This week’s summary of various cryptocurrency news and developments.
Ellen DeGeneres mentioned Bitcoin to her 3 million viewers
Popular American TV show host Ellen DeGeneres recently did a small take on Bitcoin during her show. During the few minutes she spoke about the flagship cryptocurrency, DeGeneres likened it to the photo of a baby goat, as both only exist on the internet. She correctly mentioned hot wallets and hardware wallets, while pointing out Bitcoin “works kind of sort of like the stock market.”
If you want to know what bitcoin is, I learned about it. A bit. pic.twitter.com/txICiTXYgi
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) February 15, 2018
Cryptocurrency enthusiasts saw her humorous take on Bitcoin as a positive, as her show averages roughly 3 million viewers per episode. Adding to that, Ellen shared the clip on social media to millions of followers, which will help increase Bitcoin’s exposure.
Coinbase glitch charges customers thousands in ‘ghost’ charges, VISA takes the blame
This week, Coinbase users saw thousands of dollars pour out of their accounts in ghost charges, after buying cryptocurrencies at the popular exchange using their credit cards. On Reddit, one user even reported seeing 50 charges, worth $67,000, hit their credit card. On Twitter, Coinbase responded to the situation by blaming Visa and its credit card processor, WordPlay. It added that it “will ensure that each affected customer will be refunded in full for any erroneous charge.”
Later on. Visa and WordPlay issued a joint statement, apologizing for the problems and revealing “all reversal transaction have now been issued.” The joint statement reads that the issue “was not caused by Coinbase.” Per Coinbase, a glitch that reprocessed purchases was caused by a new policy among credit card companies and banks, that changed the merchant carrier code (MCC) crypto companies use when working with them.
Cryptocurrency mining is slowing down the search for alien life
According to various reports, cryptocurrency mining is causing a shortage in high-end graphics processing units (GPUs), which is in turn slowing down the search for alien life. Search for Extraterrestrial Life (SETI) researchers are looking to build up their operations at two different facilities, but are seemingly unable to find GPUs to buy due to the shortage caused by crypto miners.
SETI chief scientist Dan Werthimer stated.
- “We’d like to use the latest GPUs [graphics processing units]… and we can’t get ’em. This is a new problem, it’s only happened on orders we’ve been trying to make in the last couple of months.
While cryptocurrency miners use GPUs to increase their revenues, SETI researchers use the high-performing processors to scan various communications frequencies at once to make sure they don’t miss out on any potential alien communication attempt.
White House official says crypto regulations aren’t coming anytime soon
Speaking to CNBC at the Munich Security Conference, White House cybersecurity coordinator Rob Joyce stated that cryptocurrency regulations are still far from happening, as the government is still looking into them. He said he thinks they’re “still absolutely studying and understanding what the good ideas and bad ideas in that space are. So I don’t think it’s close.” Joyce further revealed his biggest concern was with the use of Bitcoin for illegal activities, emphasizing the irreversibility of Bitcoin transactions as troubling.
The White House official further added the lack of a trail in Bitcoin was a problem, as in a case of credit card theft, for instance, the victim can contact his or her bank so purchases can be undone and the cash retrieved. He noted that “with the current instantiation of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, we haven’t figured that out yet. So it’s a problem.”
Switzerland revealed guidelines supporting ICOs
Switzerland’s financial watchdog, FINMA, recently revealed guidelines on initial coin offerings (ICOs) so as to support them. The guidelines reveal the regulator will oversee the fundraises and regulate them with anti-money laundering laws or as securities. %he guidelines further reveal ICOs should be handled in a case-by-case basis, and identify three different types of ICOs, defined by the types of tokens they issue. The three different types include payment ICOs, which issue tokens that are set to be used as a payment method, utility ICOs, whose tokens are to be used to provide digital access to an application or service, and asset ICOs, whose tokens entitle their holders to earning streams, dividends, interest payments, or shares in an underlying company.
Other regulators throughout the world also showed a positive stance towards ICOs. In Gibraltar, the government is now developing legislation to regulate the fundraising practice in its territory, while in Spain the government might even include tax incentives to lure blockchain-based companies to the country.
Cryptocurrency regulations are ‘inevitable’, says IMF chief
International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Christine Lagarde, in an interview with CNNMoney, recently said that cryptocurrency regulations are inevitable, as it is “clearly a domain where we need international regulation and proper supervision.” She added that the IMF is actively trying to prevent digital currencies like Bitcoin from being used to launder money or finance terrorism. To Lagarde, the regulatory direction should be activity—based and should focus on “who is doing what, and whether they’re properly licensed and supervised.”
Bitcoin at $10,909 as the cryptocurrency market recovers
This year’s steep correction saw Bitcoin drop from a $19,000 all-time high to little over $6,000. The flagship cryptocurrency has since been recovering, as last week it was at $8,400 and this week it once again surpassed the $10,000, as it is currently trading at $10,909. According to CoinMarketCap, Bitcoin’s market cap is of $184 billion, and its market share of the cryptocurrency ecosystem is at 36.2%.
Ethereum at $975.37, as it market cap closes in on $100 billion
Ethereum has cemented its position as the number two cryptocurrency by market cap, and nevertheless keeps growing. Ethereum’s Ether token is currently trading at $975.37, and its market cap is at $95 billion, closing in on the $100 billion mark. Ethereum’s share of the cryptocurrency ecosystem is currently at 18.72%.
Ripple eyes $50 billion market cap as XRP grows to $1.2
Ripple, the third biggest cryptocurrency by market cap, registered gains this week along with the rest of the ecosystem. Its XRP token grew to $1.2, which helped its market cap reach $46.6 billion.