The last two weeks or so have been interesting because of a number of reasons. Bitcoin surged to nearly $14,000 in a short space of time and suddenly reversed its gains in an apparent sell-off. Facebook, the world’s biggest social media platform, published the white paper for its Libra cryptocurrency project and it’s on course to help the crypto sector with adoption.
Bitcoin wild price swings
After a brutal 2018, bitcoin has enjoyed a stellar performance in the new year and has seen its price reach as high as $13,600. However, the recent bullish sentiments quickly ran out of steam as the market lost a large portion of its gains.
Many experts believed that the Libra effect contributed to the bullish run that ended abruptly in a matter of hours when bitcoin’s price dropped by $2,500.
Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency and concerns raised by regulatory concerns from Singapore to the UK
It is no secret that the world’s largest social media platform Facebook has been working on a cryptocurrency project for a long time. The social media giant recently published its whitepaper detailing its foray into cryptocurrencies and its desire to serve billions of the underbanked, especially in emerging markets.
Putting the merits of the project aside, many experts believe that Facebook’s move could potentially introduce billions of people to crypto because of its sheer size and reach.
However, the social media giant has run into regulatory challenges as central banks and governments require more clarity about Facebook’s coin.
At least three European countries – Italy, France, and the UK – have raised concerns that Facebook Libra project needs to be examined.
The same goes for Singapore, as the financial watchdog, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), needs more clarity on Facebook’s project.
Ravi Menon, the managing director at MAS informed the media that they met with Facebook over their concerns about how the new cryptocurrency would function. Menon acknowledged that Libra could present some potential benefits too. The MAS is yet to make its mind on how to regulate cryptocurrencies.
Singapore exchange Bitrue loses $4.3 million in a hack
Cyber attacks on cryptocurrency exchanges are becoming a permanent feature. Bitrue, a Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange lost digital assets – XRP and ADA – in customer funds worth $4.3 million.
According to a tweet from the exchange, the hacker(s) managed to access the exchange’s wallets and siphoned off 9.3 million XRP ($4.04 million) and 2.5 million ADA ($235,000). The funds were moved to different exchanges.
The hack affected 90 users and the exchanges receiving the proceeds of the crime have been informed.
The exchange claims to be in control of the situation and has pledged to return 100 percent of lost funds to the users.
“Right now we are conducting an emergency inspection of the exchange and hope to be live again as soon as possible with log in & trading functionality. Withdrawals will be offline for a slightly longer period while we continue investigating the situation,” said the exchange.
The hackers seem to be targeting several exchanges whether big or small. Last month, Binance, one of the largest and most secure exchanges in the world, was hacked and lost 7,000 BTC – worth around $40 million at the time.
At the time of writing, the collective amount of money lost in cryptocurrency hacks has reached $1.36 billion.
Japan’s financial regulator inspects and takes action against cryptocurrency exchange
Japan’s financial regulator, the Financial Services Authority (FSA), has taken action against FISCO, a local cryptocurrency exchange. This comes after the financial watchdog inspected the premises of the exchange in February and discovered a set of violations.
One of the violations includes the exchange’s business management. The board of directors does not take the time to discuss important issues. The FSA found other violations of security risk measures against financial crimes – money laundering and terrorist financing – as well the company’s outsourcing management system.
The exchange is now required to draw up a management system for protecting user information and submit a written business improvement plan by no later than July 22.
2018 was a turning point as Japan’s regulators tightened their screws on crypto regulation. Despite allowing the industry to police itself, the FSA conducted several inspections and issued a number of business improvement orders.
Japan regulators have taken a positive crypto stance even though the country has witnessed two of the biggest cryptocurrency hacks in history.
Iran seizes 1,000 cryptocurrency miners after a surge in power demand
According to a report by the BBC, Iranian authorities have seized about 1,000 bitcoin miners from two mining farms. The authorities made the move after the demand for electricity surged 7 percent.
Speaking to state television, electricity official Arash Navab said, “Two of these bitcoin farms have been identified, with a consumption of one megawatt.”
A researcher said that the demand for bitcoin is growing in Iran as it is considered to be an alternative store of wealth.
Iran is facing sanctions from the US amid growing tensions between the two countries.
Thailand dental clinic accepts payments in Electroneum cryptocurrency
A Thai national paid for dental services using Electroneum cryptocurrency on June 27, becoming the first person in the country to conduct such a transaction.
The dental clinic is the first clinic to accept cryptocurrency as a form of payment. This is just one transaction and there is a long way to go before cryptocurrencies are adopted on a massive scale in dentistry or Thailand.
However, it is these first step that opens the doors for future opportunities.
Coinone crypto exchange joins RippleNet-SBI Holdings payment system
Major South Korean exchange Coinone joined SBI Holdings and RippleNet payment system. The cross-border payment system has attracted a number of companies from several countries including eight from Asia.
The Philippines approves 48 cryptocurrency exchanges
The number of approved cryptocurrency exchanges in the Philippines is growing and has now reached 48.
At the same time, the country’s central bank revealed that it has not authorized the installation of bitcoin ATMs in the country.