Hodler’s Digest, Aug. 5–11: Naughty North Korea, India’s Bombshell, LTC Flops
Naughty North Korea has stolen billions in crypto, India could be missing out on billions in crypto, and Litecoin’s halving disappoints.
Coming every Sunday, Hodler’s Digest will help you track every single important news story that happened this week. The best (and worst) quotes, adoption and regulation highlights, leading coins, predictions and much more — a week on Cointelegraph in one link.
Top Stories This Week
The United States Federal Reserve left some crypto enthusiasts unimpressed this week when it unveiled plans to release a real-time payments and settlements service. Known as FedNow, it is hoped the infrastructure will lead to faster transactions 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Presently, it is set to launch some time in 2023 or 2024. Morgan Creek Digital Assets co-founder Anthony Pompliano was dismissive of the plans, tweeting: “Bitcoin is already available.” Despite his oozing sarcasm, other crypto-related companies have leapt at the chance to make a contribution. Back in June, Ripple Labs announced it had been elected to a Fed steering committee connected to the project.
Long faced with punishing sanctions that have exacerbated the desperate poverty faced by millions of North Koreans — and stymied the development of its weapons of mass destruction programs — Pyongyang has turned to hacking crypto exchanges in recent years to fund its regime. This week, the United Nations gave an updated estimate of the illicit proceeds naughty North Korea has gained through these cyber attacks: a whopping $2 billion. In a confidential report that made its way to the mainstream media this week, the U.N. warned that South Korea appears to be a specific target of the secretive state’s malice. All this comes as Kim Jong Un continues to test ballistic missiles — executing five launches over recent weeks.
A bill has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that aims to stop crypto transactions from being taxed twice. Rep. Ted Budd (NC-R), who is spearheading the initiative, fears that current rules imposed by the Internal Revenue Service are affecting adoption rates. If successful, Budd’s bill could have huge ramifications for the crypto world, and it’s the latest attempt to try to achieve tax code clarity for investors. Meanwhile, on the other side of the pond, the taxman in the United Kingdom is reportedly requesting crypto exchanges to reveal details about British customers and their transactions in a quest to clamp down on tax evasion.
Excited investors hoping for some sizeable gains when Litecoin halved block rewards this week were left disappointed. On Monday, the incentive offered per block of mined transactions was slashed from 25 LTC to 12.5 LTC — with feverish speculation that the increased scarcity would give prices a shot in the arm. In the end, LTC rose just 13% to hit $104 — and since then, prices have been in decline, dipping to the low $80s. Bitcoin comfortably outperformed Litecoin and other altcoins. Eric Turner, from the Messari blockchain analytics firm, told Al Jazeera: “Now that the halving is here, some investors are starting to exit the trade. Halvings tend to be priced in, so the event itself isn’t the positive catalyst that many expect.”
Big news this week as reports emerged that 15 global jurisdictions — G-7 countries among them — are developing a system to track crypto transactions. By collecting and distributing personal data on individuals who dabble in digital currencies, the Financial Action Task Force is hoping to prevent crypto from being used for money laundering, terrorism financing and other illicit activities. Such an initiative could pave the way for legal measures to be launched globally. Details are expected to be fleshed out in 2020, and it is believed that the private sector will be responsible for managing the system once it goes into force.
Winners and Losers
At the end of the week, Bitcoin is at $11,397.73, Ether at $210.53 and XRP at $0.30. The total market cap is at $296,235,673,082.
The top three altcoin gainers of the week are Block-Chain.com, EUNOMIA and SounDAC. The top three altcoin losers of the week are Maya Preferred 223, CJs and Ubricoin.