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Crypto Weekly - March 8


A summary of select stories from the cryptocurrency and blockchain world during this week.

Bitcoin remains below $4000

After a troublesome first half, it has been a slow but steady week of progress for Bitcoin so far. Although the leading cryptocurrency by market capitalization did not gain much in the past week, a recovery within one day after a quick fall by $100 Monday provided great relief to the Bitcon market. So far in Friday's trade, BTC has touched a 12-day high of $3,900.

Global Blockchain Spending to grow significantly : IDC

Global spending on blockchain solutions is expected to be nearly $2.9 billion in 2019, and $12.4 billion in 2022, a significant growth in three years, according to a report by the International Data Corp. or IDC. The financial sector and the United States will lead the sector wise and region wise spending, respectively, the study noted. In 2019, the financial sector, including banking, securities and investment services, and insurance industries, are expected to invest more than $1.1 billion in blockchain solutions.

Russia's ruling party unveils blockchain-based e-voting platform

United Russia, the ruling party of Russia, launched a blockchain-based platform for electronic voting, according to local news agency TASS. The new system is expected to improve election transparency and eliminate intermediates in the electoral process. Only those citizens who had completed the authorization process on the web portal providing electronic state services can participate in and vote.

Cryptocurrency a great idea, but world not ready for it: Kaspersky

Russian cybersecurity expert Eugene Kaspersky says cryptocurrency is a great idea, but it will not be successful unless freed from government control. "Cryptocurrencies are a great idea, but the world is not ready for them yet. The world must be united if we want to have encrypted currencies. At the moment, governments will want to control them," the CEO of cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab told Arabian Business in an interview.

Eastern Caribbean Central Bank to test blockchain-based CBDC

The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) launched a pilot project to develop a blockchain-based central bank digital currency (CBDC) within the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU). ECCB said it signed a contract with the Barbados-based fintech company, Bitt Inc., for the test, which will be technically supported by Pinaka Consulting Ltd.

South Korea forms Special Task Force to Fight Cryptocurrency-Related Crimes

South Korea's Supreme Prosecutors' Office or SPO announced the formation of a special task force to fight cryptocurrency-related fraud and crimes, according to KBS News. The task force will investigate fraud, illegal money laundering, crimes and other illegal activities using virtual currency. The development comes amid the recent increase in the number of new fraud crimes related to virtual currencies.

Goldman Sachs-Backed Crypto Firm Circle Seeks $250 Mln In Funding: Report

Cryptocurrency startup Circle Internet Financial Ltd, which is backed by Goldman Sachs, is seeking to raise about $250 million in equity and debt, according to a report by technology news website The Information. The report, quoting Circle's co-founder Jeremy Allaire, said the company's revenue grew between 2017 and 2018 despite the fall in crypto prices. The crypto company generates revenue from trading fees on its cryptocurrency exchange Poloniex and institutional trading operation Circle Trade.

Botswana's Only Bitcoin ATM Becomes Functional

Botswana's only BATM (Bitcoin Automated Teller Machine) has become functional.
With the installation of a BATM in capital Gaborone, the total number of such automated teller machines in Africa has risen to 10. Startup company Express Minds Limited erected the BATM at the center of a prominent mall in Gaborone to incentivize the uptake of cryptocurrency.

Commerzbank, Deutsche Börse use blockchain for repo transaction settlement

Germany's Commerzbank and Deutsche Börse successfully executed a legally binding settlement of a repo transaction using blockchain. The pilot transaction was part of a joint proof-of-concept (PoC) to examine the possibility of using blockchain technology in securities settlement.
The repo transaction was based on a public note of KfW Bank Group amounting to 10 million euros for a term of seven days at a negative interest rate of -0.5%.

Consumer-investor outlook for cryptocurrencies positive: Survey

Despite increased government scrutiny, uncertainty and volatility in its value, consumers and investors continue to have optimistic outlook for cryptocurrencies, a recent survey by FINRA-registered broker Sharespost shows. Positive investor sentiment for Bitcoin grew to more than 80 percent. However, with prices down in recent months, Bitcoin trading volumes across major cryptocurrency exchanges have hit new lows, the report said.

Massive drop in major exchanges' Bitcoin trading volume

A new report by research publication Diar shows that with prices down in recent months, Bitcoin trading volumes across major cryptocurrency exchanges have hit new lows. Bitcoin traded volume witnessed a significant 55 percent drop in January and February of this year, compared with the corresponding period in 2018. Still, traded volume in terms of Bitcoins remains higher than that seen in 2017.

Current Prices

As of this writing, Bitcoin is gaining 0.84 percent or $32.43 at $3889.13 on Coinbase. Ethereum is down 0.08 percent or $0.12 to $136.83.

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