Trump’s New Addition to the SEC Increases Chances of Bitcoin ETF
The new member of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Elad Roisman, who has been appointed by Trump is a big plus for the votes to approve a BTC ETF. Commissioner Roisman is the third person that has been selected by Trump for the SEC. Roisman is a big supporter of regulating digital assets and he recently shared his approval at a Senate Banking Committee hearing, a few months ago. Roisman is among another commissioner who is all for the Bitcoin ETF, Commissioner Hester Peirce. Peirce was also appointed by Trump, and proclaimed through a formal dissent her disagreement with the rejection of the Winklevoss ETF in July of 2018. The SEC has already denied 9 applications, this includes Winklevoss, Cameron, GraniteShares, Direxion, and ProShares proposals.The anticipated Bitcoin ETF was submitted by VanEck/SolidX and decisions will be made by March 2019. The opinions of both commissioners will be great factor for the ETF.
A Majority of Americans are Aware of Bitcoin
Millenials are in the know when it comes to Bitcoin, and a study reveals that almost 80% of Americans are aware of it. More than 50% of Americans prefer using digital assets over the USD. Most people know about Bitcoin, and Ethereum comes in second place. The study was conducted by YouGov Omnibus. Specifically, more men were aware of cryptocurrencies in comparison to women. It is interesting to see the demographics surrounding digital assets, the ratio of those who are aware of it is increasing and this further confirms that cryptocurrencies will be used everywhere eventually. We cannot deny the fact that this is a global phenomenon!
Why the Big Four Accounting Firms Care About Blockchain
In the world of accounting audits and financial assurance, only the Big Four matter. Deloitte, EY, PwC, and KPMG are the masters of the universe. The Big Four accounting firms have a firm oligopoly over the provision of tax, accounting, consultancy, and audit services to almost all big companies across the globe. All publicly listed companies must open their books to external auditors to satisfy financial regulators. The blockchain is often touted as the biggest revolution in accounting since double-entry bookkeeping. Therefore, it stands to reason that blockchain will cause seismic changes for the Big Four, and the way they do business with their clients.
Patent Filed by IBM for Blockchain Technology System
Latest news in crypto world is on IBM, a giant in the tech industry that has filed for a patent for the management of a blockchain database system. IBM's purpose in doing this is that they would like to build a dependable tampering discovery system (IDT-DS). The prospective system will identify any errors in data that is stocked in a database linked with the primary database. The patent was originally filed last year on December 22nd, in accordance to the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). In 2018, the USPTO has already awarded six patents in relation to distributed ledgers. A blockchain data management system is not a shocking venture by IBM, as they are dealing with sensitive information that they want to protect. IBM is a firm believer in blockchain technology and they believe that blockchain can help with a, "new generation of applications that ensure reliability, transparency, and efficiency". IBM also participates with an array of Hyperledger tools such as: Explorer, Cello, Caliper, and Composer. IBM's decision has already attracted millions of dollars in investments and has started competition with other giant corporations.
Report: 2018 Blockchain Investing/Spending at its Highest
A tax consulting firm, KPMG known to be one of the biggest in the world, revealed that spending and investors interest (venture capitals and ICO fund rounds) has been at its peak. In 2018, investors are more active in mature companies, rather than spending time on new firms such as startups. Asia has stood out when it comes to fintech spending, but the U.S. holds the record and top spot for investments specifically in blockchain. Bitmain is an enterprise in the ASIC mining industry, and is based in China. They are looking to also set up shop in Texas and Washington state. The U.S. has appealing regulations for businesses that are either mature or startups. Although there are constant crackdowns on ICOs that aren't following the rules, KPMG's findings also stated ICOs are continuing to be of interest to investors and investments around the world. Fintech funding is already beating its record from 2017, and is on its way to beat its 2015 record. This sums up to $57.9 billion that has already been spent in the first half of 2018. This is great news for blockchain technology and investors who feel more comfortable with the growth of the fintech market.
Digital Asset Market Crash Causes Bitcoin to Decline
The price of Bitcoin has plummeted to the mid $6,000 range. The crypto market as a whole has dropped since late July, by over 30%. The demand for cryptocurrencies has become less, and market activities have slowed down. If the volume of BTC does not pick up in the next few days, it is likely that the cryptocurrency will drop even more. Analysts believe that BTC has dropped because of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) decision to postpone the approval of a BTC exchange-traded fund (ETF) of SolidX and VanEck. Korea and Japan, the top crypto exchange markets, claimed that BTC will go back to previous highs with the approval of the first Bitcoin ETF. Big time traders in these countries have huge followings on social media, so they pretty much gave false hope, which caused overreaction of the market to delay the approval of SolidX and VanEck BTC ETF. Another theory, is that big time traders who intended to sell big portions of BTC in the last few days, did just that. The decision of the SEC caused a short-term panic mode sell-off. All of the theories above, are a cause of the SEC's decision. However on the bright side, if a rejection of the BTC ETF has caused a negative impact on BTC's price, an approval will cause an immense positive impact on BTC's price. Let's see what happens!
Citi and Barclays Testing Out IBM’s New Blockchain Application
Barclays and Citi are among a few financial institutions that are trialing IBM's new Blockchain App Marketplace. IBM has partnered with a settlement institution, CLS, and they are trialing a platform by the name of LedgerConnect. The app will allow banks, fintech companies and startups, and software vendors, to share, set up, and consume blockchain softwares. Hyperledger and IBM have designed the platform. LedgerConnect will act as a blockchain bazaar for the financial sector, and this will also speed up the process of innovations in the ecosystem. LedgerConnect is looking to cut costs, offer robust and safe solutions, and reduce risk. LedgerConnect will only be using Hyperledger Fabric applications via backing by other technologies like Quorum, the public Ethereum blockchain, and R3's Corda. IBM performance and security tests are administered on the blockchain applications prior to being certified. This is a win-win for both banks and vendors. Banks will have the access to a marketplace of blockchain apps that have already been verified and tested. Vendors will be able to work on a platform where they can distribute their products to these financial institutions. A couple of the apps have already been released on the marketplace. Openrisk has their collateral and margin management apps featured on the marketplace. Apps such as KYC and mPhasis are already being piloted to be released on the marketplace. Once the proof of concept (PoC) is completed and the regulatory approvals have been acquired, CLS and IBM plan to expand their horizon on the blockchain apps they want to offer.
Korea is Close to Passing the Country’s Very First Crypto Legislation
South Korea, a lucrative market and key player in the global crypto market, is almost complete in the process of passing their first blockchain and crypto legislation. The passing of this form of legislation will ensure the blockchain and digital asset industry is legitimate, in the nation. South Korea has had the intention to regulate the digital currency market with stricter rules and frameworks, so investors are protected from fraud and startups are able to flourish in the blockchain industry. Government employees have disclosed that they felt that the legislation would not pass originally, because the passing of this would cause people to feel that the country embraces the crypto industry with open arms. However, two security breaches occurred with South Korea's top crypto exchanges, BitThumb and Coinrail. This led the country to research and enforce stricter regulations. In the past, exchanges were considered communication vendors and were outside the scope of the Financial Services Commission (FSC), which is the financial regulatory body of the country. Upon the passing of this new bill, crypto platforms will be considered as regulated financial institutions in the scope of the FSC. If this bill is passed before the year's end, it will increase the capital flow into the local digital asset market in the next few years, especially through 2019.Many analysts are predicting the price of major cryptocurrencies to rise by the end of this year, and they will sustain their prices in the upcoming years.
WEEKLY REVIEW: Cryptocurrency Current Events and Bitcoin Price Surges
Price Watch -The price of Bitcoin increased 18% this week after it has been on the decline, the last few months. The price reached a little over $7,500. We hope this trend lasts for a long time.  CEO of BitMex, Arthur Hayes, believes the price of BTC will surge even higher to $10,000. -Ethereum is also doing good this week, with an increase of 5%, and a price of $466.65. The digital asset reached $500 before it went back down to $466. -The global market's entire crypto market cap is up by 11% this week, after a mini-bull run that occurred throughout the market. Stellar, increased by 35% this week.
Bitmain Has Arrived in Silicon Valley!
The crypto industry's highest ranked (in value) company, Bitmain, has opened up shop in Silicon Valley. They made this move before their IPO, which is set to occur later on this year. The China based mining hardware manufacturer has settled into a 20,000 square foot office space that is located in San Jose, California. Bitmain is among many other tech companies that occupy the Riverpark Towers office building. It is not surprising that Bitmain has selected Silicon Valley as their next location, as the company is worth $12 billion. With more value, comes expansion. Bitmain believes it can reach as high as $40 billion, after they become public. Even though the idea of cryptocurrency is to be decentralized, many companies have centralized their locations to be in the same geographic areas. Many analysts have been saying that Bitmain is expanding because they are uncertain of what the future holds in the Chinese market. This is why they feel that expansion in North America is necessary. Bitmain has also invested in tech startups so a move to Silicon Valley would be a big plus for them. Stay tuned, because we think Bitmain is making big waves.

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