This Week In Crypto is a weekly segment from the Live Coin Watch News team, providing readers with a fun, succinct, and pertinent summary of the most important Bitcoin-related events in the past seven days.
This Week in Crypto
- Bakkt’s Bitcoin Futures See Uptick in Usage: When crypto exchange upstart Bakkt launched its Bitcoin futures contract in September, few institutional investors were using the product. Bakkt’s market saw less than $5 million worth of daily volumes for weeks on end, with little sign of improvement. However, on Wednesday, Bakkt’s Bitcoin futures saw nearly $40 million worth of volume trade. Every day last week saw the futures put up at least $20 million in volumes. While Bakkt’s volumes are a sign of institutional trading interest, Bakkt’s open interest metrics are signs of institutions’ propensity to hold Bitcoin. Cryptocurrency data Twitter page Ecoinometrics recently noted that the open interest in the Bitcoin futures contracts has surged by hundreds of BTC over recent days. This implies that “some people are seeing the price dip as a good occasion to get in long.”
- Ripple Makes $20 Million Investment in MoneyGram: According to a MoneyGram press release published on Monday, November 25th, Ripple has made a $20 million investment in the company’s equity, purchasing shares at $4.10 apiece, which is a 37% premium to MoneyGram’s current share price of $3.00 on the Nasdaq. This recent investment makes good on a promise that Ripple made earlier this year when it revealed that it would invest a total of $50 million in MoneyGram by starting off with a $30 million injection.
- HSBC to Use Blockchain to Manage $20 Billion Worth of Assets: According to a report published Wednesday by Reuters, HSBC will be using a blockchain-based custody platform dubbed “Digital Vault” to manage $20 billion worth of assets in “one of the biggest deployments yet of the widely-hyped but still unproven technology by a global bank.” HSBC representatives said that the company intends to have this done by March. This new HSBC platform will effectively bring formerly paper-based records of private placement investments onto a blockchain, reducing the “time it takes investors to make checks or queries on holdings.” Windsor Holden, a consultant for blockchain and crypto assets, said on the project:
“I wouldn’t expect to see huge savings, or huge efficiencies announced in the first year to 18 months.”
- German Banks May Soon Hold Bitcoin: German media outlet Handelsblatt reported this week that a bill in the European nation will allow banks to support the sale and custody of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies next year should it pass. Germany’s 16 states will need to sign off on the bill for it to become law. This is important as banks and other financial institutions are unable to sell crypto assets at the moment.
“Starting in 2020, financial institutions will be able to offer their customers online banking, virtually at the touch of a button, along with classic securities such as stocks and bonds, as well as cryptocurrencies.”
- UpBit Hacked for $50 Million in Ethereum; Other Crypto Assets Unaffected: Earlier this week, blockchain analytics services picked up on an interesting set of transactions from the wallets of UpBit, a Korean exchange. The transactions include multi-million transfers of Ethereum, Tron, EOS, and other top cryptocurrencies (not Bitcoin though) from UpBit-owned wallets to exchanges and “unknown wallets,” addresses left unmarked by these analytics firms. Eventually, the exchange revealed in an announcement that a 342,000 Ethereum (then valued at $50 million) transaction was suspicious. The English/translated release does not contain the word “hack,” though many have taken the statement as a sign that the $50 million worth of Ethereum has been misplaced and is currently unretrievable. Upbit has confirmed that it will cover the funds with up to $51 million worth of its corporate funds, and has also revealed that it has moved all cryptocurrencies into its cold wallet to protect its customers. Industry journalist and former LiveCoinWatch writer Joseph Young suggests that the hack may have been an inside job.
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