This week in crypto

A recompilation of some of this week’s cryptocurrency activity shows that the Bitcoin ecosystem is rapidly evolving in 2020. Just barely a month has been put in the books, but not a day goes by without some advance being seen in crypto technology, regulations or operations. As the first week of February comes to a close, it is becoming more apparent that this year is going to see a lot of positive action as digital currencies continue to play a more prominent role in finance.

Despite India not yet knowing how it wants to view the crypto world, at least one exchange is willing to weather the storm and see what happens. Zebpay has announced that it will make a return to the country after shutting down just a year ago over regulatory confusion. Perhaps this will be the year that the Reserve Bank of India wakes up and realizes that it can’t stop progress.

While they are at varying stages of addressing the technology, more central banks than ever are broaching the subject of central bank digital currency (CBDC). According to a recent study, four countries have already launched a CBDC, nine have something in development and five more are looking at pilot projects to break into the industry. It’s only a matter of time before digital currency becomes as mainstream as email and streaming TV.

Some crypto companies in the UK are going to soon have to start shelling out more money to operate in the country. The Financial Conduct Authority has released a new fee schedule that will force companies with income of up to £250,000 (a little less than $327,000) to pay around £2,000 (about $2,600), while those that earn over that amount will be charged £10,000 ($13,000). The agency justifies the charges as being aligned to what is needed to properly oversee the industry.

Bitberry, a South Korean crypto wallet that has strong ties to the Upbit crypto exchange, is shutting down at the end of this month. It argues that its profits have weakened to the point that keeping the wallet running is no longer economically viable, and urges users to withdraw their funds before it’s too late.

It comes as no surprise to anyone that Venezuela’s Petro is falling flat. Even domestically, no one wants to have anything to do with the state-backed supposed stablecoin, and many merchants won’t even allow the currency to be used for payments. Also as no surprise, the growing sentiment in the country is that Petro is nothing more than a scam.

A lawyer who worked for the fraudulent OneCoin project wants to be vindicated. He has been convicted for being involved in the company as it laundered over $400 million, but claims he’s innocent and wants a judge to throw out the charges. His argument is that he wasn’t aware of what was going on and only rarely met with the alleged masterminds behind the fraud. However, he probably won’t find a lot of sympathy, as court testimony showed that he had moved massive amounts of money between bank accounts in various countries.

Despite certain exchanges’ attempts at suppressing Bitcoin SV (BSV) last year, the digital currency’s market position shows that it has prevailed. It gained 43% last month, more than any of the other top coins, and will only continue to improve over the long-term, thanks to the recently completed Genesis upgrade. As simply as that, BSV now has no hard cap in place for block size and has unlimited scaling capabilities – positive claims that no other crypto blockchain can make.

The fight between the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Telegram lingers on, with the financial regulator launching one accusation after another at the global messaging platform and its GRAM token sale. The SEC has asserted that Telegram never developed a usable product for which the GRAMS had been offered, but the company showed this week that this wasn’t the case. It released a white paper, providing the backstory to the Telegram Open Network blockchain, and what work has been done to move it forward.

While some countries appear to be ready to step lightly into the crypto space and others are determined to see it go away, Australia is one of the few countries that has seen the future. Establishing a number of regulations and laws that will help the ecosystem flourish, the exchanges that enter the fray are willing to play by the rules and allow the market to evolve as a viable and legitimate offering. It’s only a matter of time before other countries are forced to follow suit.

The crypto realm has already shown signs of vast improvement. Technology has advanced, making it harder for hackers to steal funds, but this doesn’t stop them from trying. According to Chainalysis, crypto-stealing malware is getting more sophisticated in response to innovative security protection; however, they’re also becoming less productive. By most accounts, the money that crooks have been able to pilfer has been cut in half in just one year.

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