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. Bitcoin (BTC) just recently rallied past $5,700 out of the left field, Fidelity revealed that there is massive institutional demand for cryptocurrencies, Bakkt acquired a custodian as the launch of its Bitcoin futures contract nears, and the Elon Musk tweeted about Ethereum… for some reason.
This Week In Crypto
- R.I.P. BreakerMag: Earlier this week, The Block reported that BreakerMag, an up-and-coming crypto media outlet that focuses on deep dives/profiles, would be shutting down. BreakerMag, backed by a blockchain project by the same name of Breaker, is rumored to have had a high burn rate, without much revenue or a viable business model to speak of. Live Coin Watch wishes BreakerMag’s team well, we will miss your work.
- Elon Musk Tweets ‘Ethereum’, Eliciting Response From Crypto: On Monday afternoon, Elon Musk, an entrepreneur with the cult following of all cult followings, suddenly signal boosted the crypto space, dedicating an entire tweet to the word “Ethereum.” He later tweeted “JK” in direct reply to that tweet. His intentions remain unclear. Regardless, the community tried to speculate what he meant. Even Vitalik Buterin, the Russian-Canadian genius behind the protocol, threw his hat into the ring. Buterin implored Musk to “come to our Devcon in October,” to which Musk responded, “Stop giving away free ETH!,” further referencing the cryptocurrency swindlers that were all the rage in early-2018. The Ethereum founder later issued a number of tweets on the value proposition of the project, presumably in a bid to catch Musk’s interest further than scams.
- Crypto Startup Coinbase Sees Exodus Of Executives, Despite Bitcoin Recovery: Announced Friday, Balaji S. Srinivasan, the co-founder of fintech startups Earn.com and CoinCenter-turned-the chief technology officer of Coinbase, will be leaving his stead. Srinivasan, who worked at the San Francisco-headquartered exchange for just around a year, didn’t divulge what his future plans are but noted that he appreciated spending time at Coinbase and helping the company with launching USDC, shipping new assets, and setting up staking/voting support for Coinbase Custody. This comes just days after vice-president Dan Romero, one of the company’s earliest employees, and months after vice-president Adam White left their respective roles at Coinbase. On a side note, Coinbase Wallet, the startup’s mobile cryptocurrency storage application, added Dogecoin (DOGE) this week, despite the fact that other products in the exchange’s roster have stayed away from supporting the so-called ‘memecoin’.
- Bakkt Reveals Crypto Custody Deets, Acquires Custodian: Earlier this week, Bakkt, a Bitcoin futures market operated by ICE, the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange, revealed that it is working closely with a major U.S. bank BNY Mellon. In the same announcement, penned by former Coinbase executive Adam White, details of the exchange’s custody solution were revealed, along with news that it had acquired Digital Asset Custody Company for an undisclosed sum, thus bringing on its staff and technology. This news comes after Bloomberg’s sources disclosed that Bakkt was having trouble securing a license/stamp of approval from the U.S. Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) due to a lack of custody offering/lackluster security.
- HTC To Launch Revamped Blockchain-Centric Exodus One: On Monday, DigiTimes reported that according to Phil Chen, the C-suite-level head of HTC’s blockchain division, the cryptocurrency-friendly Exodus 1 smartphone will soon have a successor. Purportedly speaking at a recent event in Tapei, he explained that “in addition to supporting the management of cryptocurrencies and related technologies,” along with the security of digital assets/collectibles, the unnamed successor will include blockchain-enabled applications for browsing, messaging, social media, among other areas. An exact launch date was not mentioned, but Chen noted that users should expect the new device by the end of 2019.
- Galaxy Digital Slammed In 2018, Bags $272M Loss For Fiscal 2018: In a press release published Monday, the New York-headquartered cryptocurrency merchant bank Galaxy Digital unveiled its financial results for the fourth quarter, and thus, fiscal 2018 as a whole. It lost $97 million in Q4 of 2018, up from the $76.7 million loss registered in Q3. Per the filing, much of this loss can be attributed to its principal investing and trading businesses, presumably due to the fact that November and December saw Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies fall to fresh lows, far below what most analysts suspected. In summation, the firm burned a jaw-dropping $272.7 million if 2018.
- Square Cash’s Bitcoin Sales Literally Go Parabolic: On Tuesday, Square released its quarter one of 2019 earnings report. While the company’s shares, trading under the SQ ticker, collapsed by 6% during the after-hours trading session as a result of the weaker-than-expected payment volume, Bitcoin investors didn’t realize notice. What stuck out to them was that Square, according to the report, sold $65.5 million worth of BTC in the first three months of fiscal 2019, which came alongside a rebound in digital asset prices. During Q4 of ’18, $52 million worth of the asset was purportedly sold; in the quarters preceding that, well less than $50 million. In other words, despite the grip that bears have on the market, Bitcoin volume on Square has gone parabolic.
- Fidelity Sees Overwhelming Institutional Demand For Cryptocurrency: In a recent Medium post and accompanying document, the Boston-based Fidelity Investments revealed that more than 22% of institutional investors that they surveyed, which includes endowments, family offices, industry funds, traditional hedge funds, and so on and so forth, already have “some exposure” to digital assets, with many of said investments occurring within the past 36 months. What’s more is that 40% of the “more than 400” surveyed, which are all U.S.-based, intend to look into crypto-related investments over the next five years.