We hope you all had a wonderful holiday and a great start to the New Year! Let’s now take a look at what’s been happening in the crypto world over the past 7 days.

Cryptocurrency Community and Adoption News

Bitcoin Donations for Australian Bushfire Crisis

Australia has been battling, what could be the biggest bushfire crisis in history, for some time now. In order to help as much as possible, and show how Bitcoin can be used for good, a Bitcoin donation address has been opened, with all donations going to the Rural Fire Services.

At the time of writing, the address has so far received 1.45254613 BTC, since January 4.

New Crypto Retail Payment System Launched

This Tuesday, SecuX, a blockchain security company, launched its crypto retail payment system at CES 2020, taking place this week in Las Vegas. According to the company, this is the “world’s first all-in-one cryptocurrency retail payment solution built with blockchain hardware wallet”.

SecuX crypto payment solution
SecuX crypto payment solution; Source: Twitter

The solution includes three components: white-label mobile app, payment terminal/module (which can operate without the internet connection), as well as a hardware wallet with a military-grade Secure Element chip.

Growth of Blockchain and Crypto-Related Startups in Israel

According to Crowdfund Insider, the number of blockchains and crypto-related startups in Israel, which is already known as a crypto-friendly country, has grown by 32% last year. Toward the end of 2018, there were 113, while in 2019, there were 150 active crypto-related companies in Israel.

Bitcoin: “A Hodler’s Asset”

According to Crypto Briefing, “Bitcoin has become a holder’s asset”. In his analysis, crypto and blockchain journalist Paul de Havilland writes, “people are buying and holding Bitcoin in ever larger numbers, suggesting that hodl culture prevails”. Nine years ago, there were 34 Bitcoin whale addresses, compared to 130 at the end of last year.

Bitcoin Network Celebrates 11th Birthday

Last Friday, the Bitcoin network celebrated 11 years. Even though most consider October 31, when Satoshi Nakamoto published the white paper, as Bitcoin’s birthday, many also see January 3 as its birthday. On this date, back in 2009, Satoshi mined the genesis block of Bitcoin (block number 0), launching the Bitcoin network.

Bitcoin: “A Good Buy in 2019”

According to recent research by SFOX, and as Decrypt reports, Bitcoin was “a good buy in 2019”. As SFOX researchers state, Bitcoin closed out the year 2019 with higher year-over-year returns than both the S&P 500 and gold. Cryptocurrency’s volatility was also pretty low at 32.05%. “These data about Bitcoin’s high returns and low volatility made BTC a compelling tool for portfolio management in 2019,” reads the report.

Bitcoin’s Energy Waste Arguments Have No Basis Compared to Legacy Financial Systems

A new report suggests that Bitcoin is being wrongly accused of being an energy hog. A study by Arca, an investment management firm, sheds some light on some of the major misconceptions about the first cryptocurrency.

As AMB Crypto reports, the author of the report writes:

“Is there a problem with Bitcoin because it needs electricity? The same argument could be made for refrigeration, which is completely reliant on electricity to keep products cool. Does that mean that refrigeration has a systemic problem?”

He also emphasizes that “Bitcoin’s 0.27% share of the entire world’s electricity expenditure equals gold’s crude oil usage for mining: 0.27%”.

Blockchain News

Chinese National Blockchain Network to Go Live in Q2 2020

As soon as this April, the Chinese government could launch the Blockchain Services Network, reports NullTX. The network aims to boost the adoption of decentralised technology, serving “as the official platform to provide distributed ledger technology to the masses”.

Tracing Coffee Beans With Blockchain

IBM is partnering with coffee makers in order to create a new blockchain-based app Thank My Farmer. The app will allow coffee drinkers to trace the coffee beans back to the original farmer, reports VentureBeat. According to the publication, “the whole idea is to bring traceability, efficiency, fairness, and communication across the coffee supply chain”.

Spanish CaixaBank Adds Blockchain Platform We. Trade to Its Service Catalogue

Last Friday, Spanish bank CaixaBank announced that it has included the blockchain-based trade platform we.trade to its list of services. As a result, according to the press release, the bank “has become one of the first European banks to grant its customers access to blockchain technology, with the goal of helping them to internationalise their business.”

Regulation News

Turkey to Start Regulating Cryptocurrency Transactions

As we already mentioned back in November, Turkish citizens are increasingly interested in cryptocurrencies. In order to accelerate the growth of the local crypto ecosystem, Turkey’s financial regulatory agency, the Capital Markets Board, plans to start regulating crypto transactions. The aim of the regulation is also to protect both local and global crypto investors, reports Cointelegraph.

Korean 4th Industrial Revolution Commission: “The Government Has to Allow Institutional Investors to Deal in Crypto Assets”

According to CoinDesk, the South Korean Presidential Committee on the Fourth Industrial Revolution (PCFIR) encouraged the government to allow the launch of cryptocurrency-related products, such as Bitcoin derivatives. The Committee believes that this would serve as “a medium- and long-term strategy for the institutionalisation of cryptocurrencies,” reports Business Korea.

“The Korean government has to gradually allow institutional investors to deal in crypto-assets and promote over the counter (OTC) desks dedicated to institutional investors’ trade,” reads the 4th Industrial Revolution Commission’s document.

Qatar Blocks Crypto Services

The Qatar Financial Centre Authority (QFC) has reportedly “banned virtual asset services” as well as “prohibited crypto-related transactions”. According to International Investment, the QFC said in a statement that the ban applies to “anything of value that acts as a substitute for currency, that can be digitally traded or transferred and can be used for payment or investment purposes”. So far, the reason for enforcing the ban is not clear.

Bad Guys

Bitcoin Scam Ad Featuring Fake Endorsement by Martin Lewis

As you already know, and we mentioned a few times, there’s no shortage of celebrity endorsements scams. This time, Bitcoin scam ad is featuring a fake endorsement by Martin Lewis, English journalist and TV presenter. The ad for the fake article, titled “Martin Lewis Lends a Hand to British Families with Revolutionary Bitcoin Home Based Opportunity”, is currently running on Instagram.

Bitcoin Market

For the past seven days, the price of Bitcoin ranged between around US$6,926 and US$8,362.

Bitcoin price Jan 2 - Jan 9 Coincheckup
Bitcoin price January 2 – 9; Source: CoinCheckup

Bitcoin’s start to the year was not too explosive at first, with the price below US$7,000 last Thursday. However, on January 3, after a US drone strike killed senior Iranian military leader Qasem Soleimani, the cryptocurrency bounced back from under $7,000. The price then further jumped over 6% within hours of the attack, reports Decrypt. Although some claim that the price jump has nothing to do with the Middle East crisis, the Bitcoin price skyrocketed again to over $8,400, after Iran responded by attacking US bases in Iraq on Tuesday evening UTC time.

We closed the day, January 8 AEST time, at a price of around US$8,331 (~ AU$12,160 / £6,347).