Cryptocurrencies declined for the large part of the week, mainly due to regulatory concerns, but was attempting a rebound Friday morning. Bitcoin sunk below $7,300 by Thursday as a news report suggested that the US government was planning to launch a criminal probe into the allegations of price manipulation in the top cryptocurrency.
The cryptocurrency market capitalization reportedly dropped about $16 billion on Thursday. The total market cap was around $335.59 billion Friday morning, on CoinMarketCap.
Here is a collection of the main stories from the world of cryptocurrency and blockchain this week, thus far.
US Reportedly Opens Criminal Inquiry Into Bitcoin Price Manipulation
The U.S. Department of Justice has opened a criminal investigation into whether traders are manipulating the price of bitcoin and other digital currencies, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The agency is said to be working with Commodity Futures Trading Commission or CFTC, a financial regulator that oversees crypto futures. Read more…
U.S., Canadian Regulators Conduct Crypto-Crackdown In ‘Operation Cryptosweep’
State and provincial securities regulators in the U.S. and Canada have probably conducted one of the largest coordinated crackdowns on fraudulent Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), cryptocurrency-related investment products, and the people behind them. The crackdown dubbed “Operation Cryptosweep” was conducted in coordination with the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), with 44 jurisdictions participating from the U.S. and Canada.
India Plans To Levy 18% GST On Cryptos; Russia Treats Them As Property
India may slap an 18 percent Goods and Services Tax on cryptocurrency trades, and Bitcoin and its peers could be treated as intangible goods similar to software, the business news outlet BloombergQuint reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The proposal comes even as there is uncertainty regarding the legal status of cryptocurrency in the country. In Russia, Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov said cryptocurrency falls under the legal category of “other property” and virtual coins cannot be considered as electronic money, for now. Meanwhile, a bill to legally recognize smart contracts and records stored on a blockchain has been introduced in the Ohio Senate.
China Releases First-ever Blockchain Rankings
China released the world’s first-ever blockchain rankings by a government, even though it had banned the use of cryptocurrency, and Ethereum, whose native currency is called Ether, was ranked first, while the distributed ledger of Bitcoin received only a 13th place.
Robert Shiller Says Cryptos Could Be Just Another Failed Currency Project
Robert Shiller, a Nobel laureate, said cryptocurrencies could turn out to be just another failed currency experiment. “As in the past, the public’s fascination with cryptocurrencies is tied to a sort of mystery, like the mystery of the value of money itself, consisting in the new money’s connection to advanced science,” Shiller wrote in a blog on the Project Syndicate website. The Yale Professor said that practically, only those in the computer science departments, can explain how cryptocurrencies work.
Brian Kelly Backs Bitcoin Cash; Vanguard Economist Says Bitcoin Price May Reach Zero
Crypto investor Brian Kelly voiced support for Bitcoin Cash, saying in a CNBC show that the altcoin is the must-own currency at the present moment. Meanwhile, Joe Davis, the global chief economist at Vanguard, said in an op-ed in ETF.com that there was a decent probability that Bitcoin’s price would reach zero. Elsewhere, internet security expert and self-proclaimed cryptocurrency expert John McAfee predicted that institutional investors are set to pump billions into cryptocurrencies.
Cease-and-Desist Orders Galore
The New Jersey Bureau of Securities issued an emergency cease-and-desist order against three online cryptocurrency promoters – Bullcoin Foundation a/k/a Bullcoin Gold, Trident d/b/a Trident Crypto Index Fund, and Springcryptoinvest – for offering unregistered securities in the state. South Carolina has issued a cease-and-desist order against blockchain startup ShipChain over its unregistered token sales, claiming that it violated the state’s Uniform Securities Act of 2005. In Australia, people lost nearly A$2.1 million in crypto scams in 2017, as the popularity of cryptocurrencies peaked in the final quarter of the year, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said in its latest “Targeting Scams” report.
Walmart Plans Blockchain-based Marketplace; Japan’s MUFG To Launch Own Crypto
Retail behemoth Walmart filed a patent for a blockchain-based digital marketplace to resell purchased products, as part of its efforts to expand digital services to retail customers. Japan’s Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group or MUFG is reportedly planning to launch its own cryptocurrency called MUFG Coin by 2019. The fifth-largest bank in the world by assets is planning a large-scale trial that will involve nearly 100,000 account holders who apply to take part.
The terms discussed this week were MINING, DCA, ALTCOIN, DDoS, and BITCOIN FAUCET.
As of 10.28 am ET on Friday, Bitcoin was down 8.9 percent for the week at $7,495.01 and Ethereum was lower by 12.75 percent at $601.14 on Coinbase.
by Jyotsna V