This week’s summary of various cryptocurrency news and developments.
Billionaire Mark Cuban says Dallas Mavericks will accept Bitcoin, ether “next season”
Outspoken billionaire and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban recently made it clear that the U.S. basketball team will soon start accepting cryptocurrency payments for tickets. A Twitter user approached Cuban asking him when he would be able to buy tickets with cryptocurrency, and the billionaire replied “next season.” Speaking to CoinDesk, Cuban then confirmed that the Mavericks won’t just accept Bitcoin, but also Ethereum and possibly “other currencies.”
— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) January 16, 2018
First Bitcoin Futures contracts settle at $10,900
The cryptocurrency ecosystem suffered a significant correction this week. Bitcoin, the flagship cryptocurrency, momentarily dipped below the $10,000 mark before its price bounced back up. The Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE)’s futures contracts closed on January 17, at $10,900 near the end of the turbulent week the market endured. This marked a win for Bitcoin bears, as the cryptocurrency was trading at little over $11,000 when the contracts settled. Speaking to The Financial Times, CBOE’s chief executive officer Ed Tilly stated:
- “[The] market experienced a smooth operational close and the settlement process worked as designed.”
CBOE initially launched its Bitcoin futures contracts with each contract representing one Bitcoin. The CME Group then launched the world’s second Bitcoin futures contracts representing five Bitcoins each. These will settle on January 26.
$400,000 in Stellar Lumens stolen after BlackWallet hack
As first reported by Bleeping Computer, a group of unknown hackers managed to hijack the DNS servers of web-based Stellar Lumens (XLM) application BlackWallet.co. According to reports, the hackers managed to redirect users to their own, compromised version of BlackWallet’s website, meaning users who entered their credentials saw their funds get stolen. As much as 669,920 Lumens, worth over $400,000 at the time of the attack, were taken from unsuspecting users.
Notably the hacker(s) then transferred the funds to cryptocurrency exchange Bittrex. The community quickly started contacting the exchange so the account that received the funds could be blocked. Per BlackWallet’s admins, their hosting provider has been contacted to provide as much information as possible.
BitConnect closes lending and exchange platform, BCC token tanks
BitConnect, recently shut down its lending and exchange platform, which was believed to essentially be a Ponzi scheme taking advantage of the cryptocurrency ecosystem’s development. Through a blog post, the company claimed that bad press created a sense of insecurity in its community, which subsequently led to a lack of confidence in the platform. It also claimed distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks further alerted its community, while cease and desist letters from regulators in Texas and North Carolina forced it to make its move. Users were given their money back in BCC tokens at a $300 market rate. At press time the company’s BitConnect Coin (BCC) is trading at $26.98, after hitting a $9 low a few hours after its anouncement.
The company notably maintained its BitConnect X ICO, which was specifically mentioned in regulators’ cease and desist letters, and claims it will set up a new exchange in which both the new token and the BCC token will be listed.
Indonesia’s central bank launches cryptocurrency crackdown in Bali
Bank Indonesia (BI), Indonesia’ central bank, has recently teamed up with the country’s national police to crackdown on cryptocurrency users in the island of Bali, a common tourist hotspot. The central bank has in the past made it clear Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies aren’t a legal payment method in the country, and already ordered the closure of Bitcoin processors. The head of BI’s representative office, Causa Iman Karana, stated:
- “We are looking out for Bitcoin transactions in Bali, particularly in tourist spots. We will take measures against non-rupiah transactions. (…) We warned people not to carry out transactions with virtual money because there is no authority that regulates the transactions”
At least two cafes were found transacting in Bitcoin. Both, according to the central bank official, were ordered not to use the cryptocurrency anymore.
Venezuela to issue its cryptocurrency through a token sale, calls on 11 countries to adopt it
Venezuela is set to issue its controversial Petro cryptocurrency through a token sale, according to Bloomberg News. Reportedly, president Nicolás Maduro ordered the issuance of 100 million Petros, out of which 38 million will be sold to institutional investors throughout a month, and are expected to bring in $1.3 billion. An additional 44 billion will be sold to the general public, and are set to bring in $2.4 billion. The remaining Petro tokens will go to a panel of advisers and to the government. Tellingly, Bloomberg revealed the token is pegged to the country’s oil reserves, but the Petro won’t be exchangeable for the commodity. Over half of the token sales’ funds will go to a sovereign fund, while the rest will be used to support the cryptocurrency’s technology as well as other projects.
This week, Colombian news outlet El Tiempo reported that Maduro also urged 11 different countries to adopt the Petro. The countries called to adopt the cryptocurrency were from the Bolivian Alliance for the Peoples of America (ALBA), and include Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Ecuador, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, and more. He said:
- “I put on the table, brother governments of the ALBA, the proposal of the cryptocurrency the petro, so that we [may] assume it as one of the projects of integration of the 21st century in a bold way, but also in a creative way.”
Bitcoin at $12,716 as the market starts to recover
The cryptocurrency ecosystem endured a major correction this week. According to data from CoinMarketCap, Bitcoin, the number one cryptocurrency, fell to a $9,600 low before it started recovering. At press time the cryptocurrency is trading at $12,716 and its market cap is of $213 billion. Notably, the Bitcoin dominance index has now fallen to 34.6%, as the cryptocurrency ecosystem’s market cap is above $617 billion.
Ethereum at $1,133.79, down from a $1,415 all-time high
Earlier this month, Ethereum hit an all-time high of $1,415 before its price started falling back to an $824 low. The cryptocurrency’s price fell along with the rest of the ecosystem, as part of a seemingly usual January cryptocurrency market crash. At press time Ethereum is trading at $1,133 and its market cap is of $110 billion. Ethereum currently has 17.75% of the ecosystem’s market share.
Ripple’s XRP at $1.61 as it recovers from steep correction
Ripple’s XRP token has fallen from an all-time high of $3.7 achieved in early January, to $0.92 this week. The centralized cryptocurrency saw its value go from little over $0.25 to its all-time high in little over a month, so various experts expected the correction to occur. The cryptocurrency has been correcting since, and was somewhat less affected by the recent market crash than other major cryptocurrencies, as it was already on a downward trajectory.. At press time the XRP token is trading at $1.61 as its market cap is of $62 billion. XRP’s cryptocurrency market share is of 9.7%.