This Week in Bitcoin: Regulators Mount Up as Bitcoin Keeps Bubbling: Welcome to the latest installment of This Week in Bitcoin stuffed with all the highlights and lowlights from the past seven days.
In this edition: Korea, Korea, Korea, and a handful of stories that aren’t about Korea just for some variety. In the past week, we’ve also experienced another all-time high (what’s new) and no major hacks – and that is new.
Since we started this feature one month ago, it’s the first time there have been no large-scale thefts to report. Can you spell progress?
Regulators Try to K-Pop the Bitcoin Bubble
Let’s start with South Korea since it drives much of the world’s cryptocurrency trading and thus what happens in the Asian nation reverberates around the world.
Regulation was all around this week, not least in Korea, where officials announced a slew of measures aimed at bringing order to the house of bitcoin. Our most popular story of the week by some distance revealed news of Korean banks being obliged to distance themselves from cryptocurrencies.
We said: “South Korean regulators have announced a plan to ban banks from activities involving cryptocurrencies, prompting major banks in the country to declare they will no longer issue accounts required for crypto trading.
South Korea’s top bitcoin exchanges are all affected.” There were fears at one stage that the Korean government was going to lay the banhammer on bitcoin but thankfully that didn’t come to pass. Incidentally, we try not to get self-congratulatory, but our Korean coverage this week was more extensive than that of any other news organization outside of the country. Just so ya know.
Speaking of Bubbles…
Regulators have yet to K-pop Korea’s bitcoin bubble, but should the global “bubble” burst, one app claims to be able to provide early warning so you can dump your coins, do a 360 and moonwalk away. It remains to be seen whether it works, and indeed whether it’s bitcoin that will burst or the global financial system.
If it’s the latter, bitcoin might just become the world’s first impermeable bubble. Get inside while you still can, but don’t mortgage the house or sell your kids to do so. Do that and you’re either gonna have a good time or a really bad time.
Whatever the case, it’s really not worth the risk. Intriguing as that bitcoin bubble app is (created using one of this year’s overused buzzwords, AI), it didn’t make our top 10 bitcoin apps that should be on your smartphone. Like, right now.
And speaking of bubbles, someone’s created a website called Send Crypto People Tulips. Choose the percentage that the market should drop by before your designated crypto bull is sent a picture of a tulip and a snarky message while you “Relish in that fact that You Were Right™”. Fedoras doffed to whoever created that slice of smugness.
Bitcoin Gets Real
Back in the real world, Tuesday brought news that GMO employees in Japan could now claim a portion of their salaries in bitcoin, the lucky devils.
Could crypto wages be the new pension funds? Many of our most popular stories emanated from Asia this week, showing the extent to which the east is dominating the crypto markets. In the easy reading stakes, we brought news of a Chinese investor snapping up £4 million worth of Formula One cars with litecoin.
Had they just waited 48 hours, they could have bought £8 million worth of F1 following litecoin’s crazy midweek run. We examined the reasons for litecoin’s sudden success in Bitcoin Can’t Stop Breaking Things, writing: Accelerated fees for bitcoin transactions are currently around $25. For the same price five days ago you could have bought a quarter of a litecoin.
As the only remaining ‘cheap’ coin on Coinbase, and one of the few sub-$100 alts in the cryptocurrency top 10, it was inevitable that litecoin would rise sooner or later.
Bitcoin Celebrates Seven Days Hack-Free
Since Nicehash got owned last week, there hasn’t been a major breach on any bitcoin-related platforms; just the usual exchange shadiness. (Yes, Bitfinex included.)
There was plenty of petty crime to report though, and evidence of an emerging trend: governments seizing bitcoin only to discover, months later, that they’re sitting on a small fortune. It feels wrong somehow, as they seem to be incapable of appreciating their good fortune or speaking kindly of the digital currency that’s just boosted their departmental budgets.
As a coda to last week’s story about a woman getting busted for ordering a deep web hitman, it’s been reported that she’s just been jailed for six years. Don’t order a darknet assassin to whack your lover. It’s just not worth it.
Thursday’s biggest stories pertained to the Israeli PM speaking of bitcoin’s inevitable rise and yet another bitcoin fork. United Bitcoin has failed to live up to its name and bring the community together, enraging critics with its proposal of repurposing coins from inactive wallets. Yep, even Satoshi will be deprived of his United Bitcoins unless he stirs from hibernation to claim them.
One More Thing…
Okay, a few more things. We’re way overlength with this week’s roundup, but blame bitcoin for being so busy. We reported on major bitcoin cash developments including Bitpay support and the first atomic swap. The pineapple fund, involving an anonymous benefactor giving millions in BTC to charity, was this week’s feel-good story.
We rounded things off on Sunday with Eric Wall’s trading column in which he recommended buy and hold strategies for 2018. As bitcoin started making eyes at $20k territory, it was a fine end to another fine week in bitcoin. With CME futures launching tomorrow, the stage is set for another memorable seven days ahead.