Crypto Briefing

Sunday, June 16, 2019
Market Cap: $276,462,683,857   24h Vol: $65,990,526,175    BTC Dominance: 56.6%
 BTC $8,809.55 +3.86%  ​   ETH $268.77 +3.87%    XRP $0.410269 +3.13%
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🔥 Hot Topic - Facebook Libra

We are only days away from the supposed official announcement of Facebook's cryptocurrency (according to sources), dubbed Libra (or GlobalCoin, or whatever they may call it) and the leaks and rumors during the weekend has kept everyone on their toes. So to help those of you who are interested in following up, I've curated the best pieces, both news and analysis I've read during the weekend to make sure you won't miss a thing.

Report: Uber, PayPal, Visa to Back Facebook’s GlobalCoin Cryptocurrency. The Wall Street Journal reported that the social media giant has signed on more than a dozen backers for its GlobalCoin cryptocurrency, a stablecoin that has been developed in secrecy for more than six months. Each of the new backers will invest roughly $10 million in the project as part of a governing consortium for the cryptocurrency. Stripe, and MercadoLibre are part of the project, according to the Journal, though the report does not specify what their roles are. (WSJ)

Facebook to launch Libra Blockchain testnet next week, backed by Libra Reserve. Facebook and the dozens of partners will introduce the Libra Association which will oversee Libra, “a simple global currency and financial infrastructure” meant to reach billions of people.  Libra will be built on the Libra Blockchain and backed by Libra Reserve "of real assets” that will provide the cryptocurrency with “stability, low inflation, global acceptance, and fungibility.” This event will signify the launch of a testnet meant to gather community feedback on the project and inform the future direction. (The Block)

Facebook’s GlobalCoin May Be A ‘Historic Initiative’. “We believe this may prove to be one of the most important initiatives in the history of the company to unlock new engagement and revenue streams,” RBC analysts Mark Mahaney and Zachary Schwartzman say in a note to investors. RBC has an outperform rating on Facebook with a price target of $250 a share (CNBC).

What Facebook's cryptocurrency means: 6 predictions. Wyoming Blockchain Task Force member and Wall Street Veteran Caitlin Long believes Facebook's Libra cryptocurrency will have six direct effects on the current financial system. (Forbes)

Facebook’s Libra coin will drive faster and better crypto regulation. Having a powerhouse lobbying for clearer crypto regulations in Washington will help drive the industry forward. (Decrypt)

Concerns Over Facebook Data Use Derailed at Least 3 Crypto Partnerships.  Despite reports that Facebook is gearing up to reveal its new cryptocurrency as early as next week, a source with knowledge of Facebook’s operations said the project’s software has a long way to go until it can be used. Sources attribute the delay to blockchain industry incumbents being reluctant to work on a project that doesn’t appear to have the hallmarks of a true cryptocurrency. One source estimated that early 2020 would be a more realistic timeframe for testing, so any imminent announcements would merely be forward-looking plans. (Coindesk)

📇 Top News

Bitcoin Futures Record Volume Reflects ‘Incremental’ Institutional Demand. On June 13, CME Group’s Bitcoin futures set new records for both volumes and open interest last month. A total of $515 million in notional value was traded, a surge of more than a third since April and 250 percent more year on year. This performance is further proof Bitcoin’s 2019 renaissance has transformed perceptions of a market which held little faith even six months ago.

Bitcoin Surpasses 1 Million Daily Active Addresses. Bitcoin just passed an interesting milestone today, one we haven’t seen since November 27, 2017. While DAA doesn’t mean much in practice, it’s an important metric in that it shows actual, unique transfers separate from the various direct transfers to and from bigger exchanges. The fact that there are over a million unique addresses transacting on the blockchain is, as they say, good for bitcoin.

Iceland’s Currency Will Be First in Europe to Be Traded as E-Money. In a European first, the ConsenSys-backed Monerium has received approval to run fiat over a blockchain as a regulated form of payment.

Bakkt Reveals Bitcoin Futures Contract Details Ahead of July Test Date. In addition to the date, ICE provided new details for Bakkt’s monthly contract, as well as updated the contract specifications for its daily contract. Both contracts will see a minimum price fluctuation of $2.50 per bitcoin (with each contract containing one bitcoin). Trades may be executed at $0.01 per bitcoin, with a listing cycle that can last for as long as 12 months (for the monthly contract) or 70 consecutive eligible contract dates (for the daily contract).

14 Banks, 5 Tokens: Inside Fnality’s Expansive Vision for Interbank Blockchains. With $63.2 million in fresh funding from 14 banks, Fnality is building tokenized versions of five major fiat currencies. The digitized fiat would be fully collateralized by cash held at central banks and is meant to solve the “cash on ledger” problem faced by other financial blockchain projects. The consortium says it is open to working with JPMorgan, whose JPM Coin project has similar aims. Fnality’s tech partner, Clearmatics, is building these systems on a private version of ethereum.

Circle is shutting down its Circle Pay app by the end of the summer. Circle is scrapping the program is favor of other products, particularly through its USD Coin and exchange Poloniex.

💸 Exchange News & Updates

Americans Got 90 Days to Stop Trading – But ‘Binance America’ Is Coming. Bad news for U.S. citizens trading on Binance. They have less than 90 days before their trading functionality is disabled. However, those left feeling deflated over the latest news have some cause for celebration, Binance.US is coming soon.

Bitfinex Is Starting to Buy Back and ‘Burn’ Its LEO Exchange Token. In an announcement Friday, the firm said as part of its token redemption process, the UNUS SED LEO Transparency Initiative will allow the public to see parent firm iFinex use its gross revenues to purchase circulating LEO tokens at market rates. These will then be destroyed, or burned, as the firm effectively pays back those who bought the exchange token in a $1 billion sale early last month.

Bittrex and Bitfinex appear to step up KYC controls in wake of regulatory entanglements. Two days ago, one user took to Reddit to share an email from Bitfinex in which the firm asked the client to share additional information about his account, including "a clear and detailed explanation of ... activity and objectives."

Binance launches ‘initial DEX offering’. Raven is the next step in the ICO evolution, but some are worried this makes fund-raising even harder to regulate and control.

🚀 Funding, Product & Project Updates

Ethereum 2.0 Planned For Launch on the 3rd of January 2020. Justin Drake, an eth 2.0 researcher said they’re on track for phase zero spec freeze this June 30th, in about two weeks.

An In-Depth Look at Iris, a New Decentralized Social Network. Cryptocurrency advocates have been discussing a new social media platform designed by one of Bitcoin’s earliest developers Martti Malmi, otherwise known as Sirius. The project he designed, called Iris, is a social networking application that stores and indexes everything on the user’s devices and connects directly with peers rather than using centralized and privacy-invasive algorithms.

John McAfee Launches ’Magic’ Crypto Trading Multi-Platform and Debit Card. The project allows for manual and automated crypto trading across a variety of digital asset exchanges all displayed in one user interface. According to the website, the service is the second product besides his well-known antivirus software to bear the McAfee name.

Crypterium Introduces Global Crypto Payments Card. The card offers zero fees for bitcoin, ethereum, and litecoin transactions.

A Protocol for Issuing Tokens Launches on Bitcoin’s Lightning Network. What started as a client’s request for a more secure alternative to ethereum’s ERC-20 tokens will soon emerge as the first unique protocol for issuing tokens via bitcoin’s lightning network. This open-source token project, called Spectrum, includes contributions from investors at Fulgur Ventures and Poseidon Group, startups such as Bitrefill and Chainside, as well as support from crypto exchange giant Bitfinex. The goal is to change the perception that bitcoin is too slow moving for experimentation.

Bitcoin Startup Bitrefill Raises $2 Million Funding for Global Expansion. Bitrefill services make it easier to “make a living” with cryptocurrency and that the startup’s participation in the lighting network ecosystem “opens up even more potential for bitcoin and beyond.” Bitrefill’s Thor service, for example, allows people to give lightning channels to someone else with no setup on the recipient’s side.

Ampleforth raises $5 million in IEO. Ampleforth, the first token to be offered on Ethfinex and Bitfinex’s IEO platform Tokinex, reached $5 million in 11 seconds during its initial exchange offering. 

Blockchain project Spring Labs gets $23 million in funding. The company is focusing first on blockchain-based tools to combat fraud. The first products to be built on Spring protocol are identity verification solution Spring Verify, Spring Defense for fraud monitoring and mitigation, and Spring Protect for loan stacking prevention.

New Report Reveals Details of Telegram’s TON Blockchain. According to information presented in Aton’s research, the total supply of gram tokens “will initially be around 5 billion,” while the expected inflation rate is set at 2%, meaning that the total supply of grams will double to 10 billion in 35 years. Estimates of what gram tokens may cost in the future also vary, but are believed to be in the region of $2.10 - $8.00, the research claims.

📙 Long Reads

Bloomberg: Bitcoin Price May Hit $400K Due to Fundamentals, Not FOMO. If the pattern of the last two rallies repeats, Bitcoin could rise to $60,000 to $400,000 before crashing 85% again. But today’s cryptomarket is far different from the ones in 2013 and 2015, when the last two rallies started. It’s much larger for one thing, $260 billion in market cap compared with $1 billion in 2013 and $3 billion in 2015. There are far more cryptoassets and far more users. More than $30 billion of investment capital was spent in 2018 building platforms and code bases. The regulatory picture has clarified considerably, and big companies including JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Facebook Inc. are jumping into the sector.

Statechains: non-custodial off-chain Bitcoin transfer. This article introduces Statechains, a novel layer two scaling protocol for Bitcoin with some unique features. We’ll go through its strengths and weaknesses, look at how it integrates with the Lightning Network, and discuss the privacy implications of combining it with Blind Signatures.

Uniswap: The People’s DEX. Great post to learn about what is Uniswap, how it works and why it's genius. Uniswap is a decentralized protocol built on Ethereum consisting of two smart contracts, a Factory, and an Exchange. The contracts seek to eliminate rent-seeking behaviors of middleman and allow for fast and efficient execution of exchange for anyone looking for a trading counterparty.

(In)Stability for the blockchain: deleveraging spirals and stablecoin attack. Non-custodial stable assets like MakerDAO's Dai ($DAI) face two inherent risks: market collapse or Oracle/governance manipulation. In this theoretical study of non-custodial stablecoin risk out of Cornell University, Klages-Mundt and Minca focus on the stable and unstable domains of stablecoin markets and ways to solve price pegging issues with coins like Dai.

Initial Exchange Offerings Are Providing Big Returns, But Why? Despite legality issues for US investors, many global participants are still actively investing in these offerings due to their return potential. So, what is driving prices?

📆 Upcoming events you should know


June 18-19 - Security Tokens Realised (Hong Kong)
June 22-24 - Zcon1 - Second Annual Zcash Conference (Croatia)
June 25-26 - Bitcoin 2019 (San Francisco)
July 4-5 - Asia Blockchain Summit (Taipei)
August 20-29 - Berlin Blockchain Week (Berlin)
September 8-15 - Tel-Aviv Blockchain Week (Tel-Aviv)
September 14-15 - Baltic Honeybadger 2019 (Latvia)
October 15-16 Crypto Invest Summit (Los Angeles)

Know of any good events/conferences we are missing and people should know about? Reply to his email with the name/link.
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Crypto Briefing · Rothschild 18 · Tel-Aviv · Saint Kitts and Nevis