Crypto overview: Market analysis, Cryptopia's hack, Crypto malware
WEEKLY
January 21  |  8 min read

Crypto Week #3 Overview

COIN360 Editorial Team

The week was marked by an uncharacteristically steady Bitcoin, a shaky Ethereum, not few callouts for scams and malicious activity and some positive advancements in government attitude towards crypto.

Here’s what you need to know about what happened in the past seven days:

1. Market analysis

Bitcoin broke the $4k barrier last week but ducked back under quick enough. This week, the coin has remained humble, peaking at just $3,725 on Monday 14th in the aftermath of a bullish 4% on-the-day surge: the week’s high point came chasing after the low point on the first day of the week. From 14th to 18th, BTC showed resistance at around $3.6K, time during which the crypto market added $6B and Bitcoin was praised for its stability. You’ll notice a very faint slope downwards for the rest of the week: on Wednesday 16th we reached $3,685, on Thursday 17th $3,680, and Friday 18th was struggling to reach $3,670. At press time, BTC stands at $3,662 with just a 0.2% loss on the day and a 0.4% loss on the week.

Ripple is back in second place this week. Mimicking BTC, XRP showed it’s low point at $0.321 on the 14th and its high point immediately after at $0.337, a near 5% gain on the day. The week’s graph is sharper than Bitcoin’s, however, with a steep slump on the 15th to $0.324 (a 3.8% loss). The altcoin peaked again at $0.334 on the 16th and saw a more or less steady decline into $0.322 on Friday 18th for a total 3% loss. At the time of writing, XRP is recovering slightly: at $0.328 it marks a 0.23% loss on the day and a 2.22% loss on the week.

In third place is Ethereum, who sank into a prominent valley over Sunday 13th, but was successfully climbing out of it by the 14th. Following this super-Monday trend, the coin gained 10% that day, which included the week’s low point at $118 and the week’s high at $130. Tuesday 15th, the day Constantinople was postponed, saw ETH fall spectacularly fast to $120 (shedding 7.6%), peaking again at $127 on Wednesday 16th, and just hovering between $120 and $124 throughout the week until the 18th. Ethereum currently sits at $121 with a 0.08% loss on the day and a 4.7% loss on the past 7 days

Interestingly, EOS’s pattern is the opposite of its peers’. Sunday 13th saw the coin sit at around $2.4 and drop of abruptly to $2.24 on Monday 14th, for an ominous 6.66% loss. But it might’ve been an omen for good, since the coin recovered and surpassed this on the 14th when it peaked at $2.48. A low was reached on Tuesday 15th at $2.38, which slowly gained 5.8% until the week’s high point at $2.52 on the 17th. At press time, EOS is valued at $2.5, for a 0.37% loss on the day and a 1.33% gain on the week.

Last but not least, TRON is still defending it’s ninth place. Its mandatory Monday low point measured $0.022, and gained 18% within the day to reach the high point of $0.026. The rest of the week, TRX showed resistance between $0.023 (on Tuesday 15th) and $0.025 (on Thursday 17th). At press time, TRX is at $0.0249 with a 0.76% loss on the day and a 2.62% gain on the week.

2. Ethereum: Constantinople postponed

Much anticipation surrounded Ethereum’s Constantinople upgrade this week; the hard fork is set to make transaction fees cheaper. In a twist of irony, an unexpected security vulnerability (reentrancy attacks were possible via the use of certain commands in ETH smart contracts) was discovered. The hard fork was immediately postponed; although, according to a fork monitor owned by Ethdevops.io, at least 10TH/s worth of mining power was still mining the unofficial chain a few hours after the announcement.

At developer Péter Szilágyi’s suggestion, Ethereum has decided the hard fork will take place on February 27th, on block 7,280,000; it will exclude the vulnerable EIP (Ethereum Improvement Proposal). There will basically be two hard forks (“Constantinople as it is currently and the Constantinople fix up which just disables this feature,” says Szilágyi), so that test networks and private networks that have already implemented the full Constantinople upgrade can easily implement a fix without rolling back any blocks.

3. TRON: listings and summit

As usual, TRON is keeping busy this week. Confirmed by Justin Sun via Twitter on the 14th, ABCC has become the first crypto exchange to list TRC-10 tokens. While TRON’s TRC-20 tokens are used for smart contracts and are fully compatible with ERC-20s, the TRC-10 standard does not use the TVM and has a transaction fee about 1K times lower than TRC-20’s.

This week TRX was also listed by OKCoin, with pairs TRX/USD, TRX/BTC, and TRX/ETH available. The exchange’s CEO, Tim Byun, claims TRX is not a security, that they are excited about the apps built on TRON, and that they have used TRX as a payment method already. Finally, the niTRON summit took place this week (17th and 18th) in San Francisco, which noticeably included NBA superstar Kobe Bryant as a keynote speaker, a man whom Sun has called “an investment genius”.

4. Cryptopia hack allegations, Huobi returns and exchanges get grades

The New Zealand based exchange Cryptopia shut down activity on the 14th after staff noticed a security breach that had resulted in serious losses. Commentators immediately rvoiced suspicions that this might just be an exit scam by Cryptopia – a hypothesis backed by evidence that nearly 20K ETH were removed recently to an unknown wallet. Local police are currently investigating and rectified on the 16th that the company is being cooperative with the operation. The amount lost is still unconfirmed, but informal Reddit investigations estimate between $3 million and $13 million.

But exchanges had positive news to contribute this week as well: a report by Diar revealed that the number of trades and the trade volume broke records on major crypto exchanges in 2018; Huobi has relaunched as a fully licensed platform in Japan after merging with BitTrade; and analyst ICORating has evaluated 135 exchanges with daily trading values over, giving 16% of them a grade A or A- (there were no A+). Among these higher ranking exchanges were Kraken, Poloniex, BitMex, and HitBTC. Ironically, Cryptopia received the passing grade B.

5. More malicious activity threatens crypto’s credibility

Another crypto related scam revealed this week involved a spoof BBC News site, created in late December. By clicking on any link in the site, users would be redirected to https://thesecureoffer.com/bitcointraderc/, an affiliate websites which generates an amount of bitcoin for the scammers per page view.

In another recently reported case, a malicious Windows shortcut file posing as a film on The Pirate Bay was found to trigger malicious activity on users’ devices – among other things, stealing cryptocurrency. This relied on injection mechanisms where, for example, a victim visiting Wikipedia.org would find a fake donation banner claiming Wikipedia accepts cryptocurrency donations, providing two fraudulent wallet addresses.

6. Danish government demands personal data from exchanges

As of January 14th, the Danish Tax Agency (Skattestyrelsen) has been officially authorized to access personal information and transaction details from the last two years of users of three unknown Danish crypto exchanges.

Names, addresses, and a central person registration (CPR) number are among the information that the exchanges will have legal disclosure obligation to give up. Skattestyrelsen seeks to “obtain information on unexecuted taxpayers’ and companies’ virtual currency transactions.” The Danish National Tax Board estimates that, out of the approximately 450,000 danes who have considered trading crypto, only half are aware of the tax rules: traders must pay tax on any profits, and may claim losses for the tax deduction.

7. BitTorrent and Blockstream Announce Platform Advancements

BitTorrent will be launching its integrated platform with Tron-based BTT token by summer of 2019. Users that “seed” files for additional time can expect to be paid back through BTT and use the tokens in exchange for faster downloading speeds. “More than 100 million users soon will have the opportunity to be part of a boundary-free internet that supports personal privacy and connection around the world,” reads the BitTorrent Blog.

Meanwhile, Blockstream has officially launched their Blockstream Satellite API where users can send and transmit messages in order to free users from land-based internet connection. Messages are sent on a Blockstream Satellite Network; payment is made through the Lightning Network with variable fees based on traffic.

8. New Investments to Elevate Blockchain Popularity

Supply chain developer Chronicled will move forward with integration of blockchain technology after raising almost $16M with the help of Mandra Capital, Streamlined Ventures, and the Perkins Fund. The added funding for MediLedger Network will allow expansion for services allowing service provider integrations and address channel integrity and chargebacks, contracting, and revenue management. (Press release).

Distributed Technologies Research (DTR) launched their foundation as well as funding for research in order to address scalability performances. The research will be applied directly to “Unit-E”, DTR’s de-centralized payment network, that will be launched the second half of 2019.

9. Oil, Music, and News Move onto the Blockchain

Chevron has joined Vakt, a UK-based energy commodity trading platform, with members like Shell and BP. The platform currently processes physical energy transactions and eliminates reconciliation and paper-based processes.

The music entertainment industry joined Bitfury, the blockchain and Bitcoin mining manufacturer, in hopes of bringing new transparency to copyright assets and better revenue flow between artists, fans, and users of blockchain.

ConsenSys invests in Newspack, a revenue-generating news platform by WordPress. The company will provide the publishing platform and blockchain-powered native plugin so interested newsrooms can publish content on decentralized storage systems.

10. Mining: Giga Watt shuts down, TSM reports drop, malware still thrives

The company announced to its users on January 15 that it will be ceasing all operations. This comes in the wake of their filing for bankruptcy back in November. Any cryptocurrency remaining in customer wallets will be available for withdrawal until March. Giga Watt’s Telegram group contains evidence that some employees have not been paid since July 2018. Apparently, the company held up to $50K in assets, while liabilities are evaluated between $10 million to $50 million.

Meanwhile, it has been revealed that the chip maker giant Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing has reported a significant drop in mining revenue in their Q4 2018 financial results. Israeli cybersecurity firm Check Point has published a press release revealing that the Global Threat Index’s top three spots are occupied by mining malware. In spite of it all, analyst David Hundeyin remains positive, writing “Bitcoin’s hashrate is still climbing”. And finally, Bitmain has confirmed it is still firing more people, now in Amsterdam and Texas.

11. US and international governments’ advances towards crypto

The US Congress confirmed on Monday 14th that congressman Tom Emmer has resubmitted a bill exempting companies providing non-custodial crypto services from certain state money transmitting laws. Emmer has further plans to introduce two more bills supporting blockchain tech and crypto: “Resolution Supporting Digital Currencies and Blockchain Technology” and “Blockchain Regulatory Certainty Act.” On Wednesday 16th, House representatives for Wyoming introduced a bill that will allow corporations to issue blockchain-based tokens representing stocks.

Similarly, Belarus (where crypto companies are encouraged by the state as a way to attract foreign investment) launched a platform on the 15th which allows traders to buy shares, gold, foreign exchange and other traditional assets with crypto. Finally, the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) has announced it will apply before the Finance Ministry for a cryptocurrency license in order to eventually incorporate a digital asset exchange, as is planned since at least July.

This has been an interesting week for altcoins, and quite a rocky one for Ethereum especially). Commenters will surely look ahead with interest to see whether Bitcoin’s stability lasts, and whether Ethereum can take the punch and get back up to number 2, as it often does.

We wish you a great week,

Coin360 Editorial Team