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Crypto Weekly - Jun. 15

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Bitcoin and its peers began the week in the red hurt by the news that a relatively small cryptocurrency exchange in South Korea was hacked. Crypto markets were also spooked by a report in the Wall Street Journal that the US government investigators are probing four bitcoin exchanges on allegations of manipulation in Bitcoin market pricing. The downward trend continued until Thursday and Bitcoin fell to a two-month low in between.

Mid-week, a study surfaced that found the controversial altcoin Tether was used to manipulate the price of Bitcoin in 2017. Elsewhere, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse said Bitcoin is controlled by China.

However, the top cryptocurrency and altcoins rallied Thursday after William Hinman, SEC director for corporate finance, said that Bitcoin and Ether are not securities. Bitcoin climbed back above $6,500.

At the start of the week, cryptocurrency market capitalization shrunk and fell below $300 billion for the first time since the middle of April. The market cap was $280.57 billion around 10.33 am ET Friday on CoinMarketCap.

Here is a collection of the main stories from the world of cryptocurrency and blockchain this week, thus far.

Cryptocurrencies Rally After SEC Official Says Bitcoin And Ether Not Securities

Bitcoin and its peers strongly gained Thursday after a top regulator said Bitcoin and Ether, the two leading cryptocurrencies in that order, cannot be treated as securities, but some initial coin offerings could be. "When I look at Bitcoin today, I do not see a central third party whose efforts are a key determining factor in the enterprise," William Hinman, director of the division of corporation finance at the US Securities and Exchange Commission said in a speech at the Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit: Crypto in San Francisco on Thursday.

S. Korea Exchange Hack, US Regulatory Probe Spook Crypto Market

Bitcoin and other major cryptocurrencies were trading down Sunday after Coinrail, a relatively small South Korean exchange, reportedly said Friday that some of its digital currencies appears to have been stolen by hackers, and that it is cooperating with investigators to track down the coins. Elsewhere, investigators from the US government, who are probing allegations of manipulation in Bitcoin market pricing, have sought comprehensive trading data from Bitcoin exchanges including Bitstamp, Coinbase, itBit, and Kraken, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Ethereum Classic Jumps On Coinbase Listing Plan; Binance Expands To Channel Islands

Ethereum Classic, a fork of Ethereum, surged after the US-based crypto exchange Coinbase revealed plans to support it across its platform over the coming months. The altcoin, trading with the symbol ETC, surged nearly 25 percent on Monday on the news of listing on Coinbase. Meanwhile, crypto exchange Binance revealed plans to expand further after Malta, by agreeing to develop a compliance base and open a cryptocurrency exchange in Jersey, which is the biggest of the Channel Islands, between England and France. And Apple's newly released App Store guidelines banned cryptocurrency mining on both iOS devices including iPhones and iPads, and Mac.

Global Watchdog Mulls Binding Rules For Crypto Exchanges

A global watchdog fighting financial crime is planning to frame binding rules to govern cryptocurrency exchanges, Reuters reported, citing a Japanese government official familiar with the matter. The Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is set to begin discussions on June 24, spurred by a call from G20 financial policymakers in March, the news agency said.

Ripple CEO Says Bitcoin Controlled By China

Brad Garlinghouse, the chief executive officer of cryptocurrency and payments start-up Ripple, claimed at conference that Bitcoin is really controlled by China, according to financial news outlet TheStreet.com. He also said that blockchain, the underlying technology behind bitcoin and Ripple, will not disrupt banks, though it will play an important role in the way the system works. It's a short-sighted view, he said.

Thailand, Lithuania Unveil New Crypto Rules; UK Advises Banks On Crypto Asset Risks

Thailand's Securities and Exchange Commission finalized new rules to regulate cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, as well as fund raising through Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) in the Southeast Asian country, and defined cryptocurrencies as "digital assets and digital tokens" under their regulatory jurisdiction. Lithuania's finance ministry released comprehensive new guidelines for cryptocurrency and initial coin offerings or ICOs, calling it a step towards more certainty and transparency in the financial market. In the UK, financial regulator wrote to the heads of banking institutions in the country on how to handle and mitigate the financial crime risks posed by cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Ether as well as related products. A recent survey by German retail bank Postbank showed that a total of 29 percent of German citizens see digital currencies as an interesting investment, despite the price declines and continuing volatility.

Volkswagen & IOTA Show Software Over-The-Air Proof Of Concept At CEBIT 2018

Volkswagen, the German car manufacturing giant, and the IOTA Foundation demonstrated at CEBIT 2018 on Tuesday, a proof of concept of how the trusted transfer of software over-the-air to vehicles can be securely documented using the latter's Tangle distributed ledger technology. CEBIT 2018 was held in Hannover Fairground, Germany, from June 11-15.

German Finance Watchdog Chief Calls Blockchain 'Revolutionary'

Blockchain technology is revolutionary and its applications could turn the entire financial sector upside down, according to Felix Hufeld, chief of German Finance Regulator, BaFin. Global financial services industry spent $1.7 billion to develop blockchain technology solutions last year, as banks and other firms move beyond the proof-of-concept stage and started rolling out commercial distributed ledger technology products, according to a report by U.S.-based market intelligence firm Greenwich Associates. Elsewhere, payment processor Mastercard Inc. filed a patent to use a public blockchain system for payment card verification and also won a patent for a system of itinerary bidding based on a blockchain network.

Irish Govt. Unveils Blockchain Initiative, Swiss Industry To Promote DLT In Capital Markets

Irish Blockchain Expert Group or IBEG, led by governmental agency IDA Ireland, has launched Blockchain Ireland, to help promote and share information on blockchain in the country. The Swiss industry created a new independent body called the Capital Markets and Technology Association (CMTA) to promote the use of new technologies such as blockchain in the capital markets. Meanwhile, Switzerland's crypto-valley Zug is set to run a pilot for a municipal voting system, which will be powered by blockchain technology, using the city's current digital ID (eID) system later in June.

Current Prices

As of 10.31 am ET on Friday, Bitcoin was down 14.65 percent for the week at $6,511.58 and Ethereum was lower by 18.37 percent at $491.00 on Coinbase.

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