Current State of The Crypto Market (August 1st, 2019)

Hackers:  Cryptojacking is the unauthorized use of someone else’s computer to mine cryptocurrency. Hackers do this by either getting the victim to click on a malicious link in an email that loads cryptomining code on the computer, or by infecting a website or online ad with JavaScript code that auto-executes once loaded in the victim’s browser.  Either way, the cryptomining code then works in the background as unsuspecting victims use their computers normally. The only sign they might notice is slower performance or lags in execution.  No one knows for certain how much cryptocurrency is mined through cryptojacking, but there’s no question that the practice is rampant. Browser-based cryptojacking grew fast at first, but seems to be tapering off, likely because of cryptocurrency volatility.

Bullish Key Players:   Bitcoin has surged back above $10,000 per bitcoin after a raft of positive news for the bitcoin price and cryptocurrency markets, somewhat putting to rest fears bitcoin bulls were about to wrest back control.  On Wednesday, the U.S. Federal Reserve cut interest rates for the first time in more than a decade and signaled its readiness to provide more support as growth slows in the world’s largest economy.  The bitcoin price climbed to highs of $10,500 on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange last night, while the wider bitcoin and cryptocurrency market has added around $10 billion to its overall value over the last few days.  “Given the connection that crypto influencers have been making between economic stimulus and crypto lately, we will probably see a much swifter reaction in bitcoin’s price than we usually do,” Mati Greenspan, senior market analyst at brokerage eToro, wrote in a note client.  “We can see that bitcoin did have a nice run-up the entire morning ahead of the [Fed’s decision]. At the exact time of the cut, there was a notable step down, which was quite in line with what happened in the stock market.”

Banks & Institutions:  The United States Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) is planning to run through contractors a bitcoin and an ethereum node, in addition to “as many as possible of the following blockchains: Bitcoin Cash, Stellar, Zcash, EOS, NEO, and XRP Ledger.”  They provide no concrete reason as to why they need to run their own node save for stating it is “to support its efforts to monitor risk, improve compliance, and inform Commission policy with respect to digital assets.”  They specifically state “the subscription shall source all blockchain data from hosted nodes, rather than providing this data as a secondary source”. They would also like to have data that includes things like “hashing algorithms, hashing power, mining difficulty and rewards, transactions quantity and size, coin supply and blockchain size.”

Adoption: During the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs hearing on cryptocurrency and blockchain technology regulation this week, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo shared his belief that the United States will not be able to ban Bitcoin. “I’m pretty confident we couldn’t succeed in doing that,” he said.   The U.K.’s financial services watchdog, on the other hand, has warned potential investors that bitcoin and cryptocurrencies have “no intrinsic value.” Some took this as a signal that the country could be moving towards a bitcoin ban.   Additionally, China may be changing its tune on bitcoin. The state-owned Bank of China has posted a pro-bitcoin infographic on its website, explaining the history of bitcoin and how cryptocurrencies work. This comes shortly after bitcoin was legally recognized by a Chinese court.