The price of bitcoin traded in the $13,000 to $17,000 range throughout the week beginning December 25. Rumors that South Korea was about to ban bitcoin prevented the digital currency from continuing its rally from earlier in the week. These rumors were quickly debunked. The South Korean government merely stated that digital currency investors can no longer trade anonymously and must be registered by name on exchanges. The price of bitcoin, however, did not recover from the FUD, closing in the mid $13,000’s on December 31.
The altcoin market largely went the same way as bitcoin and corrected going into year-end. The only two exceptions were ripple (XRP) and cardano (ADA). A major milestone was reached for Ripple as it surpassed Ethereum’s market capitalization; at the time of writing Ripple’s is $85 billion versus ETH’s $75 billion according to Coinmarketcap.
The altcoin ripple (XRP) was the clear winner in the altcoin market over the holiday period as it managed to rally by over 110 percent as rumors it will soon be supported by popular bitcoin exchange and wallet provider Coinbase continues to circulate; the exchange is rumored to be adding dash and monero alongside ripple. After trading near highs around $2.80, XRP-USD has since settled below $2.00.
“Japan’s Ethereum” Cardano has also managed to make substantial gains in the past seven days, leading to its digital token ADA taking the spot of the fifth largest cryptocurrency by market share.
This week’s review is compiled from contributions by Akshay Makadiya, Ogwu Osaemezu Emmanuel, Priyeshu Garg, and Rahul Nambiampurath.
John McAfee, vocal crypto supporter and influencer, halted his controversial pump and dump “Coin of the day” scheme that plagued the crypto market and suggested his Twitter account was hacked following after some extra ‘recommendations.’ McAfee, creator of the famous antivirus software by the same name, will recommend coins on a weekly basis, hence, changing from “Coin of the day” to “Coin of the Week” following continuous backlash from crypto proponents.
McAfee tweeted “Due to heavy pressure from crypto adherents, exchanges, developers and every other corner of the earth (and God himself chastised me in my dreams last night), the “Coin of the day” will become “Coin of the week” starting immediately. You can look for it every Monday morning.”
In the first of McAfee’s “Coin of the week” picks on January 1, 2018, he recommended Factom which, unsurprisingly, has seen a massive gain, jumping from above $50 to new highs around $78.
Pavel Lerner, a Russian crypto investor, programmer and business mogul was abducted in Kiev, Ukraine on December 26, 2017. According to Reuters, the managing director of EXMO cryptocurrency exchange was taken by masked men close to his office in Kiev.
According to reports, officials investigated the matter and published the plate number of the vehicle the bandits used in the operation. Such kidnapping attempts are not uncommon, but this is the first case linked to bitcoin stated Anton Geraschenko, an adviser to Interior Minister Arsen Avakov.
Japanese financial institution, Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking, is reportedly planning to launch a protection service explicitly geared towards those holding cryptocurrencies in exchanges, according to the Nikkei Asian Review on December 26, 2017.
Citing concerns of cryptocurrency exchanges being hacked or insolvent, similar to the Mt. Gox incident several years ago, the banking company will guarantee the safety of the customer’s cryptocurrency. If an exchange is compromised, Mitsubishi UFJ will compensate the user based on how much digital currency they held.
On December 27, 2017, Vitalik Buterin, the 23-year-old Russian-Canadian programmer responsible for the creation of Ethereum, admitted that the possibility of him distancing himself from the cryptocurrency is increasing by the day. Citing concerns of immaturity and the community’s failure to accept the technological and financial revolution that digital currencies have to offer Vitalik threatened to stray away unless things improved.
In response to a tweet by Amir Taaki on December 26, 2017, that called bitcoin a “failed project” because of its community, Buterin began venting his similar concerns on the matter. Agreeing with Taaki, the creator of Ethereum cautioned cryptocurrency enthusiasts that every digital currency is susceptible to the same problem of its community being solely interested in “sloshing around hundreds of billions of dollars of digital paper wealth.”
Continuing his message of frustration, Buterin expressed disappointment over the Ethereum and digital currency community being largely preoccupied with “lambo memes and immature puns about ‘sharting.’” Finally, he warned the world at large that he would leave if things did not improve. He did, however, say that he has a lot of hope that the community will be able to “steer in the right direction.”
The Vietnamese government seems to be struggling to enforce its crackdown on bitcoin transactions and activity. According to reports, many business establishments including restaurants and cafes are still accepting the digital currency for payments despite government warnings.
A recent survey conducted by Infonet outlined that at least four bitcoin ATMs (BTMs) are still functional in the country, all of them located in the city of Ho Chi Minh. Coinatmrader, a BTM tracking website, also still lists these locations.
The survey further claimed that one of these four active machines is located inside a coffee shop at the Ly Tu Trong – Cach Mang Thang Tam corner in District One. Apparently, the coffee shop staff admitted that an increasing number of customers are paying for goods using the bitcoin collected from the BTM. The activity has continued, despite the fact that the store had also placed a sign suggesting they were no longer accepting payments in bitcoin.
The lure of cryptocurrency has become too much for some students to ignore, with many pursuing cryptocurrencies as a trading and/or an investment stream. Kyle Winstanley is one such student, who went as far as to drop out of college a mere semester short of completing his bachelor’s degree in engineering – for the sole purpose of cashing in on the digital currency boom.
The 22-year-old’s decision is not without reason; however, as together with a trading partner, he has brought his initial investment from $2,200 to $15,000 between September and December 2017. Unsurprisingly, this amount was enough to convince him to put his degree aside and focus on trading cryptocurrency full-time. Additionally, his significant success earned him the full support of his parents and family members.
Although it has dropped down a few notches on his list of priorities, completing his degree is still something that he aims to do in the future.