Current State of The Crypto Market (October 27th, 2019)

Hackers:  Hackers have compromised the website of the city of Johannesburg, South Africa, and demanded ransom in Bitcoins.  The city announced the hack on its official Twitter account on Oct. 25. The city wrote that it had “detected a network breach which resulted in unauthorised access to its information systems.” As a result, the breach affected several customer-facing systems — hardware or software customers interact with directly, such as user interfaces and help desks. The breach has frozen those operations.  Following the attack, cybercriminals calling themselves Shadow Kill Hackers demanded ransom worth 4 BTC. Otherwise, the hackers threatened to upload all compromised data on the Internet by October. 28. 

Key Players:  Bitcoin prices shot up 12 percent Friday, climbing off a five-month low touched earlier this week, after Chinese President Xi Jinping said his countrymen should “seize the opportunity” afforded by blockchain technology.  Although China’s central bank ordered mainland-based coin exchanges to close in 2017, Xi’s comments in support of enterprise blockchain, which share the distributed-ledger technology underpinning bitcoin, is good for sentiment around the crypto industry, said Mati Greenspan, senior market analyst at exchange eToro.  And that in turn could be boosting sentiment toward bitcoin, the original blockchain-based digital asset invented a decade ago, Greenspan said.  “It’s bullish for the entire crypto industry, in general, when you have the leader of one of the world’s largest economies coming to embrace blockchain technology like this.”  The Chinese president’s statements on blockchain are believed to be his first in-depth remarks on the technology. Chinese officials are developing a digital version of the country’s own currency, but have forbidden other coins from being traded.

Banks & Institutions:  The Securities and Commodities Authority in the United Arab Emirates has drafted a resolution on regulating crypto assets, providing greater clarity for crypto-related projects in the Middle East nation.  With the focus usually on China, Japan or the United States, the Middle East is an area that doesn’t often get the attention it deserves when it comes to blockchain and cryptocurrencies. However, barring a few highly restrictive countries, such as Iraq and Kuwait, the region generally exhibits a very progressive and supportive stance when it comes to the blockchain industry.  Sukhi Jutla, a blockchain author as well as a Financial Times and Google Top 100 European Digital Champion, commented that by drafting this resolution, the UAE is sending a positive sign to the world, adding that:  “They are signalling that they are open to exploring this area and by creating guidelines they are giving more reassurance, confidence and stability to businesses owners who may want to enter this field.”

Adoption: OKEx announced that it is joining Klaytn, a global public blockchain platform developed by Kakao subsidiary Ground X.  On October 25th, OKEx wrote in a press release that blockchain project Klaytn will be onboarding the crypto exchange into their ecosystem aiming to expand blockchain adoption.  OKEx is joining a number of industry giants such as Samsung Blockchain, IDG Capital, and Shinhan Bank. The exchange called this partnership an opportunity to build a stable blockchain ecosystem and connect to different networks and portfolios in the blockchain industry. Andy Cheung, Head of Operations of OKEx, commented on the partnership:  “Exchanges and projects itself should work together to define and adopt standards that will promote digital asset adoption globally.”  Recently, cryptocurrency exchange Binance joined Klaytn’s governance council. Binance, together with another 24 member companies such as LG Electronics, Unionbank of the Philippines and Celltrion, will make key decisions for Klaytn’s business and technical developments.