n a bear market-induced sense of panic, the crypto market at large has stopped responding to industry developments altogether, with the news of the past week coming in one ear, and out the other. Regardless, startups still seem hell-bent on bolstering this industry’s infrastructure. And, frankly, this unrelenting drive for innovation doesn’t come unwarranted.
As once stated by Spencer Bogart of Blockchain Capital, the news of today will become “important building blocks” and the “kindling” for the next cryptocurrency bonfire.
SEC Delays Bitcoin ETF Ruling To February 2019
Since Bitcoin’s earliest blocks, true innovators have discovered value in the crevices of the cryptocurrency world, finding it logical to latch onto this nascent industry in times of despair and euphoria alike. While this zealous faith in this decade-old innovation has taken many forms over the years, in the recent downturn, investors have sought a newfound light at the end of the tunnel — a U.S.-based, fully-regulated Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund (ETF).
However, even after Bitcoin ETF hopefuls consulted with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Economic Risk Analysis branch, the American regulator recently had to delay its ruling on the prospective product. In an SEC-stamped document published Thursday afternoon, the governmental agency claimed that it would be exercising its right to delay a verdict on the application until February 27, 2019.
Although this regulatory judgment was deemed bearish by naive traders, many analysts and industry commentators claimed that the delay was expected, citing the concerns that the underlying crypto market isn’t ready for the advent of such an instrument.
Morgan Creek Digital Bets $1 Million That Crypto Will Outperform The S&P 500
On Thursday, Morgan Creek Digital, the crypto-centric subsidiary of the similarly-named Morgan Creek Asset Management, announced that it was calling upon a to-be-determined investor to take on a hefty bet.
The wager, which Morgan Creek has dubbed the “Buffet Bet 2.0,” sees the cryptocurrency investment manager laud its in-house crypto index fund, claiming that it will out-perform the Standard and Poor’s 500 equity market index over a 10-year period. In other words, if Morgan Creek’s fund outperforms American markets, it expects a $1 million cheque to fly its way. On the other hand, if traditional stocks manage to outperform the crypto market, Morgan Creek is mandated to fork out $1 million to its opponent. The “Buffet Bet 2.0,” for those who are unaware, is an evident reference to Warren Buffet’s infamous ante, in which the multi-billionaire claimed that an expansive group of hedge funds would outrun the S&P.
Speaking with CNBC on the relevance of this wager, which is more serious than it may seem, Anthony “Pomp” Pompliano, co-founder of the crypto group, noted:
“This [bet] is a combination of our outlook not only for the upside of cryptocurrencies but also the outlook on public equities.”
This short, yet foreboding statement, which paints a dismal picture for the future of equities, underscores Morgan Creek’s imperishable allegiance to cryptocurrencies. Mark Yusko, the founder of the overarching Morgan Creek brand, recently took to CNBC Fast Money to claim that he “loves Bitcoin for the long-term,” adding that the monumental growth in exchange volumes only spotlights the overlooked fact that this industry continues to flourish.
Coinbase Adds Four Altcoins, Looks Into Adding 27 More
On Friday morning, to the chagrin of the so-called “Bitcoin maximalist” investor subset, San Francisco-based Coinbase announced that it would be “exploring” offering support for a list of 31 well-known and bonafide altcoin projects.
Explaining the reasoning behind this sudden move, which caught many investors off-guard and caused a great deal of community backlash, referenced its goal to “rapidly list” regulatory compliant digital assets surprisingly issued in September. The assets Coinbase intends to add include a number of community favorites, namely XRP, Augur (REP), Cardano (ADA), Tezos (XTZ) and Maker (MKR). The full list can be found through Coinbase’s public statement on the matter.
Just hours after the announcement, which came straight out of left field, Coinbase Pro, the startup’s exchange for professional traders, took to Twitter to announce that it would be adding Civic (CVC), district0x (DNT), Loom (LOOM), and Decentraland (MANA), four altcoins that were part of Coinbase’s list.
As it stands, fully-fledged trading hasn’t been activated for the four ERC-20 tokens, but Coinbase Pro expects to launch complete support for the assets within a few day’s time.
As reported by NewsBTC following Coinbase’s decision to add the four altcoins, an unprecedented happenstance, the community erupted into a logical outrage, with a number of analysts lambasting the exchange for its penchant to assist “s*itcoins.” Airswap employee Rob Paone, better known by the handle “Crypto Bobby” to the cryptocurrency community, noted that Coinbase, who was previously hesitant to list a good majority of altcoins, went “YOLO in like six months,” evidently touching on the company’s unexpected shift in business practices.
Binance Sneak Peaks DEX Yet Again
For the umpteenth time in a matter of months, Binance, the world’s foremost crypto asset exchange, sneak peaked its most promising venture yet, the so-called “Binance Chain” and the decentralized exchange (DEX) that is based upon it.
Through the medium of a short video, an unnamed member of the Binance team outlined the latest edition of the Binance DEX demo, which sports a graphical user interface (GUI) that is reminiscent of the startup’s world-renowned centralized exchange.
The video outlined a number of pertinent features seen on any exchange, including issuing trade orders, which were surprisingly quick, account and wallet creation for the Binance Chain, and the in-house block explorer.
Grayscale Accumulates 1% Of All Circulating Bitcoin (BTC): Since Bitcoin’s earliest years, the Digital Currency Group (DCG), a consortium of world-renowned crypto startups, has been an industry juggernaut. And with a recent report from Diar, a leading crypto-centric research unit, it seems DCG has maintained this hegemony. Per publicly-available data, Grayscale Investments, the investment management arm of DCG, now owns 20,300 BTC for its in-house Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC). This jaw-dropping number of BTC amounts to more than 1% of the circulating supply of Bitcoin, and is valued at approximately $850 million. Seeing that much of Grayscale’s clientele are high-net-worth individuals and institutions, it would be fair to assume that copious amounts of “smart money” continue to flow into this space en-masse.
Ethereum Whales Continue To Buy Up ETH En-Masse: Just as Grayscale has continued to accumulate BTC for its clients, the whales of the Ethereum sea have continued to purchase their asset of choice — ETH. Per data compiled by Diar, the amount of ETH that Ethereum’s top 500 wallets have held has risen by 80%. To put this growth figure into perspective, on January 1st, whales kept 11 million Ether under lock and key, as of November 30th, the same group of users holds 20 million. This jaw-dropping sum amounts to nearly 20% of all Ether currently circulating, and $2.2 billion in U.S. dollar values, clearly indicating that whales are heavily betting on a market reversal.
Ethereum Classic (ETC) Development Team Folds: To say that 2018’s bear market has been rough would, frankly, be putting it lightly. The value of BTC has collapsed by 83%, while altcoins followed suit, posting losses that would make traders cringe and shudder. And sadly, with the market tumult affecting all industry participants, startups and organizations within this nascent ecosystem have suffered as well. The past week saw ETCDEV, a key development consortium rooting for Ethereum Classic (ETC), fold, announcing its closure due to funding constraints stemming from the falling market and in-company conflict. The announcement of ETCDEV’s fate comes just days after Steemit, ConsenSys, and Spankchain purged a number of their employees.
Nasdaq Enthusiastically Confirms Bitcoin Futures Plans: As reported in NewsBTC’s last Week In Review, rumors suggested that Nasdaq, one of the world’s foremost financial markets, was in the midst of development on a Bitcoin (BTC) futures vehicle. While the financial instrument was briefly mentioned by Gabor Gurbacs, digital asset strategist at VanEck, this week, Nasdaq’s head of media relations spoke with a leading U.K. tabloid in the matter. In a statement conveyed to Express U.K., the Nasdaq spokesman, Joseph Christinat, enthusiastically verified the rumors, claiming that his firm’s Bitcoin foray is slated for a launch in Q1/Q2 2019, before adding the vehicle is awaiting approval from the U.S. Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Although skeptics are adamant that the CFTC won’t give its blessing to the proposed vehicle, as made apparent with the introduction of CME’s and CBOE’s Bitcoin futures, this shouldn’t be a valid qualm. Christinat, accentuating Nasdaq’s enamorment with crypto assets, noted that Nasdaq first entered into the blockchain realm in 2013, which was when the now decade-old innovation “first popped up” and “leaned out of the window.” In closing, the company spokesperson explained that as Nasdaq has “put a hell of a lot of money and energy” into the vehicle, it would be remiss to cast aside its efforts due to the bear market.