Some of the wealthiest men in the world weighed in recently on whether or not cryptos were a good investment. What they said did not make enthusiasts supporting digital currencies happy. Both Warren Buffett, nicknamed the Oracle of Omaha for his talent at picking stocks, and Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft and the one time richest person in the world, appeared side by side on CNBC’s Squakbox, where they both rubbished cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. Also appearing was the vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, the conglomerate run by Buffett, Charlie Munger and he was even more critical of the technology, labelling it ‘immoral’.
Despite this harsh criticism from some of the doyens of the financial world, there have been positive movements in the cryptosphere this week. The second-largest bitcoin miner in China, Canaan Creative, is planning to launch an IPO on Hong Kong’s stock exchange. The valuation of the float is set to be around $1bn. The firm had tried to launch an initial public offering twice before but was barred from doing so on mainland Chinese exchanges by the nation’s stringent regulations of the space. Hong Kong, while still taking a cautious approach to the cryptomarket, is a much friendlier environment, and looks like it will allow the first blockchain related company to list on its stock market.
The New York Stock Exchange appears as if it would also be a friendly market for cryptocompanies. NYSE’s parent company, Intercontinental Exchange, is investigating the possibility of letting traders buy and sell Bitcoin. Traders will be able to trade in Bitcoin futures contracts which would be settled in the flagship crypto. Right now, all futures contracts based on the coin are settled with fiat money. NASDAQ, the other major New York-based stock exchange, has come out in recent weeks and said that it would be open to founding a crypto exchange as well. Goldman Sachs also joined into this growing chorus of established financial institutions and companies that are becoming more and more involved in the trading of crypto-contracts. Bowing to customer demand, the merchant bank will initially offer their clients financial instruments, including futures, with exposure to cryptos. With money to be made in the market, it looks like the established players do not want to miss out on their cut.
Related to this is Facebook’s board reshuffle. In its most significant shake-up of the executive team to date, the social media giant will organise itself into three main divisions. A ‘Family of Apps’ group will oversee the continued development of Facebook itself, as well as WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger. David Marcus, who previously looked after Messenger and is a board member at Coinbase, will now head up a new Blockchain exploratory team, within the New Platforms and Infrastructure division of the company. There have been no announcements as to in which direction Facebook wants to leverage the technology, but with Marcus’s background at PayPal as well as his own mobile payments start-up Zong, it looks like his expertise will be directed at integrating blockchain based payments into Facebook’s ecosystem.
Bitcoin (BTC), opening at $9,238.03, went on a rally at the beginning of the week and flirted with the $10k mark over a couple of days. It was never able to break through this barrier though, reaching a high water mark of $9,958.23, before falling to $9,031.62. From that point, though, it rallied once again to finish the week at $9,346.95, making minor gains over the past seven days.
Ethereum (ETH) likewise had an up and down and up again week. The second-largest coin started trading last week at $688.16 and went up. This time the ceiling was at around $840, with the coin falling just short of this to reach a weekly high of $834.46. It fell to $683.90 before climbing once again to finish off strongly, closing at $754.15.
Ripple (XRP) did manage to go above a landmark this week. It started at $0.863 and quickly broke through the $0.90 mark it had been edging closer to over the past month or so. It maxed out at $0.925, before falling off just as quickly as it rose, to a low of $0.773. It could not recover from this and finished below its starting price, at $0.807.
Zilliqa (ZIL) broke the $1bn market cap level this week and kept on rising to become the 23rd largest crypto by that metric. A Singapore-based team is behind the coin, which is trying to solve the scalability problems associated with most of the major altcoins. The coin reached a high of $0.18 over the week, with claims from the team developing it that it could be as much as one thousand times better than ethereum at processing transactions.
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