Current State of The Crypto Market (November 24th, 2019)

Hackers:  GetMonero.org, the official website of the privacy-focused Monero cryptocurrency, was down Wednesday morning, two days after a user on Github reported a miss-matched hash in command line interface binaries available for download from Monero’s website.  A few hours later, users had determined that the anomaly was no error, but malicious code planted to steal cryptocurrency. By Tuesday, Reddit user /u/moneromanz reported $7,000 worth of XMR missing from their wallet after downloading the malicious code.  MoneroManz warned of the possibility that the infected code could carry out other malicious actions affecting other files on a user’s machine. They also published a copy of the malware for anyone to download and study. Cyber sleuths should be advised not to run these infected binaries on anything but a secure test computer without access to cryptocurrency wallets.

Key Players:  Ethereum co-founder turned Cardano creator Charles Hoskinson said that he expects Bitcoin to be back over $10,000 and reach $100,000 in the future.  In a tweet published on November 22nd, Hoskinson urged the cryptocurrency community that Bitcoin is more than speculation, putting the blame on the latest drop in price on news media “FUD” or fear, uncertainty and doubt and market manipulation.  Bitcoin and altcoins have seen a notable price decrease yesterday. More precisely, Bitcoin briefly dipped below $7,000 before settling slightly higher.  Shortly after the price drop, Bitcoin futures daily volumes on digital asset platform Bakkt have hit a new all-time high, showing an increased interest in capitalizing on the renewed volatility.

Banks & Institutions:  Things may be about to get a little easier for firms working with cryptocurrency in the U.S.  U.K.-based Cashaa, which describes itself as a banking service platform, is about to launch bank accounts for stateside crypto firms denominated in U.S. dollars.  The new accounts will be open for applications from Nov. 25, with Cashaa saying they offer full banking features with access to all nations globally, bar sanctioned jurisdictions.  Archit Aggarwal, Cashaa’s chief product officer, further said the accounts would be domiciled in the U.S. and have “full access” to automated clearinghouse (ACH) and SWIFT networks. Crypto and other “high risk” firms will need to fork out an account set-up fee of 250,000 CAS – Cashaa’s own token. That’s roughly $1,576 at the token’s current price of $0.006306, according to CoinMarketCap data.  Cashaa’s new service, however, comes via a partnership with Metropolitan Commercial Bank, which has also been working to draw crypto business for some time. The bank said in interview last year that, while cryptocurrency businesses are pariahs to traditional banks, to it, they’re “pioneers.”

Adoption: Despite the fact that many crypto naysayers say that digital currencies are useless for payments, the number of retailers accepting payment via cryptocurrency is growing. Hot spots are emerging all over the globe.  The areas in which cryptocurrency usage appears to be growing fastest and most concentrated remain the US and Europe. However, data shows notable growth in other areas that might have more to gain from the adoption of crypto assets.  A service providing information about retail adoption shows that growth is occurring all over the globe. A heat map of crypto-friendly businesses by Cryptwerk breaks down the rising interest in the technology by continent. Not surprisingly, activity, wherever it happens to be on earth, is focused around metropolitan hubs.  As you might expect, the USA and Europe has the highest density of businesses that accept cryptocurrency payments. New York, London, Amsterdam, LA, Seattle, Austin, and Miami are all particular hot spots for retail adoption.