This week’s summary of various cryptocurrency news and developments:
Troubled Exchange BTC-e is now back online
BTC-e, one of the oldest bitcoin exchanges, was taken down earlier this summer after a Russian national was arrested for allegedly laundering billions in bitcoin. At the time it was believed that he was an admin at the exchange, and it was also revealed that the exchange was fined for $110 million, but soon after an admin behind the exchange’s Bitcointalk forum account starting posting updates on its situation and clarified the Russian national never worked there. The admin revealed that the exchange controlled 55% of user funds, and that it would reimburse the remaining 45% by issuing a Bitfinex-like token.
In one of the updates the admin also added that the exchange would relaunch in September – and it did. BTC-e is now back online on the https://btc-e.nz/ domain. At press time, users are only able to alter their security settings and check their account balances, while being advised by the exchange to alter their security settings, as the seizure might have compromised their security.
— BTC-E (@btcecom) August 31, 2017
Wrestler John Cena put bitcoin in front of his 7 million Instagram followers
Celebrity support is vital for cryptocurrencies to hit mainstream adoption and, now more than ever, it looks like celebrities are starting to accept cryptocurrencies. This week, professional wrestler John Cena posted a stock image of physical bitcoins on Instagram and, at press time, the image already has nearly 54,000 likes in it, along with a lot of comments. Other celebrities, including billionaire Mark Cuban and rapper The Game, have recently been involved in cryptocurrency-related projects
John Cena’s post coincided with a new all-time high for bitcoin. Although it may be unrelated, the push towards mainstream adoption will certainly help bitcoin gain momentum.
The SEC warned would-be ICO investors about potential “pump and dump” schemes
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently warned would-be ICO investors about possible “pump and dump” schemes on Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) as companies may try to take advantage of people looking to invest in “new and emerging technologies.” The warning reads:
- “Fraudsters often try to use the lure of new and emerging technologies to convince potential victims to invest their money in scams. These frauds include ‘pump-and-dump’ and market manipulation schemes involving publicly traded companies that claim to provide exposure to these new technologies.”
The move comes after the SEC suspended the trading activities of four OTC-based companies, over concerns regarding the accuracy of information and value of the assets in their ICOs.
A Putin ally wants to raise $100 million in an ICO to invest in bitcoin mining
According to Bloomberg, Putin’s internet advisor plans on raising $100 million through an ICO to challenge China’s bitcoin mining supremacy. The goal is to get his company, Russian Miner Coin (RMC), to use funds raised through the ICO to bitcoin mining infrastructure in Russia and, in return, token holders would have the rights to 18% of the revenue generated by said mining infrastructure.
According to Putin’s internet advisor, Dmitry Marinichev, Russia has the potential to be a dominant player in the cryptocurrency mining industry, as per his own words the country could managed to own 30% of the cryptocurrency mining market.
Bitcoin exchange ShapeShift forced by reckless regulations to leave Washington state
Popular cryptocurrency exchange ShapeShift recently announced it was terminating its service to Washington residents due to the state’s reckless regulations, imposed by “Senate Bill 5031.” According to a blog post, the company is now joining others, such as Bitstamp, Bitfinex, and Poloniex, in leaving the state as the new bill essentially requires these companies to apply for a license and post a surety bond, potentially costing them thousands of dollars. Moreover, they’re required to gather and store personal data on their users, which according to ShapeShift means the data can possibly be stolen by hackers.
In its announcement, ShapeShift criticized Washington regulators, stating:
- “We believe the position that Washington’s regulators have taken is unethical, wasteful, and reckless. We cannot expect the same people, and the same thinking, that designed, built, and promoted the legacy fiat financial system to do what is needed to build a better alternative.”
China considers cracking down on ICOs
A report by Tencent Finance recently revealed details of a meeting that took place on August 18. In it, China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), and officials from the Securities and Futures Commission, the insurance regulatory body, and the Banking Regulatory Commission, among others, discussed regulatory oversight of ICOs. This reportedly includes limiting their scale and size, while increasing the amount of information that needs to be disclosed, and strengthening supervision and risk alerts. Furthermore, if ICOs are seen as a significant market risk, the report shows they could potentially be suspended. At this point, however, regulations are still at a preliminary stage.
Russia wants to restrict cryptocurrency sales to “qualified investors”
According to local television channel Rossiya 24, Russia’s deputy finance minister Alexey Moiseev stated that it’s hard to “argue cryptocurrency is not a pyramid scheme”, and reportedly has plans on banning cryptocurrency sales to those who aren’t seen as qualified investors, and who have a reason to purchase digital assets. Notably, he stated:
- “For ordinary people, there’s no way because these are very dangerous investments that could lead to loss of money.”
According to Moiseev, as a regulated financial instrument, stock exchanges under the supervision of Rosfinmonitoring, the Federal Financial Monitoring Service, would sell cryptocurrencies.
Bitcoin hit a new historic all-time high above $5,000
Bitcoin’s value has been surging lately, as fears of a bubble forming fade away, and as investor interest keeps growing. At press time, one bitcoin is worth $4,635.26, according to CoinMarketCap, but the cryptocurrency managed to reach an all-time high above $5,000 this week. Bitcoin’s market cap is currently of $76.6 billion, and its dominance is of 45.9%. The cryptocurrency ecosystem has a market cap of $167 billion.
Litecoin hit a $92.07 all-time high, before dropping to $79.29
Litecoin has been surging this week, to the point of shattering its previous all-time high and hitting a new one of $92.07, according to CoinMarketCap. The surge appears to have started because of a tweet from Litecoin developer Charlie Lee. In the tweet, Charlie Lee showed a screenshot of a Lightning network-enabled wallet, stating that it was working on the Litecoin mainnet.
— Charlie Lee (@SatoshiLite) August 31, 2017
The cryptocurrency’s development, along with support from various companies and renowned individuals is also helping it reach new heights.