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Price Watch: Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple Fall Further

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The global cryptocurrency market continues to endure a bearish downtrend. Over the past week, the cryptocurrency market shed 19% of its total market cap, or almost $65 billion. Ethereum has fallen below $500 for the first time since March.

Bitcoin | BTC

UPDATED: JUNE 13, 2018 AT 2:41 AM PDT

$6,537.10 |  4.98%

Bitcoin, currently ranked #1 by market cap, is down 4.98% over the past 24 hours. BTC has a market cap of $111.72B with a 24 hour volume of $4.57B.

Chart by CryptoCompare

Bitcoin is down 4.98% over the past 24 hours.

Following the Coinrail exchange hack on June 10, Bitcoin fell below $7000 for the first time since late March. According to a statement released Sunday, the exchange lost 30% of its total cryptocurrency value and confirmed that NPER, ATX, and NPXS coins, and other cryptocurrencies are now safely stored in a secure cold wallet.

Despite the volatile market, individuals and institutions are still interested in crypto, and Bitcoin exchanges are under pressure to meet increasing demand with proper regulations.

Related Article: Bitcoin Exchanges Rushing Toward Regulation

On June 6, Coinbase announced that the platform is “on track” for SEC registration, legitimizing the exchange as a broker-dealer “capable of offering blockchain-based securities.”

In early June, Goldman Sachs-backed cryptocurrency startup Circle also expressed intent to pursue a federal banking license and registration as a securities exchange.

Ethereum | ETH

UPDATED: JUNE 13, 2018 AT 2:41 AM PDT

$476.45 |  11.13%

Ethereum, currently ranked #2 by market cap, is down 11.13% over the past 24 hours. ETH has a market cap of $47.67B with a 24 hour volume of $1.91B.

Ethereum is down 11.13% over the past 24 hours.

On May 14, the Thailand Securities and Exchange Commision (SEC) legalized Ethereum as one of seven cryptocurrencies available for exchange.

On June 9, the Bangkok Post released a statement reporting on the regulatory update:

“The SEC will allow seven cryptocurrencies, used for initial coin offerings (ICOs), to be traded as trading pairs. They are Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum Classic, Litecoin, Ripple, and Stellar.”

Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, and Litecoin Among 7 Cryptocurrencies Now Legal in Thailand

Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, and Litecoin Among 7 Cryptocurrencies Now Legal in ThailandIn Southeast Asia, Ethereum is enabling a vast population of unbanked citizens to have access to small money loans.

Ripple | XRP

UPDATED: JUNE 13, 2018 AT 2:41 AM PDT

$0.54 |  9.15%

Ripple, currently ranked #3 by market cap, is down 9.15% over the past 24 hours. XRP has a market cap of $21.24B with a 24 hour volume of $295.49M.

Chart by CryptoCompare

Ripple is down 9.15% over the past 24 hours.

On May 14, the Thailand Securities and Exchange Commision (SEC) legalized Ripple as one of seven cryptocurrencies available for exchange.

Ripple CEO: ‘Blockchain Will Not Disrupt Banks’ and ‘China Controls Bitcoin’
Related: Ripple CEO: ‘Blockchain Will Not Disrupt Banks’ and ‘China Controls Bitcoin’

On June 11, Ripple CEO, Brad Garlinghouse gave his thoughts on the long-term outlook of Ripple’s technology and future of cryptocurrency mass adoption at the 2018 Stifel Cross Sector Insight Conference.

Denouncing Bitcoin as a centralized cryptocurrency with nearly 40% of its mining power located in China, Garlinghouse made bold statements about the world’s largest cryptocurrency:

“Bitcoin today takes 45 minutes to settle a transaction… Bitcoin is really controlled by China. There are four miners in China that control over 50% of Bitcoin… How do we know that China won’t intervene?  How many countries want to use a Chinese-controlled currency?”

Describing the long-term goals of the Ripple platform, Garlinghouse stated:

“There are millions unbanked or underbanked… When I think about the transformation, it is fundamentally changing the way millions participate in banking. We can fundamentally change the way this works, to bring an entire population up a step in the system.”

Conclusion

The global cryptocurrency market cap stands at $276.31B with a 24 hour volume of $14.86B. The Coinbase Index is currently sitting at 2966.63. Bitcoin dominance is currently at 40.43%.

At press time, 97 of the top 100 coins by market capitalization are in the red and it’s unclear when the market will turn green. Traders are reminded to remain cautious during market drops and only invest what they can afford to lose.

Cover Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash

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Australians Can Pay Utility Bills With Bitcoin (BTC)

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Bitcoin (BTC)–In terms of adoption for cryptocurrency, being able to pay for real world goods and services with the digital currency has long been viewed as the gold standard. The bear market of 2018 has led to a shift in focus away from the fundamentals of crypto and the usability of blockchain transactions in favor of wild price speculation. However, an Australian-based partnership is attempting to provide a solution for customers looking to pay their utility bills with cryptocurrency.

Cryptocurrency exchange Cointree announced a joint-venture with billing platform Gobbill to give Australian customers the opportunity to pay their utility bills with cryptocurrency. The goal of the union is to provide a solution for automated billing via crypto, with Gobbill functioning as the intermediary in the exchange, taking user funds in crypto and making the payment in fiat.

Using the Cointree wallet, users of the cryptocurrency exchange will be able to convert stored coins automatically into utility bill payments, giving customers the opportunity to pay in BTC, XRP, and nearly 40 other currencies. While Australian utility companies will not be accepting crypto directly for payment (the exchange involves a conversion to fiat), it does represent a way for Australian crypto users to get around having to cash out of their denomination on exchanges to free up funds for utility payment. The service is being aimed at small businesses and average investors, with the co-founder and CEO of Gobbill, Shendon Ewans, expounding upon the planned form of payment,

“We anticipate a surge in the number of customers who would like to pay their bills in crypto in the coming years. Our partnership with Cointree will cater to this market and ensure Gobbill continues to remain ahead of the curve when it comes to allowing our users to pay their bills automatically, while knowing they’re protected from fraud and scams.”

According to Ewans, Gobbill views this partnership with Cointree as getting ahead of the curve, a refrain we have heard several times from tangential businesses attempting to capitalize on cryptocurrency. By offering a service that automatically takes payments in cryptocurrency, Gobbill is exposing itself to the growing, and vocal, userbase of cryptocurrency, in addition to paving a future for their company that involves a takeoff in the digital currencies.

Cointree also sees partnerships for bill payments and automatic drafting as a way to increase their customer base, with efforts already enacted for several years on the front of crypto-to-bill payment. Jess Rendon, operations manager of Cointree, reported that the company has processed $100 million in bills paid in 2017,

“Last year alone we had about AU$100 million of bills paid and saw ten times growth in this payment feature.

CCN reports that paying bills with cryptocurrency has seen an explosion in Australia over the last several years, having grown by 3300% in a three-year period. While the system devised by Gobbill is still a step removed from utility companies accepting Bitcoin and altcoins directly, it does provide another avenue for investors looking to use their coins outside of exchange speculation.

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Bakkt CEO: ‘With Our Solution, the Buying and Selling of Bitcoin Is Fully Collateralized or Pre-Funded’

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On Monday (20 August 2018), Bakkt, the new company announced by Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) on 3 August 2018, declared that with its solution, “the buying and selling of bitcoin is fully collateralized or pre-funded.”

ICE’s press release mentioned that Bakkt would be offering a one-day phsyically-delivered Bitcoin futures product:

“As an initial component of the Bakkt offering, Intercontinental Exchange’s U.S.-based futures exchange and clearing house plan to launch a 1-day physically delivered Bitcoin contract along with physical warehousing in November 2018, subject to CFTC review and approval. These regulated venues will establish new protocols for managing the specific security and settlement requirements of digital currencies.”

This is how Bakkt announced today’s news on Twitter:

Kelly Loeffler, the CEO of Bakkt, provided more details in a post on Bakkt’s Medium blog.

Loeffler started by saying that to achieve a “trusted infrastructure for trading, storing and spending digital currencies”, Bakkt would need to provide:

  • “a consistent regulatory construct”;
  • “transparent, efficient price discovery”; and
  • “an institutional quality pre- and post-trade infrastructure”

She then moved to the “meat” of Bakkt’s announcement:

“A critical element to price discovery is physical delivery. Specifically, with our solution, the buying and selling of Bitcoin is fully collateralized or pre-funded. As such, our new daily Bitcoin contract will not be traded on margin, use leverage, or serve to create a paper claim on a real asset.”

She noted that this provided support for market integrity and differentiated them from other exchanges which “allow for margin, leverage and cash settlement.” She went on to say that once you take into account the fact that Bakkt also provides “a secure, regulated warehouse solution”, it was easy to see how this infrastructure could “help more institutions and consumers participate in the asset class.”

For many crypto traders/investors and analysts, what Bakkt announced today sounded great. However, not everyone was equally excited.

Caitlin Long, 22-year Wall Street veteran (including over eight years at U.S. investment bank Morgan Stanley) who has been active in Bitcoin since 2012, expressed her concern about “financialization” (i.e. when an asset class becomes investable by large institutional investors) of cryptocurrencies, and especially her worries about “leverage-based financialization” (which arises “either from the issuance of more assets out of thin air to dilute existing holders, or from the creation of more claims to the asset than there are assets”) in an article for Forbes published on 31 July 2018.

Upon hearing Bakkt’s announcement earlier today, she sent out the following tweets to explain that although the confirmation that Bakkt’s daily Bitcoin contract would not be traded on margin, use leverage, or serve to create a paper claim on a real asset” was a good thing, she still had a few reservations:

 

 

 

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Biometric Cryptocurrency Card Protects Bitcoin with Fingerprints

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Unikeys has officially announced its UKey cryptocurrency card.

In form, it’s shaped like any other regular payment card. But it’s designed to host multiple popular cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ether, and Litecoin. What’s more, it features an embedded fingerprint sensor. Once a user’s fingerprint data has been registered and stored in the card’s Secure Element, the card is then able to biometrically authenticate the user for each transaction, ensuring a high level of security.

The biometric component is the product of a collaboration between Unikeys and Hong Kong-based MeReal Biometrics, which obtained its fingerprint sensor technology from Sweden’s Fingerprint Cards. Fingerprint Cards has been very busy in recent months seeking to secure a leading position in the biometric cards market as major financial services brands like Visa and Mastercard prepare for mass commercialization of this kind of technology; Unikeys, for its part, is ahead of the curve.

Of course, a key to success for the latter company will be establishing merchant support for its card’s cryptocurrency payments, and as RFID Journal reports, Unikeys is currently in talks with “several companies” concerning this issue. Unikeys’ CEO says the company is also planning to launch a pilot for its solution in Hong Kong, though details about the project are forthcoming.

Biometric Cryptocurrency Card Protects Bitcoin with Fingerprints

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