The HyperLinq Weekly Digest is the one-stop source for the HyperLinq community to access relevant news involving digital assets, where we essentially outline key industry updates that our members may have missed. We are always open to suggestions and feedback so please do not hesitate to let us know what you think!
Bitcoin Accepted: Switzerland’s Biggest Online Retailer Enables Crypto Payments : Yashu Gola | CCN.com
Switzerland's first online retail store, The Digitec Galaxus Group, announced on Tuesday (March 19, 2019) that it's web platform would accept cryptocurrencies as payment, including but not limited to Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash. This service however, is only available for purchases exceeding 200 francs. Coinify, a Denmark based crypto-startup would convert crypto payments to fiat in real time which would allow users to spend cryptocurrency unobstructedly without Digitec and Galaxus holding the crypto-coins themselves. How this move pans out in the long term, however, is still unknown. Organisations have been known to introduce crypto-payments and drop them as quickly, like Expedia in June 2018 and Reddit, who tried the crypto idea for their gold membership plans. Since, most traders hold cryptocurrency only for speculation, we are yet to see if they would be willing to make purchases with it.
Bitcoin’s Share of Total Crypto Market Slips Back Toward 50% : Sam Ouimet | CoinDesk
For the first time in over 7 months, Bitcoin's share of the total cryptocurrency market is on the verge of falling below 50%. Pre-2017, Bitcoin's market share was perpetually above 70%, but as new cryptocurrencies were created, mined and sold through Initial Coin Offerings (ICO), the dominance rate dropped to 32.48% on Jan 13, 2018. However, since August 11, 2018, Bitcoin's market share has not dropped below 50%. As of March 17, 2o18, Bitcoin's dominance rate is 50.54%. This recent drop in market dominance can be linked to strong performances from Altcoins like Enjin (ENJ), Binance Coin (BNB) and Litecoin (LTC) which have increased by 406%, 181% and 97% respectively. Investors and traders see this as a sign that the crypto-market is gradually moving towards a riskier environment where riskier assets are preferred, which is the general consensus about Altcoins.
IBM Signs 6 Banks to Issue Stablecoins and Use Stellar’s XLM Cryptocurrency : Ian Allison | CoinDesk
IBM has made a move to take its clients a step closer towards cryptocurrency. Six international banks, including Philippines based Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation, Brazil's Banco Bradesco, and South Korea's Bank Busan, have signed letters of intent to issue stablecoins backed by fiat currency on World Wire, which is an IBM payment network using the Stellar public blockchain. The banks will offer digital versions of Euros and Indonesian Rupiah pending regulatory approvals and other reviews. The World Wire platform is spread across 72 countries, with 48 currencies and 46 banking endpoints, where people can send or recieve cash. Jesse Lund, IBM's head of blockchain for financial services said that IBM is the network operator, maintaining the payment API and some core system software that handles accounts and money flow, while Stellar is the protocol level.
Square Is Hiring New Crypto Engineers — And It Wants to Pay Them in Bitcoin : Nikhilesh De | CoinDesk
Square, a payments startup plans to hire a few engineers and a designer to work on its crypto initiatives. The more interesting thing however, is that these new hires will have the option of being paid in Bitcoin. According to Jack Dorsey, CEO of Square and Founder of Twitter, the new hires will not be focusing on Square's own commercial interests but on what's best for the crypto-community. He believes that while Square has taken a lot from the open source community to get to where they are, the organisation hasn't given back. This global financial more accessible system for the internet is their small way of giving back. Square’s Cash App already supports bitcoin purchases and sales, and will later support the Lightning Network, a layer-2 solution aimed at facilitating small, fast transactions.
Facecoin To Replace U.S. Dollar? Facebook Claims It’s “Helping People” : Tedra DeSue | CCN.com
According to Ted Livingston, leading predictor in the industry and founder and CEO of messaging platform Kik, Facebook does not want to just create their own crypto, but intends to replace the U.S. Dollar. However, the vision is not nefarious but is to ultimately help people working in foreign regions to send money back to their native country. Sending money back home is a slow, expensive and complicated process and if Facebook could offer a way for people to send money home for free, it would be a game changer. Facebook will be able to permit payments through the app without needing to become a bank, and the money would be tracked through the blockchain. As Livingston puts it, Facebook is not going after the Bitcoin, it's going after the Dollar.
According to Binance CEO, Changpeng Zhao, exchanges are faking trading volume to obtain a high standing CoinMarketCap (CMC), which maintains a public ranking of all crypto exchanges by volume, and exposure on CMC drives traffic and business. Bitwise, a cryptocurrency and index and beta fund provider reported on Wednesday (March 20, 2019) that 95% of volume on unregulated crypto exchanges is likely fake. Just 10 of the top 81 exchanges are reported to have actual volume - Binance ($110M), Bitfinex ($38M), Kraken ($31M), Bitstamp ($31M), Coinbase ($27M), Bitflyer ($14M), Gemini ($8M), itBit ($6M), Bittrex ($5M) and Poloniex ($1.4M). CMC brings more referral traffic to exchanges than any other site, which makes sense as CMC is arguably the biggest website in crypto, and ranked as the 448th biggest site in the world, according to Alexa, a web analytics site.
Omega One Launches the First Regulated Crypto Market Dark Pool : Craig Russo | SludgeFeed
Omega One, which is developing an off-exchange venue in digital assets and capital market infrastructure, has launched Omega Dark, the first regulated dark pool for digital assets. According to a recent press release, Omega Dark is the first company to be granted a provisional Digital Asset Exchange License in Bermuda under the country’s new Digital Asset Business Act. CEO Alex Gordon-Brander said that he believed their platform brought dark pools into the light by leveraging the blockchain to prevent unfair activity and market manipulation. Omega One have created a trading venue that can make the global crypto markets safe and efficient for everyone. This standard by offering transparent pricing of liquidity preference within a robust regulatory regime. The platform will give greater confidence to the markets, leading to more liquidity, less volatility, and better price discovery.
Crypto Futures and Institutional Interest: Looking in the Wrong Place : Noelle Achison | CoinDesk
Last week, the Cboe let its traders know that it would not be renewing its futures contracts on bitcoin. This was taken by many as a sign that expectations of institutional interest in crypto assets were misplaced, and by some as a nail in the crypto coffin. Cboe was the first traditional institution to offer bitcoin futures, launched in December 2017. It was followed a week later by a similar product from the CME. In the end, although volumes have been declining at both, institutional traders seemed to prefer the CME’s product. Brokers would logically prefer to trade on a platform where they already have connectivity. Cboe used the Gemini auction price to calculate their contract value – a price determined once daily on thin volume. The CME relied on an index comprised of data from a handful of liquid exchanges. Although the extent of the reliability of this pricing method has been questioned, the index was seen as the less manipulable of the two options. Some estimate that more than 50% of futures launched fail to reach critical mass, and simply fade away. Even if this product is withdrawn, it is unlikely to make a noticeable impact on trading strategies. The market will become more robust with a more reliable and less manipulable hedge. The narrative that institutions are interested in crypto assets is a sound one. Many are already investing in this market. As even a cursory glance at CoinDesk’s headlines will reveal, the shift is happening, in both subtle and noticeable ways. This progress may seem slow, but it is steadily building the base for an acceleration.
WSJ: Ex-Enron CEO Meets with Crypto Experts for New Venture Following Prison Release : Marie Huillet | CoinTelegraph
Jeffrey Skilling — the former Enron CEO who served 12 years in prison after a 19 count conviction for his part in the firm’s notorious collapse — is allegedly meeting with crypto industry experts ahead of his new business venture. Arrested in 2004, alongside Enron founder Ken Lay, Skilling was sentenced in May 2006 on 19 counts of securities fraud, conspiracy, insider trading, and deceiving auditors. The WSJ reports that Skilling, recently out of prison, is now seeking partners for a new venture — which, like Enron, will be connected with the energy finance sector. CNBC, having gleaned similarly sparse details on the nature of the enterprise, referred to it as an early-stage project for a software program targeted at oil and gas investors. Both the WSJ and CNBC report that while the project is yet to secure financial backing, several early advisers have been asked to sign non-disclosure agreements, and at least one former colleague — the former Enron head of energy services, Lou L. Pai — has pledged to invest in the undertaking. As the WSJ notes, under the terms of a separate United States Securities and Exchange Commission judgment, Skilling is permanently prohibited from serving as an officer or director of a publicly held company.