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Bitcoin (BTC) has lost around $500 in value over the past week but has confirmed strong support at around $7,600, with lows at that level tested three times, most recently today when the price touched $7,590.
A surge of $400 dollars in short order today saw the price recapture $8,000, although attempts to hold above that level have not been convincing of late as bulls tire.
The big movers among the top 100 this week were GXChain (97%) Nebulas (67%), HedgeTrade (51%).
GXChain rose after the buyback announcement by the project team that claims the token is undervalued by the market.
Although the coin is ranked 60th by coinmarketcap, it is highly rated by China’s CCID (Centre for Information and Industry Development), placing it as the ninth-best blockchain platform as of 23 May, judged on basic tech, applicability and creativity.
Among more well-known coins, sharding pioneer Zilliqa (ZIL) was up 11% at $0.02345 over the week as buyers anticipated the launch of smart contracts (which happened today) on the platform in a major development milestone success.
The Zilliqa team has created a new programming language for its smart contracts called Scilla. The language includes analysers to alert developers to code problems to guard against the presence of bugs in deployed code, which could prove both expensive in terms of unnecessary function calls and from a security standpoint.
With tests ongoing in the digital advertising space using Zilliqa tech, notably in the partnership between Mindshare and PepsiCo, the new language should help speed adoption.
Litecoin building momentum as halving looms
The standout performer among top alts was Litecoin (LTC), which advanced 12% in the past seven days to trade at $126, building momentum from a price of $75 a month ago, for a 68% four-week increase.
Driving the price higher is the prospect of the halving, estimated to take place in 56 days, in early August.
Block reward will fall from 25 to 12.5 when the network block height reaches 1,680,000 (currently at 1,647,584), thereby reducing the inflation rate of new supply.
NEO 2.0 sets up smooth passage to NEO 3.0 and new token
NEO, the dapp platform with an industrial focus often referred to as the “Chinese Ethereum”, released more details about its planned makeover, dubbed NEO 3.0.
It is rebuilding from the bottom up, which means there will be a brand-new token airdropped to existing holders of NEO.
This past week NEO successfully upgraded its delegated Byzantine Fault Tolerance protocol to make it more robust in handling node failures and other disruptive events.
As a result, network users now only need wait for one confirmation, which should happen within 15 seconds “to ensure irreversibility of the transactions”, according to co-founder Erik Zhang.
This NEO 2.0 upgrade was an essential part of the milestone along the road to NEO 3.0.
The market has responded well to the developments with the price 6% higher today alone at $12.34.
Kik in trouble
In other news, the week kicked off with Kik finding itself being charged by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with violating securities law with its KIN token sale.
The unwelcome attentions of the SEC follow the launch of a “Defend Crypto” campaign by the Canadian messaging app, as it sort to raise funds to take the SEC to court.
That has proven to have been badly judged as it has backfired spectacularly, with the SEC taking it as an invitation for a meeting in court.
The indictment drawn up by the SEC makes uncomfortable reading for the management team at Kik.
The SEC alleges that the initial coin offering of the KIN native token for the Kik app which raised $100 million, was conducted in order to shore up the company’s finances.
The US securities regulator goes so far as to quote one Kik executive as describing the token sale as a “hail Mary pass”.
Whatever the outcome of the court case, it is likely to have wide implications for the crypto industry in the US and will be closely watched by all.
Facebook coin launching sooner than thought
It looks like Facebook’s GlobalCoin/Libra Coin (take your pick) could be revealed as soon as next week after Facebook’s Laura McCracken, its head of financial services and payment partnerships for Northern Europe, told German magazine WirtschaftsWoche that a whitepaper was due for release on 18 June.
Furthermore, computing news site The Information reported that the cryptocurrency will be launching later this month and that it would be run by an independent foundation.
It has also been confirmed that Libra Coin, or whatever it’s called, will be tied to fiat currencies as Facebook sets its sights, at least initially, on targeting those on the fringes of the formal economy in places such as India, where Whatsapp has the messaging space to itself and there are tens of millions of “unbanked” consumers.
Although it may be a threat to Ripple’s XRP token, Facebook’s initiative will be introducing potentially 2.3 billion people to cryptocurrencies, which will act as a massive boost for the crypto industry as a whole.
A Binance stablecoin
If you thought the stablecoin frenzy had peaked last year then you were mistaken.
This week another one came into view.
Binance let it be known that it is currently testing a GBP-backed stablecoin.
Although a firm date for its launch was not communicated, chief executive Changpeng Zhao (known to his crypto friends as CZ) tweeted on 3 June “that only £200 had been minted so far. Slowly, but surely”.
Much troubled Tether (USDT), which still dominates the stablecoin world, must surely be wondering if its days are numbered, given that Binance is one of the most popular crypto exchanges.
Binance is thought to have favoured the British pound over the US dollar because of the regulatory hurdles it would face with the dollar.
Also, Binance Jersey offers Bitcoin and Ethereum markets in fiat (GBP and EUR).
Binance COin (BNB) has been one of the best performers of the year and you can buy BNB here.
Wirex initial exchange offering (WXT)
How times have changed. No one important does ICOs any more, with Binance leading the way on initial exchange offerings. Now many more are following.
UK-based Wirex, the longstanding crypto wallet and card app, has today released Wirex Token (WXT) in an initial exchange offering on the Malta-based OKEx exchange.
According to the company press release, the token will allow owners to increase their reward earnings from 0.5% to 1.5% and access lower fees. There are also premium features coming “in late 2019” that include a premium Wirex Visa Card.
Chief executive Pavel Matveev positioned the move as a pitch for the future: “We believe that the nascent token economy will eventually replace conventional fiat currency as the dominant form of payment. The Wirex Token helps us integrate with the payment environment of the future and offer users a convenient, fast and cost-efficient way to move digital money across borders.”
The IEO starts on 26 June with 1% of supply available at an initial price of $0.01. Wirex verified users can take part in the pre-IEO on 13 June.
Mark Karpeles is back
Mark Karpeles, the chief executive of the defunct Mt.Gox, which closed down in 2014 after a catastrophic cyber attack on the exchange which at one point was responsible for 70% of all bitcoin trading.
After being found not guilty of embezzlement by a Japanese court (although he was found guilty of the lesser charge of tampering with data), Karpeles has said he’s started a project to build a computer operating system that runs on a blockchain.
Karpeles’s Tristan Technologies aims to put Japan back on the world tech innovation map with his new OS, he told assembled journalists at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan on 5 June.
The Frenchman is touting his new company’s efforts as a necessary development to make computing more secure, the bitcoin network included.
Lucid Sight, the blockchain game developer, has teamed up with CBS Interactive to introduce Star Trek gameplay and collectibles to its CSC space game.
The company is using the non-fungible token ERC-721 to assign unique status to in-game items – from space ships, including the USS Enterprise, to phasers – and to enable them to be tradeable on third-party marketplaces.
Gary is the cryptocurrency analyst at UK investment platform interactive investor and writes here in a personal capacity. None of his comments should be taken as investment advice.