In our weekly video, Altcoins This Week, we take a look at the Merriam-Webster Dictionary and their recent addition of the words ICO and cryptocurrency to the dictionary, we review the Russian decision to start working on blockchain legislation, we study the reasons for the sudden decrease in cryptocurrency prices and we do our Altcoin round up price for the week.
Websters Adds Ico and Cryptocurrency to the Dictionary
This week, the 190-year-old Merriam-Webster Dictionary announced that they would be adding 850 new words and definitions. Among those words, Merriam-Webster added the terms ‘cryptocurrency’, ‘blockchain’ and ‘ICO’. They defined cryptocurrency as a form of currency that exists digitally, uses no central issuing but instead a decentralized system to records transactions, and blockchain as a digital database that can be used and shared within a large decentralized, publicly accessible network. Unfortunately, they gave just the following entry for the definition of ICO: “an initial offering of a cryptocurrency to the public”. This marks another recognition for the blockchain industry on a global scale.
Russia Moves on Legislation on Cryptocurrency
Vladimir Putin has stepped forward with the regulation of blockchain in Russia. In recent developments, Putin ordered that a cryptocurrency regulation must be in place by July 1st, 2018. Putin has expressed his willingness to promote the blockchain industry in Russia to keep up with the technological developments of today’s industry. These regulations seek to protect the parties involved; businesses, investors and regular people who on a daily basis use blockchain and exchanges. As with every regulation a country attempts to implement, the different markets involved tend to fight changes, worried about how this decision could impact their market, especially when it comes to the Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance, but Putin still is trying to bring some order.
British Company Laundered Mt Gox Stolen Coins
According to a BBC Radio 4 investigation of one of the largest ever hacks of a digital currency exchange, Mt.Gox, which occurred back in 2014, it has been revealed that a British company by the name of Always Efficient LLP has been involved in the laundering of the 650,000 Bitcoins stolen, which are worth over £4.5bn. The investigation revealed that, even though at first most of the stolen Bitcoins were missing without any tracks, they later appeared on Mt Gox rival’s exchange website BTC-e. As stated by BBC Radio 4, BTC-e exchange claimed to be operated by a British company called Always Efficient LLP, with a registered office in London, but the address is shared by several other firms, some of which are thought to be involved in money laundering. The FBI says the man behind BTC-e is a Russian national by the name of Alexander Vinnik, who was arrested while on holiday in Greece in July 2017 and is currently being detained in Thessaloniki. As of today, both the US Department of Justice and the Russian Government have filed for extradition requests to bring Vinnik to justice.
Flash panic in the markets send prices tumbling
On March 7th, 2018, the markets took a sudden loss of about $40 billion within a few hours, which represented 10% of Bitcoin price for the week. The sudden fall in prices occurred due to various reasons. First of all, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) made an announcement that many online ICO platforms would need to register with them. This comes as an inevitable measure from the SEC to avoid unlawful trading platforms. Furthermore, the SEC stated that “If a platform offers trading of digital assets that are securities and operates as an “exchange,” as defined by the federal securities laws, then the platform must register with the SEC as a national securities exchange or be exempt from registration”.
Second, Japan’s FSA suspended two exchanges and penalized another four. The decision comes as part of an effort from Japan’s government to tighten up consumer protection rights after approximately US$530 million were stolen from Coincheck.This theft and the one MT. Gox experienced back in 2014 set off alarms for the FSA to start developing measures to penalize the exchanges that were not working in accordance with best practices for consumer protection laws.
Last but not least, rumors started running across Redditt that Binance was being hacked, as users reported that their altcoins were being sold into Bitcoin and Siacoin without previous authorisation. This was followed by the suspension of withdrawals, which lead to panic selling from many users. Binance has since issued a statement reassuring everyone that their funds are not at risk.
All these situations caused the cryptocurrency prices to go down by 5-15% on average.
Altcoin Price Round up for the Week
Apart from the Mad March sale of coins taking place in the last 24 hours, it was looking like quite a healthy week for altcoins. Ethereum was being traded at $870 before slipping to $750. Ripple began the week by going up 20 cents but then went down 25 cents, trading at 84 cents now. Monero gained $60 at its best point this week, given the upcoming fork for March 14th. Neo, having a hard week after a Tweet went viral pointing out a weakness in the system, took a loss and is now trading at $96.