Malaysia is Still on the Fence About Cryptocurrencies
The government of Malaysia is still indecisive about cryptocurrencies. They are still considering whether they want to legalize digital assets. Many neighboring countries have adopted the crypto market, such as: Hong Kong, Singapore, and Thailand. Currently, Malaysia is one of the few South East Asian countries that has not adopted digital currencies and nobody is certain when the country will embrace it. The main question government officials are asking themselves is whether it is legal or illegal. Because of Malaysia's uncertainity, they are lagging behind other financially powerful countries.
Pakistan Using Alibaba’s Alipay Blockchain, but Refuses Bitcoin
Pakistan's government has been implementing a blockchain that was created by Alibaba's Alipay. However, digital currencies such Bitcoin are still not permitted in the country, for payment processing. The reason why they are not using Bitcoin, is because of the money laundering that is associated with it. The goal of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) of Pakistan, is to use a blockchain technology that avoids a means for money laundering. Last year, the country created an alliance with a bank called, Telenor Microfinance Bank. The financial institution is owned by Alipay, which obtained 45% of shares on MicroFinance Bank that came out to $184.5 million! This week, Pakistan released news that they have integrated the blockchain platform, created by Alipay. This will allow for cross-border payment transactions between Pakistan and Malaysia. The governor of the State Bank of Pakistan, claims that this is a big accomplishment for the country, and this will increase financial relevance and inclusion for the nation. However, is it really considered financial inclusion if the country is not using Bitcoin or Ethereum? For now this poses as a contradiction for the country's goals, but it is a start and we predict that the country will eventually adopt these major cryptocurrencies as well.
From Brexit to Bitcoin, Here’s What You Need to Watch for in 2019
Due to the major drops in crypto prices in 2018, digital currency investors should prepare for trends in 2019. Mati Greenspan, a market analyst and avid crypto trader, discussed questions many investors may have, and also trading patterns. The main reason he believes that crypto prices dropped, was because of the Fed's tightening program. A lot of money came out of the system, since the Treasury was on the hunt for new buyers to pay off its debts. Analysts think that the Fed will increase interest rates by an extra quarter point. Many economists are saying that they will continue to see more bonds being sold, until around Fall this year. Bitcoin investors are predicting that the top cryptocurrency, will remain in its slump, since it is experiencing a bearish correction. Not only will Bitcoin be experiencing this slump, but also other markets such as Dow Jones, Nasdaq, and S&P 500. In other news, Greenspan believes that the US govt. shutdown is making a huge impact on the trade struggles between the U.S. and China. The GDP has dropped a little under the 6% level. Trends to be on the lookout for are Brexit and Ripple. Since nobody knows the outcome of the China-US trade war and also Brexit, there could be high volatility in the market this year. This will produce gains for investors. If Brexit is on schedule and the United Kingdom's divorce from the European market is successful, there would be a stable market period for the United Kingdom market. Greenspan is also a big fan of XRP. Since Ripple is taking over the banking world, there is a lot of opportunity for Ripple to shine in the market.
A Bank in India is Making Their Members Sign Disclosures to Not Use BTC
The Reserve Bank of India has placed new regulations on financial institutions. Some banks are even making their members sign contracts that state they will not use any cryptocurrencies. The new set of rules is basically forcing customers to pick a side between digital assets and banks. While many citizens of India are firm believers of cryptocurrencies, currently it is a difficult process for the country to adopt the idea. In one of the bank's disclosures it asks members to sign an agreement that states, "will not deal with any transactions related to Crypto-currency including Bitcoins". The bank is stating that they are following the IRB regulations. The central bank of India is against cryptocurrencies, because of volatility and security. The IRB has not banned digital currencies completely, so citizens of India can still use them. However, by banks not accepting digital currencies, it makes it hard for investors because they have to choose a side.
The US and China Trade War Causing Dow Futures and Bitcoin to Slump
The US Stock market and the global digital asset market have been on a decline. As of 8 AM this morning, the Dow has dropped 70 points which is about .30%. Nasdaq also dropped .5%. This mornings slump is because of the trade talks that are currently happening between the US and China. Bitcoin has also been fluctuating in the market to around $4,000. A trade agreement is in the talks and will once and for all end this war. A representative from the China Commerce Ministry described the meetings as, "broad, deep, and meticulous". The US' statement after the meetings were less analytical, and they highlighted the fact that China pledged to buy a significant amount of energy, agriculture, manufactured goods, and other services and products from the US. The two superpower nations will come to an agreeance a little before the tariff truce comes to an expiration in the beginning of March. The government shutdown has also been causing the market to be affected. President Trump is adamant about having the wall constructed, but Democrats are not in acceptance of the idea. As a result, the government is now in its 20th day of closure.
Ripple CEO After Obtaining 200 Clients: All Banks Will Use XRP
As of now, 13 financial institutions are using Ripple and its blockchain through the Ripple network, RippleNet. There are around 200 banks in the Ripple ecosystem. Many institutions feel that Ripple is convenient because payment processing is instant, cost friendly, and transparent. The CEO of Ripple, Brad Garlinghouse, shared with us that recently 100 financial institutions started using the Ripple network last year. They are noticing a 350% boost in live payments. Garlinghouse also shared that upto 3 institutions are joining RippleNet every week. This is because the network offers cross-border and international payments. So far the global payment market is being prevailed by SWIFT, but Ripple is penetrating that 2 trillion dollar market. In the near future, it would not make sense for larger banks to implement RippleNet, as they hugely rely on the SWIFT network. Ripple is targeting smaller financial institutions, so it has to sustain this market to bleed into larger markets.
In the Last Year, Bitcoin Has Died 90 Times
Bitcoin has gone through a dismal year, according to the crypto market. The digital currency died 90 times this year, compared to 125 times in 2017. Although not much of a difference, this does give the top cryptocurrency in the market, a hopeful forecast to come. Also, Google searches on Bitcoin have skyrocketed! Awareness is also another key factor for cryptocurrencies to become prevalent. The crypto market has entered into the mainstream and more and more people/companies are adopting the concept. Despite a gloomy year for the cyrptocurrency, Bitcoin is still live and breathing. As 2018 comes to an end, many investors are confident that 2019 will be a beneficial year for top-dog investments. Some of the first Bitcoiners, the Winklevoss twins, are not phased by the market's current plight.They still have a strong hold on the future of digital assets. Tyler Winklevoss stated, "Failure of imagination", is the reason why people hate on Bitcoin!
Venture Capitalists Believe Bitcoins Infrastructure is Becoming More Powerful
Spencer Bogart who works for a venture capitalist firm, known as Blockchain Capital, believes that Bitcoin's institutional sector is becoming more powerful. Even though the value of the digital asset market has dropped significantly, the infrastructure that powers Bitcoin is becoming stronger. Back when the crypto market was going through a major bull market, traders and investors were mainly the reason for the market reaching new highs. In the long term, Bogart believes that a stable infrastructure, security system, liquidity, compliance of rules and protocols, and investor protection will cause a steady inflow and outflow of capital from financial institutions and investors. The next rally could happen through new investors. Many investors still see Bitcoin in an early stage when it comes to infrastructure, liquidity, and merchant acceptance. There are still a lot of governments that are still unsure of the stance they take on cryptocurrencies. All in all, there will still be a major adoption of cryptocurrencies by leading financial institutions, and this is only the start.
Western Union Playing with the Idea of Cryptocurrencies
American financial payment processing service, Western Union, is ready to enter the crypto world. The President of Western Union, Odilon Almeida, said that the company has been researching and evaluating how they can use cryptocurrencies. Western Union is also looking into how they can implement blockchain technologies. They believe that their users will utilize the option of changing digital currencies to fiat currencies. One of the reasons why Western Union has not adopted cryptocurrencies yet, is because of the volatility of the market. Almeida believes that using Ripple will be great for cross-border payments.
Cryptocurrency Rally is Getting Intense as U.S. Stock Market Plunges Due to Increase in Interest Rates
U.S. stocks have been on a decline since Wednesday, after the Feds have announced that they increased interest rates. In the mean time, crypto investors have been cruising through the digital currency market making Bitcoin reach weekly highs. Major stock indexes were on a decline. The Dow Jones decreased by 351 points, which made it reach its lowest price of the year at $23,323.66. The S&P 500 index decreased by 1.5% and settled at $2,506.95 which is the lowest it has been since September of 2017. Members of the Fed Reserve made their decision in raising interest rates for the fourth time this year. Many are speculating that the market will have just one upward spike in 2019. In other news, U.S. home sales have increased, which creates optimism that the housing downturn is coming to a close. Sales of already owned homes, peaked 1.9% in November. In crypto news, the worst downward trend will be coming to a close, following a rally that has added $20 billion to the value of cryptocurrencies. Top digital currencies like Ethereum and XRP had huge rallies on Wednesday, as trading volumes doubled. Bitcoin cash was the biggest winner, prices increased 34% bringing it to a value of $134.24. Things are looking strong for the digital asset market, as we bring 2018 to a close.


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