Weekly Crypto Recap [26/10/18 – 1/11/18]

Week in Brief


 

Bitcoin turns 10: the Satoshi whitepaper that questioned the necessity of the financial system that we know today

 

The institutional herds are coming — Fidelity, the 5th largest asset manager in the world announce the launch of Fidelity Digital Assets

 

Total crypto market cap is down 1.7% w/w, with 75% of the top 100 coins by market cap trading down w/w. In the last 24 hours, 87% of the top 100 are trading up whilst BTC is down 1.29% and ETH is down 1.92%. BTC, ETH and XRP lead the market cap respectively.

 

Market Performance


Top Stories


 

Bitcoin turns 10: the Satoshi whitepaper that questioned the necessity of the financial system that we know today

 

On the 31st of October 2008, coinciding with both the beginning of the global financial crisis, with the collapse of Lehman Brothers, and Halloween itself, notorious Satoshi Nakamoto unveiled the Bitcoin whitepaper to the world. Whether the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin is a male, female or a group of individuals is up for debate. Yet the imperceptible timing of this release cannot have been a coincidence, for, in the first block ever created, the genesis block, Satoshi inscribed a clear message for all to see:

“The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks”

Whilst Wall Street crumbled under the midst of the largest financial crisis since the great depression and possibly the greatest financial scandal of all time, an alternative financial infrastructure was being quietly developed online in order to destroy the current status quo.

Although Bitcoin would not be discovered by the mainstream until the speculative mania of 2017, the foundations for a new way of transferring value between individuals was already firmly laid. No longer would banks be necessary for individuals to transact trustfully with one another. Instead, a financial system had been built with trust inherently baked into the Bitcoin code. Such trust is immutable, it cannot be tampered with, it cannot be censored and it cannot be seized.

The world is still waking up to what Satoshi coined a “purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash that would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution.” But as we loom on the edge of another global financial crisis, how much longer will individuals place trust in intermediaries who continually exploit everyone but themselves. Bitcoin has provided an exit sign for individuals to leave this corrupt system and become their own bank. Such financial freedom is arguably one of the most impactful inventions one will see in their lifetime. One thing is for certain, Bitcoin is here to stay.

 

The institutional herds are coming — Fidelity, the 5th largest asset manager in the world announce the launch of Fidelity Digital Assets

 

Fidelity, the renowned asset management franchise, announce the launch of their cryptocurrency investment vehicle, Fidelity Digital Assets, aimed at onboarding institutional investors to the marketplace. The firm is currently the 5th largest asset management company in the world, with a total of $7.2 trillion of customer assets under their control. This dwarfs the current market cap of the cryptocurrency industry, a mere $200 billion at the time of writing. If just 10% of their total assets were to become cryptocurrency assets in the future, this would sharply bring the cryptocurrency market estimation towards a trillion itself. Alongside the other institutional investment onramps which are around the corner, such as Bakkt, early retail adopters are almost certain to cash in big on their curiosity and foresight.

Based in Boston, the limited company aims to bring industry-grade custody solutions for institutional investors not possible with traditional unregulated cryptocurrency exchanges. They will achieve this with a geographically diverse set of cold storage locations which are disconnected from the internet itself and vault protected. At current, Institutional investors are simply not willing to risk the large sums of capital they have at their disposal on exchanges which could be shut down, hacked or exit scammed at any moment. Instead, such market participants need assurance from regulated and familiar mechanisms that their funds are secure at all times.

The firm will also provide a cryptocurrency trading platform alongside 24/7 institutional advisory services to cater to the market that never sleeps. Tom Jessop, founder of Fidelity Digital Assets states that “This is recognition that there is institutional demand for these assets as a class, family offices, hedge funds, other sophisticated investors, are starting to think seriously about this space.”. Ultimately, it is clear that the institutional herds are coming with the funds needed to really push this market into a new era, for better or worse. Optimistically, this institutional jumpstart could be exactly what the market needs right now to keep momentum, allowing the underlying technology to continue to improve at an exponential rate.

 

Meanwhile


 

Cryptocurrency titan, Coinbase, receives a further $300 million dollar investment in their most recent round of funding, leading to a total valuation of over 8 billion dollars (Coindesk).

Bakkt is set to be launched in December, a cryptocurrency exchange founded by the intercontinental exchanges (ICE) seeking to solve the custody problem for institutional investors, confirming a new era of investment from retail to Wall Street may be on the horizon (Bitcoinist).

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) launches a Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology, in hopes of updating individuals on SEC regulatory issues, in order to be more transparent and create greater confidence in the market. (The Daily Hodl).

 

What We’re Reading At BBOD


 

Bitcoin At 10: The Satoshi Whitepaper

Why Bitcoin and Crypto Have No Future

MappleChange: The Story of Another Cryptocurrency Exchange Exit Scam

 

What We’re Listening To At BBOD


 

Reflections on the 10 Year Anniversary of The Bitcoin Whitepaper

Radical Markets: Uprooting Capitalism and Democracy for a Just Society

What Bitcoin Did: Crypto Custody

 

Weekly Crypto Recap [12/10/18 – 18/10/18]

Week in Brief

Tether (USDT), destabilises causing widespread panic on centralised exchanges as traders convert their USDT for Bitcoin.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) proposes concerns regarding the rapid adoption of cryptocurrencies and how hacking events of centralised exchanges could threaten the international financial system.

Tim Berners Lee, the father of the World Wide Web introduces his new venture inrupt, which aims to decentralise the web, allowing users to possess control of their data as initially intended.

Total crypto market cap is up 7.25% w/w, with 80% of the top 100 coins by market cap trading up w/w. 30% of the top 100 are trading up in the last 24 hours, whilst BTC is down 0.1% and ETH is down 1.4%. BTC, ETH and XRP lead the market cap respectively.


Market Performance

Top Stories

A collapse in confidence of Tether leads Bitcoin prices to surge more than 20% in a matter of hours

On Monday morning GMT, Bitcoin soared in price from $6200 to $7500, before settling around the $6900 mark. Although this has allowed Bitcoin to break through the major declining price resistance formed over the past few months, whether this move is sustainable remains to be seen. The move comes after considerable controversy regarding Tether (USDT), a stable coin utilised by the majority of traders on centralised trading platforms. Despite its name, USDT has failed to remain tethered to USD, with considerable premiums being seen on notable exchanges who offer the cryptocurrency as their prominent tethered pair, such as Bitfinex, Binance, Kraken and OKEx. For example, USDT dropped up to 10% in value on some exchanges, trading at $0.9 on Kraken. Consequently, the sudden increase in the price of Bitcoin can almost certainly be attributed to traders moving funds from their devaluing ‘stable’ currency into Bitcoin itself. The irony in this move is unprecedented, with individuals usually relying on the stability of USDT in Bitcoin downturns. It appears for the time being Bitcoin has become a better store of value than USDT itself.

So what caused USDT to crash? The debate over USDT’s solvency is not new, many sceptics have questioned the reliability of the centralised stable coin, which is merely backed by the US dollar in a traditional bank account for some time. If the bank refuses withdrawals, a centralised exchange simply cannot allow their users to withdraw tethered funds themselves. As predicted, the solvency debate has now come to a head, with Bitfinex suspending withdrawals of USDT as a result of losing their banking partner Noble Bank, who supposedly backed USDT, alongside HSBC refusing to back USDT moving forward. Moreover, this has lead other centralised exchanges such as OKEx to suspend withdrawals causing further panic for market participants.

Bitfinex is now desperately trying to secure USD fiat pairs to reconcile themselves, but with such significant setbacks, it is hard to say whether USDT will ever be able to regain the credibility necessary to function as a tethered currency in the future. A push towards a decentralised stable coin, not backed by funds in a US bank account, such as MakerDAO’s DAI, could become a necessary scapegoat for those looking to find a stable hedge in market downturns in the future.

 

IMF issues warning regarding the rapid growth of cryptocurrencies and their impact on the global financial system

The latest International Monetary Fund (IMF) report, “Challenges to Steady Growth”, proposes that the rapid growth of the cryptocurrency marketplace over the past 2 years could pose a substantial threat to the international financial system as world banks struggle to keep pace. The report places a strong emphasis on how the increased adoption of cryptocurrencies could allow for large-scale hacking attacks on centralised platforms which do not have high enough security measures to prevent sophisticated hackers from infiltrating their wallets.

“Cybersecurity breaches and cyber attacks on critical financial infrastructure represent an additional source of risk because they could undermine cross-border payment systems and disrupt the flow of goods and services. The continued rapid growth of crypto assets could create new vulnerabilities in the international financial system” a comment from the recent IMF report

Thus, the IMF claims that the continuing adoption of cryptocurrencies by both retail investors and institutions could create significant vulnerabilities in the traditional financial system, as both parties begin to perceive cryptocurrencies as alternative means of value and begin utilising them for speculative or business purposes. Ultimately, the IMF suggests that if large institutions are to adopt cryptocurrencies, for instance, Ripple (XRP) for industries such as remittances, then the security of storage must be industry grade and backed by insurance mechanisms to ensure the safety of funds. Failing this, both industry players and individuals could suffer large-scale loses causing financial chaos.

Despite this, some bullish cryptocurrency advocates such as Emin Gun Sirer, a well-regarded professor at Cornell University, stated that any recognition from the IMF that cryptocurrencies are becoming a notable asset class is optimistic for the industry as a whole. Moreover, decentralised exchanges are now allowing decentralised custodial services to their clients, which are finally allowing individuals to utilise the power of the underlying blockchain technology to keep their funds secure outside of centralised wallets.

 

Tim Berners-Lee aims to decentralise the Web with new cryptocurrency venture

“I’ve always believed the web is for everyone,” Wrote Tim Berners-Lee, the iconic British engineer and professor of computer science who notoriously gave away the World Wide Web for free some 30 years ago. “The web has evolved into an engine of inequity and division; swayed by powerful forces who use it for their own agendas,” Berners-Lee added in a recent blog post.

We are at a critical tipping point for the internet, where privacy scandals are awash in the worldwide media and at the forefront of consumers minds. Individuals are rapidly losing trust in centralised authorities in our digital age – and they are demanding solutions. This was sparked by the infamous Cambridge Analytica scandal followed by the recent Facebook confession that they were using metadata to target specific voters for Trump’s political campaign. As such, individuals are no longer in the dark concerning how their personal information is being exploited for commercial or political gains.

As a result, in late September the father of the internet announced a new project coined inrupt, a project with a mission to decentralise the Web. Backed by Glasswing Ventures, the inrupt ultimately aims to restore power to individuals rather than the commercial bad actors who actively seek to capitalise on user data. Thus, inrupt’s true goal is complete decentralisation of the web placing privacy at the forefront, allowing the user, and only the user, to own the rights to their personal information. Now the race to secure user privacy has officially begun, inrupt’s visionary leader may just place them at the forefront of this process.  

 

Meanwhile

Coinbase adds 0x (ZRX), the first ERC-20 token to be added to their product offering for customers worldwide (Bitcoin Magazine).

A user of the Bitcoin distributed network confirmed to have transferred $194 million USD valued in Bitcoin for a transaction fee of 10 cents, a feat unimaginable in traditional markets (CCN).

Former Vice President of Coinbase has transitioned to a position at Bakkt, the notorious NYSE backed firm who will allow institutional investors access to the cryptocurrency world by legal means starting November (CryptoGlobe)

Despite the clear institutional interest in the cryptocurrency market, Barclays shuts down their trading division just months after its inception (CryptoSlate)

Choi Jong-Koo of Korea’s Financial Services Commission has reestablished his belief that ICO’s should not be able to operate within the country, whilst still undeniably showing support for blockchain for business sake (Cointelegraph)

 

What We’re Reading

The International Monetary Funds “Challenges to Steady Growth” Report

An interview with David Chaum, a cryptography pioneer who believes blockchain cannot reach its full potential until it becomes a successful medium of exchange

Tim Berners-Lee “One Small Step For The Web”

21 Cryptos Magazine, October Edition: The Next Bull

 

What We’re Listening To

Tether Fears! Node Investors take on the collapse of USDT of its effect on the market

Bad Podcast: Why Stablecoins Matter

The Oslo Freedom Forum in New York: Why Decentralization Matters

What Bitcoin Did: An Interview With Jimmy Song

Revolutionizing Democracy Using DAOs