The price of bitcoin managed to remain above the $4,000 mark, suggesting that this psychological important resistance line has now become a support level, which means the next move may be another leg higher.
During a week filled with little market-moving news, the most relevant headlines for Bitcoin investors has been the revelation that the vast majority of bitcoin trading volumes are supposedly fake.
According to a report by The Tie, about 90 percent of the cryptocurrency exchanges analyzed are under suspicion for faking transaction volume, and around 75 percent of these exchanges have reported transaction figures that are double what they are supposed to be.
To analyze the validity of exchange trading volumes, researchers at The Tie compared traffic data with reported trading volumes to calculate the reported trading volume per visit to a trading site. While leading, regulated Bitcoin exchanges showed an average of $591 in trading volume per web visit; some exchanges showed figures much higher than that, which suggests their reported amounts cannot be true.
While the issue of wash trading on digital asset exchanges has been known for a while, the magnitude of fake exchange trading volumes is only starting to come to light now. Unfortunately, this is major a setback to the legitimacy for cryptocurrencies as an asset class and suggests that regulation is needed if digital currencies and tokens are to be considered at par with traditional asset classes such as stocks and bonds.
Interestingly, despite this news hitting the wires and receiving coverage by the likes of Bloomberg, the price of bitcoin managed to remain firm and hold above the $4,000 mark.
While the majority of leading altcoins were slightly in the red week-on-week, Cardano (ADA), Ontology (ONT), and Tezos (XTZ) booked substantial gains, increasing by over 20 percent, 15 percent, and 40 percent respectively.
A report has emerged suggesting that many of the top 100 crypto exchanges have faked their transaction volumes by up to ten times the correct amount. This was reported by Bloomberg on March 19, 2019.
Analysts, crypto users, and law enforcement are seemingly always on the lookout for any signs of manipulation or fraudulent activities. This happened in the case of Tether (USDT) who have has been continuously accused of being a manipulation tool for bitcoin.
Besides the issue with stablecoins, another constant problem is exchange trading volume as several exchanges including Komid and Bitforex have been accused of faking some of their transaction volumes.
Now, it would seem that the problem runs far deeper than a few exchanges inflating their numbers as it was reported on March 19, 2019, that a majority of the crypto trading volume reported around the world is fraudulent.
This new information comes courtesy of a report from a New York-based startup called The Tie which analyzed data from the digital asset market and the top 100 exchanges in the world.
The Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey has Tweeted to say he plans to hire a handful of blockchain engineers and a designer to work on Square’s crypto initiatives. The new hires will focus their energy on what is best for the crypto community.
Dorsey said the new hires will report directly to him and will conduct work that will contribute to the advancement of an accessible, Internet-based financial system to benefit the greater community, reports Fortune.
Dorsey added that the new employees could work from anywhere in the world and could also be paid in bitcoin if that’s what they so chose. The CEO said in a Tweet on March 20, 2019:
“I love this technology and community. I’ve found it to be deeply principled, purpose-driven, edgy, and…really weird. Just like the early internet! I’m excited to get to learn more directly.”
Dorsey, who has been a longtime proponent of Bitcoin, believes BTC will one time become the Internet’s native currency in the far future. He said in his Wednesday Tweet thread that improving the cryptocurrency ecosystem was the “most impactful thing” Square can do for the community before adding:
“Square already allows people to buy and sell Bitcoin on its Cash App, which is also a mobile payments platform that competes with Venmo.”
According to a March 18, 2019, working paper published by former Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Chairman Timothy Massad, the large gap in crypto regulations in the U.S. has led to continual frauds and weak investor protection in the budding cryptocurrency ecosystem.
In a paper titled “It’s time to strengthen the regulation of crypto-assets,” Massad stresses the need for clear and transparent crypto regulations. He mentions how clarity with regard to regulations can mitigate the risk of crypto being used to sponsor illicit activities and also reduce the risk of cyber attacks.
Decentralized cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin (BTC) transcend international boundaries and jurisdictions. As a result, regulatory bodies in the U.S. such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the CFTC don’t have complete authority or sufficient jurisdiction over them.
This lack of authority has, in turn, made cryptocurrencies a favorite among wrongdoers. Their presence in the legal grey area has encouraged criminals as well as fraudulent financial intermediaries to orchestrate predetermined crimes behind the veil of cryptocurrencies.
A number of crypto cyberattacks have taken place in recent times where the hackers were able to successfully run away with investors’ money without ever having to pay for it.
In his paper, Massad argues that due to lax regulatory and compliance infrastructure for cryptocurrency exchanges and trading platforms, cases of fraud and conflict of interest run rampant in the infant industry.
Massad also mentions that a number of platforms don’t have a sound customer safety mechanism in place and may operate without enough assets to cover customer claims in case of the theft of cryptoassets. The ongoing QuadrigaCX fiasco is a prime example of this.
In a bid to make it easier for businesses and individuals to receive funds via the Lightning Network, Lightning Labs has rolled out the alpha version of Lightning Loop, according to a blog post on March 20, 2019.
As stated in its blog post, the Lightning Labs team says it has received numerous feedback from users of the Bitcoin Lightning Network, asking it to create a solution that could make it easier for them to receive funds via Lightning. Now, the team has announced the launch of the first iteration of Lightning Loop; a non-custodial service that facilitates receipt of funds on the Lightning Network.
Reportedly, the Lightning Loop Alpha version comes with the “Loop Out” functionality.
The primary objective of Loop Out is to allow users to easily transfer their funds from the Lightning Network to their cold wallets or crypto exchange accounts, thereby freeing up space in the channel for more funds to enter.
With the Loop Out feature, new Lightning users no longer need to rely on others to open channels with them before they can start receiving funds on the network since they can use Loop Out to get initial receiving capacity.
Users of Sirin Labs’ Finney wallet will be able to make use of MyEtherWallet as their interface as the two companies confirmed on March 21, 2019, that they have entered a partnership.
In 2018, Sirin labs made history when they announced the Finney smartphone, which is the world’s first blockchain-powered smartphone and broke new ground for the technology.
Now, they are taking a step further by ensuring that there is greater ease of purchasing and making use of cryptocurrency. They intend to do this through a new partnership with MyEtherWallet (MEW) which will see the smartphone integrate MEW as its official wallet interface. This was confirmed on March 21, 2019.
With this new development, Finney users will be able to enjoy MEW as their go-to wallet interface. This is an obvious move as a blockchain-based phone should be able to support a wallet for their users. By having a default wallet, there will be uniformity among Finney owners as well as provide an easy crypto-native transaction method.
Apart from this, the Finney device itself can now be easily purchased from MEW’s mobile and web interface. This is a win-win situation as MEW will help drive sales of the device and the Finney will push the use of MEW’s interface to many more users.
In a bid to survive the harsh sanctions imposed on it by the government of the United States, blockchain-based digital assets such as bitcoin (BTC) have now become legal tender in the Iranian tourism sector, and the nation’s authorities are also working hard to launch a state-backed cryptocurrency, reports AL-Monitor on March 21, 2019.
While the unsuccessful negotiations between the U.S. and Iran in 2018 brought renewed sanctions that succeeded in discouraging many European tourists from visiting the region, the drastic devaluation of the Iranian rial has also attracted people from neighboring countries to the state.
Several tourism-focused firms have now integrated cryptos into their businesses in a bid to make life easier for visitors. One such firm is IranByBit, a travel and tourism firm offering its clients a wide range of cost-efficient services.
Reportedly, the platform is run by a couple of enthusiastic millennials, and it accepts payments both in bitcoin (BTC), debit cards and fiat. Interestingly, other forward-thinking startups have also started taking advantage of the current economic turmoil in the region to do brisk crypto-based businesses.