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Crypto Exchange Bithumb Posts $180 Million Loss for 2018

Bithumb, South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, has posted a net loss of 205.5 billion won ($180 million) for 2018.

CoinDesk Korea reported the news on Thursday, saying that the loss was mainly due to a sharp decline in the cryptocurrency market last year, though the company’s operator BTCKorea also cited infrastructure investments and labor costs as factors.

The figure marks a big swing into the red for Bithumb, having recorded a net profit of 534.9 billion won ($469 million) in 2017.

The exchange’s revenues, on the other hand, grew around 17.5 percent to 391.7 billion won ($343.4 million) in 2018, compared to 333.4 billion won ($292.3 million) the year prior.

The figures also show that the exchange’s operating profit declined 3.4 percent to 256.1 billion won ($224.5 million) last year from 265.1 billion won ($232.5 million) in 2017.

Meanwhile, operating expenses rose from 68.3 billion won ($59.8 million) to 135.6 billion won ($119 million), while non-operating expenses increased sharply from 4.1 billion ($3.6 million) won to 381.9 billion won ($334.8 million).

Bithumb has been going through some tough times. Just two weeks ago, the exchange suffered its latest hack, losing around $13 million in the EOS cryptocurrency and about $6.2 million in XRP. Last year, Bithumb was also hacked for some $30 million-worth of cryptocurrencies, but later claimed to have retrieved $14 million-worth of the hacked funds.

Since the latest theft, Bithumb has disclosed that it holds all customers’s assets in cold (offline) wallets to prevent losses through such attacks.

Amid its financial issues, Bithumb, said last month that it plans to cut its staffing levels by up to 50 percent, from 310 employees to around 150.

Bithumb image via Shutterstock 

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Crypto Exchange Bithumb to Reduce Staff By Up to 50%

Bithumb, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in South Korea, plans to cut its staffing levels by up to 50 percent, according to a CoinDesk Korea report issued Monday, a move that would reduce its number of employees from 310 at the start of March to around 150.

When reached, an official at the company confirmed the 50 percent figure, adding that it expects those departing will mostly be employees who already want to leave the company.

“Voluntary retirement is part of our support program for former employees and is intended to provide assistance and training for job placement,” said the Bithumb official. “Apart from that, [Bithumb’s] trading volume has decreased compared to the previous year, [so] we are trying to provide internal measures. We will continue to add necessary personnel for various new businesses.”

The move comes on the heels of similar decisions by other cryptocurrency companies that have been forced to respond to the ongoing decline in the value of the market in recent months.

The company behind cryptocurrency project Dash said earlier this month that it’s also reducing its staffing levels in a cost-cutting effort brought on by the “crypto winter.” Similarly, since the start of the year, smart contract auditing firm Hosho has said it’s laying off 80 percent of staff, and blockchain project Nebulas has cut numbers by 60 percent.

Ethereum studio Consensys announced that projects under its umbrella would have to find financing or also face cut-backs late last year.

Editor’s note: Statements in this report have been translated from Korean.

Bithumb image via Coindesk

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Japan and Korea Officially Approve Their Biggest Crypto Exchanges

South Korea’s Internet & Security Agency (KISA) has granted an important certification to the country’s leading cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb. Meanwhile, in Japan, Coincheck, the country’s largest exchange, is now registered with the Financial Services Agency. 


Bithumb Granted ISMS Certification

Cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb has managed to obtain Information Security Management System certification from the country’s KISA.

According to the official release, this is the highest certification system in the country. Cryptocurrency exchanges, which earn more than $8.99 million are required by law to obtain this certification.

The company says it will continue working on increasing its security. Speaking on the matter, a Bithumb’s representative said:

We are going to continue to establish the industry’s best security system that can be safe and trustworthy. […] We are going to become a global business that will lead the cryptocurrency exchange market by establishing a safe and trustworthy cryptocurrency exchange.

In July 2016, Bithumb was hacked, resulting in the theft of more than $31 million worth of cryptocurrencies. The company confirmed that it will reimburse all affected users.

Japan’s Coincheck Completes FSA Registration

In another important event, one of Japan’s bigger cryptocurrency exchanges has managed to complete the registration process under the Registration Review Process of Virtual Currency Exchange issued by the country’s Financial Services Agency.

FSA

At the beginning of 2018, Coincheck was also hacked resulting in the theft of $420 million in XEM tokens. The company compensated its users and later got acquired by Monex Group – a Japanese-based financial services firm.

Korea and Japan are both prominent countries when it comes to bitcoin trading. According to Coinhills, the Japanese Yen (JPY) is the second most traded national currency for bitcoins after the USD, comprising almost 42 percent of all trading.

The Korean Won (KRW), on the other hand, is the third most traded national currency for BTC.

What do you think of Japan and South Korea approving some of their major cryptocurrency exchanges? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Cryptocurrency Market Update: Bithumb Listing Boosts Bitcoin Diamond

Little movement in the markets; Bitcoin Diamond gets a boost, Ravencoin is dumping.

As the week rolls on the movement remains minimal on crypto markets. There have been a few spurts here and there on a couple of the altcoins but in general the market is still flat and hovering around $210 billion where it has been for over a week.

Bitcoin is immobile, stuck just below $6,500 where it has been since the weekend. The continued consolidation of BTC markets is showing clear levels of support and resistance. A breakout could come at any time and most recent news for the industry has been positive. Ethereum is also at a very low point and will follow Bitcoin upwards when the market recovers. On the day, however, ETH is static at $205.

The altcoins are pretty mixed again today with about half and half in the green and red. XRP is the top ten’s top performer with a 2.6% gain on the day to take it back to $0.463. Monero has followed with 1.8% added but the rest are in the fractions of a percent either way.

Looking further down at the top twenty VeChain has made 4% back to take it to $0.011. It’s ‘Tech Deep Dive’ video series just aired episode five, ‘partners and roadmap’, which no doubt has added to momentum today. Dash has clawed back 3.5% but the rest are mostly losing with Tezos and Nem dropping back 2-3 percent on the day.

Fomo pump of the day is Bitcoin Diamond which has jumped 15% on the announcement that Bithumb will be airdropping BCD after its hard fork. South Korea’s top exchange also stated it will be listing Bitcoin Diamond today. Trade volume surged from $4 to $22 million as BCD price spiked at $2.20 before pulling back to $2.07.

Also having a pump at the moment is Genesis Vision, up 13%, and MobileGo up 12%. Decred is still climbing following Binance’s listing announcement and has made a further 11% on the day. Getting dumped following a few days of pumping is Ravencoin slashing 18% on the day. Veritaseum and Metaverse ETP are also dropping around 10% at the moment.

Only half a percent has been added to crypto market capitalization today as it remains at $210 billion. Over the past week it has dropped a little but has been generally flat. Bitcoin dominance as fallen slightly to 53.5% as it too remains motionless for the time being.

FOMO Moments is a section that takes a daily look at the top 20 altcoins during the current trading session and analyses the best performing ones, looking for trends and possible fundamentals.

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Crypto Week In Review: Sentiment Starts To Shift As Bitcoin Moves Up 15%

Sentiment regarding the cryptocurrency market took a large shift this past week, as Bitcoin rallied 15% due to a series of positive technical and fundamental indicators.

IBM To Use Stellar-Based Stablecoin For Faster Financial Payments

IBM, one of the largest technology firms in the world, has just announced that it will be exploring the utilization of a Stellar-based token for cross-border payments.  The token in question was created by asset management firm Stronghold and was fittingly named Stronghold USD, which is a stablecoin that is pegged to the value of the U.S. dollar.

Unlike other stablecoin projects like Tether, prospective Stronghold USD users will make a deposit to the Nevada-based Prime Trust bank, with Stronghold issuing tokens on a 1:1 ratio. Additionally, this project was created with institutions in mind, rather than consumers, making the aforementioned stablecoin a much better choice for IBM in comparison with something like Tether or TrueUSD.

Tammy Camp, the founder and CEO of Stronghold, explained the use cases of the token more in-depth, stating:

“The token allows folks to do payments, foreign exchange between companies in a very seamless and frictionless and more secure way. It enables people to be able to trade that token with other assets and other tokens as well.”

Despite The Bear Market, Greyscale Investments Sees An Influx of Institutional Capital

Grayscale Investments, a digital asset focused investment firm, recently revealed that it had received an influx of institutional investment and interest, despite market woes.

Grayscale, which is headed by cryptocurrency expert and long-time investor Barry Silbert, released a report that cited that it had received just around $250 million from investors, looking to invest into Greyscale’s array of investment products. Although this is an impressive figure by itself, Silbert noted that 56% of the aforementioned figure was generated from institutional investors, potentially noting that these firms see a good entry point at current prices.

Bithumb To Expand Into New Asian Markets

Bithumb, a popular Korean exchange, has announced that it has plans to expand into the Japanese and Thai markets within the upcoming months. The exchange is currently working on obtaining the required regulatory approval from the local governments, namely the Japanese Financial Services Agency and the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Thai Bithumb branch is the furthest in development, with its parent company creating a webpage for the platform, along with allocating 3 million Thai Baht (~$90,000 U.S.) to the newly-opened subsidiary.

It is expected for Bithumb Thai to launch by the end of October, while Bithumb Japan is expected to open its doors early next year, despite harsh regulation imposed by regulators. The exchange will not be any ordinary platform, with ZDNet Korea noting that Bithumb “plans to set up an exchange that supports the largest number of coins (cryptocurrencies) in Japan.”

Tom Lee And Barry Silbert Call For Bitcoin To Continue Upwards

CNBC’s “Fast Money” show hosted industry leaders Tom Lee and Barry Silbert this week, with the two stating that they hold positive sentiment regarding Bitcoin’s price.

Barry Silbert, who is a long-time cryptocurrency investor and the aforementioned founder of Grayscale Investments, expects an influx of institutional “dry powder,” or highly liquid assets, in the near future. Silbert also stated that the bears have “run out of energy,” and have no more Bitcoin to sell, therefore resulting in less selling pressure placed upon prices.

The Bitcoin proponent later pointed out that the criticisms placed upon the industry by regulatory bodies don’t hold any value, and come unwarranted. He said:

“So I started buying Bitcoin in 2012 when the price was ten dollars and I’ve gone through now two 80 percent corrections, and this was a 65 percent correction. It’s the same old criticisms… Its just (that) they’re uninformed because everybody on this desk, anyone who spends the time to look into what is this asset class, why is it important, why does it have so much potential comes out of it being a believer.”

Tom Lee, the head of research at market analysis firm Fundstrat, also pointed out that fundamentals and technical indicators are starting to turn bullish once again, expecting for the world’s foremost cryptocurrency to head upwards from here.

Crypto Experts Hold Bullish Price Predictions

Arthur Hayes, the co-founder and CEO of the BitMEX exchange, tripled-down on his $50,000 price prediction, while also making an appearance on the CNBC show that seems to cover cryptocurrencies each and every day. Despite stating that he believes the market hasn’t “seen the worst” yet, expecting for Bitcoin to bottom at $5,000, he is betting that the cryptocurrency market will return to a bullish state as we move into the second half of the year.

Hayes noted:

“I don’t actually think we’ve seen the worst. I would like to see us test $5,000 to really see if we put a bottom in. But come back in Q3, Q4, I think is when the party is going to start again.”

Bitcoin Holds Weekly Gains, As Altcoins Slightly Pullback 

On Tuesday, Bitcoin saw an astonishing run-up, easily surpassing the heavily contested resistance levels at $6,800 and $7,000. Altcoins quickly followed, with a majority of the cryptocurrency market posting ~8-9% gains on that day alone. Many attributed this run-up to a series of positive news that was released prior to the run-up, namely discussion regarding institutional involvement, with this variety of investment being held as the primary catalyst for the expected bull-run of 2018.

Additionally, as Tom Lee stated on CNBC, the technical indicators were starting to become more favorable as discerned by a variety of analysts.

Since then, many altcoins experienced a slight pullback, with Bitcoin’s market dominance rising from 43% to 45%. Bitcoin has continued to hold the gains it made earlier this week, with the cryptocurrency sitting at around $7,450.

It has become apparent that the sentiment surrounding the cryptocurrency market is starting to change, with an onslaught of positive news coming from all corners of the industry. Arthur Hayes put it best when he said:

“But come back in Q3, Q4, I think that is when the party is going to start again.”

Featured Image From Shutterstock