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Current State of The Crypto Market (February 17th, 2019)

Hackers: Coinmama, one of the largest crypto brokerages in the global market with 1.3 million active users, suffered a security breach on February 15.  The official statement of the exchange disclosed that 450,000 email addresses and passwords were leaked in a massive global hacking attack involving 24 websites and some 747 million records.  No usernames and passwords leaked on the dark web have been accessed by the hackers and since the brokerage issued a statement to its users immediately after the release of the report, most users were able to change their passwords.  However, if the database of Coinmama dumped on the dark web had been acquired by a buyer with malicious intent, it could have led to unauthorized withdrawals on the platform’s wallets that had not enabled two-factor authorization (2FA).

A group of online criminals from Turkey have been detained by local authorities on suspicion of hacking a domestic cryptocurrency company. Those behind the security breach are thought to have used the popular video game PUBG to communicate prior to the attack.  The Turkish company has had around $2.47 million taken from it in the hack. Some of this figure has been recovered in raids following the arrest of those connected with the incident.  Authorities were originally alerted to the hack by the company itself. In the initial report, it stated that a large amount of Bitcoin, Ether, and XRP was taken. The Istanbul Cybercrime Branch Office later confirmed that two of the firm’s wallets can been compromised to the tune of 13 million lira – around $2.47 million. These funds were sent from company wallets to those controlled by the hackers. A joint operation was then launched across the provinces of Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Afyonkarahisar, Bursa, Edirne, Bolu and Antalya, leading to the arrests.

 

Bullish Key Players:   Tim Draper is a billionaire venture capitalist, and he has earlier said that the price for bitcoin will reach $250,000 by 2022. If we look globally, this is very probable according to Draper. In a recent statement he sticks to his earlier prediction: “I am sticking to my original prediction – Bitcoin will hit 250k by 2022.”

Another industry expert is Ella Chang who is the head of Binance Labs. Binance is the biggest cryptocurrency exchange in the world, and during its release in Uganda, they got over 40,000 new customers the first week. She argues that 2019 will be a very exciting year since there will be many new products on the market. They are now reaching over five continents with their current offerings.

Fabian Vogelsteller is the CEO of the new ICO LUKSO and responsible for creating the ERC-20 standard. He has experienced many ups and downs with blockchain. It is not the first time Vogelsteller hears that “blockchain is over.” However, he thinks that this is just the beginning:  “The fact is that the underlying technological innovation continues to evolve and to get better. We have more tools today, documentation, tutorials, and users than ever before and this will continue to grow as the user interfaces become better and more seamless. In 2019 we will continue to live in the aftermath of 2017. ICOs have been in winter sleep for most of 2018, following the ICO madness we experienced, which was initiated by my ERC-20 standard. Nevertheless, this doesn’t change the fact that ICO’s are a great fundraising mechanism, for those projects in which a coin offering makes sense.”

Justin Sun, the founder of Tron joins in and says that many blockchain projects have developed during 2018. They are ready to launch new applications and products during 2019, Tron included.

In summary, all leaders are very enthusiastic about the future, and the foundation for blockchain and cryptocurrencies are stronger than ever.  Even though the price has fallen the whole year, developers have been building. During 2019 we will see many new applications and product being launched.

 

Banks & Institutions:  Police officers and other state employees in Virginia’s Fairfax County will be looking forward to retirement with potential dividends from an unusual source: bitcoin.  Two separate pension funds that collectively manage $5.1 billion in assets for the state’s police force and other employees have joined a $40 million investment in the Morgan Creek Blockchain Opportunities Fund, which in addition to backing some of the best-known startups in the space, plans to invest in cryptocurrency.  Already, a portion of the $40 million has been invested in startups including Bakkt, the cryptocurrency exchange co-owned by Starbucks and the Intercontinental Exchange, which runs the New York Stock Exchange.  In addition to Bakkt, the fund, created by Morgan Creek Digital in New York, is investing in cryptocurrency giant Coinbase, recently valued at $8 billion, and several lesser-known startups, including Blockfi, RealBlocks, TrustToken, Harbor, Open Finance Network, CityBlock Capital, Namebase, Good Money and Digital Assets Data. As much as $4 million of the investment could eventually be used to purchase cryptocurrency directly, though that has not happened yet.

The first cryptocurrency created by a major U.S. bank is here — and it’s from J.P. Morgan Chase.  The lender moves more than $6 trillion around the world every day for corporations in its massive wholesale payments business. In trials set to start in a few months, a tiny fraction of that will happen over something called “JPM Coin,” the digital token created by engineers at the New York-based bank to instantly settle payments between clients.  J.P. Morgan is preparing for a future in which parts of the essential underpinning of global capitalism, from cross-border payments to corporate debt issuance, move to the blockchain.

 

Adoption:   Crypto adoption is rolling into everyday shops where Bitcoiners can buy goods on the fly.  The Fold App allows Bitcoiners to make fast and cheap crypto purchases using their smart phones to scan QR codes, spending Bitcoin like regular cash. Chief strategy officer at CoinShares, Meltem Demirors, bought a cup of coffee using Fold to send Bitcoin via a simple QR code – no registration or account creation required.  The team at Fold says crypto will go mainstream once “everyday purchases are possible, because it offers a better way to pay: fast, cheap, incentivized, secure and accepted everywhere.”  Launched on Wednesday, LN.Pizza, powered by Fold, allows people to order Domino’s Pizza via the Lightning Network.

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