Bitcoin and cryptocurrency round-up: The news today – 22 December 2017

Posted: 22 December 2017 11:29 am

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What to know today.

Ripple traders are 57% happier than they were yesterday, while Bitcoin Cash is readjusting following its sharp increase. Meanwhile, bitcoin is still losing altitude. Everywhere there are signs of interest in the quickly maturing cryptocurrency industry from both Wall Street and individuals.

1. Goldman Sachs cryptocurrency trading desk

Goldman Sachs is setting up a cryptocurrency trading desk. It is expected to be up and running by June 2018, if not sooner. This marks another significant step towards widespread trading of cryptocurrency and its mainstream acceptance.

2. Ripple prices more than double in last 24 hours, rise above $1 per token for the first time

The already-popular Ripple (XRP) coin has seen incredible gains in the last 24 hours, driven largely by a wave of trading from China and South Korea.

Designed to facilitate international money transfers, Ripple was one of the earlier purpose-built coins on the market. This week's price explosion might mark a significant shift in the coin's price floor.

3. A new cryptocurrency exchange in Perth

The National Currency Exchange will be starting up with the help of $750,000 raised through private traders. The opening is set for early 2018, and it will initially offer bitcoin and Ethereum, with plans to branch out to other cryptocurrencies later in the year.

It will include one exchange based in Australia and a second in Singapore.

4. Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash prices downshift

Bitcoin prices have dropped thousands in the last 24 hours, continuing the same precipitous drop over the last few days. Without a turnaround, it threatens to wipe out the enormous gains seen at the start of the month.

Bitcoin Cash prices have also seen a sharp downshift as the market readjusts following its immense gains of the last couple of days.

5. Cryptojacking getting more sophisticated

Cryptojacking is when a website, an app, a Wi-Fi network or anything else has its users mine cryptocurrency without their knowledge. It's been found in diverse places, from the Wi-Fi network in an Argentina Starbucks to the CBS Showtime website to The Pirate Bay torrenting site.

It's also getting more sophisticated, with a recently spotted trick involving browser screens popping up behind the Windows taskbar, for a simple but effective way of mining without user knowledge. This means it keeps on going after the relevant website is closed. So far it's only been spotted on one adult site.

As always, it can be spotted by unusually high computer processor use, closed fairly easily once it's found and remains fairly harmless yet unpleasant.

6. The Crypto Company suspended from trading

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has suspended the Australian-owned US-based firm The Crypto Company from trading. Trading has been suspended for two weeks to protect traders while the SEC investigates potential irregularities in employee compensation and potentially manipulative share transactions.

The Crypto Co's share price increased by 5644% in 2017.

7. Fruit juice company stock soars 215% on speculation that it's getting into the blockchain

The Future FinTech Group Inc, formerly known as SkyPeople Juice International Holding, saw its stock price jump over 215% after a news anchor called attention to its new name. There was no mention of the blockchain, cryptocurrency or anything other than fintech, but that didn't deter buyers.

It might be taken as yet another sign of all the hype around cryptocurrency. But a more interesting takeaway could be that "fintech" and "cryptocurrency" are being conflated in the public consciousness. Cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology are just small slices of the wider Fintech industry, but crypto may be most people's first introduction to it.

8. The first cannabis blockchain ICO begins

The odd couple of legal cannabis and blockchain technology are both among the fastest growing industries in the USA and the world. It was only a matter of time until they came together. It's happened, with the start of the Majato ICO. Running until 3 February, it's raised about 24 ETH (approximately US$12,000) at the time of writing.

The pairing is more natural than it might seem at first glance. The irregular legal status of cannabis in different jurisdictions has created a lot of pains around money-handling, and many financial institutions have refused to get involved for the headaches it might bring. Legal dispensaries have often found themselves forced into the unsafe position of storing and handling large amounts of cash money, so cryptocurrency is an ideal solution.

Appropriately enough, bitcoin has spent most of its existence being used as the currency of choice for drug deals on the online black market. A legal cryptocurrency being used to buy legal cannabis really shows things coming a full circle.

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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