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Current State of The Crypto Market (January 6th, 2019)

Hackers:  The Ledger Nano S is the most widely used multi-currency hardware wallet in the cryptoverse.  It’s the only hardware wallet that features a secure chip with a custom operating system.  Since its inception in 2014, the company has grown by leaps and bounds.  The Ledger Nano now supports over 1,100 currencies thanks to its compatibility with other mainstream wallets such as MyEtherWallet and MyCrypto.  Ledger is known for being on the cutting edge of blockchain and crypto security.  Therefore, many expect the announcement this coming Monday to be a big deal.  While it’s not yet clear what the announcement is regarding, many are speculating on the possibility of a new and improved Ledger device.  Perhaps one that comes with additional storage capacity and an enhanced screen.  A few reddit posters even mentioned the possibility of fingerprint authentication which, would be quite interesting.

A South Korean court has exonerated crypto exchange, Bithumb, from any liabilities arising from an unauthorized intrusion that led to a customer losing thousands of dollars.  According to a report that was first published by the Korea Economic Daily, a client named Ahn Park brought a lawsuit against the company citing remissness. The hacking incident occurred on November 20, 2017, and according to court documents, previously discovered exploits on the platform enabled the hackers to successfully carry out the heist.  The customer argued that the network should have applied sufficient safeguards against similar attacks and so was liable for any losses that would occur in the event of a breach.  Park lost digital currencies worth around 400 million Korean won, which is approximately $350,000. The intruder was able to access his account and siphon funds off the platform in a few hours. The stolen coins were then converted to Ethereum and thereafter distributed to several crypto wallets.

 

Bullish Key Players:  A Bitcoin and technology researcher, Boris Hristov had a lot to say about the current market conditions. According to him, the only way BTC is going to regain its garner legitimacy and composure is if institutional investors enter the market. However, because most of these investors aren’t willing to take the financial risks attached to trading cryptocurrencies, they do not want to get involved in the market. In his words: “Some potential institutional candidates are Marco funds CTAs, multi-strategy funds and alternative strategies have about $600 billion AuM. Commodity assets alone that are held by hedge funds were $300 billion as at 2017. It makes up for 10% of the AuM. BTC may fall into this bucket. Macro funds are potential institutional candidates. However, the current circumstances are bleak.”  Making reference to custody investments like that of Fidelity and Goldman Sachs, he said that the playing field will soon be ripe for institutional investors. These services will help them to invest in a less volatile market through over the counter trading.

 

Ex-Goldman Sachs partner, crypto bull and founder of Galaxy Digital, Mike Novogratz steps up his crypto game by buying up 80% of shares from his crypto firm, Galaxy Digital.  Upon leaving the Wall Street giant, Fortress Investments in 2015, Novogratz found Bitcoin and has been heavily supporting the nascent asset class ever since. The experienced investor became head over heels for Bitcoin and crypto, which led to the launch of his own crypto-centric company, Galaxy Digital Holdings Ltd.

 

Banks & Institutions:  A top executive in the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) crypto division predicts that more institutional players will announce cryptocurrency projects this year.  Henri Arslanian is fintech and crypto lead for PwC China and Hong Kong. He’s also the chairman of the FinTech Association of Hong Kong and a teacher of the first fintech university course in Asia.  Arslanian believes that despite regulatory uncertainty and a cryptocurrency bear market, more banks will enter the space in 2019. He notes that 2018 already saw many enter. “Some of them may decide to launch their own solutions,”

 

Blockchain technology is coming up strongly as the technology of the future. Its continuous evolution illustrates this from the foundation of Bitcoin, to developing real-life use cases.  The financial sector is one of the key areas that is expected to see Blockchain usage flourish. So far, cryptocurrencies have seen to it that it is no longer business as usual for finance. The change in how people conduct global monetary transactions in cryptocurrency cannot be ignored. Be it a simple user who needs an easy tool for money transfer, payment for goods and services, or a crowdsource project funding through ICOs; blockchain is rapidly being integrated into our day-to-day financial interactions.

 

 

 

Adoption:  According to a press release from Overstock.com’s Investor portal, the Salt Lake City-headquartered online retailer and blockchain technology startup will begin to pay its business taxes with Bitcoin. You might be thinking — the U.S. seems to avoid crypto like it’s the plague, so how is this possible?  Well, as reported by Ethereum World News previously, per a piece from the Wall Street Journal, an Ohio politician, Treasurer Josh Mandel, pushed his state to accept BTC for 28 types of business taxes, which range from taxes on cigarette sales to employment taxes. To support this effort, Mandel, a lesser-known Bitcoin enthusiast, launched OhioCrypto.com, which allows interested businesses to register themselves for the service.  Unsurprisingly, Ohio accepts the payments via BitPay, which converts the Bitcoin payments into fiat for government treasuries. But this medium of adoption has been appreciated nonetheless.

 

On New Year’s Day, rumors began to circulate around crypto’s segment of the internet that Fortnite, the world-renowned “Battle Royale” video game, had begun to accept Monero for branded merchandise. Eventually, after this hearsay festered, South African national Riccardo Spagni, a leading crypto community member, confirmed that Monero was accepted on Fortnite’s merch outlet.  After further digging, Spagni determined that XMR payments were routed through Globee, a global crypto-friendly payment processor that currently accepts: Bitcoin (BTC), Litecoin (LTC), Dogecoin (DOGE), Decred (DCR), Ethereum (ETH), XRP, and the aforementioned privacy asset.

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