Current State of The Crypto Market (August 11th, 2019)

Hackers:  Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has described how it was targeted by, and foiled, “a sophisticated, highly targeted, thought out attack” aimed to access its systems and presumably to make off with some of the billions of dollars’-worth of cryptocurrency it holds.  In an Aug. 8 blog post that sets out in technical detail how the plot unfolded and how the exchange countered the attempted theft, Coinbase said the hackers used a combination of means to try and hoodwink staff and access vital systems – methods that included spear phishing, social engineering and browser zero-day exploits.  The attack had started on May 30, with a dozen staff being sent emails that purported to be from Gregory Harris, a Research Grants Administrator at the University of Cambridge. Far from random, these cited the employees’ past histories and requested help with judging projects competing for an award.  The attackers developed email conversations with several staffers, holding back from sending any malicious code until June 17, when “Harris” sent another email, containing a URL that, when opened in Firefox, would install malware capable of taking over someone’s machine.  Coinbase said that, “within a matter of hours, Coinbase Security detected and blocked the attack.”

Bullish Key Players:   One of the primary purposes behind Bitcoin picking up recognition as a safe-haven asset is, it permits speculators to invest money in cryptocurrency when the markets look wavering. With advancing trade pressures between the United States and China, just as developing vulnerability around Brexit, the coin could see an inflow into investments over the forthcoming months.   Tyler Winklevoss, the business partner of Gemini exchange, told his supporters on Twitter that Bitcoin needs to break above $10,000 and $15,000 is a distinct bet. Moreover, Tyler Winklevoss is not the only individual to anticipate a further rise. Co-Founder of Fundstrat, Thomas Lee guaranteed for the current week that the cost would “effortlessly take out” which is the all-time high of 20,000 dollars. Oliver Isaacs, an analyst, determined that the price could hop to 25,000 dollars by year-end or by early next year.  CEO and founder of deVere Group, Nigel Green, said the devaluation of China’s money that is blistering worldwide financial markets has disclosed that Bitcoin is presently turning into a safe-haven asset. He based his remarks concerning unreliable and pricing activity as speculators invested into the BTC and other cryptocurrencies this week in the midst of developing trade tensions between the United States and China.

Banks & Institutions:  A small bank in New York City has started doing business with cryptocurrency firms, joining the very short list of U.S. financial institutions to embrace the sector.  Quontic Bank opened a checking account for a bitcoin ATM company a few weeks ago and is in the process of completing a contract to deliver banking services to another crypto startup. The bank wouldn’t name either client.  “We’re just taking steps so that when the regulatory environment becomes more crypto-friendly, we don’t have a lot of catching up to do,” said Quontic chief executive Steven Schnall, who acquired the bank in 2009. “We’re looking to diversify our product offering and our customer mix by entering into that field.”  While Schnall wouldn’t say how big he wants Quontic’s crypto business to be, he claimed the pending contract “could impact millions of Americans.”  Crypto-friendly banks are extremely rare, in part because of the extra work they have to do complying with know-your-customer and anti-money laundering regulations.

Adoption: Blockapps, a New York-based enterprise blockchain platform provider and Tech Mahindra, an Indian information technology (IT) and services company, on Thursday, announced their strategic partnership aimed at accelerating the adoption of blockchain business networks.   Through the new tie-up, Blockapps plans to leverage Tech Mahindra’s reach and experience towards the integration of data from existing systems with the blockchain technology, which has been one of the biggest challenges in its adoption thus far. In spite of high demand for enterprise blockchain networks, the adoption is still limited which the companies plan to accelerate with the new alliance.  Kieren James Lubin, CEO of BlockApps said in the statement, “As we continue to launch production blockchain business networks across industries such as agriculture, supply chain, and entertainment, we have seen a clear need to communicate with the systems enterprises already have.” He continued, “By working with Tech Mahindra, we can make this process easier than ever, and help companies preserve existing investments.”