Cryptoasset Market Corrects as Upbit Investigation and Mt. Gox Trustee Spook Investors: Week in Review May 15
The price of bitcoin corrected by 12 percent in the past week to close at $8,500 as investors were concerned about what the raid of South Korean bitcoin exchange Upbit meant for future bitcoin regulations in the leading bitcoin economy.
On May 10, 2018, South Korean law enforcement agents and financial regulatory officials confiscated paper and digital records and are reportedly in the process of combing through the lot to obtain evidence.
Reports making the rounds in the country reveal that the Upbit is being investigated for engaging in illegal movement of cryptocurrency from wallets of their clients. According to news sources, authorities suspect that client funds are being moved to wallets owned by executives of the platform without the knowledge of the depositors.
That was not the only bad news for bitcoin holders. Last week, Mt. Gox trustee, Nobuaki Kobayashi, once again moved a large number of bitcoin (BTC) from the company’s wallets, which can only mean that he is about to sell more coins as part of the defunct exchange’s bankruptcy procedures.
Having said that, the market has been aware of Nobuaki Kobayashi’s selling pressure, which will be a continuing feature of this year’s bitcoin market so it should only cause temporary volatility as opposed to a year-long downward trend. After all, it is in his incentive to sell Mt. Gox’s coins little by little during bitcoin highs.
Upbit, South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchange platform, is currently under investigation as it is suspected of engaging in false financial reporting activities, deceiving investors in the process as the price of bitcoin breaks below $9,000.
Local media outlets in South Korea also report that the exchange’s office has been raided. The latest development follows is a series of crackdowns from law enforcement agencies on cryptocurrency exchange platforms. In April, the president of Coinnest, another exchange in Korea was also arrested.
Upbit has confirmed the investigation with a statement on its website, saying: “Upbit is currently under investigation by the prosecution, and we are working diligently. Upbit services such as all transactions and withdrawals are operating normally. Your assets are kept securely in your account, so you can rest assured that you can use Upbit services.”
In a bid to become the world’s largest crypto platform, Robinhood, the equity trading mobile app based out of U.S., raised a whopping $363 million. The Series D funding was led by DST Global along with Iconiq, Capital G, Sequoia Capital and KPCB as fellow participants, thereby valuing the firm at a mammoth $5.6 billion.
Baiju Bhatt, the CEO of Robinhood, claims to have already planned on how to put the investment to good use. The firm’s coffers are full, and increasing its clientele is the trading app’s primary goal. As per Bhatt, Robinhood, which currently serves only ten U.S. states, aims to serve the entirety of USA and awaits the necessary licenses.
Furthermore, Bhatt says that the app will be concentrating on product expansion, infrastructure, operations and strengthening the team. The dream of being at the summit of crypto platforms – as either the largest or at least in the top tier of crypto trading, this looks like an achievable target and Bhatt hopes of getting there by the end of 2018.
The U.S. Patent Office has awarded Winklevoss brothers’ Winklevoss IP a patent for a system to operate exchange-traded products (ETPs) for cryptocurrencies. The patent, granted by American authorities on May 8, 2018, could be the key to listing a crypto ETP on their exchange Gemini.
Records show that Winklevoss IP applied for a patent on December 19, 2017, to facilitate a system for operating exchange-traded products holding digital currencies. The product explained in the patent application as ETP is similar to an ETF. An Exchange Traded Fund is a tradable security that tracks the price movement of a particular index or industry. ETFs are commonly used by investors to reduce risk and improve probable returns. The ETP as described by the patent will track the price movements of constituent cryptocurrencies.
The patent defines a digital math based asset as “a kind of digital asset based upon a computer generated mathematical and/or cryptographic protocol that may, among other things, be exchanged for value and/or be used to buy and sell goods or pay for services,” which could be intangible asset not based on any governmental rule.
On April 7, 2018, reports emerged that India’s Apex bank had given financial institutions in the nation an ultimatum to stop facilitating financial transactions for crypto-related businesses and individuals dealing in virtual currencies, as the bank had ambitions to create own national crypto.
Amidst this backdrop, various blockchain and cryptocurrency startups, individuals and ICO projects have been migrating to nations with more vibrant digital assets space.
According to Factor Daily, Estonia, the relatively small Eastern European nation with a population of roughly 1.316 million people, is the new home for Indian crypto investors and businesses.
One of the significant points of attraction in Estonia is the e-residency programme which makes it quite easy for firms to settle down and become part of the nation quickly. Also, tax rates in the country are quite flexible, coupled with crypto and blockchain friendly laws.
Electrum, one of the most well-known and secure bitcoin wallet application, released a warning with confirmed evidence of a copycat wallet client called “Electrum Pro,” that fraudulently phished a user’s wallet keys to steal funds.
Launched in 2011, Electrum is known for its friendly interface and accessibility alongside using advanced security measures such as multisig authentication and compatibility with hardware wallets, such as Trezor and Ledger. As every great product is often susceptible to duplicates and malicious copycats, however, Electrum was on the receiving end this time.
Electrum Pro, a malware wallet that stole both Electrum’s name and the user’s bitcoins, recently gained popularity as a legitimate product. However, the fame obviously alarmed developers of the original wallet about Pro’s authenticity, leading them to investigate the product’s code. Their suspicions were later confirmed to be true.
Bitmain co-founder Wu Jihan has revealed that his company has huge expansion plans for its Bitcoin mining operations in the U.S. during an interview with Bloomberg. On April 13, 2018, the mining firm announced that it had been given the green light to set up cryptocurrency mining operations stateside.
During the interview, Jihan revealed that the company has been working on expanding its mining operations on a global scale including the launch of more facilities in the U.S. As of now, it is operating two mining farms; a ten and 12-megawatt facility.
Wu stated that the people mining Bitcoin (BTC) and Litecoin (LTC) had experienced a lot of growth over the past year and this is also in line with the strong performance of the cryptocurrency market. The company’s profit has been on the rise with its 2017 turnover hitting $2.3 billion.
Mohammad Reza Pourebrahimi, Chairman of the Economic Commission of the Parliament of Iran, strongly believes that a national digital currency is required in the war-stricken nation, and envisions that the world’s future economy would be based on cryptocurrencies.
Pourebrahimi realizes that there is an outflow of huge amounts from the nation in the form of cryptocurrencies. As per a local news report, $2.5 billion has gone out of Iran in the form of bitcoin, as the digital currency is presently the only method to send money out of the country. However, Pourebrahimi feels that this particular cryptographic form of remittance is not transparent and lacks validation.
To tackle this issue, the Iranian government is toying with the idea of a national bank-issued cryptocurrency, backed by the nation’s most prized asset; oil.
Not only would it put an end to the vast outflow of digital money, but it would also increase potential business opportunities for the nation. However, until the nation’s very own crypto is in place, the central bank of Iran has ceased all activities revolving around cryptocurrencies.
Privacy-centered digital currency Zcash is caught in an ironic dilemma, as a group of researchers discovered a series of code patterns which diminish the coins’ praised unique selling point; its anonymity protocol.
Titled “An Empirical Analysis of Anonymity in Zcash” and published on Scirate on May 8, 2018, the paper explores particular types of transactions which contain the anonymity-reducing pattern.
As per the University College of London research team, which consists of Mary Maller, Haaroon Yousaf, George Kappos, and Sarah Meiklejohn, zcash coins moving from “unshielded” to “shielded” and back were found to be “losing” their anonymity, which is highly regarded by the Zcash community.