This week kicked off with the crypto market trading sideways. While both bulls and bears were present on Monday, there were no major price changes. However, bears soon dominated the market, causing BTC to plunge below $7,000. As a result, most altcoins also plunged causing the total market cap to plunge to $179 billion at the time of writing.
Bitcoin, the leading coin regarding market cap plummeted from $7,098 on Monday morning to $6,700 at the time of writing. Ethereum, (ETH) is also down 6.76 percent to trade at $123 from $141 on Monday. Ripple is also bleeding, having lost 6.37 percent to change hands at $0.1855 from $0.21 on Monday morning.
In the top-10 list, only Tether is green with a 0.47 percent gain. The biggest losers are BCH followed by tezos (XTZ), and bitcoin SV (BSV) according to data from Coinmarketcap.
Investors Demand the Exhumation of Deceased QuadrigaCX’s Founder
Stepping away from the saddening state of the crypto market, investors called for the exhumation of Gerald Cotton, the founder of Canada-based QuadrigaCX exchange. A report unveiled this news on December 17, noting that this move aims to rule out that Cotton faked his death.
This development comes after the exchange’s founder passed away in December last year while traveling to India. His sudden death saw the exchange lose $185 in crypto, seeing as he was the only one that had the codes to the exchange’s cold wallets.
According to the report, this started after Miller Thomson, a law firm representing the investors sent a letter to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police demanding the exhumation. The letter requested that the police conduct an exhumation and post-mortem autopsy on the body of Gerald Cotton. In so doing, they would be able to confirm the identity of the deceased. On top of this, they would also reveal the circumstances that led to his death.
Per the publication, the law firm demanded that the police carry out the exhumation before spring next year. The firm cited decomposition concerns as a reason for the chosen time. At the moment, the Canadian federal police had not responded to these demands.
Ciphertrace Study Claims Banks Process $2 Billion in Crypto Per Year Unknowingly
Moving on, Ciphertrace, a blockchain analysis firm unveiled that that banks process approximately $2billion worth of crypto unknowingly. The firm noted that there are a lot of financial institutions that do not have the right KYC/AML standards in place. As a result, they fail to detect unregistered crypto transactions.
In its December 16 report, Ciphertrace disclosed that the top-10 banks in the US have all processed crypto transfers unknowingly. Per the analysis firm, these funds come from money service businesses (MSBs) that deal with crypto. These include crypto exchanges and brokerage companies.
Per Ciphertrace, most banks don’t have the latest tech to identify crypto transactions. Banks need to identify and report MSB-derived transactions and report to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). However, the increasing adoption and new tech surrounding the crypto sector makes this a difficult task. As a result, Ciphertrace believes that banks will have to comply with the identification and compliance requirements that involve crypto to avoid trouble.
Venezuela to Airdrop 0.5 Petro for Citizens that Register for Its Crypto Wallet
In crypto-related government affairs, Venezuela’s president, Nicolas Maduro announced that the government would airdrop 0.5 Petro for every citizen that registers for its crypto wallet. Dubbed PetroApp, the wallet would let Venezuelans pay for goods and services through their phones. Apart from Petro, the wallet would also let them make payments in other crypto coins.
According to a publication, PetroApp is not like regular crypto wallets. This is because it lets its users swap their tokens for other crypto coins. At the moment, the wallet supports bitcoin (BTC), litecoin (LTC), and Dash (DASH). Per Maduro, this airdrop aims to adopt Petro over the country’s fiat currency.
This news comes after research unveiled that the minimum wage in Venezuela is less than $10. Seeing as the 0.5 Petro airdrop is worth about $30, this will be a significant incentive, according to sources. Apart from the airdrop, Madura said that the state’s supply would release 500,000 Petro to help support local governments across the country.
Basel Committee Calls for The Creation of Prudent Crypto Rules
In other news, the Basel Committee on Banking Services (BCBS), a global banking regulator called for the creation of conservative and prudent crypto rules. The committee comprises banking regulators from the US, Europe, and Japan. BCBS unveiled this new development through a report after conducting a study in November.
In the report, the regulator notes that the growth of crypto and related services can impact financial stability negatively. Also, the regulator believes that this growth could increase the risks that banks face.
Crypto-assets are an immature asset class given the lack of standardization and constant evolution. Certain crypto-assets have exhibited a high degree of volatility, and present risks for banks, including liquidity risk; credit risk; market risk; operational risk (including fraud and cyber risks); money laundering and terrorist financing risk; and legal and reputation risks.
As such, the committee recommended that banks should be wise if authorized to acquire crypto assets or provide crypto-related services. The regulator also suggested that banks should not accept crypto as credit risk mitigation collateral.
MicroBT Founder Arrested on Embezzlement Charges
Regarding the crypto mining industry, Chinese authorities arrested Yang Zuoxing, the founder of MicroBT, a leading competitor of Bitmain. The authorities apprehended him following a legal dispute with Bitmain, his former employer. While the exact details of the dispute remain unknown, the charges are related to embezzlement.
A report unveiled this news on December 16, noting that the prosecutors have not detailed whether this case is related to the time he spent at Bitmain or MicroBT. Per the publication, these charges have put the future of MicroBT at stake, giving Bitmain a competitive edge.
At the moment, MicroBT’s WhatsMiner Bitcoin mining equipment has claimed up to 40 percent of the market. As a result, Bitmain has been suffering big losses, seeing as it controlled the biggest share in the market before Zuoxing quit and started MicroBT.
While Zuoxing being caught up it a legal limbo puts MicroBT in a compromising position, the firm won’t disappear easily. It launched its WhatsMiner M30 rig, which boasts a computing power 88 terahashes per second in the past week. This launch is set to help the firm hold its ground as its founder battles this case.
Two Russians Arrested for Mining Crypto on State Computers
In related news, two Russian nationals were prosecuted for allegedly mining crypto through infected computers belonging to state organizations. The deputy director of Russia’s National Coordination Center for Computer Incidents, Nikolay Murashov unveiled this news on December 16 through a press conference.
In Russia, there have been two cases recently when people were brought to criminal responsibility for getting access to computers [of state organizations] and using them to mine cryptocurrencies.
Murashov unveiled that one of the detainees is a resident of Kurgan. He added that this criminal used a whole botnet in various regions of the country. The other criminal used the site of JSC Rostovvodokanal for mining crypto. Per the press release, these criminals infected web pages with malware that mines crypto once computer users view the pages.
Per Murashov, criminals can use up to 80 percent of a computer’s power to mine crypto. This results in a significant drop in the infected computer’s performance. As such, he called on organizations to pay more attention to the security of their computer networks.
R3 Completes Major Finance Trial on Its Corda Blockchain Platform
Moving on to the blockchain space, R3 Completed what it termed as the largest open-account trade finance trial ever conducted on its Corda platform. A report unveiled this news on Monday, noting that this trial involved more than 70 organizations from over 25 countries. There were more than 340 participants from these organizations, which came from different sectors. These include financial services, information technology, hospitality, and logistics among others.
According to the report, the trial tested working capital applications created by TradeIX. On top of this, they focused on the receivables finance product on Marco Polo’s platform. This product aims to boost productivity and efficiency while cutting onboarding costs.
Per Marco Polo, this trial facilitated the completion of more than 700 funding requests. The network added that user training during this period only required a day of a participant’s time.
AMD Joins the Blockchain Game Alliance
In some bullish news for blockchain gamers, AMD, a leading chip manufacturer announced that it had joined the Blockchain Game Alliance. Per the announcement, this move seeks to support blockchain in gaming. A report revealed this news on December 16, noting that AMD would play the role of supplying CPU and GPU chips. In so doing, the company would help gaming developers run blockchain-based features over their platforms.
Reportedly, this move would help gamers gain more control over their digital assets. Also, it would help in keeping records of all items that a gamer purchases in a game. Another possibility is using the blockchain to distribute gaming PCs.
Speaking about why AMD chose to join the blockchain alliance, its head of blockchain technology, Joerg Roskowetz said,
Next-generation blockchain game platforms will give gamers access to exclusive online content, and provide new ways for them to truly own it. They will also provide game publishers with new channels to distribute digital game content.