy models that support blockchain functions.” Similarly, HTC announced that the more affordable version of their Exodus 1 model, the Exodus 1S, will also include bitcoin full node capability once it comes out in Q3 2019. Additionally, HTC also rolled out in-wallet crypto trading on May 14, including ERC-20 tokens like BAT, KNC and DAI without the need for intermediaries such as exchanges.

Final Thoughts

The crypto world is becoming used to bitcoin breaking new barriers as far as 2019 is concerned, and the rest of the top 5 don’t fall behind, with cryptocurrencies like EOS hitting new highs for the year. It seems likely that the resurgence of bitcoin has no direct relationship with a specific event, but rather a long-term, all-encompassing process such as its maturity as an asset. Furthermore, Samsung and HTC’s decision to make blockchain features present in their budget models is another reason to be even more excited for the future, as these smartphones will bring blockchain technology and crypto to millions of users.

We wish you a great week,
The COIN360 Editorial Team