Hodler’s Digest, May 14-20: Crypto Ban FUD And Blockchain Adoption Galore

Top Stories This Week

Circle Partners With Bitmain For Planned Release Of USD-Backed Stable Coin

Circle Internet Financial Ltd. has finished a $110 mln investment round with led by Chinese mining hardware manufacturer Bitmain as part of their project to create a US-dollar backed stable coin. The Circle USD Coin, which will function as an ERC-20 token on the Ethereum network, will reportedly be integrated into the Circle Pay payment app and in Circle Trade, as well as traded on the Poloniex exchange.

Microsoft’s Bing Joins Facebook, Twitter In Crypto Ad Ban

Search engine Bing will be blocking crypto-related advertisements by July 2018, citing crypto’s lack of regulation as causing too much “risk” for Bing users. The news may have led to the end of the week’s crypto market drop that brought BTC below $8,000 and ETH below $700.

https://youtu.be/yIktsZs0P9E

Bitcoin’s Network To Use 0.5% Of World’s Energy By Year’s End

The first peer-reviewed research on the amount of energy used by Bitcoin mining shows that it could end up using around 0.5% of the world’s energy by the end of 2018. The Bitcoin network already uses almost as much electricity as Ireland, and the article predicts that it could soon be using as much energy as Austria. A solution to this “big problem” is--according to the economist behind the research--the Lightning Network, but it only “may” help the situation.

China’s IT Ministry Ranks Ethereum Number One In New Crypto Rankings

China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has ranked Bitcoin 13th and Ethereum 1st out of a 28 place list of cryptocurrency rankings. According to the ranking requirements, Bitcoin is lacking in “technology” and “application,” even though it was ranked higher than the other 28 coins in “innovation.” Some Twitter commentators are confused about these classifications:

https://twitter.com/jabravo/status/997091449094246401

Amazon Partners With ETH-Based Startup For Simplified Blockchain Cloud Platforms

Amazon Web Services and ConsenSys’s blockchain startup Kaleido have partnered to offer simplified blockchain cloud platforms. Amazon’s partnership with Kaleido, which is based on the Ethereum blockchain, was described by Ethereum co-founder and ConsenSys founder as “a heavy duty, full stack way of getting the company [Amazon] into blockchain solutions.”

Quotes of the week

“As a China company, we have to be prepared,” — Bitmain co-chief executive Jihan Wu on their turn to AI.

“To create a country? It is absolutely absurd to fabricate such a story,” — Binance co-founder He Yi on the false rumors of Binance’s creation of a crypto paradisal kingdom

Laws And Taxes

EU Passes Legislation To Strengthen AML Regulations Regarding Crypto

The European Union’s new anti-money laundering legislation will specifically target the anonymity of cryptocurrencies, meaning that EU-based crypto exchanges will most likely have to follow AML guidelines such as full customer verification.

Florida County To Begin Accepting Crypto For Various Government Services

Seminole County in Florida will be accepting Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash through blockchain payments service BitPay for property taxes, driver license and ID card fees, and tags and titles starting this summer. The move to crypto reportedly comes from a desire to avoid the risks like fraud and identity theft connected with credit card usage.

Thailand Releases Long-Awaited Crypto Regulatory Framework

Thailand’s regulatory crypto framework has come into effect this week, defining cryptocurrencies as “digital assets and digital tokens,” with the Thai Finance Minister confirming a broad support of ICOs as long as they are regulated. Digital assets will now fall under the regulatory jurisdiction of the Thai Security Exchange Commission under the provisions of the new measures.

Ukraine Releases Draft Regulations For Crypto, Asks For Citizens’ Opinions

Ukraine has prepared draft legislation that will legalize cryptocurrencies, but a member of the Ukrainian parliament has posted on FB asking for citizen feedback on the regulation first. The legislation aims to build a “free and transparent” digital asset market in the country, also advocating for digital ledger technology use in the public sphere.

Adoption

European Bank Santander Runs Blockchain Investor Voting Pilot

Spain-based bank Santander has successfully used blockchain technology for investor voting, with JPMorgan and Northern Trust participating as custodian banks.

HTC To Launch First Blockchain-Powered Android Phone

Electronic corporation HTC has released plans for the “first native blockchain phone”--the HTC Exodus--which will support the Bitcoin, Ethereum, Lightning Network, and Dfinity blockchain protocols. The phone will also reportedly contain a universal crypto wallet and a “secure hardware enclave.”

World’s Fifth Largest Bank Announces Future Cryptocurrency Trial

The banking unit of Japan’s Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group--the fifth largest bank in the world--announced plans to trial its own cryptocurrency by 2019. The MUFG Coin, one of which will equal one yen, will be able to be used on an app that can convert deposits to fiat, as well as for payments in restaurants and shops.

Privately-Own Taipei Bank Releases Blockchain Payment System

Taipei Fubon Commercial Bank has deployed a blockchain-based payment system for restaurants and merchants near the National Chengchi University in a reported first for Taiwan. The blockchain payment application is run on the Ethereum network and uses the Istanbul Byzantine Fault Tolerant consensus protocol to reduce both payment times and transaction cost.

LedgerX Launches Bitcoin Savings Product Licensed by US’s CFTC

Trading and clearing platform LedgerX’s new Bitcoin savings account is licensed by the US Commodities Future Trading Commission (CFTC). The licensing means that investors can earn a fiat-based yield on their Bitcoin holdings by putting BTC into a LedgerX account, then selling a call option at a somewhat longer date with a higher strike call option.

Mergers And Acquisitions

IBM Partners With Crypto Startup To Release Environmentally-Based Tokens

IBM and crypto company Veridium Labs have partnered to tokenize carbon credits for use on Stellar’s blockchain. The aim of these now digital carbon credit tokens is to eventually reduce a company’s carbon emissions by allowing them to better track their carbon footprint through blockchain.

CME Group, Digital Asset Exchange Release Ether-Dollar Reference Rate, Index

CME Group has partnered with UK digital asset exchange Crypto Facilities in order to launch the CME CF Ether-Dollar Reference Rate and Real Time Index, providing a standardized rate and index based on order book activity from exchanges Bitstamp and Kraken.

Crypto Exchange To Open Using Nasdaq Tech For First Time

Centralized crypto exchange DX will open next month using US stock market giant Nasdaq’s technology. The exchange, referred to as a “one-stop-shop” for fiat and crypto services by its CEO, will open trading with the market’s top six cryptocurrencies but has plans to add up to 25 more.

Bermuda, Shyft Sign MOU For Blockchain Economic Development

Bermuda’s government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Shyft network, which will spend up to $10 mln on blockchain technology education and economic development in the country. The Shyft network will also collaborate on developing a crypto regulatory framework with the government.

Largest Credit Bureau In Central, Eastern Europe To Use Blockchain For Customer Data

The Polish Credit Office (BIK), the largest credit bureau in Central and Eastern Europe, has partnered with UK fintech firm Billon for blockchain use for customer data storage. BIK reportedly tracks around 140 mln credit histories, and has been working with Billion since 2017 for piloting blockchain architecture with eight Polish banks.

Winners and losers

The crypto markets have seen a slump this week, with none of the predicted rallies in the wake of the recent NYC crypto conference coming through as expected. Bitcoin is nearing $8,000, Ethereum dipped below $700, and total market cap around $382 bln at week’s close.

Top three altcoin gainers of the week:

Bitcoin Diamond (12.89 percent)

Cortex (12.33 percent)

Zilliqa (11.09 percent)

Top three altcoin losers of the week:

Huobi Token (-19.07 percent)

Binance Coin (-7.68 percent)

Popolous (-4.42 percent)

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

FUD Of The Week

Another South Korean Financial Regulator Joins Crypto Exchange Probe

South Korea’s Financial Services Commission has joined the country’s probe into crypto exchanges this week, expanding the reach of the investigation into anti-money laundering already led by the Financial Supervisory Service.

Co-founders Of Celebrity-Backed ICO Indicted For Fraud

The three co-founders of Centra Tech--the ICO backed by American boxer Floyd Mayweather and celebrity DJ Khaled--have been indicted for securities fraud, wire fraud, and two conspiracy counts.

Almost 1/5 Of ICOs Examined In Wall Street Journal Study Raise ‘Red Flags’

The Wall Street Journal released a report this week that showed that 18.6% of the 1450 examined ICOs used “deceptive or even fraudulent tactics.” The amount of money lost in total is an estimated $273 mln.

Poland Continues Anti-Crypto Online Media Campaign

Polish Financial Supervision Authority has posted a tender order online, offering about $173,000 dollars to the company which can conduct a campaign on the risks associated with cryptocurrencies. This move comes after this February’s reveal of a secretly funded YouTube video--“I LOST ALL THE MONEY?!”--about a man who loses all his money due to crypto investments and is subsequently humiliated on a date.

Prediction Of The Week

Apple Co-Founder Sees Blockchain, Crypto Reaching Full Potential In A Decade

Although Apple co-founder Steve “Woz” Wozniak has sold all of his Bitcoin (except one!) due to a self-professed anxiety about constantly watching market prices, he remains bullish on blockchain and crypto, referring to the tech this week as the “next major IT revolution that is about to happen.”

Best Features

Why Blockchain Is Hard

Bitcoin developer Jimmy Song breaks down why every company should make sure blockchain is the right tool for them first before jumping on the blockchain train--”the faster we get rid of the hype, the better off long-term we’ll all be.”

Even Snoop Dogg Got In On NYC's Blockchain Week

See how many blockchain parties Snoop Dogg managed to hit up this week.