The “Fatal 2018” or The Most Important Events Of The Year

The digital coins market shows a negative trend throughout the year 2018. Compared to the historical maximum, the total cryptocurrency market cap has decreased by almost 8 times. The cryptocurrency market shows a negative trend throughout 2018. During the year, news of the cryptocurrency market that are actively discussed in media, have a negative meaning. Let us recall the most important events that occurred on the cryptocurrency market.

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  1. Banking system against digital coins
  2. Internet restrictions
  3. Bitcoin ETF
  4. Formation of legislation
  5. Attracting of institutional investors
  6. Active development of the OTC market
  7. ICO Market Growth
  8. Cryptocurrency companies entering the IPO market
  9. Integration of financial conglomerates
  10. Integration with Internet companies
  11. Conclusion

1. Banking system against digital coins

At the very beginning of 2018, traditional financial institutions began to limit the capabilities of participants in the cryptocurrency market. A large number of fairly large banks around the world began to close the accounts of companies whose activities are related to cryptocurrency. We may also recall the decision of Visa to terminate cooperation with major European companies. All this adversely affected cryptocurrency companies. But it is worth noting that the restrictions of banks affected not only legal entities, along with this ordinary customers also lost an opportunity to buy cryptocurrency through their credit and debit cards.

A similar policy of the Reserve Bank of India led to the fact that local cryptocurrency platforms closed crypto-fiat trade. In the middle of autumn, Zebpay cryptocurrency exchange was forced to close the cryptocurrency exchange service. A similar situation happened in Zimbabwe, but cryptocurrency companies were able to challenge this decision with the help of the Supreme Court of the country.

Such policy of traditional financial sector representatives speaks only of their concern and desire to get rid of a potential competitor. If to analyze the cryptocurrency market, it becomes obvious that this industry is developing too fast. This makes the financial giants to tremble with fear and uncertainty about the future. This event played a big role in crypto market cap lowering.

2. Internet restrictions

Another damage to the cryptocurrency industry in 2018 was caused by the largest Internet companies: Google, Twitter, Facebook, Baidu, Alibaba, WeChat, Yandex, etc. All of the above mentioned information giants banned the promotion of cryptocurrency and ICO on their sites. This decision caused corresponding consequences, namely, undermined confidence towards the industry, and also cryptocurrency market capitalization decrease. Mining applications were blocked in App Store.

The Internet giant’s representatives explained their decision by the fact that there is a huge number of scammers in the cryptocurrency industry, which trusting users should be protected from. However, just a few months later, Facebook and Google reconsidered their decision and partially canceled it.

3. Bitcoin ETF

One of the most discussed topics in the industry since mid-summer of 2018 is the possible launch of Bitcoin ETF. The fact is that the situation in the cryptocurrency market strongly depends on the SEC decision. We remind you that cryptocurrency market value growth, which occurred in November-December, was caused by the launch of futures at CBOE and CME. Many experts believe that the launch of ETF will be a much more powerful event than the last year’s futures.

But the situation that has developed around this issue is quite controversial. On the one hand, the SEC does not deny the possibility of giving permission to launch Bitcoin ETF. But on the other hand, The United States Securities and Exchange Commission rejects all applicants (or postpones the date of consideration) who submitted the application during the year. The staff of the SEC explain their reasons quite uncertainty.

It is worth mentioning that during 2018 a lot of funds and exchanges have submitted their applications: ITS, Direxion, VanEck, Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust, ProShares, SolidX, etc.

Based on the latest data, the Securities Commission must make a final decision on the ETF before February 27, 2019.

We want to remind you:

SEC Will Release the Decision on Bitcoin ETF in February

4. Formation of legislation

The cryptocurrency market`s fall, which began in early 2018, was caused by many reasons, one of them is the lack of a legislative base. In other words, at the moment the cryptocurrency market is not regulated at all. Just this year, a large number of changes were to occur in this matter. But, unfortunately, everything happened not the way it was expected.

It is worth noting that this year many countries of the world drafted bills, that in one way or another dealt with cryptocurrencies. Some states limited the presence of digital coins on their territory due to the complexity of regulation. Others, on the contrary, encouraged and developed this direction in every way. For example, on July 4, 2018, blockchain technology was officially legalized in Malta for the first time in the world.

At the end of the winter, the German authorities signed a law under which Bitcoin equated to legal means of payment and was thus released from taxation.

This year was the first time in the history of the industry, when the regulation of cryptocurrency was discussed at the highest international level. For example, the mechanisms for regulating the industry became an agenda at the G20 meeting. It was decided to postpone this topic till October, but no one has returned to it thoroughly so far. This also had a negative effect on the cryptocurrency ranking.

5. Attracting of institutional investors

This year, for the first time the entry of large players into the market was seriously discussed. The interest of institutional investors in cryptocurrency assets is confirmed by a survey of an independent consulting company Capgemini:

  • 44% of the surveyed large capital owners are interested in cryptocurrency investments;
  • 29% of the surveyed large capital owners showed high interest;
  • 27% of the surveyed large capital owners expressed moderate interest.

Another interview, which was conducted by an independent consulting company DeVere Group, says that almost 40% of large business owners want to see a list of cryptocurrencies by market cap in their investment portfolios.

6. Active development of the OTC market

The situation on the cryptocurrency market today is as follows (according to CoinMarketCap):

  • market capitalization of 130 billion dollars;
  • 24h trading volume is about 16 billion dollars.

The situation is not the best, to say the least of it. But it is worth noting that the second mark is not entirely correct. The fact is that we see only turnovers that relate to stock trading. According to the company TABB Group, the UTS trading market is approximately 2-3 times higher than the stock index. It should be noted that such transactions cannot be traced when dealing with blockchain, since private keys from wallets are transferred more often than coins.

There is a sufficient number of large players in the cryptocurrency market (large miners, investors, ICO organizers, etc.), who cannot satisfy their demand with the help of exchanges. More and more OTC platforms began to appear due to the growing demand in the industry.

7. ICO Market Growth

Even regardless of depressing mood on the cryptocurrency market, the number of ICO held in 2018 is much more than in 2017: more precisely, 741 vs 514. The amount of raised funds also grew: $18.16 billion vs $6.89 billion.

The most discussed project of this year was undoubtedly TON from Pavel Durov, who managed to attract $1.7 billion. These funds were obtained even without public ICO, and Durov had to refuse from the overwhelming majority of those who wanted to invest in his brainchild.

But if to consider the amount of collected money, the undoubted leader is the EOS project, which managed to raise about 4.2 billion dollars. This mark is the best not only in this year, but also in the entire history of the industry as a whole.

But even such major events as EOS or TON could not help a fading interest of people to invest in cryptocurrency at the stage of the initial coin offering. The situation is caused by a general decrease in the capitalization of the cryptocurrency market in 2018. Because of the downtrend on the market, the vast majority of coins now cost less than at the ICO stage.

8. Cryptocurrency companies entering the IPO market

ICO is certainly a rather convenient way to raise capital, but despite this, many cryptocurrency companies expressed their interest in entering the more traditional IPO market. The initial public offering or IPO is regulated by the SEC. Investors are more protected there and this fact attracts people with large capital.

As of the beginning of December 2018, only one company successfully conducted its own IPO, all the others did not go further than applications or plans announcement for the future so far. In August of this year, there was an initial public offering of Argo Mining Company. It works in a cloud mining field. The company’s results are quite good, it managed to raise $32.5 million during IPO.

9. Integration of financial conglomerates

As we wrote above, some large financial institutions have limited the cryptocurrency industry development by their policies. But it does not concern absolutely all financial conglomerates of the planet. In parallel with the collapse of the cryptocurrency market (financially), we can observe the world’s largest banks integration into the industry (Goldman Sachs, HSBC, Barklays, etc.).

At the very beginning of the year, Goldman Sachs, with the help of a startup Circle, bought one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges Poloniex. The official sum of this transaction was not disclosed, but according to analysts’ estimates, such a purchase costed them about $400 million. It is worth noting that, Goldman Sachs invested $136 million in a startup Circle before acquiring Poloniex.

In early autumn the largest financial conglomerate of the land of the rising sun (Japan) Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group started its own MUFG coin in a test mode. If the test is successful, then the representatives of MUFG promise to introduce it into their own payment system.

The Bank of America and other major financial institutions owners in the world got curious in Technology Ripple (xCurrent), which helps banks to save about $3 on each transaction. This year, a number of major banks and the Ripple company signed cooperation agreement. It was highly expected, because xCurrent technology allows banks to save tens of millions dollar a year.

10. Integration with Internet companies

Along with the negative news background that accompanies the cryptocurrency industry throughout the year, an increasing number of Internet companies are trying to integrate digital coins into their product. For example, a few months ago, the Opera browser for Android released support for a built-in cryptocurrency wallet. At the moment, this wallet supports only ERC-20 and ERC-271 tokens, but the developers promise to add support for new types of digital coins in the near future. If to follow the news, it is easy to notice how the above mentioned  event is connected with Bitmain Company`s purchase of 3% of Opera Ltd in the amount of about $50 million (Bitmain Company is the largest manufacturer of network equipment for mining).

The cryptocurrency browser Brave shows good download dynamics: more than 5 million installations over the past six months. This number can be explained by a good program to attract new users, which was launched by the Brave developers. The browser charges 25 BAT for every 2 months of use. That is, for 1 year, you can accumulate 150 BAT, and for 2 years, 300 BAT. At today’s prices, it costs approximately $25 a year, but BAT is rated as one of the most promising coins of the next bull market. According to various estimates, it will enterTOP-10 and grow by from 30 to 50 times. That means, by using this browser it is possible to get from 1,000 to 2,000 dollars in a couple of years.

11. Conclusion

The cryptocurrency market today is experiencing a downtrend. Market capitalization has decreased by almost 8 times, compared with the peak values ​​of this year. As you can see, the general news background is negative this year. But it is worth noting that along with this, the infrastructure in the industry is actively developing, and new institutional investors are coming to the market. The forecast of the cryptocurrency market is not quite clear, but major experts believe that there are still many ups and falls ahead of us.

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Bitfury Launches Open-Source Music Platform Based on Blockchain

A UK-based mining firm, The Bitfury Group, has announced that it will launch a music platform which operates on the blockchain technology. This idea is not new, as  many other tech companies also tried to do such a platform.

The platform, named SurroundTM, will become a helpful tool for every musician, as it plans to create a new environment where it is much easier to manage the musicians’ affairs. In particular, the platform will simplify the process of transfer of copyright assets, the user will be able to see his/her output. Bitfury believes that SurroundTM will implement blockchain into music industry much further than anything ever before.

The CEO of the Bitfury, Stefan Schulz, commented:

“There is a very strong momentum for an open entertainment-related blockchain where market participants themselves would be participating in the market venue, not only from a transactional point of view.”

The company has offices in Europe, yet, it plans to expand the service and  establish offices in Tokyo, LA, Moscow, and Seoul. It also seeks the possibilities of providing a digital system for both monetizing and sharing intellectual property.

We remind you:

WordPress Launches Beta Version of Publishing Blockchain Platform

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The First Ever Joint Arabic Cryptocurrency: Details of the Collaboration Between UAE and Saudi Arabia

As we mentioned before, two major islamic states, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, agreed to cooperate on a joint project, namely a digital currency that will fuel cross-border transactions between the two countries.

We remind you:

Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates Will Release a Joint Cryptocurrency

The project is actively being developed. According to Emirates News Agency, the Executive Committee of the Saudi-Emirati Coordination Council had a meeting in Abu Dhabi to discuss the course of future work.

16 representatives from both countries took part in the meeting of the Committee.

The main point of discussion was the Strategy of Resolve which contains “seven strategic initiatives that reflect the bilateral integration in the fields of services and financial markets, tourism, aviation, entrepreneurship, customs and security, among others.”

Also, the pilot version of the joint Arabic cryptocurrency was launched during the meeting. The new token “will be strictly targeted for banks at an experimental phase with the aim of better understanding the implications of Blockchain technology and facilitating cross-border payments.”

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Cryptocurrency Prices Today, January 21: Cryptocurrencies Fell into the Red Zone

Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash, EOS, Litecoin, Cardano, Stellar, IOTA, Dash, Monero: Cryptocurrency prices

According to the online platform Coingecko, Bitcoin (BTC) lost 4.2% in the past 24 hours. The price at the time of writing is $3527 per coin.

The other cryptocurrencies are also declining:

Bitcoin Cash lost 5.28% over the past 24 hours and costs $121 per coin;

Ripple dropped by 3.32% and is $0.31 in price;

EOS decreased by 4.66%, and its price is $2.36;

Litecoin fell by 7.04%, and its price is $30;

Cardano lost 5.63%, and its cost is $0.042;

Stellar decreased by 5.02% and costs $0.10;

IOTA lost 4.68%, and its cost is $0.30;

Dash dropped by 5.21%, and its price is $69;

Monero became cheaper by 4.22% and costs $44.

Over the past 24 hours, Ethereum lost 5.42%. The exchange rate of the coin is $117.

The total market capitalization rose to $118 billion. Bitcoin accounts for 52.5% of the total volume. In monetary terms, this is $62 billion.

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Malware From The Pirate Bay May Hijack Website To Steal Crypto

The movies downloaded from The Pirate Bay bring a malware to the user’s computer. That was the conclusion reached by a security researcher, with the nickname  0xffff0800 in Twitter. He told that when he downloaded a movie ‘The Girl In The Spider’s Web’ from TPB, a .LNK shortcut with CozyBear malware got to his computer.

However, the Cozy Bear malware is just a decoy, the real thing that brings damages is Powershell commands. Once the malware reaches the computer, it carries out malicious actions, like disabling Windows Defender and installing viral extensions in Firefox and Chrome browsers. Moreover, it edits the appearance of the website on the user’s computer.

The movie is an application itself which links the computer to the external malicious servers.

Source: Bleeping Computer

Moreover, the newly installed viral extensions can modify the JavaScript code and add some advertisements to the main page, like it is shown below.

Source: Bleeping Computer

What is the most dangerous is that the malware can edit the appearance of the web page and add or change the information without the user’s awareness, this ability allows the malware to steal the crypto. For example, if the user open Wikipedia page on a compromised system, he/she is likely to see the message saying “Wikipedia now accepts donations in form of bitcoin” and a ‘DONATE’ sign. All the donations will go to the hacker.

Source: Bleeping Computer

In addition, the malware is able to change crypto wallet addresses provided on the pages. Unfortunately, you will not even notice how the hacker stole your money.

We remind you

YouTube Will Remove All Videos with Dangerous Pranks and Challenges

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Cryptocurrency Prices Today, January 18: Cryptocurrencies Are Relatively Stable

Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash, EOS, Litecoin, Cardano, Stellar, IOTA, Dash, Monero: Cryptocurrency prices

According to the Coingecko online platform, Bitcoin (BTC) added 1% over the past 24 hours. The price at the time of writing is $3611 per coin.

Cryptocurrencies are demonstrating both slight increase and decrease:

Bitcoin Cash added 0.61% over the past 24 hours and costs $129 per coin;

Ripple grew by 0.21% and costs $0.32;

EOS increased by 2.72%, and its price is $2.51;

Litecoin gained 1.1%, and its value is $31;

Cardano added 1.62%, and its cost is $0.046;

Stellar gained 2.44% and costs $0.10;

IOTA increased by 5.41%, and its cost is $0.31;

Dash grew by 2.21%, and its price $72;

Monero became more expensive by 0.35% and costs $45.

Over the past 24 hours, Ethereum added 0.66%. The rate of the coin is $123.

The total market capitalization is $122 billion. Bitcoin accounts for 52.4% of the total volume. In monetary terms, this is $64 billion.

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BitPay Transactions Surpasses $1B in 2018, B2B Payments Records 225% Increase

BitPay is a US-based bitcoin payment provider which has recently announced its financial results of the past year. The company has processed over $1 billion in transactions alone. Moreover, its B2B payments record 225% increase in compare to 2017.

The main reason of such a lift-off is that Bitpay added a lot of new clients, like Dish Networks, HackerOne, and the State of Ohio, as well as many other law firms, data center providers, and IT vendors.

The CEO of BitPay, Stephen Pair, commented on this development:

“BitPay’s B2B business continues to grow rapidly as our solution is cheaper and quicker than a bank wire from most regions of the world. To process over a $1 Billion for the second year in a row despite Bitcoin’s large price drop shows that Bitcoin is being used to solve real pain points around the world.”

BitPay mostly supports Bitcoin transactions, however, it also supports payments with Bitcoin Cash, Gemini, and Paxos. During that year a lot of companies had to lay off their employees due to the market situation, yet, Bitpay conversely increased its manpower by 78 percent in the past year.

In addition, BitPay is attractive to the investors, in 2018, it raised $40 million in Series B funding round taking the total raised capital to $70 million.

We remind you

Two European Finance Regulators Urge the EU To Adopt Crypto and ICO Rules

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