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Cryptocurrency Daily Roundup - Mar. 9

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Bitcoin tumbled below $9,000 on Friday as a series of events rattled the cryptocurrency market this week. Crypto traders were concerned as watchdogs in the US and Japan took stern measures to check excessive speculation and a massive sale of Bitcoin by the trustee of the now-defunct Mt Gox also made traders worry about a crash in the price of Bitcoin. Plus, the news that the popular crypto exchange Binance faced a large-scale hack, which it was able to thwart, also damped sentiment, causing prices of Bitcoin and others such as Ethereum, Ripple and Litecoin to fall.

Here is a wrap up of the main news from the cryptocurrency and blockchain world over the last 24 hours.

Widespread Crackdown On Japan's Crypto Exchanges

Japan's financial regulator has made a widespread crackdown on the country's cryptocurrency exchanges to step up consumer protection in the wake of $530 million theft of digital money from Tokyo-based Coincheck. The Financial Services Agency (FSA) on Thursday ordered seven trading platforms to improve their system security measures and submit a written improvement plan by March 22. The exchanges are Tech Bureau, GMO Coin, Mister Exchange, Bicrements, Coincheck, FSHO and Bit Station. FSA also handed month-long suspension to two exchanges - FSHO and Bit Station - after discovering that their internal control systems were lacking, including adequate measures to counter money laundering and terrorism financing. Read more...

Sierra Leone Presidential Election First In World To Use Blockchain

A Switzerland-based startup employed blockchain to help track the Sierra Leone presidential poll held on Wednesday, apparently the first time in the world that the technology underlying cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin was used in an election. The voting technology company Agora, which describes itself as a Swiss lab and foundation for digital democracy, announced the move on Twitter on Thursday. The blockchain delivered results two hours before the official count, Agora announced on Twitter. "This is the first time in history that blockchain has been used in government elections," the company said. Read more...

SWIFT Says Blockchain Tech Needs To Progress Further Before Using In Mainstream

The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication or SWIFT said it has completed blockchain proof of concept or PoC test, which showed that distributed ledger technology or DLT, or the blockchain technology, requires further progress before using in the mainstream. The blockchain PoC was to address Nostro account reconciliation issues between the accounts of 34 banks. Blockchain or distributed ledger technology is a decentralized and encrypted ledger, which is the base for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The provider of secure financial messaging service, which is owned by about 11,000 banks, noted that the initiative was one of the most extensive blockchain proofs of concept powered by Hyperledger Fabric 1.0 executed in the industry so far. Read more...

IBM Says 400 Projects On Its Blockchain Platform

Technology giant IBM told investors that it currently serves over 63 customers across financial services, supply chains, Internet of Things, risk management, digital rights management and healthcare, who are running 400 projects on its blockchain platform. The customers include 25 global trading companies, 14 food companies and retailers, 14 global payments, and finance companies. Some of them are Maersk, Dupont, Walmart, Nestle, Unilever, Visa, Deutsche Bank, and HSBC. This was revealed by IBM Chairman President and CEO Ginni Rometty at its 2018 investor briefing. Read more...

Comcast Funds Blockchain Startup

Telecommunications conglomerate Comcast is expanding its investment in blockchain technology by funding a startup that provides easy deployment, connection and management of nodes. The company led a $3.275 million serial-seed funding round for Blockdaemon. Other contributors were venture capital firms such as Boldstart, IBM-backed Mstate, Plug and Play, and angel investors including Bitfury seed investor Meagan Jones, Sam Lessin and Jeff Fagnan from Accomplice. Read more...

Carrefour Launches Europe's First Food Blockchain

French retailer Carrefour Group has launched Europe's first food blockchain and plans to extend the technology to eight more product lines before the end of 2018. The move is part of the retailer's implementation of the five-year Carrefour 2022 transformation plan that was announced in late January by the new CEO Alexandre Bompard, who took over in mid-July. Europe's largest retailer noted that the blockchain technology is currently in use for free-range Carrefour Quality Line Auvergne chickens. This will be later introduced to eight more animal and vegetable product lines, such as eggs, cheese, milk, oranges, tomatoes, salmon and ground beef steak. Read more...

Two Cryptocurrency Billionaires In Forbes Richest List

Forbes Magazine has featured two crypto-currency billionaires for the first time in its list of the world's richest. Chris Larsen, the richest man in crypto, and Changpeng Zhao, the owner of the crypto exchange Binance, have found place among 259 newcomers in Forbes' 2018 World's Billionaires list. Larsen is ranked 14th with a net worth of $4.6 billion, while Zhao's net worth is estimated to be $1.4 billion. Forbes found 259 new billionaires over the past year as surging markets have pushed the number to a record-high of 2,208. The newcomers' 'lucky products' range from cryptocurrency to animal style In-N-Out burgers to Hatchimals kids toys. Read more...

New Jersey Issues Cease-and-Desist To Bitcoiin ICO

New Jersey has issued a cease-and-desist order to an initial coin offering (ICO) by cryptocurrency investment company Bitcoiin. In an order issued on Wednesday, the New Jersey Bureau of Securities alleged that Bitcoiin is selling unregistered securities to investors of the US state. Bitcoiin is engaging in fraud in connection with the offer for sale of securities, the cease-and-desist order says. It noted that other than stating that Bitcoiin's executive offices are located in Asia and providing a contact name of "John Williams," no additional contact information is available. Read more...

Taiwanese Airline To Accept Cryptocurrencies For Flight Tickets

Taiwanese airline company FAT Taiwan Inc., the parent company of Far Eastern Air Transport (FAT), announced recently that it would start accepting payments in encrypted digital currencies such as bitcoin for the purchase air tickets and related services. FAT will become the first airline operator in Taiwan to accept cryptocurrencies. Passengers will be able to use encrypted digital currency to enjoy more than 20,000 domestic and foreign flights and related travel products provided by Far East Airlines for a more convenient and preferential transaction experience. The Taipei, Taiwan-based airline flies to many destinations including Siem Reap, Chengdu, Guilin, Haikou, Hefei, Nanning, Taiyuan, Wuhan, Yichang, Zhengzhou, Kaosiung, Kinmen, Magong, Taipei and Da Nang. Read more...

Australian Meteorology Staff Investigated Over Crypto Mining

Two employees of Australian Bureau of Meteorology are being investigated by the police for allegedly using the bureau's powerful computers to mine cryptocurrencies, ABC News reported. As per the report, the employees allegedly ran an elaborate operation using the bureau's computers. The investigation is continuing, but they are yet to be charged. At least one of these employees has since gone on leave. Read more...

Current Prices

As of 6.28 am ET on Friday, Bitcoin was down 12.91 percent at $8,726.56 and Ethereum was lower by 12.21 percent at $675.08 on Coinbase.

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