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Image of The Week, 26-30 of November: Reuters, New York Post, South China Morning Post and Other

Oleg Koldayev

We're presenting “image of the week”. Bitnewstoday.com has chosen only the most important news about the digital economy and virtual currencies. Only the most valuable stories from only the trusted sources. Each and every event from this list will change the world of the digital economy either way. The most important stories in the most indicative quotes are below!

26 of November

MOON LANDING (The Daily Hodl)

Initial coin offerings getting more and more money from venture capitalists

According to a report by Outlier Ventures, VC investments have surged 316% from a total of $900 million in 2017 to over $3.85 billion in 2018. VC is the now the dominant source of funding in the crypto world with investments across all funding stages. A recent slate of 119 deals in the third quarter are the most ever reported. Conversely, ICOs are down almost 74% from the $3.8 billion raised in the first quarter with September’s ICOs reaching a total of $150 million.

Eden Dhaliwal, partner and head of crypto-economics at Outlier Ventures, says:

“This quarter saw significant negative sentiment around utility tokens from an investment standpoint. Many investors have grown frustrated over regulation and exasperated over valuations of tokenized networks. This represents a new cycle back towards equity based blockchain investments until the crypto community makes advances in validating tokens as a new asset class with viable business models. That said, projects with well designed token economies are still finding support from the community and increasingly from VCs.”


What does 2019 hold for Bitcoin?

At the beginning of 2018, plenty of analysts predicted that 2018 would hold Bitcoin’s really big boom, a skyrocket in valuation that would make the 2017 rise look like peanuts. Mike Novogratz said that Bitcoin could “easily” reach $40,000 by the end of 2018; crypto portfolio manager Jeet Singh said just last week at the World Economic Forum that Bitcoin could still reach $50,000 this year. John McAfee made a similarly bullish prediction, although his vision for major growth in Bitcoin valuation extends to 2020.

For as many analysts, fund managers, and other financial bigwigs that predict that Bitcoin could reach the tens of thousands by the end of the year, there are two dozen more who say the opposite. Even Mike Novogratz reeled in his optimism. On October 3rd, he publicly said that BTC wouldn’t top $9000 by the end of the year. Well, he wasn’t wrong. Bitcoin’s stagnancy throughout 2018 took a serious blow earlier this month when it fell below $4500, a low that hasn’t been reached in over a year. According to some, things are going to get even worse. Renowned analyst and researcher Willy Woo predicts that Bitcoin won’t truly bottom out until the second quarter of 2019.

27 of November


When cryptocurrency issuers want positive coverage for their virtual coins, they buy it

Self-proclaimed social media personalities charge thousands of dollars for video reviews. Research houses accept payments in the cryptocurrencies they are analyzing. Rating “experts” will grade anything positively, for a price. All this is common, according to more than two dozen people in the cryptocurrency market and documents reviewed by Reuters.

So-called “influencer marketing” is common on social media, where celebrities and others tout anything from shoes to cars. Also common in these plugs is a lack of disclosure, which may mean the buyer is unaware of a conflict of interest. When it comes to cryptocurrencies however, stricter rules may apply.


The Bitcoin “pyramid scheme” continues to collapse

The ancient Egyptians made pyramids to last forever. Wall Street’s pyramid schemes aren’t nearly as durable. Bitcoin, while not officially a product of traditional Wall Street, is a pyramid scheme. A fraud. But it is best described as a “confidence game.”

I’ve been calling it a “Bitcon” for a long time. And now the pyramid seems to be collapsing because fewer and fewer people have confidence that the price of this inherently worthless “cryptocurrency” is going to continue to rise. What caused that? Nothing. That’s the same reason why bitcoin was once worth $19,650, or $15,144, or any amount.

28 of November

NO TRUST (The Next Web)

SEC chairman crushes hopes of Bitcoin ETFs once again

A week after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) dished out massive fines and closed a prominent “decentralized” exchange, its chairman is dashing hopes for Bitcoin  Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) one more time.

Speaking at a recent conference, chief US financial watchdog Jay Clayton said he is not convinced digital asset markets are free from manipulation, so blockchain bigwigs should probably cool their jets. After prefacing his views with disclaimers, Clayton noted the market-wide lacking of adequate market surveillance and ‘head-scratching’ security breaches as primary contributors to his distrust of cryptocurrencies, reports CNBC.

YOU СAN’T HIDE (Market Watch)

Treasury announces sanctions against Iran-based ransom Bitcoin swappers

The Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control on Wednesday sanctioned two Iran-based individuals who helped exchange bitcoin ransom payments into Iranian rial on behalf of Iranian malicious cyber actors.

Over 7,000 transactions in Bitcoin, worth millions of U.S. dollars, have processed through these two addresses — some of which involved SamSam ransomware derived bitcoin, OFAC said. OFAC said it's the first time it publicly attributed digital currency addresses to designated individuals The U.S. Department of Justice also indicted two Iranians for infecting numerous data networks with SamSam ransomware.

29 of November

HARD RESET (The Daily Hodl)

Financial powerhouse Fidelity reboots VC crypto fund

Fidelity’s little-known crypto venture fund is back in action. Using capital from the company’s balance sheet, Fidelity launched its fund in the fall of 2017, investing in cryptocurrencies and crypto-related companies. The project went on hiatus after two key members, former Fidelity VP Matt Walsh and former research analyst Nic Carter, left the company to start Castle Island Ventures, a crypto-focused venture capital firm.

The Fidelity fund is back with long-time equity analyst Sachin Patodia at the helm. According to a report by The Block, the rebooted crypto fund is being described as “bigger” than its first iteration. The fund, now under Patodia, an 11-year veteran at Fidelity, was originally implemented as part of Fidelity’s broader interest in cryptocurrencies.

OUT TO GET YOU! (South China Morning Post)

North Korean hackers are coming for your Bitcoin

North Korean hackers have taken to stealing cryptocurrency from individual investors as part of a new strategy by Pyongyang to blunt the impact of international sanctions.

The targeting of individuals holding virtual currencies such as Bitcoin marks a departure from its previous methods, which have targeted exchanges and financial institutions. Analysts say the shift shows Pyongyang is seeking a new source of income as it buckles under sanctions targeting its illicit nuclear weapons programme.

“Previously, hackers directly attacked exchanges,” Simon Choi, the founder of the cyber warfare research group IssueMakersLab, said. “They targeted staff at the exchanges, but now they are attacking cryptocurrency users directly.”

30 of November:

BACK OFF! (Yahoo.Finance)

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is making an example out of boxer Floyd Mayweather and rapper DJ Khaled

The SEC announced on Thursday it has settled charges against both celebrities for “unlawfully touting” initial coin offerings (ICOs). The main issue: Mayweather and Khaled did not disclose payments they received for promoting the ICOs on their social media accounts. Mayweather was paid by three different ICO issuers, including $100,000 from a company called Centra; Khaled also received $50,000 from Centra.

In total, Mayweather agreed to pay a fine of $614,775 ($300,000 in disgorgement, a $300,000 penalty, and $14,775 in prejudgment interest) and Khaled agreed to pay a fine of $152,725 ($50,000 in disgorgement, $100,000 penalty, and $2,725 in prejudgment interest). Mayweather may not promote any securities (“digital or otherwise”) for three years, and Khaled may not promote any for two years.


Will blockchain be a boon to the jewelry industry?

A number of jewelry industry heavyweights have recently adopted distributed ledger technology, an umbrella term for a shared and synchronized database, to record such information. And enthusiastic proponents of blockchain, the underlying system, say the technology could be a possible — and revolutionary — verification solution, although one still in its infancy.

In January De Beers unveiled Tracr, an initiative that aims to provide a single, tamper-proof and permanent digital record — from mine to consumer — for every diamond. And in September the Hong Kong giant Chow Tai Fook introduced a similar project developed with the blockchain provider Everledger and secured by the IBM Blockchain Platform. Competitors in the luxury industry aren’t known for sharing secrets but it is clear that some leaders in the space see short-term investment costs outweighed by long-term opportunities.

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