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Current State of The Crypto Market (December 9, 2018)

Hackers:  Troy Kent, a threat researcher at Awake Security, presented findings at the InfoSecurity North America Conference in New York earlier this month.  His findings pertained to various crypto mining software venerability’s which could allow hackers to access computers on which the software is running to steal files, intellectual property, and even login credentials.

The South China Morning Post (SCMP) reports “One of the most formidable hacking armies in the world,” is now assumed to be aiming at the crypto holdings of individuals, particularly wealthy ones.  North Korean hackers have been identified by Group IB and others as the likely culprits behind the attacks.  This year, Youbit and Coincheck exchanges, collectively lost $571 million in cryptocurrencies.  The CEO of South Korean cybersecurity firm Cuvepia, Kwon Seok-chul, told the SCMP that his firm has detected 30 such recent attacks on individuals, though he estimates the true number may be closer to 100.

 

Bullish Key Players:  Anthony Pompliano (more commonly known as “pomp’ and @APompliano on twitter) who is a founder & partner at Morgan Creek Digital is betting $1 million that its cryptocurrency index will outperform the S&P 500 over the next 10 years.  Morgan Creek Digital is recreating Buffett’s famous $1 million wager betting on the performance of the S&P 500 against multiple hedge funds. Unlike the famous value-investor, Morgan Creek is taking the opposite side of the bet and placing its faith in the 10-year performance of cryptocurrencies.  The crypto investing firm calls the challenge “Buffett Bet 2.0,” and invites any investor who believes the S&P 500 will produce better returns than their basket of cryptocurrencies over a decade to take the other side of the bet.

According to a research report released on December 3rd by DIAR, Grayscale Investments has accumulated thousands of BTC for its in-house Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC).  Since the start of 2018, Grayscale which is owned by Barry Silbert of Digital Currency Group (DCG), has seen its Bitcoin coffers swell by 30,600 BTC to a total of 203,000, now accounting for more than 1% of the asset’s total circulating supply.

 

Banks & Institutions:   Genesis Trading, also owned by the New York-headquartered conglomerate, took to CNBC to note that the firm’s lending service has seen an “incredibly strong reception” who have requested for cryptocurrency loans across dozens of digital assets.   According to statistics from the firm itself, these loans amounted to a monetary value of $553 million.

Fidelity Investments, which sports the business of 13,000 institutional clients, even announced its own digital asset subsidiary, scheduled to offer top-notch cryptocurrency custody and with trade execution in the near future.

Additionally, crypto analytics unit Diar has reported the steady rise in BTC holdings indicates that capital continues to flow into this market through trusted third parties – a positive sign.  Additionally, Nasdaq recently announced that it will work on a bitcoin and Crypto 2.0 futures contract, aimed at institutional and retail investors alike.

 

Adoption:  A commissioner of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said ‘not to hold your breath’ waiting for a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) at the Digital Asset Investment Forum held in Washington D.C. on December 5th.  In a recent interview SEC Chairman Jay Clayton refrained from providing any specific time frame for a Bitcoin ETF, but instead reiterated the SEC’s stance. However, with this being said the SEC has delayed the Van-Eck ETF one final time to a deadline of late February.  It should be noted that this is the last possible deadline for the approval or denial of this ETF.

On Tripio, a blockchain-based hotel booking platform, Binance Coin (BNB) users are now able to book 450,000 hotels and residential accommodations using the BNB token.  On December 4, Tripio officially announced a strategic partnership with Binance to enable more than 10 million active users in the Binance ecosystem to utilize BNB as one of the main currencies on the Tripio platform to process bookings.

Throughout the past two years, many large-scale conglomerates like Expedia, Microsoft, and Steam have announced cryptocurrency integrations. In July, a major Japanese point of sale service provider integrated Bitcoin for its hundreds of thousands of retailers.  Merchants have been actively exploring alternatives to PayPal and legacy systems for many years because of their high fees. While using PayPal, and other similar payment processers, conversion and base transaction fees often result in 5 to 6 percent of the transaction, not just for merchants but for buyers and individual users.  Cryptocurrencies offer an efficient and practical alternative to existing centralized systems.

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