Crypto’s 2019 arguably started with a bang, which was in stark contrast to the holiday season’s lull. The Bitcoin Network, for one, turned ten years old, just as a number of bullish development blessed crypto startups. Many hope that this positive momentum will continue to influence this industry in the months to come.

Crypto Tidbits:

  • Paypal Bans The Hacker News: Last week, The Hacker News (THN), a well-respected cybersecurity news portal, took to Twitter to express its distaste towards Paypal. According to THN’s company statement on the matter, Paypal permanently banned its accounts without mentioning a specific rationale. Paypal even purportedly rubbed salt on THN’s wound, so to speak, claiming that it would be holding wallet funds for six months, failing to cite a reason yet again. After some warranted banter, the American financial services firm explained that “specific reasons for such a decision is proprietary & [will not be] released,” skirting THN’s inquiry for the umpteenth time. This quip caused Bitcoin proponents to begin touting crypto’s merits. Matt Odell, a Bitcoin advocate, claimed that when there’s nowhere left to turn, BTC is always there. Marty Bent, a crypto-centric media creator, explained that payment processors have begun to lose their minds, likely referencing the worldwide theme of growing digital censorship. Bent added that it’s time to “level up” through Bitcoin, which will leave the “power drunk companies” in the dust.
  • Crypto Startup Digitizes Tesla, Apple, Nasdaq Stocks As Ethereum Tokens: DX.Exchange, a crypto startup headquartered in Estonia and Israel, will be tokenizing the shares of Tesla, Apple, Facebook, and seven other Nasdaq-based stocks. This system will allow the firm’s users to trade the aforementioned stocks on the Ethereum blockchain, even when American markets are shuttered for the night or weekend. Eventually, the fintech company intends to expand its offerings to equities listed on the New York Stock Exchange, Tokyo’s Nikkei, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng. These digital representations of stocks will be fully-collateralized, with MPS MarketPlace Securities, acting as the centralized counterparty.
  • Mike Novogratz Doubles-Down on Crypto: Mike Novogratz, a former Fortress Investments top brass turned fervent cryptocurrency investor, bought 7.5 million ordinary shares of Galaxy Digital, a crypto-friendly merchant bank he founded, for a grand total of $7.42 million Canadian dollars ($4.8M U.S.). With this purchase, he now controls 80% of Galaxy (GLXY) stock. When this news broke, the shares of the firm surged by 40% on the day, moving up to $1.4 Canadian dollars apiece.
  • Fortnite Merchandise Store Adopts Monero Payments: Per Riccardo Spagni and the Monero core team, the Fortnite merchandise store now takes payments in the privacy-centric cryptocurrency. This integration was enabled by Globee and paid for by a number of Monero community members and the aforementioned payment processor itself. Referencing the popular “Battle Royale” game, Spagni quipped on Twitter that “now you can purchase that sweet Durrr Burger onesie without your friends, family, or coworkers judging you,” evidently touching on Monero’s inherent privacy features. Interestingly, Globee accepts Bitcoin, along with a number of other leading cryptocurrencies, but the payment medium limited cryptocurrency transactions to solely XMR.
  • Bitcoin Blockchain Turns Ten Years Old: On January 3rd, 2019, the Bitcoin blockchain celebrated its tenth birthday. Just ten years ago, Satoshi Nakamoto made the first transaction using BTC. Due to the importance of this auspicious day, the cryptocurrency community was evidently joyous and in a celebratory mood. BitMEX put a multi-page advertisement in The Times in an evident reference to Bitcoin’s origins. A number of decentralists celebrated Proof of Keys, an initiative headed by early crypto entrepreneur Trace Mayer that implores investors to withdraw their cryptocurrencies from exchanges. Prominent cryptocurrency content creators celebrated the day by singing One Million Dreams, a song from the blockbuster movie “The Greatest Showman.”
  • Bitcoin Advocate Tuur Demeester Bashes Ethereum: Last week, Tuur Demeester, an altcoin cynic, Bitcoin proponent, and investor, compiled his years of skepticism towards Ethereum, issuing a 50-part Twitter thread on the matter. Through his scathing messages, Demeester, the founder of Adamant Capital, a so-called “Bitcoin Alpha Fund,” conveyed a multitude of reasons why he’s skeptical of the project. The Bitcoiner noted that Ethereum’s underlying architecture and culture is the stark opposite of Bitcoin’s. Yet, the former project is apparently still seeking to achieve decentralization and immutability, while becoming a store of value, an asset issuance platform, and a smart contract facilitator. He added that Ether’s current market capitalization of ~$15 billion is overinflated, as he sees the project as a “science experiment at best.” Since Demeester’s rant has gained traction on Twitter, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin has responded.
  • Coinbase May Launch Subscription Model: An apparent survey from Coinbase has polled users on the appeal of a subscription model, which would reduce “maker” and “taker” fees for Pro traders, while offering perks for premium members. If implemented, this program would be the first of its kind in the cryptosphere, and would likely propel the company’s trading platforms to new heights.
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