This week started with most of the top-100 coins in the crypto market registering gains. On Monday, all the top-10 coins were green with EOS and Cardano (ADA) being the best performers. Both altcoins had gains of more than 10 percent.
BTC, the leading cryptocurrency in terms of market capitalization started the week trading at $7,424. However, bulls took hold of the market and BTC began plunging before closing trading at $7,321. On Tuesday, BTC continued trading sideways before its price dipped again today. At the time of writing, BTC is trading at $7,197 according to data from Coinmarketcap.
Ethereum (ETH), the second-largest crypto coin began this week trading at $151. The coin reached a high of $152 on Monday before correcting downwards to close trading at $149. Like BTC, ETH traded sideways on Tuesday before losing 2.38 percent today to trade at $145.46 at the time of writing. Ripple (XRP) also took a similar route and is currently trading at $0.2144 after trading as high as $0.227 on Monday.
Vertcoin Suffers Another 51% Attack
Stepping away from the crypto market, Vertcoin, an altcoin that came from a fork of the Bitcoin blockchain in 2014 suffered a 51 percent hack this week. However, this hack did not have any impact on the coin. Instead, the attacker suffered losses amounting up to $4,100 after Vertcoin’s system thwarted the attack.
According to James Lovejoy, the cryptocurrency’s lead maintainer, an unknown entity rented enough hashpower to conduct the attack. Seeing as Vertcoin is an ASIC-resistant coin, Lovejoy realized that the network was under attack before the attacker caused any damage. He then contacted the Bittrex exchange, which is responsible for about 92 percent of the total VTC/BTC trading volume. Lovejoy recommended that the exchange disable its Vertcoin wallet temporarily. As a result, the attacker’s efforts bore no fruit.
Per Lovejoy, the attacker managed to remove 603 blocks on the network and replaced them with 553 of their own. He estimated that acquiring this much hashpower cost anything from 0.5 BTC to 1 BTC. This means that the unsuccessful attack saw the hacker lose between $440 and $4,100. This news comes after Vertcoin suffered another 51 percent attack in December last year.
New EU Law Set to Let Banks Hold and Sell BTC from 2020
In positive news for the crypto space, the European Union (EU) proposed a new bill on the fourth Money Laundering Directive. This bill will allegedly let European banks hold and sell BTC. A report unveiled this news on December 3, noting that this bill is set to come into effect in the coming year.
Before this bill, the law did not allow banks to hold or sell crypto coins. While the German Bundestag passed a bill to let banks hold and sell crypto, it needed further approval before implementing the law. Per the report, the new draft has set aside the separation requirement, which was available in the initial version.
By implementing the new law, German banks will be able to offer their clients crypto. On top of this, they will be in a position to provide shares or securities in online banking. This decision attracted a lot of positive feedback from industry experts who believe this move has the potential to make German a crypto hub.
Bitfinex Exchange Begins Supporting Lightning Network Deposits and Withdrawals
In more bullish news, Bitfinex exchange announced that it would begin supporting Lightning Network deposits and withdrawals. This move will let the exchange’s users deposit and withdraw BTC instantly over the Lightning Network.
According to Bitfinex’s CTO Pablo Ardonio, the Lightning Network has the potential to become the game-changer of the crypto sector. This is because it enables P2P micro-payments with small fees at high speeds. However, he believes that the network still needs awareness, understanding, and adoption from the crypto community. He added that Bitfinex supporting it will help speed up its prevalence in the crypto space.
Ardonio added that Bitfinex was also in the process of adding USDT and Tether Gold on the Lightning Network. He unveiled that the exchange is working with a group of developers and tech firms dubbed RGB to reach this feat.
Juventus Soccer Club Launches Crypto Token
Juventus, an Italian soccer club that has Cristiano Ronaldo as a team member has created a crypto token. The soccer team joined hands with a sports-focused blockchain startup, Socios.com to launch this token. Dubbed $JUV, the coin would give more than 400 million of the club voting rights.
A report unveiled this news on Tuesday, noting that Juventus’ fans can purchase $JUV via the Socios app. Through the token, the fans will get to vote on certain club decisions and earn rewards. Such decisions include voting on which song should replace Chelsea Dagger, a song that is played every time Juventus scores a goal at the Allianz Stadium.
Only fans holding $JUV will be in a position to vote. The coin is currently priced at $2.2 and fans can get a limited number of the coins for free through Token Hunt, Socios app’s Augmented Reality feature.
Huobi Joins a Chinese Government-Led Blockchain Alliance
Moving on to the blockchain industry, the Chinese branch of the Huobi Group has joined a government-led blockchain alliance dubbed Blockchain-based Services Network (BSN). This alliance is led by the State Information Center (SIC), a think tank that is closely related to the National Development and Research Commission, China’s highest central planning agency.
Huobi unveiled this news through an official statement, noting that BSN seeks to offer infrastructure services to Chinese and international agencies that use the blockchain. Per the statement, six institutions were the original creators of BSN. These include SIC, China Mobile, and China UnionPay.
The statement also revealed that the alliance would test the network in 54 cities across the country. On top of this, they would also test the network in Hong Kong and Singapore for various projects such as smart city management.
Sri Lanka’s Central Bank Seeks to Use the Blockchain for KYC Processes
Still on blockchain news, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka has decided to go the blockchain way. The entity unveiled this news through a post on its website, noting that it is searching for tech firms that can create a proof of concept shared KYC system for its banking system.
Per the entity’s invitation to apply, it decided to adopt the blockchain due to the increasing demand for digitized financial services. Through the blockchain-powered KYC platform, the central bank believes it will be better positioned to advance the country’s financial sector and increase financial inclusion. The publication added that a shared KYC system would let commercial banks share and update customer data with the central bank.
The post noted that the bank would share the design of the high-level KYC platform with the chosen candidate. The entity stipulated that the minimal requirements for the application are two years of experience. The applicants must also have a proven track record of creating and launching mobile apps.
Ethereum Developer Arrested for Helping North Korea Evade Sanctions
In other news, Virgil Griffith, an Ethereum research scientist found himself in hot soup after a recent visit to North Korea. US authorities arrested Griffith and charged him with violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA). A report unveiled this news on December 3, stating that the Ethereum developer had traveled to the country to deliver a presentation on blockchain technology.
Per the publication, Griffith’s presentation included technical advice on how to use the blockchain and crypto to evade sanctions.
Commenting on why US authorities apprehended Griffith, FBI assistant director-in-charge William F. Sweeney said,
Mr. Griffith allegedly traveled to North Korea without permission from the federal government, and with knowledge what he was doing was against the law. We cannot allow anyone to evade sanctions, because the consequences of North Korea obtaining funding, technology, and information to further its desire to build nuclear weapons put the world at risk. It’s even more egregious that a U.S. citizen allegedly chose to aid our adversary.
Bank of Tanzania Warns Against Crypto Use
Meanwhile in Africa, the Bank of Tanzania warned the general public against using crypto once again. This warning came amidst the growing use of crypto in the country. The bank issued this warning over the weekend, noting that it had not endorsed crypto as legal tender. As such, using, trading and marketing crypto violated the law.
In its statement, the central bank said,
The Bank of Tanzania has noted with concern a growing trend of linking operations of cryptocurrencies as to have been endorsed by the bank to operate as a legal tender in the country despite a public warning issued on 12th November 2019. This is, therefore, to remind the members of public and reiterate the early position that the only legal tender issued and accepted in the United Republic of Tanzania… is the Tanzanian Shilling. Further, all other acceptable foreign currencies are traded by licensed institutions in the country in line with the Foreign Exchange Act, 1992.
Waves DEX Shuts Down and Comes Back as a Hybrid Exchange
Moving on to new developments in the crypto sector, Waves DEX, a decentralized crypto exchange announced that it had shut down and resumed operations as a hybrid exchange. The exchange unveiled this news on December 2, stating that it had already stopped operations on the old domain.
The firm noted that it had moved all activities to Waves. Exchange. Consequently, the old version of the exchange became unavailable and it only supports migration to the new one. Waves added that it would hold user funds on Waves DEX and would keep them safe during and after the migration process.
Highlighting the features of the new exchange, Waves said that it would combine the irreversibility of transactions, safety and user control of funds of DEXs. On top of this, the hybrid exchange would have the features of centralized trading platforms. The firm added that it had resolved to focus on the exchange’s protocol, open and private implementation, sharding, and its infrastructure.