Changpeng Zhao, the CEO of Binance, expects the cryptocurrency exchange to make at least $500m in profit for 2018 alone, with the upper end of his estimates sitting at around $1bn. The young company, it was only founded in 2017, is already the largest exchange in the world, overtaking longer established sites like Coinbase or Huobi. The massive profit expectation is fuelled by an equally massive growth in customers. The number of people using Binance has gone up 500% over the last year, from 2 million to 10 million, and the exchange sees $1.5bn worth of trades every day. Binance is still expanding, with a new office opened in the crypto-friendly island nation of Malta recently, and it has also just launched an exchange in Uganda.
It is not all good news, though, for the exchange, with Ethereum’s co-founder, and high profile crypto commentator, Vitalik Buterin revealing in an interview that he hopes that centralised exchanges ‘burn in hell’. The idea of centralised exchanges, which make money by charging a fee for each trade made by customers, goes against the ethos of cryptocurrencies, which depends on decentralised, trustless systems. The fact that Binance can potentially make $1bn from fees charged for transactions also goes against what some see as one of the benefits of cryptocurrencies, that it removes the high-fees banks charge for services from the equation. Zhao did respond, pointing out that centralised exchanges have allowed cryptocurrencies as whole to expand much quicker than they might otherwise have done.
That expansion of cryptocurrencies has seen an explosion in utility tokens, coins which provided access to a service rather than just as a means of exchange. Ronaldinho, the star of a Brazil team which won the 2002 World Cup and part of the Barcelona squad which lifted the Champions League in 2006, has started his own ICO. The coin, dubbed Ronaldinho Soccer Coin, plans to support a football and esports league, betting site, and VR stadiums around the world. The coin will be hosted on the NEO blockchain and will be available to the general public from the 6th of August, though it goes on private sale from the 15th of July. The high-profile name attached to the project has undoubtedly attracted far more attention to this coin than what it might have done. Though a far-looking roadmap has been laid out, unlike many other projects launching ICOs this one does so without a white paper, a fact which has raised some eyebrows. Only very basic facts are known, including the total number of issued coins (350m) and how many will be distributed (140m).
A project which appears to be far more robust is the blockchain being put together by Swiss start-up Open Mineral, launched by former employees of Glencore, the commodities and mining giant. Their project, Minerac, is aimed at putting together a consortium of companies involved in all aspects of the metals industry, from mining and refining to shipping and trading, and using a blockchain to streamline the supply chain. The industry suffers from a bloat of paperwork and complex processes, which could be eradicated with the proper integration of blockchain technology. The firm is working with ConsenSys to develop Minerac, but has not disclosed which industry companies it has signed up. Open Mineral raised $2.5m during a funding round in April. It is an example of the use that blockchain has outside the cryptocurrency market, and marks another step in the widespread adoption of the technology.
Bitcoin (BTC) has experienced a state of confusion over the past couple of weeks, unsure of which direction it wants to go in. Multiple sharp gains have been wiped out by shocking reversals, which has seen the coin swing wildly, all the while never breaking $7,000, or falling below $6,0000 for long. It started this week nearly right in the middle of those two boundaries, at $6,616. It grew steadily, if unspectacularly, to a high of $6,872 before it took a hammering and feel down to $6,340. There was only a very minor recovering before it close the week at $6,389.
As goes bitcoin, so go the other major coins. Etherm (ETH) was at $467 as the week began, and its own steady growth led it to highs of just over $500, $502 to be exact. A declined followed swiftly though, and left the coin trading at $431, before relenting. It finished off at $443.
XRP (XRP), the native token on Ripple, started out at $0.50, but it was all downhill from there. It fell to $0.44, and finished up ever so slightly at $0.45.
More on Crypto Briefing
Crypto Briefing: Bitcoin Futures, Scams and ICOs
The Week of the Altcoins This graph show how prices have changed since the midnight December 7th with prices at that point...
Crypto Briefing: Bitcoin Futures, Tether and the SEC
Here’s what happened in the cryptosphere this week 1. Bitcoin Futures Get Regulatory Approval The Story The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has...