Coming every Sunday, the Hodler’s Digest will help you track every single important news story that happened this week. The best (and worst) quotes, adoption and regulation highlights, leading coins, predictions, and much more — a week on Cointelegraph in one link.
Top Stories This Week
Bitstamp Starts Investigation After Large BTC Sell Leads to $250 Million Liquidated on BitMEX
Major crypto exchange Bitstamp launched an investigation this week after a large bitcoin (BTC) sell order heavily impacted its order book. Bitstamp reported on the execution of the large bitcoin sell order from BTC to United States dollars, without specifying themselves the details of the transaction. Other crypto media noted that it involved a sell order that led to a liquidation of $250 million long positions on the BitMEX exchange with 5,000 BTC sold at $6,200, which further resulted in price declines on other crypto exchanges. Some crypto commentators suggested that the sell order could be made by mistake, with the order’s owner having meant to sell his/her bitcoin at $8,200 instead of $6,200.
Flexa Launches App Where Shoppers Can Spend Crypto at 15 Major U.S. Retailers
Payments startup Flexa unveiled an app this week that allows consumers to spend cryptocurrencies at major American retailers. The app, called Spedn, is currently set up to work with retailers including Barnes & Noble, Bed Bath & Beyond, GameStop, Lowe’s, Nordstrom, Office Depot and Whole Foods Market, with more stores to be added in the coming months. Stores that aren’t able to accept cryptocurrency will require the crypto to be instantly converted to fiat when an item is purchased. As of now, purchase on Spedn can be made with bitcoin, ether (ETH), bitcoin cash (BCH) as well as the gemini dollar (GUSD) stablecoin.
U.S. SEC Delays Decision on Bitwise Bitcoin ETF, Seeks Public Comment
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has again delayed its decision to approve or disapprove cryptocurrency index fund provider Bitwise Asset Management’s bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund (ETF) application. In this week’s filing, the SEC also noted that it requested public comment from interested parties, asking for “written submissions of their views, data, and arguments with respect to the issues identified above, as well as any other concerns they may have with the proposal.” Bitwise had initially filed for an ETF in February, under the condition that the SEC would reach a decision in 45 days, with its application differing from others in that it draws prices from a variety of cryptocurrency exchanges, with the aim of better representing the market.
Bakkt to Roll Out First Bitcoin Futures Testing in July 2019
Institutional crypto exchange Bakkt plans to roll out testing for bitcoin futures trading in early July 2019, according to its CEO, Kelly Loeffler. Loeffler noted in a Medium post this week that Bakkt is working with both the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) Futures U.S. exchange and ICE Clear U.S. clearing house to prepare the first testing of bitcoin futures trading and custody. In the announcement, Bakkt noted that it has been working with the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission in order to be compliant with federal regulations, as well as to meet major requirements in terms of investors protection. Bakkt was first introduced in August 2018, with the stated goal of offering physically backed bitcoin futures.
EBay Denies Rumors It Will Start Accepting Crypto, Despite Advertising at Crypto Event
EBay has denied rumors after Blockchain Week that it is going to start accepting cryptocurrency as a payment method. Rumors have mounted that the online retail giant would be offering crypto as a payment option since ads were shown at crypto conference Consensus stating: “Virtual currency. It’s happening on eBay.” However, it does currently have a section marked Virtual Currency, where people can use traditional monetary forms to purchase crypto from sellers. In response to the rumors, an eBay spokesperson said that “cryptocurrency is not accepted as a form of payment on the eBay platform, nor is it part of our payments strategy.”
Winners and Losers
The top three altcoin gainers of the week are ultra coin, icechain and pwr coin. The top three altcoin losers of the week are segwit2x, blockport and sharpe platform token.
For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.
Most Memorable Quotations
“The more interaction, and willingness that people want to engage with us, the happier we are because we want this to work. We want there to be innovation in these markets. We want there to be change.”
– Amy Starr, chief of the office of capital markets trends at the U.S. SEC
“It is a useless currency, that’s what I believe. Look, I realize that people have different opinions, but to me, it’s garbage.”
– Shark Tank's Kevin O'Leary
“In a small number of months, we should have a fully operational testnet and possibly, by the end of this year we’ll have a fully operational phase 0 Ethereum 2.0.”
– Joseph Lubin, Ethereum co-founder
“I believe that there are use cases that makes sense today, we have yet to find them at scale in financial services. We’re experimenting heavily, we have more patents than any other financial institution in the blockchain space, but have yet to find something that makes a difference for our clients or our customer.”
– Catherine Bessant, chief technology officer at Bank of America
“There is a broad discussion in Washington around 5G being dominated by foreign firms and the U.S. being reliant on foreign technology and foreign expertise. […] With blockchain and crypto, I think there's a recognition now that these will be part of our future infrastructure. […] It’s important both for national security and from an economic perspective, that the U.S. is a leader in that.”
– Ryan Zagone, Ripple’s Director of Regulatory Relations
Prediction of the Week
Joseph Lubin on Ethereum 2.0: ETH to Become 1,000 Times More Scalable Within 24 Months
Joseph Lubin, Ethereum co-founder, said in an interview with Cointelegraph this week that the Ethereum blockchain will become about 1,000 times more scalable in 18 to 24 months. In the interview, Lubin noted that Ethereum 2.0, also called Serenity, will be responsible for bringing the drastic scalability increase to the ecosystem. The development, which Lubin noted is divided into four phases, already has eight groups developing clients for the new chain. He explained that there are several ways in which the new chain could be connected with the old one, noting “there may be bidirectional mechanisms” in moving ether (ETH) tokens from the old chain to the new chain.
FUD of the Week
Floyd Mayweather and DJ Khaled Escape Lawsuit Brought by Defrauded ICO Investors
High-profile boxer Floyd Mayweather and music producer DJ Khaled were dismissed this week from a lawsuit brought by investors in a fraudulent initial coin offering (ICO). The two celebrities had been involved in promoting Centra Tech’s ICO, and had originally been charged last November with unlawfully advertising the aforementioned ICO. This week, a judge ruled that the investors who had brought the legal action against the ICO had not proven that they had bought tokens as a direct result of the pair’s actions. In the settlement where neither of the parties admitted to nor denied the charges against them, Mayweather was fined more than $600,000, while Khaled was fined more than $150,000.
Tron Co-Founder and CTO Leaves Project, Alleging Excessive Centralization
Lucien Chen — the former chief technical officer and co-founder of blockchain protocol Tron — announced that he is leaving the project, citing an excessive centralization. In his announcement, Chen noted that in spite of the project’s success, irreconcilable contradictions between himself and co-founder Justin Sun have led him to choose to leave Tron. In the post, Chen noted that Tron is no longer staying true to its founding principle of decentralizing the web, critiquing Tron’s delegated proof-of-stake (DPoS) consensus mechanism and Super Representative governance and block production nodes.
Hacked New Zealand Exchange Cryptopia Appoints Liquidators, Trading Suspended
Hacked New Zealand-based cryptocurrency exchange Cryptopia said this week that trading was suspended and it was appointing liquidators. The exchange specifically said that it has appointed David Ruscoe and Russell Moore from consultancy and audit firm network Grant Thornton New Zealand as the aforementioned liquidators. In mid-January of this year, Cryptopia had said that it was the target of a security breach resulting in significant losses. According to the liquidators, the exchange decided to go into liquidation, as it has been unable to return the business to profitability, notwithstanding management’s reported efforts to reduce costs. The liquidators plan to conduct an investigation with the aim of securing assets for the benefit of the stakeholders.
Best Cointelegraph Features
Major Crypto Exchange in Korea Shut Down in April: 2018 Was a Nightmare for Most
Joseph Young explains what’s been happening with South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges, as they suffered through a freeze on accepting new registrations as well as the overall bear market.
What Crypto Exchanges Do to Comply With KYC, AML and CFT Regulations
Since most altcoins require crypto enthusiasts to purchase them via cryptocurrency exchanges, Cointelegraph takes a look at how these exchanges work with Anti-Money Laundering (AML), Know Your Customer (KYC) and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) regulations to ensure both safety and regulatory compliance.
Blockchain as Key to Vienna’s Digital Future — Interview with Ulrike Huemer, CIO of Vienna, Austria
Cointelegraph’s German division spoke with the chief information officer of Vienna’s digital future initiative about the ways the city can evolve to integrate more emerging technologies, including, of course, blockchain.