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

Hackers:  If the CEO of two multi-billion-dollar companies can get hacked, you can too. Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter and Square, had his account “compromised,” acting as a reminder to people at high risk of hacking, such as Bitcoin holders, should be especially security conscious.  Twitter Comms, an official communication channel for the social media platform, acknowledged the hack.  In response to the news, TWTR fell 0.164 percent, shaving $53 million off the company’s market capitalization. Though the stock price quickly recovered.  For Bitcoin holders who use crypto exchanges, such as Coinbase or Binance, using two-factor authentication is critical. When enabled, not only would a hacker need to compromise the user’s password but also another device, such as a mobile phone.

Key Players:   There are several countries around the world that are developing national blockchain-based digital currencies — such as Venezuela and its state-owned Petro (PTR), China and its plans to issue a government-backed digital currency.  At the beginning of 2019, the Bank for International Settlements conducted a survey, revealing that 70% of central banks worldwide are examining the potential of issuing a central bank digital currency.  Alex Tapscott, co-founder of the Blockchain Research Institute said that “The question is not whether we need digital fiat currencies or not, but rather whether governments will fight to keep control over their monetary sovereignty and take steps to safeguard those powers. The answer is unequivocally, yes.   Within 10 years, I expect that every major fiat currency in the world will be a digital currency on a blockchain. There are challenges to governments coming from multiple different directions. Bitcoin is the most obvious one — an alternative store of value and medium of exchange that exists outside of government censorship. But increasingly, large companies like Facebook — and soon, I’d guess, Amazon and others — are looking to launch their own payment systems and native digital currencies.” 

Banks & Institutions:  On Aug. 29, German blockchain-based banking startup Bitwala announced the launch of its smartphone app for Bitcoin banking on iOS and Android. Customers in over 30 European countries can now open a German bank account with integrated Bitcoin wallet and trading.  The onboarding process for new customers has been directly integrated into the app. It uses a video identification feature, with which residents throughout the European Economic Area can verify and open an account within minutes. Bitwala CTO Benjamin James explains:  “Once you have an account, you can seamlessly integrate your daily banking activities — whether in Bitcoin or Euro — into your everyday life.”  The account comes with a free debit Mastercard, and euro deposits up to €100,000 are covered by the German deposit guarantee scheme.

Adoption: Just last week, a new Libra competitor burst onto the scene: Binance announced that it will launch Venus, “an initiative to develop localized stablecoins and digital assets pegged to fiat currencies across the globe.”   Rather, it says that the goal of Venus is “to empower developed and developing countries to spur new currencies.”   But the Chinese language version is more detailed. It explicitly states that Venus aims to be an “independent and autonomous, regional version of Libra.”