ethereum

Crypto Market Slightly Recovers, Ethereum is Losing to EOS and Tron

The beauty of a bear market are the few upward swings that give traders and investors butterflies in their stomachs.

The crypto market had a good outing after the majority of the digital assets are in the green. Bitcoin is up 1.06 percent in the last 24 hours to trade at $3,481. XRP, the second most valuable asset is leading the surge with a 10 percent spike in a similar period. The digital asset is trading at $0.31 and its market cap is slowly leaving Ethereum’s behind.

Bitcoin Cash surged 6.82 percent while Tether was the only digital asset in the top 10 list in the red. The stablecoin slumped from fifth to sixth position in a short space of time. This is mainly because the project struggles to add more value to its market cap while other digital assets can benefit from price surges.

The slight and temporary resurgence is evidenced by the market cap that has grown from $113,1 billion to $115.3 billion in 24 hours.

Nothing lasts forever in the crypto sector, but while it lasts, some will wear big smiles on their faces.

Another first in the crypto space: venture funds outnumber hedge funds amid the bear market

Bloomberg reported on Jan. 30 that despite the bear market, the number of new crypto venture funds launching has for the first time outpaced new hedge funds in the space. The publication cited data from Crypto Fund Research that suggests that 125 new crypto venture funds were launched in 2018 in comparison with 115 new crypto hedge funds in the same period.

This is a complete reversal of the state of affairs after 136 crypto hedge funds were launched in comparison with 85 venture funds in 2017. 2016 was a similar story after 36 hedge funds were launched as compared to just 16 venture firms.

According to industry leaders interviewed by Bloomberg, the general consensus is that the shift was caused by the initial coin offering (ICO) market that is on its lowest point – which suffered from heavy price decline in digital assets and regulatory crackdown.

“There’s going to be a lot of opportunity in distressed buying and even activist investing. Often you can buy below even the cash value of the company,” explained Jeff Dorman, partner and portfolio manager at Arca who argues this is the right time for venture capitalists to enter the market.

Crypto Fund Research, a consultancy firm operated by an ex-Merrill Lynch analyst previously indicated that crypto focused hedge funds suffered average losses of about 70 percent last year.

KuCoin exchange delists 7 altcoins

KuCoin, a Malaysia-based cryptocurrency exchange announced on Jan. 29 via a blog post that it has delisted seven digital assets under the Special Treatment Rule (ST). The affected altcoins are Arcblock (ABT), Aeron (ARN), DATA (DTA), IHT Real Estate Protocol (IHT), Polymath (POLY), Quantstamp (QSP), and Substratum (SUB).

According to the press statement, deposits of the seven altcoins was effectively disabled on Jan. 29 and relative trading pairs will be shut down as soon as Feb. 3.  The exchange advises its clients to cancel any pending orders of the affected projects as soon as possible.

The withdrawal of the seven altcoins will be supported until May. 3 and it goes without saying that clients have to withdraw their digital assets before the deadline.

The exchange said that it set up the Special Treatment Rules to provide a solid user experience for its clients. Only projects that are at risk of being pulled off from the exchange are placed in the ST category pending an observation period.

The exchange provided 11 reasons that could result in a project being delisted.

Is Ethereum losing its grip on the Dapps market to EOS and Justin Sun’s Tron

Ethereum has long held the crown as the king of the operating system for decentralized apps (Dapps) – and mostly due to lack of any direct competition. However, its position is under threat from EOS and Justin Sun’s Tron network that has been making waves in the last couple of months after acquiring the file-sharing platform BitTorrent.

The blockchain analyst firm Diar tabulated transaction values for the three networks and the results are not in favor of Ethereum – one of the early projects in the crypto sphere spearheaded by a young Russian-Canadian programmer who is regarded as one of the most influential people in the blockchain sector.

Comparing the three platforms, EOS accounts for 55 percent of transactions values, followed by Tron at 38 percent and Ethereum comes in at a distant third at 6 percent.

To make matters worse, Ethereum has delayed it Constantinople hard fork several times. However, this does not spell the end of Ethereum as the on-chain transaction numbers for Ether are reaching the roof.

Genesis Global Trading 2018 Q4 report indicates growth in crypto loans

One of the leading firms in digital currency trading and lending platforms Genesis Global Trading published its Digital Asset Lending Snapshot on Jan. 30 for Q4 2018. The firm enjoyed a significant growth in the fourth quarter after originating loans worth more than $500 million in digital assets to institutional clients.

In total, the firm has originated around $1.1 billion in 2018. The report shows that Bitcoin is still king while XRP lending is on the decline.

“The Genesis loan portfolio continues to be dominated by Bitcoin (BTC), with nearly 75% of the overall composition. BTC loans constituted 62% of the portfolio at the end of the third quarter of 2018. Lending in XRP declined from 18% to 9% quarter-over-quarter, and Ethereum (ETH) loans increased from 4% to 8% quarter-over-quarter,” said the announcement.

Genesis CEO Michael Moro expressed his excitement at the growth of the lending business and he believes that crypto lending business has an important role to play in shaping the future of the crypto ecosystem. He said that his company is committed to expanding globally this year.

The firm launched a fiat currency lending platform in Q4 that allows long term investors to borrow cash and use their digital assets as collateral.

New crypto project Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC) launched today

The crypto market is very young, evolving, and has a lot of potential to offer new products. Stablecoins gained ground last year amid the bear market as investors and traders tried to deal with volatility.

Now, there is a new project and it is pegged to another digital asset – who else except Bitcoin.

According to the project’s website, “Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC) is the first ERC20 token backed 1:1 with Bitcoin.”

The project claims that it brings Bitcoin’s liquidity to Ethereum and introduces Bitcoin to Ethereum contracts. A modern kind of barter exchange.

The token standardizes Bitcoin to the ERC-20 format and makes it possible to create smart contracts for Bitcoin that can be integrated with Bitcoin transfers.

“Maintaining various nodes and managing transaction types in order to support multiple currencies can be onerous. Now exchanges, wallets, and payment apps only need to handle an Ethereum node,” explained the project about its other uses.

In short, the term wants traders to benefit from bridging the liquidity gap between the two of the largest digital assets in the world.

The first stablecoin backed by the Hong Kong dollar has been launched

USD backed stablecoins dominate the market while other fiat currencies such as the British Pound (GBP), Japanese Yen, etc. watch in envy from a distance.

While it may be a long way for other fiat currencies to catch up, the Hong Kong Dollar (HKD) got a vote of confidence from Bitspark, a cryptocurrency money transfer.

Fintech News Hong Kong reported on Jan. 29 that Bitspark has launched Sparkdex.HKD, described by the firm as the world’s first stablecoin backed by the HKD.

“Until now, US Dollar stablecoins have dominated the market but there are other national currencies in the world, like the Hong Kong Dollar. We are proud to have pioneered this landmark first for both the cryptocurrency and traditional finance industry, and anticipate that this will lead the way for much-needed diversity among other currencies within the stablecoin sector,” explained George Harrap, the co-founder and CEO of Bitspark.

Sparkdex.HKD was listed on the Bitspark’s decentralized exchange (DEX) Sparkdex.

WeChat Pay and Alipay want Huobi to remove payment methods from OTC desk

WeChat and Alipay are requesting Huobi to remove their payment methods from the crypto firm’s Over-the-Counter (OTC) trading desk, local news agency Sina reported on Jan. 25.

WeChat Pay is a digital wallet service owned by WeChat, the world’s leading standalone app with around 902 million daily active users. WeChat Pay allows users to perform mobile payments. On the other hand, Alipay is a mobile and online payment service launched by Alibaba.

The two Chinese digital payments service providers have reportedly written letters to Huobi claiming that the crypto firm is in the wrong by using their services and displaying their logos on the exchange’s OTC desk.

Sina reported that both WeChat Pay and Alipay have not given Huobi the greenlight to use their services or logos.

In response on Jan. 29, Huobi claims that it did not receive any letters from the two companies and defended itself that displaying a logo is just a way of showing a payment link. The crypto exchange said that it is not in partnership with any of the two companies.

Technically, what is in store for Bitcoin in 2019?

The Unconfiscatable Conference in Las Vegas held on Jan. 24 to Jan. 26 brought together a number of blockchain and crypto experts who discussed the technology and placed a special emphasis on scalability and privacy.

At the event, Programming Blockchain instructor Jimmy Song moderated a panel that included cryptography consultant Peter Todd, Johnny Dilley, the founder of Mempool Partners, and Jan Capek, CEO of Braiins Systems.

To kickstart the discussion, Song asked the panelists what they thought were the most important technical developments for the Bitcoin network last year. It was a contest between the Lightning Network and MimbleWimble.

Dilley spoke first and voted in the corner of MimbleWimble. He said MimbleWimble is a “a pretty substantial improvement in applied cryptographic methods of obfuscated transfer.”

Capek is convinced that the Lightning Network was a very important technical development for the Bitcoin network. “Once SegWit got approved, Lightning Network was finally possible, and we saw the mainnet for Lightning Network,” he said.

If this was a contest, then Todd held the deciding vote and he swayed it in favor of the Lightning Network. He claimed that MimbleWimble is a “bit overrated” and would end up working like Bitcoin.

These kinds of debates are healthy for the industry as they point out where the industry and what it needs to do to reach the next level.

The first phase of Bitcoin – driven by hype and unrealistic returns – is gone and it is time to focus on technical developments and addressing issues such as scalability, security, and decentralization.

TokenCard and Contis partnership bring VISA debit cards to crypto users

Blockchain wallet and payment service provider TokenCard announced on Jan. 30 a partnership with payments processor Contis to issue TokenCard Visa debit cards to clients in the UK and the European Economic Area (EEA).

The debit cards allow users to convert their digital assets – Ethereum and other ERC-20 based tokens – into fiat currencies such as GBP and Euro and spend wherever Visa is accepted.

TokenCard has no access to users’ crypto holdings and the individuals have full control and ownership of their digital assets.

TokenCard CEO Mel Gelderman said, “We’re thrilled to be working with Contis and are grateful that they support our mission to realize the value of the emerging token economy – putting it into the pockets of those who are passionate about Ethereum and its potential as we are.

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