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Current State of The Crypto Market (January 27th, 2019)

Hackers:  New research by blockchain analysis startup Elements has revealed that in the immediate aftermath of the Cryptopia exchange hack, the cybercriminals involved in the theft continued transferring funds from the compromised wallets for days, even after police in New Zealand publicly launched an investigation.  According to its analysis, the total amount of cryptocurrency stolen in the hack was also more likely to be in the region of $23 million, which is significantly higher than the $16 million previously suggested by Elementus and the $5 million initially reported when the story broke.  As reported in a statement released earlier by the police, investigations into the hack began on January 15, one day after the security breach was detected. What the new data compiled by Elementus shows is that the funds were still being moved out of the over 70,000 compromised wallets up until January 17, which means that the theft and its investigation took place concurrently for three days.

Peer-to-peer cryptocurrency exchange LocalBitcoins has recently published a statement regarding a security incident it suffered this weekend, that saw its users lose nearly 8 BTC (over $28,000) to a hacker who managed to phish their credentials.  According to the company’s statement, the firm detected the security vulnerability at about the time it was being exploited by an “unauthorized source,” which managed to access and send transactions from “a number of affected accounts.”

 

Bullish Key Players:   The CEO of Voyager which is one of the apps designed to let people easily trade cryptocurrency is in today’s crypto news.  Steve Ehrlich, who is the head of Voyager but also a financial industry veteran, is running a company which is connected to more than a dozen cryptocurrency exchanges around the world and using advanced metrics to find the user the best trade without charging a commission.  Voyager employees and CEO believe their app comes at the right time during bitcoin and crypto regulation as a last step before mass adoption.

The vast majority of crypto experts seem to share epidemic optimism: they don’t give up on Bitcoin and believe it is to overcome the $20,000 threshold this year.  Fundstrat’s Sam Doctor and Tom Lee both agree that Bitcoin should rise to approximately $36,000 within 2019, with $20,000 as the minimal price, and $64,000 as the maximum.  Additionally, Ronnie Moas sets pretty much the same target for Bitcoin: he believes it will hit the $28,000 mark by the end of this year.  John McAfee sets a higher limit: judging by his previous forecast, Bitcoin should trade at around $170,000 this year!  If those predictions are right, Bitcoin should reach $4,500-$6,000 in February and continue strengthening its positions.

 

Banks & Institutions:  In the latest news focused on Bitcoin ETFs, a new joint project by Bitwise and NYSE Arca which are both initiating a new Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (BTF).  If this Bitcoin ETF gets approved, it would be the first ETF to make it to the market in the US. Currently, the company said that NYSE Arca would file the 19b-4 rule change proposal in the near future. In fact, NYSE Arca filed the form the same day, but it does not appear to be listed on any SEC website, possibly due to the ongoing US government shutdown.  As a result of this, the document went unnoticed – even despite it was being posted on NYSE Arca’s own website. However, when Bitwise first announced it, it said that this project differs from previous such efforts because a regulated third-party custodian would store the Bitcoins.

Regardless of how cryptocurrency enthusiasts may feel about Ripple and their XRP asset, the company is doing a lot of things right. This becomes apparent when simply looking at their growing list of current and future partners. It seems the technology development by Ripple, as well as its native XRP asset, can be of great value in terms of improving upon money transfer solutions.  One of their newest partners comes in the form of Transpaygo. This company specializes in international payment transfers for SMEs. It is only normal a company of this scale would look into innovative solutions to provide competitive services. Partnering Ripple to improve upon existing cross-border payment corridors is one way to go about things. It appears the company has shown a keen interest in xRapid as well.  For the foreseeable future, this partnership will focus primarily on two specific payment corridors. The current plan is to boost money transfers to both Mexico and the Philippines using Ripple’s technology. In doing so, the Vienna-based startup explores alternatives to the more traditional SWIFT-based solutions. SWIFT and Ripple have been “at war’ of sorts over the past few months, thus this trial will yield some very intriguing data along the way.

 

Adoption:  Bitcoin and cryptocurrency adoption has failed to meet expectations since the 2017 bitcoin price explosion catapulted the promising technology into the public consciousness,  something that’s been partly blamed for the subsequent bitcoin bear market.   Many in the bitcoin and crypto sector expect increased bitcoin adoption, if or when it finally comes, will lead the next crypto bull run.  Now, leaked images of the upcoming new Samsung Galaxy S10 suggest the smartphone could aid bitcoin adoption with a built-in cryptocurrency wallet.  first reported by Samsung news outlet SamMobile, appear to show the rumored Samsung Blockchain Keystore cryptocurrency wallet app running on the new Galaxy S10.  Ethereum, currently the world’s second largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization after bitcoin and Ripple’s XRP, is named as a supported cryptocurrency but a previous report from SamMobile last year claims the wallet will also support bitcoin, ethereum-derived ERC20 tokens and bitcoin cash.

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