6 ARRESTED IN THE UK AND NETHERLANDS IN €24 MILLION CRYPTOCURRENCY THEFT 12731

Today, the UK’s South West Regional Cyber Crime Unit (SW RCCU) in a joint operation with the Dutch police (Politie), Europol, Eurojust and the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) has arrested 6 individuals after a 14-month long investigation into a €24 million cryptocurrency theft.

The five men and one woman were arrested in simultaneous warrants this morning at their homes in Charlcombe, Lower Weston and Staverton (UK) and Amsterdam and Rotterdam (the Netherlands).

The theft, which targeted users’ Bitcoin tokens, is believed to have affected at least 4 000 victims in 12 countries, with the numbers continuing to grow.

The investigation relates to typosquatting, where a well-known online cryptocurrency exchange was ‘spoofed’ – or recreated to imitate the genuine site – to gain access to victims’ Bitcoin wallets, stealing their funds and login details.

This case was referred to the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) and the Joint Cybercrime Action Taskforce (J-CAT) hosted at Europol after the British authorities identified possible suspects living in the Netherlands. Operational support delivered by EC3 since February 2018 allowed the J-CAT to coordinate the international cooperation between the different EU Member States involved.

In addition, operational meetings were organised at Europol’s headquarters between the British and Dutch authorities, allowing for the smooth exchange of intelligence and evidence which led to these successful arrests. A coordination meeting was also held at Eurojust to prepare for the action day.

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Cryptocurrency futures exchange CoinFlex targets Asia traders with physical delivery of bitcoin contracts 27678

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New cryptocurrency futures exchange CoinFlex, which claims to be the world’s first exchange that offers physical delivery for bitcoin futures contracts, wants to ramp up business from Asian retail investors who want to avoid falling victim to price manipulation that it says is rampant in cash-settlement contracts.

Mark Lamb, Hong Kong-based chief executive of the company, said contracts that physically deliver bitcoin and other tokens at settlement will benefit traders, who can be certain the spot and futures prices have not been manipulated and that they closely track the spot bitcoin price. This is because cash-settlement contracts, whose price is often calculated using a formula based on the spot bitcoin prices of other exchanges, can be easily manipulated.

“Professional and retail traders alike are affected by price manipulation in the cash settled futures market. In physical delivered contracts, anyone long at expiry receives the underlying bitcoin. There are no formulas involved,” Lamb said.

He did not comment when asked if CoinFlex was offering services to Hong Kong-based customers. The city’s Securities and Futures Commission proposed a regulatory framework on cryptocurrency exchanges in November 2018, and has said it was unlikely to grant licences to exchanges that offered the trading of futures and derivative contracts.

Lamb said he had seen an increase in attempts to manipulate prices over the past few months, by traders who moved the underlying spot prices that go into the formula in their favour, as they took advantage of the thinner trading volume of the cryptocurrency spot market compared with that of futures. Currently, the trading volume of bitcoin futures is 1.5 times that of spot.

Altcoins: ETC, IOTA, ADA, TRX and XLM 25562

Altcoins

ETC/USD

Ethereum Classic (ETC) was the best performer of the past seven days by a huge margin. A bulk of its rally can be attributed to the forthcoming Atlantis hard fork, scheduled for next month, which aims to address security concerns of the community. ETC Labs announced that London-based token investment group North Block Capital has joined its Studio program. Both entities will work together to create comprehensive token sale initiatives for North Block Capital investments, clients and partners. The companies will also endeavor to expand to Asian markets. After the sharp rally, can the momentum continue or will profit-booking drag prices down? Let’s analyze its chart.

ETC/USD

After trading in a small range for the past five weeks, the ETC/USD pair made a decisive move this week. It has broken out of both moving averages, which is a positive sign. If bulls can sustain the momentum, a rally to $10 is probable. $10 is likely to act as a stiff resistance because the price had turned down from it on two previous occasions. A breakout of this resistance will start a new uptrend that can carry the price to $15 and above it to $20.

Conversely, if the pair turns down from $10, it might extend its stay inside the wide range. The longer the consolidation, the stronger and more reliable will be the eventual breakout from it. Traders can buy on dips to $6.50 next week and keep a stop loss of $5. If the support at $5 breaks down, the pair can drop to the bottom of the range at $3.40.

IOTA/USD

MIOTA (IOTA) was the second-best performer of the past seven days. EDAG announced that it will showcase its EDAG CityBot multifunctional robotic vehicle, which uses IOTA’s machine-to-machine payments. A new parking app developed by trive.me also utilizes IOTA’s Tangle. Is this a good time to buy?

IOTA/USD

The IOTA/USD pair is trading inside a wide range of $0.244553 and $0.541. One of the reliable strategies to trade a range-bound market is to buy on a rebound from support and sell closer to resistance. The bears attempted to break below $0.244553 last week, but did not find sellers at lower levels. This week, the sharp bounce suggests that buyers are keen to defend the support. Therefore, traders can buy above $0.28 and keep a stop loss of $0.20. The first target objective is $0.38 and above it $0.541.

If bulls fail to build on the bounce, bears will make another attempt to break below the yearly low of $0.207622. It this support cracks, the next target on the downside is $0.14.

ADA/USD

Cardano (ADA) is attempting to make its way back into the top-10 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization. Has it turned positive? Let’s analyze its chart.

ADA/USD

After failing to scale above the overhead resistance zone of $0.10–$0.11151 in late June, the ADA/USD pair has corrected close to the support at $0.035778. If this support breaks down, a retest of the yearly low at $0.0282710 is possible. With the price trading below both moving averages, the advantage is with he bears.

Still, as the price is close to the support of the range, traders can attempt to buy on a strong bounce off $0.035778. The stop loss can be kept below the yearly low of $0.028. There is a minor resistance at $0.0580828 and above it at the moving averages. A breakout of moving averages can propel the price to $0.10.

Our bullish view will be negated if the price turns down from the moving averages and plunges below the yearly low.

TRX/USD

The number of Tron (TRX) DApps has continued to rise, reaching 561, according to DAppReview. Both transaction time and transaction volume also increased by 30% over the previous week. Is the cryptocurrency ready for a reversal? Let’s find out.

TRX/USD

The failure of bulls to propel the TRX/USD pair above the overhead resistance of $0.04 in late June attracted sharp selling. Though the price has broken below the strong support at $0.01774, the bears have not been able to capitalize on the breakdown. This shows a lack of sellers at lower levels. The pair is currently finding support near $0.016. However, as long as the price remains below the downtrend line, there is a risk of a fall to the yearly low at $0.01124.

Conversely, a breakout and close (UTC time) above the downtrend line on a weekly basis will be the first signal that buyers are back in action. The recovery will face resistance at the moving averages and above it at $0.03. As the rebound from the support is weak, we suggest traders wait for the price to break out and sustain above the downtrend line before attempting long positions.

XLM/USD

Stellar (XLM) rounded up the top five with a flat performance in the past seven days. Can it build on its gains or will it decline again? Let’s analyze its chart.

XLM/USD

The XLM/USD pair has been making new yearly lows in the past two weeks. This shows that the trend is down. Both moving averages are sloping down and the RSI is in the negative zone, which suggests that bears have the upper hand. However, the downtrend has not picked up momentum after breaking down of the strong support at $0.072545. This shows that investors do not want to part with their holdings at these levels.

Nevertheless, the absence of a strong bounce indicates a lack of urgency among bulls to buy at the current levels. Though there might be a short-term bounce, investors should avoid it. We will wait for the price to sustain above $0.072545 for more than a week before proposing a trade in it.

Market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange.

Crypto.com Adds Binance Coin to Crypto Earn 21415

Binance Chain

Crypto.com, the pioneering payments and cryptocurrency platform, announced today that it has completed the Binance Chain integration and is adding BNB to Crypto Earn. Deposit at least $100 USD of BNB into Crypto Earn for 3 months (paying 8% p.a. in BNB) and get $20 USD in CRO as a bonus at the end of term. Limited to 5000 new users. First come, first served! Promo applies to new Crypto.com accounts created on or after Aug 6, 2019.

Effective today: (Crypto.com App Version 3.30)

– BNB BEP2 Deposits: Users will now be able to deposit and withdraw BNB Mainnet Native Token (BEP2 format) on the Crypto.com App.

– BNB in Crypto Earn: BNB will also have additional utility as it is now supported by Crypto Earn, allowing eligible Crypto.com App users to enjoy up to 8% p.a. on their BNB deposits, paid in BNB.

– BNB ERC-20 Holdings: Starting from Aug 6, 3:00PM HKT, users holding BNB (ERC-20) tokens on Crypto.com will have them automatically converted BNB (BEP2). All BNB (ERC-20) tokens will be swapped to BNB (BEP2) tokens on a 1:1 ratio.

– BNB ERC-20 Deposits: Crypto.com will continue to enable BNB (ERC-20) deposits to support the swap until further notice. Users interested in making BNB (ERC-20) deposits to Crypto.com after Aug 6, 3:00 PM HKT can only do so to their Crypto.com ETH Wallet Address ONLY.* Users can check their ETH wallet address by going to Wallet -> Ethereum -> Deposit on their Crypto.com Wallet App.

Notes:

*BNB (ERC-20) deposits made to a non-ETH wallet address on Crypto.com may result in an irreversible loss of funds; Crypto.com is not liable for such losses.

Please make sure you specify the destination tag/memo specified within the MCO wallet app > BNB > Deposit page when making BNB (BEP2) deposits.

The Crypto.com App may cease supporting BNB ERC20 tokens in the future with advance notice to you. Any BNB ERC20 deposits made after we cease supporting BNB ERC20 may result in an irreversible loss of funds.

BTC, BCH, XMR, XTZ and LINK 21245

LINK

XTZ/USD

Tezos (XTZ) is the best performer of the past seven days with a massive jump of over 40%. It shot up after Coinbase announced that it will onboard the cryptocurrency on its professional trading platform, Coinbase Pro. The four-stage process will start with inbound XTZ transfers on August 5. Huobi Wallet tweeted that it will be a Tezos baker and support XTZ in the near future. Blockchain development company Truffle announced that it will add support for the Tezos blockchain protocol in its developer suit. These favorable fundamental news helped the digital currency rake up strong gains. However, can this continue or will the rally peter out after the news-based rally? Let’s analyze the charts.

XTZ/USD

The XTZ/USD pair has formed a cup and handle reversal pattern, which will complete on a breakout and close (UTC time frame) above $1.85. Following the breakout, the target objective is $3.37 and above it $4.20. The moving averages have completed a bullish crossover and the RSI has jumped into positive territory, which suggests that bulls are back in the game.

However, the failure of bulls to close the week near the highest point shows profit booking at higher levels. If the price fails to break out of $1.85, the reversal pattern will not come into play and a few weeks of consolidation between $0.83 and $1.85 are possible.

Traders can buy on a close (UTC time frame) above $1.85 and keep a stop loss of $0.82. Until then, it is better to remain on the sidelines.

LINK/USD

Unlike other major cryptocurrencies, Chainlink (LINK) has been volatile and has been finding a place either among the top losers or the top gainers for the past few weeks. This week, it has again found a place as a top gainer. Oracle announced a partnership with Chainlink, which is a big boost for the project. In other news, Callisto Network announced integration of Chainlink Oracles and Zilliqa tied up with Chainlink to power its smart contracts. While the fundamental news flow has been positive, let’s see what the chart projects.

LINK/USD

The LINK/USD pair has found support at the 61.8% Fibonacci retracement levels of $2.0175 for three successive weeks. This makes it an important level to watch on the downside.

On the upside, bulls might face resistance at $2.8498, above which, the pair is likely to pick up momentum and rally towards the lifetime high. Therefore, traders can wait for the price to scale and close (UTC time frame) above $2.8498 before attempting long positions.

If bulls fail to propel the price above $2.8498, the pair might remain range-bound for a few weeks. Our bullish view will be negated if bears sink and sustain the digital currency below $2.0175.

BTC/USD

Bitcoin (BTC) has gained in double digits in the past seven days. The past week saw a flare-up of trade war between China and the U.S. and a rate cut by the U.S. Federal Reserve. Peter Tchir, former Executive Director at Deutsche Bank, said that Bitcoin acts as a lead indicator to hidden geopolitical tensions.

Fundstrat Global Advisors co-founder Tom Lee and a report by research firm Delphi Digital said that dovish policies of central banks will be bullish for the leading cryptocurrency. On the news that central banks have been buying a record quantity of gold, Anthony Pompliano said that central banks will start hedging their assets with Bitcoin if they “find out about the non-correlated, asymmetric upside profile of Bitcoin.”

Can Bitcoin extend its rally in the next few weeks? Let’s find out.

BTC/USD

In strong uptrends, the pullbacks are usually arrested at the 38.2% Fibonacci retracement level of the entire rally. The BTC/USD pair found support between the 38.2% and 50% retracement levels, which is a positive sign. Both moving averages are sloping up and the RSI is in positive territory. This suggests that bulls are firmly in command.

The up-move might face some resistance at the downtrend line, above which, the pair can retest the recent highs of $13,973.50. This level might see some profit-booking, but once crossed, we expect buyers to pile in and push the price toward $17,208.84.

Our bullish view will be invalidated if the price turns down from the downtrend line and plummets below $9,080. That will indicate selling at higher levels and might catch the bulls off guard.

BCH/USD

Bitcoin Cash (BCH) celebrated its second birthday on Aug. 1 and ended up as the fourth-best performer of the week. Can the rally continue?

BCH/USD

The BCH/USD pair is rising inside an ascending channel. It remains in an uptrend as long as it stays inside the channel. The bulls will now try to push the price towards the resistance line of the channel. A breakout of the channel will result in a sharp upward move. The traders can initiate positions as suggested in our earlier analysis.

Contrary to our assumption, if the pair turns down and plummets below the channel, it can plummet to $227.70 and below it to $166.25. Both moving averages have flattened out and the RSI is close to the midpoint, which points to a probable consolidation for a few weeks.

XMR/USD

Monero (XMR) rounded up the list with gains of just over 8%. Can the cryptocurrency extend its gains in the coming weeks? Let’s have a look at its chart.

XMR/USD

The bears broke below the support at $81.4151 in the past week, but could not capitalize on the breakdown. The XMR/USD pair has quickly bounced back above the level, which shows demand at lower levels. Both moving averages have flattened out and the RSI is just above 50, which points to a range-bound action for a few weeks.

If the price breaks out of $90.4999, it can rally to $107 and above it to $120. The traders can buy if the price closes (UTC time frame) above $90.4999 for a day and keep a stop loss of $71. The stops can be raised to breakeven as the pair reaches $107.

Contrary to our expectation, if the cryptocurrency reverses direction and plunges below $71, it will be a negative sign. Such a move can drag it lower to $60.

Market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange.

Banning cryptocurrencies in India not the solution: Nasscom 17999

India

Banning cryptocurrencies in India is not the solution as this would inhibit new applications and solutions from being deployed and would discourage tech startups, the IT industry’s apex body Nasscom said on Tuesday.

An inter-ministerial committee headed by Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg last week submitted the report and the draft bill on banning of cryptocurrencies and regulating official currency in the country.

“Nasscom believes that the recent proposal of the inter-ministerial committee of the government to ban all cryptocurrencies barring those that are backed by the government, is not the most constructive measure.

Instead, the government should work towards developing a risk-based framework to regulate and monitor cryptocurrencies and tokens,” it said in a statement.

A ban would handicap India from participating in new use cases that cryptocurrencies and tokens offer.

The panel in its draft report had said that for private cryptocurrencies, given the risks associated with them and volatility in their prices, “the group has recommended banning them and imposing fines and penalties for carrying on of any activity connected with them in India”.

According to Nasscom, cryptocurrency-based businesses can be tested in the regulatory sandboxes being launched by the financial sector regulators across the country.

“We should work towards creating a regulatory framework that will constantly monitor and prevent illegal activities. Regulating would allow the law enforcement agencies to be better equipped to understand these new technologies, enable them to gather intelligence on criminal developments and take enforcement actions,” said the IT industry’s apex body.

Q2 2019 XRP Markets Report 17241

Ripple

Ripple publishes the quarterly XRP Markets Report to provide regular updates on the state of the market, including quarterly programmatic and institutional strategy and sales, relevant XRP-related announcements such as Xpring and RippleNet partnerships, and commentary on previous quarter market developments. As an owner of XRP, Ripple believes in proactive transparency and in being a responsible stakeholder. Ripple urges others in the industry to follow its lead to build trust, foster open communication, and raise the bar industry-wide.

CHANGE IN VOLUME BENCHMARK

In June 2019, Ripple shared that the company’s sales of XRP in Q2 2019 would be lower as a percentage of reported volume than in the previous quarters due to the concerns about misreported, falsified and inflated reported trading volumes.

Ripple worked with trusted partners to evaluate new sources of legitimate trading volume. After evaluation, Ripple decided CryptoCompare’s Top Tier (CCTT), the exchanges rated “AA,” “A,” and “B” by its Exchange Benchmark, offers a more complete look on the quality, regulatory environment, management, and structure of exchanges that filter out a majority of unverified volumes. Publicly available sources of trusted trading volume are still in relatively early stages, but CCTT is in line with what Ripple believes to be more accurate XRP trading volumes. For now, Ripple will use CCTT as its benchmark, and will continue to work proactively with industry participants toward resolving the issues around unreliable industry volume data.

Q2 HIGHLIGHTS

  • Overall market capitalization of digital assets sharply increased in Q2.
  • Ripple sold $251.51 million XRP in Q2 2019 and is substantially reducing future sales of XRP.
  • Given the concerns about overstated market trading volumes, CryptoCompare will be Ripple’s primary benchmark for XRP market volume going forward.
  • Three billion XRP were released out of cryptographic escrow, 2.10 billion returned to escrow.
  • XRP is now listed on over 130 exchanges worldwide.
*data from coinmarketcap.com; **data from CryptoCompare Top Tier

Q2 AND FUTURE XRP SALES

Q2 Sales
In Q2 2019, Ripple sold $106.87 million XRP in institutional direct sales and $144.64 million in programmatic sales. In total, the company sold $251.51 million XRP in Q2. Given the reports of inflated volumes, which Ripple took seriously, the company temporarily paused programmatic sales and placed limits on institutional sales to evaluate the problem in early Q2. Ripple later resumed XRP sales at a rate that was 50% lower versus previous guidance, at 10 basis points of CoinMarketCap reported volumes.

Future Sales
Ripple plans to take a more conservative approach to XRP sales in Q3. As noted, the company switched benchmarks to CCTT and will target programmatic sales at 10 basis points of CCTT reported volumes.

INSTITUTIONAL VS. PROGRAMMATIC SALES

Institutional (OTC) Sales
Ripple’s long-term view is that efficient, liquid XRP markets should resemble the traditional FX markets, given XRP’s use case of global value transfer. As a large portion of FX trading occurs on the OTC markets, in 2017, Ripple began providing, through XRP II, a licensed subsidiary, OTC purchases of XRP to meet institutional demand, at a time when XRP/USD liquidity was limited. Since then, XRP listings increased as Ripple has partnered with the top digital asset brokers and used inventory to serve as a backstop for XRP liquidity. This allowed these OTC liquidity providers the ability to source XRP, even when institutional quantities of XRP were difficult to access across exchanges.

Ripple decided to pull back from providing XRP over-the-counter at scale toward the end of Q2, in light of the OTC desks’ ability to source institutional demand for XRP in the open markets. Going forward, Ripple plans to focus institutional sales on markets where the on-exchange liquidity for XRP is insufficient to meet institutional demand.

Programmatic Sales
Ripple’s programmatic XRP sales have been done with the goal of minimizing market impact. The company did this through limiting XRP programmatic sales to what it considers a small percentage of traded volume, which was executed across multiple exchanges. Ripple relies on programmatic sales partners who mainly execute trades passively; their trading volumes do not vary based on changes in the price of XRP, but they do increase as overall XRP trading volumes increase.

As discussed earlier, because of misreported trading volumes, Ripple has changed its sales strategy and benchmark for Q3, and will continue to closely monitor the situation.

Q2 ESCROW ACTIVITY

In Q2 2019, three billion XRP were again released out of escrow (one billion each month). 2.10 billion XRP were returned and subsequently put into new escrow contracts. The remaining 900 million XRP not returned to escrow are being used in a variety of ways to develop use cases for XRP, including Xpring initiatives and RippleNet partnerships (such as MoneyGram). All figures are reported based on transactions executed during the quarter.

XRP COMMENTARY

The overall market capitalization of digital assets increased by 122.86% from Q1. XRP price gained 28.20% over Q2, ending the quarter at $0.40 on coinmarketcap.com

Volume
According to CCTT, the daily volume for XRP increased in Q2. The average daily volume was $429.51 million in Q2 and $156.01 million in Q1.

For reference, according to coinmarketcap.com, the average XRP daily volume was $1.74 billion.

Volatility and Correlation
XRP’s volatility of daily returns over the quarter was 5.01%. Though there was a slight increase in volatility from Q1, XRP was in line with other top digital assets. In addition, XRP’s correlation with bitcoin dropped from Q1, while its correlation with ether remained high.

Exchanges
In Q2, 12 new exchanges listed XRP bringing the total number to over 130 exchanges worldwide.

RIPPLENET

Q2 saw the highest number of customer transactions on RippleNet. In fact, the number of xRapid transactions increased 170% from Q1 to Q2 and Ripple had a 30% increase in the number of live xRapid partners in Q2. Ripple anticipates this momentum in transaction volume to continue as more partners and customers go live.

Notably in Q2, Ripple announced it agreed to enter into a strategic partnership with MoneyGram (NASDAQ: MGI), one of the world’s largest money transfer companies. The company operates in the $600 billion global remittance market, serving millions of customers in more than 200 countries and territories, supporting multiple currencies. Through this partnership, which will have an initial term of two years, Ripple would become MoneyGram’s key partner for cross-border payments and foreign exchange settlement using digital assets. In conjunction with the partnership, Ripple has agreed to provide a capital commitment to MoneyGram, which enables the company to draw up to $50 million in exchange for equity over a two-year period.

The partnership with Ripple focuses on the xRapid product. xRapid is a solution for on-demand liquidity, which leverages XRP, the native digital asset of the XRP Ledger, as a real-time bridge between the sending and receiving currencies.

XPRING 

Xpring is Ripple’s initiative to support the open source community of developers, building on the decentralized XRP Ledger and use cases for XRP on that ledger. This support is done in two ways: 1) helping innovative blockchain projects grow through partnership and investment; 2) building crypto infrastructure through contributions to open source crypto protocols such as the XRP Ledger and Interledger projects. In addition, Xpring is building a developer platform to support open source developers to leverage these protocols. Xpring makes investments using a mix of traditional currency and XRP.  XRP investments are generally subject to sales restrictions and intended for direct use in the tools and services being developed.

Companies and developers continued to build on the XRP Ledger, and utilize ILP and XRP. Significant developments from companies and projects, which Xpring invested in and supports, include:

  • Bolt Labs is a privacy-focused payment channel network supporting multiple digital currencies. Bolt scales off-chain transactions while preserving privacy.
  • Agoric enables developers to build secure smart contracts and new digital assets that can connect to public and private blockchains.
  • Robot Ventures is a (pre-)seed investor in early stage companies in the decentralized finance and blockchain space.

MARKET COMMENTARY

Notable Regulatory Activity

  • The SEC announced that it would establish nodes on certain open source, permissionless ledgers, such as the XRP Ledger, to help inform its policy making.
  • The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority analogized XRP to ETH, which it recognized was a hybrid utility/exchange token, not a security token.

Technology companies enter the space
New entrants into the ecosystem brought global awareness around crypto and blockchain. Most notably, Facebook’s announcement of the Libra whitepaper in June brought mainstream attention from all audiences. Akin to JP Morgan’s announcement of its JPM Coin trial, the news brought market validation to the space, highlighting the benefits that blockchain and crypto bring to payments. However, Facebook faced significant regulatory headwinds as regulators questioned the company’s ability to protect consumer data and comply with anti-money laundering and know-your-customer laws. Facebook was not the only tech company that announced it was breaking into crypto and blockchain this quarter:

  • Amazon was granted a patent to build a proof-of-work cryptographic system to fight DDOS attacks. Also, Amazon Web Services launched its Managed Blockchain service, which supports open-source framework Hyperledger Fabric, for its enterprise clients.
  • Yahoo! Japan went live with Taotao, its cryptocurrency exchange, where bitcoin and ether will be initially traded, and margin trading of XRP and litecoin will be available.
  • Google announced that Ethereum app builders using Google software will be able to integrate data from sources outside the blockchain through a partnership with Chainlink.
  • Samsung announced the development of its own Ethereum-based blockchain and may issue its own token.

Increased Institutional Interest 
Digital assets experienced increasing levels of institutional interest over the past three months. Last quarter, futures trading and other crypto derivatives were widely discussed as the market capitalization of digital assets increased, CME reached a record high for BTC futures and Bakktannounced plans to begin testing its future contracts.

Banks continue to bet on crypto and blockchain 
Established banks continued to show interest in blockchain and crypto as they build their own private blockchain solutions and tokens. Last quarter, a group of 14 financial firms led by UBS including Barclays, Santander, and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce created Fnality International to aid in the development and launch of a utility settlement coin (USC) to improve cross-border payments. JPMorgan announced that it will start customer trials of its JPM Coin with corporate clients, and Goldman Sachs CEO said the bank is doing extensive research on asset tokenization and stablecoins.

Crypto exchanges reported record trading volumes and profit. Traditional brokerage firms plan to offer cryptocurrency trading to their institutional clients.

ADDITIONAL REGULATORY HIGHLIGHTS IN Q2

Americas and Europe

  • The G20 officially announced its support of the FATF’s crypto guidelines and ongoing work by the Financial Stability Board (FSB) to explore the implications of decentralized fintech and how regulators can better engage stakeholders.
  • SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce said current guidance falls short of clarity that the industry needs to move forward to develop additional guidelines regarding crypto.
  • France pushed for the EU to adopt a cryptocurrency framework to achieve uniform laws.
  • Bitstamp was granted a virtual currency license by the New York Department of Financial Services.
  • The SEC sued Kik for allegedly running an unregistered securities sale back in 2017 when it launched an ICO for its kin token.
  • The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority is consulting on a potential ban on the sale of crypto derivatives to retail investors.

APAC

  • Reserve Bank of India considered a law that mandates payments data should not be allowed to leave its borders, and announced a framework for its fintech sandbox that invites blockchain projects to take part, but excludes cryptocurrency-related businesses.
  • Nepal banned AliPay and WeChat Pay, citing they are not registered as official payment systems.
  • Japan’s lower and upper houses passed new crypto regulation in National Diet (Japan’s bicameral legislature) to strengthen local regulations and cryptocurrency trading practices.

South America

  • Brazil established a new commission to consider crypto regulation in the country. The commission will be composed of 34 members in accordance with the House Rules of Procedure. Also, the country’s major financial authorities announced a regulatory sandbox for blockchain, fintech and crypto.
  • The Chilean government introduced a bill on cryptocurrencies for congress.

Middle East and Africa

  • Egypt lifted its ban, and will allow licensed cryptocurrency companies.
  • Pakistan Central Bank announced its intention to launch a digital currency by 2025, in an effort to go fully digital by 2030.

CONCLUSION

Q2 was marked by increased regulatory activity, landmark partnerships and high profile announcements from new entrants and key industry players. These activities underscore the continued maturation of the blockchain and crypto markets. In addition, Ripple has taken proactive steps to address the issues of inflated volumes by reducing future XRP sales and changing its volume benchmark.

If interested, please find the Q1 2019 XRP Markets Report here.