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Inside Bitcoin

Inside Bitcoin (Aug 19th, 2019)

Market Watch: Bitcoin has rallied after falling below $10,000 last week. The good news follows on from the announcement that the Bakkt exchange will be launching physically-settled Bitcoin futures on September 23.

  • Bitcoin: $10,700 (⬆️ 2.48%) // $191.3 billion market cap.
  • Ethereum: $200 (⬆️ 3.06%) // $21.5 billion market cap.
  • XRP: $0.282 (⬆️ 0.47%) // $12.1 billion market cap.
  • Bitcoin Cash: $323 (⬆️ 1.63%) // $5.8 billion market cap.
  • Top 100 Winner: Bytom: $0.094 (⬆️ 7.54%) // $95 million market cap.
  • Top 100 Loser: Egretia: $0.034 (⬇️ 11.80%) // $146 million market cap.

Prices are as of 11:45 a.m. EDT.

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1. Crypto exchange Binance has revealed its open blockchain project designed to create localized stablecoins across the globe. Known as Venus, Binance said its initiative is aiming to "empower developed and developing countries to spur new currencies." According to the announcement, Binance is seeking "new alliances" with corporations, crypto companies, governments, and technology organizations to help get the project off the ground. As per the announcement, it seems that the platform will use its Binance Chain to launch the new stablecoins. The notification from Binance comes as Facebook is planning to launch its own Libra stablecoin, which is projected to go live early 2020. However, Facebook has faced severe criticism from global regulators who are concerned about user privacy and how data will be used. –COIN DESK

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2. Japan's e-commerce company Rakuten has launched its crypto exchange for spot trading digital assets. Through its Rakuten Wallet, users can spot trade Bitcoin, Ether, and Bitcoin Cash via its Android app. An iOS version is projected for release at a later date. In an announcement, the company said that it will manage customer funds separately from its own under its trust company, Rakuten Trust. The notification comes nearly a year after the e-commerce platform purchased domestic crypto exchange Everybody's Bitcoin for $2.4 million. The acquisition of Everybody's Bitcoin signaled Rakuten's step into the crypto space, something it noted last August as a "growing" industry for the future. –COINTELEGRAPH

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3. Cindy Wang, an analyst at DBS Group Research, has said that the People's Bank of China's (PBoC) proposed state-backed digital currency could attract customers away from Alipay and WeChat pay. According to Wang, Ant Financial’s Alipay and Tencent Holdings’ WeChat Pay account for 90 percent of mobile payment transactions in China. However, with the use of China's central bank digital currency it could stem the tide and limit capital outflows. In recent weeks, the PBoC has indicated that its "ready" to launch its cryptocurrency after making some minor changes. The announcement follows on from Facebook's proposed plans to launch its own Libra stablecoin in 2020. –SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST

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4. Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum, has said in an interview that the network is "almost full." His remark was part of an answer he gave as to what he believes are the biggest roadblocks to cryptocurrency adoption. According to the 25-year-old Russian-Canadian programmer, "scalability is a big bottleneck" and that using the Ethereum blockchain is "expensive". In answer to how this could be improved upon, Buterin stated that the community has to move away from the idea that every computer needs to verify every transaction. Instead, he said that if the industry can turn to the idea that every computer "on average" verifies a small number of transactions then this could help. –THE STAR

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5. CGEX, a Malta-based exchange, is shutting down. Opened by South Korea's Coinone crypto platform less than a year ago, CGEX announced that it will be terminating its services September 18 at 02:00 UTC. It didn't detail reasons for its upcoming closure. Customers have up until the end of service date to withdraw assets held in their accounts. After that date, customers won't be able to log in, deposit or withdraw funds. The termination announcement follows two months on from a temporary suspension notice. In that post, the platform stated that it would "temporarily terminate the trading and deposit services of CGEX." –FINANCE MAGNATES

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6. Fidelity Investments charity branch has received over $100 million in crypto donations since 2015. Fidelity Charitable reportedly saw $30 million of the company's $5 billion in contributions coming from cryptocurrencies in 2018. In 2017, the branch generated $69 million, making it the fastest-growing asset type accepted by the organization. It seems that apart from being a worthy cause, people are donating crypto more as a way of avoiding paying capital tax gains and to write them off against their income tax. –BLOCKONOMI

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7. The World Bank has revealed that it's raised an additional $33 million for its Kangaroo bond due August 2020 using a blockchain. According to the organization, this is the first bond that has been "created, allocated, transferred. and managed" via the technology. The enterprise expands on the World Bank's Bond-i blockchain platform, which links three joint lead managers, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), RBC Capital Markets (RBC), and TD Securities (TD). Bond-i is part of the World Bank's strategic focus to use disruptive technologies for the benefit of its clients, according to the company. –THE WORLD BANK

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8. A six-member party of the U.S. House of Representatives is to visit Switzerland to discuss crypto, in particular, Facebook's proposed Libra stablecoin. The House Financial Services Committee delegation will meet with Adrian Lobsiger, the Swiss Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner (FDPIC), to talk about their views regarding cryptocurrencies. Facebook's Libra Association, which will manage the stablecoin, is registered in Switzerland. The visit comes after global regulators have voiced their concern regarding Libra and its potential impact on user data and monetary policy. NZZ AM SONNTAG

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9. Companies in Dubai are set to launch what is pegged to be the Middle East's first blockchain know-your-customer (KYC) data-sharing platform by 2020. Those involved include the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), Dubai-based Mashreq Bank, and Norbloc, a fintech company. According to the organizations, the use of the technology will enable "secure onboarding" and the "exchange of supporting documentation." –VERDICT

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10. Around 97 percent of South Korean crypto exchanges are at risk of shutting down due to the low volume of transactions, according to a report. It's reported that only five or six platforms in the country are listed within the top 100 in the world when it comes to transaction volume. It didn't provide data to back this up; however, Coinnest is one such platform that has closed its doors this year. –BUSINESS KOREA

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This newsletter was written and curated by Rebecca Campbell. She has been writing and reporting on various industries for the past 10 years, more specifically tech in the last three. Connect with her on Twitter.

Editor: David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology).

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