Although the Bitcoin price stumbled, fundamental developments for the crypto industry’s facets remained strong during the second week of 2019. New York opened a so-called “Blockchain Center,” purportedly funded by Microsoft, Ripple achieved a key milestone, and Bloomberg claims that Japanese regulators may green light a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) in the future.
- New York Opens Blockchain Center: In an evident pro-crypto move, the New York City Economic Development Corporation, a non-profit focused on bolstering the Big Apple’s economy, and an array of partners have launched the so-called “Blockchain Center.” This 4,000 square foot center, which will be located in the metropolis’ iconic Flatiron District, will give everyone from coders, blockchain engineers, to common Joes a chance to learn about ledger technologies and crypto— for a currently unstipulated membership fee. The Blockchain Center has been funded in part by the municipal government and by an unnamed set of corporate partners (rumor has it Microsoft threw in some cash).
- Ripple Breaches 200 Institutional Client Milestone: For the most part, 2018’s crypto crash killed the momentum of industry upstarts, many of which have had to slow operations in recent months. However, XRP-friendly Ripple, the San Francisco-based fintech company, has been doing just fine and dandy. On Tuesday, the company revealed that it had just brought on 13 institutional clients, which hail from Canada to Kuwait. With this addition, RippleNet, the firm’s self-described “frictionless experience” centered around cross-border payments, now facilitates global processes for over 200 clients. In a statement, Brad Garlinghouse, chief executive at Ripple, explained that his firm continues to sign up “two — sometimes three — new customers per week.”
- Ethereum Classic Chain Attacked, $1 Million In ETC Double Spent: On Monday, a damning Coinbase blog post surfaced that revealed that the Ethereum Classic blockchain was likely coming under fire. Mark Nesbitt, a security engineer at the firm, divulged that he, along with his collaborators, discovered a number of “deep chain reorganizations (reorgs)” on the network. Upon further analysis, Nesbitt determined that a mass of ETC was spent, and Coinbase was forced to shut down trading for the popular crypto asset. Nesbitt first discovered that $450,000 worth of ETC was double spent, but new reports indicate that the sum could amount to more than $1 million in value. This debacle sparked a strong response from the XRP community.
- Bloomberg: Japan May Approve A Bitcoin ETF: Reports from Bloomberg, which cites those familiar with the matter, have revealed that Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA), the nation’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) equivalent, may be open to approving a Bitcoin ETF application if proposed. If the FSA finds enough demand for a crypto-backed ETF, sources claim this newfound regulatory stance will be mentioned in the coming months, with updated rules going live during 2020.
- Bitwise Files Preliminary Bitcoin ETF Application: Just days after Japan’s news, Bitwise Asset Management, a crypto services company headed by fervent leader Hunter Horsley, filed an initial registration statement with the SEC. The legal document purportedly outlined a physically-backed Bitcoin ETF proposal, which will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange Arca if approved. Bitwise’s new venture, fittingly named the Bitwise Bitcoin ETF, will track the company’s in-house Bitcoin Total Return Index, which purportedly “captures the full value of an investment in BTC.” In a company statement, the project’s heads claimed that its product is unlike others proposed, as it should quell the qualms of the SEC’s commissioners.
- French Yellow Vest Movement Arranges Bank Run: Over the past week, preliminary reports indicated that France’s Yellow Vest (Gilet Jaune) movement began arranging a bank run. One organizer, going by the surname Maxime, took to a number of social media channels to tell his fellow Vests to withdraw all capital from French banks. Although no reports have indicated whether this seeming run on the bank has begun, many crypto enthusiasts quickly ran with the narrative. Interestingly, at the same time that calls for a bank run propagated, French corner stores began to sell Bitcoin vouchers for Euros.
- ShapeShift Cuts Third Of Staff: ShapeShift, the company behind the ShapeShift Exchange, KeepKey, CoinCap, and other facets, has recently revealed that it laid off a solid portion of its staffers. Through a Medium post by Erik Voorhees, dubbed “Bitcoin’s last gunslinger” by Forbes, it was revealed that the firm, headquartered in Switzerland’s Crypto Valley, would be dropping one-third of its employees — a reported 37. Voorhees revealed that this purge was a byproduct of ShapeShift’s “greatest and worst financial decision” — to “embrace” significant exposure to crypto in an apparent bid to keep skin in the game. This news comes just weeks after reports arose that Bitmain, Huobi, and ConsenSys were undergoing similar shortcomings.
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