Here are some of the more interesting news items we came across from the wider cryptosphere.
Wikipedia Traffic Reveals that Crypto Market Cap has no Correlation with Public Interest
According to data sampled by Wikipedia, cryptocurrency market caps are not related to public interest. In one month between December 24th and January 24th, the Bitcoin Wikipedia page was visited more than 292,000 times daily. Ethereum was viewed about 46,000 times a day, making it the page with the second highest views. Coming in third was BAT (Basic Attention Token) with 27,000 daily views. In the fourth, fifth, and sixth slots were XRP, Bitcoin Cash, and XMR, which each had 21,500, 19,700, and 17,200 daily views respectively. In the last spots were Dogecoin and Litecoin which garnered 15,900 and 11,400 views respectively. The order of views differs from the list of cryptos ranked regarding their market caps and are likely linked to marketing efforts, popular opinion, and the age of the crypto-coin in question.
$8 Million Crypto Scam Operators Arrested in Taiwan
Fifteen alleged crypto scammers have been arrested in New Taipei, Taiwan after allegedly running an $8 million crypto scam. According to Taiwan local reports, Chief of the CIB (Criminal Investigation Bureau), Li Chi-Hsun stated that the scammers were arrested in two separate raids. One was carried out on January 9th and the other on January 17th. The suspects promoted IBCoin, a payment token for the adult entertainment industry. They even went to the extent of publicizing the token on Facebook – which isn’t big news, in all honesty! The coin has no real value and isn’t associated with any real company. The suspects were charged with violating Taiwan’s banking and multi-level supervision acts.
Crypto-Hacker Bags $28,600 in Crypto Exchange Breach
While the cryptocurrency market is still roiling in its bearish trend, ambitious hackers are doubling down on their efforts to breach exchanges. There were recent rumors that LocalBitcoins, a famous P2P exchange, had fallen into the hands of hackers. As per a tweet from crypto journalist Francisco Memoria, LocalBitcoins had been comprised with hackers getting away with about $26,000 worth of digital assets. Memoria stated that hackers breached the LocalBitcoins sites by instigating a phishing attack. When users tried accessing their accounts, they were redirected to another login page. From there, the hackers acquired personal user information which they then used to drain the users’ real LocalBitcoin accounts.
Swiss Crypto Valley Grows to 750 Companies Despite Crypto Winter
A recent survey revealed that blockchain and cryptocurrency companies in the Swiss Crypto Valley have expanded. This is despite the arrival of what many refer to as the ‘crypto winter.’ The bearish cryptocurrency market has affected a lot of companies. The top 50 companies had their total valuations drop from $44 billion to $20 billion in Q4 of 2018. Despite this drop, the number of crypto businesses established in the region increased from 629 to750. During that same time frame, roughly 120 crypto and/or blockchain businesses were registered, including some of the most recognizable global names and four unicorn start-ups. The average valuation of all these companies is roughly $27 million. The top 50 companies are assessed to be worth about $440 million each.
The Van Eck Bitcoin ETF has Been Withdrawn.
Crypto enthusiasts hoped that 2019 would be the year of the big Bitcoin correction. Excitement about big financial companies making their long-awaited entries into the industry abounded. Bitcoin ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds) have been a particularly interesting area that has received a considerable amount of attention. Analysts believed that the launch of Bitcoin ETFs would attract billions in capital from investors. Many hoped that the SEC would approve the first Bitcoin ETF before February 2019. However, in a surprising turn of events, VanEck, the firm that sought ETF approval from the SEC, withdrew its application. According to VanEck CEO, Jack Van Eck, the move was to help the firm re-file and re-engage with the SEC at a later date. All we can hope is that the market and associated policies and rules mature by the time the ETF is ready so that investors can benefit as much as possible from institutional and crypto fintech moves that have always been on the cusp of implementation but never quite making the leap from hope to reality.