Crypto News: April 14 - 21, 2019

Binance Bitcoin China Cryptocurrency Cryptocurrency Crime Cryptocurrency Exchanges JP Morgan Chase South Korea

In this week’s cryptocurrency round-up, one of the world’s most celebrated athletes also happens to have invested in a well-known cryptocurrency company, and it looks like China might be embracing cryptocurrency very soon. In some more good news for blockchain, and cryptocurrency markets; West Virginia once again seems to be pushing for blockchain-based voting even more, and JP Morgan Chase is also embracing blockchain more than ever.


That isn’t all that happened, either. FinCEN fined someone in the cryptocurrency world for the first time, and the Binance Coin hit an all-time-high to the excitement of many. Lastly, it appears as though South Koreans still love cryptocurrency, and a demographic you might not expect is the one that spent the most money.


Tennis Star Reveals Coinbase Investment


There are few athletes in the world as famous as Serena Williams, and with good reason. She is not only one of the most successful tennis players of all time, many people consider her to be one of the best athletes of all time, as well. She has consistently ranked on the top-paid athletes list on Forbes Magazine, as well. Williams is also married to the influential entrepreneur Alexis Ohanian, the co-founder and executive chairman of Reddit, an extremely popular platform that aggregates news and opinions, and one of the most-visited websites in the world.


Williams is also an entrepreneur with her own clothing line and accessories, as well. She took to social media to announce that she had launched her own firm, Serena Ventures, in 2014, and listed companies that Serena Ventures had invested in. Interestingly enough, Coinbase, one of the most well-known companies in the space, that is valued in the billions, was on the list. Some of the other companies on the list included Masterclass, an online education platform, and little spoon, an organic baby food company. Ohanian was an early backer of Coinbase, as well.


China Turning More To Crypto?

 

There are many countries out there that might have not embraced cryptocurrency and/or blockchain in the beginning, but are coming around - and some that have clearly cracked down on the entire sector. Many have noted that China, the most-populous country in the world, and one of the strongest economies in the world, has cracked down on the entire sector, with some suggesting that this was one of the reasons why the cryptocurrency markets are not experiencing more institutional money flow. However, a blockchain expert states that this might be changing, suggesting that China might make the official Chinese currency, the renminbi, a cryptocurrency.


The statement was made by none other than Donald Tapscott, executive chairman at the Blockchain Research Institute, and he apparently made the comments based on first-hand experience. Tapscott claims that he had been at a meeting with vice-president of the Communist party in China, and that the President of China, Xi Jinping, believes that blockchain is one of the most important emerging technologies in existence.


While cryptocurrency trading might not be embraced in China, the truth is that the country is a major part of overall Bitcoin (BTC) mining. While there is no timeline as to whether China will actually make their currency a cryptocurrency, it cannot be denied that China is actively exploring the potential of blockchain. For context, China is apparently leading the world in terms of blockchain-related projects, with about 25% of the global total.



West Virginia To Allow Blockchain Voting For 2020


When individuals, companies, and organizations speak about blockchain, there are many that point out that the technology encourages efficiency and transparency. This has brought on the obvious question: why not use blockchain for voting in elections? The idea is more relevant than ever when one considers that it is widely reported that Russia interfered with the 2016 U.S. Presidential elections. It should be noted that Russia did influence social media in order to do so, and it is unclear whether blockchain will be able to adequately combat this. Either way, West Virginia plans on allowing blockchain-based voting for the presidential election in 2020.


West Virginia already utilized blockchain for voting in 2018, and was historic for being the first state to do so. West Virginia has allowed military voters overseas to participate in the state elections, as well. There are many that do have concerns about overall security, and some cryptocurrency proponents have argued that the database involved “wasn’t decentralized enough”, as well.


JP Morgan Chase Expanding Blockchain Project


There are many cryptocurrency enthusiasts that remember when Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JP Morgan Chase, infamousy downplayed Bitcoin right before its historic 2017 bull run. The tables certainly have turned, as JP Morgan Chase, one of the most powerful and financial institutions in the world, has introduced its own cryptocurrency, the JPM Coin, in February 2019, marking the first time that a U.S. bank has rolled out its own cryptocurrency. The JPM Coin is a stablecoin pegged to the U.S. dollar. The bank moves around trillions in U.S. dollars each day, and it is hard to downplay the kind of impact and effect that this might have in terms of the financial services sector embracing cryptocurrency in general.


Well, it appears as though JP Morgan Chase is expanding its blockchain project, as it clearly seems to understand that the global payments sector will forever be revolutionized by blockchain technology. This is referring to the fact that JP Morgan Chase set up interbank payments on the Quorum blockchain back in 2017. The network that will be expanding is called the Interbank Information Network (IIN), and includes high-profile partners such as Australia-based ANZ as well as the Royal Bank of Canada. While the network is currently being used to share information, the idea is that it will soon be utilized for global payments.


The First Crypto FinCEN Fine

 

The cryptocurrency markets are just like other markets - unfortunately, there are bad actors and criminals that attempt to take advantage of it. For the first time in cryptocurrency markets history, it appears as though the United States Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) is getting involved, and has fined a Bitcoin trader for the first time in history. That individual is none other than Eric Powers, a cryptocurrency exchanger based in California.


Powers has apparently admitted that he wilfully violated the Bank Secrecy Act, and that he did not adequately confirm identities of individuals or that the proceeds were obtained were legal means. Powers was fined $35,000 as a result. Powers had even advertised his services on various cryptocurrency forums as well, and even took to The Onion Router (TOR) in order to conduct business.


The director of FinCEN, Kenneth Blanco, pointed out the importance that all money transmitters be registered so that they can be regulated properly. He pointed out that Powers knew what he was doing, stating: “In fact, there were indications that Mr. Powers was fully aware of the rules, but willfully failed to honor them. Such failures put our financial system and national security at risk and undermine the safety and well-being of the people, as well as undercut responsible innovation in the financial sector.”


Binance Hits All Time High (ATH)


It doesn’t matter whether you are a bull or bear, it is hard to deny that Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, has done an extraordinary job in terms of brand reputation as well as expansion. The exchange has managed to dodge many issues that have plagued other exchanges, including hacks and data breaches, while also establishing itself in various regions in the world. It’s no surprise that the Binance coin - BNB - has recently hit an all-time-high of $25.42. The price was reached on April 20, 2019.


Justin Sun, known for many feuds with other cryptocurrency influencers, congratulated the CEO of Binance, Changpeng Zhao, for the achievement. Sun hinted at the fact that Zhao had been able to create value, and that the state of the cryptocurrency markets could not alter the kind of value that he had created. Zhao responded “Thanks!” in return, as well. Sun is the CEO and founder of the Tron Foundation, and the cryptocurrency TRX is one of the largest cryptocurrencies by market capitalization, and is listed on Binance as well.


South Korea Still Loves Crypto

There are many countries that love cryptocurrency but many have pointed to South Korea as one of the countries that are truly interested in the sector. A recent report revealed that during 2018, a year that was unusually bearish for the cryptocurrency markets, investors still spent thousands on average on cryptocurrencies. Specifically, the report revealed that Korean crypto investors spent an average of $6,000. This is an increase from 2017, where the average investor spent less than $4,000.

While some might believe that older investors might opt for more conservative investments, it might surprise many to find out that the most money flow came from those in their 50s. Some consider the cryptocurrency market much more volatile than other investment vehicles such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. Either way, it is clear that the country is still interested in cryptocurrency investing.




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