There’s never a dull week in cryptocurrencies, and this week is no exception. Two SEC statements on ICOs, Bulgaria’s Bitcoins, NiceHash hack and … ‘Cryptokitties’?!
The opening of the Bitcoin futures market is probably the biggest news event, we will be covering this in a separate blog post so stay tuned.
The SEC halted a scam ICO called Plexcoin citing marketing materials that promised investors they could net a 1,354% profit on their holdings in less than 29 days, if it sounds too good to be true, it almost always is and more importantly, if you’re based in North America and are promising returns on investment, expect the SEC to come knocking. The SEC charged PlexCorp with violating anti-fraud regulations and violating the requirement to register all securities offerings with the SEC.
A week later an ICO called Munchee – a restaurant review app – was halted as it was giving investors an expectation of profits. This trumped its use-case as a utility coin, which is the normal ‘my ICO is not a security’ defence. The upshot of this statement is that any utility ICO that is not fully functional is likely to be deemed a security. The days of ICOs being launched on the basis of a whitepaper and no real product are surely numbered.
The SEC has gone about the tricky case of regulation ICOs rather cleverly. It has been picking off the clear-cut cases, and creating maximum effect with minimum involvement.
The Bulgarian government arrested 23 nationals and seized a staggering 213,519 bitcoins from the organised crime network. This occurred in May and the haul is now worth $3.5 billion which is almost a third of Bulgaria’s national debt.
One could argue that Bulgaria technically holds Bitcoin as a reserve currency. Let’s hope that they HODL for another few months and they might end up with a surplus.
NiceHash – a Slovenian cryptocurrency mining marketplace – suffered a hack of 4,700 BTC which is currently worth around $75 million. The bitcoin was stored in a hot wallet, which means that the private keys were exposed to the internet and therefore more vulnerable to hacking. NiceHash have said they are “committing every resource towards solving this issue as soon as possible”.
Unfortunately hacks like this have been all too common in the past and it is still important to hold your own private keys when possible.
In the crazy world of crypto the following headline from the BBC is not so out of the ordinary – “CryptoKitties craze slows down transactions on Ethereum”.
Over $13 million has been spent on CryptoKitties buying virtual cats via the Ethereum network. Using 13.5% of the total network capacity, it became the busiest smart contract on the Ethereum network for a while.
One trader, who has made $40,000 trading Kitties, told The Verge: “When you’re trading currencies, there’s a lot of technical analysis that goes into the charting, but there’s no charting with kitties.”
The popularity of this unlikely piece of crypto madness has meant some ICOs have had to postpone their launch dates due to the congestion on the network. The craze also delayed transactions and increased fees.
Only four days ago the total market capitalisation of cryptocurrencies was $375 million, at the time of writing they have crossed the $0.5 trillion mark.
It’s a real milestone for the cryptocurrency asset class which combined with the launch of Bitcoin futures, has further pushed this exciting new paradigm of money into the spotlight.
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