Report: ICOs Raised $118 Million in Q1 2019, Over 58 Times Less Than in Q1 2018

About $118 million has been raised via initial coin offerings (ICOs) in Q1 of 2019, over 58 times less than $6.9 billion, the amount raised during the same period in 2018, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports on March 31.

The report cites data provided by ICO analytics website TokenData. The WSJ argues that investors have been scared off by regulators’ actions against non-compliant ICOs, as well as by the general bear market over the past year.

One of the latest cases happened in February, when the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged crypto firm Gladius Network with selling unregistered securities after the company self-reported to the commission.

Last month, founding partner of Future Perfect Ventures, Jalak Jobanputra, claimed that venture capital valuations have also been deeply affected by the cryptocurrency bear market.

The recent report also reveals that of the 2,500 projects that TokenData tracked since 2017, purportedly only 45 percent successfully raised money.

Furthermore, WSJ also cites TokenData as saying that only 15 percent of tokens issued in successful ICOs are trading at or above their original price.

The article cited attorney and consultant Joshua Ashley Klayman as stating that ICOs themselves may disappear, but the market for digital securities won’t. Recently, so-called security token offerings (STOs) have received increased attention from both the private sector and government regulators globally.

In the U.S. context, investors are faced with a patchwork regulatory landscape when it comes to tokens sales. In February, the state of Wyoming passed a blockchain tokenization-related bill, while a similar law was passed in Delaware in September 2017.

This week, Cointelegraph reported that the owner of a startup that ended up canceling its ICO was trying to sell the company on eBay for $60,000. The startup, named “Sponsy,” is described as a blockchain project that is fully prepared to launch both an ICO and an STO.

Kleiman Estate Says Satoshi Reveal ‘Is Relevant’ in Billion Dollar Bitcoin Lawsuit

Kleiman Estate Says Satoshi Reveal ‘Is Relevant’ in Billion Dollar Bitcoin Lawsuit

In the state of Florida, there’s an ongoing lawsuit against Craig Wright, the self-proclaimed Satoshi Nakamoto, for billions of dollars. Wright is being sued by the Kleiman family on behalf of the late Dave Kleiman for allegedly misappropriating billions worth of BTC through a partnership years ago. On March 29, the Kleiman vs. Wright discovery meeting transcript was published revealing more interesting details about this unique case.

Also read: Jeff Garzik Subpoenaed in Kleiman Bitcoin Lawsuit Against Craig Wright

The Billion Dollar Bitcoin Lawsuit Continues With a Discovery Meeting

According to Ira Kleiman, his brother David’s inheritance was allegedly manipulated during a multi-year partnership with Australian native Craig Wright. On Valentine’s Day last year, a case was filed against Wright in Florida which accused him of defrauding Kleiman out of an assumed 1.1 million BTC stash. The lawsuit has continued into 2019, after Wright’s legal counsel attempted to get the case dismissed only for Florida district Judge Beth Bloom to deny the defendant’s dismissal. This week, on March 29, the court’s discovery meeting transcript was released which explains that Wright and Kleiman’s partnership was very complicated. Wright is scheduled to be deposed under oath by Kleiman’s lawyers on Thursday, April 4.

Kleiman Estate Says 'Satoshi Reveal Is Relevant' in Billion Dollar Bitcoin Lawsuit

The discovery meeting reveals some fascinating aspects in regard to one of the most compelling Bitcoin-related lawsuits to date. For instance, during the proceedings, the court asked Wright’s legal counsel whether he did or did not collaborate with Kleiman in the development of Bitcoin. Wright’s attorneys replied by saying: “It is Dr. Wright’s position, your Honor, that Dave Kleiman assisted in editing the protocol related to Bitcoin but did not create Bitcoin.” The judge then asked the defendant’s counsel if Wright and Kleiman jointly mined bitcoin and co-owned any cryptocurrencies. The lawyer detailed that Wright’s position is that he never mined bitcoin with Kleiman nor did any co-owned bitcoin exist. Additionally, Wright’s attorney asserted that Kleiman had no legal rights to intellectual property associated with Bitcoin or the Bitcoin protocol.

Kleiman Estate Says 'Satoshi Reveal Is Relevant' in Billion Dollar Bitcoin Lawsuit

Parsing Through Thousands of Documents

The judge and the two disputing parties also discussed Wright’s issues with the Australian Tax Office (ATO), which explained that the ATO was and still might be investigating Wright and Kleiman’s collaboration. The lawyer representing the Kleiman estate stated that the plaintiffs were contacted by the ATO while conducting an investigation to find out whether there was information the Kleimans had for corroborating evidence on the matter. Further, the discovery transcript reveals that the late David Kleiman left a significant trail of documents behind which may pertain to the lawsuit. The two disputing parties are parsing through thousands of documents that belonged to David Kleiman, his brother Ira, and the business W&K Info Defense Research. This includes documents that stem from a number of electronic devices, computers, phones, hard drives, encrypted chats, and emails that belonged to Kleiman.

Kleiman Estate Says 'Satoshi Reveal Is Relevant' in Billion Dollar Bitcoin Lawsuit
Submitted evidence from the Kleiman estate that allegedly shows Wright promising certain assets to Dave’s heirs.

Kleiman’s Legal Counsel: ‘The Satoshi Nakamoto Story Is Relevant’

Toward the end of the discovery hearing, the parties also discussed the Satoshi Nakamoto moniker and how Wright claimed to be the creator of Bitcoin but failed to provide evidence. Kleiman’s lawyer explained how Andrew O’Hagan, the famous London Review of Books author who wrote an article called “The Satoshi Affair,” had hours of Wright discussing how he invented Bitcoin. The entire story between O’Hagan and Wright makes the plaintiffs believe that Wright came out saying he was Satoshi for “celebrity status” and to “sell his intellectual property that Satoshi Nakamoto created for billions of dollars.” The Kleimans think the Satoshi story is “relevant” to the proceedings and that the late David Kleiman was very much involved in a partnership with Wright involving Bitcoin.

“So the plaintiffs’ position is that admissions with regard to who owned the intellectual property created by Satoshi Nakamoto and the story of Satoshi Nakamoto are relevant to the case because it is plaintiffs’ theory that Satoshi Nakamoto is the name of a partnership between Craig Wright and Dave Kleiman,” explained the Kleiman estate’s lawyer.

Kleiman Estate Says 'Satoshi Reveal Is Relevant' in Billion Dollar Bitcoin Lawsuit

In addition to the Wright deposition scheduled for April 4, Ira Kleiman will be deposed as well. After the depositions, the court will reconvene to discuss the matters and come back with any follow up. The judge also gave the plaintiff’s counsel permission to ask Wright about the communications with O’Hagan in order to proportionate the findings. The entire case between Wright and Kleiman goes beyond any scope of all the other high profile BTC cases so far because it involves the creation of Bitcoin itself. Moreover, the lawsuit started many years after Ira Kleiman became his brother’s beneficiary when Dave died from a rough battle with MRSA. The Kleiman vs. Wright case is thought provoking because whatever way it settles, some believe it will either provide answers or even more questions to the Satoshi Nakamoto mystery. So far, Wright has failed to convince the greater Bitcoin community that he is the creator of Bitcoin and has yet to provide any cryptographic evidence.

What do you think about the Kleiman vs. Wright legal battle? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons, Court Listener, and Pacer.


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Jamie Redman

Jamie Redman is a financial tech journalist living in Florida. Redman has been an active member of the cryptocurrency community since 2011. He has a passion for Bitcoin, open source code, and decentralized applications. Redman has written thousands of articles for news.Bitcoin.com about the disruptive protocols emerging today.

Japan’s Biggest Railway Company Is Looking to Accept Cryptocurrency Payments

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Japan’s biggest railway and subway operator, the Japan Railways Group (JR Group), is reportedly looking to add cryptocurrency payment options for its users, in a move that could see millions of Japanese individuals use cryptos to pay for transportation.

According to mainstream commercial news network ANN News, the JR Group could establish cryptocurrency payment options through a partnership with a major bank, that could also see it launch a cryptocurrency company, believed to be an exchange.

The new system would see JR Group patrons to top up their Suica payment cards – prepaid e-money cards that allow them to pay for both goods and services in Japan – with cryptocurrencies. Data released by the company shows that, as of March of last year, 70 of these cards were issued.

According to Cointelegraph Japan, the cryptocurrency exchange would be called Decurret, and has already been licensed by Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) to operate in the country. It could start trading on April 16, with bitcoin, bitcoin cash, litecoin, and XRP trading pairs.

Ether trading is said to be scheduled for June or July, and bitcoin and the Japanese yen are going to be used as the platform’s base currencies. The move could be seen as a way for the JR Group to avoid paying a third-source platform for transaction fees, and instead add a new income source to its portfolio.

Japan’s Growing Cryptocurrency Scene

Despite last year’s bear market, which saw the crypto ecosystem lose over 85% of its value, Japan’s cryptocurrency scene seemingly hasn’t stopped growing. The country has made bitcoin a legal payment method in April of 2017, and since then new retailers have started welcoming cryptos.

As reported, Japan’s largest online retailer Rakuten – seen by some as a local version of Amazon – has considered introducing cryptocurrency payments, and is set to launch its own cryptocurrency exchanges after receiving approval from the FSA.

Bic Camera, the country’s largest electronics retailer, has been accepting bitcoin for over a year, and has reported an increase in bitcoin usage during last year’s bear market.

Bitcoin (BTC) Tepidly Advanced Above 4,100 as Upwards Momentum Slows

After rapidly surging to above $4,200 before plummeting back below $4,100 on Saturday, Bitcoin (BTC) has been able to incur some upwards momentum that has allowed it to tepidly move above $4,100.

It is important to note that Bitcoin’s strongest level of resistance exists at $4,200, but analysts are expressing cautious optimism regarding the current state of the cryptocurrency’s price.

Bitcoin Breaks Above $4,100 After Yesterday’s Volatility 

At the time of writing, Bitcoin is trading up marginally at its current price of $4,105. Over the past couple of weeks, $4,100 has proven to be a level of resistance for BTC, and it is unclear if the crypto’s bulls will garner enough buying pressure to flip this price into a level of support going forward.

Yesterday, Bitcoin experienced large volatility that entailed a sudden surge to $4,230 that was immediately proceeded by a drop to below $4,100. This price surge was strikingly similar to one seen in late-February, where BTC surged from $3,900 to $4,200 before spiraling downwards towards $3,700.

These two price moves have made it clear that $4,200 is a strong level of resistance, and that Bitcoin will require a significant influx of buying pressure to propel its price above this level.

Chonis Trading, a popular cryptocurrency analyst on Twitter, recently shared his thoughts on Bitcoin’s price action in a short video, noting that BTC faced resistance at its upper Bollinger Band, but still is technically in a bullish trend.

“$BTC – quick update on #bitcoin daily chart… Current rejection off upper BB, with spinning top candle formed after finding support from previous range rejection area now turned support…RSI Stoch, MACD, still bullish trending with slowing momentum,” he explained.

Bitcoin Struggles to Break Above Yearly Downwards Resistance Level

Over the past year, Bitcoin has been caught below a downwards resistance level which has continued to put bearish pressure on BTC’s price.

The Cryptomist, a popular cryptocurrency trader on Twitter, discussed this resistance level in a recent tweet, noting that she expects the crypto to face one more downwards break before it garners enough buying pressure to break above this resistance level.

“$BTC Weekly resistance right on the money! The daily candle is being rejected by the downtrend resistance that has held us in for a year… Double top on RSI suggest we may not break right now… My gut feeling – need 1 more leg down before break… When we do break, long green candle,” she explained.

As the new week begins, it is likely that traders and analysts alike will discover whether or not $4,100 will be established as a fresh support level, and whether Bitcoin will continue to struggle to break above $4,200.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

What A Bitcoin-Friendly Cornell Prof Thinks Will Propel Crypto Past $1 Trillion

According to one Cornell professor proficient in computer science and an advocate for Bitcoin, Emin Gun Sirer, crypto will be unable to surmount a $1 trillion collective valuation until certain requirements are met. He believes that with industry developments, “crypto winter will end” — eventually.

Crypto Needs Scaling, Real Use-Cases, Decentralized Solutions

Sirer recently wrote on Twitter that the cryptocurrency market surpassed $700 billion with “inherently unscalable technologies,” referring to 2017’s seemingly hype-based rally. While some were sure that $1 trillion was in crypto’s sights then, the market obviously pulled back drastically.

However, Sirer is under the belief that with scaling solutions, potentially like the Lightning Network or Ethereum’s Proof of Stake; a surge in non-custodial solutions, thereby mitigating the risk of hacks (just look at DragonEx & Bithumb); viable use cases that bring “net positive outcomes to society,” this market could finally begin to rally again.

Bitcoin To Surpass $1 Trillion With Halving Alone

While Sirer is making a case that the cryptocurrency market needs technical development to surpass the $1 trillion milestone, a number of pundits have recently claimed that this may not be the case.

PlanB, an industry researcher, recently claimed that 2020’s block reward reduction could be the sole catalyst that hoists BTC above $50,000 apiece. As reported by NewsBTC previously, the analyst noted that if Bitcoin follows a linear trend that relates the stock-to-flow ratio (SF) to asset valuation, the mentioned auspicious event will allow the aggregate value of all BTC to reach $1 trillion.

While $55,000 for each BTC seems irrational for most, PlanB writes that money from silver, gold, negative interest rate economies, authoritarian and capital control-rife states, billionaires looking for a quantitative easing hedge, and institutional investors will eventually flood into this space. This in and of itself may seem like a pipe dream, but some are sure this is likely, especially with the increase in hyperinflation, fiscal mismanagement, and speculators looking for alternative investment opportunities.

Although many are sure that the halving event will create waves, Messari’s Ryan Selkis recently drew attention to another catalyst that could be responsible for creating a $1 trillion Bitcoin. The chief executive of Messari explained that with millennials inheriting billions from their to-be-deceased parents over the coming decades, much of that money could theoretically find itself in the crypto market, pushing up prices as a result.

Featured Image from Shutterstock

Binance’s BNB Leads Top Ten Cryptos in Q1 2019, Rises 185%

Binance Coin (BNB) has led the top ten cryptocurrencies in terms of quarter performance.

The Binance crypto exchange’s native asset surged 185 percent in the first quarter of 2019, jumping from $6.069 to $17.335, according to data provided by Messari. On the whole, BNB was the sixth largest gainer in the said period, beaten only by PCHAIN’s PI (+787%), Ravencoin’s RVN (+337%), Everex’s EVX (+313%), Enjin Coin’s ENJ (+287%), and Numeraire’s NMR (234%). None of these cryptocurrencies were in the top ten list.

BNB Q1 2019 Performance | Source: Messari

The three-month long bullish performance followed a considerable debacle last year, which saw BNB’s market capitalization dropping by over 75-percent from its historic high. Part of the collapse was due to crypto market’s overvaluation, which saw some major bearish corrections throughout the top and tail coins. However, almost all the significant cryptocurrencies seemed to have established their bottom levels, which somewhat explains why BNB had an impressive fiscal quarter.

Fundamentally Strong

Binance Coin (BNB) remained one of the few coins that traders included in their crypto portfolio. What backed it through the rough waters, and eventually to a decent recovery, is reputation. Binance’s success as a cryptocurrency spot exchange helped BNB attaining more legitimacy as a well-backed token. Binance ventured into other business territories that hinted more demand for BNB tokens in real-time, which included a decentralized exchange and token launchpad for blockchain projects.

While on one hand, Binance promised more demand for BNB, on the other it kept reducing the token’s supply rate.

In retrospect, Binance spends 20-percent of its profits every quarter to buyback BNB tokens for destruction. That systematically reduces the supply rate of BNB tokens, leading investors to remain bullish based on the classic more-demand-less-supply scenario.

What’s Next for BNB?

Technically, the BNB price is now close to testing a crucial resistance area. Have a look:

BNB Price Technical Analysis | Source: TradingView.com

The area near $353 has historically capped the BNB upside action from maturing any further. The price is once again testing the same level, supported by a moderate trading volume on the daily chart. If the BNB/USD rate manages to break through $353, then it could allow the pair to extend its bullish momentum further towards $400, a psychological resistance level.

If BNB/USD fails to spark a breakout action, then the pair could see a sharp pullback towards the 50-day exponential moving average. This MA has lately provided support to the ongoing BNB uptrend.

The Relative Strength Index, which indicates the asset’s momentum, is close to entering the overbought area, which means the ongoing uptrend might exhaust for a short time. There is momentum support at 96.82 that could allow BNB to bounce back and continue its uptrend as before.

Interesting-Paying Crypto Accounts Are This Year’s Leading Trend

Interesting-Paying Crypto Accounts Are This Year’s Leading Trend

2019 has witnessed a Cambrian explosion of crypto interest schemes. Previously, the only way to make a passive income on your cryptocurrency was through hodling and hoping it would rise in dollar terms, or to operate a masternode for a dubious altcoin. Today’s investors have it a whole lot easier thanks to a string of new savings programs that promise annual interest simply for locking up digital assets.

Also read: This Photo Gallery App Is a BCH Light Wallet in Disguise

Crypto Companies Are Borrowing From the Fiat Banking Toolbox

Last week, Nexo became the latest crypto company to introduce interest to its customers, with the provision of up to 6.5 percent annually on stablecoins DAI, PAX, USDC, USDT, and TUSD. Interest will be compounded daily and funds will be protected by custodial insurance. Unlike most of the crypto interest schemes to have emerged this year, Nexo enables its clients to withdraw any amount of cryptocurrency at any time. As such, their crypto account essentially becomes a checking account, stocked with dollar-pegged tokens, but bolstered by the promise of annual interest that exceeds that of most fiat saving accounts.

Interesting-Paying Crypto Accounts Are This Year’s Leading Trend

Nexo is by no means alone in incentivizing customers to secure their crypto in a custodial account and be rewarded. Blockfi will disburse 6 percent annually to clients who store ETH or BTC deposits. Ledgerx introduced its own interest-bearing BTC account last year for U.S. investors, while Compound provides up to 4.2 percent annually for assets such as DAI. At the start of March, Universal Protocol Alliance announced a stablecoin that would pay interest of up to 10 percent per year.

Cryptocurrency users have never had more options in terms of where to store their digital assets. Having had it drummed into them for years that noncustodial wallets are the best place to stash their coins, long-term hodlers now find themselves torn on account of the attractive interest rates offered by third parties. Even with the promise of full custodial cover, cryptocurrency owners face a dilemma: to seek the sanctity and privacy of storing funds in a noncustodial wallet, or to raise the risk a little in return for a generous 6 percent.

Balancing the Risks and Rewards of Interest-Bearing Crypto Accounts

When Blockfi announced its crypto interest scheme, eagle-eyed readers scrutinizing the terms and conditions spotted that the assets would not be insured against losses. While offerings from the likes of Nexo and Coinbase Custody are fully insured, consumers should nevertheless familiarize themselves with the small print before committing. Coinbase hasn’t begun offering crypto interest accounts per se, it should be noted: rather, it’s added staking as a service, which obliges hodlers to lock up qualifying Proof of Stake coins such as tezos (XTZ). The end result to clients is much the same as receiving interest however; by the time Coinbase has taken its 2 percent, stakers will be left with an annual yield of around 6 percent.

Interesting-Paying Crypto Accounts Are This Year’s Leading Trend

Staking and interest are not the same, as industry commenters such as Meltem Demirors have been keen to stress. For the end user, however, be it an institutional client who doesn’t want to “get their hands dirty” with the technical side of staking, or a retail client who doesn’t want to assume custody for their crypto, the outcome can appear indistinguishable. “Financialization of Bitcoin is inevitable and vitally important,” argued Zane Pocock in a Medium post on March 29. He continued:

Financialized structures allow for much better liquidity, debt structures, and other benefits that mean institutional custody and lending can be good for Bitcoin.

Pocock urged investors to do their own research into the interest accounts being offered by crypto companies and not to “fall for the illusion of free money. Bitcoin is our emergency exit from the outcomes of precisely that fallacy.” Crypto interest programs remain an alluring proposal, however, and their number is set to multiply over the coming year. As Shapeshift’s Erik Vorhees pointed out, once the inflationary nature of central bank currencies is factored in, crypto interest accounts become significantly more appealing than their fiat counterparts.

What are your thoughts on interest-paying crypto accounts? Let us know in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the mentioned companies or any of its affiliates or services. Bitcoin.com and the author are not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article. This editorial is for informational purposes only.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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Kai Sedgwick

Kai’s been playing with words for a living since 2009 and bought his first bitcoin at $19. It’s long gone. He’s previously written white papers for blockchain startups and is especially interested in P2P exchanges and DNMs.

‘Friction-Free’ Future: Cryptos, Digital IDs May Reshape Global Economy

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Leo Cheng, the co-founder and CEO at Machi X, a marketplace for “discovery and exchange” of intellectual properties (IP) and their rights, has predicted that “every product and service that lives in the digital world, which should be most things, will be tokenized in order to interact natively and more efficiently with an increasingly digitized world.”

Cheng, who’s also a project advisor for Mithril (MITH), a decentralized proof-of-stake (PoS)-based project that aims to reward users for creating content (social mining), told CryptoGlobe:

I believe anything that is transactional – buying and selling of physical goods and services, or licenses to use things (rent a car/boat/bike etc), places (housing, event space, learning facilities) will be tokenized. Our digital identification coupled with our cryptoassets will allow a lower-friction way of doing things.

Thr economics graduate from the University of California, Berkeley, argued: 

Why do we still use physical cards to represent things like our identity or purchasing power that we enter into a software system today? Why not simply have software-based solutions that interacts with other software-based systems?

Development Of Digitally Native Assets

Several prominent members of the crypto community including Anthony Pompliano, the founder of Morgan Creek Digital Assets, recently noted via Twitter that “crypto is just another word for automation.” Pompliano also believes the future economy will consist of digitally native assets.

As explained by Cheng, the co-founder and former principal at Blockstate, a token sale advisory and blockchain consulting service: “With Machi X, we are leveraging technology to solve intellectual property challenges, starting with the music industry. By tokenizing music copyrights, we are [aiming to fundamentally change] the way that musicians can monetize their work. [We are] also [trying to] create a new way for fans and artists to interact … Through this process, we are [attempting to] make intellectual property rights digitally native.”

Web 3.0 Will Allow Us To “Do More Everywhere With Increased Speed And Usability”

When questioned about his vision and expectations regarding what Web 3.0, an evolving set of protocols for the new internet, will look like, Cheng remarked:

In my view, Web 3.0 will largely be a change in the underlying infrastructure of the internet as we know it today, making the digital world even more accessible and easier to use for everyone. End users will not [find it] as shocking as the transition from hand-written and mechanical typewriters to emails.

He continued:

Rather, Web 3.0 will allow users to do more everywhere with increased speed and usability. This change will be enabled by finally completing the transition of everything we interact with into the digital format. Specifically, digital-native representations of every asset and identity will become the default – value in general (money, real estate, securities, intellectual properties) and access (memberships, credentials, certificates, identifications) will be digitized and integrated with Web 3.0.

Future Economy: “A Hybrid Of Centralized Services Sitting On Top Of Decentralized Networks”

Responding to a question about whether decentralized platforms are going to be increasingly used in the future, as compared to centralized networks, Cheng said:

A hybrid of centralized services sitting on top of decentralized networks will dominate the future. Centralized services can better serve the end user by providing superior user experiences specific to the use case, while decentralized networks can reduce costs by eliminating middlemen in many of today’s processes that involve [having to pay] too many vendors. A good example of this is the way sale and purchase of stocks are handled today.

Commenting on some important use cases for blockchain technology, Cheng remarked: “Outside of our current effort to tokenize intellectual properties, other important use cases today for blockchain I see are: 1) Supply chain management for applications like food safety, and 2) Cryptocurrency as alternative currency for failing banking systems.”

Walmart, IBM Track Contaminated Produce In Seconds

Elaborating on these two main use cases for distributed ledger technology (DLT), Cheng stated:

Supply chain management – The work that IBM and Walmart have done around food safety is nothing short of revolutionary. They’ve reduced the time it takes to track contaminated produce back to the farm from a week down to mere seconds. Lives can be saved, and also farmers will lose less revenue when products go bad. Other supply chain applications in shipping and logistics will help expedite delivery while reducing costs.

He added: “Failing banking systems – The recent currency crisis in Venezuela demonstrates just how vulnerable populations of failing economies can be, when sudden hyperinflation devalues their currencies and reduces access to basic necessities such as food and water.”

Cryptocurrencies Helping Venezuelans Preserve “Value Of Their Money”

According to Cheng: “Bitcoin (BTC), Litecoin (LTC), and Dash (DASH) have provided some Venezuelans with more currency stability, in addition to access to the financial world outside Venezuela. These cryptocurrency alternatives to the Venezuelan bolivar have helped Venezuelans preserve the value of their money, as well as act as a store of value.”

Hodler’s Digest, March 25–31: Top Stories, Price Movements, Quotes and FUD of the Week

Top Stories This Week

Owner of ICO That Never Happened Attempts to Sell Project on eBay for $60,000

The owner of a crypto-related startup dubbed Sponsy, which never launched its initial coin offering (ICO), is attempting to sell the project on eBay for $60,000. The project is described as a blockchain-related identity that is able to launch both an ICO and a security token offering (STO), with the author of the posting claiming that the project was both audited by an investment firm and approved by several investment banks. Sponsy also claims to have a solid social presence, although its Twitter and Facebook page posts have around ten likes on average. The eBay poster noted in an interview that he lost out on the ICO craze by taking time to develop a product, rather than first launching an offering.

Over 130-Year-Old Liquor Company William Grant & Sons to Track Whiskey on Blockchain

Premium scotch whisky brand Ailsa Bay, which is owned by William Grant & Sons (WG&S), a liquor company founded in 1887, is set to launch what it claims to be the world’s first scotch whisky tracked on the blockchain. According to the company, the whisky will be tracked in collaboration with blockchain firm arc-net, which will develop the new products and a system to track manufacturing from distillery to store. The reason behind the blockchain tracking is to prevent whisky counterfeiting in the United Kingdom, as well as allow the firm to gather data on both existing and potential customers by employing location systems for the purchases.

Tim Draper Urges Argentina’s President to Legalize Bitcoin to Improve Economy

When speaking to Argentine president Mauricio Macri, crypto bull and investor Tim Draper said that the legalization of Bitcoin (BTC) in the country could help improve their economic situation. During the meeting, Draper noted that the use of blockchain and crypto could help improve major economic problems, including the devaluation of the Argentine peso (ARS). Draper also reportedly proposed a humorous bet, stating that if the peso would be valued more than Bitcoin, he would double his investment in the country, but if BTC became higher than the peso, Argentina would have to declare the crypto a national currency.

Weiss Crypto Ratings Puts Bitcoin Aside EOS and XRP in Annual Outlook

The newest Weiss Crypto Ratings and given top cryptocurrency Bitcoin an “A,” along with Ripple (XRP) and EOS. In the report, which was based on an analysis of 120 cryptocurrencies, letter grades were assigned based on an evaluation of the possibilities for adoption and technology. XRP received the “A” ranking as it is well-positioned to compete with global interbank system SWIFT, while EOS was noted as making a solid attempt to become the “backbone of the new internet.” Bitcoin’s “A” ranking was due to its Lightning Network upgrade and use as of store of value. However, another ranking based on risk and reward factors failed to give any cryptocurrencies an “A.” The three currencies are followed by Ethereum (A-) and Cardano (B+).

 Crypto Exchange Bithumb Reportedly Hacked of Almost $19 Mln in EOS and XRP

Crypto exchange Bithumb reported this weekend that they have experienced a hack of an unknown amount, and are currently working with various law enforcement on the issue. The exchange notes that withdrawals and deposits have been temporarily paused, and that the loss does not affect users’ funds, but only those of the exchange. Unconfirmed reports state that around 3 million EOS (around $12.5 million) and 20 million Ripple (about $6.2 million) are the funds lost. The company’s post about the hack indicates that it was an insider job, but the details are as of yet unspecified.

Winners and Losers

The crypto market has ended with week with Bitcoin well above $4,100, Ethereum is at $143 and Ripple at about $.31. Total market cap is $144 billion.

Top three altcoin gainers of the week are AICHAIN, BBSCoin and HondaisCoin. Top three altcoin losers of the week are Luna Coin, Crowdvilla Ownership and Coinonat.

Winners and Losers

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

Most Memorable Quotations

“All of the big tech companies will come and say blockchain, blockchain, blockchain. I say, ‘Show me the use case. You bring me the use case and I’ll try it.’”

Catherine Bessant, Bank of America (BoA) chief technology officer

 

“If Quadriga was licensed under the Bermuda Monetary Authority, what has happened would not have been able to happen, because we have rules regarding the custody of master keys and making sure they’re not held by a particular individual.”

David Burt, Premier of Bermuda

“One of my theses here is that the cypherpunks’ attempts to get into the money business forced them to realize some other things along the way. And [one of those things] is that money is a fundamentally social thing in a much deeper way than, say, two-party encrypted communication You have to start thinking about governance, social contracts, common shared expectations in this community, how do changes get made, how do we decide how changes get made, how do we discuss things. These are all very political things.”

Vitalik Buterin, speaking at the RadicalxChange conference

 

“I do believe that the regulators right now are a little careful about just rubber stamping anything as it relates to crypto. You are going to have to have an offering that the regulators are going to have to get comfortable. And I think it is hard to get comfortable with something that is so new like this.”

Terry Duffy, CEO of United States derivative market CME Group

 

“What we are seeing is a collection of standards being created [that] will inevitably converge over the next three to five years to create a situation where you can move information and value between all these different systems ー not just Bitcoin to Litecoin to Ethereum to Cardano ー but also your regular bank account.”

Charles Hoskinson, a founder of IOHK, the firm that developed cryptocurrency Cardano (ADA)

Prediction of the Week

Sharp Bitcoin Rally in 2019 Unlikely

According to Emmanuel Goh, a former JPMorgan Chase derivatives trader and founder of crypto data firm Skew, Bitcoin is unlikely to recover its former five-digit highs in 2019. Goh has noted that, according to options traders, there is a five percent chance that Bitcoin will reach $10,000 by September of this year. The trader also noted that there is even a $20,000 call option for this June, but the probability of BTC reaching that price is zero, as it was likely a “bullish trade that was made last year when investors were still discussing the short-term possibility of making new highs.”

FUD of the Week

US SEC Delays Decision on Bitcoin ETF Applications From VanEck and Bitwise

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has again delayed its decision on a rule change to the Securities Act that would allow the listing of Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded funds (ETF). According to the latest notice, the SEC has extended the period to 90 days, after Bitwise’s Feb. 15 application reached the end of its 45-day time period. According to the extension, the SEC must now reach a decision on the rule change by May 16, 2019. The two firms, NYSE ARCA and Bitwise, had announced their recent plans to launch Bitcoin ETFs in January, with the former intending to launch five separate ETFs linked to both bull and bear futures contracts on NYSE Arca. The SEC has also extended its decision on the VanEck/CBOE Bitcoin ETF

Analysts Claim CoinBene Transactions, Recent Activity ‘Consistent’ With Exchange Hack

Elementus, a blockchain infrastructure firm, published details of recent transactions at crypto exchange CoinBene that they consider to be suspicious in the wake of a presumed hack. After $105 million in crypto was moved from the exchange’s hot wallet this week, CoinBene had assured users that it was a period of unforeseen maintenance responsible for the suspicious activity. Elementus has noted that they are not contradicting what CoinBene has claimed, but that their findings are consistent with the modus operandi for how hack are normally carried out, as the amount of crypto transferred is large and was quickly sold.

Android Malware Targets Users of 32 Crypto Apps, Including Coinbase, BitPay

According to research, a new strain of Trojan malware for Android phones is now targeting the global users of cryptocurrency apps including Coinbase, BitPay and Bitcoin Wallet, as well as banks including JPMorgan, Wells Fargo and Bank of America. Cybercrime analytics firm Group-IB noted that this is the first time that the Trojan, dubbed Gustaff, has been reported or analyzed, and that it is described as being designed for mass infections and spread by SMS messages linked to load malicious Android package kit files. The group notes that the malware’s creators have made a system that increases the scale of thefts by triggering autofills of payment fields for legitimate Android apps to maliciously reroute transfers to the hackers.

Best Cointelegraph Features

The Lightning Torch: How the Community United to Teach Jack Dorsey About Feeless, Rapid Off-Chain Transactions

After Twitter’s Jack Dorsey joined the Lightning Network Torch recently, awareness of the second-layer solutions both benefits and drawbacks have become more debated in the crypto ecosystem. Cointelegraph examines how the LN has changed over time, and how Dorsey’s reference to the technology has brought it more into the public eye.

Indian Street Protests for Cryptocurrency

After the Reserve Bank of India’s ban on crypto dealings last year, the crypto community is coming together again, this time in the form of a series of blockchain supporter rallies held across the country. With the fourth rally set for Bangalore, Cointelegraph looks at the possible public impact of this movement.

Meet the 21 Year-Old Entrepreneur Trying to Sell His Failed ICO on Ebay

After an eBay listing for a cryptocurrency- and blockchain-related project was posted with a price tag of $60,000, Cointelegraph reached out to the lister himself to find out what happened with the project that led him to sell it online in this particular format.

Another Social Media Giant Enters the Crypto Industry, Is Widespread Adoption Imminent?

There’s no question that the crypto industry has been growing by leaps and bounds over the past year, regardless of persisting bear trend that has sent overall market sentiment towards rock bottom.

One indication of this growth has been the large and growing trend of social media giants entering the industry, and because social media companies operate on the forefront of the general public, their quickness to adopt crypto may signal a bigger trend of growing mainstream adoption.

Report: Russian Social Media Giant VKontakte (VK) Developing Own Crypto

According to a recent report from Russian news outlet RNS, VKontakte (VK) – which is the most popular social media platform in Russia – is in the process of developing their own cryptocurrency, which will be placed directly before all of the site’s nearly 100 million active monthly users.

According to an unnamed source familiar with the company’s plans, the final decision on whether or not to launch the crypto has not yet been made, but if they do move forward with their plans, the current configuration of the project entails having a crypto account created for each individual user’s account on the site.

“According to [the unnamed source], the current configuration of the project involves the creation of individual accounts for the accumulation of cryptocurrency to all users of the social network,” the report explains.

The addition of the new crypto will also add a host of new features to the platform that allows users to easily monetize content, as users will be able to receive the crypto for publishing interesting content, and for receiving likes, comments, and reposts.

It is important to note that VK has not yet confirmed or denied the rumors regarding this new crypto product.

Growing Trend of Social Media Companies Turning to Crypto 

VK certainly isn’t the first social media company to turn towards crypto in order to enhance user’s experiences, and their decision to possibly release a cryptocurrency comes on the heels of news regarding US-based social media giant, Facebook, working to develop its own cryptocurrency.

The Facebook crypto will be a coin associated with WhatsApp, which would allow users to facilitate nearly instant transfers between users, but information regarding this project is scarce.

Other major companies, including Telegram and Signal, have also forayed into the crypto industry, with Telegram making headlines throughout the past year regarding the messaging platform’s highly coveted and publicized Initial Coin Offering (ICO).

Because the success of social media is based entirely off of user experience, it is clear that the respective companies believe that the public is ready to begin heavily interacting with cryptocurrencies, which may signal that widespread adoption is right around the corner.

Featured image from Shutterstock.