After a week where prices took a tumble across the board, cryptocurrency traders enjoyed some positive returns this week. Bitcoin came out as the biggest winner of them all, achieving an impressive, steady growth of 15%. The rest of the top 5 cryptocurrencies also finished the week in the green, though with varying degrees of success. Other important developments of last week include Facebook warning investors that Libra may never be released, Bitcoin reaching the milestone of having 85% of its total supply mined, Walmart filing an application for a digital currency, and new court updates from Bitfinex and Craig Wright.
Here’s what you need to know about last week’s happenings in crypto.
Bitcoin (BTC) started at $9,548.18 on Monday, and on Tuesday sunk to its lowest price of the week at $9,437.34. Throughout the week, BTC’s price increased by 16.7% until it reached its highest price of the week on Sunday at $11,009.21. Bitcoin closed at $10,970.18 on Sunday, growing almost 15% during the week. Bitcoin’s market capitalization also grew 15.3% last week, closing at $195.9B on Sunday
Bitcoin 7-day price and market cap chart. Source: COIN360
Ethereum (ETH) opened on Monday at $211.12 and, like BTC, hit its low for the week on Tuesday at $206.87. Ethereum’s highest price of the week occurred on Saturday, with ETH peaking at $224.62, 8.6% higher than Tuesday’s low. ETH closed at $222.67 on Sunday, with a 5.5% growth for the week. The market capitalization for Ethereum closed at $23.9B on Sunday, growing 5.5% throughout the week
Ethereum 7-day price and market cap chart. Source: COIN360
Ripple (XRP) started the week at $0.311996 and on Tuesday the third-ranked cryptocurrency in terms of market capitalization hit its lowest price of the week at $0.307865. Ripple didn’t hit its high for the week until Sunday, when XRP peaked at $0.322925, almost 5% higher than Tuesday’s low. XRP closed at $0.319842 on Sunday, to grow by 2.5% throughout the week. The market capitalization for Ripple grew 3% during the week, closing at $13.7B on Sunday.
Ripple 7-day price and market cap chart. Source: COIN360
Bitcoin Cash (BCH) opened at $310.20 on Monday and hit its low for the week on Tuesday at $305.29. Towards the weekend, BCH’s price increased and peaked for the week on Saturday at $339.62, 11.3% higher than Tuesday’s low. BCH closed at $333.67 on Sunday, growing 7.6% during the week. BCH’s market capitalization grew 8.4% throughout the week, closing at almost $6B on Sunday.
Bitcoin Cash 7-day price and market cap chart. Source: COIN360
Litecoin (LTC) opened the week at $89.77 and later that day hit its lowest price of the week at $88.57. Litecoin’s highest price of the week came on Thursday at $100.26, 13.2% higher than Monday’s low. On Sunday LTC closed at $93.20, growing 3.8% during the week. The market capitalization for Litecoin grew 3.2% during the week, closing on Sunday at $5.9B.
Litecoin 7-day price and market cap chart. Source: COIN360
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published a new patent filing on Aug. 1, detailing an application from Walmart for a “system and method for digital currency via blockchain”. According to the patent filing, the system would require a USD-pegged cryptocurrency and the implementation of a blockchain within the Walmart ecosystem. The filing also describes the application as a potential banking solution for low-income households, and a digital currency ecosystem with various crowdsourcing services. The application further specifies that the currency could possibly only be usable at select retailers and partners, and that there could be restrictions on the products that can be purchased with it. However, conversion to cash is also mentioned as something feasible, and there is also the possibility of earning interest with the currency and the formation of an associated rewards program.
In a tweet published on Jul. 31, LedgerX announced that retail trading, which included physically derived Bitcoin futures contracts (the first of its kind in the US), went live on their Omni trading platform. The following day, however, reports arose that the CFTC claimed that LedgerX doesn’t have the requisite derivatives clearing organization (DCO) license, needed to trade futures contracts. Since then, LedgerX has deleted the original tweet, replacing it with one that stated that Bitcoin spot and options trading was live, but that futures contracts were “coming soon”.
On Aug. 1, the 17,850,000th Bitcoin was mined. Considering that Bitcoin has a fixed supply of 21 million, this makes the total amount in circulation 85% of all Bitcoins. Coinciding with the dwindling amount of coins left to be mined, there has been growing competition among miners, and the next halving in miner payouts will take place in May 2020. According to analysts, this will increase the price of Bitcoin as well as decrease the mining rate, as only 3.15 million new coins are left to be mined from now until the year 2140.
According to data from Chainanalysis, approximately 20%—up to 4 million units— of the total supply of Bitcoin are lost coins, meaning that they are not in circulation due to their owners having lost the private keys to their accounts.
The Chinese CCID Research Institute published their latest installment of their bi-monthly ranking of cryptocurrency projects based on technology, application and innovation. According to the July ranking, which included 37 cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin is ranked #11 with 103 points. This sees Bitcoin making 1 place improvement compared to its position in the last ranking, published in May. Leading the pack is EOS, with 153.1 points, followed by ETH, with 148.6 points. If you want to learn more about this and other crypto rankings, check out our alternative crypto rankings overview.
According to Facebook’s latest quarterly report, there is a possibility that Libra may actually never be released. The company warned its investors in the report that some factors could prevent the cryptocurrency from launching next year, as was originally planned. In the risk factors section of the report, Facebook recognizes the significance of the regulatory barriers that are currently in place and pushback the coin has already elicited, and how important it is for Libra’s success to engage with regulators and policymakers.
On Aug. 1, decentralized internet browser Brave launched its new token tipping service, which enables users to tip content creators on Twitter with native cryptocurrency BAT. Brave users that have enabled Brave Rewards can now see a tip option on twitter posts when using the Brave desktop browser and they can set up regularly recurring tips, among other features. The company began testing the new service in May on Brave Nightly, the testing and development version of the browser.
Capital One published a press release on Jul. 19 detailing that a hack had affected and exposed the personal information of 100M U.S. customers and 6M Canadian customers. In a subsequent statement, the banking institution stated that the stolen data is information routinely collected during the assessment of credit card applications. This includes names, addresses, zip codes, phone numbers, email addresses, dates of birth, and self-reported income. Additionally, 140,000 social security numbers were stolen, but no credit card account numbers or log-in information was reportedly compromised. The alleged hacker, Paige Thompson, was arrested, and Capital One fixed the vulnerability that allowed for the security breach.
In relation to the developments, crypto entrepreneur Anthony Pompliano remarked on Twitter that Bitcoin has never been hacked.
On Jul. 31, lawyers for Bitfinex and Tether argued for a continued stay of proceedings in a letter to Justice Joel M. Cohen, saying that the respondents have already spent more than $500,000 and hired over 60 lawyers to produce the required documents, while also citing irreparable harm. The following day, the NYAG submitted a letter arguing against the Bitfinex’s claims. In it, the NYAG states that courts have recognized that litigation expenses, even if they are substantial, do not constitute irreparable harm. The letter also states that simply because respondents are entitled to an appeal or the fact that suit in question has relation to newer technologies such as virtual currencies doesn’t make the appeal meritorious. Finally, the NYAG lawyers state in the letter that all the information requested should be at the fingertips of any responsible trading platform, and that there shouldn’t be any difficulty or high expenses related to the production of that information.
After the self-proclaimed Satoshi Nakamoto, Craig Wright, served the CEO of Bitcoin.com with a libel lawsuit in May over a YouTube video where Wright was described as a “fraud and a liar,” the British and Irish Legal Information Institute published the decision of the case on Jul. 31. The decision states that the England and Wales High Court had no jurisdiction over the claim. Instead, the evidence shows that most of the statements that caused the libel suit were published in the United States and only 7% of them took place in England and Wales. Justice Matthew Nicklin also said that Wright’s presented evidence for the libel suit was weak and lacked detail, and that it was “put forward at a level of generality that is almost entirely speculative.”
As per a Jul. 29 Reuters report, Philadelphia federal judge Robert Kelly dismissed a request from Mark Karpeles, former CEO of the now-defunct Mt. Gox crypto exchange, to dismiss the lawsuit, wherein Karpeles is accused of negligence and fraud that led to the demise of the exchange. Karpeles had argued that the Philadelphia court didn’t have jurisdiction over the case, but Kelly rejected the argument since many residents of the state of Pennsylvania were affected.
On Jul. 31, the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) issued its finalized policy statement on cryptocurrencies, an updated version of a consultation paper published in January. In the consultation paper, it was stated that exchange tokens (described as “cryptoassets that are usually decentralised and primarily used as a means of exchange”) were considered to be outside of the FCA’s regulatory perimeter. According to the statement, “almost all” respondents that provided feedback on the consultation paper agreed to this claim. In the statement, Bitcoin, Ether, and Litecoin are named as examples of exchange tokens.
On the other hand, the FCA stated that security tokens are within the FCA’s regulatory purview since they provide rights and obligations, much like specified investments. Utility tokens will only lie within the regulatory perimeter if they can be defined as e-money.
Following June’s FATF recommendations, four cryptocurrency exchanges from South Korea—Bithumb, Upbit, Coinone and Korbit—are reportedly facing stricter regulation while trying to renew their banking accounts. According to the FATF recommendations, all crypto asset service providers should comply with AML measures as well as with the “travel rule,” like traditional financial institutions have to. Even though the FATF recommendations are not legally binding, countries that do not comply can potentially be excluded from the global financial network.
In order to prevent the disappearance of cryptocurrencies from Australia’s local economy, cryptocurrencies have been left out of a new restriction on cash payments for goods and services exceeding 10,000 AUD ($6,773 approximately). According to the country’s treasury memorandum on the limit, due to cryptocurrencies’ lack of an established regulatory framework or industry structure, there is not an appropriate way to apply the limit without largely preventing the use of cryptocurrencies in the country. The memorandum also states that cryptocurrencies do not pose a threat in terms of black economy activities, therefore, they have been left out of the limit proposal. If the limit is approved, it will be implemented on Jan. 1, 2020.
It seems that the negative feelings about cryptocurrencies stemming from the aftermath of the Libra announcement and Donald Trump’s subsequent disapproving tweets about Bitcoin and Libra have been paralleled in the traditional financial world. The crypto community is very sensitive towards speculations, and the LedgerX tweet, even though false, regarding the launch of bitcoin futures contracts may have had something to do with Bitcoin’s spike towards the end of the week. Bitcoin closed the week just below the $11k mark, but only a few hours after the week closing, the price of Bitcoin is pulling closer to $12k.
We wish you a great week,
The COIN360 Editorial Team