The central bank is China comes out against crypto air drops, while a flood of fake Elon Musks take Twitter promising crypto giveaways.
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
Elon Musk Impersonators Flood Twitter With Fake Crypto Giveaways
Although impersonators on Twitter pretending to be famous celebrities offering crypto giveaways are many, this week saw an influx of these crypto pretenders posing as Tesla CEO Elon Musk. After compromising verified accounts with the blue check mark, scammers would change the name and picture to appear to be Musk, asking in comment threads for people to send them small amounts of crypto in exchange for more crypto sent back in a fake “giveaway.” According to news reports, one fake Musk account received around $170,000.
China’s Central Bank Scrutinizes Crypto Airdrops, Questions Their Legality
The People’s Bank of China (PBoC), the country’s central bank, has begun to scrutinize crypto airdrops, which is refers to as “disguised” Initial Coin Offerings (ICO). This week’s report from the bank notes that the entity is strictly anti-ICO and crypto trading, noting the high risks of financial fraud and pyramid schemes. The report notes that “airdrops” are potentially evading the regulation concerning the public token sale model, adding that they capitalize on speculation in the market to drive their own profits.
Star Trek’s William Shatner Tweets Thumbs up in Support of Vitalik Buterin
William Shatner, the former Captain Kirk on popular American television show Star Trek, tweeted a thumbs up at Ethereum (ETH) co-founder Vitalik Buterin this week. The celebrity’s tweet led to backlash from crypto Twitter trolls that criticized the Ethereum network’s supposed centralization, leading Shatner to quote ERC standards in response. The 87-year-old Shatner then received kudos from other crypto Twitter participants for his seemingly in-depth knowledge of the network.
Apple Apparently Briefly Removes Crypto Podcast Reportedly Ranked #4 in Investing
The podcast “Off the Chain,” hosted by Morgan Creek Digital partner and crypto analyst Anthony “Pomp” Pompliano has apparently been removed from the U.S. iTunes store this week. According to a tweet from Pompliano, the podcast was ranked 4th in the “investing” category before it was “mysteriously” taken down. The episode, which contained an interview with “Bitcoin Maximalist” Murad Mahmudov about the current worldwide monetary system, is available by press time.
Joseph Lubin Thinks Blockchain Will Take “A Little Longer” to Develop Than the Internet
In an interview this week, Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin said that blockchain will “probably take a little longer” to develop than the Internet, because it is “much more complicated. Lubin, who is also the creator of ConsenSys, noted that blockchain is developing similar to the web, due to its exponential growth and the “hundred of projects” to date. Lubin also said that DLT will be able to “permeate society more than the Internet” and make way for Web3.0.
Most Memorable Quotations
“His viewpoints don’t take into account the fact that the code has to be audited by an auditing firm and approved by consortium or it doesn’t get accepted. He thinks it exists in a bubble.
That’s why we have ERC-20, ERC-721… ERC-1701”— William Shatner (Captain Kirk), defending the Ethereum network’s decentralization
“We are NOT tolerant. We will not capitulate. We will not surrender. We will not negotiate. We will not end,” — Craig Wright, speaking about his own Bitcoin Cash (BCH) faction before the upcoming hard fork
Laws and Taxes
Thai Revenue Department Plans to Use Blockchain to Track Tax Payments
Thailand’s Revenue Department is planning to track payments using blockchain and machine learning, utilizing the tech to verify the validity of taxes paid as well as increasing the speed of the tax refund process. The machine learning use will help to expose tax fraud and support more transparency, as a digital tax collection system based on modern technologies is a stated goal of Thailand’s government.
French Parliament Finance Committee Adopts Amendments to Crypto Tax Bill
The Finance Committee of the lower house of France’s parliament has adopted regulations this week that would ease taxes on cryptocurrency sales. The Finance Committee of the National Assembly has submitted a draft of the government finance bill for 2019, specifying that the tax on crypto sales will be equal to capital income tax. If the amendments to the budget are accepted in the hearings scheduled for next week, the rate will be reduced from 36.2 percent to 30 percent starting Jan. 1, 2019.
US Judge Ends Freeze on Charlie Shrem’s Assets Amidst Winklevoss Lawsuit
A U.S. judge has ruled this week to end the freeze on Charlie Shrem’s assets in a lawsuit brought against him by the Winklevoss twins. The twins alleged in their lawsuit that Shrem took part of their $250,000 investment in his now-defunct exchange BitInstant to buy 5,000 Bitcoins (BTC). Shrem’s lawyer has said that his client is innocent, and that the claims have “no basis in fact or law.” According to the Winklevoss’ lawyers, the freeze should continue as Shrem possess $12 million in crypto, real estate holdings, and other assets. However, at present time only $10 in assets have been identified.
Thailand’s Securities Regulator Promises to Certify One ICO Portal in November
The general secretary of the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said this week that “at least one” ICO “portal” will be able to operate legally in the country in November. Rapee Sucharitakul said that they “might” starting approving ICO offerings in December, noting that five such “operators” are currently under consideration by the Finance Ministry. Thailand’s legislation requires that the Thai SEC vet crypto entities like ICOs, exchanges, and “digital asset operators” who wish to operate in Thailand.
Wallet Provider Blockchain.Com to Airdrop $125 Mln in XLM After Adding Stellar Support
Crypto wallet provider Blockchain.com will now support altcoin Stellar (XLM), accompanied by an airdrop of $125 in XLM to its user base. The provider noted that the large airdrop is a “great way to drive decentralization and adoption for new networks,” noting that crypto airdrops allow consumers to “test, trade, and transact” newer crypto assets without need to mine or invest in them first. The choice to add support for Stellar was driven by the scalability of the token’s network, as well as its ability to create custom tokens that represent “real-world or virtual goods and services.”
Decentralized Network Bancor Partners With EOS for Cross-Blockchain Trading With ETH
Decentralized liquidity network Bancor said this week that it had partnered with EOS in order to allow for cross-blockchain swaps between Ethereum and EOS-based tokens. Bancor has now expanded to the EOS blockchain, using its DApp BancorX for the conversation. Bancor noted that the cross-blockchain DApp was built in collaboration with LiquidEOS, Bancor’s EOS “Block Producer.” According to the press release, this conversion DApp paves the way for “vastly more blockchain” to be included in cross-blockchain trading.
Trading Platform eToro Releases Crypto Wallet Supporting Bitcoin, Three Altcoins
Global crypto and fiat trading platform eToro has released its own cryptocurrency wallet this week with support for Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin. The platform noted that they plan to add a “whole host of additional functionality” including additional crypto and fiat tokens, crypto-to-crypto conversion, and fiat deposits. eToro currently supports 14 total cryptocurrencies on its platform and has more than 10 million registered users.
Major Crypto Wallet Coinbase Launches Support for Basic Attention Token
Crypto exchange and wallet Coinbase announced this week that it would add support for a rollout of full trading of the Basic Attention Token (BAT) for its Android and iOS apps. As per the announcement, Coinbase customers can now buy, sell, send, receive, and store BAT on the platform, except for initially those residents of New York. Last week, Coinbase had noted the addition of inbound transfers of BAT to Coinbase Pro, specifying that the token would undergo four listing stages until it reached full access.
Mergers, Acquisitions, and Partnerships
Port of Valencia Integrates Maersk and IBM’s Blockchain Shipping Platform
The Port Authority of Valencia, Spain, has joined IBM and Maersk’s blockchain ecosystem, the TradeLens platform, which aims to apply blockchain tech to global supply chains. According to the announcement, the port has integrated into the platform as “Early Adopters,” meaning that the port will be a part of the platform’s early development. There are currently more than 20 participants in the TradeLens ecosystem, which has already reportedly processed 154 million “data-sending events.”
Deloitte Partners With Identity Management Startup for Digital ID System
“Big Four” accounting firm Deloitte has partnered with identity management firm Attest Inc. in order to create a blockchain-based digital identity system. The Chicago-based Attest offers a shared identity platform that allows its clients to conduct transactions, including its governmental customers, which can provide identity services to citizens. The partnership plans to develop a digital identity offering for government-compliant identifiers to be used for existing products, including a cryptographically secured identity storage wallet.
South Korea’s Bithumb Partners With E-Commerce Giant Qoo10 for Crypto Payments
South Korea’s leading virtual currency exchange Bithumb announced a partnership this week with Asian e-commerce fim Qoo10 to create a cryptocurrency payment service. Qoo10, which covers Asian markets including Singapore, Hong Kong, China, and Indonesia, will work with the Bithumb Cache system to purchase products through Qoo10. The two companies will use both the Qoo10 settlement service and the cache system, which is a password settlement service that allows Bithumb customers to convert their funds for use in payments with their password.
Nine Major Shipper Operators Launch Blockchain-Based Global Business Network
Nine major terminal operators and shipping companies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop an open digital platform based on DLT. The MoU is aimed at forming a consortium of shipping operators to develop the Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN), noting that the software solution will be provided by Hong Kong-based shipping and logistics firm CargotSmart. The new alliance includes such shipping giants as PSA International, a Singapore-based company and one of the world's largest port operators, and Shanghai International Port Group, leading operator of ports in China.
Major Mining Provider Bitfury Raises $80 Million in Closed Funding Round
Bitcoin mining infrastructure provider Bitfury raised $80 million this week in a closed funding round led by European venture capital fund Korelya Capital. Other participants in the funding round included South Korean Internet giant Naver Group, Asian institutions Macquarie Capital and Dentsu Japan, and Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital. The funding round comes several weeks after rumors circled that Bitfury was considering an IPO.
Winners and Losers
The crypto markets are seeing mixed signals, with Bitcoin trading for around $6,404.13 and Ethereum at $211 by press time. Total market cap is around $212 billion.
The top three altcoin gainers of the week are Traco, Pedit, and the Internet of Things. The top three altcoin losers of the week are Simmitri, empowr coin, and OBXcoin.
For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.
FUD of the Week
Turkish Police Arrest 11 in Reported Hack of Crypto Wallet Accounts
The Cybercrime Department of the Turkish National Police arrested 11 suspects this week while investing the alleged hack of crypto accounts, with victims reporting more than $80,000 in losses. 14 individuals so far have reported crypto wallet hacks to local prosecution authorities, noting that their Bitcoin had been transferred to other wallets. Police have since seized two fake identity cards, as well as a number of devices allegedly used in the hacks such as 18 mobile phones and SIM cards, 22 memory sticks, from the hackers. The investigation notes that it found the suspects by tracking new SIM cards registered to exchanges by the hackers.
Texas Regulator Issues Emergency Cease and Desist to Australian Cloud Mining Company
The Texas State Securities Board has issued an emergency cease and desist order this week to Australian cloud mining firm AWS Mining PTY LTD for selling unregistered securities. AWS Mining, along with many of its employees, are charged with violating the Texas Securities Acts by convincing Texas residents to purchase AWS’ unregistered cloud mining power contracts promising a “200 percent passive return on every investment.” The cease and desist notes that AWS did not follow through on its promised profits to investors, as well as failed to register as a securities broker-dealer.
Swiss Financial Regulator Recommends Banks to Set Crypto Risk Coverage at 800%
The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) said in a report this week that banks and other financial institutions could calculate risk coverage for cryptocurrencies at 800 percent of their current market value. The confidential letter, seen by a local Swiss news outlet, noted that the recommendation for a flat risk weight at 800 percent are to "to cover market and credit risks, regardless of whether the positions are held in the banking or trading book.” The news outlet reports that 800 percent is at the upper end of the range, meaning that FINMA sees crypto as a volatile asset.
US SEC Charges EtherDelta Founder With Operating Unregistered Securities Exchange
Zachary Coburn, the founder of crypto token trading platform EtherDelta, has been charged by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with operating an unregistered securities exchange. EtherDelta has operated as a secondary marketplace for trading ERC20 tokens, letting users buy and sell digital assets using an order book and smart contracts on the ETH blockchain and placing a total of more than 3.6 million orders (some involving those considered securities) over an 18-month operating period. Coburn neither denied nor admitted the findings, but agreed to pay $300,00 in unlawful profits, as well as $13,000 in prejudgement interest and a $75,000 penalty.
Chinese Mining Giant Bitmain Sues Unknown Hacker for $5.5 Million Crypto Theft
China-based BTC mining firm Bitmain has sued an anonymous hacker for the reported theft of crypto work about $5.5 million from Bitmain’s account on Binance this April. As stated in the U.S. court documents, the “John Doe” hacker used stored Bitcoin after taking over Bitmain’s Binance account to manipulate the price of altcoin Decentraland (MANA) and then abscond with the profits. Bitmain notes that the hacker was able to steal $5.5 million in digital assets, including about 617 BTC. The documents also note that the hacker carried out transactions between BTC and MANA from Bitmain’s wallet and their own, completing the theft by transferring BTC from their Bitmain account into a digital wallet on Bittrex.
Prediction of the Week
Tim Draper Maintains Bitcoin Prediction of $250,000 by 2020
Venture capital investor Tim Draper said this week that he still believes that Bitcoin will experience 40 times returns and reach $250,000 by 2022. Although his initial prediction was for the coin to hit this price point in April of this year, Draper said that the industry merely needs to make it so that “Bitcoin could be used to buy Starbucks coffee” and the world will “open up.” Draper also added that he didn’t trust “political currencies” that are “determined by some weird political party,” adding that he sees a future with blockchain and smart contracts taking on a more prevalent role in states.
Best Cointelegraph Features
Morgan Stanley Report Shows Strong Institutional Investment for Bitcoin
At the end of October, multinational investment bank and financial services firm Morgan Stanley released a report on how Bitcoin has been a new “institutional investment class” since 2018. The report, which shows a relatively bullish outlook for 2018, brings attention to the stablecoin phenomenon, noting that not all stablecoins active currently will survive.
The SEC Stops Accepting Public Comments on Bitcoin ETFs, Takes Time to Make Decision
Last week, the cryptoverse buzzed with misinformation that the U.S. SEC was finally going to make a decision about Bitcoin ETFs. However, last week’s deadline concerned a close to the acceptance of public comments, leaving the SEC to now make their decision on the nine BTC ETFs on their own. Cointelegraph delves into the possibilities for the SEC’s decision, as well as looks into the root of where this deadline confusion came from.
Blockchain Advocates Storm Governors’ Mansions and Retain House Seats in US Midterm Elections
The U.S. saw midterm elections that week that led to the Democratic Party taking back the House, leaving the Republicans still in control of the Senate. Amidst the party lines, the governorships in both California and Colorado were won by crypto- and blockchain-friendly candidates Gavin Newsom and Jared Polis respectively. Beyond his strong blockchain policy push in his state, Polis (also the first openly gay elected governor), co-founded and co-chaired the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, a bipartisan group of Members of Congress. Electorally, the Caucus has done exceptionally well in the midterms: both of the co-chairs and 10 out of 12 regular members who stood for reelection retained their seats.