2019 Crypto Year Gets into Full Swing with a Glimmer of Hope and In-fighting

2018, one of the most pivotal years in the young history of cryptocurrencies is gone, but some of its developments are likely to shape how this year goes down. The announcement of Intercontinental Exchange’s Bakkt project was a monumental feat that brought excitement in the industry although its platform’s launch has been delayed several times amid a pending approval from the U.S. Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). However, the firm secured $182.5 million in its first round from several notable investors, marking the beginning of good things in 2019.

Bitcoin’s price started the year in the $3,700 region but is currently trading above $3,800 in the second day of the year which has seen the majority of digital assets in the green. Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin SV are up 7.28 percent and 6.1 percent respectively in the last 24 hours while Ether and Litecoin are both up more than 5 percent.

In the top 100 list, DEX is leading the pack with 25.56 percent surge. The entire market is worth $129.894 billion after adding around $4.8 billion since the beginning of the year.

Wall Street money will revive crypto starting today, says John Sarson

There is a belief that institutional investors will play a crucial role in leading the next bull run although only a few people can explicitly state when that will happen.

John Sarson, the managing partner at the cryptocurrency investment firm Sarson Funds claims that starting today (Jan. 2), stockpiled Wall Street money will begin flowing in the crypto sector.

“BREAKING: Jan 2 – Buy Before Bitcoin’s Big Day. Institutional money stockpiled in Nov & Dec – we know, we tracked it. On Wednesday, Wall Street [money] will finally start priming the Bitcoin rally,” tweeted Sarson Fund.

In a blog post, Sarson claimed that “banks will reopen and hedge funds holding on to new deposits will be clear to wire deposits to cryptocurrency exchanges. We expect it to be more than enough buying power to cause a massive surge in [digital asset] prices.” He expects this development to intensify throughout the week as money managers start looking for Bitcoin.

Sarson recommends investors who can to take cryptocurrency positions before “this flurry of purchases leaves the slow-moving with higher prices to pay.”

There are 900 cryptocurrency hedge funds in the world and approximately 650 of them are in the U.S. Sarson said the majority of hedge funds agree that institutional and high net prospects are moving their money into cryptocurrency as a result of Bitcoin’s 83 percent sell-off that triggered renewed investment interest.

Bakkt secures $182 million in its first round of funding from notable investors

Bakkt, the crypto project of Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the operator of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) announced via a blog post on Dec. 31, 2018, that it secured $182.5 million from 12 notable investors and partners.

Boston Consulting Group, CMT Digital, Eagle Seven, Galaxy Digital, Goldfinch Partners, Alan Howard, Horizons Ventures, Intercontinental Exchange, Microsoft’s venture capital arm, M12, Pantera Capital, PayU, the fintech arm of Naspers, and Protocol Ventures participated in the round of funding.

The heavily-backed startup announced in August last year its intention to gatecrash the crypto sector by creating a Bitcoin futures trading platform.

Kelly Loeffler, the CEO of Bakkt and ICE’s long-time communications and marketing executive said 2018 was an important year for the crypto sector although some of the key achievements were overshadowed by Bitcoin’s tumbling price.

“Notably, 2018 was the most active year for crypto in its brief ten-year history. This was evidenced by rising investment in distributed ledger technology and digital assets, as well as by blockchain network metrics such as daily bitcoin transaction value and active addresses,” said Loeffler. “Yet, these milestones tend to be overshadowed by the more narrow focus on bitcoin’s price, which has been seen by some, as a proxy for the potential of the technology.”

In a separate notice, Bakkt said that its previous targeted launch date of Jan. 24 is unlikely possible, “but will be amended pursuant to the CFTC’s process and timeline.” As a result, the startup expects a new updated launch timeline in early 2019.

The ICE confirmed to The Block the addition of new Bakkt team members. Balaji Devarasetty was appointed the head of technology, Jide Laoye the technical product manager, and Peter Lee the product engineering director.

On the whole, crypto is way up – says Jed McCaleb, the creator of Stellar network

There are many ways of seeing and interpreting the events of 2018. While most people are of the view that 2018 saw the collapse of digital assets as evidenced by falling prices, players who have been in the industry will tell you that market prices do not tell the whole story – they are just one snapshot out of a long movie clip.

Speaking to Yahoo Finance via telephone, Jed McCaleb, the creator of Stellar refused to say that the crypto market is down or call it a bear market.

“It’s funny when people say crypto is down. In my view, it’s still way-way up. It’s down from the peak, but on the whole, it’s way-way up. We don’t focus on the price that much, it doesn’t matter to us too much,” said McCaleb.

He also mentioned that the industry is interesting at the moment and has grown much quicker than anticipated. McCaleb, who is also the creator of the infamous Mt. Gox cryptocurrency exchange and Ripple payment platform had unkind words for some blockchain projects.

“Ninety percent of these projects are B.S. I’m looking forward to that changing. Things like Tron, it’s just garbage. But people dump tons of money into it, these things that just do not technically work,” said McCaleb.

Tron responds to McCaleb’s “garbage” attack

As many would have expected and predicted, Justin Sun, the founder and leader of Tron took to Twitter to respond to McCaleb for attacking Tron and calling the blockchain protocol garbage.

“We don’t think @StellarLumens is our competitor at all since they have extremely low transaction volume, centralized, [and] non-democratic system and [zero] Dapps. TRON will take their place within 2019 anyway.” Tweeted Sun.

On Dec. 31, 2018, Sun tweeted about the success of Tron in the past year and listed the following achievements,

Main network launch
More transaction volume in comparison with Ethereum
More accts vs. EOS
1 million users in 183 days
More than 80 Dapps in 60 days
Top 10 crypto

Sun availed Tron’smajor plans for 2018 and they include developing a larger ecosystem than Ethereum, bringing BitTorrent on the blockchain, and creating the largest decentralized ecosystem in the world.

Sun said that the competition between Tron and Stellar is similar to the one between BitTorrent (the world’s largest file-sharing system acquired by Tron in 2017) and eDonkey – a defunct peer-to-peer file sharing application created by Jed McCaleb and Sam Yagan.

BitTorrent: The OG in P2P, 1B+ users, bringing P2P to [the] mass market. eDonkey, founded by Jed McCaleb: RIP 2002. Guess we’re doing pretty well for “garbage.”  Prediction for 2019: TRON vs Stellar.Org will have [the] same results as BitTorrent vs eDonkey,” tweeted Sun.

OpenNode turns down Roger Ver’s $1.5 million investment offer

Estonian-based Bitcoin payment startup has reportedly turned down Roger Keith Ver’s $1.5 million investment offer because his vision is not in line with the company’s vision.

“Thanks for the $1.25MM offer @rogerkver, but we’re going to have to turn it down. Our vision of a better, more open financial system is only possible with Bitcoin,” tweeted OpenNode.

OpenNode supports Lightning Network, an off-chain payment protocol that allows fast and cheap transactions on the Bitcoin network.

Ver wanted to use the investment to lure OpenNode to switch to developing off-chain payment solutions for Bitcoin Cash.

Ver, an entrepreneur who denounced his U.S. citizenship in 2014, used mathematics to claim that the world needs up to 200 years to onboard the Lightning Network while Bitcoin Cash would reduce the timeline to 50 years only.

OpenNode said that it is a Bitcoin company and plans to invest 100 percent of its resources in Bitcoin.

Ver’s offer was slammed by developers and fans of Bitcoin. Rui Gomes, a Lightning Network developer called Bitcoin Cash ‘inferior money.’

Tim Draper, an early Bitcoin investor invested $1.25 million in OpenNode in December and Ver’s offer is a direct match for Draper’s investment. However, Ver said that he doesn’t want to on Draper’s opposite side as he considers him to be a ‘smart guy.’

Mars Blockchain launches 1SG Stablecoin on two exchanges

The enterprise blockchain development group Mars blockchain announced on Jan. 1 the launch of Singaporean Dollar-pegged stablecoin 1SG on two popular exchanges – Kryptono Exchange and Exchange.

1SG is the first stablecoin tethered to the Singaporean Dollar and was officially released for trading on Jan. 1. The new stablecoin is also expected to “optimize the shortage of existing stable currencies such as USDT, TUSD, and USDC.”

“The 1SG stable currency issued by the Mars blockchain overcomes the problems of today’s virtual currency and enters the market with the advantages of open and transparent, efficient and convenient KYC / AML review process, stable value and profitability, and high liquidity. A virtual stable currency for leading global markets,” said the Mars Blockchain team.

Kryptono exchange is ranked in CoinMarketCap’s top 30 with a monthly volume in excess of $500 million. exchange is able to process millions of transactions per second.

“Mars Blockchain is thankful to have the opportunity for 1SG to be listed on Kryptono Exchange and Exchange. It is a crucial step in securing the stablecoin’s identity on the cryptocurrency market and marks 1SG’s entry into the international arena. More importantly, these partnerships would offer Mars Blockchain a stronger global network, bringing them a step closer to fulfilling its mission in bringing frictionless spending to the doorstep of 1SG users,” said the team.

There was a bubble burst – Andreas Antonopoulos

In an exclusive interview with Slate magazine, Andreas Antonopoulos said that there was a bubble burst in the crypto market in 2018.

Antonopoulos is a Greek-British Bitcoin advocate and former Chief security officer (CSO) at The eloquent Antonopoulos said that the technology continues to mature at a very rapid pace.

He highlighted that cryptocurrencies had a positive impact in emerging markets such as Turkey, Venezuela, Brazil, and Argentina where there were a cash crisis and capital controls. He added that cryptocurrencies have not yet developed enough to be useful to developed nations.

He is convinced that the best way to combat scams is education. Antonopoulos said that trying to regulate the fast-moving technology on a global scale is not effective but regulators must provide clear guidelines for those who want to make an impact in the space.

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