LINE Launches $10 Million Token Venture Fund, Lists TRON on Crypto Exchange

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Japan’s largest messaging app LINE has established a new corporate token venture fund with $10 million in capital for startups in the blockchain and crypto industry.

With over 600 million registered users and 200 million monthly active users worldwide on its messaging app, Japan’s LINE announced its entry into the cryptocurrency space after filing to register and launch a crypto exchange in Japan earlier this year.

Now operational under the name ‘Bitbox’, Line has today announced the launch of a new token venture fund under its subsidiary ‘Unblock Ventures’ in a move that sees the tech giant pledge $10 million in capital. The aim, LINE adds, is to ‘boost the development and adoption of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology’ by investing in blockchain startups.

The company added:

As such, LINE is one of the first publicly traded corporations to formalize token investments through a corporate fund.

Further, the company also revealed Bitbox has added TRX – TRON’s native token – which LINE highlighted as the first coin project to get the greenlight in a review by the Bitbox open-listing committee.

At press time, Bitbox’s support for TRX has seen the latter’s value soar nearly 10% in a 24-hour period, data from Coinmarketcap shows. Following its listing, TRON is also rewarding BItbox users with an airdrop of 9 million TRON tokens ‘in a promotional event running until August 22.’

Bitbox officially began operations in July to serve traders globally with the notable exceptions of Japan and the United States – a direct consequence of regulatory hurdles in the two countries.

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Ethereum Crashes to 9-Month Price Low Below $300, While Bitcoin Shows Resilience

August 13: Crypto markets have today failed to sustain their short-lived recovery, with Ethereum (ETH) plummeting to a multi-month low below $300 and only a scant few altcoins spared from the widespread losses, as Coin360 data shows. Bitcoin (BTC) is seeing only minor losses on the day.

Market visualization from Coin360

Market visualization from Coin360

Ethereum (ETH) is currently trading at $288, down a stark 9.77 percent on the day. Having traded sideways most of the day to hold close to the $320 mark, the top altcoin saw a vertiginous plummet in the two three hours up to press time.

Ethereum’s losses on its daily chart are the most severe among the top ten cryptos on CoinMarketCap’s listings. On the week, the leading altcoin’s losses are over 28 percent, with monthly losses pushing 33 percent.

Ethereum is currently trading at an 9-month price low, hitting below the $300 price point last in early November.

Ethereum’s 1-year price chart

Ethereum’s 1-year price chart. Source: Cointelegraph Ethereum Price Index

Bloomberg analysts today explained the drop in Ethereum’s price being due to “pressure from ICOs cashing out,” pointing out that Ethereum is the “most popular” platform on which blockchain startups build and raise funds.

Bitcoin (BTC) on the other hand is down a negligible 1.6 percent on the day, trading at around $6,224 at press time, according to Cointelegraph’s Bitcoin price index. During earlier trading hours today, the asset made a fresh attempt at breaking through the $6,500 resistance, but slid downwards, losing around $200 within 6 hours.

While at this granular resolution, Bitcoin’s fluctuations may appear significant, the coin is in fact almost exactly where it was a month ago. Weekly losses however remain at around 9 percent –– just last week on August 7, Bitcoin was trading above the $7,000 mark.

Bitcoin’s 1-month price chart

Bitcoin’s 1-month price chart. Source: Cointelegraph Bitcoin Price Index

Almost all of the other top ten coins on CoinMarketCap’s listings are seeing significant losses between 4 and 8 percent, with the exception of Stellar (XLM), which is up a solid 2.25 percent to trade at $0.23 at press time. Stellar has now virtually closed its losses on its weekly XLM/USD chart.

Stellar’s 7-day price chart

Stellar’s 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Among the top twenty coins by market cap, IOTA (MIOTA), ranked 12th, has seen as significant losses on the day as Ethereum, down 10.61 percent at press time. The altcoin’s tumble has –– like Ethereum’s –– accelerated in the past few hours up to press time.

IOTA’s 24-hour price chart

IOTA’s 24-hour price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

TRON (TRX), ranked 11th, and Neo, ranked 15th, are both seeing losses between 9 and 11 percent.

Tezos (XTZ), ranked 18th, has seen something of a bloodbath, plummeting almost 19 percent on the day to trade at $1.23 –– again, losses were intensified in the past few hours before press time.

Bitcoin (BTC) dominance –– or the percentage of total crypto market cap that is Bitcoin’s  –– has broken to a new 2018 record level, soaring on the day to 52.7 percent. BTC dominance has been on the rise as of mid-May.

1-year chart of cryptocurrencies by dominance

1-year chart of cryptocurrencies by dominance. Source CoinMarketCap

Total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies is around $205.5 billion at press time, still close to its lowest levels on the three-month chart, which it hit Saturday, August 10, around $207 billion.

3-month chart of the total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies

3-month chart of the total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies from CoinMarketCap

With Bitcoin seeing markedly more resilience than other major crypto assets, mainstream media today made a further positive comparison with the mainstream financial sector: in the midst of the unravelling currency crisis in Turkey, Bloomberg today noted that “The 10-day swings in the lira relative to the U.S. dollar now exceed those for Bitcoin amid Turkey’s escalating currency crisis.”

Meanwhile, as an in-depth Cointelegraph analysis suggested today, the entire crypto market has been absorbing the impact of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) postponing its decision on the listing and trading of a high-profile Bitcoin ETF until late September. The ramifications have apparently dented Bitcoin and suppressed its recent value, but as the market picture suggests, they have also extended to the wider space.

Bitcoin and Ethereum Rise 6% as Market Rebounds During Dark Skies

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Over the past 12 hours, Bitcoin and Ethereum have risen by more than 6 percent in value, but some analysts are still not convinced about the short-term trend of the crypto market.

Generally Positive Sentiment

The quick recovery of Bitcoin and Ether, the native cryptocurrency of the Ethereum network, has led the general sentiment of the market to become more positive.

Ether, which plunged by nearly 20 percent on August 14, showed strong movements today, increasing from $250 to $280.

Ethereum Classic, Litecoin, Ripple, NEO, and other major cryptocurrencies also surged in value and volume on August 15, recording 5 to 10 percent gains in a relative short period.

However, the corrective rally recorded today was not as strong as investors expected it to be. In consideration of the steep drop in value the crypto market recorded over the past 72 hours, investors predicted a more strong bounce from previous levels. But, Bitcoin, Ether, and Bitcoin Cash, which recorded solid gains in the last 12 hours, have started to demonstrate a downward trend once again.

Willy Woo, a well respected cryptocurrency investor and analyst who predicted the price of Bitcoin to drop below the $6,000 mark since May of this year, recently said that the market will likely experience another drop before its next mid-term rally.

Woo specifically said that Bitcoin will likely test the $6,000 support level once again in the near future, even if Bitcoin recovers beyond the $7,000 mark and the market sees a convincing rebound.

“Leveraged short positions now near all time high. Anyone got a spare $35m in their trade account? Should be enough to trigger all those stops for a payday,” Woo said, referencing his previous statement made on August 13:

“The 3rd dead kitten. Fractally speaking, I’m framing this last down leg as an oscillation around the main move. The green line is just magic crayons for short range TAs to determine, the retest target and rate of decline are the things I’m watching. NVT only mildly supports this.”

Where Does the Market go Next?

Based on the analysis of Woo, a likely scenario for Bitcoin and the rest of the crypto market is to record another major drop in the near future, bottoming out at a lower range of prices, and demonstrating stability before initiating a proper mid-term rally.

The lack of momentum, volume, and stability in the market has decreased the probability of a mid-term rally in the near future, and as BitMEX CEO Arthur Hayes stated before, the market will not be able to support a huge spike in price with its current price trend.

More to that, the increasing dominance index of Bitcoin, the most dominant cryptocurrency in the market, shows the lack of confidence of investors in high-risk high-return investments, which generally means the market is unstable and hugely volatile.

It is possible that Bitcoin continues its corrective rally towards the $7,000 mark and records a strong bounce before the next fall, but it is also possible, if BTC fails to secure momentum in mid-$6,000, that it falls below $6,000 once again.

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Bitcoin Falls Through $6,000 Support as Xapo President Warns of Altcoin ‘Extinction Event’

Bitcoin (BTC) prices fell below $6,000 for the first time since the end of June Tuesday, August 14, as the cryptocurrency community remains resilient.

Data from Cointelegraph’s price tracker and Coin360 depict a gloomy environment for traders Tuesday, with all major assets in the red as Bitcoin falls almost 5 percent in 24 hours. Top ten coins are seeing as much as 17 percent losses on the day, with top fifteen coins are down as much 20 percent over the same period.

Market visualization

Market visualization from Coin360

At press time, BTC/USD traded just above the significant barrier around $6,100, capping weekly losses of 14 percent.

Bitcoin’s 7-day price chart

Bitcoin’s 7-day  price chart. Source: Source: Cointelegraph Bitcoin Price Index

The pair has come full circle since mid-July, when a sudden bull market took over to bring prices to a peak around $8,450 across major exchanges.

Progress then reversed as August began, meaning investors have seen monthly gains to date of just 3 percent.

The figures nonetheless set Bitcoin apart from altcoins, and specifically Ethereum (ETH), losses of which extend to 16 percent on the day and almost 35 percent on the week.

Over the past 30 days, ETH/USD has slipped almost 40 percent.

Ethereum’s 30-day price chart

Ethereum’s 30-day price chart. Source: Cointelegraph Ethereum Price Index

On social media, commentators were eyeing the knock-on effect Bitcoin prices volatility traditionally has on altcoin markets, producing higher moves both up and down in those assets.

As Bitcoin dominance –– or the percentage of total crypto market cap that is Bitcoin’s –– hits highs not seen since December 2017, Twitter analysts are similarly calling for a repeat of the altcoin bull market which began in the latter half of that month.

Higher Bitcoin market dominance, they claim, is apt to produce a U-turn in altcoins’ downtrend.

Others were altogether less sure. In comments Monday, Xapo president Ted Rogers considered current conditions conducive to producing an “extinction-level event” for cryptocurrencies en masse.

“90%+ of CoinMarketCap list will disappear eventually – might as well happen now,” he warned Monday.

Elsewhere, other major assets have shed 10 to 15 percent of their value, these including Ripple (XRP), Litecoin (LTC),  EOS (EOS), and Cardano (ADA).

South Korea Budgets a Trillion Won for Blockchain Tech in 2019

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South Korea’s government has earmarked a 5 trillion won ($4.4 billion) budget toward its ‘Growth through Innovation’ investment program in eight critical sectors with a particular focus on blockchain and AI.

In a meeting in Seoul on Monday, South Korea’s finance minister Kim Dong-yeon confirmed plans of a 5 trillion won investment toward its innovation program in 2019, a sharp 65 percent increase from this year’s budgetary spend.

The South Korean government is keen on developing the infrastructure of a platform economy with a marked focus on blockchain, big data and artificial intelligence.

The finance ministry, as quoted by Korean publication Yonhap, said:

“The measures will help facilitate the platform economy, which in turn will help speed up innovative growth.”

According to details from the ministry’s own website, the areas of big data, AI, blockchain and sharing economy has collectively seen an investment of 579.9 billion won ($511 million) in 2018. In 2019, Korea’s finance ministry reveals an investment of 1,040 billion won ($918 billion) for the sectors, a near 80% increase in investments into the spaces.

About building a ‘big data platform’, the Ministry said:

The government will focus on promoting big data and AI, developing blockchain technology to ensure data management security and boosting the sharing economy.

Separately, the government is also allocating a budgetary spend upwards of 60 billion won ($53 million) for ‘nurturing’ 10,00 specialists in eight promising sectors, which will also be aided by a 30 trillion won ($26 billion) investment by state-led companies, the ministry added.

The developments come at a time when the country’s ministry of science and ICT is actively promoting blockchain education among Korea’s youth. Further, the country’s Jeju Island has outlined a proposal to the central government to reveal its intention to become a ‘special zone for blockchain and cryptocurrency’ startups and firms wherein ICOs will be permitted in the province despite its ban in the mainland.

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US: Square’s Cash App Expands Bitcoin Trading to All 50 States

Mobile payment company Square‘s Cash App has recently rolled out Bitcoin (BTC) trading in all 50 states, the firm confirmed in a Tweet August 13.

According to the company’s announcement, Cash App users are now able to conduct Bitcoin buy and sell transactions in all the U.S. states.

Square first launched Bitcoin trading on its app for a fraction of users back in November 2017.

On Jan. 31, 2018, Bitcoin trading on Square’s Cash App was launched for almost all of its users, excluding those in New York, Georgia, Hawaii, and Wyoming.

Co-founded nine years ago by Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, the financial services company has reportedly suffered some losses as a result of introducing Bitcoin trading, which the company, however, considers “insignificant.”

Square acquired a BitLicense to operate in New York in June, and two months later announced it had generated more than $70 million in revenue from crypto in Q2, compared to $34 million in Q1.

Earlier this year, Dorsey claimed that the Internet will “ultimately” adopt a “single currency,” which he believes will be Bitcoin.

Bitcoin is currently trading around $6,070 at press time, down almost 4 percent on the day, amidst a wider market collapse.

Venezuela Looking to Launch a Central Bank for Cryptocurrencies

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Venezuela is reportedly looking to lunch a central bank for cryptocurrencies, as the country’s National Constituent Assembly is preparing to reform the Venezuelan Constitution to include it, along with a court above its Supreme Court.

According to Reuters, information on the development was provided by Hermann Escarrá, which the outlet describes as “one of the most influential members of the assembly that prepares the changes to the 1999 Constitution.”

A draft of the changes to the country’s Constitution is set to be presented in 35 days to the board of the Constituent Assembly. Per Reuters most of what will change is still unknown as high-ranking government officials have only generally addressed the move. Escarrá revealed, however, a central bank for cryptos is coming.

He was quoted as saying:

“There will be the Central Bank with its functions in exchange, monetary and financial policy and the Central Bank will be incorporated.”

The changes will reportedly include the Petro, a controversial oil-backed cryptocurrency Venezuela launched ealrier this year, and a “e court of constitutional guarantees” that’s set to be above Venezuela’s Supreme Court.

After launching the Petro, Maduro ordered several state-owned companies to accept it, and has revealed the country “may” charge for exports in it. Venezuela notably attempted to offer India crude oil at a 30% discount if it paid in Petros, a discount India refused.

The cryptocurrency is seen as a way for the country to draw in foreign investments and bypass international sanctions. Century-old think tank Brookings Institute has claimed it undermines legitimate cryptocurrencies, and president Trump banned US citizens from the cryptocurrency, a move Venezuela touted was “free publicity.

Per Escarrá, changes to the Constitution will also see Venezuelan companies have greater access to foreign investment, specifically in the oil sector. He stated: “there will be an opening, provided that the State has the majority.”

The development comes shortly after Maduro announced a new fiat currency called the Bolivar Soberano (Sovereign Bolivar), which is set to help take five zeroes away from the bolivar, Venezuela’s current fiat currency. As CCN reported, the Bolivar Soberano is set to be pegged to the Petro.

Venezuela has been dealing with an ever-increasing inflation rate, which according to Bloomberg’s Café Con Leche Index is now seeing one cup of coffee cost 2 million bolivars, up from 2,300 in the past 12 months. The government’s moves are presumably being made to hinder its inflation’s growth.

Note: Some statements in this article have ben translated from Spanish.

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Chinese State-Owned Aerospace Firm Turns to Blockchain to Manage Billions of Invoices

The state-owned China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation Ltd. is turning to blockchain technology to innovate its unwieldy electronic invoice system, according to an announcement republished on a government site August 13.

The article, from official state newspaper People’s Daily, was posted yesterday by the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence and outlines how blockchain will help innovate the supervision of invoices for tax purposes nationwide.

As the article notes, statistics indicate 1.31 billion Chinese electronic invoices were in circulation in 2017. By 2022, the number is forecast to hit 54.55 billion, according to a projected average annual growth rate of over 100%.

China Aerospace’s existing electronic invoice services are end-to-end, covering issuance, delivery, filing, inspection and reimbursement for the country’s taxpayers and authorities. It has already issued some 2.5 billion invoices to date, the article notes.

While electronic invoicing has reportedly entered a stage of “comprehensive promotion and adoption,” the article suggests that the existing system faces intractable hurdles, including over-reporting, false-reporting, and traceability issues in the process of invoice circulation.

China Aerospace has now created a blockchain system for electronic invoices to allow for authenticated and “credible” invoice issuance, traceable circulation and efficient and cost-effective oversight by tax authorities, according to the report.

A company representative told People’s Daily that blockchain will resolve the industry’s “pain points” and make efficient and secure tax data sharing a reality.

As Cointelegraph has reported, China’s southeastern city of Shenzhen has also recently been implementing a pilot blockchain ecosystem for invoices that was developed by Tencent — the developer of the 1 billion-user social media platform WeChat — alongside Shenzhen’s municipal taxation bureau.

Did ICOs Cause Ethereum to Drop by 44% in 2 Weeks by Dumping on the Market?

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Within a period of two weeks, from August 1 to August 14, the price of Ether, the native cryptocurrency of the Ethereum network, dropped by 44 percent.

In 14 days, the price of Ethereum plummeted from $470 to $260, reaching its lowest point in 2018 by falling below the $300 mark for the first time since early November, 2017.

The entire cryptocurrency market experienced a steep decline in valuation, losing nearly $150 billion of its valuation in a month. But, Ether, which performed particularly well against the US dollar amongst other major cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash, quickly became one of the worst performing digital assets in August.

What Fueled the Drop of Ether?

Today, on August 14, even after suffering such a large drop in price, Ether dropped 18 percent of its value against the US dollar, declining from $300 to $260 within a 12-hour span.

While other cryptocurrencies did experience major drops in value, Bitcoin for instance, only lost 6 percent of its market cap against the US dollar.

Throughout this week, many analysts including Eric Wall, a lead cryptocurrency researcher at fintech company Cinnober, stated that blockchain projects which raised hundreds of millions of dollars in Ether in the past 12 months dumped the digital asset on the public cryptocurrency exchange market, creating a domino effect across major exchanges.

“The problem when you give millions of ETH to ETH competitors is that they can unload the ETH on the spot market and short ETH on the futures market before that, so they’re not only securing the funding but also manipulating the underlying spot market in favor of their shorts,” Wall said.

It is important to acknowledge that the amount raised by ICOs in their token sales do not necessarily mean new capital coming into the market but rather existing capital stored in major cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ether moving to ICOs.

Hence, if ICO participants allocate millions of dollars in Ether to token sales, and the developers conducting the token sales dump the capital raised in Ether on the cryptocurrency exchange market, it indirectly becomes a massive sell order.

Consequently, the Ethereum exchange market has suffered in the last three months, as ICOs continued to dump large amounts of Ether on the market.

BitMEX Shorts All-Time High

This week, Arthur Hayes, the CEO of cryptocurrency exchange BitMEX, revealed that in merely a week, BitMEX became the largest exchange for ETHUSD trading, as its 50x leveraged ETHUSD swap has evolved into the most liquid Ethereum trading pair in the global market.

Given the overly strong downtrend of Ether and the rest of the market, it is evident that the increase in the activity of ETHUSD trading pair hosted by BitMEX demonstrates a rise in the number of shorts placed by investors that have lost confidence in the short-term trend of Ether.

While it is difficult to conclusively state that ICOs led the price of Ether to crash, it is obvious that the liquidation of the capital raised by token sales played a major role in creating a strong downtrend for Ether.

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Ethereum Co-Founder Joseph Lubin: Crypto Price Collapse Will Not Constrain Further Growth

Ethereum co-founder and ConsenSys Inc. CEO Joseph Lubin said in an interview with Bloomberg Aug. 14, that he does not see the recent cryptocurrency price collapse as a constraint to further growth.

In а recent discussion on the state of the cryptocurrency market with Bloomberg, Lubin said that the value surges of the past year were just another bubble like the previous “six big bubbles, each more epic than the previous one, and each bubble is astonishing when they’re happening.”

He added that on close scrutiny those peaks look like “pimples on a chart.” Lubin said that each bubble, such as the current one, has brought a significant burst of activity. He stated:

“…we build more fundamental infrastructure, we see a correction, and the potential gets even more impressive… I absolutely expect that there is a strong correlation between the rise in price and the growth of fundamental infrastructure in the ecosystem and the growth of development in the ecosystem. We are probably two orders of magnitude bigger as a developer community than we were eight or 10 months ago.”  

Lubin attributed volatility to “trader types,” i.e. speculative investors, saying that it is not necessarily an indicator of underlying infrastructure enhancement. When asked about how the price volatility affects him, Lubin answered:

“So we can look at the price and make growth plans and projections, and we’re still on track, basically. So this is not unexpected.”

Yesterday, Ethereum (ETH) dropped to a 9-month price low, and was trading at $288. The last time the altcoin fell below the $300 price point was in early November, 2017. This morning losses expanded to 16 percent on the day and almost 35 percent over the last week.

Currently, ETH is trading around $263, down 7 percent on the day, with a market capitalization over $26 billion.

Ethereum’s 24-hour price chart. Source: Cointelegraph Ethereum Price Index

Ethereum’s 24-hour price chart. Source: Cointelegraph Ethereum Price Index