After a three-month bear market, it looks like the tide is finally turning for cryptoassets. The price of bitcoin has rallied for a second week in a row, by almost 10 percent week-on-week pushing towards the $9,000 mark. The prediction that cryptocurrencies would rally again after U.S. tax day is becoming true.
Positive statements regarding an “even-handed approach” for global cryptocurrency regulation by IMF chief Christine Lagarde helped to stabilize the markets while ambitious bitcoin price predictions by leading bitcoin experts helped to push the market to new recent highs.
Cryptocurrency investors Pantera Capital stated that now is a good time to re-enter the market and buy bitcoin while veteran bitcoin investor Tim Draper said that he believes that bitcoin will hit $250,000 by 2022.
The altcoin market has also experienced substantial gains with leading altcoin ether (ETH), ripple (XRP) and bitcoin cash (BCH) gaining 18 percent, 34 percent, and 50 percent respectively in the past seven days.
This week’s contributions have been provided by Cindy Huynh, Pratik Makadiya, Priyeshu Garg, Rahul Nambiampurath, Samantha Chang, and Shaurya Malwa.
Bitcoin Rush in Venezuela: Transaction Volume Reaches $1 Million per Day Milestone
On April 17, 2018, the bitcoin transaction volume reached a milestone of $1.006 million recorded in a single day according to the data released by VeneBloc. In what is a record for the crisis-stricken country, the attention of Venezuelans have increasingly turned to digital currencies due to the severely devalued local currency.
The bitcoin market allows Venezuelans access to forex which has become a rare commodity due to strict government forex regulations that have been in place since 2003. Capital controls have led to the emergence of black market forex platforms in the country. Everyone, from individuals to business entities have no choice but to patronize these black market forex operators regardless of the rates.
In Venezuela, there is limited access to the official forex market which means many people do not have any means of gauging what the actual forex rates are. They are left to depend on websites, WhatsApp groups, and cryptocurrency exchanges that list the bolivar-dollar rate. Many local businesses only accept payment in foreign currency due to the depreciated value of the Bolivar which continues to fall.
IMF Chief Urges Financial Institutions To Keep Updated With Cryptocurrencies
According to a blog post by the IMF chief, authorities around the world have been muddled about the standing of “real threats” and “needless fears” in the crypto-world. In a bid to rule this out, the International Monetary Fund is looking to be an enabler in changing this mindset.
The IMF is seeking a leading position in convincing the world’s central banks to keep pace with digital money and cryptocurrency in the global financial system.
Managing Director of IMF, Christine Lagarde, said that in order to decrease the risk factor while ensuring the process bears fruit, policymakers should work in unison, and with an open mind to construct a regulatory framework.
Bitcoin Is Wrongly Linked To Mass Money-Laundering, Says Canadian Chief Scientist
Bitcoin is wrongly blamed as a go-to vehicle for money-laundering, tax evasion, and criminal activity because the facts do not support these claims. That’s what Canadian cryptocurrency experts said after reviewing the evidence.
One reason for bitcoin’s image problem is the pseudonymity that cryptocurrency transactions afford because the ecosystem is decentralized and largely unregulated. But transactions are not completely anonymous, according to Quebec’s Chief Scientist Office.
Francis Pouliot, the CEO of blockchain startup Catallaxy, excitedly tweeted the findings on April 18, writing: “Quebec Government Chief Scientist declares that Bitcoin is not used for money-laundering unlike cash and has almost no impact on criminal activity.”
Telegram Using Bitcoin Grants to Circumvent Russia Ban
Pavel Durov, the founder of the popular messaging platform, Telegram has been using bitcoin payments to get around the platform’s ban by Russian authorities.
Writing on his vk.com social media account, he shared, “In the framework of the Digital Resistance – a decentralized movement in defense of digital freedoms and progress – I began to pay bitcoin grants to proxy and vpn administrators. During this year, I will be happy to donate millions of dollars of personal funds for these purposes. I urge everyone to join and participate – setting up proxy / vpn servers or their financing.”
Russian authorities recently blacklisted Telegram. The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) had requested the encryption keys to monitor group chats on the platform and had given Telegram an April 4 deadline to comply with the request. Telegram for their part declared that it is not possible to share encryption keys with a third-party due to the way the app is built and the fact that such a move goes against its user policy.
Barclays Pondering Potential Foray into Crypto Trading
The U.K.’s second-largest bank, Barclays, is considering a potential foray into the cryptocurrency market. The move comes after the bank released a report that compared cryptocurrency to an infectious disease.
The bank has been working behind the scenes for some months, sounding out investor sentiments to the proposed plan as stated by anonymous sources. While details of the plan haven’t been released yet, it is believed that the bank is planning to launch a cryptocurrency trading desk.
According to Bloomberg, the bank has done a preliminary feasibility study. Andrew Smith, a spokesperson for the bank, said that Barclays is committed to ensuring that its clients aren’t left out in the emerging cryptocurrency revolution. Smith said that the bank was continually monitoring the cryptocurrency market and having discussions with its clients as to the best way forward in terms entering the market.
Chilean Banks Close Accounts of Major Cryptocurrency Exchanges
Bank of Nova Scotia and state-owned Banco del Estado de Chile closed the accounts of cryptocurrency exchange platforms Buda, Orionx, and CryptoMarket in March 2018 with no explanation.
While the cryptocurrency exchanges have gone to an appeals court to challenge the bank’s actions, their bank accounts remain closed. Unfortunately, Chile’s financial institutions appear to be implementing a total and complete ban on the digital currency industry. “Hopefully the appeals court will see we’re right,” said Guillermo Torrealba, Buda’s co-founder and chief executive officer.
As reported by Bloomberg, South American cryptocurrency enthusiasts are worried that the Chilean government’s regulations and policies may soon follow the stricter cryptocurrency nations like China which have banned cryptocurrencies and ICOs.
Sale of Hardware Wallets Rise as Users Scramble to Safeguard their Crypto
Users have reportedly been buying more hardware wallets to store their cryptocurrency holdings than ever before, clearly indicating a preference for cold storage instead of exchange-provided wallets. Paris-based Ledger, which raised $75 million from its investors in a recent round of funding, announced January 23, 2018, that it had sold its millionth Nano S hardware wallet.
Trezor and Ledger are the two most popular cryptocurrency hardware wallet providers available on the market. Of the two, Trezor portrays itself as the first and yet, most secure hardware wallet in existence.
Pornhub Prefers Verge Over Litecoin but Signals Wider Acceptance of Crypto
An adult entertainment streaming website and one of the largest pornography sites Pornhub has now declared an affiliation with Verge (XVG), formerly known as Dogecoin Dark. It will now accept the coin as payment for all purchases and also for purchases on Pornhub Premium production channels such as Brazzers and Digital Playground.
Corey Price, Pornhub Vice president, expressed his views stating “it is not only exciting news for us and the adult industry, but also it’s exciting for the crypto space. We have been gazing at crypto, overall adoption is quite low, and we consider it has gained sufficient steam for us to come into the market.”
Pornhub has endorsed the partnership with a short video on YouTube which was shown along with a futuristic dialogue in the year 2077 amid a grandfather and his grandson in terms where Verge becomes the currency worldwide. Ahead of the promotional video on YouTube, Pornhub also confirms that the kick off will also be marked by events in Silicon Valley and New York City.
The founder of Verge, Justin Sunerok, supposed that Pornhub partnership will “signify huge market with a global reach that will clash with fiat currencies.” With litecoin as the payment cryptocurrency that first comes to mind for many crypto enthusiasts, Pornhub has different thoughts.
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