Bitcoin made another attempt to break the $20,000 barrier early Sunday, rising to a new high of $19,783.06 for a brief time. That record high was a 5% increase from Saturday’s price, and came on the same day CME Group launched trading for its highly-anticipated Bitcoin futures contracts. The price later fell to as low as $18,334, as measured by Coindesk’s BPI.
European Union lawmakers have finally come to an agreement on proposed rule changes designed to prevent criminals and terrorists from using digital exchange platforms for terrorism and money laundering.
The head of the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has a message for anyone thinking about investing in Bitcoin: only invest if you’re prepared to lose your money. In a recent interview, the FCA’s Andrew Bailey cautioned would-be Bitcoin buyers to invest carefully, since the current dramatic price increases for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin could eventually end.
2017 has been a breakout year for digital currencies, as many of the most popular coins have seen their prices increase to dramatic new heights. That increase in price has generated an unprecedented interest in cryptocurrencies, as media outlets, financial institutions, and government officials around the world have weighed in with analysis, reports, and opinions. Public interest has also been strong, as evidenced by recently-released information from Google.
Liberty Leaf Holdings Ltd. has announced a partnership with BLOX Labs Inc, for the development of a blockchain-based smart contract platform for use in supply chain management within the legalized Cannabis industry. When complete, cannaBLOX will provide the supply chain transparency necessary to gain the trust of regulators.
Two of the world’s largest digital currency exchanges experienced partial service outages on Tuesday, amid increased interest in many of the top cryptocurrencies. In a Twitter announcement, Bitfinex claimed that it was suffering a “heavy” denial-of-service attack. It also confirmed that its API was down. Meanwhile, Coinbase acknowledged that its operations were experiencing a partial system outage.
Monday saw the first full day of BCOE’s Bitcoin futures trading, as prices for the contracts surged throughout the day. The markets were so volatile that the exchange temporarily halted trading on two separate occasions early in the day, with one two-minute trading suspension and then a second halt that lasted for five minutes.
The UK government has reportedly asked its spy service to conduct a review of potential risks related to Bitcoin, according to a report in The Telegraph. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has been tasked with exploring cryptocurrency technology, learning more about how it works, and identifying potential risks. At the same time, the agency has been asked to evaluate the benefits offered by blockchain technology.
In some quarters, Bitcoin has been referred to as digital gold. Now, thanks to online precious metals retailer APMEX, that digital gold can be used to purchase the real thing. The company recently announced the new payment option in a press release, and has integrated BitPay into its website portal to facilitate the purchases.
Digital currency enthusiasts and outside observers alike have been intently focused on Bitcoin’s volatile price activity over the course of the last several days, as the world’s most well-known cryptocurrency soared to more than $18,000 before declining to around $15,000 earlier today. As Bitcoin was enjoying that record-setting run, the Coinbase mobile app enjoyed another type of milestone on Thursday. As Bloomberg reports:
Bitcoin’s recent price increases continued unabated on Wednesday, as the world’s most well-known digital currency roared to new highs above $14,000. In the last twenty-four hours alone, Bitcoin has repeatedly set new record highs, breaking through the $12K, $13K, and $14K price barriers. The gains increased Bitcoin’s total market capitalization to more than $246 billion.
The Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) announced Monday that it will begin to offer Bitcoin futures trading options to its customers on Sunday evening. The CBOE announcement said that futures trading will launch at 5:00 p.m. CT on December 10 to coincide with the start of Global Trading Hours, with the following day marking the first full day of trading.
According to a written response to Parliament from Lord Michael Bates, Minister of State at the Department for International Development, the UK government appears to be moving closer to issuing regulations for Bitcoin and other digital currencies. Bates issued a statement answering questions from Parliament Member Lord Jonathan Harris that covered topics ranging from crypto use for tax payments to regulation and banks that refuse to provide account services to cryptocurrency businesses.
In Thursday’s White House press briefing, Fox News’ Washington Correspondent Blake Burman asked Press Secretary Sarah Sanders about President Donald J. Trump’s awareness of Bitcoin’s dramatic increase in value, and his thoughts on possible regulatory action from the government:
Foreign Minister Arun Jaitley declared on Friday that the government of India does not recognize digital currency as “legal currency.” The Economic Times reported that Jaitley also suggested that the government has yet to formulate an official position on Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. In response to a question about the Indian government’s position, he noted:
The Internal Revenue Service won a victory this week in its battle to force Coinbase to provide information about the company’s customers. On Tuesday, a judge issued an order requiring the digital currency exchange to hand over details that identify a total of 14,355 customer accounts – information that the tax agency hopes will help it to collect any unpaid back taxes related to those customers’ Bitcoin transactions.
The last month saw much attention turning towards Bitcoin Cash’s meteoric rise from a relatively irrelevant Bitcoin sibling, trading at around 0.085 / BTC to rally by a factor of six to an all time high of 0.53 / BTC, before retracing back by 70% to 0.16 / BTC at press time. The megalithic bull run coincided with the announcement that the Bitcoin2x fork planned for November 16 would be suspended — with the Bitcoin2x developers citing disruption to community cohesion as the reason for the cancellation.
The value proposition debate between Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash has centred around each network’s ability to scale the number of transactions they can simultaneously process, the speed at which transactions are verified, and the security risks from centralization that may result from their respective approaches in doing so. The security provided by the distributed nature of blockchains remains Bitcoin’s best differentiator and value proposition compared to mainstream payment vehicles, and any upgrades that might threaten Bitcoin’s decentralized nature — reducing the number of nodes, or moving payment information off the blockchain onto secondary layers – will be fraught with controversy.
Tokyo-based Bitcoin exchange bitFlyer has announced the launch of bitFlyer USA, which will provide digital currency trading services to customers in the United States. The company announced that it has been approved for a New York BitLicense, and has obtained licenses to operate in 40 additional US states and the District of Columbia.
Bitcoin extended its rally this weekend, as it continued to set new price records throughout the day on Sunday. Earlier in the day, the world’s most well-known digital currency surpassed $9,000 for the first time ever. Hours later, that price stood at above $9,700. At press time, that price still hovered near those lofty heights, at $9,674.
During an event this week, the Chairman of the Swiss National Bank offered a cautious assessment of digital currencies. According to a report from Reuters, Chairman Thomas Jordan suggested that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies should be viewed “more as an investment than a currency.” He also confirmed that the central bank is currently examining digital currencies: