UK Cryptocurrency Startups Suffer Dwindling Fortunes Amidst Market Decline

UK Cryptocurrency Startups Suffer Dwindling Fortunes Amidst Market Decline

Cryptocurrency startups in the United Kingdom are struggling in 2018. The fringe benefits that came with changing a company’s name to reflect an interest in blockchain technology seems to have all but disappeared.

“Cryptomania” is at its Lowest Ebb

In the last months of 2017, cryptomania gripped large swaths of the global business scene. With ICOs raking in hundreds of millions of dollars and cryptocurrencies reaching new all-time highs, the emerging market became the focus of interest from several quarters.

Fast-forward to 2018 and much of the hype and hysteria has dissipated with cryptocurrency prices taking a beating for most of the year. This price decline seems to have also affected many stakeholders from mining companies to crypto hedge funds, as well as other cryptocurrency startups.

Argo blockchain attempted to write major headlines at the start of August, becoming the first cryptocurrency company to be listed on the London Stock Exchange. Despite the buzz generated when the news emerged, the share price of the company has fallen by almost 50 percent from $0.20 to $0.11.

Share Price of Cryptocurrency Companies Plummet in 2018

At the height of cryptomania, some companies altered their corporate courses, steering firmly into the unknown cryptocurrency waters. The allure of the emerging market most likely buoyed them, they imagined that they could stake a significant portion of the market.

A few companies even changed their name of included a blockchain addendum with the hopes of securing a positive share price growth. Online Blockchain and Blockchain Worldwide were two such companies. Both based in the UK, they have also more or less experienced the same downturn in fortune.

According to a recent Financial Times (FT) article, the two companies jumped into the cryptocurrency arena in late 2017 and early 2018. Online Blockchain was originally called On-line, an information technology incubator enterprise. After making the transition to cryptocurrency and rebranding itself, its shares also rose from $0.17 to about $1.95.

However, the steady decline in the prices of cryptocurrencies has seen the company’s shares tumble by more than 75 percent to $0.51. According to the company, its cryptocurrency venture is yet to bear fruit. Notwithstanding, Online Blockchain doesn’t seem to be slowing down in its efforts. The company recently acquired Eucryptid Gaming Inc – a cryptocurrency startup that specializes in game development.

For Blockchain Worldwide, it rebranded itself from Stapleton Capital in September 2017. At the time of the announcement, its shares soared almost 50 percent. However, an inability to achieve any tangible result in the industry has seen its valuation take a significant nosedive. The company’s shares now stand at $0.06 which is materially much lower than its share price before it made the transition to cryptocurrency.

Do you the good times will return for these companies? Keep the conversation going in the comment section below.

Images courtesy of The London Stock Exchange Group, Shutterstock

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Korea Roundup: Mongolian Government Visits Bithumb, New BTM, Hardware Wallet

Korea Roundup: Mongolian Government Visits Bithumb, New BTM, Hardware Wallet

Korea Roundup: Mongolian Government Visits Bithumb, New BTM, Hardware Wallet


In South Korea, Bithumb was visited by officials of the Mongolian government. Upbit is offering free training leading up to its developer conference. A public company has unveiled a hardware wallet as it enters the crypto space. Meanwhile, hacked crypto exchange Coinrail has launched an international service for non-Korean customers, and a US bitcoin ATM operator plans to enter the Korean market.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

Mongolian Government Officials Visit Bithumb

Korea Roundup: Mongolian Government Visits Bithumb, New BTM, Hardware WalletSenior officials of the Mongolian government visited Bithumb’s headquarters on August 16, local media reported. They were trying to determine the feasibility of using blockchain and cryptocurrency in solar energy businesses in Mongolia. The Korea Economic Daily elaborated:

What they have focused on is the possibility of virtual currency remittance and payment functions and blockchain technology. Mongolia is seeking to utilize blockchains and virtual currency to activate new energy projects such as solar power generation at the government level.

“With the visit of high-ranking officials of the government, it is possible that Bithumb will pursue a business alliance with the Mongolian government or establish a local corporation,” the publication noted.

Ksign Launching Hardware Wallet

Korea Roundup: Mongolian Government Visits Bithumb, New BTM, Hardware Wallet
Ksine’s CEO, Choi Seung-rak, introducing Touch x Wallet.

Kosdaq-listed company Ksine Inc. has commenced its cryptocurrency business with the launch of a hardware wallet called Touch x Wallet, the company announced on August 16.

Touch x Wallet uses locally developed fingerprint authentication technology and has a built-in battery. It can store up to 10 cryptocurrencies – including bitcoin, ether, and ripple – which the company plans to expand to about 50 by the second half of next year, Cctvnews reported. The wallet also has high-resolution electronic paper (e-paper) to display QR codes of addresses and allows users to check their balances.

Korea Roundup: Mongolian Government Visits Bithumb, New BTM, Hardware Wallet

Upbit’s Crypto Training and Developer Conference

Dunamu Inc, the operator of South Korea’s major crypto exchange Upbit, announced on August 16 that it is holding a free crypto and blockchain training for the public on September 12. This is a pre-program leading to Upbit Developer Conference which will take place on September 13 and 14 at the Jeju Creative Economy and Innovation Center.

Korea Roundup: Mongolian Government Visits Bithumb, New BTM, Hardware WalletThe class consists of two parts. The first focuses on the origin and history of blockchain and cryptocurrency. The second focuses on the theory and practice of blockchain including the basic understanding of Ethereum and Lambda chain, solidity and Dapp development, and smart contracts.

Recently, the governor of Jeju Island requested the central government to designate the island a special zone for blockchains and cryptocurrency.

Coinrail Launches International Service

Coinrail, which was hacked on June 10 and resumed services on July 15, announced last week that it has officially launched the Coinrail international service for non-Korean users. Foreigners can now access the exchange’s crypto-to-crypto markets. The service is available in English.

Korea Roundup: Mongolian Government Visits Bithumb, New BTM, Hardware Wallet

Coinme Rolling out Bitcoin ATMs in Korea

Korea Roundup: Mongolian Government Visits Bithumb, New BTM, Hardware WalletU.S. bitcoin ATM (BTM) operator Coinme revealed on August 16 that it is “seeking to roll out its service in Korea before the year-end,” the Investor reported.

Currently, the company’s ATMs are in 67 locations across the U.S., the new outlet noted, adding that “Coinme said it is eying Asia as the next spot for expansion, specifically focusing on Korea and other countries in the region, including Hong Kong and Singapore.”

CEO Neil Bergquist was quoted saying:

We have seen really promising interest in Coinme from Korea…There’s a large and sophisticated cryptocurrency community which understands the potential of a token tied to real world applications.

“The Coinme ecosystem also seeks to offer massively reduced transaction costs, so we see real synergies with the Korean market,” he added.

What do you think of all the crypto activities going on in South Korea? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Zdnet, Bithumb, Upbit, Coinrail, Ksine, and Coinme.

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Venezuelans to Be Paid at Least Half a Petro a Month

Venezuelans to Be Paid at Least Half a Petro a Month

Venezuelans to Be Paid at Least Half a Petro a Month

Economy & Regulation

Announcing a 60-fold increase of the minimum monthly salary, President Maduro promised Venezuelans they will be paid at least 0.5 petro, once his monetary reforms are in place next week. The national crypto will be exchanged at a rate of $60 USD and the new “sovereign bolivar” will be pegged to the digital coin.   

Also read: This Fall May Bring More Crypto-Friendly Jurisdictions

1 Petro = 60 Dollars = 1 Barrel

Venezuelans to Be Paid at Least Half a Petro a Month
Nicolás Maduro

Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro revealed the fixed price of the country’s cryptocurrency, the petro, and a new minimum wage as part of a package of measures aimed at improving the socio-economic conditions in the South American country. The policies will be implemented on Monday, when the new, denominated brolivar will be introduced to replace the highly inflated national fiat.

Starting from August 20, 1 PTR will be officially exchanged for $60 US dollars – approximately the value of a barrel of oil on the international markets. The state-issued digital coin can also be purchased with the newly issued “sovereign bolivar” which takes away five zeros from the current “strong bolivar.” One petro will cost 3,600 new bolivars (now 360 million).

With inflation expected to reach 1 million percent by the end of the year, according to the IMF, bolívar fuerte is one of the fastest depreciating national currencies in the world. However, the new bolívar soberano will be “anchored” to El Petro, the oil-backed cryptocurrency introduced by the administration of the leftist Venezuelan leader earlier this year.

60-Fold Increase of the Minimum Salary

President Maduro also announced that the minimum monthly wage in the country will be raised to 0.5 PTR, 1,800 sovereign bolivars or $30 USD. That’s 60 times more than the current 3 million old bolivars (30 after the denomination). The Venezuelan head of state also said the government will compensate small and medium-sized enterprises for the difference in the basic wages in the next 90 days. It will also raise the VAT from 12 to 16 percent.

The changes come after Nicolás Maduro shared his intentions to denominate the bolivar back in March. The new banknotes were expected to have three zeros less than the current and were supposed to be issued in early June. The monetary conversion was subsequently postponed and in late July Venezuelan authorities announced that the petro-pegged bolivar will be introduced on August 20, getting rid of five zeros.

State Retaking Control of Economy

Venezuelans to Be Paid at Least Half a Petro a MonthEarlier this week, the Venezuelan president said that starting from Monday his economically troubled country will have two official units of account – the petro, and the sovereign bolivar. The old and the new version of the national fiat will be circulating together for some time before the “strong bolivar” is phased out.

Maduro assured his compatriots that Banco Central de Venezuela (BCV) and all public and private banks already had the new banknotes and were actively preparing to implement the changes. He added that besides salaries, pricing will also be adjusted and the price ceiling mechanism will be restored. On Friday, the president warned merchants there would be no excuses for any price hikes. Quoted by El Nacional, he stated:

There has to be a government, we have to retake the regulatory role, the authority of the state and the government to enforce economic rules.

Venezuela issued the petro in February becoming the first nation to adopt its own cryptocurrency. The crypto is backed by its oil reserves, one of the largest in the world. Caracas has been trying to introduce the coin in bilateral trade with countries like Russia and India but official agreements have not been reached yet.

According to resent reports, the Islamic Republic of Iran, another country hit by US lsanctions with which Venezuela maintains close relations, is stepping up efforts to develop its cryptocurrency. Iranian government wants to use the coin to circumvent the restrictions reimposed by Washington this month which are mainly targeting its ability to acquire US dollars.

What do you think will be the effect of the reforms Maduro’s administration is introducing? Share your opinions in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Venezuela: Inflation Tops 100,000 Percent, Bitcoin Costs 60M Bolivars

Venezuela: Inflation Tops 100,000 Percent, Bitcoin Costs 60M Bolivars

Venezuela’s currency the Bolivar Fuerte jumped to 9.2 million per dollar and almost 60 million per bitcoin August 18, just two days before a major redenomination cuts five zeros off its value.

Redenomination Looms

As reported by cryptocurrency commentators including support head Eduardo Gomez, the bolivar traded unofficially at around 6.7 million VEF per 1 USD August 17, before suddenly depreciating rapidly to 9.2 million.

“Yesterday 1 bitcoin was worth 44 billion bolivars, now it’s at 59 billion,” he noted.

Venezuela: Record Bitcoin Buying Spree Continues Amid Hyperinflation

As Bitcoinist recently reported, August saw the bolivar, which is the world’s least-valued currency, extend its increasingly troubled history. Combined with current behavior on Bitcoin markets, the price 00 of the largest cryptocurrency in VEF terms is now doubling every 18 days.

According to Bloomberg’s Cafe Con Leche Index, which tracks the rate of inflation in Venezuela in lieu of official government statistics, a hypothetical coffee now costs 2.5 million VEF – the highest price ever recorded.

This, Bloomberg suggests, puts the annual rate of inflation above 100,000 percent.

Calls To Educate Citizens In Bitcoin Use

Corresponding to the devaluation of the bolivar, Bitcoin trading activity in Venezuela is meanwhile setting new records on a weekly basis.

Data from Coin Dance shows that for the seven days ending August 11, P2P trading platform Localbitcoins handled over 20 trillion VEF in volume.

Despite the growth, however, difficulties in educating and allowing Venezuelan nationals access to free trading of cryptocurrency remains a problem. Responding to Gomez, developer Randy Brito urged support for his project, which aims to spark “hyperbitcoinization” in Venezuela through a bounty scheme.

In addition, Brito advocated his nonprofit operation Bitcoin Venezuela, which provides remote education and support to Venezuelans wanting to leverage the cryptocurrency’s benefits.

As of press time Saturday, Bitcoin Venezuela gave the price of 1 BTC as around 54 billion VEF.

What do you think about Venezuela’s inflation? Let us know in the comments below!

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter

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Markets Update: Crypto Prices Consolidate After Failing to Surpass Resistance

Markets Update: Crypto Prices Consolidate After Failing to Surpass Resistance

Markets Update: Crypto Prices Consolidate After Failing to Surpass Resistance

Market Updates

Cryptocurrency prices have seen some recovery after our last markets update four days ago when a large majority of digital assets lost quite a bit of value. Since then, and more so over the last 48 hours, the entire crypto-economy capitalization ($216B) has gained roughly $20B. The action yesterday was more bullish as most of the top digital assets were up between 6-20 percent but have since lost some of those gains during this weekend’s trading sessions.

Also read: Testing the Newly Transformed Non-Custodial Coinbase Wallet

Up Moves, Down Moves, and Eight Months of Corrections

Last week was pretty bad for most of the top digital asset markets, except we mentioned during our last markets update that bitcoin core (BTC) spot market prices took the least of the blows downward. Then a little less than 48 hours ago and mostly yesterday cryptocurrency markets picked up again with BTC touching a high of $6,615 on Bitstamp. But on Friday, August 17 most digital asset markets besides BTC reaped a lot more gains as a good portion of the top markets saw 10-20 percent spikes.

Markets Update: Crypto Prices Consolidate After Failing to Surpass Resistance

The biggest gainers were ripple (XRP), monero (XMR), and stellar (XLM) as the values of each currency are up between 2-5 percent over the last seven days. Top digital currency trade volumes today are held by BTC, USDT, ETH, EOS, XRP, and BCH. There’s been about $14B USD worth of trade volume swapped among all 1600+ virtual currencies.  

Bitcoin Cash (BCH) Market Action

Bitcoin cash (BCH) markets are down today 4.3 percent while the past seven days show BCH is also down 2.2 percent. At the time of writing, BCH/USD markets are valued at $560 per coin with an overall market valuation of around $9.68B today. The top five exchanges swapping the most BCH this weekend are Okex, Coinex, Binance, Hitbtc, and Bitfinex.

Markets Update: Crypto Prices Consolidate After Failing to Surpass Resistance

Market volume is fairly decent, but weaker with $420M USD worth of BCH traded over the last 24 hours. Right now the top currency paired with bitcoin cash on exchanges is tether (USDT) which captures 49.2 percent of all trades. This is followed by BTC (27.5%), USD (10.5%), ZB (3.44%), QC (3.16%), and the KRW (2.15%).

Bitcoin Core (BTC) Market Action

Bitcoin core (BTC) prices are up about 1 percent over the last seven days worth of trading sessions but are down 1.9 percent today. At press time the average price for BTC is around $6,430 per coin and BTC’s market capitalization is $110B. The top exchanges today trading the most BTC include Bitflyer, Binance, Coinbene, Bitfinex, and Okex.

Markets Update: Crypto Prices Consolidate After Failing to Surpass Resistance

As mentioned above, BTC captures the top volume position with around $4B in 24-hour trade volume which is much weaker than the $5.5B traded four days ago. The top pairs trading with BTC involve the following currencies tether (USDT 59.1%), USD (19.6%), JPY (11.5%), EUR (2.9%), KRW (2.3%) and bitcoin cash (BCH 1.7%).

The Verdict: Uncertain Predictions

At the moment, even with prices showing some upswing, and some traders believing cryptocurrencies will enter a bullish trend, most traders still seem pessimistic. It’s difficult to see digital assets rise with dwindling trade volumes. Furthermore, a lot of confidence has been shot over the last eight months of false bull flags and many psychological price levels degrading. Some believe there is a noticeable support zone and prices may still move sideways and test these zones again. Other, more optimistic traders think the path of least resistance is towards the upside and markets are entering a bearish-to-bullish trend. Much of these short-term theories will likely be confirmed within the next 48 hours.

Where do you see the price of BTC, BCH and other coins headed from here? Let us know in the comment section below.

Disclaimer: Price articles and markets updates are intended for informational purposes only and should not to be considered as trading advice. Neither nor the author is responsible for any losses or gains, as the ultimate decision to conduct a trade is made by the reader. Always remember that only those in possession of the private keys are in control of the “money.”

Images via Shutterstock, Trading View, and Satoshi Pulse.

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Cryptocurrency Miners Ignore the Bitcoin Price Fall, Focus on Expansion Instead

Cryptocurrency Miners Ignore the Bitcoin Price Fall, Focus on Expansion Instead

The recent decline in cryptocurrency prices has cast a shadow on several aspects of the digital currencies space. However, one area where this bearish outlook has not extended to is cryptocurrency mining. 

The Hash Factor is an Indicator

According to a report from Bloomberg, bitcoin mining has remained profitable for some miners who have improved their investments and efficiencies in the space — even against the continued bitcoin price drops.

One of the indicators of this has been the increased hashrate, which is the computing ability for mining bitcoin measured on the Bitcoin network. The increased hashrate corresponds with additional investments made by miners into computing power.

At the start of August 2018, Bitcoinist reported that the Bitcoin network’s hashrate had recorded an all-time high of 52 quintillion hashes per second. This ties in with a hashrate growth that started in late 2017 and has extended into 2018. During this period, some of the larger players in the mining space strengthened their positions by investing in better hardware and setting up operations in countries like Georgia — which offer competitive advantages in the cost of power.

These efforts have translated into efficiencies that have made mining activities viable for some operators — even as prices remain subdued.

Chinese Authorities Seize 600+ Computers Used for Bitcoin Mining

Miners Dig Deep for Efficiencies in Expansion

To ensure viability, most cryptocurrency miners are now expanding their capacities — and the industry could see increased investments which help them operate close to a breakeven point.

Operators in the industry like Marco Streng, the CEO of Genesis Mining, have shared this sentiment. Streng was quoted as having said in an interview:

There are still major expansions happening, especially from more efficient miners. The expansion is so big that it compensated for the drop-out of not-so-efficient miners.

Another effect of any expansion in capacity will be the increased hashrate signifying some form of long-term commitment as miners dig in their heels even with low bitcoin prices.

Speaking on this issue, David Sapper, the CEO of Blockbid Pty Ltd. — a cryptocurrency exchange in Melbourne, Australia — said:

 The increased hash rate means people are here for the long-term because they’re happy to just accumulate what they have, potentially even run at a loss.

Do you think miners can continue to bet against price volatility using production efficiency? Let us know in the comments below.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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