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Bitcoin and cryptocurrency round-up: The news today – 21 December 2017

Posted: 21 December 2017 11:55 am
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What to know today.

Bitcoin is in a tough spot, but its prices don't seem to mind, while altcoins are enjoying an exceptional bull run despite the allegations that surround them. Meanwhile ICOs continue to move into the mainstream with established brands seeing outstanding success on the blockchain.

1. Bitcoin Cash doubles in price

The price of Bitcoin Cash (BCH) has more than doubled from 18 December to 20 December, peaking at over US$4,000. This coincides with Coinbase offering Bitcoin Cash for sale, and on its GDAX exchange. The $4,000 price was the average across all major exchanges, but on GDAX, Bitcoin Cash was listed as high as $9,500, leading to allegations of price manipulation and insider trading.

2. Bitcoin Cash insider trading and price manipulation allegations

The discrepancy in BCH prices between Coinbase and other exchanges has set off allegations of price manipulation and insider trading. In response, Coinbase says it ordered its employees to cease BCH trading in the weeks leading up to the announcement. Meanwhile, price manipulation allegations don't particularly need to be addressed. Discrepancies between exchanges are common and can be expected in a situation like this.

Despite all the noise around these allegations, and whether there's any truth to them, it's safe to say it changes nothing and can be safely ignored.

3. Bitcoin.com drops bitcoin

The founders of Bitcoin.com have made their fortune off the coin and become widely known as evangelists for bitcoin. But their relationship with the coin that made them rich has soured. CEO and founder Emil Oldenburg has publicly announced that he's selling off all his bitcoin, declaring the network to be "unusable," and calling a group of core bitcoin developers "a group of fanatic bitcoin Taliban" who are opposed to progress.

Oldenburg isn't the first person to declare bitcoin over, but he's one of the higher profile ones. His declaration that he's switching to Bitcoin Cash is also likely responsible for the altcoin's sharp price rise.

4. Average bitcoin transaction fees top US$30, network paralysis grows

Average bitcoin transaction fees have reached their all-time high, climbing above US$30, and at the time of writing, there are over 250,000 unconfirmed transactions, with the network plugging along at below 3 transactions per second.

The bitcoin lightning network upgrade promises to fix these problems, but it's still a few months off and there are doubts as to whether it will work as well in real life as on paper.

5. BTC price drop flattens

Bitcoin's price tag shed thousands of dollars since 18 December, dropping from about AUD$25,000 to around $AUD21,000 in two days. But despite the drop, its prices seem to be flattening out, and may well see an upturn in the near future.

Despite all its troubles, there's clearly plenty of appetite for the original crypto and enough buyers to staunch its bleeding.

6. A bull market for altcoins

Cryptocurrency as a whole saw some of its largest growth in the last quarter of 2017, and altcoins are some of the main beneficiaries. It's been a bull market all around, with prices trending upwards across the board.

7. Overstock's tZERO ICO pulls in $100m+ in 24 hours

Online retailer Overstock made its name as a solid Amazon competitor and one of the first online retailers to accept bitcoin. Now it looks like it's planning to shift more focus to the blockchain, with plans for an entirely new kind of online marketplace.

Its tZERO initial coin offering (ICO) was only open to accredited traders and attracted a relatively small pool of 2,000 buyers who paid big money for future token agreements. Overstock isn't the first established business to bring out its own ICO, but with its previous crypto-credentials, it may be one of the most successful. In September, social media platform Kik raised $98 million with an ICO of its own.

Drawn by these extraordinary numbers, it seems likely that more established businesses will move into their own ICOs. There's clearly no shortage of interest from traders.

8. EU plans for central database of bitcoin users

Following a gradual tightening of cryptocurrency regulations, legislators in the European Union are considering one of their largest pushes yet, in the form of a registry of bitcoin users based on information provided by exchanges.

If it were implemented, it would be an extremely large database, but of dubious value. Anyone who really wants to stay off the list will still be able to do so.

9. Ethereum cools down but stays strong

After dramatic growth to an all-time high of around US$890 on 19 December 2017, Ethereum has cooled down to around $750 a few hours later. It quickly popped back up to around $820 the next day.

These price patterns show that plenty of traders are ready to buy in the price troughs. Considered alongside Ethereum's extreme utility, continued progress towards the Casper updates (to improve scalability) and bitcoin's current network troubles, it's likely that more buyers will be finding ETH in the coming weeks, pushing up the price floor.

10. SIRIN LABS blockchain hardware ICO tops $140 million with 5 days left

SIRIN was aiming for a minimum of $25 million to get its blockchain smartphone off the ground, and $50 million to do both a smartphone and a PC. It ended up cracking $100 million in short order, and is currently over $140 million with 5 days of token sales left.

Widespread use of blockchain smartphones would be a potentially world-changing development, so the developments following this high-earning ICO are worth following.

Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of cryptocurrency or any specific provider, service or offering. It is not a recommendation to trade. Cryptocurrencies are speculative, complex and involve significant risks – they are highly volatile and sensitive to secondary activity. Performance is unpredictable and past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before relying on this information. You should also verify the nature of any product or service (including its legal status and relevant regulatory requirements) and consult the relevant Regulators' websites before making any decision. Finder, or the author, may have holdings in the cryptocurrencies discussed.

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