Hackers: White hat hackers have been awarded $878,000 in bug bounties this year. Bug bounties are a type of competition in which companies that develop software invite hackers to break their software and responsibly disclose the vulnerabilities, so they are able to fix them before they are exploited. According to TheNextWeb, hackers earned $534,500 on HackerOne, a bug bounty platform connecting companies with hackers just from Block.one, the company which stands behind EOS. In fact, Block.one is reportedly responsible for 60 percent of all the bounties handed out this year. Major cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase is reportedly the second-largest bounty spender and spent $290,381 in 2018. Tron is third-largest bounty spender, reportedly paying $76,200 this year.
Bullish Key Players: The year of 2018 hadn’t been favorable for cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin had lost over half of its highest value just within a brief period. At the beginning of the year, many experts predicted that Bitcoin will triple it’s all-time high, but six months later with Bitcoin struggling to stay in the $4,000 level, experts still believe it will sell as high as $60,000.
Phillip Nunn, a renowned ICO and cryptocurrency expert, predicted that Bitcoin will fall as low as $6,000 and rise as high as $60,000. Many people doubt if Bitcoin will ever sell as high as $20,000 again talk less of $60,000. Despite the negative vibe in the market, Nunn insists that Bitcoin will be driven by the blockchain to a whole new level. During an interview, he said: “The truth is that we are moving from depending on the internet of information to depending on the internet of value. Everything will be disrupted from record-keeping, financial issues, to legal issues. This is why I will continue to stand by my prediction.”
Joel Kruger, currency strategist at LMAX Exchange says that as we head into 2019, Bitcoin has retraced its past movement history, with a recent breakdown below the $6,000 area, opening this next downside extension that targets a bigger drop towards the September 2017 low at $2,975. He believes that the price will not spend too much time below this barrier and will start to find renewed demand ahead of an eventual push back to the topside.
Banks & Institutions: Grayscale, the digital asset manager, saw year-to-date inflows for cryptocurrency investments hit $330 million, according to its Q3 Investment Report. The report, released on Thursday, provides an overview of the firm’s business over the last three months. Per the report, Grayscale raised $81.1 million in Q3. The $330 million figure outperforms inflows through three quarters in previous years. In the same amount of time, the firm brought in a mere $25 million in 2017 and $17 million in 2016. This marks the strongest year-to-date inflows through September that greyscale has experienced during any calendar year since its inception.
Michael Sonnenshein, a managing director at Greyscale, told The Block institutional investors are showing more interest in its family of crypto investment products than ever before. That’s despite crypto markets being down 70% year-to-date. Institutional investors contributed to 70% of inflows in Q3. Institutional investors, year-to-date, made up 59% of inflows. The New York-based firm manages $1.5 billion, making it one of the largest investors of crypto in the world.
In recent weeks, Bitfinex’s banking relationships have been at the top of mind for many market observers in crypto. As the Block previously reported, Bitfinex and Tether are currently holding at least a portion of their funds at Deltec Bank and processing deposits through Bank of Communications via a private account of a shell company. Bitfinex previously banked with Noble Bank, but that relationship ended over the summer. As the Block previously reported, the firm banked briefly with HSBC.
Below is a chart of which banks some of the major exchanges use:
Adoption: The Litecoin Foundation will sponsor an event of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) mixed martial arts organization, according to an announcement published on December 26th. In a statement, the foundation said that it has become the “Official Cryptocurrency Partner” of the UFC light heavyweight title fight between Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson. The Litecoin Foundation stated that the sponsorship is part of its effort to expand the adoption of digital currencies, saying: “With brands and institutions continuing to push into cryptocurrency and blockchain, this is yet another signal of this technology moving closer towards the mainstream.”
Several rumors spread on the internet related to Facebook launching a stable coin or a virtual currency for users on its WhatsApp messaging application. The main intention behind it is to help individuals to receive and send payments in the remittance market in India, where WhatsApp penetration is important. Facebook developing a virtual currency is something that confirms that the technology is useful, and it can be used for transferring funds from one place to the other. Of course, there will be people opposed to it, but there are some positive things related to this decision.