In this week’s cryptocurrency round-up, there has been a lot going on in the week of April 28 - May 5. First and foremost, Bitcoin appears to be doing well in terms of price action, holding well above the $5,000 level. Additionally, it appears as though New York City criminals are trying to scam individuals by accepting cryptocurrency, and the NYPD is warning the general public about it. It also appears as though one of cryptocurrency’s most powerful influencers, John Mcafee, is teasing the release of a crypto debit card that he hopes will spur mass adoption.
Warren Buffett, one of the most legendary investors in the world, still has nothing positive to say about Bitcoin. Elon Musk chose to tweet about Ethereum, but is he just trolling, or is it a real endorsement? Also, one of the most important stock exchanges in the world wants to see whether blockchain can help their business. Lastly, Japanese platform Liquid is looking to enter the United States market, as well.
Bulls loving Bitcoin’s Price
While there are many that might still be “underwater” in terms of their cryptocurrency investment, especially if they purchased cryptocurrency in late 2017 - there is something to be said for the fact that Bitcoin is holding its price well above $5,000 currently. In fact, the digital asset has recently hit 5-month highs. Of course, while this might not be noteworthy to those who purchased Bitcoin at a much higher price - it does mean that there are more optimistic perspectives out there about price action. This also means that there was a brief moment where the cryptocurrency markets reached a new 2019 all-time high (market capitalization of $188 billion.
NYPD Warns About Scammers Wanting Crypto
Even though Bitcoin has been showing signs of life (as of press time, hovering at about $5500), the truth is that many cryptocurrency proponents are worried about the perception of the industry, and whether the masses view the cryptocurrency markets as riddled with scammers and Ponzi schemes. Unfortunately, it appears that there is now a new scam, with criminals posing as Social Security administrators in an attempt to defraud the public. In fact, the New York Police Department (NYPD) just put out a warning about individuals asking for Bitcoin, gift cards, and/or bank wire transfers while posing as these administrators.
Apparently, the scammers have been somewhat successful, with over 20 victims losing out more than $2 million in 2019 already. This is a significant increase from 2018 numbers. The NYPD even tweeted about the scam, as well. The phone calls often involve accusing the victims of being associated with crimes through their social security number, even transferring calls to criminals posing as law enforcement in an attempt to intimidate them into settling through various forms of payment, including cryptocurrency.
Mcafee Teases Crypto Card
There have been countless cryptocurrency investors and influencers that have pointed out that the cryptocurrency markets won’t reach their full potential until mass adoption. The idea is that when individuals are using cryptocurrency for everyday purchases, the same way that they might use a credit card, then many various cryptocurrencies would reach their full value. It appears as though one of the most controversial cryptocurrency influencers in the world, John Mcafee, is working on making the concept of a “crypto debit card” a reality.
In a tweet that is already garnering attention in the cryptocurrency community, Mcafee tweeted that the card will be accepted “EVERYWHERE!” although he did not provide any further details. Mcafee first called the card a “credit card” then corrected it on Twitter, adding that the card could be loaded with cryptocurrency and then “converted to local currencies”.
Mcafee will have competition. Coinbase, one of the most recognized names in the cryptocurrency sector, and worth billions, is already working on a crypto debit card of their own.
Buffett Takes More Jabs At Bitcoin
There are many influential figures in finance that have both praised and denounced Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, time and time again. Warren Buffett is one of the richest individuals in the world, and also one of the most legendary investors of all time. He has taken shots at Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies before, and it appears as though he still implies that the sector is rampant with fraud in general.
While there are many in finance that have theorized about the potential of Bitcoin and how blockchain can revolutionize the world, Buffett hasn’t been a fan. He has previously described Bitcoin as “rat poison squared” - and many have wondered whether this was proof that Buffett believed that Bitcoin was a legitimate threat, or whether he had not even bothered to truly study or understand the sector. He made these comments in May 2018 at the Berkshire Hathaway 2018 annual shareholder meeting.
Buffett now calls Bitcoin a “gambling device”, and continues to downplay it, claiming that “it doesn’t do anything.” He also compared a cryptocurrency to a button on his jacket, claiming that there are many individuals interested in driving up a cryptocurrency’s price to make money, but that there was no real objective or use. He stated: “I’ll tear off a button here. What I’ll have here is a little token...I’ll offer it to you for $1000, and I’ll see if I can get the price up to $2000 by the end of the day…”
Elon Musk Tweets About Ethereum
It takes a certain type of individual to tweet about Ethereum and have it make international headlines, but Musk is clearly a special individual. Musk tweeted the word “ethereum” on April 29, 2019, following it up with “jk” - short for “just kidding”. Musk is known for his sense of humor on Twitter, where he often entertains his substantial audience of over 26 million Twitter followers. Musk is widely considered one of the most controversial and influential CEOs on the planet, and is the billionaire founder of Tesla and SpaceX.
Vitalik Buterin, one of the co-founders of Ethereum, used the opportunity to ask Musk to attend a conference, and Musk responded tongue-in-cheek: “Stop giving away free ETH!” There are many that are wondering about the exact nature of the tweet. Either way, the tweet certainly caused quite the commotion, boasting over 9,000 retweets and over 100,000 likes.
LSE and Blockchain
Many have pointed out that blockchain can revolutionize the financial sector in general. This is why it probably isn’t as surprising as significant that the London Stock Exchange (LSE), one of the largest stock exchanges in the world, is interested in exploring “blockchain use cases”. The London Stock Exchange is one of the oldest stock exchanges in the world, but appears to be interested in keeping up with modern times. Many also wonder whether this announcement will lead to other stock exchanges exploring the capability and potential of blockchain, as well. There are other stock exchanges that already have - including Switzerland’s SIX exchange, and the Gibraltar Stock Exchange, as well.
Nikhil Rathi, the CEO of the LSE, has pointed out that he wants to watch before any real moves or investments. He stated that he wants to know which use cases “gain traction” before moving too quickly. This wouldn’t be the first time that the LSE has considered blockchain as an attractive investment: it led a $20 million seed round for a blockchain startup by the name of Nivaura earlier this year.
Liquid Heads to U.S.
There are many well-known cryptocurrency companies, but few have had the distinction of attaining a valuation of over $1 billion dollars. It appears as though Japanese company Liquid has not only attained that valuation but also wants to enter the United States market, as well. The Japanese platform has partnered with crypto venture capital consortium Virtual Currenty Partners (VCP) to launch in the US shortly. The announcement was made on April 29, 2019.
Coinbase became the first crypto unicorn, and it appears as though Liquid also sees massive potential in the U.S. market, as well. The company plans on obtaining all the necessary regulatory approval before operating, as well. For those who are not aware, Liquid’s parent company is Quoine, who has a license from Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA).
The chairman of VCP heaped heavy praise on Liquid, stating: “After nearly a year of studying the cryptocurrency space and researching a number of players, we were extremely impressed with Liquid and the strong foundation it built for itself as Japan’s first FSA-approved cryptocurrency exchange and one of the top 5 cryptocurrency exchanges in the world.”