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Does Bitcoin’s Price Surge Mean Anything?

A single bitcoin’s price relative to U.S. dollars has always been a critical metric. Mainstream news outlets consistently point to it in articles about how the technology is growing or waning. And, as much as Bitcoin purists point out that the price of one bitcoin is always still one bitcoin, they can’t help but feel vindicated when prices go up or defensive when they go down.

So, the bitcoin price’s upward trend this week may very well be the biggest story in cryptocurrency.

On Tuesday, April 2, 2019, alone, the bitcoin price shot up 15 percent and rose above $5,000 for the first time since late last year. The price is now up roughly 25 percent in 2019 and up 60 percent since last December.

This prompted a slew of headlines from the likes of CNBC and Fortune. Beyond simply reporting the upward trend, outlets are looking to dissect the specific reasons that bitcoin has reached the price that it has.

CNN, for instance, suggested that the surge could be due to pessimism about the traditional U.S. economy.

“David Spika, president of GuideStone Capital Management, said in an interview with CNN Business Tuesday that the rally in bitcoin is likely another example of ‘a rebound in risk,’” according to the news outlet. “Stocks surged in the first quarter — despite worries about the fact that earnings are expected to decline in the first quarter and that bond yields are falling on concerns about a slowdown in global economic growth.”

Meanwhile, Reuters traced the price surge to a more specific moment.

“Today’s gain was probably triggered by an order worth about $100 million spread across U.S.-based exchanges Coinbase and Kraken and Luxemberg’s Bitstamp, said Oliver von Landsberg-Sadie, chief executive of cryptocurrency firm BCB Group,” per the outlet. “Still, analysts could not point to any specific developments that could explain the mystery buyer’s big order.”

Cryptocurrency-specific news outlets tend to focus more on analyzing the price charts themselves, rather than speculating about what external factors are influencing them. This may be the result of a perspective that has seen prices fluctuate for years. Or it could be an appeal to readers who believe in bitcoin regardless of the price and simply want to track its behavior relative to the dollar.

So, answering the question posed in this headline depends on who you ask. To some, the price fluctuation is a big deal, because they see bitcoin as a financial asset that is really only worth what it can be cashed out for. Others may trace the significance of a price surge to one particular investor’s actions, decisions by legacy financial bodies to create bitcoin-related products or, as Barron’s noted, the expiration of a bitcoin futures product.

The bitcoiner tribe, those who fundamentally believe in the technology and claim that price is ancillary, might say that the latest price surge is vindicating to some degree but, ultimately, just a blip in what will be a decades-long journey to mass adoption.

Browser Extension Lets Users Shop on Amazon With Lightning Network

Source: CoinDesk

The crypto payment processor Moon has announced that users can now leverage a Lightning Network wallet to pay for Amazon purchases through its browser extension. The extension also enables e-commerce payments with litecoin, ether and bitcoin cash through Coinbase accounts.

FinCEN Takes First-Ever Enforcement Action Against Cryptocurrency Trader

Source: FinCEN

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has assessed a civil money penalty against a peer-to-peer bitcoin trader for violating anti-money laundering (AML) regulations, its first enforcement action against a cryptocurrency exchanger. According to the agency, the exchanger failed to register as a money services business and failed to report "suspicious transactions," among other violations. The exchanger has been assessed a $35,000 fine and is now prohibited from providing money transmission services.

2019 Investments in Crypto and Blockchain Startups at $850 Million

Source: Reuters

According to data compiled by Pitchbook for Reuters, venture capital investment in crypto and blockchain startups has reached $850 million so far this year.

EEA Launches 'Token Taxonomy Initiative'

The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance has announced a "Token Taxonomy Initiative" to develop universal definitions for tokens to encourage their interchangeability across blockchain platforms. Members of the initiative include Microsoft, R3, ConsenSys, IBM, EY, Accenture and Intel.