Last week cryptocurrencies experienced a minor yet significant recovery after facing harsh decreases in price across the board the previous week. This time around, four out of the top five cryptocurrencies closed the week at a higher price than the week before, though the increase in price were nothing spectacular. In fact, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin were the coins whose prices rose the most out of the top five, with 13.3% and 10.9% jumps, respectively, but those are still dwarfed by the dismal 32.4% and 25.4% price drops they went through the week before. Other important developments include the alleged leak of draft bill that would ban cryptocurrencies in India, the U.S. Congress hearings on Libra, a new stablecoin, and an investment dry up for blockchain companies.
Here’s what you need to know about last week’s happenings in crypto.
Bitcoin (BTC) opened the week on Monday at $10,257.84, and rose to its highest price of the week on the same day at $11,052.77. Bitcoin’s lowest price of the week occurred two days later on Wednesday at $9,163.13, over 17% lower than Monday’s high. On Sunday BTC closed the day at $10,599.11, with a 3.3% gain for the week. Bitcoin’s market capitalization lost 2.7% of its value throughout the week, closing at $189B on Sunday.
Bitcoin 7-day price and market cap chart. Source: COIN360
Ethereum (ETH) started on Monday at $227.97, and just like BTC, ETH attained its highest price of the week on that same day, at $235.03. On Wednesday, ETH’s price took a 17.5% plunge from Monday’s high, and registered its low for the week at $193.99. On Sunday the coin closed at $225.63, experiencing a 1% loss for the week. The market capitalization for Ethereum also suffered losses, shrinking 1.7% and closing on Sunday at $24.1B.
Ethereum 7-day price and market cap chart. Source: COIN360
Ripple (XRP) opened on Monday at $0.306575, and on Tuesday the lowest price of the week took place at $0.291294. On Saturday, XRP registered its highest price of the week at $0.340477, almost 17% higher than its lowest price of the week on Tuesday. On Sunday XRP closed at $0.331309, with an 8.1% gain for the week. Ripple’s market capitalization, unlike the two previous cryptocurrencies, experienced a 5.7% increase, closing on Sunday at $14.2B.
Ripple 7-day price and market cap chart. Source: COIN360
Litecoin (LTC) opened at $89.86 on Monday. LTC’s lowest price of the week came on Tuesday and Wednesday, when LTC dipped down to $77.50 on both days. Towards the weekend, LTC’s price recovered 35% to reach its high for the week on Saturday at $104.61. Sunday closed with LTC at $99.63, netting a 10.9% gain for the week. The market capitalization for Litecoin increased by almost 10% throughout the week, closing at $6.3B on Sunday.
Litecoin 7-day price and market cap chart. Source: COIN360
Bitcoin Cash (BCH) started at $283.30 on Monday, and hit its low for the week later the same day at $258.65. BCH’s price slowly recovered until it reached its high of the week on Saturday at $337.28, 30.4% higher than Monday’s low. On Sunday BCH closed at $320.86, with a 13.3% gain for the week. Bitcoin Cash’s market capitalization grew 2% throughout the week to close at $5.7B on Sunday.
Bitcoin Cash 7-day price and market cap chart. Source: COIN360
According to a Jul. 19 Bloomberg report, U.S. regulator CFTC is investigating the Seychelles-based crypto exchange because it has allowed people from the U.S., one of the countries prohibited from using BitMEX, to perform transactions on the platform. According to the report, users might have used VPNs or other virtual tools to mask their location and trick security filters. At press time, neither the CFTC nor BitMEX have commented or confirmed the investigation.
A draft bill named “Banning of Cryptocurrency & Regulation of Official Digital Currencies” was purportedly leaked on social media on Jul. 15. The document, which hasn’t been verified, proposes the following definition for cryptocurrencies: “any information or code or number or token not being part of any Official Digital Currency (...) providing a digital representation of value”, also stating that all currencies that fit the definition would be prohibited. The penalty for violating the prohibition ranges from a fine to up to 10 years of imprisonment.
According to the bill, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is reportedly working on its own “Digital Rupee”, which would be legal and would not fall under the aforementioned prohibition. The RBI, however, denied last June it had any knowledge of the draft bill and the topic will not be addressed in the 2019 Monsoon session of the Indian parliament.
On Jul. 16 and Jul. 17 the Senate Banking Committee and the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee held hearings on Facebook’s Libra. David Marcus, co-creator of Libra and head of Calibra, testified at both hearings. The lawmakers heavily criticized Facebook during the hearings, with several senators and members of the House of Representatives bringing up Facebook’s troubled past with privacy-related scandals and involvement with Libra as concerns. Brad Sherman, a Representative from California, described Libra as a “godsend to drug dealers and tax evaders”.
Additionally, David Marcus declared that he didn’t know whether people who were banned from Facebook will be able to use Libra or not, and also agreed to not launch Libra until all regulatory concerns had been addressed. After the hearings, Marcus took to Twitter to thank the participants of the hearings, closing it by saying “we will take the time to get this right.”
As per a Jul. 18 report from Reuters, central bankers and finance ministers from the Group of Seven stated that currencies such as Libra could raise serious regulatory and systemic concerns if they’re not regulated. Bruno Le Maire, France’s Finance Minister and current president of the G7, said that the group is opposed to the idea of companies having the privilege of creating means of payment without complying with the corresponding obligations.
Previously, the FATF (an initiative of the G7) approved Japan’s plans for establishing an international network for cryptocurrency payments, which will purportedly function in a similar fashion to the SWIFT network. The FATF will monitor its development.
A Jul. 18 Paxos press release announced that U.S. crypto startup Stable Universal will be launching a new USD-backed stablecoin, called HUSD Token. The press release also announces that all dollars that back HUSD tokens will be held in reserve by Paxos, and that HUSD will be listed in Huobi Global first. This is not to be confused with Huobi’s current HUSD system, a solution that aggregates multiple stablecoin denominations in Huobi Global and allows them to be traded as one. According to a press release, the exchange will transition from the old system to the new HUSD token in the coming days
Data from Messari shows that Bitcoin’s recovery after crypto winter has been “extremely bullish” even when compared with Amazon’s own recovery following the dot com bubble. According to the findings, Bitcoin is 54% down from its all-time high, while Amazon, during a similar time frame, was trading at 85% below. Analytics firm Ceteris Paribus, who shared Messari’s findings on Twitter, also stated that Bitcoin is performing much better than what people imagined in Dec 2018.
Bitcoin’s average transaction volume per day has surpassed the $3B mark. Data from crypto analytics site Coinmetrics showed that in the past 3 months, the average daily volume of Bitcoin’s transactions has increased by almost 210%, from $1.04B on Apr. 17, to $3.22B on Jul. 16. The $3B daily average mark was hit on Jul. 11 and even though BTC’s trading price has decreased since, the average daily transaction value has kept rising. The second-biggest cryptocurrency in market capitalization, ETH, only experienced a 77% increase in the same time-frame.
According to their Digital Asset Investment Report for Q2 2019, Grayscale has more than $2.7B worth of assets under management as of Jul. 15, a drastic increase from Q1 2019’s $1.2B. According to the report, all ten of Grayscale’s investment vehicles generated a positive performance for the quarter. Additionally, the report also states that institutional investors have constituted for 84% of the demand for Grasycale products since July of 2018.
Data from CB insights shows that, as of Jul. 17, $784 million have been raised for blockchain companies through 227 investments in 2019. Bloomberg reports that, at this pace, the blockchain industry is projected to raise a total of $1.6B by the end of the year, which is 60% less from the $4.1B recorded in 2018. It was also reported that this impacts the United States more than other countries, as 40% of blockchain investments were benefited by U.S. startups.
DeFi startup Set protocol is now offering “Sets”, tokenized baskets of cryptocurrencies, which will initially consist 100% of ETH or USDC, which will rebalance themselves automatically based on different technical indicators. These new tokens are meant to make trading easier for users who don’t have the market expertise that professional traders have. The Sets work by following the ETH 20-Day Simple Moving Average and automatically converting to USDC when ETH stays below the index price for 6 hours, and vice versa. Last April, the company launched the tokenization of two categories of investment strategies, raising the number of assets under management from $75,000 to $450,000.
According to reports from local outlets, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao addressed the rumors by stating that they were working with local partners, but did not provide any specific details regarding the launch of an exchange. Similarly, a Binance representative told the outlet that they were discussing collaborating with FinTech company BxB, but no decision regarding a South Korean branch has been made yet. However, later reports indicate that a Binance spokesperson denied the rumor, saying that there were no plans for a Korean branch for now. Despite this, Binance has recently published a job listing for a compliance officer in Korea.
A Jul. 16 blog post provides details about the announcement of the Kusama Network: it is described as an “early, unaudited, and unrefined release of Polkadot, where developers will be able to deploy Parachains and test some of the functionalities of the network in real time. The blog post emphasizes that the Kusama Network is more than a testnet, and that it should be understood as a highly experimental version of Polkadot with real economic conditions. The Kusama Network is currently slated for a summer release, and it will also include the release of its own native token, the KSM, which will be distributed to the owners of Polkadot’s DOT tokens.
Grin completed its first mainnet hard fork on Jul. 17 as part of its plan to have hard forks take place roughly every six months for the first two years of the project. According to the announcement, these hard forks occur in order to discourage ASIC Grin mining and to continually deter manufacturers to build and sell hardware that can be used for ASIC mining. Among other minor changes, the hard fork also includes changes to the Grin wallet’s bulletproof rewind scheme.
Made on Jul. 17, the announcement means that Tether will soon be deployed on five blockchains: Tron, Ethereum, Omni, EOS, and now Algorand. Algorand utilizes a Pure Proof-of-Stake (PPoS) consensus mechanism, wherein any online user who possesses a stake on the network is potentially eligible to participate in the consensus protocol. Paolo Ardoino, CTO of Tether, was quoted as saying that “expanding Tether into the Algorand ecosystem is a fantastic opportunity for us to further contribute to blockchain interoperability and collaboration”, also highlighting that the two teams shared similar visions.
As revealed in a Jul. 16 CoinMetrics report, the reason why the transaction count for Bitcoin SV (BSV) was consistently increasing is because almost all transactions are actually made by WeatherSV, an app that records and retrieves weather-related data on the BSV ledger. Users from all over the world can pay to open a channel in WeatherSV, which provides hourly weather updates for 142 days for a specific location. In the end, almost all BSV transactions are made by WeatherSV.
People praised David Marcus’s tweet following the congressional hearings on Libra for taking the high road and expressing his desire to properly tackle all regulatory concerns before the launch of Libra. Despite all the negative press and the tighter regulations that the crypto landscape has seen since the Libra whitepaper, people have expressed gratitude for the project’s intention to “get things right”. Traders recognize that the regulatory entities of the world can’t be ignored forever, and Libra is set to play a very important role in dealing with them in a way that cryptocurrencies haven’t seen before. At the same time, investments on blockchain startups are considerably lower now than what they were one year ago, meaning that the interest is seemingly going towards Bitcoin rather than its underlying technology. It will be interesting to see if the surges in price from a couple of months ago and the buzz from Libra will inject life into blockchain startups once again, or if it will be the nail in their coffin and pave the way towards a cryptocurrency landscape where only a handful of projects compete.
We wish you a great week,
The COIN360 Editorial Team