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Crypto Crash Reality Check a Good Thing For The Industry

The long drawn out bear market of 2018 has been very painful for a lot of crypto traders. However, it may be just the reality check the industry needs in building more stability for future growth.

What Goes Up Must Come Down

When charts go parabolic it is never a good sign for any asset, digital ones included. The unnatural spikes seen on Bitcoin and across most altcoins during the last two months of 2017 should have been a warning sign of what lies ahead. The hype and fervor were palpable with moons and lambos becoming a reality for a lucky few.

The seemingly unsustainable growth had to come to an end at some stage and January 7, 2018, marked that day in crypto land. After reaching a peak market capitalization of $830 billion things started to turn south in a trend that would last the entire year and beyond. In a crash of over 87% crypto markets plunged to just over $100 billion, a low hit on Saturday.

Many have lost out big time after pumping funds into cryptocurrencies only to see them evaporate over the course of the year. The FOMO train was a hard one to disembark and hodling seemed to be the only option unless prepared to sell at a loss. Channel News Asia spoke to a few traders who were mostly in regret at the moment.

“Crypto is already so cheap. It doesn’t make sense to sell something so cheap and buy something else,” one said. “Of course I look back, I regret it, but there is no way for me to undo that,” added another.

The big purge will be painful for many but it may not be that bad a thing for the ecosystem as a whole. US regulators have been the catalyst behind a lot of the selling pressure as have a number of high profile exchange hacks and ICO scams.

Regulation, however, is needed in moderation to weed out the bad actors and bring a little stability to the industry. Parabolic charts and pump and dump schemes are not conducive to a healthy trading and investing environment. Lower volatility is also far better for the general adoption of cryptocurrencies in daily life.

The focus should no longer be on price but on what the technology can achieve, as suggested by David Lee, a professor at the Singapore University of Social Sciences;

“Prices coming down is a very good thing for the industry. We should not focus on the price. It’s always a cycle … People need to refocus on how much can this technology do, and the answer is a lot,”

Industry leaders such as Binance CEO CZ shares this opinion and has adopted a ‘buidl’ attitude with a focus on developing the technology so that it can serve its real purpose.

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Binance to Hold Inaugural Blockchain Week in Singapore

While the bears continue to pound the markets into the ground the builders and innovators of crypto and blockchain soldier on. Binance is one of those industry leaders and it has recently announced a week long blockchain conference in Singapore to showcase the technology.

A Week Of Blockchain and Crypto Goodness

The first Binance Blockchain Week will run from 19th to 22nd of January 2019 at the Sands Expo & Convention Centre in Marina Bay Sands. According to the company announcement 2,000 attendees are expected from around the globe. The week will consist of two large-scale events over the four days, a two-day hackathon known as the Binance SAFU Hackathon, followed by the Binance Conference. According to the press release the event is expected to “Bring together industry-leading regulators, investors, academics, entrepreneurs, and technologists to discuss today’s blockchain ecosystem and encourage sustainable growth in the industry. The event will prime the international stage for a global exchange of the latest blockchain knowledge and expertise among high-profile figures in the space.”

Over 70 speakers including industry leaders, high-level executives, academics, and heads of state, are slated to appear at the Binance Conference. Eric van Miltenburg, Senior Vice President of Global Operations at Ripple, Justin Sun, Founder of TRON, Da Hongfei, Founder of NEO, Patrick Dai, Founder of Qtum, and of course Changpeng Zhao (CZ), Founder and CEO of Binance are among those taking to the stage.

“We are thrilled to host the first-ever Binance Blockchain Week in Singapore, the finance and technology hub of Asia. Gathering the most notable players and thought leaders in blockchain, this will be a defining event. We look forward to many thought-provoking discussions and debates on how we can further work together to move the industry forward,” CZ added.

The first Binance SAFU (Secured Assets For Users) Hackathon will also be held from the 19th to 20th of January with the aim of exploring innovative solutions to secure crypto assets. Panels of judges and mentors will be in attendance from a number of organizations including the Ethereum Foundation, Binance Labs, PwC, Tribe Accelerator, and Primitive Ventures. Teams are invited to register via Binance from December 10 and a grand prize of $100,000 in BNB has been put on the table by the crypto exchange.

Singapore has been the venue of choice for a number of blockchain and crypto related conferences and seminars this year as its crypto ambitions are forever expanding.

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Markets Panic: Bitcoin Hits Lowest Since October 2017 as Bitcoin Cash Drops 40 Percent

A turbulent time for cryptocurrency markets has seen Bitcoin Cash almost lose half its value and Bitcoin set 13-month lows.

A “panicked” twenty-four hours in cryptocurrency markets saw Bitcoin (BTC) hit fresh lows not seen in over a year Nov. 20 as assets across the board shed millions.

Data from Cointelegraph’s price tracker, Coin360, CoinMarketCap, and Bitcointicker captured frenetic activity into Tuesday as BTC/USD dropped up to 17 percent, at one point reaching $4,237.

Market visualization

Market visualization from Coin360

Bitcoin’s daily losses currently total 15.5 percent after a correction to around $4,500, while the situation remains highly volatile as the pair tests new resistance levels.

Bitcoin 7-day price chart

Bitcoin 7-day price chart. Source: Cointelegraph Bitcoin Price Index

The events mark a continuation of the unsettled conditions sparked Nov. 15 when altcoin Bitcoin Cash (BCH) experienced a contentious hard fork, which has since resulted in the emergence of two separate competing chains.

While BCH initially held onto much of its value, the 24 hours to press time saw a U-turn for investors, BCH/USD shedding almost 40 percent to test support at $200.

While BCH firmly took the lead as the worst performer of the top twenty cryptoassets, others also suffered heavy losses.

Ethereum (ETH) significantly widened its gap in market cap with Ripple (XRP), cementing its position as now the third-largest cryptocurrency. ETH/USD daily losses were circling 15 percent at press time, compared with XRP/USD’s 6.2 percent.

Ethereum 7-day price chart

Ethereum 7-day price chart. Source: Cointelegraph Ethereum Price Index

Elsewhere, multiple assets lost in excess of 17 percent on the day, while Tezos (XTZ) and Binance Coin (BNB) shed almost 20 percent. Even stablecoin Tether (USDT) is currently down about 2 percent over a 24 hour period.

While commentators took a broadly pragmatic approach to the downturn, talk on social media has nonetheless returned to the topic of when BTC in particular will “botto”’ in USD terms.

Various sources continue to claim that major support lies around $4,000, while if this is broken, $3,000 should mark a definitive barrier.

“People have panicked,” crypto enthusiast John McAfee wrote on Twitter, summarizing his thoughts.

At press time, total market cap is around $146 billion, down from its weekly high of around $212 billion — total market cap was last at $146 billion on Oct. 6, 2017.

Total market cap since October 2017

Total market cap since October 2017. Source: CoinMarketCap

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Stablecoin Supremacy Battle Heats Up; Binance Lists USDC, Tether Below a Buck

Once up a time there was crypto and fiat. If you wanted to trade in altcoins you had to first buy Bitcoin. Tether changed all that when it came onto the scene on Bitfinex in 2015, today there are a slew of stablecoins all competing for supremacy.

USDC Listed on Binance

The controversy surrounding Tether coupled with its recent volatility has led to the birth of several similar dollar pegged stablecoins. Once has been created by Coinbase and partners at Circle, USD Coin. On Thursday USDC was granted a new realm of legitimacy when Binance, the world’s top crypto exchange by trade volume, announced that it would be listing new pairs.

According to the announcement Binance will be offering two new USDC pairs for Bitcoin and its own Binance Coin (BNB) as of November 17. To quash the auditing concerns that plagued Tether, the exchange added;

“Additionally, for increased transparency, USDC has engaged a top-ranking auditing firm to release monthly balance attestations of the corresponding USDC and USD balances held/issued.”

USD Coin is only a few months old but it is growing in power as an alternative to USDT. It still has a way to go though, with daily volume, according to Coinmarketcap, at $16 million, compared to $4.7 billion in Tether trade. However, with USDC available on Coinbase and now Binance, its usage is expected to grow rapidly especially when more trading pairs are introduced.

According to the company blog “Circle and Coinbase co-founded the CENTRE Consortium with the goal of establishing a standard for fiat on the internet and providing a governance framework and network for the global, mainstream adoption of fiat stablecoins.”

If complete transparency and audits are forthcoming it may not be long before USDC surpasses USDT however the centralization issue raises its head again when one company is holding all of the cards. This is especially true if Tether continues to show volatility and inability to maintain its dollar peg.

Tether in Turmoil

During the recent crypto rout Tether fell to $0.964 whereas USDC actually hit a peak of $1.06. The Gemini Exchange’s GUSD spiked at $1.18 according to CMC. At the time of writing USDC is still trading over a dollar and USDT is under it. Fortune has noted that if Tether collapses “it could deliver a shock to the crypto markets that makes this week’s wipeout look like a hiccup.”

The good news is that there are now several alternatives to Tether in addition to USD Coin, such as TrueUSD (TUSD), Gemini’s own GUSD, Maker DAO’s Dai, and the Paxos Standard Dollar (PAX). So traders are no longer tethered to Tether, go ahead and take your pick, some are even offering more than buck right now.

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Mining Giant Bitmain Sues Unknown Hacker for Alleged Theft of $5.5 Million in Crypto

Bitman sues unknown hacker who allegedly stole $5.5 million worth of crypto by using Binance and Bittrex wallets for manipulation of MANA token.

China-based Bitcoin (BTC) mining giant Bitmain has sued an anonymous hacker for the alleged theft of cryptocurrency worth $5.5 million from Bitmain’s account on Binance in April, according to a lawsuit filed with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington at Seattle on Nov. 7.

As stated in the court document, an unknown hacker, referred to as “John Doe” in the case, managed to take over Bitmain’s Binance account and used stored Bitcoin to manipulate the price of altcoin Decentraland (MANA) and then steal the profits.

Bitmain says in the court document that the amount of the company’s losses “exceeds” $5.5 million in “Bitcoin and other digital assets,” and specifying that the defendant was able to steal “approximately 617 BTC.” The document cites that the unauthorized action took place on April 22, when Bitcoin was trading at around $8,935.

The document also explains that as a part of the “scam,” the unknown hacker used two of their own accounts on now-second largest crypto exchange Binance, as well as on Bittrex, with around 2.3 million MANA already acquired on Bittrex. “John Doe” reportedly placed purchase orders from Bitmain’s digital wallet offering to buy MANA “and other digital assets” with Bitmain’s bitcoins at a price that was “far above the going market rate.” The defendant also allegedly further artificially inflated MANA’s price by using Bitmain’s BTC to buy Ethereum (ETH), which was then used to buy MANA.

According to the lawsuit, the hacker further carried out a number of orchestrated trades in the reverse direction between BTC and MANA from Bitmain’s wallet and their own, eventually reportedly completing the theft by transferring BTC from their Bitmain account “ultimately into a digital wallet on the Bittrex cryptocurrency trading platform.”

In Mid-October, Cointelegraph reported that losses caused by hacks of crypto exchanges in the first nine months of 2018 have exceeded the numbers for the whole year of 2017 by 250 percent, with $927 million stolen.