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Crypto week #9: Facebook coin, ETH hard fork, Nasdaq Bitcoin Index
March 04  |  10 min read

Crypto Week #9 Overview

COIN360 Editorial Team

Bitcoin briefly surpassed $3.9K, but remains in the red at press time. Still, analysts believe February’s total gains might be signalling the beginning of the end. Facebook’s cryptocurrency project is moving along (according to unnamed sources), Coinbase added XRP coin, and the Kraken crypto exchange is offering a $100,000 reward in exchange for tips concerning the whereabouts of QuadrigaCX funds.

Here’s what you need to know about what happened last week in crypto:

1. Cryptocurrency market analysis

Bitcoin’s price this past week was rather stable, staying between the $3,787 and $3,913 marks. Monday the 25th opened quite low at $3,807, but the same day also saw the peak of the week: Bitcoin’s price increased 2.8%, reaching $3,913.71. By the day’s close, the price was back down to the $3.8k mark, finishing at $3,882. Tuesday had the highest opening of the week, with Bitcoin’s price at $3,878.7, and Wednesday hit the weekly low with $3,787, a 3.24% loss from the week’s maximum. The rest of the week didn’t show great changes. Sunday opened at 3,862.27 and closed at $3,847.18, with a 0.39% loss on the day, and a 1.06% gain on the week. Bitcoin’s market cap lost 0.85%, decreasing from 68,173,204,651 to 67,592,376,373.

Ethereum’s price opened on Monday at $135.5. During the day, ETH went up 5% and peaked at $142.53, the week’s high point. On Wednesday the 27th, ETH experienced the steepest drop of the week: its price lost 7%, going from $141.34 to $131.6. By the end of Wednesday the price had gone up by 3.4% and closed the 27th at $136.13. Sunday had the lowest opening and closing prices of the week, as well as the lowest overall price of the week. ETH’s price started Sunday at $134.79, went down to $131.33 and then closed the week at $132.25, showing a 1.88% loss on the day and a 2.4% loss on the week. Ethereum’s market cap went from $14,682,597,926 at the week’s opening to $13,900,679,027 at Sunday’s closing, losing 5.3% of its value.

The price of Ripple (XRP) stably increased throughout the week. Monday actually opened at the week’s low point, $0.300708. Riding that Monday surge, Ripple reached the highest point of the week with a 12.35% price increase that reached $0.337855. Things started to settle down, and Ripple began Sunday at $0.314857. The week ended at $0.312554, for a 0.73% loss on the day and a 3.94% gain on the week. Despite this, XRP’s market cap lost almost 5%: it started at $13,589,015,145 on Monday and ended Sunday at $12,949,767,221.

EOS had a relatively stable week. It started Monday the 25th at $3.58, and it reached its highest price that same day, after a 4.19% gain brought it up to $3.73, before eventually closing the day at $3.59. The lowest point of the week came right away on Tuesday, when the price of EOS fell 5.8% from the starting point of $3.60, dropping to $3.39 and finishing the day at $3.47. Sunday started at $3.52, and it would eventually end the day at $3.55, with a 0.85% gain on the day. That would not be enough to reach the starting point of the crypto week, meaning that EOS ended the week with a 0.84% loss. EOS’s market cap also experienced a slight drop of 1%, from $3,253,863,914 on Monday to $3,220,736,332 on Sunday.

Litecoin (LTC) started Monday at $44.58, not far from the week’s lowest price on Wednesday 27th, at $44.41. Wednesday opened at $45.50 before dropping 2.4% of its value, although it would end up recovering a bit, closing at $45.58, showing a minimal increase of 0.17% that day. Saturday started at $47.48, but a 4.55% increase would push it to $49.64, the week’s high point, before closing at $49.02. Sunday the 3rd started at $49.02 and ended at $48.38, with a 1.31% loss on the day, but a 8.52% gain on the week. And Litecoin was the only cryptocurrency last week which experienced market cap growth, gaining almost 5%, from $2,802,048,987 on Monday to $2,937,680,218 at the end of Sunday.

2. Facebook reportedly in conversations to sell its own crypto

This week the New York Times reported on Facebook, Telegram, and Signal’s advances in the release of their own digital coins. The news that these three media giants have plans to roll out cryptocurrencies that would allow users to send money to contacts on their messaging systems (in the moulds of Venmo or PayPal) is old; however, anonymous sources told The New York Times that The Facebook crypto project “is far enough along that the social networking giant has held conversations with cryptocurrency exchanges about selling the Facebook coin to consumers.” 50 engineers are working on Facebook’s digital coin, which would connect Instagram, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, allowing users to send money directly to their contacts.

Though the companies declined to comment, The New York Times speculates that they “appear to be working on digital coins that could exist on a decentralized network of computers, independent to some degree of the companies that created them.” Should these plans take off, it could signal an unprecedented turning point for cryptocurrencies in terms of mass adoption. Similar projects in the US and in China have proven to be successful (with Venmo and WeChat), even though the messaging companies will probably face “the same regulatory and technological hurdles” that other cryptocurrencies have experienced throughout the years.

3. Ethereum’s hard forks: Constantinople and St Petersburg

Ethereum successfully implemented two non-contentious upgrades with a hard fork on Thursday the 28th: Constantinople – which had been delayed because of security issues since January 16th – and St. Petersburg – which was deployed to fix Constantinople’s flaws on the Ethereum testnets. Constantinople implemented four Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs), documents that define changes to the Ethereum protocol. EIPs 145, 1014, and 1052 are meant to reduce costs and improve efficiency for the network in general; EIP 1234 delays Ethereum’s difficulty bomb, a mechanism that slowly makes ETH mining more difficult and less lucrative. The point of this is to slowly steer the community away from the current proof-of-work consensus mechanism, and prepare them for the proof-of-stake mechanism that will come with 2019’s next Ethereum upgrade, Casper.

On this occasion, St. Petersburg was implemented at the same time as Constantinople in order to fix a bug found by security firm ChainSecurity in Constantinople’s fifth EIP, EIP 1283, which, as a side effect of its lower costs for SSTORE operations, would have made certain smart contracts vulnerable to reentrancy attacks. Read more about the subject in our article Constantinople And St. Petersburg Ethereum Forks: A Crash Course.

4. Kraken offers bounty for tips regarding QuadrigaCX funds’ whereabouts

In a blog post released February 28, the Kraken cryptocurrency exchange is offering a $100,000 reward – in fiat or crypto – for tips that can lead to the “discovery of Quadriga coins.” Quadriga still owes around $190 million to 115,000 users, and is seeking creditor protection in court. Why is a different exchange getting involved? Kraken claims they are offering help in an attempt to contain the negative impact that an event such as the QuadrigaCX saga can have on the crypto industry at large. This exchange also offered help (funding for investigators) after the MtGox hacking. “Events like this impact the entire industry,” reads the post, “which is why we want to get involved if there’s a way we can help.”

But the announcement does not stop there. The rest of the text is rather reminiscent of instructions you might find in an escape room game: “Listen and/or watch our podcast to hear the many facts of the case so you can help us solve this mystery (...) After reviewing the episodes, do you know where the missing client funds are?” The mechanics of the tip system are explained (click here if you have any tips for Kraken) before plugging the product once more, with “Go to our podcast page to listen and/or watch these and other episodes of the Kraken “How to Grow a Decacorn” podcast.”

5. Nasdaq Lists Brave New Coin’s BTC and ETH Indices

Nasdaq has added Brave New Coin's (a US-based cryptocurrency market data company) Bitcoin and Ethereum Liquidity Indexes (BLX and ELX) to its Global Index Data Service, which contains 4,000 indices. This represents a positive turn for investors, who also await Nasdaq’s upcoming bitcoin futures market, and Intercontinental Exchange's (ICE) Bakkt futures market (whose launch was recently postponed for Q2 2019). This also represents a general shift towards the eventual approval of the first Bitcoin or Ethereum ETF in US markets, which the community expects could happen this year. BNC has further plans to launch a Ripple (XRP) indicator, the RLX or Ripple Liquid Index.

As the BNC explains, its 'Liquid Index' (LX) indices are “part qualitative and part quantitative, factoring in the stability and quality of constituency as well as the volume, book depth, tick size and other factors from the qualified market participants, to calculate a fair global value for the price of Bitcoin and Ethereum, expressed in USD, every 30 seconds.”

6. International adoption: France and California

A bill that would allow cannabis-related businesses in California to pay for fees and taxes in stablecoins was introduced on February 21st. Businesses will be able to pay their taxes directly or through a third party. This bill, which would become law in 2020, intends to decrease the enormous amounts of cash that arrive at the tax offices–and all the processing hastles that come with it. In other adoption news, at the 56th International Agriculture Fair in Paris, President Emmanuel Macron stated that blockchain technology can be used to boost the agricultural industry as well as address concerns related to the food industry. “Let’s do this in Europe, [be at the] the vanguard of agricultural data by developing tools that will track every product from raw material production to packaging and processing,” said the French head of state.

7. Coinomi wallet denies vulnerability issue

Last month user Warith Al Maawali reported that Coinomi wallet shares users’ passphrases in plain-text with Google’s spell-check service, prompting a swift denial from Coinomi. On the website Al Maawali claims that his first passphrase attempt was sent to through the cryptocurrency wallet on February 14th. The data was processed, and on February 19th, his assets were stolen. “At the end 90% of the crypto assets were gone and remaining assets were only left because these assets were supported by Exodus wallet but NOT Coinomi wallet,” he writes.

Coinomi published a response on Medium on February 27th, claiming that 1) the seed phrase was only transmitted if the user chose to restore their crypto wallet and only on the desktop version, 2) the seed phrase transmission was actually encrypted via SSL (HTTPS), and only Google could decrypt it, and 3) the spell-check requests sent to Google were not cached or stored (they were flagged as bad requests by the servers and not processed). This would have been caused by a bad configuration in a plug-in software contained in the desktop version of Coinomi wallets. Al Maawali criticizes this response in a second statement, available here.

8. Coinbase adds support for XRP

American crypto exchange Coinbase made an announcement on their blog on Feb. 28, confirming that Ripple (XRP) will be supported on its retail platform and mobile apps. This means that now people on Coinbase can store, buy, sell, send, receive and just about anything else through their website or apps. For the time being, it has been reported that the service will not be available for residents of the United Kingdom or the state of New York, but it seems to be a temporary limitation.

However, blockchain research firm Diar reported that XRP actually violates one of the exchange’s listing rules. The Digital Asset Framework of Coinbase reads that the ownership stake retained by a team must be a minority stake. Riddle, on the other hand, holds roughly 60% perfect of the supply in escrow with a release schedule. Diar goes as far as to say that Coinbase purposely abandoned one of their pillars for listing cryptocurrencies, which has sparked debate amongst the community.

9. Coinhive to shut down operations in March

According to a Feb. 26 blog post, the crypto mining service Coinhive is shutting down because it has become “economically inviable”. Coinhive is a JavaScript-based mining service that can be installed through code on websites. The power that a browser uses when it loads a particular website can then be used to mine cryptocurrency, which made Coinhive popular for cryptojacking purposes as it didn’t alert affected users. This led to Microsoft’s recent removal of eight apps from their store, and it is one of the reasons why it has been deemed the most wanted malware for thirteen months in a row. A 50% drop in hash rate that stemmed from the last Monero hard fork was cited as playing a big role in the decision to cease operations. This, in conjunction with the 2018 cryptocurrency crash, led to the value of XMR decreasing 85% within the space of one year, which eventually resulted in the decision to shut down operations. The mining service will stop its operations on March 8, while dashboards will remain accessible until April 30.

10. Samsung announces further details of their crypto features and announce first dapp partnership

While it was revealed last week that Samsung’s new mainline series of smartphones, the Galaxy S10, would include a cryptocurrency wallet function, this week provided further confirmation and specific details of those features. According to what a Samsung representative said at the Samsung Mobile Business Summit as part of the Mobile World Congress in Spain, the new smartphone will have wallet functions for Ethereum, Bitcoin, ENJ and the COSMEE token (COSM).

The smartphone is also said to be compatible with dapps as well. Such is the case of COSMEE, which was revealed as Samsung’s first dapp partner. COSMEE was touted as a blockchain-based social media platform where users can upload beauty reviews and be rewarded with COSM depending on the feedback from other users. Its three-month pilot stage accumulated more than 300,000 downloads with more than 70,000 beauty reviews. ENJ, on the other hand, can be reportedly be employed to send and receive ERC-20 and ERC-1155 assets, widely used in crypto games.

As stated earlier, markets are in the red at time of writing. But February was, all in all, a hopeful month for investors and holders: the total market value of all cryptocurrencies grew 14.14%. This represents the first monthly gain since July. The surge was led by Bitcoin, which gained 12.1% and broke its record six-month losing streak. Perhaps crypto mining shutdowns and upcoming difficulty bombs can’t scare the community.

We wish you a great week,

Coin360 Editorial Team