ICOs Produce Slow Start to 2019

ICOs Produce Slow Start to 2019

Crowdfunding During the first two weeks of 2019, initial coin offerings (ICOs) raised roughly $90 million, according to data published by Icobench. Of the total funds raised this year so far, $80.2 million can be attributed to the Chelle Coin ICO. Also Read: How US Government Shutdown Affects Bitcoin ETF Approval Slow Start to 2019 for Initial Coin Offerings 47 ICOs launched during the first week of January, bringing the total number of ongoing initial coin offerings to 424. Despite the large number of ongoing ICOs, only $6 million was collectively raised between Jan. 1 and Jan. 7, comprising the smallest combined weekly total raised by ICOs since 2017. During the second week of January, the total raised by initial coin offerings jumped substantially after Chelle Coin, an ICO for an “investment platform backed by performing North American True Estate,” generated $80.2 million from Canadian investors. Excluding Chelle Coin, the combined total raised by ICOs between Jan. 7 and Jan. 15 was $3 million. ICOs Post Steep Decline in Fundraising During Second Half of 2018 The slow start to 2019 follows a significant decline in the average performance of initial coin offerings during the final six months of 2018. After averaging a monthly total of $1.45 billion collectively during the first half of 2018, the combined monthly average raise by ICOs fell by 65 percent to just $500 million in the second half of the year. Additionally, the combined total raised by initial coin offerings fell short of 2017’s monthly average of roughly $850 million for the entire second half of last year. The average sum raised by each individual ICO also fell by more than 50 percent year-over-year, dropping from $24.4 million in 2017 to nearly $11 million in 2018. Despite the decline in the average performance of ICOs, the collective total raised by ICOs increased last year, with 413 offerings raising $10.06 billion in 2017 versus 1,012 offerings raising $11.59 billion in 2018. Singapore Comprises Leading Nation for ICO Fundraising During 2018 Nearly $1.54 billion was raised by Singapore-based ICOs during last year, equating to 13 percent of the fundraising total. The total was raised from 275 offerings, making Singapore the second most popular destination for ICO issuers. While the United States hosted the…

Major Central Bank Institution BIS: Bitcoin Must Depart From Proof-of-Work

Major Central Bank Institution BIS: Bitcoin Must Depart From Proof-of-Work

Bitcoin’s (BTC) problems are only solvable by departing from a proof-of-work (PoW) system, according to research published by the Bank for International Settlement (BIS) on Jan. 21. According to the paper, when in the future Bitcoin’s block rewards fall to zero — given that only a limited number of new Bitcoin will ever be created — transaction fees alone will not be able to sustain mining expenses. The argument implies that the Bitcoin network would become so slow that it would be virtually unusable, stating: “Simple calculations suggest that once block rewards are zero, it could take months before a Bitcoin payment is final, unless new technologies are deployed to speed up payment finality.” The study further notes that while second-layer solutions like the Lightning Network could help, “the only fundamental remedy would be to depart from proof-of-work.” Such a departure, according to the report, would “probably require some form of social coordination or institutionalisation.” The document’s overall conclusion is that, according to the researchers, “in the digital age too, good money is likely to remain a social construct rather than a purely technological one.” The Switzerland-based BIS is an organization consisting of 60 central banks, which reportedly account for 95 percent of global GDP. As Cointelegraph recently reported, another BIS report published on Jan. 8 found that seventy percent of central banks worldwide are conducting research into central bank digital currency issuance. Another report published by the BIS in September last year found a strong correlation between crypto prices and news of regulatory intervention globally.

The Daily: Bitmain Reflects on 2018, Memo Releases Mobile App

The Daily: Bitmain Reflects on 2018, Memo Releases Mobile App

The Daily In today’s edition of The Daily, we cover a reflection on the passing year by the cryptocurrency mining technology giant Bitmain, a mobile app released by social network Memo and new turnover figures from a Bitcoin ATM network in Australia. Also Read: South Africa Wants to Mandate Registration of Crypto Services Bitmain Reflects on 2018 Bitmain, the Beijing-headquartered bitcoin mining technology giant, has been the topic of many discussions recently relating to its IPO application process, downsizing and more. A lengthy new blog post the company published today touches on these subjects and highlights some of the milestones the company has achieved in 2018. These achievements include the development of a 7nm ASIC chip for SHA-256 mining, launching hardware for powering artificial intelligence applications, investing in Circle and funding open-source projects. The Bitmain team explains that the consolidating actions they took recently were done to make the company leaner, more focused and to streamline the business in preparation for the challenges of the future. “Our wide portfolio and varied lines of work have expanded to a point where we have the problem of choice and this year was the time to choose. We started to optimize the business and streamline our flows to focus back on the core missions and activities that best rally behind our vision. We as a company will be lean and more focused towards our goals and we look forward to a 2019 where we can see what our collective efforts can achieve in this manner.” The company also made this comment about the contentious BSV fork: “It goes without saying that the BCH and BSV split was a significant topic within the global cryptocurrency space last year. It was exciting to see different passions clash for the future and betterment of cryptocurrencies without the purported ‘hash war’ being fought. Having ourselves been through a similar (but much longer!) conflict over the future of Bitcoin just about 18 months back, we understand the BSV community’s decision to split and freely pursue its own dream. Adoption will come through power, flexibility and sophistication of the ecosystem and we look forward to what 2019 has in store for cryptocurrencies.” Memo Releases Mobile App BCH-based social media network Memo.cash has released a…

Centralized Exchanges Still Overwhelmingly Dominate Market, New Report Shows

Centralized Exchanges Still Overwhelmingly Dominate Market, New Report Shows

Despite a significant uptick in the creation of decentralized crypto exchanges (DEX) in 2018, their centralized counterparts continue to control the lion’s share of global industry trade volumes. The finding was reported in the 2018 Cryptocurrency Exchange Annual Report from crypto and blockchain research organization TokenInsight, shared with Cointelegraph Jan. 21. TokenInsight’s report, which has reportedly analyzed data from over 400 global crypto exchanges, indicates that DEX account for just 19 percent of the global exchange ecosystem. Further, the trading volumes on DEX amount to less than 1 percent of those on centralized exchanges. Global crypto exchange ecosystem analysis from TokenInsight The low figures come despite TokenInsight’s analysis that DEX platforms gained significant industry traction in 2018. According to the report, the growth was due to developments in decentralized trading protocols and infrastructure, as well as what the report characterizes as the explosive growth of the decentralized applications (DApps) trading market. The report underscores that whereas centralized platforms “are challenged by problems of opaque trading rules, intransparent fund storage and security,” DEX offer “deal-matching and asset liquidation realized through smart contracts,” and allow users’ funds to remain under their own control. In light of a number of high-profile centralized exchange hacks last year, the report argues that the industry is also increasingly recognizing the security benefits of the DEX model. While the year-long figures clearly demonstrate low DEX adoption rates thus far, TokenInsight’s analysis of 53 DEX — most of which are based on Ethereum (ETH) and Eos (EOS) — found a significant spike in transaction volumes in Q1 2018.  During that quarter, volumes reportedly rose 195 percent as compared with Q4 2017. The highest DEX Q1 2018 single day volume exceeded $400 million, the report states. After Q3 2018, however, DEX trading volumes declined significantly — a downturn that TokenInsight attributes to the impact of the bear market. Even though this trend was felt across the ecosystem, the report argues that “to a certain extent […] decentralized exchanges were more sensitive than centralized ones to the overall downward trend of the secondary market.” As reported, despite the waning volumes associated with market downturns, the exchange market is reported to have posted record trading volumes for 2018 overall.

Privacy Cryptocurrency Beam Experiences Blockchain Stoppage

Privacy Cryptocurrency Beam Experiences Blockchain Stoppage

Newly released privacy-oriented cryptocurrency Beam reported this morning that its blockchain is experiencing technical difficulties. Beam announced the information on its official Twitter account Monday, saying that its network “stopped at block 25709” and that it was investigating the matter. Within the last hour, the project tweeted an update saying: “Issue identified and fix found. Funds are safe. Commit to GitHub in the coming hour. Binaries and detailed Post-mortem later today. Thanks for your patience and stay tuned.” CoinDesk will update this story as more information becomes available. At its January launch, Beam became the first cryptocurrency based on Mimblewimble – a protocol that makes transactions confidential and virtually untraceable. Since then, though, Beam has faced some technical issues. On Jan. 9, the team discovered a “critical vulnerability” in its wallet software and asked users to uninstall the wallet app immediately and re-download a patched version from their website. While the critical bug was fixed, it could have put users’ funds at risk by allowing attackers to modify transactions and subsequently send funds directly into their own wallet, Beam’s developers said at the time. Last week, a second privacy cryptocurrency based on Mimblewimble – Grin – also went live. While it has seen high interest from cypherpunks, sources told CoinDesk at the time that several VC funds were planning to mine the crypto in advance of its launch. Broken chain image via Shutterstock

Coinbase Hires New Compliance Chief for UK Operations

Coinbase Hires New Compliance Chief for UK Operations

U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has hired a new U.K. head of compliance with three decades of experience in the industry. The new hire, Mark Kelly, joins the prominent crypto startup after almost five years as a director at London-based regulatory reporting firm Abide Financial. According to his LinkedIn profile, Kelly joined the exchange this month. While at Abide, Kelly advised clients on regulatory compliance areas such as anti-money laundering rules, the EU’s Markets in Financial Instruments Directive and the European Market Infrastructure Regulation. In total, he comes with over 30 years of experience in compliance and auditing gained at a number of notable financial firms, including Grant Thornton, Barclays Capital and Lehman Brothers. Coinbase was granted an e-money license to operate in the U.K. and EU from the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority in March 2018. Then, in August, the exchange started offering instant deposits and withdrawals denominated in British pounds. The firm – which most recently raised $300 million at an $8 billion valuation in October 2018– has seen a flurry of management-level personnel changes in recent months. At least nine senior or mid-level employees have left since the funding, and over five have been hired during the period. It was previously revealed that, since March 2018, the firm has been offering to cover up to $5,000 a year for treatments like egg-freezing in a bid to retain staff – that’s in addition to Coinbase’s health insurance options. Coinbase image via Shutterstock 

Japan’s SBI Invests $15 Million In Crypto Card Wallet Maker Tangem

Japan’s SBI Invests $15 Million In Crypto Card Wallet Maker Tangem

Japanese financial services giant SBI Group has invested $15 million in Swiss startup Tangem, maker of a slimline hardware wallet for cryptocurrencies. Tangem describes its crypto storage product as a “smart banknote for digital assets.” Designed to be used like a bank card, the product allows off-chain physical transactions to be used, for example, for in-store payments, once cryptos have been loaded onto the device via an NFC-enabled smartphone. The startup announced the SBI investment Monday, saying that it would help it expand its technology to other areas such as stablecoins, initial coin offerings (ICOs), tokenized asset offerings, digital identity and more. The news was confirmed by SBI in a separate statement. While it did not disclose an amount, the firm said the funding was made available through its wholly-owned subsidiary SBI Crypto Investment, which invests in digital assets ventures. SBI said it had invested in Tangem because its “inexpensive” and “robust” wallet product could help boost demand for crypto assets, as well as its own products. “The Tangem hardware wallet, which is highly secure and affordable, is an important tool to promote mass adoption of digital assets and blockchain,” said Yoshitaka Kitao, representative director, president & CEO of SBI Holdings. “We believe utilizing Tangem will help stimulate the demand for other blockchain services provided by SBI.” In October 2018, SBI Group also partnered with Denmark-based blockchain security startup Sepior to develop a digital wallet for its cryptocurrency exchange VCTRADE. And, last March, the group bought a 40-percent stake in Taiwanese cold wallet maker CoolBitX. Hardware wallets are an increasingly popular solution for storage of cryptocurrencies as numerous online exchanges have experienced notable hacks. Japan alone lost a massive 60.503 billion yen (around $540 million) worth of cryptocurrency in the first six months of 2018, according to a report from country’s National Police Agency (NPA). Another report indicates that, worldwide, over $880 million have been lost to cyberattacks in the last 18 months. Wallet card image courtesy of Tangem

‘Satoshi Way’ Course to Prepare Crypto Developers in Ukraine

‘Satoshi Way’ Course to Prepare Crypto Developers in Ukraine

Technology Ukraine’s crypto business sector has decided to address the deficit of developers in the field. Several companies, the industry’s association and an educational organization have teamed up to organize a professional course that will teach students how to create solutions utilizing crypto technologies. Also read: No Reason to ‘Bury’ Cryptocurrencies, Russian PM Medvedev Says Win-Win Situation for All Stakeholders Six companies, including a number of prominent crypto platforms, the Blockchain Association of Ukraine (BAU) and the Ukrainian National IT Factory (UNIT) are behind the educational project. Its first Blockchain Hub Academy course has already started and in the next four months it will prepare the first group of 30 students to take on the challenges facing the crypto industry in their country. Quoted by Forklog, BAU vice president Vitaliy Bulychev commented: The aim of the initiative is to prepare tech specialists for the crypto industry… This is one of the few niches where a rapidly growing industry provides ample opportunities to monetize knowledge, while giving a feeling of satisfaction from value creation, where the products are open to the world and everyone is a brick in the foundation of the new paradigm of economic relations. Bulychev also noted that in Ukraine “there are people willing to learn and there are carriers of unique knowledge.” In his words, that’s a “win-win situation for all stakeholders.” The educational program has been developed with the participation of experts from major Ukrainian companies working in the crypto space such as Distributed Lab, Pandora Boxchain, Kuna Exchange, Remme, Atticlab, and Blocksoftlab. It is based on UNIT’s peer-to-peer approach which means there will be no lecturers. Students to Learn to Create Wallets and Smart Contracts The 4-month course is divided into two segments. The first part called “Satoshi Way” is focused on Bitcoin and the basic distributed ledger technologies associated with the first cryptocurrency. The second, titled “Post-Satoshi Era,” will cover the full spectrum of related technologies and developments that appeared after Bitcoin. During the course, students will learn how to create cryptocurrency wallets, smart contracts, and how to work with different protocols. They will also acquire knowledge in cryptography and game theory. Upon completing the program, the participants will have the necessary expertise and skills to develop their own…

Total Market Cap Drops $5 Billion as All Major Coins Take Price Hit

Total Market Cap Drops $5 Billion as All Major Coins Take Price Hit

Monday, Jan. 21: cryptocurrencies are seeing price weakness across the board, with virtually all of the top 100 coins by market cap tipping into the red.Top ten coins have lost between 3 and 7 percent on the day, as data from Coin360 shows. Market visualization by Coin360 Bitcoin (BTC) is down about 4 percent on the day to press time, slipping from a 24-hour high of ~$3,755 to its current price point around $3,570. Despite a jagged week of fleeting gains, the top coin has now come virtually full circle on its 7-day chart, and is trading just 0.5 percent down on the week. Monthly losses are nonetheless at a heftier 11 percent, according to CoinMarketCap. Bitcoin 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap Ripple (XRP), currently the largest altcoin by market cap, is down fractionally less, shedding 3.4 percent on the day to trade at ~$0.317 to press time. Ripple’s market share is currently $13 billion — as compared with Ethereum (ETH)’s ~$12.2 billion. After an unsteady week, Ripple is down a slight 2.4 percent on the week, but monthly losses are much higher, at 13.6 percent. Today, fintech startup Crypto Garage announced its Bitcoin settlement system using Blockstream’s Liquid Sidechain was the first blockchain finance project to get the green light under the Japanese government’s regulatory sandbox scheme. Ripple 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap Second largest altcoin Ethereum (ETH) is down 5 percent on the day, and is trading at ~$117 to press time. Despite a strong price surge to above $130 Jan. 15, Ethereum’s protracted decline has brought it back down almost full circle, losing just under 1 percent on the week. Over the medium term, Ethereum is trading slightly higher than it was at the start of its one month chart, up 2.17 percent on the month. Ethereum 1-month price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap The remaining top twenty coins on CoinMarketCap are all in the red, with losses ranging between 2 and 8 percent. Maker (MKR), ranked 20th, is down the most — losing 8.13 percent on the day to press time. Litecoin (LTC), ranked 8th largest, is also down close to 5 percent, and Cardano (ADA), ranked 11th, is down over 4 percent on the day. Tron (TRX) is currently the only top…

This Former Bitcoin Price Support Is Now Capping Gains

This Former Bitcoin Price Support Is Now Capping Gains

Bitcoin’s (BTC) weekly gains were wiped out at the weekend at a key moving average that previously offered support. The leading cryptocurrency by market capitalization jumped to highs above $6,750 on Saturday, having weakened the immediate bearish case with a repeated defense of the psychological support level of $3,500 last week. BTC, however, failed to secure a UTC close above the 21-day MA. More importantly, rejection at that MA hurdle proved costly – BTC fell 3.8 percent to $3,470 yesterday. So, it could be argued that the MA line, which served as strong support in the two weeks leading up to Jan. 10, has now taken on the role of stiff resistance. As of writing, BTC is changing hands at $3,527 on Bitstamp, representing a 4.30 percent drop on a 24-hour basis. Meanwhile, the 21-day MA is seen at $3,732. The strong pullback from the 21-day MA indicates that the “sell on rise” mentality is still quite strong. After all, the primary trend is still bearish, as represented by the downward sloping 10-week moving average (MA). The probability of a sustained break below $3,500 remains high while BTC is held below the newfound resistance of the 21-day MA. Daily chart As seen above, BTC failed at the 21-day MA on Saturday and fell back to $3,500, reinforcing the bearish view put forward by the downward sloping 5- and 10-day exponential moving averages (EMAs) and the 14-day relative strength index (RSI) of 42.00. As a result, the probability of a drop below $3,500 has increased. That would only bolster the bearish technical setup and open the doors to December lows near $3,100. However, the bearish case would weaken if BTC secures a UTC close above the 21-month MA of $3,732. Weekly chart The long upper shadow (spread between high and close) attached to last week’s candle represents the “sell on rise” trader mentality – after a quick rise, a selloff erased the gains. The primary trend remains bearish as long as BTC is trading below the downward sloping 10-week MA. View BTC’s pullback from the 21-day MA may embolden the bears to push prices below $3,500. Acceptance below that level would expose the December low of $3,122. A convincing move above the 21-day MA of $3,732…