Hodler’s Digest, Nov. 12–18: a Stablecoin Gets Sharia Certified, the IMF Considers Central Bank Digital Currencies
Coming every Sunday, the Hodler’s Digest will help you to track every single important news story that happened this week. The best (and worst) quotes, adoption and regulation highlights, leading coins, predictions, and much more — a week on Cointelegraph in one link.
Top Stories This Week
Swiss Crypto Firm X8 AG Receives Islamic Finance Certification for Sharia-Compliant Stablecoin
Swiss-based fintech firm X8 AG has received a certification from the Shariyah Review Bureau (SRB) for its Ethereum-based stablecoin. According to the X8 director and co-founder, the ETH-based crypto asset is backed by a basket of eight fiat currencies and gold, allowing Islamic advisors’ concerns over excessive volatility and speculation to be assuaged. The debate whether crypto can be Sharia-compliant has focused on their compatibility with the Islamic prohibition on sheer monetary speculation.
IMF’s Christine Lagarde: Central Bank Digital Currencies Could Have Legitimate “Role”
The head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde, said this week that the international community should look into endorsing central bank issued digital currencies (CBDCs). Lagarde, despite being “not entirely convinced” of the concept of crypto more generally, stated the case for countries to issue government-backed tokens or similar assets in a speech. The comments came a day after the IMF published a dedicated report on CBDCs, examining what it views as the pros and cons of the financial tool.
Aftermath of Bitcoin Cash Fork Cause Expensive “Hash War” Between Camps
This week’s Bitcoin Cash (BCH) hard fork has led to a so-called “hash war,” resulting in mining at a hefty loss on both sides. BitMEX Research tweeted that “although the ABC SV split is entertaining, we estimate that SV miners are burning $280,000 per day mining the SV chain.” On the other side, BCH ABC miners are estimated to be making even larger losses than the SV camp. BitMEX Research estimated these numbers based on SV miners using Bitmain’s Antminer S9 machines, their ability to sell SV coins at the current spot market price ($100 at the time of the tweet), and energy consumption costs of 5 cents per/kWh.
Blockchain Protocol EOS’ Decentralization Questioned After Transactions Reversed
Blockchain protocol EOS had questions raised about its decentralization again this week as evidence emerged on Reddit that appeared to show a moderator reversing transactions which had already been confirmed. According to screenshots posted on the site, a dispute over a phished EOS account was referred to an EOS “arbitrator,” who then reversed the transactions without the owner’s permission, citing the EOS constitution for the actions.
US Man Fined $1.1 Million Over Fraudulent Bitcoin, Litecoin Schemes
U.S. citizen Joseph Kim of Phoenix, Arizona has been sentenced to 15 months in jail and fined $1.1 million for the misappropriation of Bitcoin (BTC) and Litecoin (LTC) from several people. The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has found that Kim defrauded his employer of about $601,000 worth of BTC and LTC into his own accounts in 2017. After Kim was subsequently fired, he reportedly then defrauded private investors to return the funds to his employer, luring around $545,000 worth of crypto from five individuals before losing the funds in a high risk bet.
Most Memorable Quotations
“Any time there are hard forks things tend to trade weird and strange, so I think people are trying to take some risk off the table,”— Meltem Demirors, CSO of CoinShares
“Few remember that Satoshi embedded the genesis block with a Times headline from January 2009 about U.K. banks’ bailout. In more ways than one, Bitcoin is the evil spawn of the financial crisis,” — Benoit Coeure, executive board member of the European Central Bank (ECB)
Laws and Taxes
Judge Rules in Favor of Canadian Bank in Case With Crypto Exchange 5k
A judge has ruled in favor of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) in the court case involving a $19.6 million disputed sum between the bank and Canada’s largest crypto exchange QuadrigaCX. On Oct. 8, the exchange reported it had difficulties accessing its funds since january, when CIBC froze five accounts belonging to the exchange’s payment processor, Costodian Inc., and its owner, Jose Reyes over its purported inability to identify the funds’ owners. This recent court decision hands the disputed sum into the custody of the Ontario Superior Court so the court can identify the owner of the money.
Ripple Lawyers Suggest Moving Ongoing Securities Lawsuit to Federal Court
Lawyers representing payment startup Ripple in its current securities lawsuit are attempting to move the case to a U.S. federal court, a move that one legal commentator described as “tactical brilliance.” The court records confirm the application to move the case, which would potentially allow the outcome to prove that its XRP token is not a security under U.S. law. In the filing, litigation partner Peter Morrison noted that the case meets the requirements needed for the move to take place.
Malaysian MP Asks Gov’t to Develop Crypto Regulations Before Approving Political Funding Coin
A Malaysian Member of Parliament (MP) has asked the country’s government to develop comprehensive cryptocurrency regulations before going further with the Harapan Coin (HRP) crypto project. The project claims to be the world’s first political fundraising platform, with the aim of raising money for the opposition party in Malaysia and potentially becoming an official currency. The MP said this week that it was important to have appropriate crypto regulations before they are used to finance political campaigns and initiatives.
Ohio Congressman Plans Draft Bill to Let ICOs “Sidestep” Securities Laws
Ohio Congressman Warren Davidson made clear plans this week to introduce a bill that would allow Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) to “sidestep” U.S. securities laws. The Republican congressman for the 8th district of the state of Ohio wants to propose a bill that would categorize ICOs as products, rather than securities, at both the federal and state level. The referred-to bill would reportedly “eliminate” the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) oversight of the industry.
Major Swiss SIX Stock Exchange Lists World’s First Multi-Crypto ETP
Switzerland’s main stock exchange, the SIX Swiss Exchange, announced this weekend that it would list the world’s first multi-crypto-based exchange-traded product (ETP) next week. The ETP will be backed by Swiss startup Amun AG, will be listed under index HODL, and will track the five major cryptos: BTC, XRP, ETH, BCH, and LTC. The Amun AG index will be managed by the German index unit of investment management firm VanEck. Each crypto will have a certain market share within the upcoming ETP, with Bitcoin accounting for around half of the ETP’s assets.
Microsoft Introduces Cloud-Based Azure Blockchain Development Kit
U.S. software corporation Microsoft has announced the release of a serverless blockchain-powered Azure development kit, dubbed the “Azure Blockchain Development Kit.” The kit reportedly improves the capabilities of Microsoft Azure’s Blockchain Workbench, with features like off-chain identity and data, monitoring, and messaging application programming interfaces (API) in a format that can be used to develop blockchain-based apps. The announcement also notes that the release will focus on core objectives like “connecting interfaces, integrating data and systems, and deploying smart contracts and blockchain networks.”
Bank of America Receives Patent for Storing Clients’ Crypto in Enterprise Accounts
Major U.S. bank, Bank of America, has won a patent for a system that allow enterprises to store customers’ crypto deposits. The filing outlines several different interactions between clients’ crypto holdings and an enterprise account, with one setup allowing the enterprise account to conduct transactions on the customers’ behalf, debiting and crediting the account as appropriate. The document also touches on fiat-crypto conversions, outlining a system for determining optimal exchange rates for an “essentially simultaneous” conversion.
Chinese Insurance Giant Ping An, Sanya City Gov’t Build “Smart City” With Blockchain
One of the world’s largest insurance corporations, China’s Ping An Insurance Group, has signed an agreement with the Sanya municipal government to build a “Smart City” backed by blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), big data, and cloud computing. The cooperation on financial investment and “Smart City” construction will play a role in the major strategic urban development in China.
Mergers, Acquisitions, and Partnerships
South Korean Messaging App Kakao, Stablecoin Tether Partner for Blockchain Payment System
Major South Korean Internet conglomerate and service provider Kakao Corp (which own messaging app KakaoTalk) and new stablecoin Tether have partnered to develop the latter’s blockchain-based payment system. The new agreement will apply the former’s blockchain platform tech Klatyn, of Kakao subsidiary Ground X, to a blockchain-based payment system. The cooperation plans to work on enhancing “core requirements for payment services, such as speed, stability and reliability.”
ETH-Payment Platform OmiseGo, Singapore Ride Hailing App Partner for Blockchain Tech
Ethereum-based payment platform OmiseGo and blockchain protocol Mass Vehicle Ledger (MVL) have announced that they will work together to research blockchain technology. The two companies will develop a Proof-of-Concept (PoC) to test whether the decentralized OMG Network could work for MVL’s data record-keeping system, recording data collected from TADA on the OmiseGo platform. OmiseGo and MVL will also collaborate on further technical and research cooperation on possible blockchain applications in TADA’s services.
Electronics Firm Bosch Partners With IOTA for New IoT Data Device
Engineering and electronics manufacturing giant Bosch has partnered with IOTA, with plans to integrate its new data collection Internet of Things (IoT) device with the decentralized IOTA Data Marketplace. The new connectivity device, Bosch XDK (Cross Domain Development Kit), is “a programmable sensor device and Internet of Things prototyping platform” that also works as a sensor node solution. The device will combine sensor, data storage, and network technologies to allow users of all programming level to collect real-time data and sell it on the IOTA marketplace.
Major Spanish Telecoms Operator and IBM Partner to Manage International Call With Blockchain
Spanish telecommunications firm Telefónica has partnered with IBM in order to apply blockchain tech to managing international mobile phone call traffic. Telefónica, the seventh largest telecom company in the world by market cap, is valued at $51 billion according to Forbes. The partnership is aimed at streamlining certain Telefónica business processes, including the reliability and transparency of information registered from various network when routing international calls. The telecoms company will use the IBM Blockchain Platform to track each international call and data such as origin, destination, and duration.
German Holding Company Bitcoin Group SE Acquires 100% of Investment Bank Tremmel
Bitcoin Group SE, a German holding company, has acquired a 100 percent stake in investment bank Tremmel Wertpapierhandelsbank GmbH. Bitcoin SE operates what is reportedly the county’s only regulated crypto exchange, Bitcoin Deutschland AG (Bitcoin.de). With the acquisition, the crypto holding will now obtain the use of Tremmel’s banking license, allowing the company to “significantly expand” its crypto-related offerings and operate ATMs for cryptocurrencies in Germany.
Hong Kong Crypto Exchange KuCoin Raises $20 Million in Funding Round
Hong Kong-based international crypto exchange KuCoin closed a Series A funding round this week worth $20 million. The round was led by IDG Capital, Matrix Partners, and Neo Global Capital, and the exchange noted that the funds will go towards the release of KuCoin’s 2.0 platform as well as expansion into new markets.
Winners and Losers
The crypto markets have taken a hit this week, with total market cap around $185 billion, Bitcoin trading around $5,599, Ripple at $0.52, and Ethereum at $176 by press time.
The top three altcoin gainers of the week are ZeusCrowdfunding, GoHelpFund, and Coupecoin. The top three altcoin losers of the week are Etheera, Vivid Coin, and Olive.
Top three altcoin losers of the week:
For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.
FUD of the Week
“Crypto Hangover”: Nvidia’s Q3 Results Show Lack of Demand for GPU Crypto Units
American GPU manufacturer Nvidia released its third quarter earnings this week, showing a lack of demand for Nvidia’s GPU’s among crypto miners. The crypto frenzy late last year brought the prices for Nvidia gaming cards up, but with the bear market, the prices have not decreased quickly enough to attract customers waiting for more affordable cards, according to the Nvidia founder and CEO Jensen Huang. Huan told Reuters that the “crypto hangover lasted longer than we expected.”
Analysis: Bear Market, Declining Hashrates Makes Mining ETH Not Profitable
A report from U.S.-based global trading and tech firm Susquehanna has found that mining Ethereum (ETH) using a graphics processing unit (GPU) is no longer profitable. The analysis shows that profit per month for ETH miners using GPU rigs is now $0 as of Nov. 1, as opposed to the $150 per month in July 2017. Susquehanna notes reasons for the decline in profit include Ethereum’s falling price, but adds that in July 2017, miners profit was $147 even as ETH traded roughly around its current price.
Official Google G Suite Twitter Account Reportedly Compromised to Promote BTC Scam
The official Twitter account of Google‘s G Suite appeared to tweet a Bitcoin (BTC) giveaway scam this week to its more than 800,000 followers. The tweet in question asked its followers to participate in a fraudulent 10,000 BTC giveaway, also announcing that Google’s G Suite now accepted crypto as a means of payment. Tech news outlet The Next Web later reported that the account was compromised through a third party marketing app that was authorized to post content on G Suite’s behalf. The scam also targeted major U.S. department retailer Target.
WSJ Report: SEC Opened Probe Into Erik Voorhees, Crypto Loans Firm Salt Over Token Sale
The Wall Street Journal reported this week that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had opened a probe in February against crypto loans company Salt Lending Holdings, which was once associated with crypto industry stalwart Erik Voorhees. The probe involves whether Salt’s 2017 $50 million token sale constituted a noncompliant securities offering and Voorhees’ potential involvement, which could break laws as he has effectively been prohibited from raising money in private markets after a SEC settlement in 2014.
US SEC Imposes “First” Civil Penalties Against Two ICOs for “Unregistered” Securities
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has levied civil penalties on two Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) this week over their failure to register their token sales. CarrierEQ Inc. (Airfox) and Paragon Coin Inc. both reached settlements with the SEC, agreeing to “return funds to harmed investors, register the[ir] tokens as securities, file periodic reports with the Commission, and pay penalties” of $250,000 each. Both of the firms conducted token sales last year following the SEC’s warning that ICOs could be considered as securities offerings.
Prediction of Tthe Week
Bloomberg Analysts Predict BTC Price Fall As Low As $1,500
Bloomberg Intelligence analysts have predicted this week that Bitcoin “has further to fall,” noting that the coin is “no longer boring.” Hedge fund founder Travis Kling told Bloomberg that he “didn’t sleep well” in response to the recent Bitcoin Cash hard fork, adding that it could affect the entire crypto market.
Best Cointelegraph Features
After the market saw several cryptocurrencies hitting new year-to-date lows, Cointelegraph looks at some of the reasons behind the $27 billion “wipeout.”
This week saw a volatile market amidst the Nov. 15 Bitcoin Cash hard fork, which divided the community into two “warring” factions: Roger Ver’s Bitcoin ABC and Craig Wright’s Bitcoin SV (Satoshi’s Vision).
In the third part of Cointelegraph’s series on Chinese cryptocurrency regulations (read part one – here, and part two – here), the article looks at the People Bank of China (PBoC)’s crypto regulatory interventions, as well as the role of China’s judiciary in cases involving crypto.