Crypto Headlines: January 2018

There’s never a dull day in the land of Bitcoin & Co.

Philip Mueller
Photo by Andre Francois on Unsplash

January 2018 kicked off on a high note for Ripple and the crypto market in general. After trading sideways at around $0.20 for months, Ripple’s native currency XRP broke out in mid-December 2017 and reached an all-time high of $3.80 in early January 2018, making it the most successful crypto asset of 2017. These gains quickly dissipated, triggered by a number of things that happened in quick succession and severely shook up the entire market.

📉 January 4
Coinbase announced in a tweet that they wouldn’t add any new coins to the exchange soon. At the time, it was a common assumption among XRP holders that Coinbase would add XRP. When the word was out, XRP started dropping, because disappointed investors expecting an influx of capital began selling their holdings.

💥 January 8
Coinmarketcap decided to exclude a number of South Korean exchanges from its price calculations — without any prior announcement. Since XRP and the crypto market in general depend heavily on South Korean buyers, it looked like the market took a huge hit, while in fact nothing had changed. But Coinmarketcap’s move led to a large number of panic sells, putting even more pressure on XRP’s price and on the overall market.

😱 January 11
The Korean Ministry of Justice declared that an outright ban on cryptocurrency trading was coming, sending shockwaves through the crypto community. Just a day later, South Korea’s Presidential Office retracted and announced that there were no such plans at the moment, adding to the confusion in the market.

💸 January 16
Crypto exchange and lending platform BitConnect, long accused of being a Ponzi scheme, turned out to be exactly that. On Jan 16, the platform announced it would be shutting down, citing two cease and desist letters, DDoS attacks and “bad press”. Subsequently, the platform’s native token, BCC, lost over 90% of its value — leaving BitConnect’s investors with little more than nothing. Read more on TNW.

🤥 January 18
In an interesting turn of events, it was reported that South Korean regulators were accused of insider trading, using their knowledge of the aforementioned government announcement.

⚡️ January 22
The Lightning Network, bitcoin’s off-chain scaling solution, surpassed 100 nodes, further paving the way to faster, cheaper transactions.

💰 January 24
Rapper 50 Cent accidentally became a bitcoin millionaire.

💸 January 26
Japan’s cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck announced that it had been hacked and that 500.000.000 XEM tokens, at the time worth around $533 million, had been stolen. This was most likely the largest heist in crypto history, even bigger than the infamous Mt. Gox hack in 2014. However, NEM, the blockchain platform that issues XEM, managed to track the stolen tokens, so while they are lost, it’s now harder for the thieves to cash them out.

🤔 January 27
USDT is a cryptocurrency is supposedly pegged to the US Dollar, meaning that, in theory, one USDT is always worth one dollar. USDT makes up a large part of the crypto trading volume with 2.2bn tokens in circulation. But on Jan 27, Tether, the company that issues USDT, announced that its relationship with audit firm Friedman LLP has ended. This has raised some serious concerns within the crypto community.

All this happened against a backdrop of a lot of negative press from the mainstream media. But behind the scenes project teams are developing new solutions, forging new partnerships and bringing their products to the market. So while the speculative bubble will most likely burst at some point, blockchain and its associated technologies are probably stronger than ever.

Philip Mueller

Written by

Digital Copywriter | | @PhilipM83

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