This post is a translation of the weekly cryptocurrency analysis by Block Insight, a wholly owned subsidiary of Monex Group (Tokyo, Japan). Monex is the parent of TradeStation Group.
- Bitcoin (BTC) drifted this week as cryptocurrencies seek direction from upcoming economic events.
- Ethereum (ETH) completed its “Istanbul” hard fork.
- China’s government continues blockchain-related activities.
- BTC support remains at $7,000, the same as last week.
Market Trends this Week
Global economic headlines have poured in as investors wait for clarity on key global issues. BTC prices were little changed after rising early in the week and surrendered those gains.
Most global equity markets advanced amid central bank meetings in the U.S. and Europe, plus a general election in the U.K. Investors will be watching U.S.-China trade talks closely as the deadline on tariff increases from the US approaches.
Bakkt’s BTC option launch has had little impact on crypto prices so far.
ETH successfully completed its Istanbul hard fork on December 8. Prices initially fell as traders sought to limit risk before the event. When the hard fork ended, many buyers returned and the market recovered its losses.
Ripple (XRP) rose after Japanese financial conglomerate SBI Holdings said it may issue dividends in the cryptocurrency.
This Week’s Topics
- U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell don’t see the need for the Fed to issue digital currency, however they will discuss the idea going forward. (12/6)
- The European Union issued a de facto ban on stablecoins like Facebook’s (FB) Libra until officials have a system to manage risk. (12/6)
- The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) issues an unusual denial after incorrect rumors spread that it had issued digital currency. (12/6)
- Litecoin’s (LTC) mining power hits new lows, likely due to falling prices of the digital currency. (12/6)
- Malware found on a fake crypto site is being blamed on the North Korean hacking group “Lazarus.” (12/6)
- Microsoft (MSFT) created Azure Heroes as a blockchain-based reward system for users promoting the cloud-computing service. (12/6)
- Digital-mining company Bitfury has launched a corporate-enterprise blockchain service. (12/6)
- The Brave Browser continues to grow rapidly, and now has more than 10 million monthly active users (MAU). (12/6)
- Tokyo is implementing a trial version of point system called “Yua Coin” to reward citizens engaging in activities that contribute to sustainable development goals. (12/6)
- Canadian-based Bitcoin miner and AI data-processing company Great North Data has filed for bankruptcy. (12/6)
- Blockchain company BUIDL and Securitize form a partnership to create a digital-securities platform. (12/6)
- Mizuho bank will launch a service letting companies to settle expenses through “J Coin Pay,” its in-house digital currency. (12/6)
- Blockchain gaming startup Enjin saw its cryptocurrency soar 50 percent in two days following the announcement of a collaboration with MSFT. (12/7)
- ETH plans to postpone two upcoming hard forks by about 600 days following the successful “Istanbul” hard fork. (12/7)
- China-based e-commerce giant JD.com (JD) details its in-house blockchain technology at a conference in Tokyo. (12/7)
- The recently discovered virus “Strand Hog” poses threat to Android security. (12/8)
- The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has approved New York Digital Investment Group’s BTC futures fund for institutional investors. (12/7)
- ETH completes the Istanbul hard fork. (12/8)
- Bank of China issues $2.8 billion of blockchain-based notes to support small-business lending. (12/9)
- Studies predict the global market for blockchain identity-verification will grow one-hundredfold over the next nine years. (12/9)
- Mergers and acquisitions between blockchain and crypto firms are down 40 percent year over year. (12/9)
- Chinese financial media reports that PBoC’s digital currency may be tested in two large cities before the end of 2019. (12/9)
- HBUS, the U.S. arm of Japan’s Huobi Group, announces it will cease operations. (12/10)
- Crypto companies have reported 7,100 suspicious activity reports (SAR) since May, according to the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. Many of the incidents had apparent ties to Venezuela. (12/10)
- BlockFi to start zero-fee commissions for virtual-currency trading. (12/10)
- More than 80 Japanese banks signed up for JPMorgan Chase’s (JPM) Interbank Information Network (IIN). The free service confirms account information for anti-money laundering (AML) purposes. (12/10)
- The Swiss startup Amun has won approval to offer more crypto-based financial products in Europe. (12/10)
- Bakkt officially launches BTC futures and options. (12/11)
- The European Central Bank (ECB) is expected to discuss issuing its own digital currency at an upcoming meeting in Germany. (12/11)
- Tencent’s (TCEHY) digital bank WeBank will be the first company to provide technology infrastructure to China’s national blockchain network. (12/11)
- Japan-based Excoin will launch “xcoin” cryptocurrency by the end of December. (12/11)
- Binance adds 18 digital currencies to its current offering, raising the total to 44 tokens. (12/11)
- Nike (NKE) received a patent for a blockchain-based system for tracking sneakers. Its functionality includes verification of authenticity, product features and manufacturing details. (12/12)
Next Week’s Market Forecast
Blockchain-related efforts by the Chinese government and financial institutions continue to increase. PBoC plans to test a digital version of its yuan currency this year in Shenzhen and Suzhou. Meanwhile, Chinese banks are moving toward providing more financial services through the blockchain. The “Blockchain-Based Service Network,” which includes major Chinese companies, will continue to develop and operate blockchain apps through 2020.
Traders are waiting to see whether these headlines can breathe life back into the price of BTC in early 2020. Recent reports have also indicated that ECB officials are discussing the possibility of issuing a digital currency.
Equities traders are anticipating a year end rally into the holidays as crypto traders watch the $7,000 level in BTC for support.
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