This Week in the Crypto and Blockchain Sectors: Bitcoin Surges Before Plunging, Altcoins Follow Suit




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Crypto week

This week started with most coins in the top-100 list of leading coins regarding market cap registering gains. These gains came after bears took over the crypto market in the past week, causing bitcoin (BTC) to plunge below the $7,000 level. After a week of correcting upward, BTC finally broke on a bull rally that saw it trade above the $7,500 level.

However, these gains did not last for long. After trading as high as $7,656 on December 23, BTC began shedding value to close the day trading at $7,355. While the leading crypto coin attempted to recover these losses, it has not been able to breach the $7,500 level again.

At the time of writing, BTC is trading at $7,45, denoting a 1.34 percent drop over the past 24 hours. Ether (ETH) is down 2.52 percent to change hands at $130.04.  Ripple (XRP) is also bleeding after losing 1.36 percent to trade at $0.1934.

Per data from Coinmarketcap, all coins in the top-10, but tether (USDT) are in red at the time of writing. The biggest losers are ETH followed by bitcoin cash (BSV) and LTC. 

Iran, Turkey, and Malaysia Discuss the Creation of a Unified Muslim Crypto Coin

Stepping away from the state of the crypto market, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani proposed the creation of a unified Muslim cryptocurrency. President Rouhani made this suggestion during the Kuala Lumpur Summit 2019, which converged the leaders of Muslim countries. Attending countries included Iran, Malaysia, Qatar, and Indonesia among others.

According to a report, Rouhani believes a common crypto coin among Muslim countries can help eliminate reliance on the US Dollar. Malaysia’s Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad, and Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan endorsed Rouhani’s suggestion.

Mohamad said,

It is the first time we hear Iran and also Turkey are of the opinion that if we do not have American dollars, we can use our own currency or one common currency that we (Muslim nations) can create if we agree.

Fortress Offers New, But Lower Buyout Offer for Mt. Gox Creditors

Moving on, Fortress, an investment firm issued a new, but lower buyout offer for the creditors of the now-defunct Mt. Gox exchange. A report unveiled this news on December 20, noting that Fortress made this offer through a one-page proposal. The firm is reportedly offering the creditors 70 percent of their account balance.

According to the report, this value is lower than the firm’s previous offer considering BTC plunged from around $11,000 in July to $7,500 now. At the moment, Fortress is offering approximately $800 for each BTC. This figure is $100 down from the firm’s previous offer of $900 per BTC. Interested creditors will have until December 31 to claim this offer. In its proposal, Fortress also claimed that it would be able to offer these payments within three days.

This news comes after Mt. Gox filed for bankruptcy in 2014 after losing over 850,000 BTC. However, Japanese courts changed the case for bankruptcy to a civil rehabilitation case in the past year. This meant that the creditors would receive BTC rather than its cash equivalent, which was approximately $566 at the time the exchange suffered the hack.

Bitcoin Ransomware Attackers Use Public Shaming to Coerce Their Victims into Paying Up

Still on the crypto sector, Bitcoin ransomware attackers have changed their tactics to make their victims pay up. A report by KrebsOnSecurity, unveiled this information, noting that the criminals are now using public shaming to pressure their victims into paying up.

Per the report, at least one renowned crypto ransomware group has created a public website solely to shame companies that refuse to pay the demanded ransom. According to KrebsOnSecurity, this ransomware group was behind the Maze Ransomware, which was responsible for the Pensacola web attack in the past week.

To coerce their victims into paying up, the attackers threaten to upload details of the date of the attack, the nature of the files obtained. On top of this, the hackers also threaten to upload the IP addresses of their victims on the publicly available website. According to KrebsOnSecurity, this technique seems to be working for hackers. This is because one firm had already given in to the pressure and paid the ransom to avoid public shaming on the site by the time the security firm published its report.

US Politicians Set to Vote on New Crypto Rules Early Next Year

In government-related crypto news, US politicians seek to regulate the crypto sector. They are set to vote on the Cryptocurrency Act of 2020 early next year. A report unveiled this news on December 22, noting that the politicians’ decision would help clarify the roles of the three existing federal entities that oversee digital assets. These are FinCEN, SEC, and CFTC.

Per the publication, the Cryptocurrency Act of 2020 would split crypto coins into three broad categories should the politicians approve it. These include cryptocurrencies, crypto-securities, and crypto-commodities. Apart from this, it would scrutinize the role of stablecoins as not all stablecoins are not created equal.

Craig Wright Unveils Document that Explains the Origin of the Satoshi Nakamoto Moniker

Moving on, Craig Wright, the self-declared bitcoin (BTC) creator has revealed a document that claims to explain the origin of the Satoshi Nakamoto name. He showed this document during an interview on December 19. The document represented an article that came from a digital database of an academic journal JSTOR. The journal was dated Jan 5, 2008.

Reportedly, the article is about a person named Tominaga Nakamoto, who lived between 1715 and 1746 in Japan. The article also contained handwritten noted reading, “Nakamoto is the Japanese Adam Smith. Honest Ledger + Micro Cash. Satoshi is Intelligent History. Not too hard.”

When asked whether Tominaga’s economic ideas were his reasons for choosing the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, he said,

In part, yes. He wrote about money and honest money and the rational nature of things. The shogun [feudal ruler] at the time was in financial crisis, and economic austerity. […] I like the description of him, and I got into his brother, Tōka. ‘Nakamoto was upright and quiet but impatient in character’ and I thought: ‘That sounds like me.’

Wright added that the name Satoshi means intelligent learning. He went on to elaborate that intelligent learning means having access to the knowledge conquered by his ancestors.

Paystand Joins Hands with JCB to Develop a B2B Business Solution

Shifting to the blockchain sector, Paystand, a blockchain-powered commercial payments system joined hands with JCB. A report revealed this news on December 21, noting that this collaboration seeks to offer the first end-to-end digital payment platform for Japanese firms. Per Paystand, this solution would address the massive gap in the B2B payment market in Japan.

According to Paystand, this solution would give the corporate subject of JCB’s 130 million customers an alternative to traditional payment methods. These include cash and credit cards. Per Paystand’s CEO, Jeremy Almond, these payment methods are plagued with high transaction costs, manual processes, and delays.

At the moment, Japan’s B2B sector accounts for roughly $10 trillion in annual volume. However, cash transactions still dominate the sector with only 1 percent of the transactions involving credit cards. Electronic payments such as bank transfers in the country constitute an even smaller percentage. As a result, Paystand believes that this reliance on legacy systems causes an economic drag. This drag ranges from $500 billion to 1 trillion in lost productivity and ROI to businesses. 

Blockchain Job Searches Plunge Amidst Bear Market

Regarding the job market in the blockchain space, the number of job applications in the blockchain industry has been on a steady decline since last year. Two separate publications revealed this news, claiming that this decline was a result of the decreasing popularity of crypto coins.  

According to a report by Seen, a tech hiring platform ran by, there is a high demand for blockchain services. However, the number of developers seeking employment in the space has gone down. According to Indeed, the number of searches involving BTC, blockchain and crypto roles began plunging after BTC started plummeting from its all-time high in 2018.

The firm unveiled that while the number of blockchain-related jobs had surged by 26 percent, the number of searches had decreased by 53 percent. Per, BTC’s price affects the number of job applications. Seeing that bears have been predominant in the sector, the firm believes that this is the reason behind the decline in job searches.

Thailand to Trial Blockchain-powered Visas Soon

Still on developments in the blockchain sector, Thailand has unveiled that it is set to trial blockchain-based travel visas. A report revealed this news on December 22, noting that the country has been working on these virtual visas for a while now. While the country has not disclosed when it would roll out the official trial for the visa system, it will reportedly be soon.

According to a report, the system is dubbed eVOA and is a joint venture between Gateway Services and Australia’s ShareRing. It is set to help 5 million from foreign countries enter Thailand seamlessly. The blockchain would help increase the speed of preparing the identities of tourists. It would also help protect their identities during their stay in the country.

The system will focus on Chinese and Indian tourists in the initial stages. It would help ease the struggles of having to bring physical documents like tickets and ID scans to the entry points in Thailand. Depending on the success of the trial, Thailand may open up eVOA to other countries across the globe.

Block Babies Collectibles to Go Live on VeChain Blockchain

In other news, Block babies Collectibles, an idea from Bamboo Labs is set to go live on the VeChain blockchain platform. Allegedly, Block Babies was among the first dApps that signed up to leverage the portal to get non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on the VeChain Thor platform.

According to a publication, Bamboo Labs will use VeriArti’s API to mint their tokens. On top of this, it will use a specified marketplace made specifically for the innovation by VeriArti. The idea is set to go live in the coming year. However, the collectible game aims to increase a player’s Lead Baby rankings via their experience points. Players will gain experience points through random events, quests, and baby battles in the Block Baby World.

This news comes after VeriArti announced that it would VeChain run the card-collectible on VeChain Thor in July this year. Other developments coming on VeChain Thor include the launch of The Way of the Tiger, a collection of fantasy books written by Jamie Thomson, an award-winning author.