In the past week, we were able to witness bitcoin’s continuing tally “to the moon.” The price of bitcoin rallied from $15,500 to over $19,500 as bitcoin futures trading started on the CBOE. This regulatory stamp of approval for bitcoin as an asset class has been fueling the recent rally that has seen new all-time highs almost every week for the past two months.
But it has not just been institutional investors who have been pushing up the price of bitcoin to new highs. Private investors have been buying too. In fact, the Coinbase bitcoin wallet and exchange app have moved to become the number one downloaded iOS app on the App Store, which is a testament to the exploding interest in buying bitcoin.
Bitcoin’s skyrocketing value has also led to the emergence of a very generous early bitcoin adopter who goes by the pseudonym ‘Pine.’ ‘Pine’ announced on Reddit that he or she has set up a philanthropic fund called the Pineapple Fund that will donate over $86 million worth of bitcoin to charitable causes.
To date, Pine has already donated one million dollars each to The Water Project, EFF, MAPS, SENS Research Foundation, charity:water, and Watsi, and has donated $500,000 to the BitGive Foundation as well as $50,000 to OpenBSD.
The altcoin market is also experiencing a tremendous rally as popular cryptocurrencies such as ether (ETH), ripple (XRP), litecoin (LTC), and Dash (DASH) have all reached new all-time highs as investors new to bitcoin are also increasingly diversifying into other digital currencies.
This week’s review is compiled from contributions by Gil Davis, Jamie Holmes, Nigel Dollentas, Ogwu Osaemezu Emmanuel, and Priyeshu Garg.
On December 13, a video concerning the progress regarding Casper, Ethereum’s next big update, surfaced online. The video, titled “[Updated] Ethereum PoS: Casper FFG In Depth],” talks about the current state of Ethereum, what Casper would change in Ethereum, and how it would benefit the network.
The video specifies as well as justifies Casper and its implications on the Ethereum network. Furthermore, he says that the first full implementation of Casper is “basically done,” which could see the Casper technology being deployed soon on a public testnet or in isolated sandboxes.
Also, it says a preliminary Casper testnet, or a “testnet testnet,” is on the way, and that replacing Proof of Work (PoW) entirely is the next step in the roadmap for the team to achieve.
According to CNBC, a United States citizen named Aaron Shamo was arrested in November 2016 in connection with the illegal sales of drugs containing fentanyl on the dark net. On November 3, 2016, the price of bitcoin on Bitstamp was only $727 and about $500,000 worth of the cryptocurrency was seized from the accused drug dealer. Fast forward to late 2017, at the time of writing, the bitcoin price has hit the $18,000 region, taking the value of Shamo’s confiscated bitcoin value to over $8.5 million.
Quickly following the SEC’s statement regarding ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings) and cryptocurrencies, the regulator shut down Munchee’s token sale, which raised $15 million. The company received their cease and desist from the SEC on December 11, with all $15 million being returned to their respective investors.
Munchee looks to roll out a decentralized blockchain-based food review and social platform, and while the website is operational, even already having an app downloadable for iOS devices on the App Store, any information regarding the token sale is no longer accessible from their website ‘token.muchee.io.’
While Munchee classified the MUN as a “utility” token, meaning it would be used primarily within their ecosystem and not used to fund operations, a Howey Test, a Supreme Court finding that classifies anything with an expectation of return to be an investment vehicle, led the SEC to discover Munchee was auctioning a security.
The Wall Street bank Morgan Stanley is one of those that have taken advantage of this and have just purchased an 11.4 percent stake in the company just before Overstock’s newest crypto trading endeavor going live.
In October 2017, Overstock.com announced an ICO they will be holding for the Overstock subsidiary tZERO. The goal will be to create the first regulated US trading platform for ICO tokens. The news of this ICO, hoping to raise $500 million, sent the shares of Overstock.com up even before Morgan Stanley’s interest in what the company is doing.
If the tZERO ICO is successful, it will nearly double the current record of $257 million set by Filecoin.
The US central bank, the Federal Reserve, raised the base interest rates from 1.25 to 1.5 percent on December 13, while the chairwoman, Janet Yellen, gave her last conference, referring to bitcoin as a “highly speculative asset.”
The financial media has been abuzz with stories about bitcoin’s dramatic climb into the $1000’s and then beyond $15,000 more recently. Also hitting the wires are worries about a bubble not just in cryptocurrency, but in US equities too. While Yellen said bitcoin was a “highly speculative asset” and “was not a stable store of value,” her comments on the stock markets were mild in comparison; “There’s nothing flashing red there, or possibly even orange.”
A crash in the price of bitcoin was not of too much concern for the Fed chairwoman, “Undoubtedly there are individuals who could lose a lot of money if bitcoin were to fall in price, but I really don’t see that as creating a full blown financial stability risk. I really don’t see any significant exposure of our core financial institutions to threats from bitcoin if its value were to fluctuate.”