Weekly update: Important developments in cryptocurrency space Dec 7, 2019

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2019 is almost over and 2020 is poised to be an exciting year for cryptocurrency and blockchain advancement. Around the world, there will be a lot of changes as governments and regulators continue to reach the same conclusion—digital currency is here and needs to be embraced. Leading up to this next step in the evolutionary cycle, the Bitcoin community is still having to deal with its ups and downs.

The IDAX crypto exchange was forced to stop deposits and withdrawals this week after its CEO suddenly disappeared. The Asian exchange is still trying to sort out the mess, but users could be looking at losses that might run in the millions of dollars.

Russia has a definite love-hate relationship with crypto. The country is having a difficult time coming up with regulations for the space, even though other countries have been able to easily implement new guidance, and has reportedly amassed huge stockpiles in an attempt to circumvent international sanctions. However, the central bank is considering a complete ban on the use of digital currency as a means of payment of any kind. Its “opinion” is that crypto can’t be used as a type of currency, despite the fact that there is no logical reason it couldn’t be.

While Western countries struggle to understand what blockchain is and what it means to business development, Asian countries are well on their way to becoming blockchain-centric. The latest example is the massive $140-million investment the OK Group is making for blockchain research and development in China. The project will explore using blockchain in education, healthcare, food safety, charity” and other sectors.

Bitcoin SV (BSV) continues to impress. Those who scoffed at the idea that large blocks and on-chain scaling were possible are now having to admit they were wrong as BSV is proving to be a large-capacity, stable blockchain and crypto. According to Coin.Dance, BSV is now handling more transactions per day than BTC. Given the age difference between the two—BTC has been around for about 11 years and BSV only one—this is a huge accomplishment.

Bitfinex and Tether manipulated BTC prices. This is the assertion of a scholarly report that has already led to two class-action lawsuits against the companies. Despite attempts by the duo to have the plaintiffs change their mind, things aren’t going well and Bitfinex and Tether are still going to have to respond to the allegations in court.

Circle has told Poloniex users in the U.S. that they have a choice—either withdraw their assets or start to pay fees. The crypto firm will start charging the users fees if they leave their funds on the platform, including a monthly service fee and a possible dormancy fee if an account becomes dormant. The state of affairs for crypto in the U.S. continues to be highly unstable and uncertain.

The U.S. isn’t the only country where the overall crypto sentiment is bleak. A court in Denmark has agreed with Nordea Bank, which banned its employees from purchasing crypto last year. The employees rallied and took their fight to court, but have now lost. In a show of hypocrisy, the court added, “The prohibition to invest … does not include investments in … Nordea linked to cryptocurrencies.” So, it’s bad to invest in crypto, unless the investment is in a Nordea crypto project. Not surprising from a bank that has previously been linked to massive money-laundering enterprises.

On paper, initial coin offerings (ICO) seemed like a good idea. In practice, though, they have been anything but promising for investors. As a whole, many ICOs were scams and others have been for projects that never came to fruition. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) wants to take better control of the sector and has brought in a new head of its cyber unit in order to put more attention on ICOs and fraud. Kristina Littman will replace Robert Cohen, who left the position this past August.

Sri Lanka is another example of a country that recognizes the power of blockchain. The country’s central bank is unveiling a plan that invites companies to suggest proof of concepts for know-your-customer solutions that could be implemented on the blockchain for the banking industry. The world isn’t far away from seeing blockchain being the foundation of an entirely new era in global finance and commerce.

New to blockchain? Check out CoinGeek’s Blockchain for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about blockchain technology.