Crypto Markets Deserve ‘B+ Grade’ for 2018, Says Investment Exec

Despite a massive sell-off this year, a former AQR Capital Management executive gave crypto markets’ 2018 performance a “B+ grade” in an op-ed for Bloomberg, Dec. 20. Aaron Brown — AQR’s former Chief Risk Manager and an author on risk management and gambling-related topics — pointed out Bitcoin’s (BTC) 80 percent fall from its $20,000 one year ago mirrored peaks and falls in previous years, namely in 2011 and 2013. Brown outlined the fact that Bitcoin’s decline this year has actually been relatively milder than the rapid drop its saw…

Current Rally Could Be Leading to Something Bigger

Amidst another crypto rebound, crypto investment bank Galaxy Digital said in a note to clients on Dec. 20 that short rallies like the current one are what happens “before a real rally ensues.” Crypto markets are seeing a fifth day of rebound, with Bitcoin (BTC) breaking the $4,000 threshold for the first time since it plunged below the price point on Dec. 3, Mike Novogratz's Galaxy Digital told its clients that crypto markets could gain even more momentum. In a note entitled “Why this rally could end up lasting longer…

Analysts Applaud Square’s Bitcoin Strategy as Brilliant Despite Low Profitability

It has been nearly one year since San Fransisco-based payment processing company, Square, rolled out peer-to-peer Bitcoin trading within their popular Cash App, allowing customers to buy, hold, and sell the cryptocurrency without incurring any fees. The company’s decision was lauded by the company’s investors and the cryptocurrency community alike, with Square’s stock surging 16% the week after the company announced their new Bitcoin pilot. Analysts Claim Square’s Bitcoin Bet Was Brilliant, Despite Small Profit Margins The Cash App’s crypto trading feature was seen by the industry as a win-win…

70% of Respondents Prefer Being Gifted Money in Digital Currency, Survey

The vast majority of respondents to an ongoing United Kingdom central bank Twitter survey, posted Dec. 17, said they would prefer to receive a gift of money in digital currency. Screenshot of the Bank of England’s Twitter survey. Source: Twitter The Bank of England’s survey asks participants to choose their preferred way to receive money as a Christmas gift, showing the options cash, bank transfer, gift voucher and digital currency. At press time, 8,230 people have responded and 70 percent of them have chosen digital currency. Cash is in second…

New Legislation Proposes to Exclude Crypto From Securities Laws

Two United States congressmen introduced a bill in the House of Representatives on Dec. 20 that would exclude digital assets from being defined as securities. The “Token Taxonomy Act of 2018” was introduced by Reps. Warren Davidson (R) and Darren Soto (D) and seeks to exclude digital currencies from being defined as securities by amending the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Act of 1934. The bill especially calls to: “… direct the Securities and Exchange Commission to enact certain regulatory changes regarding digital units secured through public key…

Crypto Mining Malware up Over 4,000% in 2018, Says McAfee Report

Cryptojacking malware activity rose by over 4000 percent in 2018, according to a new quarterly report published by cyber security firm McAfee Labs, Dec. 18. Cryptojacking is the practice of using a computer’s processing power to mine for cryptocurrencies without the owner’s consent or knowledge. The McAfee statistic of over 4000 percent specifically refers to total instances of a cryptojacking malware, referred to in the study as “coin miner.” The report extends to a range of new crypto mining malware threat vectors, which notably include a spike in new malware…

Coinbase Moves $5 Billion, Reports Largest Crypto Transfer on Record

Major cryptocurrency exchange and wallet Coinbase recently made what it claims is the largest transfer of crypto on record, a company blog post reports Dec. 19. According to the post, 5 percent of all Bitcoin (BTC), 8 percent of all Ethereum (ETH), and 25 percent of all Litecoin (LTC), along with “many other assets” were moved to new cold storage infrastructure in what the firm “believe[s] is the largest crypto migration on record.” Coinbase reports that last week, the firm “completed an on-blockchain migration of approximately $5 Billion (as valued…

Leading Asian Online Retailer Qoo10 to Launch Merchant Fee-free Blockchain-Powered Ecommerce Platform

qoo10.sg A blockchain-based online marketplace built on the Ethereum protocol is set to be launched by ecommerce firm Qoo10 on January 1, 2019, Tech in Asia reports. Known as QuuBe, the blockchain-based marketplace comes with a cryptocurrency of its own dubbed the Q*coin. Currently, Q*coins, which are the only accepted means of payment on QuuBe for shoppers, can be purchased in 7-Eleven stores. Qoo10 does not expect to allow other cryptocurrencies to be used on QuuBe due to their volatility. Per the CEO of Qoo10, Ku Young Bae, the platform…

We Want to ‘Find Greater Equilibrium’

Thailand’s securities regulator is planning a public hearing with the aim of loosening rules that form a “barrier” to initial coin offerings (ICOs), local English-language news outlet Bangkok Post reported Dec. 20. Thailand — which issued a royal decree to regulate its domestic cryptocurrency markets in May — had revealed its intention to license its first ICO portal in November and an ICO itself this month. Now, rules for issuers to begin fundraising may become less strict, although there will be caps on participation. “The proposed guideline is an attempt…

Circle Publishes Another Third-Party Audit of USD Reserves for Stablecoin USDC

Goldman Sachs-backed Circle has published a third-party audit of its USD-pegged stablecoin USD Coin (USDC) for the second time, according to a company blog post Dec. 18. USD Coin — an ECR20 token first announced this May and released in September — is one of a swathe of new stablecoins notionally collateralized 1:1 by a major fiat currency. The audit has been completed by major Chicago-based accounting firm Grant Thornton LLP, and is Circle’s second consecutive attestation report on the state of its USD reserves since the stablecoin’s launch. The…