Category Archives: 2019

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How the ICO Market Has Been Regaining Investor Faith

How the ICO Market Has Been Regaining Investor Faith

In 2018, funds raised from initial coin offerings (ICOs) fell dramatically from over USD 1 and a half billion in January, to under USD 75 million in December.

However, new data showing the activities of the month of May so far indicates that investor faith has begun to regain strength in the light of increasingly highly-rated ICO projects, with 85% of the total projects receiving a high rating between 3-3.5 stars. This is a significant increase, even from April 2019 which claimed an average of just 68% of projects gaining this trusted star rating.

As many viewed ICOs and similar token events as a groundbreaking new way to fund startup projects in the blockchain space, the slow fizzle out of popularity last year was highly disappointing. It seemed to be that these token offerings had collapsed under the weight of up to 80% scam projects flooding the market, as well as crashing prices across nearly all cryptocurrency.

ICO bench data shows that 157 ICOs have been launched in May so far, expanding the total number of published projects to 5,512. There are currently 287 ongoing ICOS, with a further 140 expected in the near future.

A summary of the ICObench ICO Market Half-Monthly Analysis May 2019 report can be accessed for free with a trial subscription on the platform.

Moving away from the established model

Trends away from the established ICO model are likely in reaction to the poor quality and trust standards that became prominent amongst ICOs, beginning in 2017.

The month of May 2019 has so far been overwhelmed by Bitfinex’s USD 1 billion initial exchange offering (IEO) — a relatively new model available to investors where they can participate in a centralized cryptocurrency exchange’s token offering. The exchange involved operates the sales, vetting both the project and prospective investors.

Bitfinex’s IEO has contributed significantly towards this month’s roughly USD 1.075 billion collected in token sales — the highest total funds raised in 2019 to date.

This year has also seen a rise in popularity of security token offerings (STOs). STOs claim to offer a more trusted model than the ICO as the security token issued to investors represents an investment contract, acting similar to ownership information given to investors in the stocks or bonds, just recorded on the blockchain via the token instead.

STOs can be seen as a lower risk than ICOs because they are protected by securities laws that the tokens must comply with, legally enforcing transparency and accountability from the project behind the token.

STOs raised USD 1 and a half million in March 2019; this figure jumps up to over USD 5 and a half million in May so far.

Indeed, because active ICOs have a higher average trust rating than one year ago, it enforces greater trust in investments made across the cryptocurrency market.

The move towards alternative token investment models such as STOs and IEOs could certainly be one reason investors are regaining trust in early blockchain project investment. However, May’s bullish market performance could certainly have also had a great impact on the number of investors willing to participate in token offerings.


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Female Blockchain Pioneers Are Taking Center Stage at Conferences Globally

Female Blockchain Pioneers are Taking Center Stage at Conferences Globally

Despite the gender gap in technology gradually becoming more balanced, a recent report has shown that females account for just 20% of employees in tech-related fields. Whilst this disparity may be discouraging, blockchain conferences internationally have played a crucial role in giving female tech pioneers a platform to showcase their success.

Here are some of the leading women from the blockchain industry who have contributed significantly to the progression of the industry, and participating in upcoming conferences as headline speakers.

Elizbeth Stark: Co-Founder and CEO of Lightning Labs

Elizabeth Stark is arguably one of the most influential female leaders in blockchain. Her company Lightning Labs is behind the major developments of the Layer 2 solution for Bitcoin, the Lightning Network, looking to build a payment channel that is both quicker and cheaper. Many people see the Lightning Network as the missing link that can help promote Bitcoin for everyday payments such as a morning cup of coffee.

Stark received her Juris Doctor degree from Harvard and has taught classes at top US universities, Stanford and Yale.

She is high demand speaker at blockchain events. In the next month, Stark will be at the Global Conference 2019 at the Milken Institute 28 April – 1 May, and Magical Crypto Conference 11-12 May 2019 in New York.

Donna Redel: Professor lecturing in blockchain and cryptocurrency

Donna Redel has a background in financial governance and performance, previously holding tenure as COMEX Chairman as well as Managing Director and Board Member at the World Economic Forum. Now, she is focusing her attention primarily on educating future leaders and promoting the financial literacy of women. Additionally, Redel is an angel investor and philanthropist.

Redel teaches courses on blockchain and cryptocurrency as a professor at Fordham Law. She is booked to give a keynote speech on industry leadership at the Ethereal Summit 2019 in New York on 10-11 May.

MEP Eva Kaili: Leading progressive blockchain legislation in Europe

Eva Kaili is a Member of the European Parliament from Greece. She has made a name for herself as one of the most progressive voices within the parliament regarding blockchain and cryptocurrency regulation in the EU, producing a Blockchain Resolution last year after becoming concerned with potential resistance to blockchain from ”the systems that failed us.” She is also responsible for bringing an initial coin offering resolution to parliament.

Within the European Parliament, she is a member of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists & Democrats, as well as chairing the Future of Science & Technology board.

Kaili is a headline speaker at the Future Blockchain Summit in Dubai 31 March-1 April 2020.


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Bitmain Reveals Next-Gen Antminer S17 Launch Date

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Major cryptocurrency mining equipment manufacturer Bitmain has revealed the launch date for its latest technology, the Antminer S17 series.

Comprised of three different models: the Antminer S17 Pro, Antminer S17, and Antminer T17, the series will go on sale internationally on 9 April. Bitmain claims the second-generation 7nm ASIC chips will save 28.6% energy consumption during the mining process. While the company says the S17 series will operate at a higher hash rate, they did not reveal further details regarding numbers.

The company noted that with heavy electricity costs in relation to Bitcoin’s current prices, the ”improved energy efficiency” of the new models will lead to a ”significant drop in costs,” improving the profit margin.

It was recently revealed that Bitmain would deploy 200,00 of its own mining devices to Southwestern China after an executive decision was made that it would be more profitable to do so than to sell them.

A poorly performing cryptocurrency market has influenced fiscally conservative policies for the company. Bitmain closed its Israel center in December and reduced its Netherland operations earlier this year in January.

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State of Stablecoins 2019 Report: ”A Giant Educational Resource”

State of Stablecoins 2019 Report: ''A Giant Educational Resource''

Published today, 20 February 2019, a new report into the state of stablecoins shows the most popular blockchains they have been built upon, their most popular use cases and how the companies behind them view regulations.

The findings of the State of Stablecoins 2019 Report have been compiled from responses to a survey that was issued to all companies that are actively working on stablecoin projects. Over 40 of these companies responded to this request, with the report notably boasting contributions from emerging thought leaders in the industry such as Nevin Freeman, CEO of Reserve, Jonas Karlberg, CEO of AmaZix, and Michel Rauchs of the University of Cambridge.

Bitcoin News also caught up with the lead author of the report, blockchain analyst George Samman , who shared just how important he believes stablecoins will be for the future of money.

Key findings

Note: These responses pertain to 38 tabulated surveys. Some participants declined to answer certain questions; these responses are not included.

  • 68.4% (26) of the stable coins were built on the Ethereum blockchain, Stellar was the second most popular choice with 7.9 % (3) choosing its native blockchain.
  • 52.6% (20) aimed to be a currency, store of value, or medium of exchange.
  • Transparency was the top factor influencing market confidence, claimed 34.2% (13) of respondents.
  • 36.8% (14) viewed the related industry regulations favorably.

While acting like a currency, store of value, or medium of exchange was the most popular target use for the surveyed stablecoin companies, other projects said they were looking to offer a variety of alternative financial services, including the provision of a credit or loan facility, trading facility wage options and facilitating gold trading.

One in three of the surveyed participants regarded regulations favorably, with some saying they believe stablecoins will likely be viewed more favorable than conventional cryptocurrencies in this regard. A number of the companies had already successfully achieved a fully compliant status, although 13.2% (5) had an unfavorable view of regulations altogether, saying self-governance and complete decentralization where crucial for the nascent industry. A common view between these groups, however, was the need for clarity in regulatory oversight

The report takes several examples of failing fiat currency, focusing on the cases of Venezuela and Angola, to highlight why stablecoins can take their place as a successful alternative to the failings of monetary policy. 5 main factors are given to illustrate the weaknesses of fiat not only in these cases but with government-issued currencies on a macro scale: 1) it is backed by nothing, 2) there is a centralized authority controlling interest rates and the money supply, 3)unsustainable global debt levels, 4) unfunded liabilities and 5) military spending.

The paper also acknowledges several of the weaknesses attributed to the different categories of stablecoins. IOU insurance, or real asset-backed stablecoins, require a third-party custodian to secure the physical reserves, also requiring strong regulatory oversight to ensure transparency. Crypto-collateralized stablecoins can have high volatility, with their longevity dependent on the performance of said cryptocurrency. They are also vulnerable to hacks as the collateral rests on the blockchain. Seigniorage shares, or non-collateralised stablecoins, remain highly controversial, with the highest vulnerability to cryptocurrency market crashes, with liquidation not possible during these periods.

Stablecoins: taking over money as it stands today

First setting up the context of the report with a brief history of money and why it has become an unstable concept for many regions, the report continues on to discuss the retaliatory rise of cryptocurrency and stablecoins, noting the different types of stablecoins and how the space is developing. Many of the projects that are building different categories of stablecoins are surmised, with much of the content collected from the surveys cited within the report.

Sammon relayed to Bitcoin News largely optimistic feedback regarding stablecoins from the contributing sources, saying many were “intrigued with the concept”.

When asked why it is so important to better understand stablecoins, the author responded:

“Money systems are broken in many parts of the world. Many governments have lost control of their monetary policy and it has destabilized countries and reduced their wealth… Inflation and hyperinflation are more common than people think and having a stable and transparent money option can solve a lot of problems for those afflicted by bad monetary policy.”

Sammon believes this failure of the state has given non-government issued currency and stablecoins the ideal opportunity to offer an alternative solution.

Although there has been a great interest in stablecoins in the past year with several dedicated reports already having been published, Sammon says the addition of a questionnaire involving 40 companies in the industry is something unique this report can claim.

“It becomes a giant educational resource for anyone interested in money and why stable coins are an evolution of money,” he told Bitcoin News.

Samman thinks that stablecoins will evolve past the asset-backed subcategory dominant today, primarily because many of these are backed by fiat which are themselves inherently unstable, with most fiat currencies failing to last beyond thirty years. Instead, crypto-collateralized and algorithmic stable coins may well prove to be the bigger innovations in the field, competing to become the decentralized banks for the internet.

“Personally, I feel these projects and the ones that aren’t tied to traditional financial institutions hold the most promise”, said Samman.


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They’re Coming: Stablecoins, Security Tokens, Institutional Crypto

They're Coming: Stablecoins, Security Tokens, Institutional Crypto

Circle research indicates that with the hype of the ICO market becoming a distant memory and Dapps development strong, a market trend reversal is possible in 2019 with stablecoins, security tokens, and institutional crypto leading the recovery.

These findings were released in a retrospective report examining and reflecting on the major achievements, events, performance, and activities of cryptocurrency in 2018.

The report reveals that Bitcoin profited from altcoin drops in value in 2018, gaining a 50% dominance as a result. Its fees, along with those of Ethereum, dropped by 90% over the course of the year. The report also showed how ICO activity reduced in the second half of 2018 due to increased regulation, putting further downward pressure on the cryptocurrency market.

Looking ahead to 2019, the report points out that stablecoins, security tokens, and institutional crypto by providing the solution of real-world problems and adding more certainty to the crypto space as a whole. Part of the problem in 2018, according to Circle, was that the kind of projects being invested in had no real-world impact but where being invested in for short-term financial gain.

It cites this factor as leading to the market crash of 2018 which actually lead to the demise of many worthwhile projects along with solid projections with strong foundations and good teams behind them. However, it is some of these more worthwhile projects which the report sees as re-emerging in 2019.

The company backed global exchange Poloniex and USDC stablecoin, and was the first virtual currency company to be approved by the British government and the first to receive a Bitlicence from New York State in 2015.



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CoinList CEO Predicts Quiet but Innovative Year for Crypto

CoinList CEO Predicts Quiet but Innovative Year for Crypto

CEO Andy Bromberg of digital asset companies platform CoinList is predicting a constructive but quiet 2019 for cryptocurrencies.

Reflecting on what has been and what he feels is coming, Bromberg suggests that construction will become a central focus of many companies over the year. Although he suggests that 2019 is “going to be quiet for a little bit” after a bearish 2018, the intent will be on creation rather than trade.

With Bitcoin (BTC) down by 74% and both Ethereum (ETH) and Ripple (XRP) falling by 84%, most traders and investors would like to forget 2018 and look forward to a more promising 2019. Bromberg takes a philosophical view of recent events arguing:

“[In 2019] it feels like people are focused on building… I think the market is going to be quiet for a little bit, while people focus on actually creating things. It feels like a little bit of a Mesopotamia, ‘cradle of civilization’ moment, where everyone has the ingredients they need, needs to focus in and start to build out those empires, and create what the future is going to look like, and that’s what this year is going to be about.”

He recently echoed these sentiments to the Wall Street Journal, suggesting that crypto products really need to be turned into usable commodities and for most that would be the challenge for the future, to exploit the technology and make it practical and useful. He also said that one positive development has been that there was now significantly less hype surrounding the cryptocurrency space after some of the well-publicized ICO failures of 2018.


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MIT: Blockchain Boring but Useful in 2019

MIT: Blockchain Boring but Useful in 2019

An article published by MIT Technology Review claims blockchain technology will ”start to become mundane” in 2019, but also ”more useful.”

Framing 2018 as a disappointing year for blockchain, based on the poor performance of the cryptocurrency market. The review published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology- (MIT) owned website says 2019 will become the year blockchain technology becomes normalized following the developments of major corporations in the sector.

Giving examples of the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street and American retail outlet Walmart, the commentary predicts both will act as a catalyst for making 2019 ”the year that blockchain technology finally becomes normal.”

The emergence of state-backed digital currencies and smart contracts are also offered as positive indicators for the year ahead in blockchain, with the former contemplated to be the opposite of what the original cryptocurrency revolutionaries envisaged for their creations. Venezuela’s own Petro token is labeled ”either a scam or a flop,” although a more promising perspective is given to the other 15 or so central banks looking into issuing their own digital currencies.

While the article acknowledges that the hype surrounding the technology is subsiding, it appreciates that the forthcoming developments will help push it into the mainstream purview.


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Two Influential Authors Expose Subscribers to Bitcoin

Two Influential Authors Expose Subscribers to Bitcoin

The exposure of bitcoin and altcoins as alternate means of transfer of value is spreading like a wildfire, still, the adoption rate is quite incomparable to the level of awareness. Two influential authors have taken a rather unconventional route – being outside the cryptocurrency space to exploring the subject of Bitcoin.

Tony Robbins, an influential life coach and author of bestselling ‘Awaken the giant within’ – sold over 2 million copies – recently took to Twitter and directed his 3 million+ followers to an article written by Team Tony describing Bitcoin in a simple language for the layperson to grasp. The article was written when bitcoin was USD 9,979 and from the tweet, a few have engaged showing conversance with the subject.

Indeed, according to the article, “trying to explain bitcoin is like trying to explain the Internet to someone in the 80s,” this has become a common analogy to establish a baseline reference for the nascent technology behind bitcoin – blockchain. However, the article did a good job explaining what the technology is all about and how the cryptocurrency functions as a decentralized currency and “like other currencies and commodities,” its usage are relative to supply, demand and perceived value.

Another prominent influencer, author and professor at the University of Toronto Jordan B. Peterson, a clinical psychologist who sold over 2 million copies of his latest book ‘12 Rules for Life’, recently included a bitcoin address to his website for donation purposes.

Peterson’s experience stemmed from the fact that “MC/Visa/PayPal/Patreon [are] transforming themselves into censors?” He began looking for alternatives to subscription content service Patreon after a recent incident involving a ban without prior warning to a video creator with over 800,000 subscribers. He, having over 1.7 million subscribers on YouTube decided to source for alternative crowdfunding solutions.

These eye-opening events are a few of the countless Bitcoin and cryptocurrency exposures happening around the globe daily. More people are finding their way to the subject of the decentralized economy and asset handling.

Remarkably, a sum total of about 4 million subscribers from these two influential authors alone would have been exposed to the subject at some point and would begin considering the reality of a decentralized economy – that is for those not already onboard.

With 2018 being a very bearish year for cryptocurrencies, many thought it was an opportunity for sifting crypto-projects, and further expect 2019 to be a year of more solid blockchain infrastructures and the influx of institutional investors


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