Here’s what’s been happening in the crypto world over the past 7 days.
Cryptocurrency Community and Adoption News
The Tor Project Starts Accepting BTC Donations
On November 19, the nonprofit organisation The Tor Project announced in a tweet that it now accepts Bitcoin donations. The Tor Project is the organisation behind Tor, free and open-source software for enabling anonymous communication.
— The Tor Project (@torproject) November 19, 2019
Bitcoin Increasingly Growing On Millennials
The Crypto Trends report also mentions an “explosion of stablecoins”, and acknowledges the increased number of financial institutions entering the crypto market.
There Are Now Over 6k Bitcoin ATMs in the World
As per Coin ATM Radar data, the number of Bitcoin ATM machines in the world has exceeded 6,000. For the first time ever.
The US is home to the largest number (65.4%) of machines. The Bitcoin ATMs in Canada account for 10.9% and in the UK 4.5% of all crypto ATMs in the world. Australia, with its 23 ATMs, accounts for only 0.4%.
Turkey Leads in Crypto Adoption
As Cointelegraph reports, 20% of Turkish citizens are familiar with cryptocurrency or have been in contact with it in some way. This presents “the highest proportion of all the countries in the world”.
Turkey’s crypto adoption may not be too surprising given the economic uncertainty and the volatility of the Turkish national currency lira.
Venezuelan Pensioners and Public Servants to Get Chrismas Bonus in Petro
A few days ago, the president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, again confirmed his recent announcement, that the country will pay its public servants and pensioners the “aguinaldo”, i.e. the Christmas bonus or the thirteenth salary, in the government’s cryptocurrency Petro.
National Australia Bank Partners with Blockchain Trade Finance Network Marco Polo
According to a statement by Marco Polo Network, NAB has become the network’s first Australian partner. Headquartered in London, Marco Polo is a trade and working capital finance network, providing an open enterprise software platform to banks and corporates. They also provide a blockchain-powered solution “that allows for the seamless and secure exchange of data and assets between participants”.
The US Federal Emergency Management Agency Interested in Using Blockchain
In order to “improve the speed of disaster responses and insurance claim payments”, the US FEMA is looking into using the blockchain technology. As stated in its November 2019 National Advisory Draft Report to the FEMA Administrator, emerging tech, including blockchain, is already being tested by the financial, supply chain management, as well as disaster mitigation sectors. Blockchain’s decentralised structure and the fact that a highly trusted, secure, off-site platform can store the critical information “improves resilience and recovery efforts in a disaster”.
First Blockchain-Powered Airline Tickets
This Monday, Hahn Air, a German airline company, announced that it is “the first airline that issued a real-world ticket enabled by blockchain technology” on the Winding Tree Platform. Winding Tree is the Ethereum blockchain-powered decentralised travel ecosystem. The first passengers worldwide to fly with blockchain-powered tickets on November 18 were the founder of Winding Tree, the CIO of Winding Tree, as well as the Head of Sales Engineering at Hahn Air.
However, the airline will not be commercialising the blockchain tickets just yet. “We are not at that point right now,” Jörg Troester, Hahn Air’s head of corporate strategy and government & industry affairs, told Reuters.
Nevertheless, Frederick Nowotny, Head of Sales Engineering at Hahn Air, commented that the company is constantly exploring new technologies.
South African Banks Closing Crypto Exchanges’ Accounts
South African First National Bank (FNB) has notified some crypto exchanges operating in the country, that it will be closing their accounts. According to MyBroadband, the letter sent to the exchanges states that “the bank has taken the decision to discontinue the provision of banking services to virtual currency exchanges and/or entities dealing/trading in virtual currency.” The letter further notes that “future regulatory clarity may cause us to revise our decision.”
Fortunately, this decision should not impact the crypto exchanges too much. As the general manager of Luno exchange, Marius Reitz, explained, “We do not anticipate any impact to our existing customers as we have other banking relationships in place to support deposit and withdrawals on the platform.”
The SEC Reviews Bitcoin ETF Rejection
Back in October, SEC rejected another Bitcoin ETF proposal, by Bitwise Asset Management. However, on November 18, the agency published a document stating that it will review its rejection. In addition, until December 18, anyone “may file a statement in support of, or in opposition to” the Bitwise ETF. It’s unclear what caused the commission’s review since, according to CoinDesk, Bitwise did not request it.
40% of all Bitcoin Controlled by Less Than 2000 People
Or at least, that’s what a crypto expert and commentator, Richard Heart, shared on Twitter.
— Richard Heart (@RichardHeartWin) November 19, 2019
He further explained that he used the word “controlled” instead of “owned”, since most users have more than one address. That means that it might be even fewer than 2000 people.
One of the Twitter users responded that “99% of the world[‘]s wealth is controlled by 1% of the people this is very normal so why would bitcoin be different.” Though according to some reports, the more accurate number would be 82% of wealth, instead of 99%. But you get the idea.
UK Defines Cryptoassets as Property
The UK Jurisdiction Taskforce of the Lawtech Deliver Panel published a legal statement this Monday, defining cryptoassets as “tradeable property” under English law. On the other hand, smart contracts will be “enforceable agreements”. Some believe that this legal statement will be very useful in assisting both UK digital asset customers, as well as investors.
“In legal terms, cryptoassets and smart contracts undoubtedly represent the future,” wrote Sir Geoffrey Vos, Chancellor of the High Court, in the foreword.
Singapore’s MAS Proposes Allowing and Regulating Payment Token Derivatives
Singapore’s central bank and financial regulatory authority, The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), published a paper yesterday, proposing to regulate and allow payment token derivatives, such as Bitcoin and Ether, to be listed and traded on Approved Exchanges in Singapore. The paper states that:
“The introduction of regulated Bitcoin futures in other jurisdictions has arguably instilled market discipline, and tempered exuberance and price volatility in the unregulated spot markets.”
MAS invites the general public to submit their comments on the proposal by December 20.
Konstantin Ignatov Pleads Guilty to the OneCoin Fraud
Konstantin Ignatov, the brother of the OneCoin founder Dr Ruja Ignatova, also called the “missing cryptoqueen” by BBC, has admitted his role in the OneCoin crypto fraud. Aside from pleading guilty to fraud, Ignatov also confessed to money laundering. He is facing up to 90 years in prison.
Without even a blockchain, OneCoin is not a real cryptocurrency, it is just pretending to be one. Essentially a Ponzi scheme, its price is not determined by supply and demand, but rather manipulated and set internally. Built as a multi-level marketing network, OneCoin sells “educational packages”, ranging from €110 euros to €229,250. Each package includes “promo tokens” which then serve for mining OneCoins.
What’s extremely surprising is the fact that OneCoin actually still operates, despite no one seeing Dr Ruja for two years. Their office in Bulgaria is still open, and many people are still promoting it. “In the past, OneCoin promoters have dismissed all criticism and evidence as being politically motivated or coming from ‘haters’. They may do that again,” writers journalist, Jamie Bartlett.
If you are interested in the whole story about OneCoin, there’s a great BBC podcast called The Missing Cryptoqueen, presented by Barlett.
Two US Men Arrested for Using SIM Swapping to Steal Crypto
Last Thursday, two Massachusetts men were arrested and accused of using the “SIM swapping” technique in order to hack and take over victims’ social media accounts and steal their cryptocurrency.
For the past seven days, the price of Bitcoin ranged between US$8,810 and US$8,052. Compared to last Thursday, Bitcoin price is around 7.5% down.
And while some believe that BTC price will face deeper dives, others are sure that the price could skyrocket to $50k. Furthermore, Bobby Lee is convinced that the total value of BTC will eventually surpass that of gold. As we mentioned last week, he also thinks that within the next 9 years, Bitcoin “will shoot up past USD$500,000”.
All in all, we closed the day, November 20 AEST time, at a price of US$8,067 (~ AU$11,857 / £6,272).
Those were the most important news for the past seven days. See you next Thursday!
Tamara is a marketing and PR professional, enthusiastic about crypto, blockchain and technology in general. She’s the editor at Bitcoin Australia.