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. 

What a week it has been for this newfangled industry. First off, Bitcoin ripped past $10,000 just hours ago (as of the time of writing this), posting a performance of over 20% in the past week. Simultaneously, you saw an array of good news grace the cryptocurrency stage, including news of a massive Ripple-centric partnership and the release of Facebook’s cryptocurrency white paper.

This Week in Crypto

  • Ethereum Devs Schedule 2.0 Launch to January 3rd, 2020, Bitcoin’s 11th Anniversary: In a recent Ethereum core developers call, researcher Justin Drake, a prominent figure in the cryptocurrency’s community, revealed that phase zero of Serenity (Ethereum 2.0) is finally being confirmed spec-wise. Phase zero is the activation of the so-called Beacon Chain, which will bring basic Proof of Stake features to the blockchain. With this, developers confirmed that they intend to launch this iteration of the project by early-2020, potentially on January 3rd, which will be the 11th anniversary of Bitcoin.
  • Bakkt Developing Crypto App as Bitcoin Futures Launch Nears: According to a recent report from trade publication The Block, the New York Stock Exchange’s Bakkt has just signed a former Google contractor, Chris Peterson, onto its team. The former UX consultant, according to a “person familiar with the situation”, is likely working on a digital asset wallet, dubbed “Bakkt Pay”. The Block’s sources say that following the release of Bitcoin futures from Bakkt, the upstart may launch the mobile application. Not many details were given about this product, but the outlet points out that Bakkt’s recently-updated website mentions digital payments. Indeed, Starbucks and other retail outlets are purportedly partnered with the cryptocurrency exchange to natively accept Bitcoin payments. This news comes just a month before Bakkt intends to begin user testing of its Bitcoin futures contract, slated to entice institutional investment on a massive scale.
  • Ripple Spends $50 Million on Deal With Moneygram, XRP Surges: In a move that validated XRP bulls across the crypto community, Ripple announced Monday that it would be making one of its most notable partnerships today, joining hands with MoneyGram. The San Francisco-headquartered fintech firm has entered a “strategic partnership” with MoneyGram, one of the world’s largest money transfer companies. This collaboration, currently slated to last for a minimum of two years (contracted), will see MoneyGram utilize Ripple Labs’ technologies and platforms for cross-border payments and foreign exchange settlement. For the time being, Ripple expects for its newest finance partner to make use of xRapid, a “solution for on-demand liquidity”. In MoneyGram’s case, this solution will be used to “reduce reliance on pre-funding by enabling money to be sent from one currency and instantly settled in the destination currency.” Ripple has invested $30 million in MoneyGram, while the latter firm retains the right to request for $20 million in additional funding for the next two years.
  • Facebook Launches Libra, a Stablecoin Cryptocurrency: This week, Facebook made history when it launched Libra, a stablecoin backed by a basket of assets deemed “stable”. The project, which will also support smart contracts, has yet to launch officially, as development is still ongoing. Reports suggest, however, that Libra will most likely go live in early-2020. To back up this latest venture, Facebook has called on massive corporations to partner with, including Uber, PayPal, Visa, Booking Holdings, Coinbase, eBay, Spotify, and more. In a number of reports, David Marcus, the head of blockchain at the social media giant, has explained that while this venture will start off centralized, he hopes that it will become a decentralized network with time.
  • QuadrigaCX Founder Cotten Misappropriated Millions in Bitcoin, Ethereum, & Litecoin: In Ernst & Young’s latest report on QuadrigaCX, the disgraced Canadian crypto exchange, it was revealed that founder Gerald Cotten was running a fraudulent operation. Per this new document — an exposé if you will — Cotten had, over the years, created fake accounts on QuadrigaCX with equally as fake “dollars” to purchase legitimate Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin from users. From there, he then sent this cryptocurrency to accounts at other exchanges under his name. What’s worse, he didn’t just sell what he embezzled, but he gambled with it. Almost like some crazy speculators during 2017, Cotten purportedly used margin, meaning leverage, to trade (and often lose) the cryptocurrencies that weren’t exactly his. The auditor’s analysis suggests that a minimum of 9,450 BTC, 387,738 ETH, and 239,020 LTC were siphoned out of QuadrigaCX into accounts under Cotten’s name.

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