Market Crashes, Binance Pivots and OpenBazaar Developments: This week in Crypto


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What happened in crypto this week?

Price Watch



Bad Press

  • Olver takes aim at ICO’s in Last Week Tonight citing scams such as BitConnect and comparing it to EOS. Oliver was simultaneously condemned by the community at large for spreading FOMO and praised for presenting a two-sided, non-Dimon esque argument
  • Google Banning Cryptocurrency advertising this week in an effort to stamp out rampant fraud.

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French Financial Regulator To Introduce Framework Legitimizing ICOs In Policy U-Turn

French financial markets regulator AMF (l’Autorité des marchés financiers) is reportedly preparing to introduce legislation on Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) to encourage the development of the new type of fundraising in the country, reports local news outlet Les Echos March 15.

The French Ministry for the Economy and Finance confirmed that the regulatory framework proposed by the AMF would recognize ICOs as a legitimate means of investment. The Ministry noted that preliminary consultations with stakeholders and associations are necessary.

“Our goal is to provide legal certainty for those who seek it, without hindering those who want to follow their own path. We have a rather liberal approach. We work for a flexible, non-dissuasive framework. At the same time, we are not naive either, we know that these products can be risky,” say sources from the Ministry of Finance told Les Echos.

The 180 degree shift in policy follows a recent ban of 15 cryptocurrency and crypto-asset investment websites announced by AMF on March 15. The websites in question were found to be unlawfully marketing cryptocurrencies and crypto-assets as investments in France.

The new regulatory framework for ICOs would establish an authorization system for issuers to receive a license from the AMF. According to the AMF, ICOs which operate without a license would not be banned. Instead, a licensed ICO means that the token issuer must provide a certain set of guarantees to investors regarding the usage of raised funds.

The French government’s abrupt move towards legal support of ICOs is a drastic departure from the sceptical stance of the US Securities and Exchange Commision (SEC) that heavily regulates ICOs, and considers many of them to be “violating existing laws.”

THOUGHT, The World’s First Public Mineable AI Blockchain, Launches ICO

This is a paid-for submitted press release. CCN does not endorse, nor is responsible for any material included below and isn’t responsible for any damages or losses connected with any products or services mentioned in the press release. CCN urges readers to conduct their own research with due diligence into the company, product or service mentioned in the press release.

Thought, an artificial intelligence and blockchain start-up backed by Harrisburg University, is developing a completely new way of utilizing and processing data by integrating artificial intelligence and smart logic into every bit of data.

“In the few past decades, humans have advanced in technology at an exponential pace. It is incredible to witness. But all of these innovations have also caused an explosion of data. Everything ranging from social media to human genome research generates massive amounts of data,” says CEO and Founder of Thought, Professor Andrew Hacker.

“Currently, all data is created equal until it is sorted through and categorized by special algorithms. Data is inherently inanimate – it only becomes useful when it is processed by an application. The massive growth in data creation is adding up to a landscape littered with too much information and applications, and insufficient intelligence to handle all of it,” explains Professor Hacker, who has been granted a US patent for his innovative concept of Smart Data.

By combining the application layer into the data layer, Thought’s Smart Data becomes aware of its origin, knows its purpose, and is able to act on its own to accomplish its goal. It eliminates the need for traditional applications that traditionally make it possible for data to move between devices, cutting costs and complexity associated with these applications while also increasing speed.

Equality to the monopolistic world of AI

In addition, Thought is able to bring equality and accessibility to the highly monopolistic world of AI, where only large companies like Google, Amazon and Facebook have the capability to develop artificial intelligence.

“Till this day, access to AI and big data has been limited to only a handful of organizations, but for seeing true innovation take place, AI and data have to become easily accessed and available to everyone who’s looking to work with this emerging technology,” says the COO of Thought, Nathaniel DiMemmo.

Thought is building a foundational, information transformation network with data as the commodity. Participants are able to exchange data and applications, and the ecosystem is able to host data-hungry applications for researchers in fields like AI, healthcare, transportation, and communications. The open marketplace of information opens up new possibilities for smaller organizations to utilize AI.

Blockchain’s unparalleled security

Integrating blockchain technology introduces unparalleled security to the whole ecosystem of Thought. “Using blockchain technology allows us to protect every bit of information with multi-layered encryption, creating the highest level of security,” explains Samuel Jones, Chief Software Engineer for Thought.


Building something as complex as Thought requires highly dedicated, technically savvy, professionals and knowledgeable advisors. Thankfully, Thought has exactly these people. Thought’s development team is over 15 team members strong and their incredible board of advisors ranges from PhDs to a retired Army Colonel.

Gil Obrien, CMO of Thought added, “Working at Thought has been, and will continue to be, an incredible experience. Our team is extremely dedicated and experienced in their respective fields. We have managed to solve all of the issues that have stood in our way and have powered towards the completion of our platform.”

“Working with Thought has been a great experience for me. Tackling real issues with experienced colleagues is invigorating,” says Samuel Heybey, Software Developer at Thought.

“The upcoming release of the Thought Blockchain, and its applications for businesses and consumers in artificial intelligence and analytics represents the bleeding edge of innovation,” says Dr. Eric Darr, President of Harrisburg University and one of the advisors of Thought. “Harrisburg University looks forward to continuing its work with Mr. Hacker and Thought Network as they continue developing new and valuable technology.”

Thought has launched their main tokens sale. Participate now and get a 10% discount on your token purchase at

Luxembourg’s Financial Regulator Issues Warning Against Cryptocurrencies and ICOs

The Luxembourg Financial Regulator CSSF issued a warning against investments in cryptocurrencies and ICOs (Initial Coin Offering), Cointelegraph auf Deutsch reported today, March 17.  

In the official warning the authority notes that cryptocurrencies are not backed by any central bank, and warns against the volatility of virtual currencies, stressing that deals are often not entirely transparent and business models are incomprehensible. It warned of the absence of consumer protection and the risk of theft, since cryptocurrency exchanges may be vulnerable to hackers. Furthermore, according to the regulator, information about cryptocurrencies is “often incomplete, difficult to understand or does not reflect the risks of cryptocurrencies”.

The CSSF specifically hones in on their perceived risks of investing in ICOs. According to the authority, the ICO model is unproven and lacks verifiable information about the tokens and the money collected.

The Luxembourg regulator also made a point of saying that it was not concerned about Blockchain technology in use cases apart from cryptocurrencies, noting that Blockchain “could bring certain advantages in their use in the financial sector and in different innovative projects.”

In addition to the CSSF, other European government regulators have also expressed skepticism about cryptocurrencies and ICOs recently. In Fall 2017, the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) indicated that the purchase of coins or tokens sold in ICOs entails significant risks for investors and described ICOs as “highly speculative investments”. In November 2017, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) also warned investors about the high risks of the ICOs.

Florida State Employee Arrested for Mining Cryptocurrency on Agency Infrastructure


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According to a statement released by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), an employee at the Department of Citrus was found using state-owned computing hardware to mine cryptocurrencies. The perpetrator, Matthew McDemott, served as the information technology manager for the department, which overlooks the functioning of the citrus industry in Florida.

The FDLE arrested McDermott shortly after the discovery and had him transported to Polk County jail. The cryptocurrency mining operation was discovered after an evaluation of the department’s utility bill amounts. According to the department’s inspector general, the months between October 2017 and January 2018 saw a jump of $825 in electricity costs.

Mining refers to the act of verifying of transactions within a cryptocurrency’s network. The FDLE also attempted to explain McDermott’s motives, stating,

“A mining pool, or team, is used to solve mathematical equations in an effort to mine the virtual currency and win a reward. The pool combines its resources to help offset costs.”

Government owned computational resources have actually been the target of clandestine cryptocurrency mining operations for a very long time now. Given that computers in some state-owned facilities are quite powerful because of the workload they need to handle, individuals are often tempted to use them for self gain. Just a few days ago, for instance, the Louisiana Attorney General sacked several IT employees after they were found guilty of using government computers to mine bitcoin.

In February 2018, a BBC report also revealed that hackers had successfully injected a cryptocurrency mining script into the Information Commissioner’s Office website. The hijacked website would use the processing power of a visitor’s computer to mine cryptocurrencies without the knowledge of the user.

The United States is not alone in its battle against unauthorized use of its computers for cryptocurrency mining. According to another BBC report, several Russian nuclear scientists were arrested following the discovery of their plot to mine bitcoin at a top-secret nuclear warhead facility in Sarov, Russia.

In most cases, the penalty for using government resources for personal gain is not very severe at all. However, in this instance, Matthew McDermott also used a state purchasing card to obtain additional mining hardware worth $22,000. The money was reportedly used between July and December 2017 to purchase 24 graphic processing units according to the Florida law enforcement agency. Because of the extended nature of his crime, McDermott has been charged with grand theft on top of official misconduct and had his bail set at $5,000.

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Hacked Exchange Coincheck Drops Three Anonymity-Focused Coins After FSA Inspection

Japanese crypto exchange Coincheck will stop handling anonymity-centered cryptocurrencies Monero, Dash, and ZCash in the aftermath of the major January hack when $534 mln worth of NEM was stolen from the exchange, Cointelegraph Japan reported today, March 17.

The three anonymous currencies will reportedly be bought by Coincheck from customers at a fixed price. The Japan Times added that Coincheck is also considering accepting transfers of the currencies from verified Coincheck accounts.

Coincheck froze trading and withdrawals of all cryptocurrencies after the NEM was stolen, but the exchange resumed activities of certain currencies on March 12. The exchange has already refunded 260,000 affected customers over $440 mln from its own funds, the Japan Times reports.

Additionally, about half of the NEM stolen in the hack has allegedly been converted into different cryptocurrencies for money laundering use, a cybersecurity expert told the Japan Times. The NEM Foundation had reported that the stolen NEM began being moved to different wallet addresses on Jan. 30.

According to the Japan Times, hackers then began converting the NEM on Feb. 7 on a site created on the darknet. Some of the NEM stolen from Coincheck has reportedly been found at a crypto exchange in Canada, as well as at the Japanese NEM exchange Zaif.

Coincheck, which is still awaiting registration as a crypto exchange from the Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA), was served a business improvement notice on March 8 after it was part of a series of FSA inspections that included 15 other unregistered Japanese crypto exchanges. The notice specifically cited as Coincheck as lacking a system for preventing money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

The Japan Times pointed out that Coincheck’s decision to stop handling the three cryptocurrencies Monero, Dash, and ZCash is most likely a response to the FSA’s improvement notice. Owners of said anonymous cryptocurrencies cannot be traced on the Blockchain, making them arguably easier to use for money laundering.

Bitcoin Slips to $7,840 as Sell Volumes Intensify, Cryptocurrency Market Slumps


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The valuation of the cryptocurrency market, which hovered near the $470 billion mark merely two weeks ago, has declined to $313 billion, as major cryptocurrencies including bitcoin fell in value.

Bitcoin Slumps

Over the past 24 hours, the price of bitcoin fell from $8,600 to $7,840, by nearly $800. While trading volumes of most major cryptocurrencies across leading exchanges remain low overall, bitcoin’s daily trading volume has been relatively low, with sell volumes intensifying on exchanges like Bitfinex and Bithumb.

Yesterday, on March 16, CCN reported that although many analysts within the cryptocurrency sector and traditional finance industry unanimously agree on an optimistic long-term price trend for the cryptocurrency sector, the majority are skeptical towards the short-term momentum of bitcoin, given the 70 percent correction it has suffered since January.

After dipping below the $6,000 mark and falling from $19,666 to $5,920 by recording a 70 percent drop in value, the most dominant cryptocurrency in the global market has rebounded to the $7,000 region, and briefly achieved $11,600 last week.

But, as demonstrated by a cryptocurrency analyst better known as Wolf of Crypto below, it is important to acknowledge that bitcoin has suffered the third worst crash in its history, behind the 83 percent crash from $259 to $43 in April 2013, and the 87 percent crash from $1,163 to $152 throughout late 2013 and 2014.

But, as demonstrated by a cryptocurrency analyst better known as Wolf of Crypto below, it is important to acknowledge that bitcoin has suffered the third worst crash in its history, behind the 83 percent crash from $259 to $43 in April 2013, and the 87 percent crash from $1,163 to $152 throughout late 2013 and 2014.

If speculators and investors expect 10 to 100-fold returns, it is only logical to also expect 50 to 80 percent decline in value, given that volatility exists going up and down. Moreover, the cryptocurrency market is still at its early stage; not enough retailers have adopted cryptocurrencies as a payment method and not enough projects have shown commercial success to demonstrate their potential to revolutionize trillion-dollar industries.

It is difficult for any major cryptocurrency to recover from its recent 70 percent correction because this time, investors in the mainstream and public markets have been damaged by the decline in the price of cryptocurrencies. Previously, cryptocurrencies were considered as an up-and-coming asset class with the potential to be worth many trillions of dollars in the future.

Now, a small portion of investors that experienced significant losses in the latest correction see the market as a bubble and as a failed opportunity, despite the optimistic comments of some of the finance and technology industries’ largest names, including Peter Thiel and Alan Howard.

The mainstream media is contributing to the continuous decline in the value of bitcoin, by offering predictions that can be considered absurd, given the lack of basis for them. For instance, a recent coverage by Bloomberg claimed the price of bitcoin will likely fall to $2,800, without providing evidence or indication of some sort.

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‘Secretive’ Wall Street Firm Includes Bitcoin In Its Traded Assets

Trading firm Jane Street Capital, which reportedly trades an average of $13 bln daily in equities across the globe, has included Bitcoin (BTC) in its traded assets, Business Insider reported today, March 17.

A statement from the company reads: “Jane Street trades over 56,000 products globally across a wide variety of asset classes, including Bitcoin.”

Unnamed sources told Business Insider that Jane Street, which was founded in 2000, only entered into crypto trading last year. The company’s website reports that $5.6 trln was traded across all products in 2017.

In February 2016, the company was described by the New York Times as a “secretive” ETF firm. While the profit numbers for Jane Street’s Bitcoin trading are not public, the company has noted that it will stay open to further involvement in the crypto markets:

“Jane Street has always taken a considered approach to trading opportunities and will continue to do so. As more cryptocurrency products emerge, we expect to be involved.”

Other Wall Street investors have also already jumped onto the crypto bandwagon. Major American investor Bill Miller told reporters in December 2017 that he had invested a whopping half of his hedge fund’s money in Bitcoin.

Traditional Liechtenstein Bank Launches Cryptocurrency Investment Platform


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Citizens of Liechtenstein, a country that has become rather famous for its cryptocurrency acceptance, will soon be able to purchase digital currencies directly from a bank. Given the royal family’s demonstrated interest in the asset class and the general willingness to embrace cryptocurrency development, the move is perhaps not too surprising.

According to a press release issued by Bank Frick on February 28, 2018, it will be offering a wide variety of cryptocurrencies on its trading platform effective immediately. The initial set of digital currencies available for purchase will include Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple and Bitcoin Cash.

The target audience of the bank likely comprises of high net worth individuals and institutional investors, or rather, the type of individuals that already have a sizeable amount of funds in various banking instruments.

For any cryptocurrency exchange or broker, especially those, security is an important consideration. As is traditional for any cryptocurrency exchange, Bank Frick has stated that it will store all of its customers’ cryptocurrency assets in cold wallets, or rather, on computers air-gapped from the internet for the most part. Other security features, however, were not detailed in the press release.

The financial institution in question is already a fully-regulated bank that complies with all know-your-customer related laws at the country and EU level. Thus, it is safe to conclude that the same identification requirements will be carried over for any investor looking to purchase any amount of cryptocurrency from Bank Frick.

The bank also confirms regulatory compliance in its statement,

“At Bank Frick, cryptocurrency investments are subject to the same strict statutory measures as traditional financial transactions,” and “Clients can only invest in cryptocurrencies once they have been fully identified and verified. The verification and identification process also involves checking the origin of the money used to invest in them.”

Even though Bank Frick is a financial institution that primarily caters to Liechtenstein citizens, it has announced that the platform will be available to any European entity interested in it. The Chief Client Officer, Huber Büchel, said,

“Our services are in demand from companies across the whole of Europe. This is because they know that we can offer them reliable support in implementing their business models with cryptocurrencies and blockchains in line with the existing regulatory framework.”

Furthermore, the bank has announced that it will be accepting foreign currencies in exchange for cryptocurrency assets. At this time, investors can transact in US Dollars, Euros or Swiss Francs.

Bank Frick joins a rather exclusive list of banks willing to not only adopt, but also facilitate the buying and selling of cryptocurrencies. With most financial institutions around the world heading in the exact opposite direction, it is clear that Liechtenstein’s banks have other intentions.

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Breaking: Trustee Of Infamous Mt. Gox Denies BTC, BCH Sales Affected Crypto Markets

The trustee of Mt. Gox – a once major and now defunct Bitcoin exchange – who reportedly sold over $400 mln in Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) around the new year – has stated that he does not believe the sales affected market prices of BTC or BCH, according to a report released today, March 17.

Today’s report is a transcript of a Q&A at the 10th Mt. Gox creditors’ meeting, which took place on March 7, 2018, about the selling of BTC and BCH by defunct exchange’s trustee Nobuaki Kobayashi.

The Japan-based Mt.Gox crypto exchange had been the largest in the world until a February 2014 hack led to the loss of around 850,000 BTC. The current sales of BTC and BCH by Kobayashi are part of an attempt to refund users who lost money in the hack.

An earlier report released March 7 to the Tokyo District Court had said that the BTC/BCH sales took place between the creditors’ meeting in September 2017 and the one on March 7. However the report released today clarifies that the sales took place between December 2017 and January 2018.

The March 7 report, which detailed the amount of Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash sold by Kobayashi over this reported two month period, led many to believe that the large sell off is what led to the market crash after the new year.

Kobayashi noted that after consulting with cryptocurrency experts, he “sold BTC and BCC [BCH], not by an ordinary sale through the BTC/BCC [BCH] exchange, but in a manner that would avoid affecting the market price, while ensuring the security of the transaction to the extent possible.”

Kobayashi added a clarification about the transfers of BTC and BCH to different addresses, underlining that he did not necessarily sell BTC and BCH at the same time as these transfers:

“Please refrain from analyzing the correlation between the sale of BTC and BCC [BCH] by us and the market prices of BTC and BCC [BCH] based on the assumption that the sale was made at the time the BTC and BCC [BCH] were transferred from BTC/BCC [BCH] addresses that I manage, as such assumption is incorrect.”

It is possible that today’s report was released as a way for Kobayashi to refute accusations of his responsibility in the crash, as many in the crypto community had analyzed the times of the transfers of BTC and BCH in an attempt to correlate them with drops in market price during the same period. However, Cointelegraph did find that a comparison of the transfers and the price showed that there was a negative correlation in the short run, daily.

Kobayashi reported that he sold the two coins at what he believes to be a fair market price, and picked the timing of sale “following consultation with the court.” Kobayashi also noted that he sold BTC and BCH separately, and added that there is no determination yet on future sales of the remaining BTC and BCH.

A recent Reddit post summarizing Kobayashi’s position from today report’s has garnered conflicting opinions. Reddit user riveriafrank commented on the post that “just because you transact on a dark pool doesnt [sic] mean the price isnt [sic] affected.” Another Reddit user, samonx, the author of the post, added an alternative explanation for the market dip in the past couple months that does not include Kobayashi:

“Large holders sold at a high price driving the price down on the back of FUD about the ‘Tokyo Whale’ about to dump 160k more Bitcoin because he’s been recklessly selling using market orders. It all turned out to be complete b******* as I suspected. Someone else was dumping and manipulating in this way. Once you start an avalanche there’s no way to control it.”