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The Weekly Hash – July 1-5

Check out all the important happenings this week in the world of crypto, presented by the experts at Kraken.

This digest is prepared for informative purposes only and does not represent an investment recommendation or investment advice. Please see our full disclaimer at the bottom for more information.

See below all the important happenings this week in the world of crypto, presented by the experts at Kraken: 

  1. Cointelegraph: G20 Leaders Reaffirm Position on Cryptocurrencies in Statement
    • In a declaration following the recent G20 summit, the G20 leaders said they’re “closely monitoring” developments in the crypto space and remains “vigilant to existing and emerging risks,” though cryptos currently “do not pose” a threat to global financial stability
    • G20 will comply with the updated FATF AML/CFT crypto standards, which applies the “travel rule” to crypto-related firms (i.e., compels exchanges to collect and transfer customer info such as originator’s name, account number and location info, as well beneficiary’s name and beneficiary’s account number, during txs)
    • The group welcomed the ongoing work by the Financial Stability Board (FSB) on the possible implications of decentralized fintech and how regulators can engage other stakeholders
    • Link to The Block’s report
  2. Bitcoinist: Tether Printers Keep Churning Out USDT as Supply Increases Again
    • $100M in USDT was issued since June 28th, bringing the circulating supply to $3.6B
    • USDT volume reached an ATH of $40B on June 27th
    • The second biggest stablecoin on the market is USDC with a market cap of $366M, 10% of USDT’s
    • USDT supply increased 80% (1.6B USDT) since April and has been cranking slowly higher
    • The new tokens have mostly been issued on Ethereum, with a small USDT supply created on EOS and TRON
  3. Cointelegraph: Huobi Unveils ‘Finance Chain’ For Building Enterprise Blockchains
    • Huobi partnered with blockchain startup Nervos to launch a public blockchain, provisionally called “Huobi Finance Chain,” that allows companies to deploy their own blockchains, tokenized assets, and DeFi services
    • The initiative targets enterprises, financial institutions, as well as exchanges, and is set to operate as a regulatory-compliant financial blockchain network
    • Huobi will enable regulators to access the network and contribute to it as validators
    • The network will feature major regulatory tools and requirements including DID, KYC, and AML
    • The devs expect the project to host lending services, debit services, stablecoins, STOs, as well as “other means of asset issuance,” DEXs, and payment services
    • Expected to open source in 3Q 2019, Finance Chain will launch its testnet in 1Q, while mainnet launch is planned for 2Q 2020
  4. 99bitcoins: Buying Bitcoin Has Been Profitable 97.89% of the Days Since Creation
    • Since July 1st, BTC has been proclaimed dead 350+ times even though it’s been “profitable” (i.e., when BTC traded lower than current price) 3749 days out of 3830 days since creation (97.89%)
    • The 81 non-profitable days consist of virtually all days in Dec. 2017, Jan. 2018, the second half of Feb. 2018 through early Mar. 2018, and late Jun. 2019
  5. Cointelegraph: 25 Bitcoin Transactions Worth $6 Billion Included in One Block
    • 25 BTC txs worth $6B were included in block 583,139 on June 30th
    • AmbCrypto reported that all the txs formed a bigger, linear tx; wallet 1 initiating the tx sent ~24,393 BTC to wallet 2, and 300 BTC to wallet 3, while this last address received a total of 5,800 BTC (~59M), and was a receiving wallet in all 25 txs
    • Wallet 2 transferred 300 BTC to wallet 3 and 24,093 to a fourth wallet in a chain that continued for 23 txs
    • One tx contained the following message in its output scripts, “We’ll buy your Bitcoins. [email protected]
    • Wallet 3 performed 440,505 txs, received a total of 5,959,532 BTC (~$60.5B), and currently holds nearly 6,445 BTC ($65.4M)
  6. Cointelegraph: Daily Ethereum Transactions Exceed One Million, a First Since May 2018
    • According to etherscan, daily ETH txs exceeded 1M on June 28th for the first time since May 2018
    • ETH’s daily tx volumes have been steadily rising since the start of this year, although it is still shy of its peak of 1.3M in Jan. 2018
  7. Financial Times: BIS will support central banks that issue their own digital currencies
    • The BIS will support central banks trying to issue CBDC’s in a notable U-turn for the bank, which has previously shunned crypto
    • BIS GM Agustín Carstens said, “Many central banks are working on it; we are working on it, supporting them…And it might be that it is sooner than we think that there is a market and we need to be able to provide central bank digital currencies”
    • Carstens argued however that there is not yet a clear use-case for CBDCs, “There needs to be evidence for demand… and it is not clear that the demand is there yet. Perhaps people can do what they want by using electronic wallets provided by banks or fintech companies. It depends on the development of payment systems”
    • Link to Coindesk’s report
  8. Northern Bitcoin AG: Northern Bitcoin Doubles its Mining Capacities
    • BTC mining firm Northern Bitcoin signed a purchase agreement to acquire 4,475 ASICs from Canaan and Bitmain for its newest site in Norway, which processes 55 PH/s in 21 mobile mining containers
    • The move doubles its mining capacity to ~112 PH/s
    • The announcement came at the same time as the BTC network’s difficulty hit an ATH of +69 quintillion hashes per second
  9. Nestlé: Nestlé Breaks New Ground With Open Blockchain Pilot
    • Nestlé partnered with OpenSC to launch a series of blockchain-based pilots that will allow any consumer to track their food back to the source
    • The initial pilot program will trace milk from farms and producers in New Zealand to Nestlé factories and warehouses in the Middle East to then later be tested using palm oil sourced in the Americas
  10. The Nevada Independent: Blockchains CEO buys local bank, charting course for company
    • Blockchains LLC acquired Kirkwood Bank of Nevada for $28M ($25M for the bank and an added $3M for investment purposes), a small step towards its plans of constructing a blockchain-focused community and e-sports arena on a chunk of Nevada desert nearly the size of Reno
    • Blockchains CEO Jeffrey Berns said, “Purchasing the bank was basically security for me to make sure that Blockchains and myself had access to the financial system… But secondarily, it’s to create an environment where the blockchain ecosystem, the legitimate businesses out there who are trying to build projects that are going to empower the individual and better the world, that they have a bank that understands what they’re doing and isn’t fearful”
    • Berns added that the small community bank will be owned through a separate holding company and not through Blockchains, “Only bank holding companies can own a bank, and if Blockchains owned the bank it would have to do reporting much like a bank holding company would. And my plans for Blockchains are to give a portion of the company away. I intend to turn over all the power to the users of the system. I don’t think the regulators would have ever been comfortable with that”
    • The president of Kirkwood Bank NV claimed there wouldn’t be any changes in day-to-day operations or mgmt
    • Berns would like to issue a contract between Blockchains and Kirkwood in the future for developing blockchain-based banking solutions to launch by Q3 2020
    • Berns noted, “I needed a playground […] I needed a place to do proof of concept with regulators to show that loans can be done in such a way that if I have $1,000, I could invest 10 cents in 10,000 loans and, it would all be done on the blockchain and micro payments would be made, and there’s no funny business”
  11. Cointelegraph: More Tether ‘Reflective’ of Real Dollars Coming Into Bitcoin, Says Kraken CEO
    • When asked about Tether’s impact on Bitcoin’s price during an interview with TD Ameritrade, Kraken CEO, Jesse Powell, stated, “Historically, when you’ve seen growth in the supply of tether, we’ve seen growth in the supply of U.S. dollars coming onto Kraken….I think what you’re seeing with tether is just a very transparent reflection of what is happening at the banking system level and with all the exchanges. When new Tether is being printed, 99% of the time it’s tons of new U.S. dollars are coming into the exchanges as well and it’s just not being represented as Tether on a blockchain”
    • Powell added that when BTC price goes up 10% in a day, this is likely because exchanges are on-boarding 50-100k new users per day
    • Powell didn’t discount the idea of delisting USDT under certain circumstances, but emphasized the role of exchanges not to police what markets users have access to
  12. Cointelegraph: World’s First Zero-Fiat ‘Bitcoin Bond’ Now Available on Bloomberg Terminal
    • Luxembourg-based securitization firm Argento partnered with London Block Exchange (LBX) to issue the first FCA-regulated, BTC-denominated bond that contains no fiat exposure
    • Argento manager Phil Millo commented, “We are thrilled to have structured and produced the world’s first institutional grade bitcoin-denominated financial product…The large investment banks really dropped the ball on this one”
    • The bond is readily available via Bloomberg Terminal and is the first crypto product to have its own ISIN code
    • Various durations are available, conspicuously named after crypto-specific terms such as ‘FOMO,’ ‘HODL’ and ‘MOON’
    • LBX CEO Benjamin Davies said HODLers form one of the bond’s major target markets, “This is an excellent product for people who currently hold bitcoin and aren’t planning to sell over the next few years…Now, for the first time, they have an institutional grade way of making their wallets grow without exposing their bitcoin to the swings of the traditional ‘fiat’ currency markets”
  13. FCA: FCA proposes ban on sale of crypto-derivatives to retail consumers
    • The FCA is proposing a ban the sale, marketing and distribution to retail consumers of all crypto derivatives and ETNs that reference unregulated transferable crypto by firms acting in, or from, the UK
    • The regulator believes these products are ill-suited to retail consumers who can’t reliably assess the value and risks due to the inherent nature of the underlying assets having no reliable basis for valuation, prone to market abuse and financial, have extreme volatility, and required comprehensive understanding of cryptoassets
    • The FCA estimates the potential benefit to retail consumers from banning these products to be £75M ($94.3M) to £234.3M (~$295M) a year
    • FCA Executive Director of Strategy & Competition Christopher Woolard said, “As with our work on the wider CFD and binary options markets, we will act when we see poor products being sold to retail consumers. These are complex contracts built on top of complex assets. Most consumers cannot reliably value derivatives based on unregulated cryptoassets. Prices are extremely volatile and as we have seen globally, financial crime in cryptoasset markets can lead to sudden and unexpected losses. It is therefore clear to us that these derivatives and exchange traded notes are unsuitable investments for retail consumers”
    • The FCA expects to publish its final Guidance on Crypto later this summer, and has reflected feedback to that consultation in its proposals for crypto-derivatives
  14. Coindesk: 4 US Lawmakers Join Call to Freeze Facebook’s Libra Project
    • Democrats from the U.S. House of Reps wrote an open letter to Facebook (FB) calling on a moratorium to all libra development while the FSC and affiliated subcommittees hold hearings to determine how it would operate and the neceessary protections needed to protect user privacy
    • Representatives Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chair of the House Financial Services Committee; Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Chair of the Investor Protection, Entrepreneurship and Capital Markets Subcommittee; William Lacy Clay (D-MO), Chair of the Housing, Community Development and Insurance Subcommittee; Al Green (D-TX), Chair of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee; and Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA), Chair of the Task Force on Financial Technology all signed onto the letter, which was addressed to FB CEO Mark Zuckerberg, COO Sheryl Sandberg and Calibra CEO David Marcus
    • The letter described concerns with FB’s track record and the potential for libra to act as a new global currency system, “It appears that these products may lend themselves to an entirely new global financial system that is based out of Switzerland and intended to rival U.S. monetary policy and the dollar. This raises serious privacy, trading, national security, and monetary policy concerns for not only Facebook’s over 2 billion users, but also for investors, consumers, and the broader global economy…While Facebook has published a ‘white paper’ on these projects, the scant information provided about the intent, roles, potential use, and security of the Libra and Calibra exposes the massive scale of the risks and the lack of clear regulatory protections. If products and services like these are left improperly regulated and without sufficient oversight, they could pose systemic risks that endanger U.S. and global financial stability. These vulnerabilities could be exploited and obscured by bad actors, as other cryptocurrencies, exchanges, and wallets have been in the past”
    • The letter added, “During this moratorium, we intend to hold public hearings on the risks and benefits of cryptocurrency-based activities and explore legislative solutions. Failure to cease implementation before we can do so, risks a new Swiss-based financial system that is too big to fail”
    • The staffers asked what info FB would have if users transferred libra using WhatsApp or Messenger, but “were assured that … Facebook would not access specific information about [users’] transactions beyond that they were interested in or using Libra…That would, of course, be enough information to know a lot more about the users”
    • Staffers were concerned with how FB could prevent its governing council partners from colluding with each other, though the response was that “the partners were well aware of the ‘reputational risks’ they might incur should they violate privacy laws, etc…It was also pointed out that some of the partners are direct competitors, as if that has ever prevented them from colluding in the past”
  15. Reuters: Cuba studying cryptocurrency as part of economic crisis measures
    • Cuba’s gov’t is studying the potential use of crypto to boost its economy amid a deepening crisis exacerbated by a decline in Venezuelan aid, lower exports and the tightening of the decades-old U.S. trade embargo under President Trump
    • The new measures will raise income for ~25% of the population and deepen market reforms
    • Economy Minister Alejandro Gil Fernandez said, “We are studying the potential use of cryptocurrency … in our national and international commercial transactions, and we are working on that together with academics”
  16. The Maritime Executive: First Blockchain-Managed Container Shipped to the Netherlands
    • Samsung SDS, Dutch bank ABN AMRO and the Port of Rotterdam jointly conducted a PoC shipment from South Korea to the Netherlands whereby a container was tracked exclusively using an interoperable blockchain platform known as “DELIVER”
    • Port of Rotterdam CFO Paul Smits said, “Currently payments, administration and the physical transportation of containers still take place entirely via separate circuits […] This results in inefficiency, as many parties are involved and everything is organized via paper documentation. For instance, an average 28 parties are involved in container transport from China to Rotterdam”
    • According to TokenPost, DELIVER was co-developed by the three partnering organizations, and is an interoperable platform that supports Ethereum and Hyperledger applications
    • Samsung SDS manager Han Seung-yeop commented, “The Customs Clearance Blockchain System at the Korea Customs Service is based on Hyperledger Fabric, while Rotterdam Port in the Netherlands is using the Ethereum Platform […] We started the Deliver project to connect different platforms”
    • Now that the PoC is complete the organization members have signed an agreement to launch multiple DELIVER pilots with the end goal of providing a global and independent platform for shipping
  17. Cointelegraph: Blockchain Dev Firm Launches First Smart Contracts on Microsoft’s .NET
    • Stratis Group Ltd launched the Cirrus Sidechain Masternodes and Stratis Smart Contracts products to enable businesses to write smart contracts in C# on Microsoft’s .NET architecture
    • The product targets enterprises, financial services companies, and gov’t organizations whose systems operate within .NET, claiming to provide “a wide range of enterprise use cases, from tokens and lending platforms to provenance and self-sovereign identity solutions”
    • The Cirrus Sidechain prevents bloating of the main Stratis network and increases scalability, “The Masternodes will operate on the Cirrus Sidechain using a Proof-of-Authority consensus algorithm, thereby enhancing security by adding accountability while also reducing the workload and energy consumption required for Masternodes to maintain the blockchain”
    • Stratis senior dev Gustav Stieger said, “Cirrus Sidechains will allow us to scale up the Stratis platform as we add functionality and deploy sidechains with use-case specific modifications, such as block time and block size. It will now be easier, cheaper and faster for developers to build DLT and smart contract functions bespoke to their business needs”
  18. Cointelegraph: IBM Launches Blockchain Pilot for Bank Guarantee Processes
    • IBM partnered with the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited, Commonwealth Bank, real estate operator Scentre Group, and Australia’s first bank Westpac to launch a pilot for a blockchain-powered platform that digitizes the issuance and mgmt. of bank guarantees in the retail property lease sector
    • The pilot, dubbed Lygon, will run for 8wks for a test group of retail property leasing customers starting July 3rd
    • Per the release, digitizing the process will reduce the risk of fraud, decrease potential of errors, as well as increase transparency & security
    • Once the pilot is completed, Lygon will expand the range of digitized bank guarantees it supports and begin offering them to other industries
    • Westpac Corporate and Institutional Banking GM, Didier Van Not, said, “The pilot will test live transactions using distributed ledger to prove the technology is commercially viable. It is a great example of digital transformation that refines the customer experience”
  19. Coinsquare: Coinsquare Obtains Controlling Investment Position in Just Cash
    • Coinsquare acquired a controlling investment in Just Cash, a software that enables any ATM to buy/sell crypto without disrupting the ATM network
    • This tx is accomplished by a routine software update to the ATM, which has no requirements for new hardware, additional capital investments by the ATM operator, or a mobile application by the user
    • Coinsquare CEO Cole Diamond said, “Right now, there is a lack of mainstream cryptocurrency adoption because most people are intimidated by the process to acquire it…By using the millions of existing ATMs around the world, we can now bridge the gap and give new users the easiest and most familiar experience to purchase cryptocurrency. Bitcoin is new and unfamiliar to many, but ATMs are not. By tapping into the existing global ATM network, cryptocurrency can finally reach the masses. We are bringing that familiar and trusted process into the cryptocurrency world, and vice versa, for the first time”
    • Just Cash will operate under the Coinsquare brand
  20. BTG & Dalma: BTG Pactual and Dalma Capital to utilize Tezos Blockchain for STOs
    • Banco BTG Pactual S.A., Latin America’s largest standalone investment bank, partnered with Dubai-based asset manager Dalma Capital to utilize the Tezos blockchain for STOs, including the ongoing REITBZ STO (i.e., BTG’s real estate-backed ERC-20 STO)
    • By utilizing the platform for digital securities txs, the financial institutions address a deal pipeline in excess of $1B for existing and prospective token issuances – with an outlook to utilize Tezos to tokenize a variety of traditional and alternative investments
    • Andre Portilho, BTG’s Partner responsible for the STO initiative, said, “While the bank remains protocol and technology agnostic, and will continue to utilize the Ethereum protocol, we see Tezos as a global player with a robust blockchain for asset tokenization”
    • Dalma Capital, which is working with BTG on their STO pipeline and partnered as joint-bookrunner for REITBZ, will utilize Tezos for multiple expected asset tokenization projects ranging from core real estate to prominent global sports clubs; including equity and debt interests
    • Dalma CEO Zachary Cefaratti added, “The addressable market for security tokenization is in excess of $268 trillion**, which is composed of the global stock of investable financial assets. This is the next iterative step in the pervasion of blockchain in finance, we see future development in addressing the $595 trillion*** global derivatives market on blockchain”
  21. Xpring: Ripple Incubator Xpring Announces $500M Invested in XRP Projects
    • Since its launch in May 2018, Xpring committed $500M to 20+ XRP projects ranging from independent developer projects to larger scale partnerships, with the goal of building the best crypto infrastructure through contributions to open source crypto protocols such as the XRP Ledger and Interledger projects, and to help innovative blockchain projects grow through partnership and investment
    • Xpring investments are intended to create use cases for XRP by providing “tools, libraries and services for developers on the XRP Ledger and Interledger protocols” to make development easier and to support devs
    • Xpring is taking a two-pronged approach to creating more use cases, through infrastructure development (e.g., a contribution to the XRP Ledger and Interledger protocols) and innovative projects
    • The incubator is also focused on DeFi, and will look to invest in crypto-based solutions for aspects of finance like debt and derivatives
  22. Binance: Binance Will Change USDT Deposits & Withdrawals to be ERC20-based
    • Binance changed all USDT D/W addresses from OMNI-based addresses to ERC20-based addresses, and defaulted the setting going forward
    • OMNI-based USDT can still be deposited to users’ previous OMNI USDT deposit addresses and will be accepted, but users will no longer be able to withdraw OMNI-based USDT
  23. Financial Mirror: CYPRUS – Draft legislation on blockchain technology to be ready this year
    • Finance Minister of Cyprus Harris Georgiades said a draft bill to regulate blockchain should be ready before EOY
    • Cyprus House of Reps member Demetris Syllouris said the National Strategy “will contribute to our country’s effort for digital transformation, providing the necessary framework and a road map to explore the applications of distributed ledger technology and blockchain technology in various fields, to optimize procedures, and to address any potential risks and threats”
    • Georgiades added that blockchain will increase savings in the public and private sector by allowing txs to be executed speedily, transparently, securely and immediately
    • There will be blockchain pilot implementation starting with the Dept. of Land and Surveys, the Dept. of Customs and Excise, the Tax Dept. and the National Betting Authority, with the third priority being implementation within the financial sector
    • The Ministry of Finance is the coordinator of this effort until the new Deputy Ministry for Digital Policy and Innovation starts its operation, hopefully on Jan. 1, 2020
  24. VTV: President Maduro orders to open Petro and Cryptocurrency ticket offices in Banco de Venezuela
    • Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the Bank of Venezuela to open petro-processing desks in all of its branches in order to help popularize the petro and ensure people can start making txs in it
    • Maduro added that private banks should follow in the future
  25. Coindesk: Craig Wright Uses Falsified Docs to Prove Innocence in Kleiman Case
    • Trial lawyer Stephen Palley reported that self-proclaimed BTC creator Craig Wright allegedly provided fake court docs that contain multiple chronological discrepancies to prove a trust deed with his plaintiffs in the Kleiman v. Wright case
    • Among the exhibits, there’s a document dated Oct. 23rd, 2012 submitted as proof-of-cooperation between Wright and the now-deceased David Kleiman, however the metadata of the file indicates that the document was created after the death of Kleiman
    • The trust document uses a 2015 copyright notice related to Calibri, the Microsoft Word font, indicating that the document couldn’t be from earlier
  26. Fujitsu: Fujitsu Develops Digital Identity Technology to Evaluate Trustworthiness in Online Transactions
    • Fujitsu Labs created a DID-based system that utilizes blockchain to check the identity of online payment participants
    • The system analyzes the risk of falsification and the trustworthiness of the other party’s personal credentials when a user conducts a tx online – this is achieved through a mutual evaluation of the users when a tx occurs, and by inferring the relationships between users based on past tx data
    • Fujitsu added that there were systems in place so that if a bad agent colludes with a third-party to raise their evaluation, other users might spot “misrepresentations”


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