Crypto Market Pumps $15 Billion and Bitcoin Gains 11 Percent in the Month of Love

February, or the month of love, has come to an end after showing some bit of love to the cryptocurrency market.

The entire cryptocurrency added more than $15 billion after the market cap rose from $114 billion on Feb. 1 to $129.9 billion on Feb. 28. The price of Bitcoin spiked from $3,481.81 at the beginning of the month to its current price of $3,851, signaling gains of 11 percent.

The price of Bitcoin reached a high of $4,199 during the month but the gains were later reversed and dipped below $4,000.

Apart from the price swings, the market welcomed some good news pertaining to regulation and institutional entry into the sector. JP Morgan Chase launched its own cryptocurrency.

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commissioner Hester Peirce, also known as Crypto Mom in the crypto segment admitted that the regulatory agency is fleeing away from the crypto market.

“We rightfully fault investors for jumping blindly at anything labeled crypto, but at times we seem to be equally impulsive in running away from anything labeled crypto,” she said while delivering a speech at University of Missouri School of Law.

Facebook negotiating with cryptocurrency exchanges to list its token

Social media giant Facebook takes its blockchain and cryptocurrency ambitions seriously. Facebook has been very secretive about its blockchain project that even some of the firm’s employees have no idea what the blockchain team is working on.

The internet giant has more than 50 engineers working on the project, reported The New York Times on Feb. 28.

Facebook employees have been informing exchanges that they are planning to have a working product in the first half of this year.

The biggest question that Facebook has to address is how much control it will retain on the coin.

If the company wants to have total control over the coin and transactions, there may be no need for Facebook to use blockchain technology but can turn to centralized systems like PayPal.

Ripple denies claims of paying Coinbase for XRP listing

There has been a series of accusations that Ripple paid Coinbase to have XRP listed on America’s leading cryptocurrency exchange.

Ripple has fought back through Miguel Vias, the head of XRP markets who has strongly refuted these accusations, stating that the listing was an independent decision made by Coinbase.

“We’re happy to go on the record. Coinbase’s listing of XRP (also, not “our token”) was Coinbase’s independent decision – we did not give them anything to make it happen,” tweeted Vias.

Accusations have previously surfaced that Ripple has been trying to pay Coinbase to have its token listed on the exchange.

Bloomberg reported in April last year that Ripple had a problem of not being listed on two of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges in the United States – Coinbase and Gemini – and was prepared to go the extra mile to remedy the situation.

Some analysts believed that Coinbase’s reluctance to list XRP stemmed from the possibility that the token is a security. In such circumstances, the token and the platforms that list it are subject to federal laws that govern securities.

Coinbase officially listed XRP on its platform on Feb. 26 and ended the speculation on when the exchange would list the token, which is now the third largest by market cap.

NICE Actimize selected by Circle to implement market surveillance for digital assets

NICE Actimize, a startup that develops solutions against financial crime announced that it has been selected by crypto payment company Circle to implement market surveillance and protection strategy for the latter.

Backed by Goldman Sachs, Circle is a powerhouse in the crypto industry. The firm acquired Poloniex cryptocurrency exchange last year in a deal worth around $400 million. Circle also partnered with Coinbase to launch the stablecoin USDC.

Through this partnership, NICE Actimize’s cloud markets solutions will be used to guard against market manipulation across its exchange that handles more $3 billion in trading volume per month. The market surveillance solutions to be implemented shield the exchange from crimes such as pump and dump, layering, and insider trading.

“As a leading crypto finance company, it was important that we work with a leading financial crime solutions provider like NICE Actimize which provides industry-leading solutions for a rapidly changing financial crime, risk, and compliance landscape,” said Circe head regulatory counsel and chief compliance officer Robert Bench.

“Adapting innovative technology solutions, such as the financial markets compliance solutions from NICE Actimize, to meeting the potential needs of regulators and protecting our assets brings this commitment full circle,” added Bench.

Unconfirmed: Singapore wealth fund invested in Coinbase in 2018

Singapore’s wealth fund GIC Pte is one of the investors that helped Coinbase to raise $300 million in 2018, reported Bloomberg on Feb. 28.

Coinbase did not mention that it received any from Singapore’s sovereign fund but mentioned firms such as Tiger Global Management, Andreessen Horowitz, and Wellington Management as the participants of the funding round.

The participation of GIC has not yet been disclosed. Both parties – Coinbase and GIS – have not commented on the matter.

GIC is a force to reckon with as it has more than $100 billion of assets in more than 40 countries and its investments range from government bonds to private equity.

The funding left Coinbase at a valuation of $8 billion, making it one of the most valuable crypto firms.

The sovereign fund joins a host of other large sophisticated investors such as Yale University that have made a bet in the crypto sector.

This is a significant and positive step for the crypto industry especially given that all this has happened during the bear market.

Both private institutions and governments are pouring money into the crypto sector.

Finance guru Ric Edelman establishes blockchain and crypto council

Ric Edelman, a legendary Wall Street adviser who crossed over to the crypto camp has launched The Advisor Blockchain and Cryptoasset Council (ABCC) “to advance the RIA community’s awareness, knowledge, and understanding of blockchain and cryptoassets.”

“Our goal is to help financial advisors give their clients advice about these disruptive technologies. Through ABCC, financial advisors can learn about blockchain and cryptoassets, and be introduced to innovators that offer products and services in this field that are of value to RIAs and their clients,” said Edelman.

Edelman formed the council after realizing that financial advisors lack understanding and knowledge in the crypto space. ABCC has partnered with Barron’s to host a one-and-a-half-day event on March 19 -20 in Salt Lake City.

The event will be attended by some representatives from some of the crypto industry’s prominent firms such as Pantera Capital, BitGo, Morgan Creek Digital Assets, Fidelity Investments, Gemini, etc.

In an interview with CNBC in the last quarter of last year, Edelman was bullish on the overall crypto industry and claimed that a Bitcoin ETF is inevitable.

Cryptopia to re-open in March in read-only mode

Hacked New Zealand cryptocurrency Cryptopia has stated that it intends to resume its services on March 4 in read-only mode.

“Update: We are aiming to have the Cryptopia site re-opened as read-only by Monday,” tweeted the exchange on Feb. 28.

This means that when the exchange re-opens, users will only be able to see but not touch their funds if they still have any.

The exchange lost nearly 10 percent (nearly $23 million) of its crypto holdings although a large of the stolen assets are still unmoved from the tainted wallets.

Some believe that the hack was an inside job because thousands of private wallets were drained during the breach. This is considered to be very difficult to pull off.

Other than the “inside job” theory, the blockchain analytics firm Elementus the other possible explanation is that the exchange lost control of numerous private keys.

The matter was reported to the authorities who have now given the exchange the green light to resume operations.

The re-opening of the site will likely be a sad moment for some of its clients as they will know the extent of the damage done to their crypto holdings.

Mobile payments firm Square sold Bitcoin worth $52 million in Q4 2018

Mobile payment startup Square revealed in its annual earnings report that it sold Bitcoin worth $166 in the whole of last year, and $52 million came from Q4 sales.

The firm’s fourth earnings outperformed estimates by analysts. The earnings report further revealed that the firm netted a profit of nearly $1.7 million in trading Bitcoin last year.

The cash app had more than 15 million active monthly users.

The firm’s CEO, Jack Dorsey, who is also the CEO of Twitter, said that the quarterly purchases of Bitcoin grew 22 percent in Q4 from Q3. Dorsey highlighted that the company wants to give its users quality services.

“Bitcoin for us is not stopping at buying and selling, we do believe this is a transformation technology for our industry and gives people more access to the financial system, so we are going to have a learning mindset and ensure we are learning and leading the industry from here,” said Dorsey in an earnings call.

Dorsey is an avid supporter of Bitcoin and hopes that the digital asset will one day become the native currency of the internet.

Pantera, Huobi Capital participate in ThunderCore’s $50 million-financing round

ThunderCore, a leading technology firm specializing in decentralized solutions announced on Feb. 28 that it has successfully secured $50 million in funding.

ThunderCore is developing an optimized protocol that supports swift and scalable blockchain transactions on its platform.

The firm secured the funding from American and Asian investors including Arrington XRP Capital, Electric Capital, FBG, Hashed, Huobi Capital, Kinetic, Pantera, SV Angel, and ZhenFund.

ThunderCore’s platform provides a practical and elegant solution to improving blockchain which has so far been struggling with scalability.

Michael Arington, TechCrunch founder and partner at Arrington XRP Capital said the success of the firm depends on its focus on improving blockchain scalability.

“ThunderCore is well-positioned for long-term prosperity due to its sustained focus on scalability and its profound, mutually-beneficial relationship with developers. We’re thrilled to be on board as the ThunderCore vision and solution leads the industry into the future,” said Arrington.

Equity analyst argues that Bitcoin poses a threat to traditional payment firms

A financial professional who has spent more than two decades in the financial sector argues that financial products developed by crypto companies such as Ripple pose a big threat to traditional cross-border payment methods.

In a note to her clients, Lisa Ellis, senior equity analyst and partner at MoffettNathanson LLC, said the crypto industry needs to be watched closely as transactions involving digital assets may become more prevalent.

She further claimed that there is a large number of developers working to improve blockchain technology and its use cases.

She said that cryptocurrencies are increasingly adopted in countries with high levels of inflation.

“Cryptocurrency systems (e.g., Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple) are potentially disruptive to private payment systems. Their core design characteristics –- which are aimed at enabling ‘freedom of money’ — are in direct contrast to the characteristics of most traditional, private payment systems,” she said.

U.S. financial giant JP Morgan Chase recently unveiled its own cryptocurrency to be used for corporate payments. The financial institution’s CEO recently said the cryptocurrency may potentially be used by consumers in the future.

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