This week’s summary of various cryptocurrency news and developments:
Bitcoin community donates nearly $2 million to Andreas Antonopoulos following Roger Ver tiff
The Bitcoin community recently sent nearly $2 million in donations to Andreas Antonopoulos, a community scholar and lecturer who’s authored several books including Mastering Bitcoin, following a tweet from prominent Bitcoin Cash supporter and Bitocin.com CEO Roger Ver. Ver’s tweet essentially said that, despite being one of the most eloquent speakers on the topic of Bitcoin, Andreas Antonopoulos isn’t a millionaire because he didn’t invest “even $300” in Bitcoin back in 2012. In response, Antonopoulos clarified that he did invest, but had to sell to pay rent, and didn’t go further into debt because he needed to take care of his family.
I did invest, Roger. Then I sold in 2013 to pay my rent. I didn't have disposable income to work for two years without pay and invest at the same time. I should've gone into more debt, but that would have been irresponsible towards my family who I supported
— Andreas M. Antonopoulos (@aantonop) December 5, 2017
Recognizing Antonopoulos’ contributions to the cryptocurrency’s expansion, the community quickly started donating to his address, with one user sending 37 BTC, the equivalent of well over $500,000. In total, donations amounted to nearly $2 million, and Roger Ver then congratulated him on the donations, and added that he chipped in too. At the end of his tweet, Ver then suggested he would respect him more if he would “speak out against the censorship and manipulation that is still going on at /r/Bitcoin.”
Senior VP says eBay is “seriously considering” accepting Bitcoin payments
eBay, one of the world’s largest e-commerce platforms, may be about to accept Bitcoin as a payment method. This according to Scott Cutler, senior vice president of eBay Americas, who speaking to Yahoo Finance revealed the e-commerce giant is holding serious discussions on becoming the highest-profile company to accept Bitcoin. Cutler stated:
- “This is a trend that everybody is talking about, but sadly, at eBay, we don’t currently accept Bitcoin as a form of payment…We’re seriously considering it as these cryptocurrencies become more mainstream, [but] we’re not quite there yet.”
As Yahoo Finance noted, companies who’ve been accepting Bitcoin are getting a boost. Overstock, a web retailer that’s been accepting Bitcoin since early 2014, is up more than 250% in the last six months, for example.
Mt Gox creditors looking to get the exchange out of bankruptcy
According to the Financial Times, Mt Gox creditors are currently looking to move the now-defunct Bitcoin exchange out of bankruptcy and into a process of civil rehabilitation, with the goal of preventing a potential billion-dollar payout to its CEO, Mark Karpeles. At press time, a Mt Gox trustee is holding 202,195 BTC, worth approximately $3.6 billion, and under current Japanese law, if the exchange maintains its current status, credits will be paid the amount they invested in U.S. dollars in 2014. This means that due to the rise in Bitcoin’s value, majority shareholders like Karpeles could end up receiving a multi-billion dollar windfall, while creditors get their money’s worth in USD. At the time of Gox’s demise, one Bitcoin was trading at about $450, while today the cryptocurrency already surpassed the $18,000 mark.
Creditors contend that Gox’s liabilities can be paid off with the Bitcoins held by the trustee, even after paying investors what’s owed. As such, through a petition, they asked the court to pause Mt Gox’s bankruptcy proceedings to enable them to receive recovery payments in Bitcoin. The Tokyo District Court is set to consider the petition and make a decision in early 2018.
Russia’s deputy finance minister says Bitcoin will be legal in the country
Alexei Moiseev, Russia’s deputy finance minister, reportedly stated that buying Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will be legal in Russia, as the government won’t outlaw or punish those who buy or sell. According to Moiseev, however, the government will adopt a stricter stance toward cryptocurrency mining, meaning miners, who will be limited to “individual entrepreneurs and legal entities” may have to register their activity. Those who don’t fit the government’s criteria will not be allowed to mine cryptocurrencies, and may even face criminal penalties if using the cryptocurrencies to avoid paying taxes or creating pyramid schemes. The official stated:
- “The penalties will be different, mostly administrative, but if someone created the cryptocurrency for the purpose of settlements, then there will be a criminal punishment.”
Mexican Authorities issue warning on cryptocurrencies and ICOs
Mexico’s securities regulator, CNBV, together with other government authorities, recently issued a statement clarifying that the country doesn’t recognize cryptocurrencies as a legal form of payment, and that so far no Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) have originated in Mexico. The statement read:
- “However, depending on their specific characteristics, some ICOs that originate and are emitted in Mexico could violate the Markets and Securities Law and constitute a financial crime.”
The statement further added that only seasoned investors should dabble in cryptocurrencies, and should nevertheless stay vigilant for signs of fraud.
Bitcoin “keeping me awake at night” says Bank of Canada governor
Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz, in a year-end speech titled “Three Thinks Keeping Me Awake At Night,” revealed that there are three things keeping him awake at night: cyber threats, difficulties young Canadians face when finding employment, and the rising household debt due to the costs of housing. Before finishing his speech, however, he confessed that cryptocurrencies also keep him awake at night, through: “the noise I keep hearing about cryptocurrencies, especially Bitcoin.”
Per Poloz, cryptocurrencies shouldn’t even be called currencies in the first place, as:
- “For something to be considered a currency, it must act as a reliable store of value, and you should be able to spend it easily. These instruments possess neither of these characteristics, so they do not constitute “money.”
He added that cryptocurrencies are more akin to high-risk securities, and that purchasing them is closer to gambling than investing. Poloz concluded stating that the desire for “digital cash” continues to grow, providing strong arguments for central banks, such as the Central Bank of Canada, to research how these should be issued to enter the legacy financial system.
Bitcoin at $18,650 as futures contracts kick off
Bitcoin futures contracts are now being traded on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) and are soon going to be added to CBOE and Nasdaq. Although some believe institutional investors could crash the cryptocurrency’s price while shorting it, Bitcoin has so far been soaring. At press time, one Bitcoin is currently trading at $18,650, and its market cap is of $312 billion. Bitcoin’s dominance is currently at 55.9%, as other cryptocurrencies are seemingly soaring as well.
Cryptocurrencies are now more valuable than Facebook
With a $558 billion market cap, the cryptocurrency ecosystem is now more valuable than social media giant Facebook, whose market cap, at press time, is of $523.57 billion. Various cryptocurrencies surged this week, with Litecoin reaching a new all-time high above $340, Ethereum blowing past the $700 mark, and Ripple reaching $0.8 per token and briefly surpassing Bitcoin Cash to become the number three cryptocurrency. Another cryptocurrency, IOTA, managed to reach $5.5 per token this week, while a previously unknown one, Cardano, hit a nearly $7 billion market cap out of the blue. Some of these have already faced small corrections, although new heights keep being reached.