Blockchain Bites: JPMorgan on Bitcoin, South Korea on CBDCs and the Porn Industry on Crypto

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Top Shelf

View From the Banks
In an investor note, JPMorgan Chase & Co. analysts noted bitcoin’s success in outperforming traditional assets in March on a volatility-adjusted basis, and also found liquidity on major bitcoin exchanges was more resilient than for traditional assets such as equities and gold.

Meanwhile, Mason Privatbank Liechtenstein AG is the latest private bank to offer digital asset custody through a partnership with Hong Kong-based Hex Trust.

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Elsewhere, payment processors like Square and PayPal are limiting access to their customers’ funds, creating reserve accounts and planning ahead for a period of increased refunds, according to The Wall Street Journal. Square, for instance, told a photography store it would start holding 30% of each of its transactions for 120 days “to protect you and Square from unexpected loss events.” (WSJ)

CBDCs
South Korea’s central bank is moving ahead with research into digital currencies and has set up a legal panel to advise on possible regulatory sticking points. “We established the advisory group to discuss legal issues surrounding a CBDC and figure out which laws need to be revised or enacted for smooth progress in the [the Bank of Korea’s] possible issuance of digital currency,” a BOK official told The Korea Times.

New Offerings
U.K.-based cryptocurrency platform Ziglu has launched, following a £5.25 million (US$6.6 million) seed round. With relationships with two exchanges, the platform routes crypto bids to find consumers the lowest price.

Meanwhile, Wilshire Phoenix, an asset manager that tried to launch a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) last year, has filed with the SEC to launch a new Bitcoin Commodity Trust. “The Shares will provide investors with exposure to bitcoin in a manner that is accessible and cost-efficient without the uncertain and often complex requirements relating to acquiring or holding bitcoin,” the filing said.

Separately, crypto exchange OKEx is partnering with peer-to-peer marketplace Paxful to enable new fiat on-ramps.

On the Watch
Scammers have created a phishing site modeled on Privnote, a popular encrypted messaging platform, that can “read and/or modify all messages sent by users” and hunt out messages containing bitcoin addresses to redirect transactions, according to cybersecurity blog KrebsonSecurity.

Separately, Estonia revoked 500 crypto firms’ licenses after a $220 billion money-laundering scandal involving Danske Bank. (Bitcoin.com)

That comes as Bitfly, the company behind the Ethermine pool, decided to distribute an 10,668 ETH (~$2.4 million) transaction fee appended to a 350 ETH transaction seemingly by accident to its miners. “Given the amount involved we believe 4 days is sufficient time for the sender to get in touch with us,” Bitfly tweeted.

Uncensorable Web?
Shanghai-based Dimension built a Web 3.0 layer for Twitter and Facebook that encrypts posts called Maskbook. “Think about wrapping Ethereum, IPFS, Dapps and even CryptoKitties, on Facebook so that users can access to web3.0 information — without leaving web2.0,” founder Suji Yan told Decrypt. 

Elsewhere, the Internet Archive has closed its quarantine library project, the National Emergency Library, after publishers allege copyright infringement and filed claims in Southern District of New York. (The Block)

On Friday, The New York Times disclosed details and findings about its blockchain-based news meta-data called the News Provenance Project. (The Block)

Crypto Long & Short
One underappreciated feature of crypto markets is the relative ease with which people can change the venues on which they buy and sell their holdings. Last week bitcoin held on Coinbase plummeted after the exchange said it was trying to sell a new analytics tool to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service and the Drug Enforcement Administration. It’s unsure if this value adjustment is a referendum on the exchange. Unlike traditional markets, where traders are essentially locked into using the NYSE, crypto exchanges are “subject to public scrutiny, by a cohort with a megaphone, that cares deeply about certain issues and business practices,” Noelle Acheson, CoinDesk head of research, said. 

Opinion

An Indonesian Chef and the Remittance Industry’s $554B Problem
Leah Callon-Butler, a CoinDesk columnist and director of Emfarsis, examines the problems plaguing the remittance industry during COVID-19, which is passing operating costs onto consumers, as well as the workarounds people are searching for to avoid paying a $10 fee to send $10 abroad. “It has been hard to strike a balance between empowering and protecting consumers, with strict regulations raising the cost of serving poorer populations and creating barriers to participation, but this needn’t confine remittances to the too-hard basket. Whoever cracks it will be tapping into the largest underserved segment in the world,” Callon-Butler said. 

Market intel

Bear Tracks Back?
Bitcoin prices hit a three-week low of $8,910 during Monday’s early European trading hours, while futures tied to the S&P 500 are down over 2.5% and major Asian and European equity market indices are in the red. While bitcoin looks to be tracking equities lower, the top cryptocurrency’s put-call volume ratio has risen to three-month highs at 1.79. This ratio is the highest since the markets crash on March 12, and could signal a reversal in bearishness. 

A Look at ADA: A PoS Family Chronicle
Cardano’s token (ADA) is soaring this year as the network prepares for a key upgrade known as “Shelley,” scheduled to go live over the next month. Prices for ADA have climbed over 120% this year, the second-best performance among digital assets with a market value of at least $1 billion. It’s trouncing the 80% year-to-date gains for ether (ETH), the Ethereum network’s native cryptocurrency, a sign that some speculators may see Cardano’s “proof-of-stake” as a challenger to the much-larger Ethereum network. 

Stablecoins
The stablecoin supply has topped $11 billion after rising 94% from $5.7 billion in February. (The Block)

CoinDesk Podcast Network

Are Porn Stars Wary of Bitcoin?
CoinDesk’s Leigh Cuen and adult content creator Allie Awesome talk about payments and money in the sex industry, the impact of the coronavirus crisis and the drive towards censorship-proof payments systems. 

Who won #CryptoTwitter?

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The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.



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