May 2019 has been a great month for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies recovering from epic downturns since the beginning of 2018. Most cryptocurrencies performed better than they have since 2018. Bitcoin surpassed $8,000 and has shown signs of an imminent bull run. Other currencies may gear up for a massive run as well.
Bitcoin: Mostly trading around $5,000 throughout April, Bitcoin had an average first week, with a monthly low of $5,445.40. Its monthly high of $8,808.96 on May 28th was the peak of an impressive bull run. Bitcoin saw a monthly increase of 60.2% from a starting price of $5,445.40 to a current price of $8,808.96.
Ethereum: Just like Bitcoin, May was a good month for the Ethereum price. During a relatively slow first week, it recorded a monthly low of $162.45 on May 6. The same cannot be said for its fourth week, in which it recorded a monthly high of $270.31 on May 28. Overall, ETH saw a 64.5% monthly increase from a starting price of $166.35 to a current price of $270.31.
Ripple: Still in third place by market capitalization, XRP had a slow first week, with a monthly low of $0.300978 on May 10, and a monthly high of $0.465611 on May 16. Overall, XRP saw a monthly increase of 40.5% from a starting price of $0.316414 to a current price of $0.444817.
Robinhood Crypto, the popular American stock brokerage has recently released a zero-fee cryptocurrency trading app in New York just months after acquiring a Bitlicense. The license issued by the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) will allow the company to offer cryptocurrency services freely within the state. Users will now be able to trade up to seven different cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Bitcoin SV (BSV), and Dogecoin (DOGE) on the platform with no commission fee. This brings the number of states in which Robinhood Crypto is available to 39.
Proxima Media, the brainchild of U.S-based film producer Ryan Kavanaugh, has raised $100 million from Step Ventures and garment production company Central Wealth Group. The investment will fund a new blockchain-enabled film funding tool developed by the company. The tool known as Proxicoin will cater to TV, film, and other forms of entertainment-based intellectual property. Proxicoin will likely issue Ethereum-based tokens that will allow users to own shares in film and other media. According to Proxima Media, the Proxicoin token has been created and audited. A deal to release it fully has also been struck with Malaysia-based Fusang Exchange.
California resident Daniel Pacheco has been dragged into a court battle initiated by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on accusations of running a multimillion-dollar crypto pyramid scheme. According to the SEC, Pacheco fraudulently offered unregistered securities to users through IPro Solutions LLC and IPro Network LLC, two California-based companies, from January 2017 to March 2018. The companies raised $26 million from investors after claiming that token holders would earn points which could be converted point into a digital currency known as PRO Currency. The statement by Michele Wein Layne, Director of the SEC’s Los Angeles Regional Office reads:
“We allege that Pacheco hid an old fraud under the guise of cutting-edge technology. He enticed investors by offering them the opportunity to speculate in cryptocurrency, when he was simply operating a pyramid scheme.”
Overstock.com, one of the first major cryptocurrency adopters, has seen a 17% decrease in its Q1 2019 revenue due to declining sales. In the report released by Patrick Byrne, the firm’s CEO, the company’s total net revenue fell from $445 million in Q1 2018 to $367 million in Q1 2019 as its marketing efforts fell flat.
Overstock’s gross profits have also fallen by 22% in Q1 2019, from $93 million to $73 million. tZero, the company’s blockchain arm, was unable to achieve its $100 million funding goal from GSR Capital, a Chinese investment firm and Singapore-based private equity firm Makara Capital.
A $100,000 bitcoin ransomware attack which occurred on May 7 has dealt a blow to critical services in Baltimore. Known as RobbinHood, the ransomware invaded about 10,000 of the city’s computers. Gmail accounts created by city officials after the attack as well as the baltimorecity.gov official email addresses have been shut down. According to a Google representative, the addresses were shut down because the situation triggered Gmail’s automated security system.
Alibaba Group is secretly planning to raise $20 billion through a Hong Kong listing. Headed by Jack Ma, the company has raised $25 billion in September 2014 after being enlisting on the New York Stock Exchange. Regarded as the biggest IPO in history, the offering surpassed those of other corporate giants such as Google. According to Bloomberg, the company is gearing up for another groundbreaking IPO to boost its funding streams and liquidity. It may also have something to do with the company’s falling shares. The listing may likely happen later in the year happen later this year, according to the report.
The central bank of Malawi has stated that cryptocurrency is illegal in the country. The institution is strictly against all cryptocurrency-related activities and does not accept digital currencies as a substitute for the Malawi kwacha (MWK). According to a statement by the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) Governor, Dalitso Kabambe, “The bank has warned its citizens that the government is not planning to recognize investments in cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin (BTC).” The governor also cited the risks of theft and fraud associated with digital currency use and trade. At press time, Malawi has no registered crypto exchange in the country.
According to a notice released by The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), the institution has warned the public to avoid the crypto project OneCoin. According to the notice, the project could be a scam and is not licensed in Australia. Apparently, OneCoin failed to obtain the two major licenses they would need to establish investment services in the country. Both the Australian Financial Services license and Australian Credit license must be received from the ASIC before any such operations can begin. The institution claims that OneCoin is likely a Ponzi scheme registered in Sofia, Bulgaria, in 2014 and has defrauded investors of more than $3 billion. Although one of its members was arrested, the company remains active.
Shinhan Bank, credited as Korea’s oldest bank, recently launched a lending platform supported by blockchain. The platform is intended to leverage the security and speed of blockchain to make the process of taking loans more efficient. According to a report by South Korean news agency Yonhap, the platform will allow its users to take out loans online without the need to be physically present. Blockchain has been integrated with the verification process to allow parties to register remotely, and minimize criminal activity. Shinhan bank has been making plans to adopt blockchain in some of its operations for a while. In 2018, it implemented the technology in internal processes and introduces interest rate swap transactions based on the technology.
UK-Based Global Funds Network Calastone Moves Entire System to Blockchain
Calastone, a London-based global funds network, has announced a switch from fund trade clearing services to a new blockchain Distributed Market Infrastructure (DMI). The network, which serves almost 2000 customers across 41 markets, is credited as the largest community of interconnected global financial services organizations under blockchain technology. According to the press release, the network has forecast a mutual funds market savings of more than £3.4 billion ($4.33 billion) annually. The DMI will solve several issues by connecting participants within a common infrastructure. Calastone also announced the creation of the Sub-Register, a new service that creates a “shared, real-time view and history of the registers between trading partners at any point in the distribution chain.”