Crypto And Blockchain Weekly Wrap Up – 25 March 2019

The week has been more than kind to the cryptocurrency ecosystem with a climb in total market climb and a hike in token prices including Bitcoin (BTC), check out how the coins faired out and what other developments occurred this week.

After experiencing a brief dip in the middle of the week, the total market cap consistently climbed and finished off at $143.3B on Friday. Taking in the last weeks’ cap of $140.4B into account, the market steadily grew a healthy two percent this week.

Price Points this week

Initially, BTC  jumped from $4,100 to  $4,153, but after a 24-hours loss of 0.16 percent, the foremost cryptocurrency dropped and was trading at  $4,089, at the time of writing, as per CoinMarketCap. As for Ethereum, it led the pack of top ten cryptocurrencies in terms of growth and with a 2.10% gain, whereas, XRP couldn’t keep up and lost 1.67% over the last seven days.

This month, Litecoin [LTC] rode on a bull wave, however, this week it was overtaken by a surging EOS, the coin slipped against the US Dollar by 0.76 percent and was trading at $60.69, at press time. Litecoin was valued at $3.71 billion, trailing EOS by over $120 million. EOS surged 17.92%, Cardano – 20.27%, Basic Attention Token – 43.63%, 44.79%.

Blockchain Developments 

Blockchain Spending to increase drastically by 2025 – A new report titled as the “United States Blockchain Business Opportunities and Outlook Databook Series (2016-2025)” predicts that the Blockchain spending in the United States is expected to observe a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 44.5 percent by 2025 and will increase from $3.12 billion to $41 billion by 2025.

BMW, Intel, and Nielsen collaborate with Tribe –  A blockchain accelerator backed by Singapore government, Tribe has  collaborated with BMW Group Asia, Intel, and  in order to build an “inclusive” ecosystem “ready for industry 4.0.” As per the announcement by Tribe Accelerator on Friday, within the corporate partnership, the three firms will share their knowledge and subject expertise in their respective fields with Tribe’s startups. For instance,  BMW Group Asia will provide “masterclasses” and mentoring sessions over the implementation of blockchain solutions in a mass market situation.

OKEx is planning to launch a self-owned blockchain – The Malta-based Crypto exchange has been reportedly working on developing a blockchain dubbed as OKChain to provide the underlying tech for its “first” decentralized exchange, OKDEx. The company announced it plans to launch a decentralized exchange (DEX) on its own blockchain on Friday. Currently, at the “final” development stage, a test network of OKChain is expected to launch in June, as stated by the company.

Indian Coffee Farmers Can Now Fetch Better Price With Blockchain – Eka Software, an Indian digital commodity solutions provider has developed a blockchain based marketplace that will enable Coffee growers in the country to have a say in deciding the price for their beans. The said blockchain-based marketplace is basically an app for the Coffee Board via which growers can directly transact with the buyers.

Launched by Coffee Board on Thursday, the app will connect growers to buyers directly, eliminating middlemen. Commerce Secretary Anup Wadhawan from New Delhi and Executive Director of the International Coffee Organisation Jose Sette from Nairobi activated the app.

Marco Polo operated its first trade – Marco Polo a trade finance blockchain built on R3’s Corda platform completes its first two real-world transactions with two German companies: Voith, a manufacturer of machines such as turbines, generators and transmissions, and KSB SE, a supplier of pumps and valves.  Announced on Thursday, One of the transaction involved the delivery of special hydraulic couplings from Germany to China and the other includes delivery of pumps within Germany.

Börse Stuttgart collaborates with Axel Springer – Börse Stuttgart, second largest stock exchange of Germany is partnering with Axel Springer, a European digital publishing titan, and its subsidiary Finanzen.net in order to jointly launch a blockchain-powered trading venue. Reportedly this new partnership is aimed at combining investment information services and a blockchain-powered trading venue under the canopy of one platform.

Whiskey Tracking Blockchain –  Ailsa Bay, 130 -Year-Old premium scotch whiskey brand reportedly plans to release the world’s first scotch whiskey tracked with a blockchain-based system. Owned by William Grant & Sons (WG&S), Ailsa Bay has collaborated with arc-net, blockchain company in order to develop the new products and a system that will track the complete distilling and manufacturing process from the source to the store.

LVMH Plans A Blockchain That Will Track Luxury Goods – Luxury brand conglomerate LVMH which is also the owner of the iconic Louis Vuitton label is planning to launch a blockchain that will enable consumers to check out the authenticity of high-priced goods. Dubbed as AURA, the cryptographic provenance platform will initially feature Louis Vuitton and another LVMH brand Parfums Christian Dior. Expected to go live in May or June, LVMH will be adding other 60-plus luxury brands and other products from its competitors eventually.

New Tokens

Universal Protocol (UP) Alliance plans its own stablecoin – A blockchain firms consortium, Universal Protocol (UP) Alliance that includes crypto exchange Bittrex, Uphold,  university-based eco-system for blockchain Blockchain at Berkeley, blockchain startup CertiK,  open-source pay-to-surf browser Brave, and events firm Cred, plans to launch its own euro-pegged stablecoin in April.

As per the press release, dubbed the Universal Euro (UPEUR), the UP’s stablecoin will be pegged to the euro on a 1:1 basis and will reportedly enable consumers to earn up to 8 percent interest.

Cryptocurrency tokens backed by palladium – Vladimir Potanin, the Russian billionaire who is also the CEO of the Russian nickel and palladium mining and smelting company MMC Norilsk Nickel PJSC (Nornickel), plans on creating cryptocurrency tokens that are backed by palladium. Reportedly, Potanin plans on deploying cryptocurrency tokens for trading palladium via a Switzerland-based palladium fund. He also aims to launch several digital platforms.

Cryptocurrency Development 

Bitrefill incorporates digital gift cards for Airbnb reservations  –Bitrefill, a digital gift cards, and mobile phone refill provider adds an option that will enable users to make Airbnb reservations with cryptocurrency including Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Dash (DASH), Litecoin (LTC), and Dogecoin (DOGE).

As per Bitrefill’s announcement via a tweet on March 27, the said card would be a technically a voucher product, meaning that customers purchase a U.S. dollar equivalent for Airbnb with cryptocurrencies and subsequently receive a voucher code to use on the platform. The  Airbnb itself does not accept or handle the cryptocurrency.

Coinbase willing to support XLM, with giveaways –  The United States-based cryptocurrency exchange announces a giant giveaway of 1 billion Stellar Lumens (XLM) amounting to about $106 million, for the users who are willing to study the Stellar protocol. As revealed in a Coinbase blog post published on Tuesday, March 26, the move is part of Coinbase Earn, the exchange’s crypto-focused educational program. Further, the company stated that this is the “biggest yet,” program and each eligible U.S. user can gain up to $50 for using the program to study the Stellar protocol.

Yahoo – backed cryptocurrency exchange shall trade from May – Taotao, a Japan-based cryptocurrency exchange, owned by 40% owned by a subsidiary of Yahoo! Japan, plans to start trading a limited range of cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) in May. Reportedly, Taotao will initially trade BTC and ETH with margin positions available in three additional cryptocurrencies: Litecoin (LTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Ripple (XRP). Willing users can now sign up for an account and participate in a promotional giveaway scheme.

BitTorrent Will Release P2P Social Media App, BitTorrent Live in Q2 2019 – Since the time BitTorrent, a peer-to-peer (p2p) software company was acquired by Tron (TRX), the cryptocurrency community has been expecting this particular announcement. Reportedly, the peer-to-peer sharing platform has offered early access to the BitTorrent Live streaming service. The app would be a video-based social media platform purportedly similar to Snapchat and TikTok that will allow its users to create live content and connect with other people through their mobile devices.

Bitmain plans for Bitcoin Halving – The cryptocurrency mining giant reportedly hints towards releasing new mining hardware hinged on the 2020 Bitcoin (BTC) block reward halving. While the exchange has been struggling for the last six months due to the market volatility triggered redundancies and a failed public flotation, it reportedly claims that the next year’s event could reverse its fortunes. SCMP cited “a company source with knowledge of the plan.

Controversies

Justin Sun and Controversies – The founder and CEO of Tron is not new to controversies and this time around he has stirred up controversy by promising to give away a Tesla to one lucky Twitter follower who retweeted his post.

CoinMarketCap Assures That Will Alter Listing Metrics – A recent report claiming that cryptocurrency exchanges are reporting fake volumes has been stirring a storm in the ecosystem. As a result of which, a major cryptocurrency market data resource CoinMarketCap (CMC) has assured its user that it will accordingly rearrange the ranking of member exchanges.

DragonEx Reports Hack Affecting Platform and User Assets – DragonEx, a Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange notifies its users that the platform has suffered a hack, in an official announcement posted on its Telegram Channel. Described as  “attacks from hackers” the incident has resulted in the transfer and theft of both “users […] and Platform crypto assets.” As per the announcement,  the hack occurred on March 24 and was immediately detected by DragonEx.

Unscheduled Maintenance By Coinbene Leading To Hack Rumors – The vulnerability of the cryptocurrency ecosystem is such that its participants often jump to a negative conclusion, which is why, when Coinbene, a Cryptocurrency exchange announced unscheduled maintenance on Tuesday, March 26, the industry has been filled with rumors that a hack might be behind it.

Ranked 16th on CoinMarketCap by adjusted volume, Coinbene was questioned about a hack situation by a Twitter user nicknamed Crypto James, the exchange denied any such issue and clarified that the hick-ups on the platform are due to maintenance work.

Amaury Séchet quits Bitcoin Unlimited – A Leading Bitcoin Cash (BCH) developer, Amaury Séchet quits the development team of Bitcoin Unlimited, a BCH node software, citing his unhappiness with the way Bitcoin Unlimited is developed and managed as the key reason for his exit.

Regulatory Issues/developments 

US SEC Further delays ETF Approval – The tussle between the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded funds (ETF) continues as the regulatory further delays its decision over a rule change to the Securities Act. which would allow listing of Bitcoin ETF.  The decision was published in a public notice by the regulator on March 29.

Argentinian finance officials support Cryptocurrency –  Leon Li,  CEO of Huobi Group reportedly met senior Argentinian finance officials this week in order to discuss the role of blockchain and crypto in the country’s economy. As per the press release, Felix Martin Soto Argentina’s Deputy Minister of Finance claimed during the meeting in Beijing that the government should address crypto and blockchain tech as a way to promote Argentina’s financial inclusion and reduce state costs. As per him, promoting crypto industry in the country will aid in reducing its USD demand, that subsequently will contribute to stabilizing the local market and attracting global investment.

Ontario incorporates Payment Of Property Taxes With Bitcoin – The Ontario town of Innisfil, Canada is currently running a pilot blockchain program that will enable the residents to pay their property taxes with cryptocurrencies. The program was approved through voting the Innisfil Council on March 27.

Innisfil will be partnering with Coinberry Pay, a cryptocurrency payment processing project in order to allow Ontario residents to pay property taxes in Bitcoin (BTC). The cryptocurrency accepted will be converted into Canadian dollars and transfer payments to the town by Coinberry Pay.

NYDFS awards BitLicense to Tagomi Trading – Tagomi Trading LLC, a  crypto brokerage startup has earned the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) BitLicense. Notably, this is the 18th such license issued since the NYDFS finalized its controversial regulatory regime for virtual currency businesses in 2015.