Cryptocurrency market and news round-up 25 January
Market updates, counting up Cryptopia losses, meeting Ethereum's godfather, Saudi+UAE crypto and Bithumb.
What's happening in crypto?
Another quiet day for bitcoin, as prices fluctuate by 0.2% overnight. Is it the new stablecoin?
Bitocoin is currently sitting at $3,602, which is only $10 less than the price yesterday. That might be something of a record.
Ethereum continues to slide this week, with prices sitting down around $116 after starting the week up at $122.
It's possible that prices have been affected by more details that have come out about the recent Cryptopia hack. Early investigations done by multiple crypto-personalities, using block explorers, estimated that about $5 million worth of cryptocurrency was stolen from the New Zealand exchange.
Well, a new report by analytics company Elementus puts that figure closer to $16 million in Ethereum and ERC-20 tokens alone. Elementus does not yet have data on bitcoin and other blockchain funds.
This image shows the relative amount of coins stolen, with Ethereum straight up accounting for about $3.5 million.
Of the other tokens, the next biggest ERC-20s are:
Dentacoin, at nearly $2.5 million stolen. Dentacoin is down 4.5% today. But trading has been flat for the week, with only $20,000 or so in trade volume in the past 24 hours. Then there’s Oyster Pearl, at around $2 million stolen.
What’s super interesting here is that both Coingecko and Coinmarketcap no longer list price data for Oyster, and Coingecko says the coin is inactive. Cryptopia was among primary markets Oyster traded on, which makes that $2 million figure sound somewhat dubious – and the coins potentially worthless if they cannot be sold.
This effect will hit many of the other stolen coins too, which primarily traded on Cryptopia or one other exchange. Lisk Learning Machine had around $1.7 million stolen, and it’s only traded on one other exchange outside of Cryptopia, which is BitBay.
According to BitBay data, the price jumped up a few cents this week, but the liquidity is ultra low. Only $10,000 worth traded in the past 24 hours. And finally, of tokens stolen in an amount greater than $1 million, there’s Centrality, which had about 1.1 million stolen.
If you thought liquidity for LML was bad, Centrality is only traded on one other market, HitBTC, with a measly $3,000 in volume in the past day.
So the interesting thing here is that of the tokens stolen, despite the large amounts, not many of them are very liquid at all, with little market demand outside of Cryptopia. So that means determining the actual real-world value of the stolen funds is quite hard.
Furthermore, the thieves are going to have a very hard time making money off those tokens, considering the primary marketplace for them is currently offline as a result of the hack. Worse still for the thieves: wallet addresses are being tracked, with other exchanges blacklisting them or freezing deposited funds, according to Ethereum World News.
Moving on from Ethereum, Aeternity is a new blockchain created by the "godfather of Ethereum", Yanislav Malahov.
Aeternity launched its mainnet at the end of last year, and our producer and writer James Edwards was there to capture all the action, as well as discover how Yani got his nickname. Let's have a look ...
Aeternity introduces new features to its blockchain, such as an Oracle machine for communicating with external data, state channels to improve the efficiency of smart contracts – even allowing them to function offline – as well as Cuckoo-cycles to speed up confirmation times to about one second. AE currently trades at around 41 cents, down about 1% on the day.
Saudi Arabia and UAE plan to collaborate on cryptocurrency
According to The National, a leading publication in the middle-east, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have made an unprecedented and historic agreement that will see them collaborate on developing a joint cryptocurrency, a customs union and a crisis management plan.
WAM, the UAE state-news agency, said:
"The cross-border digital currency will be strictly targeted for banks at an experimental phase with the aim of better understanding the implications of Blockchain technology and facilitating cross-border payments."
The National reported that this is likely a move to see the two states move away from reliance on the petro-dollar, and support technological innovation, as well as stimulate financial literacy amongst the youth.
Bithumb wants to go public in the US
One of Korea’s largest exchanges by trade volume, is looking to get publicly listed in the US.
According to CNBC, the parent company, Blockchain Exchange Alliance, has signed a letter of intent to enact a reverse merger with existing US company Blockchain Industries. A reverse merger is an unconventional method of getting listed publicly.
Basically it is where one company acquires another – usually a much smaller, or shell company – that is already listed. It then merges with that publicly listed company, allowing the previously unlisted company to be listed thanks to the merger.
Reverse mergers often then adopt the name of the company that was looking to get listed in the first place, and either dissolve or absorb the other business.
It is often much faster than applying to go through an initial public offering (IPO) process and is also a vehicle for foreign companies to get listed in the US with less hassle than might otherwise be required. Last year Huobi used the same type of technique to get listed in Hong-Kong.
If Bithumb's attempt is successful, it would make Bithumb the first ever cryptocurrency exchange to go public in the US, according to CoinTelegraph.
Disclosure: At the time of writing the author holds ETH